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542
MANBHUM—MANCHE

back close to the surface, and the head, limbs and tail hanging downwards. The air in the lungs assists them to maintain this position. Their food consists exclusively of aquatic plants, on which they feed beneath the water. They are slow in their movements, and perfectly harmless, but are subject to persecution for the sake of their oil, skin and flesh. Frequent attempts have been made to keep specimens alive in captivity, and sometimes with considerable success, one having lived in the Brighton Aquarium for upwards of sixteen months. From such captive specimens certain observations on the mode of life of these animals have been made. We learn, for instance, that from the shoulder-joint the flippers can be moved in all directions, and the elbow and wrist permit of free extension and flexion. In feeding, manatis push the food towards their mouths by means of one of the hands, or both used simultaneously, and any one who has seen these members thus employed can believe the stories of their carrying their young under their arms. Still more interesting is the action of the peculiar lateral pads formed by the divided upper lip, thus described by Professor A. Garrod: “These pads have the power of transversely approaching towards and receding from one another simultaneously (see fig.). When the animal is on the point of seizing (say) a leaf of lettuce, the pads are diverged transversely in such a way as to make a median gap of considerable breadth. Directly the leaf is within grasp the lip-pads are approximated, the leaf is firmly seized between their contiguous bristly surfaces, and then drawn inwards by a backward movement of the lower margin of the lip as a whole.” The animal is thus enabled by the unaided means of the upper lip to introduce food placed before it without the assistance of the comparatively insignificant lower lip, the action recalling that of the mouth of the silkworm and other caterpillars in which the mandibles diverge and converge laterally during mastication. All trustworthy observations indicate that the manati has not the power of voluntarily leaving the water. None of the specimens in confinement has been observed to emit any sound.

The Amazonian manati (M. inunguis) is a much smaller species, not exceeding 7 or 8 ft. in length, and without nails to the flippers. It ascends most of the tributaries of the Amazon until stopped by rapids. From a specimen which lived a short time in London it appears that the lip-pads are less developed than in the northern species. The third species is the West African M. senegalensis, which extends a distance of about ten degrees south and sixteen north of the equator, and ranges into the heart of the continent as far as Lake Tchad. From 8 to 10 ft. appears to be the normal length; the weight of a specimen was 590 ℔. The colour is bluish black, with a tinge of olive-green above and yellow below.  (R. L.*) 


MANBHUM, a district of British India, in the Chota Nagpur division of Bengal. The administrative headquarters are at Purulia. Area, 4147 sq. m.; pop. (1901), 1,301,364, showing an increase of 9.1% since 1891. Manbhum district forms the first step of a gradual descent from the table-land of Chota Nagpur to the delta of lower Bengal. In the northern and eastern portions the country is open, and consists of a series of rolling downs dotted here and there with isolated conical hills. In the western and southern tracts the country is more broken and the scenery much more picturesque. The principal hills are Dalma (3407 ft.), the crowning peak of a range of the same name; Gangabari or Gajboro (2220 ft.), the highest peak of the Baghmundi range, about 20 m. south-west of Purulia; and Panchkot or Panchet (1600 ft.), on which stands the old fort of the rajas of Panchet. The hills are covered with dense jungle. The chief river is the Kasai, which flows through the district from north-west to south-east into Midnapore, and on which a considerable floating trade in sal timber is carried on. The most numerous aboriginal tribe are the Sontals; but the Bhumij Kols are the characteristic race. In Manbhum they inhabit the country lying on both sides of the Subanrekha. They are pure Mundas, but their compatriots to the east have dropped the title of Munda and the use of their distinctive language, have adopted Hindu customs, and are fast becoming Hindus in religion. The Bhumij Kols of the Jungle Mahals were once the terror of the surrounding districts; they are now more peaceful.

Three principal crops of rice are grown, one sown broadcast early in May on table-lands and the tops of ridges, an autumn crop, and a winter crop, the last forming the chief harvest of the district. Other crops are wheat, barley, Indian corn, pulses, oilseeds, linseeds, jute, hemp, sugar-cane, indigo, pan and tobacco. Owing to the completeness of the natural drainage, floods are unknown, but the country is liable to droughts caused by deficient rainfall. The principal articles of export are oilseeds, pulses, ghi, lac, indigo, tussur silk (manufactured near Raghunathpur), timber, resin, coal, and (in good seasons) rice. The chief imports are salt, piece goods, brass utensils and unwrought iron. Cotton hand-loom weaving is carried on all over the district. Manbhum contains the Jherria coalfield, in the Damodar valley, where a large number of mines have been opened since 1894. The United Free Church of Scotland has a mission at Pakheria, with a printing press that issues a monthly journal in Sonthali; and a German Lutheran mission has been established since 1864. The district is traversed by the Bengal-Nagpur railway, while two branches of the East Indian railway serve the coalfield.


MANCHA, LA (Arabic, Al Mansha, “the dry land” or “wilderness”), a name which when employed in its widest sense denotes the bare and monotonous elevated plateau of central Spain that stretches between the mountains of Toledo and the western spurs of the hills of Cuenca, being bounded on the S. by the Sierra Morena and on the N. by the Alcarria region. It thus comprises portions of the modern provinces of Toledo, Albacete and Cuenca, and the greater part of Ciudad Real. Down to the 16th century the eastern portion was known as La Mancha de Montearagon or de Aragon, and the western simply as La Mancha; afterwards the north-eastern and south-western sections respectively were distinguished by the epithets Alta and Baja (upper and lower). La Mancha is famous as the scene of Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote; in appearance, with its multitude of windmills and vast tracts of arid land, it remains almost exactly as Cervantes described it. Many villages, such as El Toboso and Argamasilla de Alba, both near Alcázar de San Juan, are connected by tradition with episodes in Don Quixote.


MANCHE, a department of north-western France, made up chiefly of the Cotentin and the Avranchin districts of Normandy, and bounded W., N. and N.E. by the English Channel (Fr. La Manche), from which it derives its name, E. by the department of Calvados, S.E. by Orne, S. by Mayenne and Ille-et-Vilaine. Pop. (1906), 487,443. Area, 2475 sq. m.

The department is traversed from south to north by a range of hills, in many parts picturesque, and connected in the south with those of Maine and Brittany. In the country round Mortain, which has been called the Switzerland of Normandy, they rise to a height of 1200 ft. The coast-line, running northward along the bay of the Seine from the rocks of Grand Camp to Cape Barfleur, thence westward to Cape la Hague, and finally southward to the Bay of Mont St Michel, has a length of 200 miles. The Vire and the Taute (which near the small port of Carentan receives the Ouve as a tributary on the left) fall into the sea at the Calvados border, and are united by a canal some miles above their mouths. From the mouth of the Taute a low beach runs to the port of St Vaast-la-Hougue, where the coast becomes rocky, with sandbanks. Off St Vaast lies the fortified island of Tatihow, with the laboratory of marine zoology of the Natural History Museum of Paris. Between Cape Barfleur and Cape la Hague lie the roads of Cherbourg, protected by the famous breakwater. The whole western coast is inhospitable; its small havens, lying behind formidable barriers and reefs, are almost dry at low tide. Great cliffs, such as the points of Jobourg (420 ft. high) and Flamanville, alternate with long strands, such as that which extends for 30 m. from Cape Carteret to Granville. Between this coast and the Channel Islands the tide, pent up between numerous sandbanks, flows with a terrific force that has given these passages such ill-omened names as Passage de la Déroute and the like. The only important harbours are Granville and the haven of refuge of Diélette between Granville and Cherbourg. Carteret carries on a passenger traffic with the Channel Islands. The chief stream is the Sienne, with its tributary the Soulle flowing by Coutances. South of Granville the sands of St Pair are the commencement of the great bay of Mont Saint Michel,