Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 12
Click on the image to view a larger, bitmap (.bmp) image suitable for printing.

HOME PAGE ... REFERENCE PAGE ... THIS GAZETTEER’S PAGE



Click on the image above for a larger, bitmap image suitable for printing.


AFR    12    AFR

gieat chain of mountains, and flowing through
Abyssinia, Sennaar, Nubia, and Egypt, falls into
the Mediterranean sea by several channels between
the lat. of 30. 16. and 31. 50. E. The river Niger
has long furnished a subject of considerable inter-
est to the learned. It is now known to run into the
Atlantic ocean at the Bight of Benin. See
Niger.

Numerous streams and lakes intersect all the
interior part of the country situate between the
desert of Sahara and the chain of mountains
which divide the continent into two parts. Sev-
eral rivers fall into the Atlantic ocean S. of the
Great desert; the first of these is the Senegal, the
entrance of which from the sea is in lat. 15. 53. N.
2nd. the Gambia, in lat. 13. 8. N., and further S.
the Pongos, Rio Grande, Noonez, and Sierra Le-
one, in lat. 8. 30. N.

Independently of the great chain of mountains
which divides Africa into two parts, a ridge of
considerable altitude extends along the whole ex-
tent of the shores of the Red sea;, and the states
of Barbary are bounded on the S. by another
chain called the Atlas, which at the greatest ele-
vation rise to the height of 13,000 feet above the
level of the sea

The middle portion of the western coast of Af-
rica is denominated the Coast of Guinea, on
which several of the European states have forts
and settlements ; it is occupied by several pow-
erful tribes of negroes, with whom the Europ-
eans carry on a very extensive traffic, with the
manufactured productions of Europe in general,
in exchange for gold dust, ivory, skins, bees wax,
palm oil, barwooa, &c.; S. of the Coast of Gui-
nea, for about 15 degrees of lat., the coast is also
occupied with several Negro tribes, who live in
constant collision with each other, and from
amongst whom about 100,000 annually, at the
period of 1820—1828, were transported as slaves
by the ships of France, Portugal, and Spain, for
working the plantations of those countries in S.
America and the W. Indies; the remaining por-
tion of the W. coast, as well as all the interior, and
the E. coast of this part of Africa, is very iittle
' known ; but as far as knowledge has been obtain-
ed the inhab. appear more rude and unsocial than
even those of N. Africa. A very rude and un-
civilized people, the Hottentots, occupy the more
S. extremity of the continent extending to the
Cape of Good Hope.

If the climate of America is distinguished by
superabundant moisture and cold, that of Africa
is not less remakable for its general want of hu-
midity, and its warmth. Of this fact the immense
extent of and and burning deserts already men-
tioned, affords incontrovertible proof. The most
northern and the most southern districts are
equally without a winter; and the greater part of
the continent is situated within the tropics.

The ancients indeed supposed the torrid zone
to be so parched by the perpendicular rays of the
sun as to be uninhabitable; but modern discov-
eries have assured us that the theory of the an-
cients is not altogether true. The sun, when
vertical, universally brings with him an immense
train of clouds, which pour down upon the subja-
cent country an incessant deluge. When the sun
is in the N. the rainy season begins in the coun-
tries lying northward from the equator; when in
the S., the rainy season is to the S. of the equa-
tor. This quantity of rain cools the atmosphere,
so as to produce a temperature much more mod-
erate than that which prevails when the sun re-
moves to a greater distance ; and the sun produ-

s

jMfllll

!lll|!!!l

llil llii

llll llll

lllllllll

lllllllll

lllllllll

l!ll|l!il|!

2| 3

4

5

6

7

8

9

1

0 1

l i

2 1

3 1

4


ces within the tropics in Africa the same effects
as vythin the same degrees of latitude in other
parts of the world. The prevalent drought is here
in some measure checked by the tropical rains ;
and, so far as has been ascertained, the tropical re-
gions are perhaps that part of this continent which
is best watered. The greater part of the im-
mense deserts—that of Sahara for instance—lie in
general too far N. ever to be under the influence of
a vertical sun. The torrid zone may therefore be
considered as having only two seasons—the dry
and the wet, which are likewise distinguished, in
some places, as the summer and winter. In some
districts, indeed, there are two dry and two wet
seasons in the year; and these are called the
short and the long seasons. In all the countries
within 20. of the equator the difference in the
amount of temperature is scarcely perceptible, at
least in the countries lying near the coast, for the
interior here is almost entirely unknown to us.
In the countries from Cape Blanco up to the
Senegal, the mean temperature from November
to the end of March is at 6
a. m. about 73. Fahr.,
and at noon, in the shade, 87. Fahr. Farther into
the interior of the country—at Bambouk, for in-
stance—the heat is much more intense. At the
Gambia, in the same months, the mean tempera-
ture at 6
a. m. is 77., and at noon in the shade,
91. In the months of April, May, and June, at
the Senegal, the thermometer 6
a. m. indicates

83., and at noon, in the shade, 95. From the
month of July to the end of October, the mean
temperature at 6
a. m. is 95.; and at noon 107. In
the more southern countries the heat is still great-
er, and also in the sandy plains; in those dis-
tricts which are situated farther towards the E.,
and even in those farther to the N., the heat is
frequently rendered insupportable by peculiar
localities. Thus at Ombos and Syene, in the
S. of Egypt, the sand absolutely scorches the
feet of the traveller, and eggs may be dressed
by burying them in the sand. At Algiers the
mean temperature is 72.; at the Cape of Good
Hope the thermometer frequently rises to 95. or

98., and often much higher; but change of tem-
perature is very quickly effected here, and a
burning day is frequently followed by a chilly
night. During eight months of the year constant
fine weather is prevalent throughout a great part
of Africa. The sun rises every morning in a
clear atmosphere, and spreads a glaring light over
the whole country, too brilliant almost for the
eye to sustain ; no cloud casts a passing shadow
over the landscape; and, in the evening, the orb
of day sinks magnificently into the ocean But
the excessive heat diminishes the pleasure man
might feel in contemplating the glorious sky;
and the first clouds which foretell the approach
of rain are hailed with delight by the European
resident, overwhelmed by the oppressive heat.

The physical peculiarities which distinguish
Africa, seem to depend chiefly on the circum-
stance that almost her whole territory is situated
within the tropics. The other portions of the
earth’s surface which lie directly beneath the
solar influence consist generally either of sea, or
of narrow and insular lands, refreshed by breezes
from the ocean. But the greatest breadth of Af
rica is under the immediate power and dominion
of the sun ; and most of her people see that great
planet, in its annual progress from tropic to trop-
ic, pass twice over their heads, and thus experi
ence a repetition of its most intense and perpendi
oulax rays. The highest blessings of this subtu













PREVIOUS PAGE ... NEXT PAGE

This page was written in HTML using a program
written in Python 3.2