Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 16
Click on the image to view a larger, bitmap (.bmp) image suitable for printing.


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

AFR    IG    AFR

rest of the year they blow from the W. in the Red
sea the S. E. wind prevails in the southern parts
from October to J une, when the N. wind begins to
blow, and lasts during the remainder of the year.
In the northern parts of this sea violent N. winds
prevail for nine months of the year. The transi-
tion from one season to another is generally ac-
companied by violent hurricanes and thunder-
storms. Some districts are more exposed to these
visitations than others; as, for instance, the coun-
tries between Cape Verga and Cape Monte, which
are often visited betwixt the months of June and
October by dreadful tornadoes, the effects of which
seldom extend to the neighbouring coasts.—In the
deserts the wind is often very troublesome to the
traveller, by raising the sand, and filling the air
with dust, so as to render it impossible to keep
one’s eyes open, and difficult even to breathe.—Mr.
Buckingham, while travelling betwixt the Red
sea and the Mediterranean in 1814, encounter-
ed one of these sand-tempests, which he has
described with great beauty and effect. “ On
leaving,” says he,
the site of these nbw eva-
porated lakes, (the Bitter lakes.) we entered up-
on a loose and shifting sand again, like that which
Pliny describes when speaking of the roads from
Pelusium, across the sands of the desert; in
which, ke says, unless there bo reeds stuck in the
ground to point out the line of direction, the way
could not be found, because the wind blows up
the sand, and covers the footsteps.—The morning
was delightful on our setting out, and promised
us a fine day; but the light airs from the south
soon increased to a gale, the sun became obscure,
and as everv hour brought us into a looser sand,
it flew around us in such whirlwinds, with the
sudden gusts that blew, that it was impossible to
proceed. We halted, therefore, for an hour, and
took shelter under the lee of our beasts, who
were themselves so terrified as to need fastening
by the knees, and uttered in their wailings but
a melancholy symphony. I know not whether it
was the novelty of the situation that gave it ad-
ditional horrors, or whether the habit of magni-
fying evils to which we are unaccustomed, had
increased its effect; but certain it is, that fifty
gales of wind at sea appeared to me more easy to
be encountered than one amongst those sands.
It is impossible to imagine desolation more com-
plete ; we could see’ neither sun, earth, nor sky :
the plain at ten paces distance was absolutely im-
perceptible : our beasts, as well as ourselves, were
so covered as to render breathing difficult; they
hid their faces in the ground, and we could only
uncover our own for a moment, to behold this
chaos of mid-day darkness, and wait impatiently
for its abatement. Alexander’s journey to the
temple of Jupiter Ammon, and the destruction
of the Persian armies of Cambyses in the Lybian
desert, rose to my recollection/ with new impres-
sions, made
by the horror of the scene before me;
while Addison’s admirable lines, which I also re-
membered with peculiar force on this occasion,
seemed to possess as much truth as beauty .

‘ I.o! where our wide Numiilian wastes extend,

Sudden the impetuous hurricanes descend,

Which through the air in circling eddies play.

Tear up the sands, and sweep whole plains away.

The helpless traveller, with wild surprise,

Sees the dry desert all around him rise:

And, smothered in the dusty whirlwind, dies.”

; ■■ 1' ■ 1 I ii!







III! Ilil|l

1 2 3 4| 5






0 1

1 1

2 1



of terror forbade con munication. Its fury spent
itself, like the storms of ocean, in sudden lulls
and squalls; but it was not until the third or
fourth interval that our fears were sufficiently
conquered to address each other; nor shall I soon
lose the recollection of the impressive manner in
which that was done.
‘Allah kereem!' exclaimed
the poor Bedouin, although habit had familiarised
him with these resistless blasts.
‘Allah kereem!’
repeated the Egyptians, with terrified solemnity ;
and both my servant and myself, as if by instinct,
joined in the general exclamation. The bold im
agery of the Eastern poets, describing the Deity
as avenging in his anger, and terrible in his
wrath, riding upon the wings of the wind and
breathing his fury in the storm, must have been
inspired by scenes like these.”

In Egypt a S. wind prevails in summer, which
raises immense quantities of sand, and is often
so hot as to stop respiration. Another called
micl by
the natives is still hotter and more terri
ble.—But the most dreadful of all these burning
winds is the
simoon, which seems to be a concen-
trated column of the positive electric fluid, mov-
ing northwards, from the S. or S. E., and carry-
ing sure destruction to all who breathe the bale-
ful atmosphere which accompanies it. The only
chance of escaping destruction when the simoon
glides across the desert is, for the traveller tc
throw himself flat on his face, which he has no1
always time to do, for it moves with amazing ra-
pidity. Bruce, whose ardent mind was not easi
ly deterred from the attainment of knowledge by
the presence of danger, has described this fearfu1
phenomenon. On the attendants calling out that
the simoon was coming, he immediately turned
for a moment to the quarter whence it came. I'
resembled a haze, in colour like the purple pari
of the rainbow, but not so compressed or thick. P
was a kind of blush upon the air, and was about
20 yards in breadth, and about 4 from the ground
Its motion was so rapid, that before lie could
turn and fall upon the ground, he felt its violent
heat upon his face. It passed like a gentle rus
tling wind, but was succeeded by a slight breeze,
which for two or three hours was of such inten-
sity of heat, as nearly to suffocate them. Bruce
unfortunately inhaled a little of the purple naze,
which nearly deprived him of his voice, and
caused an asthma of two years’ continuance.
They saw it tv/ice afterwards as tliev journeyed
across the desert. The second time, it was more
southerly—its edges were less denned, resembling
a thin smoke—and it had about a yard in the
middle tinged with purple and blue. The third
time, it had the same purple and blue appearance,
but was preceded by the largest sand pillar they
had seen.—One of the most striking phenomena
on the Gold Coast is the N. E. wind called
It comes on indiscriminately at any hour
of the day, at any time of the tide, or at any
period of the moon; and continues sometimes
only a dav or two, sometimes five or six days, and
has been occasionally known to last fifteen or six-
teen days. There are generally three or four re-
turns of it every season ; it blows with a moder-
ate force, not so strongly as the sea-breeze, but
somewhat more so than the land-wind. A fog or
haze is one of the peculiarities which always ac-
company a harmattan ; extreme dryness is anoth-
er property of it: no dew falls during its continu
ance, nor is there the least appearance of moisture
in the atmosphere, vegetables of every kind are
much injured by it, and the grass withers under


The few hours we remained in this situation
were passed in unbroken silence : every one was
occupied with his own reflections, as if the reign


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