EGYPT , a
See also:country forming the N.E. extremity of Africa.' In the following account a division is made into (I.)
See also:Modern Egypt, and (II.)
See also:Ancient Egypt; but the
See also:history from the earliest times is given as a
See also:separate section (III.) . Section I. includes Geography,
See also:Government, Inhabitants,
See also:Finance and Army . Section II. is subdivided into:—(A) Exploration and
See also:Research; (B) The Country in Ancient Times; (C) Religion; (D) Language and Writing; (E)
See also:Art and Archaeology; (F) Chronology . Section III. is divided into three
See also:main periods:—(I) Ancient History; (2) the
See also:Period; (3) Modern History (from Mehemet
See also:Ali) . 1 . MODERN EGYPT Boundaries and Areas.—Egypt is bounded N. by the Mediterranean, S. by the Anglo-
See also:Egyptian Sudan, N.E. by
See also:Palestine, E. by the Red
See also:Sea, W. by
See also:Tripoli and the
See also:Sahara . The western frontier is
See also:ill-defined . The boundary
See also:line between Tripoli and Egypt is usually taken to start from a point in the Gulf of Sollum and to run S. by E. so as to leave the
See also:oasis of
See also:Siwa to Egypt . South of Siwa the frontier, according to the
See also:firman of 1841, bends eastward, approaching the cultivated Nile-
See also:land near
See also:Haifa, i.e. the
See also:southern frontier . This southern frontier is fixed by agreement between
See also:Great Britain and Egypt at the 22° N . The N.E. frontier is an almost
See also:direct line
See also:drawn from Taba, near the
See also:head of the Gulf of
See also:Akaba, the eastern of the two gulfs into which the Red Sea divides, to the Mediterranean at Raf a in 34° 15' E . The peninsula of
See also:Sinai, geographically
See also:part of
See also:Asia, is thus included in the Egyptian dominions .
See also:area of the country is about 400,000 sq. m., or more than three times the
See also:size of the
See also:British Isles . Of this area ftths is
See also:desert . Canals, roads, date plantations, &c., cover 'goo sq. m.; 2850 sq. m, are comprised in the
See also:surface of the Nile, marshes, lakes, &c . A line corresponding with the 3o° N., drawn just S. of Cairo, divides the country into
See also:Lower and Upper Egypt, natural designations in
See also:common use, Lower Egypt being the
See also:Delta and Upper Egypt the Nile valley . By the
See also:Arabs Lower Egypt is called Er-Rif, the cultivated or fertile; Upper Egypt Es Said, the happy or fortunate . Another division of the country is into Lower,
See also:Middle and Upper Egypt, Middle Egypt in this
See also:classification being the
See also:district between Cairo and
See also:Assiut . General Character.—The distinguishing features of Egypt are the Nile and the desert . But for the
See also:river there would be nothing to differentiate the country from other parts of the Sahara . The Nile, however, has transformed the land through which it passes . Piercing the desert, and at its
See also:annual overflow depositing
See also:rich sediment brought from the Abyssinian
See also:highlands, the river has created the Delta and the fertile
See also:strip in Upper Egypt . This cultivable land is Egypt proper ; to it alone is applicable the ancient name—" the black land." The Misr of the Arabs is restricted to the same territory . Beyond the Nile valley east and west stretch great deserts, containing here and there fertile oases .
The generalappearance of the country is remarkably
See also:uniform . The Delta is a level plain, richly cultivated, and varied alone by the lofty dark-
See also:brown mounds of ancient cities, and the villages set in groves of palm-trees,
See also:standing on mounds often, if not always, ancient . Groves of palm-trees are occasionally seen besides those around the villages, but other trees are rare . In Upper Egypt the Nile valley is very narrow and is bounded by mountains of no great height . They
See also:form the edge of the desert on either side of the valley, of which the bottom is level
See also:rock . The mountains rarely take the form of peaks . Sometimes they approach the river in bold promontories, and at others are divided by the dry beds of ancient
See also:water-courses . The bright
See also:green of the
See also:fields, the reddish-brown or dull green of the great river, contrasting with the
See also:bare yellow rocks, seen beneath a brilliant
See also:sun and a deep-blue
See also:present views of great beauty . In form the landscape varies little and is not remarkable; in
See also:colour its qualities are always splendid, and under a general uniformity show a continual variety . ' By the Greek and
See also:Roman geographers Egypt was usually assigned to
See also:Libya (Africa), but by some early writers the Nile was thought to mark the division between Libya and Asia . The name occurs in
See also:Homer as Aiyvirros, but is of doubtful origin . The
See also:Coast Region.—Egypt has a coast-line of over 600 m. on the Mediterranean and about 1200 m. on the Red Sea .
The Mediterranean coast extends from the Gulf of Sollum on the west to Rafa on the east . From the gulf to the beginning of the Delta the coast is rock-bound, but slightly indented, and possesses no
See also:good harbourage . The cliffs attain in places a height of moo ft . They are the termination of a stony
See also:plateau, containing several small oases, which southward joins the more arid and uninhabitable wastes of the Libyan Desert . The Delta coast-line, composed of sandhills and, occasionally, Iimestone rocks, is low, with cape-like projections at the Nile mouths formed by the river silt . Two bays are thus formed, the western being the famous
See also:Bay of
See also:Aboukir . It is bounded W. by a point near the ancient Canopic mouth, eastward by the Rosetta mouth . Beyond the Delta eastward the coast is again barren and without harbours . It rises gradually southward, merging into the plateau of the Sinai peninsula . The Red Sea coast is everywhere mountainous . The mountains are the
See also:northern continuation of the Abyssinian table-land, and some of the peaks are over 6000 ft. above the sea . The highest peaks, going from
See also:north to south, are Jebels Gharib, Dukhan, Es Shayib, Fatira,
See also:Abu Tiur, Zubara and Hammada (Hamata) .
The coast has a general N.N.W. and S.S.E. trend, and,save for the two gulfs into which it is divided by the
See also:massif of Sinai, is not deeply indented . Where the frontier between Egypt and the Sudan reaches the sea is
See also:Elba (see further Fry SEA) . The Nile Valley (see also NILE).—Entering Egypt prcl,er, a little north of the Second
See also:Cataract, the Nile flows through a valley in
See also:sandstone beds of Cretaceous age as far as 25° N., and throughout this part of its course the valley is extremely narrow, rarely exceeding 2 m. in width . At two points, namely, Kalabsha—the valley here being only 170 yds. wide and the river over 'co ft. deep—and
See also:Assuan (First Cataract), the course of the river is interrupted by outcrops of granites and other crystalline rocks, which have been uncovered by the. erosion of the overlying sandstone, and to-
See also:day form the mass of islands, with numerous small rapids, which are described not very accurately as cataracts; no good evidence exists in support of the view that they are the remains of a massive barrier, broken down and carried away by some sudden convulsion . From 25° N. northwards for 518 in. the valley is of the " rift-valley " type, a level depression in a
See also:limestone plateau, enclosed usually by steep cliffs, except where the tributary valleys drained into the main valley in early times, when there was a larger rainfall, and now carry off the occasional rainstorms that burst on the desert . The cliffs are highest between
See also:Esna and Kena, where they reach 180o ft. above sea-level . The
See also:average width of the .cultivated land is about to m., of which the greater part lies on the
See also:left (western)
See also:bank of the river; and outside this is a
See also:belt, varying from a few
See also:hundred yards to 3 or 4 m., of stony and sandy ground, reaching up to the
See also:foot of the limestone cliffs, which rise in places to o as much as IOOO ft. above the valley . This continues as far as 2g N., after which the hills that close in the valley become lower, and the higher plateaus lie at a distance of to or 15 in. back in the desert . The
See also:Fayum.—The fertile province of the Fayum, west of the Nile and separated from it by some 6 m. of desert, seems to owe its existence to movements similar to those which determined the valley itself . Lying in a
See also:basin sloping in a series of terraces from an altitude of 65 ft. above sea-level in the east to about 140 ft. below sea-level on the north-west, at the margin of the Birket-el-Kerun, this province is wholly irrigated by a canalized channel, the
See also:Bahr Yusuf, which, leaving the Nile at Derut esh Sherif in Upper Egypt, follows the western margin of the cultivation in the Nile valley, and at length enters the Fayum through a
See also:gap in the desert hills by the XIIth
See also:Dynasty pyramids of Lahun and Hawara (see FAYUM) . The Delta.—About 30° N., where the city of Cairo stands, the hills which have hitherto run parallel with the Nile turn W.N.W. and E.N.E., and the triangular area between them is wholly deltaic . The Delta
See also:loo m. from S. to N., having a width of 155 in. on the
See also:shore of the Mediterranean between Alexandria on the west and
See also:Port Said on the east .
The low sandy shore of the Delta, slowly increasing by the annualdeposit of silt by the river, is mostly a barren area of sand-hills and salty waste land . This is the region of the lagoons and marshes immediately behind the coast-line . Southwards the quality of the
See also:soil rapidly improves, and becomes the most fertile part of Egypt . This area is watered by the
See also:Damietta and the Rosetta branches of the Nile, and by a network of canals . The soil of the Delta is a dark
See also:fine sandy soil, becoming at times almost a stiff
See also:clay by reason of the fineness of its particles, which consist almost wholly of extremely small grains of
See also:quartz with a few other minerals, and often numerous flakes of
See also:mica . This deposit varies in thickness, as a
See also:rule, from 55 to 70 ft., at which
See also:depth it is underlain by a series of coarse and fine yellow quartz sands, with occasional pebbles, or even
See also:banks of
See also:gravel, while here and there thin beds of clay occur . These sand-beds are sharply distinguished by their colour from the overlying Nile deposit, and are of considerable thickness . A
See also:boring made in 1886 for the Royal Society at
See also:Zagazig attained a depth of 375 ft. without reaching rock, and another, subsequently sunk near Lake Aboukir (close to Alexandria), reached a depth of 405 ft. with the same result . Numerous other borings to depths of too to 200 ft. have given similar results, showing the Nile deposit to
See also:rest generally on these yellow sands, which provide a
See also:constant though not a very large supply of good water; near the YPT [MODERN: GEOGRAPHY 22 northern limits of the Delta this cannot, however, be depended on, since the well water at these depths has proved on several occasions to be
See also:salt . The surface of the Delta is a wide alluvial plain sloping gently towards the sea, and having an altitude of 29 ft. above it at its southern extremity . Its limits east and west are determined by the higher ground of the deserts, to which the silt-laden
See also:waters of the Nile in
See also:time cannot reach . This silt consists largely of alumina (about 48%) and calcium carbonate (18%) with smaller quantities of
See also:oxide of iron and
See also:carbon .
Although the Nile water is abundantly charged with
See also:alluvium, the annual deposit by the river, except under extraordinary circumstances, is smaller than might be supposed . The mean ordinary
See also:rate of the increase of the soil of Egypt is calculated as about 42 in. in a century . The Lakes.—The lagoons or lakes of the Delta, going from west to east, are
See also:Mareotis (Mariut), Edku, Burlus and Menzala . The land separating them from the Mediterranean is nowhere more than ro m. wide . East of the Damietta mouth of the Nile this strip is in places not more than 200 yds. broad . All the lakes are shallow and the water in them salt or brackish . Mareotis, which
See also:bounds Alexandria on the south side, varies considerably in area according to the rise or fall of the Nile; when the Nile is low there is a wide expanse of
See also:marsh, when at its highest the lake covers about 10o sq. m . In ancient times Mareotis was navigable and was joined by various canals to the Nile . The country around was cultivated and produced the famous Mareotic
See also:wine . The canals being neglected, the lake de-creased in size, though it was still of consider-able area in the 15th and 16th centuries, and was then noted for the value of its
See also:fisheries . When the French army occupied Egypt in 1798, Mareotis was found to be largely a sandy plain . In
See also:April 18oi the British army besieging Alexandria cut through the land between Aboukir and the lake, admitting the waters of the sea into the ancient
See also:bed of Mareotis and laying under water a large area then in cultivation .
This precedent was twice imitated, first by the
See also:Turks in 1803 and a second time by the British in 1807 . Mareotis has no outlet, and the water is kept at a uniform level by means of powerful pumps which neutralize the effect of the Nile flood . A western
See also:arm has been cut off from the lake by a dyke, and in this arm a thick crust of salt is formed each
See also:year after the evaporation of the flood water . Near the shores of the lake
See also:flowers grow in rich profusion . Like all the Delta lakes, Mareotis abounds in wild-
See also:fowl . North-east of Mareotis was Lake Aboukir, a small
See also:sheet of water, now dry, lying S.W. of Aboukir Bay . East of this reclaimed marsh and reaching to within 4 M. of the Rosetta branch of the Nile, lies Edku, 22 M. long and in places 16 wide, with an opening, supposed to be the ancient Canopic mouth of the Nile, into Aboukir Bay . Burlus begins a little eastward of the Rosetta channel, and stretches
See also:bow-shaped for 64 m . Its greatest width is about 16 m . Adjoining it S.E. is an expanse of sandy marsh . Several canals or canalized channels enter the lake . Opposite the spot where the Bahr-mit Yezir enters is an opening into the Mediterranean .
Canal and opening indicate the course of the ancient Sebennytic branch of the Nile . Burlus is noted for its water-melons, which are yellow within and come into
See also:season after those grown on the banks of the Nile . Menzala greatly exceeds the other Delta lakes in size, covering over 78o sq. m . It extends from very near the Damietta branch of the Nile to PortSaid . It receives the waters of the canalized channels which were once the Tanitic, Mendesian and Pelusiac branches . The northern shore is separated from the sea by an extremely narrow strip of land, across which, when the Mediterranean is stormy and the lake full, the waters meet . Its average length is about 40 m., and its average breadth about 15 . The depth is greater than that of the other lakes, and the water is salt, though mixed with fresh . It contains a large number of islands, and the whole lake abounds in reeds of various kinds . Of the islands Tennis (anciently Tennesus)contains ruins of the Roman period . The lake supports a consider-able population of fishermen, who dwell in villages on the shore and islands and live upon the
See also:fish of the lake . The reeds are cover for waterfowl of various kinds, which the traveller
See also:sees in great numbers, and wild boars are found in the marshes to the south .
See also:Suez Canal runs in a straight line for 20 M. along the eastern edge of the lake . That part of the lake east of where the canal was excavated is now marshy plain, and the Tanitic and Pelusiac mouths of the Nile are dry . East of Menzala is the site of Serbonis, another dried-up lake, which had the general characteristics of the Delta lagoons . In the
See also:Isthmus of Suez are Lake Timsa and the Great and Little Bitter Lakes, occupying part of the ancient bed of the Red Sea . All three were dry or marshy depressions previously to the cutting of the Suez Canal, at which time the waters of the Mediterranean and Red Sea were let into them (see SUEZ CANAL) . A chain of natron lakes (seven in number) lies in a valley in the western desert, 70 to 90 m . W.N.W. of Cairo . In the Fayum province farther south is the Birket-el-Kerun, a lake, lying below the level of the Nile, some 3o m. long and 5 wide at its broadest part . Kerun is all that is left of the Lake of Moeris, an ancient artificial sheet of water which played an important part in the irrigation schemes of the Pharaohs . The water of el-Kerun is brackish, though de-rived from the Nile, which has at all seasons a much higher level . It is bounded on the north by the Libyan Desert, above which rises a bold range of mountains ; and it has a
See also:strange and picturesque wildness . Near the lake are several sites of ancient towns, and the
See also:temple called Kasr-
See also:Karun, dating from Roman times, distinguishes the most important of these .
South-west of the Fayum is the Wadi Rayan, a large and deep depression, utilizable in modern schemes for re-creating the Lake of Moeris (q.v.) . The Desert Plateaus . —From the southern
See also:borders of Egypt to the Delta in the north, the desert plateaus ex- tend on either side of the Nile valley . The eastern region, between the Nile and the Red Sea, varies in width from 90 to 35o m. and is known in its northern part as the Arabian Desert . The western region has no natural barrier for many hundreds of
See also:miles; it is part of the vast Sahara . On its eastern edge, a few miles west of Cairo, stand the great pyramids (q.v.) of Gizeh or Giza . North of Assuan it is called the Libyan Desert . In the north the desert plateaus are comparatively low, but from Cairo southwards they rise to moo and even 1500 ft. above sea- level . Formed mostly of
See also:horizontal strata of varying hardness, they present a series of terraces of minor plateaus, rising one above the other, and intersected by small ravines worn by the occasional
See also:rain- storms which burst in their neighbourhood . The weathering of this desert area is probably fairly rapid, and the agents at
See also:work are principally the rapid
See also:heating and cooling of the rocks by day and
See also:night, and the erosive
See also:action of sand-laden
See also:wind on the softer layers; these, aided by the occasional rain, are ceaselessly at work, and produce the successive plateaus, dotted with small isolated hills and cut up by valleys (wadis) which occasionally become deep ravines, thus forming the
See also:principal type of scenery of these deserts . From this it will be seen that the desert in Egypt is mainly a rock desert, where the surface is formed of disintegrated rock, the finer particles of which have been carried away by the wind; and east of the Nile this is almost exclusively the case . Here the desert meets the line of mountains which runs parallel to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez .
In the western desert, however, those large sand accumu- lations which are usually associated with a desert are met with . They occur as lines of
See also:dunes formed of rounded grains of quartz, and lie in the direction of the prevalent wind, usually being of small breadth as compared with their length; but in certain areas, such as that lying S.W. and W. of the oases of Farafra and Dakhla, these lines of dunes, lying parallel to each other and about
See also:half a mile apart, cover immense areas, rendering them absolutely impassable sn_ = z` _ in; i @ ` _ »%ce = _ g~ f1t1 : z `~ oft OP* :~ Damanhu rte° 1'-N• / "•: . . n .
See also:Wad, e3 °AO.,o 4'Q ,„ ; I afr 1 Nantar i= li rHooker " `a
See also:saki ~• sallhta •, I`
See also:trout 'twin w„,e er ~ `\$%'10', ` EI
See also:Mar B EllOpalla * }o, '' 4110 .yGiza IY~ Q,.\; NILE DELTA Scale, .o isles
See also:English Mlles ° . • ro so ~o ao coaa Ra/llweeto„nrp, C°a.aq of Prosiness e S¢M Oaur13 -~ /Indent SIY1a TaN18 Ita%n1 : . pY' MIDba° . . . : . • atoIN% CL ~,e • .. Abuslit• MEMp le ~ H81wan EmarY,tralkar sc . except in a direction parallel to the lines themselves . East of the oases of Baharia and Farafra is a very striking line of these sand dunes; rarely more than 3 miles wide, it extends almost continuously from Moghara in the north, passing along the west side of Kharga Oasis to a point near the Nile in the neighbourhood of Abu Siinbel—having thus a length of nearly 550 m .
In the northern part of this desert the dunes lie about N.W.-S.E., but farther south incline more towards themeridian, becoming at last very nearly north and south . Oases.—In the western desert lie the five large oases of Egypt, namely, Siwa, Baharia, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga or Great Oasis, occupying depressions in the plateau or, in the case of the last three, large indentations in the
See also:face of limestone escarpments which form the western versant of the Nile valley hills . Their fertility is due to a plentiful supply of water furnished by a sandstone bed 300 to 500 ft. below the surface, whence the water rises through natural fissures or artificial boreholes to the surface, and sometimes to several feet above it . These oases were known and occupied by the Egyptians as early as 1600 B.c., and Kharga (q.v.)
See also:rose to
See also:special importance at the time of the Persian occupation . Here, near the
See also:town of Kharga, the ancient Hebi, is a temple of Ammon built by Darius I., and in the same oasis are other ruins of the period of the
See also:Ptolemies and Caesars . The oasis of Siwa (
See also:Jupiter Ammon) is about 150 m . S. of the Mediterranean at the Gulf of Sollum and about 300 M . W. of the Nile (see SIWA) . The other four oases lie parallel to and distant loo to 150 M. from the Nile, between 25° and 29° N., Baharia being the most northerly and Kharga the most southerly . Besides the oases the desert is remarkable for two other valleys . The first is that of the natron lakes already mentioned . It contains four monasteries, the remains of the famous anchorite settlement of Nitriae: South of the Wadi Natron, and parallel to it, is a sterile valley called the Bahr-bela-Ma, or " River without Water." The Sinai Peninsula.—The triangular-shaped Sinai peninsula has its
See also:base on the Mediterranean, the northern part being an arid plateau, the desert of Tih .
See also:apex is occupied by a massif of crystalline rocks . The principal peaks rise over 850o ft . Owing to the slight rainfall, and the rapid weathering of the rocks by the great range of temperature, these hills rise steeply from the valleys at their feet as almost bare rock, supporting hardly any vegetation . In some of the valleys
See also:wells or rock-pools filled by rain occur, and furnish drinking-water to the few Arabs who wander in these hills (see also SINAI) . (Geology.—Just as the Nile valley forms the chief
See also:geographical feature of Egypt, so the geology of the country is intimately related to it . The north and south direction of the river has been largely determined by faults, though the geologists of the Egyptian Survey are finding that the influence of faulting in determining
See also:physical outline has, in some cases, been overestimated . The
See also:oldest rocks, consisting of crystalline
See also:schists with numerous intrusions of granite, porphyry and diorite, occupy the eastern portion of the country between the Nile south of Assuan and the Red Sea . The intrusive rocks predominate over the schists in extent of area covered . They furnished the chief material for the ancient monuments . At Assuan (Syene) the well-known
See also:syenite of
See also:Werner occurs . It is, however, a
See also:hornblende granite and does not possess the mineralogical composition of the syenites of modern
See also:petrology . Between
See also:Thebes and
See also:Khartum the western banks of the Nile are composed of Nubian Sandstone, which extends westward from the river to the edge of the great Libyan Desert, where it forms the bed rock .
The age of this sandstone has given rise to much dispute . The upper part certainly belongs to the Cretaceous formation; the lower part has been considered to be of
See also:Karroo age by some geologists, while others regard the whole formation to be of Cretaceous age . In the Kharga Oasis the upper portion consists of variously coloured unfossiliferous
See also:clays with intercalated bands of sandstone containing fossil silicified woods (Nicolia Aegyptiaca and Araucarioxylon Aegypticum) . They are conformably overlain by clays and limestones with Exogyra Overwegi belonging to the Lower Danian, and these by clays and
See also:chalk with Ananchytes ovata of the Upper Danian . In many instances the
See also:Tertiary formation, which occurs between Esna and Cairo, unconformably overlies the Cretaceous, the Lower Eocene being absent . The fluvio-marine deposits of the Upper Eocene and Oligocene formations contain an interesting mammalian
See also:fauna, proving that the
See also:African continent formed a centre of
See also:radiation for the mammalia in early Tertiary times . Arsinoitherium is the pre-cursor of the horned
See also:Ungulata; while Moeritherium and Palaeomastodon undoubtedly include the oldest known elephants .
See also:Miocene strata are absent in the southern Tertiary areas, but are present at Moghara and in the north . Marine Pliocene strata occur to the south of the pyramids of Giza and in the Fayum province, where, in addition, some gravel terraces, at a height of 500 ft. above sea-level, are attributed to the Pliocene period . The Lake of Moeris, as a large
See also:body of fresh water, appears to have come into existence in
See also:Pleistocene times . It is represented now by the brackish-water lake of the Birket-el-Kerun . The superficial sands of the deserts and the Nile mud form the chief
See also:recent formations .
The Nile deposits its mud over the valley before reaching the sea, and consequently the Delta receives little additional material . At
See also:Memphis the alluvial deposits are over 50 ft. thick . The superficial sands of the desert region, derived in large part from the disintegration of the Nubian Sandstone, occupy the most extensive areas in the Libyan Desert . The other desert regions of Egypt are elevated stony plateaus, which are diversified by extensively excavated valleys and oases, and in which sand frequently plays quite a subordinate part . These regions present magnificent examples of dry erosion by wind-
See also:borne sand, which acts as a powerful sand blast
See also:etching away the rocks and producing most beautiful sculpturing . The rate of denudation in exposed positions is exceedingly rapid; while spots sheltered from the sand blast suffer a minimum of erosion, as shown by the preservation of ancient inscriptions . Many of the Egyptian rocks in the desert areas and at the cataracts are coated with a highly polished film, of almost microscopic thinness, consisting chiefly ofoxides of iron and
See also:manganese with salts of
See also:magnesia and lime . It is supposed to be due to a chemical
See also:change within the rock and not to deposition on the surface.] Minerals.—Egypt possesses considerable
See also:wealth . In ancient times gold and precious stones were
See also:mined in the Red Sea hills . During the Moslem period
See also:mining was abandoned, and it was not until the beginning of the loth century that renewed efforts were made to develop the mining
See also:industry . The salt obtained from Lake Mareotis at Meks, a western suburb of Alexandria, supplies the salt needed for the country, except a small quantity used for curing fish at Lake Menzala ; while the lakes in the Wadi Natron, 45 M . N.W. of the pyramids of Giza, furnish carbonate of soda in large quantities .
See also:Alum is found in the western oases . Nitrates and
See also:phosphates are also found in various parts of the desert and are used as
See also:manures . The
See also:turquoise mines of Sinai, in the Wadi Maghara, are worked regularly by the Arabs of the peninsula, who sell the stones in Suez; while there are
See also:emerald mines at
See also:Jebel Zubara, south of Kosseir . Petroleum occurs at Jebel Zeit, on the west shore of the Gulf of Suez . Considerable
See also:veins of
See also:haematite of good quality occur both in the Red Sea hills and in Sinai . At Jebel ed-Dukhan are porphyry quarries, extensively worked under the Romans, and at Jebel el-Fatira are granite quarries . At El-Hammamat, on the old way from
See also:Coptos to Philoteras
See also:Portus, are the
See also:breccia verde quarries, worked from very early times, and having interesting hieroglyphic inscriptions . At the various mines, and on the routes to them and to the Red Sea, are some small temples and stations, ranging from the Pharaonic to the Roman period . The quarries of Syene (Assuan) are famous for extremely
See also:harms and durable red granite (syenite), and have been worked since the days of the earliest Pharaohs . Large quantities of this syenite were used in
See also:building the Assuan
See also:dam 1898-1902) . The cliffs bordering the Nile are largely quarried for limestone and sandstone . Gold-mining recommenced in 1905 at
See also:Urn Rus, a
See also:short distance inland from the Red Sea and some 5o m .
S. of Kosseir, where milling operations were started in
See also:March of that year . Another mine opened in 1905 was that of Urn Garaiat, E.N.E. of Korosko, and 65 m. distant from the Nile .
See also:Climate.—Part of Upper Egypt is within the tropics, but the greater part of the country is north of the Tropic of
See also:Cancer . Except a narrow belt on the north along the Mediterranean shore, Egypt lies in an almost rainless area, where the temperature is high by day and sinks quickly at night in consequence of the rapid radiation under the cloudless sky . The mean temperature at Alexandria and Port Said varies between 57° F. in
See also:January and 81° F. in
See also:July; while at Cairo, where the proximity of the desert begins to be
See also:felt, it is 53° F. in January, rising to 84° F. in July . January is the coldest
See also:month, when occasionally in the Nile valley, Fand more frequently in the open desert, the temperature sinks to 32 ., or even a degree or two below . The mean maximum temperatures are 99° F. for Alexandria and I Io° F. for Cairo . Farther south the range of temperature becomes greater as pure desert conditions are reached . Thus at Assuan the mean maximum is 118° F., the mean minimum 42° F . At Wadi Haifa the figures in each case are one degree lower . The relative humidity varies greatly . At Assuan the mean value for the year is only 38 °A, that for the summer being 29 %, and for the winter 51 %; while for Wadi Haifa the mean is 32%, and 20% and 42 % are the mean values for summer and winter respectively .
See also:fog, dense and
See also:cold, sometimes rises from the Nile in the
See also:morning, but it is of short duration and rare occurrence . In Alexandria and on all the Mediterranean coast of Egypt rain falls abundantly in the winter months, amounting to 8 in. in the year; but southwards it rapidly decreases, and south of 31 ° N. little rain falls . Records at Cairo show that the rainfall is very irregular, and is furnished by occasional storms rather than by any
See also:rainy season; still, most falls in the winter months, especially
See also:December and January, while, on the other
See also:hand, none has been recorded in
See also:June and July . The average annual rainfall does not exceed 1.50 in . In the open desert rain falls even more rarely, but it is by no means unknown, and from time to time heavy storms burst, causing sudden floods in the narrow ravines, and drowning both men and animals These are more common in the mountainous region of the Sinai peninsula, where they are much dreaded by the Arabs .
See also:Snow is unknown Li the Nile valley, but on the mountains of Sinai and the Red Sea hills it is not uncommon, and a temperature of 18° F. at an altitude of 2000 ft. has been recorded in January . The atmospheric pressure varies between a maximum in January and a minimum in July, the mean difference being about 0.29 in . In a series of records extending over 14 years the mean pressure varied between 29.84 and 29.90 in . The most striking meteorological factor in Egypt is the persistence of the north wind throughout the year, without which the climate would be very trying . It is this " Etesian " wind which enables sailing boats constantly to ascend the Nile, against its strong and rapid current . In December, January and
See also:February, at Cairo, the north wind slightly predominates, though those from the south and west often nearly equal it, but after this the north blows almost continuously for the rest of the year . In May and June the prevailing direction is north and north-north-east, and for July,
See also:September and
See also:October north and north-west .
From the few observations that exist, it seems that farther south the southern winter winds decrease rapidly, becoming
See also:westerly, until at Assuan and Wadi Haifa the northerly winds are almost invariable through-out the year . The
See also:khamsin, hot sand-laden winds of the
See also:spring months, come invariably from the south . They are preceded by a rapid fall of the barometer for about a day, until a gradient from south to north is formed, then the wind commences to
See also:blow, at first gently, from the south-east; rapidly increasing in violence, it shifts through south to south-west, finally dropping about sunset . The same thing is repeated on the second and sometimes the third day, by which time the wind has worked
See also:round to the north again . During a khamsin the temperature is high and the air extremely dry, while the dust and sand carried by the wind form a thick yellow fog obscuring the sun . Another remarkable phenomenon is the zobaa, a lofty whirlwind of sand resembling a pillar, which moves with great velocity . The southern winds of -the summer months which occur in the low latitudes north of the equator are not felt much north of Khartum . One of the most interesting phenomena of Egypt is the mirage, which is frequently seen both in the desert and in the waste tracts of uncultivated land near the Mediterranean; and it is often so truthful in its appearance that one finds it difficult to admit the illusion .
See also:Flora.—Egypt possesses neither forests nor woods and, as practically the whole of the country which will support vegetation is devoted to
See also:agriculture, the flora is limited . The most important
See also:tree is the date-palm, which grows all over Egypt and in the oases . The lower branches being regularly cut, this tree grows high and assumes a much more elegant form than in its natural state . The dom-palm is first seen a little north of 26° N., and extends south-wards .
See also:vine grows well, and in ancient times was largely cultivated for wine; oranges, lemons and pomegranates also abound . Mulberry trees are common in Lower Egypt . The sunt tree (
See also:Acacia nilotica) grows everywhere, as well as the
See also:tamarisk and the sycamore . In the deserts halfa grass and several kinds of thorn bushes grow; •, and wherever rain or springs have moistened the ground, numerous wild flowers thrive . This is especially the case where there is also shade to protect them from the midday sun, as in some of the narrow ravines in the eastern desert and in the palm groves of the oases, where various ferns and flowers grow luxuriantly round the springs . Among many trees which have been imported, the;" lebbek " (Albizzia lebbek), a thick-foliaged
See also:mimosa, thrives especially, and has been very largely employed . The weeping-
See also:cypress and
See also:eucalyptus are also used in the gardens and plantations . The most common of the fruits are
See also:dates, of which there are nearly
See also:thirty varieties, which are sold half-ripe, ripe, dried, and pressed in their fresh moist state in mats or skins . The pressed dates of Siwa are among the most esteemed . The Fayum is celebrated for its grapes, and chiefly supplies the market of Cairo . The most common
See also:grape is white, of which there is a small kind far
See also:superior to the ordinary sort . The black grapes are large, but comparatively tasteless .
The vines are trailed on trelliswork, and form agreeable avenues in the gardens of Cairo . The best-known fruits, besides dates and grapes, are
See also:figs, sycamore-figs and pomegranates, apricots and peaches, oranges and citrons, lemons and limes, bananas, which are believed to be of the fruits of
See also:Paradise (being always in season), different kinds of melons (including some of aromatic flavour, and the refreshing water-
See also:melon), mulberries,
See also:Indian figs or prickly
See also:pears, the fruit of the
See also:lotus and olives . Among the more usual cultivated flowers are the rose (which has ever been a favourite among the Arabs), the
See also:lily, oleander, chrysanthemum, convolvulus,
See also:basil, the
See also:henna plant (Lawsonia albs, or Egyptian
See also:privet, which is said to be a flower of Paradise), the helianthus and the
See also:violet . Of wild flowers the most common are yellow daisies, poppies, irises, asphodels and ranunculuses . The
See also:Poinsettia pulcherrima is a bushy tree with leaves of brilliant red . Many kinds of reeds are found in Egypt, though they were formerly much more common . The famous byblus or
See also:papyrus no longer exists in the country, but other kinds of cyperi are found . The lotus, greatly prized for its flowers by the ancient inhabitants, is still found in the Delta, though never in the Nile itself . There are two varieties of this water-lily, one with white flowers, the other with blue . Fauna.—The chief quadrupeds are all domestic animals . Of these the camel and the ass are the most common . The ass, often a tall and handsome creature, is indigenous .
When the camel was first introduced into Egypt is uncertain—it is not pictured on the ancient monuments . Neither is the
See also:buffalo, which with the
See also:sheep is very numerous in Egypt . The horses are of indifferent breed, apparentlyof a type much inferior to that possessed by the ancient Egyptians . Wild animals are few . The principal are the
See also:hyena, jackal and
See also:fox . The wild boar is found in the Delta . Wolves are rare . Numerous gazelles inhabit the deserts . The
See also:ibex is found in the Sinaitic peninsula and the hills between the Nile and the Red Sea, and the mouflon, or maned sheep, is occasionally seen in the same regions . The desert hare is abundant in parts of the Fayum, and a wild cat, or lynx, frequents the marshy regions of the Delta . The
See also:ichneumon (
See also:rat) is common and often tame; the coney and
See also:jerboa are found in the eastern mountains . Bats are very numerous .
See also:crocodile is no longer found in Egypt, nor the hippopotamus, in ancient days a frequenter of the Nile . The common or
See also:dog is generally of sandy colour; in Upper Egypt there is a breed of wiry rough-haired black
See also:dogs, noted for their fierceness . Among
See also:reptiles are several kinds of venomous snakes—the horned
See also:viper, the hooded snake and the echis . Lizards of many kinds are found, including the monitor . There are many varieties of beetle, including a number of
See also:species representing the scarabaeus of the ancients . Locusts are comparatively rare . The
See also:scorpion, whose sting is some-times fatal, is common . There are many large and poisonous
See also:spiders and flies; fleas and mosquitoes abound . Fish are plentiful in the Nile, both scaled and without scales . The scaly fish include members of the
See also:carp and
See also:perch kind . The bayad, a scaleless fish commonly eaten, reaches sometimes 31 ft. in length . A somewhat rare fish is the Polypterus, which has thick bony scales and 16 to 18 long dorsal fins .
The Tetrodon, or
See also:ball fish, is found in the Red Sea, as well as in the Nile . Some 300 species of birds are found in Egypt, and one of the most striking features of a
See also:journey up the Nile is the abundance of
See also:life . Many of the species are sedentary, others are winter visitants, while others again simply pass through Egypt on their way to or from warmer or colder regions . Birds of
See also:prey are very numerous, including several varieties of eagles—the
See also:osprey, the spotted, the
See also:golden and the imperial . Of vultures the black and white Egyptian variety (Neophron percnopterus) is most common . The griffon and the black
See also:vulture are also frequently seen . There are many kinds of kites, falcons and
See also:kestrel being numerous . The long-legged
See also:buzzard is found throughout Egypt, as are owls . The so-called Egyptian eagle
See also:owl (Bubo ascalaphus) is rather rare, but the
See also:barn owl is common . The kingfisher is found beside every water-course, a black and white species (Ceryle rudis) being much more numerous than the common kingfisher . Pigeons and hoopoes abound in every
See also:village . There are various kinds of plovers—the black-headed species (Pluvianus Aegyptius) is most numerous in Upper Egypt; the golden
See also:plover and the white-tailed species are found chiefly in the Delta .
The spurwing is supposed to be the bird mentioned by
See also:Herodotus as eating the parasites covering the inside of the mouth of the crocodile . Of
See also:game-birds the most plentiful are sandgrouse,
See also:quail (a bird of passage) and snipe . Red-legged and other partridges are found in the eastern desert and the Sinai hills . Of aquatic birds there is a great variety . Three species of pelican exist, including the large Dalmatian pelican . Storks,
See also:cranes, herons and spoonbills are common . The sacred
See also:ibis is not found in Egypt, but the
See also:heron, the constant
See also:companion of the buffalo, is usually called an ibis . The glossy ibis is occasionally seen . The flamingo, common in the lakes of Lower Egypt, is not found on the Nile . Geese,
See also:duck and
See also:teal are abundant . The most common
See also:goose is the white-fronted variety; the Egyptian goose is more rare . Both varieties are depicted on the ancient monuments; the white-fronted goose being commonly shown .
Several birds of gorgeous plumage come north into Egypt in the spring, among others the golden
See also:oriole, the sun-bird, the
See also:roller and the blue-cheeked bee-eater . Egypt as a
See also:Health Resort.—The country is largely resorted to during the winter months by Europeans in
See also:search of health as well as pleasure . Upper Egypt is healthier than Lower Egypt, where, especially near the coast, malarial fevers and diseases of the
See also:organs are not uncommon . The. least healthy time of the year is the latter part of autumn, when the inundated soil is drying . In the desert, at a very short distance from the cultivable land, the climate is uniformly dry and unvaryingly healthy . The most suitable places for the residence of invalids are Helwan, where there are natural mineral springs, in the desert, 14 M . S. of Cairo, and
See also:Luxor and Assuan in Upper Egypt . The diseases from which Egyptians suffer are very largely the result of insanitary surroundings . In this respect a great improvement has taken place since the British occupation in 1882 . Plague, formerly one of the great scourges of the country, seems to have been stamped out, the last visitation having been in 1844, but cholera epidemics occasionally occur.' Cholera rarely extends south of Cairo . In 1848 it is believed that over 200,000 persons died from cholera, but later epidemics have been much less fatal . Smallpox is not uncommon, and skin diseases are numerous, but the two most prevalent diseases among the Egyptians are dysentery and ophthalmia .
The objection entertained by many natives to entering hospitals or to altering their traditional methods of " cure " renders these diseases much moremalignant and fatal than they would be in other circumstances . The government,however,enforces certain health regulations, and the sanitary service is under the direction of a
See also:European official . sass ' A vivid description of Cairo during the prevalence of plague in 1835 will be found in A . W . Kinglake's Eothen . Chief Towns.—Cairo (q.v.) the capital, a city of Arab foundation, is built on the east bank of the Nile, about 12 M. above the point where the river divides, and in reference to its situation at the head of the Delta has been called by the Arabs " the
See also:stud in the handle of the
See also:fan of Egypt." It has a population (1907) of 654,476 and is the largest city in Africa . Next in importance of the cities of Egypt and the chief seaport is Alexandria (q.v.), pop . (with Ramleh) 370,009, on the shore of the Mediterranean at the western end of the Delta . Port Said (q.v.), pop . 49,884, at the eastern end of the Delta, and at the north entrance to the Suez Canal, is the second seaport . Between Alexandria and Port Said are the towns of Rosetta (q.v.), pop . 16,81o, and Damietta (q.v.), pop .
29,354, each built a few miles above the mouth of the branch of the Nile of the same name . In the middle ages, when Alexandria was in decay, these two towns were busy ports; with the revival of Alexandria under Mehemet Ali and the foundation of Port Said (c . 1860), their
See also:trade declined . The other ports of Egypt are Suez (q.v.), pop . 18,347, at the south entrance of the canal, Kosseir (794) on the Red Sea, the seat of the trade carried on between Upper Egypt and
See also:Arabia, Mersa Matruh, near the Tripolitan frontier, and El-Arish, pop . 5897, on the Mediterranean, near the frontier of Palestine, and a halting-place on the
See also:caravan route from Egypt to
See also:Syria . In the interior of the Delta are many flourishing towns, the largest being
See also:Tanta, pop . 54,437, which occupies a. central position .
See also:Damanhur (38,752) lies on the railway between Tanta and Alexandria;
See also:Mansura (40,279) is on the Damietta branch of the Nile, to the N.E. of Tanta; Zagazig (34,999) is the largest town in the Delta east of the Damietta branch;
See also:Bilbeis (13,485) lies N.N.E. of Cairo, on the edge of the desert and in the ancient Land of
See also:Goshen .
See also:Ismailia (10,373) is situated midway on the Suez Canal . All these towns, which depend largely on the
See also:cotton industry, are separately noticed . Other towns in Lower Egypt are: Mehallet el-Kubra, pop .
47,955, r6 m. by
See also:rail N.E. of Tanta, with manufactories of
See also:silk and cottons; Salihia (6100), E.N.E. of and
See also:terminus of a railway from Zagazig, on the edge of the desert south of Lake Menzala, and the starting-point of the caravans to Syria; Mataria (15,142) on Lake Menzala and headquarters of the fishing industry; Zifta (15,850) on the Damietta branch and the site of a barrage; Samanud (14,408), also on the Damietta branch, noted for its pottery, and Fua (14,515), where large quantities of tarbushes are made, on the Rosetta branch . Shibin el-Kom (21,576), 16 m . S. of Tanta, is a cotton centre, and Menuf (22,316), 8 m . S.W. of Shibin, in the
See also:fork between the branches of the Nile, is the chief town of a rich agricultural district . There are many other towns in the Delta with populations between 10,000 and 20,000 . In Upper Egypt the chief towns are nearly all in the narrow valley of the Nile . The exceptions are the towns in the oases comparatively unimportant, and those in the Fayum province . The capital of the Fayum, Medinet el-Fayum, has a population (1907) of 37,320 . The chief towns on the Nile, taking them in their
See also:order in ascending the river from Cairo, are Beni Suef, Minia, Assiut,
See also:Akhmim, Suhag,
See also:Girga, Kena, Luxor, Esna,
See also:Edfu, Assuan and Korosko . Beni Suef (23,357) is 77 M. from Cairo, by rail . It is on the west bank of the river, is the capital of a mudiria and a centre for the manufacture of woollen goods . Minia (27,221) is 77 M. by rail farther south .
It is also the capital of a mudiria, has a considerable Europeancolony, possesses a large
See also:sugar factory and some cotton mills . It is the starting-point of a road to the Baharia oasis . Assiut (q.v.), pop . 39,442, is 235 M . 'S. of Cairo by rail, and is the most important commercial centre in Upper Egypt . At this point a barrage is built across the river . Suhag (17,514) is 56 m. by rail S. of Assiut and is the headquarters of Girga mudiria . The ancient and celebrated Coptic monasteries El Abiad (the white) and El Ahmar (the red) are 3 to 4 M . W. and N.W. respectively of Suhag . A few miles above Suhag, on the opposite (east) side of the Nile is Akhmim (q.v.) or Ekhmim (23,795), where silk and cotton goods are made . Girga (q.v.), pop . 19,893, is 22 M .
S. by rail of Suhag, and on the same (the west) side of the river . It isnoted for its pottery . Kena (q.v.), pop . 20,069, is on the east bank of the Nile, 145 m. by rail from Assiut . It is the chief seat of the manufacture of the porous earthenware water-bottles used all over Egypt . Luxor (q.v.), pop . (with
See also:Karnak) 25,229, marks the site of Thebes . It is 418 m. from Cairo, and here the
See also:gauge of the railway is altered from broad to narrow . Esna (q.v.), pop . 19,103, is another place where pottery is made in large quantities . It is on the west bank of the Nile, 36 m. by rail S. of Luxor . Edfu (q.v.), pop .
19,262, is also on the west side of the river, 30 M. farther south . It is chiefly famous for its ancient temple . Assuan (q.v.), pop . 12,618, is at the foot of the First Cataract and 551 M . S. of Cairo by rail . Three miles farther south, at Sheila], the Egyptian railway terminates . Korosko, 118 m. by river above Assuan, is a small place notable as the northern terminus of the caravan route from the Sudan across the Nubian desert . Since the building of the railway—which starts 96 m. higher up, at Wadi Half a—to Khartum, this route is little used, and Korosko has lost what importance it had . Ancient Cities and Monuments.—M any of the modern cities of Egypt are built on the sites of ancient cities, and they generally contain some monuments of the time of the Pharaohs, Greeks or Romans . The sites of other ancient cities now in
See also:complete ruin may be indicated . Memphis, the Pharaonic capital, was on the west bank of the Nile, some 14 M. above Cairo, and
See also:lay some 5 M . N.N.E. of Cairo .
The pyramids of Giza or Gizeh, on the edge of the desert, 8 m. west of Cairo, are the largest of the many pyramids and other monuments, including the famousSphinx, built in the neighbourhood of Memphis . The site of Thebes has already been indicated . Syene stood near to where the town of Assuan now is; opposite, on an
See also:island in the Nile, are scanty ruins of the city of Elephantine, and a little above, on another island, is the temple of
See also:Philae . The ancient Coptos (Keft) is represented`by the village of Kuft, between Luxor and Kena . A few miles north of Kena is
See also:Dendera, with a famous temple . The ruins of
See also:Abydos, one of the oldest places in Egypt, are 8 m . S.W. of Balliana, a small town in Girga mudiria . The ruined temples of Abu Simbel are on the west side of the Nile, 56 m. above Korosko . On the Red Sea, south of Kosseir, are the ruins of Myos Hormos and Berenice . Of the ancient cities in the Delta there are remains, among others, of
See also:Sais, Iseum, Tanis,
See also:Onion, Sebennytus,
See also:Pelusium, and of the Greek cities
See also:Naucratis and Daphnae . There are, besides the more ancient cities and monuments, a number of Coptic towns, monasteries and churches in almost every part of Egypt, dating from the early centuries of
See also:Christianity . The monasteries, or
See also:dens, are generally fort-like buildings and are often built in the desert .
Tombs of Mahommedan
See also:saints are also numerous, and are often placed on the
See also:summit of the cliffs overlooking the Nile . The traveller in Egypt thus views, side by side with the activities of the present day, where occident and orient meet and clash, memorials of every
See also:race and
See also:civilization which has flourished in the valley of the Nile . Trade Routes and Communications.—Its geographical position gives Egypt command of one of the most important trade routes in the
See also:world . It is, as it were, the fort which commands the way from
See also:Europe to the East . This has been the case from time immemorial, and the
See also:provision, in 1869, of direct maritime communication between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, by the completion of the Suez Canal, ensured for the Egyptian route the supremacy in sea-borne
See also:traffic to Asia, which the
See also:discovery of the passage to India by way of the Cape of Good Hope had menaced for three and a half centuries . The Suez Canal is 87 M. long, 66 actual canal and 21 lakes . It has sufficient depth to allow vessels
See also:drawing 27 ft. of water to pass through . It is administered by a
See also:company whose headquarters are in
See also:Paris, and no part of its revenue reaches the Egyptian
See also:exchequer (see SUEZ CANAL) . Besides the many steamship lines which use the Suez Canal, other steamers run direct from European ports to Alexandria . There is also a direct
See also:mail service between Suez and Port Sudan . The chief means of
See also:internal communication are, in the Delta the
See also:railways, in Upper Egypt the railway and the river . The railways are of two kinds: (I) those state-owned and state-worked, (2) agricultural
See also:light railways owned and worked by private companies .
Railway construction dates from 1852, when the line from Alexandria to Cairo was begun, by order of Abbas I . The state railways, unless otherwise indicated, have a gauge of 4 ft . 81 in . The main
See also:system is extremely
See also:simple . Trunk lines from Alexandria (via Damanhur and Tanta) and from Port Said (via Ismailia)
See also:traverse the Delta and join at Cairo . From Cairo the railway is continued south up the valley of the Nile and close to the river . At first it follows the west bank,
See also:crossing the stream at Nag Hamadi, 354 M. from Cairo, by an iron
See also:bridge 437 yds. long . Thence it continues on the east bank to Luxor, where the broad gauge ceases . From Luxor the line continues on the standard African gauge (3 ft . 6 in.) to Shellal, 3 M. above Assuan and 685 m. from Alexandria . This main line service is supplemented by a steamer service on the Nile from Shellal to Wadi Halfa, on the northern frontier of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, whence there is direct railway communication with Khartum and the Red Sea (see SUDAN) . Branch lines connect Cairo and Alexandria with Suez and with almost every town in the Delta .
From Cairo to Suez via Ismailia is a distance of 16o m . Before the Suez Canal was opened passengers and goods were taken to Suez from Cairo by a railway 84 m. long which ran across the desert . This line, now disused, had itself superseded the " overland route " organized by Lieut .
See also:Thomas Waghorn, R.N., c . 183o, for the
See also:conveyance of passengers and mails to India . In Upper Egypt a line, 40 M. long, runs west from Warta, a station 56 m . S. of Cairo, to Abuksa in the Fayum mudiria . Another railway goes from Kharga Junction, a station on the main line 24 m . S. of Girga, to the oasis of Kharga . These lines are privately owned . In the Delta the light railways supplement the ordinary lines and connect the villages with the towns and seaports . There are over 700 in. of these lines .
The railway development of Egypt has not been very rapid . In 188o 944 M. of state lines were open; in 1900 the figure was 1393, and in 1905, 1688 . For several years before 1904 theadministration of the railways was carried on by an
See also:international or mixed
See also:board for the security of
See also:foreign creditors . In the year named the railways came directly under the
See also:control of the Egyptian government, which during the next four years spent £E.3,000,000 on improving and developing the lines . In the five years 1902-1906 the capital value of the state railways increased from 4E.20,383,000 to £E.23,200,000 and the
See also:net earnings from £E.I,o59,00o to £E.I,475,000 . The number of passengers carried in the same period rose from 121 to over 22 millions, and the
See also:weight of goods from slightly under 3,000,000 to nearly 6,750,000 tons . In 1906 the light railways carried nearly a million tons of goods and over 6,800,000 passengers . Westward from Alexandria a railway, begun in 1904 by the
See also:khedive, Abbas II., runs parallel with the coast, and is intended to be continued to Tripoli . The line forms the eastern end of the great railway system which will eventually extend from
See also:Tangier to Alexandria . The Nile is navigable throughout its course in Egypt, and is largely used as a means of cheap transit of heavy goods .
See also:Lock and bridge tolls were abolished in 1899 and 1901 respectively . As a result, river traffic greatly increased .
Above Cairo the Nile is the favourite tourist route, while between Shellal (Assuan) and the Sudan frontier it is the only means of communication . Among thecraft using the river the dahabiya is a characteristic native sailing vessel, some-what resembling a
See also:boat . From the Nile, caravan routes lead westward to the various oases and eastward to the Red Sea, the shortest (120 in.) and most used of the eastern routes being that from Kena to Kosseir . Roads suitable for wheeled vehicles are found in Lower Egypt, but the majority of the tracks are bridle-paths, goods being conveyed on the backs of donkeys, mules and camels . Posts and Telegraphs.—The Egyptian postal system is highly organized and efficient, and in striking contrast with its
See also:condition in 1870, when there were but nineteen
See also:post-offices in the country . All the branches of business transacted in European post-offices are carried on by the Egyptian service, Egypt being a member of the Postal Union . It was the first foreign country to establish a
See also:postage with Great Britain, the reduction from 20. being made in 1905 . The inland letters and packages carried yearly exceed 20,000,000 and foreign letters (30 % to England) number over 4 000,000 . Over 417,000,000 passes yearly through the post . A feature of the service are the travelling post-offices, of which there are some 200 . All the important towns are connected by telegraph, the telegraphs being state-owned and worked by the railway administration . Egypt is also connected by cables and land-lines with the outside world .
One land-line connects at El-Arish with the line through Syria and Asia Minor toConstantinople . Another line connects at Wadi Haifa with the Sudan system, affording direct telegraphic communication via Khartum and
See also:Gondokoro with
See also:Uganda and
See also:Mombasa . The Eastern Telegraph Company, by concessions, have telegraph tines across Egypt from Alexandria via Cairo to Suez, and from Port Said to Suez, connecting their cables to Europe and the East . The principal cables are from Alexandria to Malta,
See also:Gibraltar and England; from Alexandria to Crete and
See also:Brindisi; from Suez to
See also:Aden, Bombay,
See also:China and
See also:Australia . The telephone is largely used in the big towns, and there is a trunk telephone line connecting Alexandria and Cairo . Standard Time.—The standard time adopted in Egypt is that of the longitude of Alexandria, 30° E., i.e. two
See also:hours earlier than
See also:Greenwich time . It thus corresponds with the standard time of British South Africa . Agriculture and Land Tenure.—The chief industry of Egypt is agriculture . The proportions of the industry depend upon the area of land capable of cultivation . This again depends upon the fertilizing sediment brought down by the Nile and the measure in which lands beyond the natural reach of the flood water can be rendered productive by irrigation . By means of canals, basins," dams and barrages, the Nile flood is now utilized to a greater extent than ever before (see IRRIGATION: Egypt) . The result has been a great increase in the area of cultivated or cultivable land .
At the time of the French occupation of Egypt in 1798, it was found that the cultivable soil covered 4,429,400 acres, but the quantity actually under cultivation did not exceed 3,520,000 acres, or six-elevenths of the entire surface . Under improved conditions the area of cultivated land, or land in
See also:process of reclamation, had risen in Igoe, to 5,750,000 acres, while another 500,000 acres of waste land awaited reclamation . Throughout Egypt the cultivable soil does not present any very great difference, being always the deposit of the river; it contains, however, more sand near the river than at a distance from it . Towards the Mediterranean its quality is injured by the salt with which the air is impregnated, and therefore it is not so favourable to vegetation . Of the cultivated land, some three-fourths is held, theoretically, in life tenancy . The state, as ultimate proprietor, imposes a tax which is the
See also:equivalent of
See also:rent . These lands are Kharaji lands, in distinction from the Ushuri or tithe-paying lands . The Ushuri lands were originally granted in
See also:fee, and are subject to a quit-rent . All tenants are under
See also:obligation to guard or repair the banks of the Nile in times of flood, or in any case of sudden emergency . Only to this extent does the corvee now prevail . The land-tax is proportionate, i.e. land under perennial irrigation pays higher taxes than land not so irrigated (see below, Finance) . The unit of land is the feddan, which equals 1.03 acre .
Out of 1,153,759 proprietors of land in 19o5, 1,005,705 owned less than 5 feddans . The number of proprietors owning over 50 feddans was 12,475 . The acreage held by the first class was 1,264,084, that by the second class, 2,356,602 . Over 1,600,000 feddans were held in holdings of from 5 to 50 feddans . The state domains cover over 240,000 feddans, and about 600,000 feddans are owned by foreigners . The policy of the government is to maintain the small proprietors, and to do nothing tending to oust the native in favour of European landowners . The kind of crops cultivated depends largely on whether the land is under perennial, flood or " basin " irrigation . Perennial irrigation is possible where there are canals which can be supplied with water all the year round from the Nile . This condition exists throughout the Delta and Middle Egypt, but only in parts of Upper Egypt . Altogether some 4,000,000 acres are under perennial irrigation . In these regions two and sometimes three crops can be harvested yearly . In places where perennial irrigation is impossible, the land is divided by rectangular dikes into " basins." Into these basins—which vary in area from 600 to 50,000 acres—water is led by shallow canals when the Nile is in flood .
The water is let in about the middle of August and the basins are begun to be emptied about the 1st of October . The land under basin irrigation covers about 1,750,000 acres . In the basins only one
See also:crop can be grown in the year . This basin system is of immemorial use in Egypt, and, it was not until the time of Mehemet Ali (c . 1820) that perennial irrigation began . High land near the banks of the Nile which cannot be reached by canals is irrigated by raising water from the Nile by steam-pumps, water-wheels (sakias) worked by buffalo 5, or water-lifts (shadufs) worked by hand . There are several thousand steam-pumps and over roo,000 sakias o1 shadufi tri Egypt . The
See also:fellah divides his land into little square plots by ridges of
See also:earth, and from the small canal which serves his holi
See also:ing he lets the water into each plot as needed . The same system obtains on large estates (see further IRRIGATION: Egypt) . MODERN: PRODUCTS]" There are three agricultural seasons: (1) summer (sefi), 1st of April to 3rst of July, when crops are grown only on land under perennial irrigation; (2) flood (Nili), 1st of August to 3oth of
See also:November; and (3) winter (shetwi), 1st of December to 31st of March . Cotton, sugar and
See also:rice are the chief summer crops; wheat,
See also:flax and vegetables are chiefly winter crops;
See also:millet and " flood " rice are Nili crops; millet and vegetables are also, but in a less degree, summer crops . The approximate areas under cultivation in the various seasons are, in summer, 2,050,000 acres; in flood, 1,500,000 acres; in winter, 4,300,000 acres .
See also:double-cropped area is over 2,000,000 acres . Although on the large farms iron ploughs, and threshing and
See also:machines, have been introduced, the small
See also:cultivator prefers the simple native plough made of
See also:wood . Corn is threshed by a swag, a machine resembling a
See also:chair, which moves on small iron wheels or thin circular plates fixed to
See also:axle-trees, and is drawn in a circle by oxen . Crops.—Egypt is third among the cotton-producing countries of the world . Its production per acre is the greatest of any country but, owing to the restricted area available, the bulk raised is not more than one-tenth of that of the
See also:United States and about half that of India . Some 1,600,00o acres of land, five-sixths being in Lower Egypt, are devoted to cotton growing . The climate of . Lower Egypt being very suitable to the growth of the plant, the cotton produced there is of excellent quality . The seed is sown at the end of February or beginning of March and the crop is picked in September and October . The cotton crop increased from 1,700,000 kantars in 1878 to 4,100,000 in 189o, had reached 5,434,000 in 1900, and was 6,750,000 in 1905 . Its average value, 1897–1905, was over £14,000,000 a year . The cotton exported was valued in 1907 at £E.23,598,000, in 1908 at £E.17,091,612 .
While cotton is grown chiefly in the Delta, the sugar plantations, which cover about 1oo,000 acres, are mainly in Upper Egypt . The canes are planted in March and are cut in the following January or February . Although since 1884 the production of sugar has largely increased, there has not been a corresponding increase in its value, owing to the lowprice obtained in the markets of the world . Beetroot is also grown to a limited extent for the manufacture of sugar . The sugar exported varied in annual value in the period 1884–1905 from £400,000 to £765,000 . A coarse and strong
See also:tobacco was formerly extensively grown, but its cultivation was prohibited in 189o . FIax and
See also:hemp are grown in a few places . Maize in Lower Egypt and millet (of which there are several varieties) in Upper Egypt are largely grown for home
See also:consumption, these grains forming a
See also:food of the peasantry . The stalk of the maize is also a very useful article . It is used in the building of the houses of the fellahin, as fuel, and. when green, as food for
See also:cattle . Wheat and barley are important crops, and some 2,000,000 acres are sown with them yearly . The barley in general is not of good quality, but the desert or " Mariut " barley, grown by the
See also:Bedouins in the coast region west of Alexandria, is highly prized for the making of
See also:beer .
Beans and lentils are extensively sown, and form an important article of export . The annual value of the crops is over £3,000.000 . Rice is largely grown in the northern part of the Delta, where the soil is very wet . Two kinds are cultivated : Sultani, a summer crop, and Sabaini, a flood crop . Sabaini is a favourite food of the fellahin, while Sultani rice is largely exported . In the
See also:absence of grass, the chief green food for cattle and horses is
See also:clover, grown largely in the basin lands of Upper Egypt . To a less extent vetches are grown for the same purpose . Vegetables and Fruit.—Vegetables grow readily, and their cultivation is an important part of the work of the fellahin . The onion is grown in great quantities along the Nile banks in Upper Egypt, largely for export . Among other vegetables commonly raised are tomatoes (the bulk of which are exported), potatoes (of poor quality), leeks, marrows, cucumbers, cauliflowers,
See also:asparagus and
See also:spinach . The common fruits are the date, orange, citron, fig, grape,
See also:apricot, peach and
See also:banana . Olives, melons, mulberries and strawberries are also grown, though not in very large numbers .
See also:olive tree flourishes only in the Fayum and the oases . The Fayum also possesses extensive vineyards . The date is a valuable economic asset . There are some 6,000,000 date-palms in the country, 4,000,000 being in Upper Egypt . The fruit is one of the chief foods of the
See also:people . The value of the crop is about £1,500,000 a year .
See also:Roses and Dyes.—There are fields of roses in the Fayum, which supply the market with rose-water . Of
See also:plants used for dyeing, the principal are
See also:woad and the
See also:indigo plant . The leaves of the henna plant are used to impart a bright red colour to the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, and the nails of both hands and feet, of
See also:women and
See also:children, the hair of old ladies and the tails of horses . Indigo is very extensively employed to dye the ' A kantar equals 99 Ib . 2`i shirts of the natives of the poorer classes, and is, when very dark. the colour of
See also:mourning; therefore, women at funerals, and generaly after a
See also:death, smear themselves with it . Domestic Animals.—The Egyptians are not particularly a pastors people, though the wealth of the Bedouin in the Eastern or Arabia ,t Desert consists in their camels, horses, sheep and goats .
In the Niie valley the chief domestic animals are the camel, donkey,
See also:mule, ox, buffalo, sheep and
See also:goat . Horses are comparatively few, and are seldom seen outside the large towns, the camel and donkey being the principal beasts of
See also:burden . The cattle are short-horned, rather small and well formed . They are quiet in disposition, and much valued for agricultural labour by the people, who therefore very rarely slaughter them for
See also:meat . Buffaloes of an uncouth appearance and of a dark slaty colour, strikingly contrasting with the neat cattle, abound in Egypt . They are very docile, and the little children of the villagers often ride them to or from the river . The buffaloes are largely employed for turning the sakias . Sheep (of which the greater number are black) and goats are abundant, and mutton is the ordinary
See also:butcher's meat . The wool is coarse and short .
See also:Swine are very rarely kept, and then almost wholly for the European inhabitants, the
See also:Copts generally abstaining from eating their meat . Poultry is plentiful and eggs form a considerable item in the exports . Pigeons are kept in every village and their flesh is a common article of food .
Fishing.—The chief fishing-ground is Lake Menzala, where some 4000 persons are engaged in the industry, but fish abound in the Nile also, and are caught in large quantities along the coast of the Delta . The salting and curing of the fish is done chiefly at Mataria, on Lake Menzala, and at Damietta . Dried and salted fish eggs; called batarekh, command a ready market . The average annual value of the fisheries is about £200,000 . Canals.—The irrigation canals, which are also navigabl'''e by small craft, are of especial importance in a country where the rainfall is very slight . The Delta is intersected by numerous canals which derive their supply from four main channels . The Rayya Behera, known in its lower courses first as the Khatatba and afterwards as the Rosetta canal, follows the west bank of the Rosetta branch of the Nile and has numerous offshoots . The most important is the Mahmudia (50 M. long),which connects Alexandria with the Rosetta branch, taking a similar direction to that of the ancient canal'which it succeeded . This canal supplies Alexandria with fresh water . The Rayya Menufia, or Menuf canal, connects the two branches of the Nile and supplies water to the large number of canals in the central part of the Delta . Following the right (eastern) bank of the Damietta branch is the Rayya Tewfiki, known below Benha as the Mansuria, and below Mansura as the Fareskur, canal . This canal has many branches .
Farther east are other canals, of which the most remarkable occupy in part the beds of the Tanitic and Pelusiac branches . That following the old Tanitic channel is called the canal of Al-Mo'izz, the first Fatimite
See also:caliph who ruled in Egypt, having been dug by his orders, and the latter bears the name of the canal of Abu-l-Muneggi, a
See also:Jew who executed this work, under the caliph Al-Amir, in order to water the province called the Sharkia . From this circumstance this canal is also known as the Sharkawia . From a town on its bank it is called in its lower course the Shibini canal . The superfluous water from all the Delta canals is drained off by bahrs (
See also:rivers) into the coast lakes . The Ismailia or Fresh-water canal branches from the Nile at Cairo and follows, in the main, the course of the canal which anciently joined the Nile and the Red Sea . It dates from Pharaonic times, having been begun by "
See also:Sesostris," continued by Necho II. and by Darius Hystaspes,. and at length finished by
See also:Ptolemy Philadelphus . This canal, having fallen into disrepair, was restored in the 7th century A.D. by the Arabs who conquered Egypt, but appears not long afterwards to have again become unserviceable . The existing canal was dug in 1863 to supply fresh water to the towns on the Suez Canal . Although designed for irrigation purposes, the Delta canals are also used for the transport of passengers and goods . In Upper Egypt the most important canals are the Ibrahimia and the Bahr Yusuf (the River of
See also:Joseph) . They are both on the west side of the Nile .
The Ibrahimia takes its water from the Nile at Assiut, and runs south to below Beni Suef . It now supplies the Bahr Yusuf, which runs parallel with and west of the Ibrahimia, until it diverges to supply the Fayum—a distance of some 350 M . It leaves the Ibrahimia at Derut near its
See also:original point of departure from the Nile . Although the Joseph whence it takes its name is the celebrated Saladin, it is related that he merely repaired it, and it is not doubted to be of a much earlier period . Most probably it was executed under the Pharaohs . By some authorities it is believed to be a natural channel canalized . Besides supplying the canals of the Fayum with summer water, it fills many of the " basins " of ! Upper Egypt with water in flood time . Manufactures and Native
See also:Industries.—Although essentially an agricultural country, Egypt possesses several manufactures . In connexion with the cotton industry there are a few mills where
See also:calico is made or oil crushed, and ginning-mills are numerous . In Upper Egypt there are a number of factories for sugar-crushing and'refining, and one or two towns of the Delta possess rice mills .
See also:Flour mills are found in every part of the country, the maize and other grains being ground for home consumption .
See also:Soap-making and
See also:leather-tanning are carried on, and there are breweries at Alexandria and Cairo . The manufacture of tobacco into cigarettes, carried on largely at Alexandria and Cairo, is another important industry . Native industries include the
See also:weaving of silk, woollen,
See also:linen and cotton goods, the hand-
See also:woven silk shawls and draperies being often rich and elegant . The silk looms are chiefly at Mehallet el-Kubra, Cairo and Damietta . The Egyptians are noted for the making of pottery of the commoner kinds, especially water-jars . There is at Cairo and in other towns a considerable industry in ornamental wood and
See also:metal work,
See also:inlaying with ivory and pearl, brass trays, copper vessels, gold and
See also:silver ornaments, &c . At Cairo and in the Fayum, attar of roses and other perfumes are manufactured . Boat-building is an important trade . Commerce.—The trade of Egypt has
See also:developed enormously since the British occupation in 1882 ensured to all classes of the community the enjoyment of the profit of their labour . The total value of the exterior trade increased in the 20 years 1882 to 1902 from £19,000,000 to £32,400,000 . The wealth of Egypt lying in the cultivation of its soil, almost all the exports are agricultural produce, while the imports are mostly manufactured goods, minerals and hardware . The chief exports in order of importance are: raw cotton, cotton seed, sugar, beans, cigarettes, onions, rice and gumarabic .
See also:gum is not of native produce, being in transit from the Sudan . Of less importance are the exports of hides and skins, eggs, wheat and other grains, wool, quails, lentils, dates and Sudan produce in transit . The principal articles imported are: cotton goods and other textiles,
See also:coal, iron and
See also:timber, tobacco, machinery, flour, alcoholic liquors, petroleum, frdits,
See also:coffee and live animals . There is an ad valorem
See also:duty of 8 % on imports and of about 1% on exports . Tobacco and precious stones and metals pay heavier duties . The tobacco is imported chiefly from
See also:Turkey and
See also:Greece, is made into cigarettes in Egypt, and in this form exported to the value of about £500,000 yearly . In comparison with cotton, all other exports are of minor account . The cotton exported, of which Great Britain takes more than half, is worth over three-fourths of the total value of goods sent abroad . Next to cotton, sugar is the most important article exported . A large proportion of the sugar manufactured is, however, consumed in the country and does not figure in the trade returns . Of the imports the largest single item is cotton goods, nearly all being sent from England . Woollen goods come chiefly from England,
See also:Austria and Germany, silk goods from France .
Large quantities of ready-made clothes and fezes are imported from Austria . Iron and steel goods, machinery, locomotives, &c., come chiefly from England,Belgium and Germany, coal from England, live stock from Turkey and the Red Sea ports, coffee from Brazil, timber from Russia, Turkey and Sweden . A British consular
See also:report (No . 3121, annual series), issued in 1904, shows that in the period 1887–19o2 the import trade of Egypt nearly doubled . In the same period the proportion of imports from the United
See also:Kingdom fell from 39.63 to 36.76 % . Though the percentage decreased, the value of imports from Great Britain increased in the same period from £2,500,000 to £4,500,000 . In addition to imports from the United Kingdom, British possessions took 6.o% of the import trade . Next to Great Britain, Turkey had the largest
See also:share of the import trade, but it had declined in the sixteen years from 19 to 15% . France about 1o%, and Austria 6.72 %, came next, but their import trade was declining, while that of Germany had risen from less than 1 to over 3 %, and Belgium imports from 1.74 to 4'27% . In the same period (1887–1902) Egyptian exports to Great Britain decreased from 63.25 to 52.30%, Germany and the United States showing each an increase of over 6-o% . Exports to Germany had increased from 0 13 to 6.75%, to the United States from o•26 to 6.7o% . Exports to France had remained practically stationary at 8.o%; those to Austria had dropped from 6.3o to 4.0%, to Russia from 9.11 to 8.43 % .
For the quinquennial period 1901–1905, the average annual value of the exterior trade was: imports £17,787,296; exports £18,811,588; total £36,598,884 . In 1907 the total value of the merchandise imported and exported, exclusive of transit, re-exportation and specie, was £E.54,134,000—constituting arecord trade return . The value of the imports was £E.26,121,00o, of the exports fE.28,o13,000 .
See also:Shipping.—More than 90% of the
See also:external trade passes through the port of Alexandria . Port Said, which in consequence of its position at the northern entrance of the Suez Canal has more frequent and regular communication with Europe, is increasing in importance and is the port where mails and passengers are landed . Over 3000
See also:ships enter and clear
See also:harbour at Alexandria every year . The total
See also:tonnage entering the port increased in the five years 1901–1905 from 2,555,259 to 3,591,281 . In the same period the percentage of Britishshipping, which before 1900 was nearly 50, varied from 40 to 45 . No other nation had more than 12 % of the tonnage, Italy, France, Austria and Turkey each having 9 to 12 % . The tonnage of German ships increased in the five years mentioned from 3 to 7 % . In number of steamships entering the harbour Great Britain is first, with some 800 yearly, or about 5o% of all steamers entering . The sailing boats entering the harbour are almost entirely Turkish .
They are vessels of small tonnage . The transit trade with the East, which formerly passed overland through Egypt, has been diverted to the Suez Canal, the traff.c through which has little to do with the trade or shipping of Egypt . The number of ships using the canal increased in the 20 years 188o–1900 from 2000 to 4000, while in the same period the tonnage rose from 4,300,000 to 14,000,000 . In 1905 the figures were : Number of ships that passed through the canal, 4116 (2484 being British and 600 German), net tonnage 13,134,105 (8,356,940 British and 2,113,484 German) . Next to British and German the
See also:nationality of ships using the canal in order of importance is French, Dutch,
See also:Italian and
See also:Russian . About 250,000 passengers (including some 40,000 pilgrims to
See also:Mecca) pass through the canal in a year (see further SuEz) . Currency.—The monetary system in force dates from 1885, when through the efforts of
See also:Sir Edgar Vincent the currency was placed on a sound basis . The system is based on the single gold standard . The unit is a gold
See also:coin called a pound and equal to £1, os . 6d. in English currency . The Egyptian pound (£E.) is divided into Too piastres, of which there are coins in silver of 20,10,5 and 2 piastres . One, 2, 4 and piastre pieces are coined in nickel and and 416 piastre pieces in
See also:bronze .
The one piastre piece is worth a fraction over 22d . The of a piastre is popularly called apara and the 415 native population generally reckon in paras . The legal piastre is called the piastre
See also:tariff (P.T.), to distinguish it from the 2 piastre, which in
See also:local usage in Cairo and Alexandria is called a piastre . Officially the 2 piastre is known as 5 milliemes, and so with the coins of lower denomination, the para being a millieme . The old terms kis or "
See also:purse " (5oo piastres) and khazna or "
See also:treasury " (l000 purses) are still occasionally used . Formerly European coins of all kinds were in general circulation, now the only foreign coins current are the English
See also:sovereign, the French 20
See also:franc piece and the Turkish mejidie, a gold coin worth 18 shillings . For several years no Egyptian gold pieces have been coined . Egyptian silver
See also:money is minted at
See also:Birmingham, and nickel and bronze money at Vienna . Bank-notes, of the
See also:National Bank, are issued for £E.1oo, £E.5o . £E. o, £E.5 and £E.1, and for 5o piastres . The notes are not legal
See also:tender, but are accepted by the government in payment of taxes . The history of the currency reform in Egypt is interesting as affording a
See also:practical example of a system much discussed in connexion with the currency question in India, namely, a gold standard without a gold coinage .
The Egyptian pound is practically non-existent, nearly all that were coined having been withdrawn from circulation . Their place has been taken by foreign gold, principally the English sovereign, which circulates at a value of 972 piastres . In practice the system
See also:works perfectly smoothly, the gold flowing in and out of the country through the agency of private banking establishments in proportion to the requirements of the circulation . It is, moreover, very economical for the government . As in most agricultural countries, there is a great expansion of the circulation in the autumn and winter months in order to move the crops, followed by a long period of contracted circulation throughout the rest of the year . Under the existing system the fluctuating requirements of the currency are met without the expense of alternately minting and melting down . Weights and Measures.—The metrical system of weights and measures is in official but not in popular use, except in the foreign quarters of Cairo, Alexandria, &c . The most common Egyptian measures are the fitr, or space measured by the extension of the thumb and first
See also:finger; the shibr, or span; and the cubit (of three kinds = 221, 25 and 262 in.) . The measure of land is the feddan, equal to 1.03 acres, subdivided into 24 kirats . The ardeb is equal to about 5 bushels, and is divided into 6 waybas, and each wayba into 24 rubas . The okieh equals 1.32 oz., the
See also:roll .99 lb, the oke 2.75 lb, the kantar (or 100 rot's or 36 okes) 99'04 lb . Constitution and Administration.—Egypt is a tributary state of the Turkish
See also:empire, and is ruled by an hereditary
See also:prince with the
See also:style of khedive, a Persian title regarded as the equivalent of
See also:king .
Thesuccession to the
See also:throne is by
See also:primogeniture . The central administration is carried on by a council of ministers, appointed by the khedive, one of whom acts as
See also:minister . To these is added a British
See also:financial adviser, who attends all meetings of the council of ministers, but has not a
See also:vote; on the other hand, no financial decision may be taken without his consent . The ministries are those of the interior, finance, public works,
See also:justice,. war, foreign affairs and public instruction,' and in each of these are prepared the drafts of decrees, which are ' To the
See also:ministry of public instruction was added in 1906 a department of agriculture and technical instruction . then submitted to the council of ministers for approval, and on being signed by the khedive become
See also:law . No important decision, however, has been taken since 1882 without the concurrence of the British minister plenipotentiary . With a few exceptions,
See also:laws cannot, owing to the
See also:Capitulations, be enforced against foreigners except with the consent of the
See also:powers . While the council of ministers with the khedive forms the legislative authority, there are various representative bodies with strictly limited powers . The legislative council is a consultative body, partly elective, partly nominative . It examines the
See also:budget and all proposed administrative laws, but cannot initiate legislation, nor is the government bound to adopt its suggestions . The general
See also:assembly consists of the legislative council and the ministers of state, together with popularly elected members, who form a majority of the whole assembly . It has no legislative functions, but no new direct
See also:personal tax nor land tax can be imposed without its consent .
It must meet at least once in every two years . For purposes of local government the chief towns constitute governorships (moafzas), the rest of the country being divided into mudirias or provinces . The
See also:governors and mudirs (heads of provinces) are responsible to the ministry of the interior . The provinces are further divided into districts, each of which is under a mamur, who in his turn supervises and controls the omda, mayor or head-man, of each village in his district . The governorships are: Cairo; Alexandria, which includes an area of 70 sq. m.; Suez Canal, including Port Said and Ismailia; Suez and El-Arish . Lower Egypt is divided into the provinces of: Behera, Gharbia, Menufia, Dakahlia, Kaliubia, Sharkia . The oasis of Siwa and the country to the Tripolitan frontier are dependent on the province of Behera . Upper Egypt: Giza, Beni Suef, Fayum, Minia, Assiut, Girga, Kena, Assuan . The peninsula of Sinai is administered by the war
See also:office . Justice.—There are four judicial systems in Egypt: two applicable to Egyptian subjects only, one applicable to foreigners only, and one applicable to foreigners and, to a certain extent, natives also . This multiplicity of tribunals arises from the fact that, owing to the Capitulations, which apply to Egypt as part of the Turkish empire, foreigners are almost entirely exempt from the jurisdiction of the native courts . .It will be convenient to state first the law as regards foreigners, and secondly the law which concerns Egyptians .
Criminal jurisdiction over foreigners is exercised by the consuls of the fifteen powers possessing such right by treaty, according to the law of the country of the offender . These consular courts also
See also:civil cases between foreigners of the same nationality . Jurisdiction in civil matters between natives and foreigners and between foreigners of different nationalities is no longer exercised by the consular courts . The
See also:grave abuse to which the consular system was subject led to the
See also:establishment, in February 1876, at the instance of Nubar
See also:Pasha and after eight years of negotiation, of International or " Mixed " Tribunals to supersede consular jurisdiction to the extent indicated . The Mixed Tribunals employ a
See also:code based on the Code
See also:Napoleon with such additions from Mahommedan law as are applicable . There are three tribunals of first instance, and an
See also:court at Alexandria . These courts have both foreign and Egyptian judges—the foreign
See also:judges forming the majority of the
See also:bench . In certain designated matters they enjoy criminal jurisdiction, including, since 'goo, offences against the bankruptcy laws . Cases have to be conducted in Arabic, French, Italian and English, English having been admitted as a "judicial language" by khedivial decree of the 17th of April 1905 . Besides their judicial duties, the courts practically exercise legislative functions, as no important law can be made applicable to Europeans without the consent of the powers, and the powers are mainly guided by the opinions of the judges of the Mixed Courts . The judicial systems applicable solely to Egyptians are supervised by the ministry of justice, to which has been attached since 1890 a British judicial adviser . Two systems of laws are administered:—(1) the Mehkemehs, (2) the Native Tribunals .
The mehkemehs, or courts of the cadis, judge in all matters ofpersonal status, such as
See also:inheritance and guardianship, and are guided in their decisions by the code of laws founded on the
See also:Koran . The
See also:cadi, who must belong to the
See also:sect of the Hanifis, sits at Cairo, and is aided by a council of Ulema or learned men . This council consists of the
See also:sheikh or religious chief of each of the four orthodox sects, the sheikh of the mosque of Azhar, who is of the sect of the Shafi'is, the chief (nakib) of the Sherifs, or descendants of Mahomet, and others . The cadis are chosen from among the students at the Azhar university . (In the same manner, in matters of personal law, Copts and other non-Moslem Egyptians are, in general, subject to the jurisdiction of their own religious chiefs.) For other than the purposes indicated, the native judicial system, both civil and criminal, was superseded in 1884 by tribunals administering a
See also:jurisprudence modelled on that of the French code . It is, in the words of
See also:Lord Cromer, " in many respects ill adapted to meet the special needs of the country " (Egypt, No . 1, 1904, p . 33) . The system was, on the advice of an Anglo-Indian official (Sir
See also:Scott), modified and simplified in 1891, but its essential character remained unaltered . In 1904, however, more important modifications were introduced . Save on points of law, the right of appeal in criminal cases was abolished, and
See also:assize courts, whose judgments were final, established . At the same time the penal code was thoroughly revised, so that the Egyptian judges were " for the first time provided with a sound working code " (Ibid. p .
49) . The native courts have both native and foreign judges . There are courts of
See also:summary jurisdiction presided over by one judge, central tribunals (or courts of first instance) with three judges, and a court of appeal at Cairo . A
See also:committee of judicial surveillance watches the working of the courts of first instance and the summary courts, and endeavours, by letters and discussions, to maintain purity and sound law . There is a procureur-general, who, with other duties, is entrusted with criminal prosecutions . His representatives are attached to each tribunal, and form the parquet under whose orders the
See also:act in bringing criminals to justice . In the markak (district) tribunals, created in 1904 and presided over by magistrates with jurisdiction in cases of misdemeanour, the
See also:prosecution is, however, conducted directly by the police . Special Children's Courts have been established for the trial of juvenile offenders . The police service, which has been subject to frequent modification, was in 1895 put under the orders of the ministry of the interior, to which a British adviser and British inspectors are attached . The provincial police is under the direction of the local authorities, the mudirs or governors of provinces, and the mamurs or district officials; to the omdas, or village head-men, who are responsible for the good order of the villages, a limited criminal jurisdiction has been entrusted . Religion.—The great majority of the inhabitants are Mahommedans . In 1907 the Moslems numbered over ten millions, or 91.8% of the entire population .
The Christians in the same year numbered 88o,000, or 8% of the population . Of these the Coptic Orthodox
See also:church had some 667,000 adherents . Among other churches represented were the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian, Syrian and Maronite, the Roman Catholic and various
See also:Protestant bodies . The last-named numbered 37,000 (including 24,000 Copts) . There were in 1907 over 38,000 Jews in Egypt . The Mahommedans are
See also:Sunnites, professing the creed commonly termed " orthodox," and are principally of the persuasion of the Shafi'is, whose celebrated founder, the
See also:imam ash-Shafi`i, is buried in the great southern cemetery of Cairo . Many of them are, however, Hanifis (to which persuasion the Turks chiefly belong), and in parts of Lower, and almost universally in Upper, Egypt, Malikis . Among the Moslems the Sheikh-el-
See also:Islam, appointed by the khedive from among the Ulema (learned class), exercises the highest religious and, in certain subjects, judicial authority . There is also a grand cadi, nominated by the sultan of Turkey from among the Ulema of Stamboul . Valuable
See also:property is held by the Moslems in
See also:trust for the promotion of religion and for charitable purposes, and is known as the Wakfs administration . The revenue derived is over £250,0oo yearly . The Coptic organization includes in Egypt three metropolitans and twelve bishops, under the headship of the
See also:patriarch of Alexandria .
The minor orders arearch-priests, priests, arch-deacons, deacons, readers and monks (see Corrs: Coptic Church) .
See also:Education.—Two different systems of education exist, one founded on native lines, the other European in character . Both systems are more or less fully controlled by the ministry of public instruction . The government has
See also:primary, secondary and technical
See also:schools, training colleges for teachers, and schools of agriculture,
See also:engineering, law,
See also:medicine and veterinary science . The government system, which dates back to a period before the British occupation, is designed to provide, in the main, a European education . In the primary schools Arabic is the
See also:medium of instruction, the use of English for that purpose being confined to lessons in that language itself . The school of law is divided into English and French sections according to the language in which the students study law . Besides the government primary and secondary schools, there are many other schools in the large towns owned by the Moslems, Copts,
See also:Hebrews, and by various missionary
See also:societies, and in which the education is on the same lines . A
See also:movement initiated among the leading Moslems led in 1908 to the establishment as a private enterprise of a national Egyptian university devoted to scientific,
See also:literary and philosophical studies .
See also:Political and religious subjects are excluded from the curriculum and no discrimination in regard to race or religion is allowed . Education on native lines is given in kuttabs and in the Azhar university in Cairo . Kuttabs are schools attached to mosques, found in every village and in every quarter of the larger towns .
In these schools the instruction given before the British occupation was very slight . All pupils were taught to recite portions of the Koran, and a proportion of the scholars learnt to read and write Arabic and a little simplearithmetic . Those pupils who succeeded in committing to memory the whole of the Koran were regarded as fiki (learned in Mahommedan law), and as such escaped liability to military conscription . The government has improved the education given in the kuttabs, and numbers of them have been taken under the direct control of the ministry of public instruction . In these latter schools an excellent elementary secular education is given, in addition to the instruction in the Koran, to which half the school hours are devoted . The number of pupils in 1905 was over 12,000 boys and 2000 girls . Grants-in-aid are given to other schools where a sufficiently good standard of instruction is maintained . No
See also:grant is made to any kuttab where any language other than Arabic is taught . In all there are over 10,000 kuttabs, attended by some 250,000 scholars . The number of pupils in private schools under government inspection was in 1898, the first year of the grant-in-aid system, 7536; in 1900, 12,315; in 1905, 145,691 . The number of girls in attendance rose from 598 in 1898 to 997 in 1900 and,9611 in 1905 . The Copts have about moo primary schools, in which the teaching of Coptic is compulsory, a few
See also:industrial schools, and one
See also:college for higher instruction .
Cairo holds a prominent place as a seat of Moslem learning, and its university, the Azhar, is considered the first of the eastern world . Its professorsteach " grammatical inflexion and syntax, rhetoric, versification, logic,
See also:theology, the exposition of the Koran, the traditions of the
See also:Prophet, the complete science of jurisprudence, or rather of religious, moral, civil and criminal law, which is chiefly founded on the Koran and the traditions, together with arithmetic as far as it is useful in matters of law . Lectures are also given on
See also:algebra and on the calculations of the Mahommedan
See also:calendar, the times of prayer, &c." (E . W . Lane, Modern Egyptians) . The students come from all parts of the Mahommedan world . They number about 800o, of whom some 2000 are
See also:resident . The students pay no fees, and the professors receive no salaries . The latter maintain themselves by private teaching and by copying
See also:manuscripts, and the former in the same manner, or by reciting the Koran . To meet the demand for better qualified judges for the Moslem courts a training college for cadis was established in 1907 . Besides the subjects taught at the Azhar university, instruction is given in literature,
See also:mathematics and physical science . The
See also:necessity for a reorganization of the Azhar system itself being also recognized by the high Moslem dignitaries in Egypt, a law was passed in 1907 creating a superior board of control under the
See also:presidency of the Sheikh el-Azhar to supervise the proceedings of the university and other similar establishments .
Thisattempt to reform the Azhar met, however, with so much opposition that in 1909 it was, for the time, abandoned . In 1907, of the sedentary Egyptian population over seven years of age, some 12 % of the Moslems could read and write,
See also:female literacy having increased 50% since 1897; of the foreign population over seven years of age 75 % could read and write . Of the Coptic community about 50 % can read and write . Literature and the
See also:Press.—Since the British occupation there has been a marked
See also:renaissance of Arabic learning and literature in Egypt . Societies formed for the encouragement of Arabic literature have brought to light important texts bearing on Mahommedan history, antiquities and religion . Numbers of magazines and reviews are published in Arabic which cater both for the needs of the moment and the
See also:advancement of learning . Side by side with these literary organs there exists a vernacular press largely devoted to nationalist propaganda . Prominent among these papers is Al Lewa (The Standard), founded in 1900 . Other papers of a similar character are Al Omma, Al Moayad and Al Gerida . The Mokattam represents the views of the more enlightened and conservative section of the native population . In Cairo and Alexandria there are also published several
See also:newspapers in English and French . (b) Administration: Sir John
See also:Bowring's Report on Egypt .
. . to LordPalmerston (
See also:London, 184o) shows the system obtaining at that period . For the study of the state of Egypt at the time of the British occupation, 1882, and the development of the country since, the most valuable documents) are: I . Official.—The Reports on the Finances, Administration and Condition of Egypt, issued yearly since 1892 (the reports 1888–1891 were exclusively financial) . Up to 1906 the reports were by Lord Cromer (Sir
See also:Baring) . They clearly picture the progress of the country . The following reports are specially valuable as exhibiting the difficulties which at the outset confronted the British administrators:
See also:Correspondence respecting the Reorganization of Egypt (1883) ; Reports by Mr
See also:Stuart respecting Reorganization of Egypt (1883 and 1895); Despatch from Lord Dufferin forwarding the Decree constituting the New Political Institutions of Egypt (1883); Reports on the State of Egypt and the Progress of Administrative Reforms (1885) ; Reports by Sir H . D .
See also:Wolff on the Administration of Egypt (1887) . Annual returns are published in Cairo in English or French by the various ministries, and British consular reports on the trade of Egypt and of Alexandria and of the tonnage and shipping of the Suez Canal are also issued yearly . II . Non-official.—Lord Cromer,,Modern Egypt (2 vols., 1908), an authoritative record;
See also:Alfred (Lord) l'\'Iilner, England in Egypt, first published in 1892, the
See also:story being brought up to 1904 in the rith edition; Sir A . Colvin, The Making of Modern Egypt (1906); J .
See also:Ward, Pyramids and Progress (1900) ; A . S . White, The Expansion of Egypt (1899) ; and F . W .
See also:Fuller, Egypt and the Hinterland (1901) . See also the works cited in History, last section . (c) Law: H.,Lamba, De )'
See also:evolution de la condition juridique
See also:des Europeens en Egypte (Paris, 1896); I . H . Scott, The Law affecting Foreigners in Egypt . . . (
See also:Edinburgh, 1907) ; The Egyptian
See also:Cadet (London, 1892) . (d) Irrigation, agriculture, geology, &c.: Despatch from Sir Evelyn Baring enclosing Report on the Condition of the Agricultural Population in Egypt (1888) ; Notes on Egyptian Crops (Cairo, 1896) ; Yacuh Artin Bey, La Propriite fonciere en Egypte (Bulak, 1885); Report on Perennial Irrigation and Flood
See also:Protection for Egypt, 1 vol. and
See also:atlas (Cairo, 1894) .
The reports (Egypt, No . 2, 1901, and Egypt, No . 2, 1904), by Sir
See also:William Garstin on irrigation projects on the Upper Nile are very valuable records—notably the 1904 report . W . Will-cocks, Egyptian Irrigation (2nd ed., 1899) ; H . G .
See also:Lyons, The Physiography of the River Nile and its Basin (Cairo, 1906) ; Leigh Canney, The Meteorology of Egypt and its Influence on Disease (1897) . Annual meteorological reports are issued by the Public Works Department, Cairo . The same department issues special irrigation reports . See for geology Carl von
See also:Zittel, Beitrage zur Geologie and Palaontologie der libyschen Wiiste (Cassel, 1883) ; Reports of the
See also:Geological Survey of Egypt (Cairo, 1900, et seq.) . (e) Natural history, anthropology, &c.: F . Pruner, Agyptens Naturgeschichte and Anthropologie (
See also:Erlangen, 1848); R .
Hartmann, Naturgeschichtliche Skizze der Nillander (Berlin, 1866) ; Captain G . E . Shelley, Birds of Egypt (London, 1872) . (F . R . C.) I The place of publication is London unless otherwise stated . Inhabitants . The population enumerated at the
See also:census taken in April 1907 was 11,189,978 . In these figures nomad Arabs or Bedouins, estimated to number 97,381, are not included . The total population was thus returned at 11,287,359, or some 16% more than in 1897 when the inhabitants numbered 9,734,405 . The figures for 1897 compared with 6,813,919 in 1882, an increase of 43.5% in fifteen years . Thus, during the first twenty-five years of the British occupation of the country the population in-creased by nearly 4,500,000 .
In 1800 the French estimated the population at no more than 2,460,000; the census of 1846 gave the figures at 4,476,440 . From that year to 1882 the average annual increase was 1.25% . If the desert regions be excluded, the population of Egypt is extremely dense, being about 939 per sq. m . This figure may be compared with that of Belgium, the most densely populated country in Europe, 589 per sq. m., and with that ofBengal, 586 per sq. m . In parts of Menufia, a Delta province, the
See also:density rises to 1352 per sq. m., and in the Kena province of Upper Egypt to 1308 . The population is generally divisible into I The fellahin or peasantry and the native townsmen . 2 . The Bedouins or nomad Arabs of the desert . 3 . The Nuba, Nubians or Berberin, inhabitants of the Nile valley between Assuan and
See also:Dongola . 4 . Foreigners .
The first of these divisions. includes both the Moslem and Coptic inhabitants . The Bedouins, or the Arabs of the desert, are of two different classes: first, Arabic-speaking tribes who range the deserts as far south as 26° N.; secondly, the tribes inhabiting the desert from Kosseir to
See also:Suakin, namely the Hadendoa,
See also:Bisharin and the Ababda tribes . This
See also:group speak a language of their own, and are probably descendants of the Blemmyes, who occupied these parts in ancient times (see ARABS; BEDOUINS; HADENDOA; BISHARIN; &c.) . The Nubas are of mixed
See also:negro and Arab
See also:blood . They are mainly agriculturists, though some are keen traders (see
See also:NUBIA) . Foreigners number over 150,000 and form 11% of the total population . They are chiefly Greeks—of whom the majority live in Alexandria—Italians, British and French . Syrians and Levantines are numerous, and there is a colony of Persians . The Turkish
See also:element is not numerically strong—a few thousands only—but holds a high social position . Of the total population, about 2o% is urban . In addition to the 97,000 pure nomads, there are half a million Bedouins described as " semi-sedentaries," i.e.
See also:tent-dwelling Arabs, usually encamped in those parts of the desert adjoining the cultivated Iand . The rural classes are mainly engaged in agriculture, which occupies over 62% of the adults .
The professional and trading classes form about 10% of the whole population, but 50% of the foreigners are engaged in trade . Of the total population the
See also:males exceed the
See also:females by some 46,000 . The Coptic inhabitants are described in the article COPTS, and the rural population under FELLAH . It remains here to describe
See also:char - l acteristics and customs common to the Moslem Egyptians Physica cand particularly to those of the cities . In some respects character- har of the manner of life of the natives has been modified by contact with Europeans, and what follows depicts in ninth and tenth year: at the age ci fifteen or sixteen they generally attain their highest degree of perfection . With regard to their complexions, the same remarks apply to them as to the men, with only this difference, that their faces, being generally veiled when they go abroad, are not quite so much tanned as those of the men . They are characterized, like the men, by a fine
See also:oval countenance, though in some instances it is rather broad . The eyes, with very few exceptions, are black, large and of a long
See also:almond-form, with long and beautiful lashes, and an exquisitely soft, bewitching expression—eyes more beautiful can hardly be conceived: their charming effect is much heightened by the concealment of the other features (however pleasing the latter may be), and is rendered still more striking by a practice universal among the females of the higher and middle classes, and very common among those of the lower orders, which is that of blackening the edge of the eyelids both above and below the
See also:eye, with a black powder called '
See also:kohl' " (Lane, Modern Egyptians) . Both sexes, but especially the women,
See also:tattoo several parts of the
See also:person, and the women stain their hands and feet with the red dye of the henna . The
See also:dress of the men of the upper and middle classes who have not adopted European clothing—a practice increasingly common—consists of cotton drawers, and a cotton or silk
See also:shirt with Dress and very wide sleeves . Above these are generally worn a scelalllte. waistcoat without sleeves, and a long vest of silk, called kaftan, which has
See also:hanging sleeves, and reaches nearly to the ankles . The kaftan is confined by the
See also:girdle, which is a silk
See also:scarf, or
See also:cash-mere or other woollen
See also:shawl .
Over all is worn a long
See also:cloth robe, the gibbeh (or jibbeh) somewhat resembling the kaftan in shape, but having shorter sleeves, and being open in front . The dress of the lower orders is the shirt and drawers, and waistcoat, with an
See also:outer shirt of blue cotton or brown woollen stuff; some
See also:wear a kaftan . The head-dress is the red cloth
See also:fez or
See also:tarbush round which a
See also:turban is usually worn . Men who have otherwise adopted European
See also:costume retain the tarbush . Many professions and religions, &c., are distinguished by the shape and colour of the turban, and various classes, and particularly servants, are marked by the form and colour of their shoes; but the poor go usually barefoot . Many ladies of the upper classes now dress in European style, with certain modifications, such as the head-veil . Those who retain native costume wear a very full pair of silk
See also:trousers, bright coloured stockings (usually
See also:pink), and a close-fitting vest with hanging sleeves and skirts, open down the front and at the sides, and long enough to turn up and fasten into the girdle, which is generally a cashmere shawl; a cloth jacket, richly embroidered with gold, and having short sleeves, is commonly worn over the vest . The hair in front is combed down over the fore-head and cut across in a straight line; behind it is divided into very many small plaits, which hang down the back, and are lengthened by silken cords, and often adorned with gold coins and ornaments . A small tarbush is worn on the back of the head, sometimes having a
See also:plate of gold fixed on the
See also:crown, and a handkerchief is tastefully bound round the temples . The women of the lower orders have trousers of printed or dyed cotton, and a close waistcoat . All wear the long and elegant head-veil . This is a simple " breadth " of
See also:muslin, which passes over the head and hangs down behind, one side, being drawn forward over the face in the presence of a man .
See also:lady's veil is of white muslin, embroidered at the ends in gold and
See also:colours; that of a person of the lower class is simply dyed blue . In going abroad the ladies wear above their indoor dress a loose robe of coloured silk without sleeves, and nearly open at the sides, and above it a large enveloping piece of black silk, which is brought over the head, and gathered round the person by the arms and hands on each side . A face-veil entirely conceals the features, except the eyes; it is a long and narrow piece of thick white muslin, reaching to a little below the knees . The women of the lower orders have the same out-
See also:door dress of different materials and colour . Ladies use slippers of yellow
See also:morocco, and abroad, inner boots of the same material, above which they wear, in either case, thick shoes, having only toes . The poor wear red shoes, very like those of the men . The women, especially in Upper Egypt, not infrequently wear
See also:nose-rings . Children, though often neglected, are not unkindly treated, and reverence for their parents and the aged is early inculcated . They are also well grounded in the leading doctrines of Islam . Boys are circumcised at the age of five or six years, when the boy is paraded, generally with a bridal procession, on a gaily caparisoned
See also:horse and dressed in woman's clothes . Most parents send their boys to school where a knowledge of
See also:reading and writing Arabic—the common
See also:tongue of the Egyptians—is obtainable, and from the closing years of the 19th century a great
See also:desire for the education of girls has arisen (see § Education) . It is deemed disreputable for a
See also:young man not to marry when he has attained a sufficient age; there are, therefore, few unmarried men .
Girls, in like manner, marry very young, some at ten years of age, and few remain single beyond the age of sixteen; they are generally very prolific . The bridegroom never sees his future wife before the
See also:wedding night, a
See also:custom rendered more tolerable than it otherwise might be by the facility of
See also:divorce . A
See also:dowry is always given, and a simple marriage ceremony performed by a fiki (a school-
See also:master, or one who recites the Koran, properly one learned in figh, Mahommedan law) in the presence of two witnesses . The bridal of a virgin is attended with great festivity and rejoicing, a
See also:grandee's the general the habits of the people where little affected by Egyptians. western culture . With regard to physical characteristics the Egyptians are of full average height (the men are mostly 5 ft . 8 in. or 5 ft . 9 in ), and both sexes are remarkably well proportioned and of strong physique . The Cairenes and the inhabitants of Lower Egypt generally have a clear complexion and soft skin of a light yellowish colour; those of Middle Egypt have a tawny skin, and the dwellers in Upper Egypt a deep bronze or brown complexion . The face of the men is of a fine oval, forehead prominent but seldom high, straight nose, eyes deep set, black and brilliant, mouth well formed, but with rather full lips, regular teeth beautifully made, and
See also:beard usually black and
See also:curly but scanty . Moustaches are worn, while the head is shaved save for a small tuft (called shusheh) upon the crown . As to the women, " from the age of about fourteen to that of eighteen or twenty, they are generally
See also:models of beauty in body and limbs; and in countenance most of them are pleasing, and many exceedingly lovely; but soon after they have attained their perfect growth, they rapidly decline." There are few Egyptian women over
See also:forty who retain either good looks or good figures . " The forms of womanhood begin to develop themselves about the wedding sometimes continuing eleven days and nights .
On the last day, which should be that terminating with the
See also:eve of
See also:Friday, or of
See also:Monday, the
See also:bride is taken in procession to the bridegroom's house, accompanied by her female friends, and a
See also:band of musicians, jugglers, wrestlers, &c . As before stated, a boy about to be circumcised joins in such a procession, or, frequently, a succession of such boys . Though allowed by his religion four wives, most Egyptians are monogamists . A man may, however, possess any number of concubines, who, though
See also:objects of
See also:jealousy to the legal wife, are tolerated by her in
See also:consideration of her superior position and power over them, a power which she often uses with great tyranny; but certain privileges are possessed by concubines, especially if they have borne sons to their master . A divorce is rendered obligatory by the simple words " Thou art divorced." Repudiation may take place twice without being final, but if the
See also:husband repeats thrice " Thou art divorced " the separation is absolute . In that case the dowry must be returned to the wife . Elaborate ceremonies are observed at funerals . Immediately on death the
See also:corpse is turned towards Mecca, and the women of the
See also:household, assisted by hired mourners, commence their
See also:peculiar wailing, while fikis recite portions of the Koran . The funeral takes place on the day of the death, if that happen in the morning; other-wise on the next day . The corpse, having been washed and shrouded, is placed in an open bier, covered with a cashmere shawl, in the case of a man; or in a closed bier, having a post in front, on which are placed feminine ornaments, in that of a woman or
See also:child . The funeral procession is headed by a number of poor, and generally
See also:blind, men, chanting the profession of the faith, followed by male friends of the deceased, and a party of schoolboys, also chanting, generally from a poem descriptive of the state of the soul after death . Then follows the bier, borne on the shoulders of friends, who are relieved by the passers-by, such an act being deemed highly meritorious .
Behind come the women relatives and the hired wailers . On the way to the cemetery the corpse is generally carried to some revered mosque . Here the funeral service is performed by the imam, and the
See also:pro-cession then proceeds to the
See also:tomb . In the burials of the rich, water and
See also:bread are distributed to the poor at the grave; and sometimes a buffalo or several buffaloes are slaughtered there, and the flesh given away . The tomb is a vault, surmounted by an oblong
See also:monument, with a
See also:stele at the head and feet; and a cupola, sup-ported by four walls, covers the whole in the case of sheikhs' tombs and those of the wealthy . During the night following the interment, called the Night of Desolation, or that of Solitude, the soul being believed to remain with the body that one night, fikis are engaged at the house of the deceased to recite various portions of the Koran, and, commonly, to repeat the first clause of the profession of the faith, " There is no
See also:God but God," three thousand times . The women alone put on mourning attire, by dyeing their veils, shirts, &c., dark blue, with indigo; and they stain their hands, and smear the walls, with the same colour . Everything in the house is also turned upside down . The latter customs are not, however, observed on the death of an old man . At certain periods after the
See also:burial, a khatmeh, or recitation of the whole of the Koran, is performed, and the tomb is visited by the women relations and friends of the deceased . The women of the peasants of Upper Egypt perform strange dances, &c., at funerals, which are regarded partly as
See also:relics of ancient Egyptian customs . The
See also:harem system of appointing separate apartments to the women, and secluding them from the gaze of men, is observed in Egypt as in other Moslem countries, but less strictly .
The women of an Egyptian household in which old customs are maintained never sit in the presence of the master, but attend him at his meals, and are treated in every respect as inferiors . The
See also:mother, however, forms a remarkable exception to this rule; in rare instances, also, a wife becomes a companion to her husband . On the other hand, if a pair of women's shoes are placed outside the door of the harem apartments, they are understood to signify that female visitors are within, and a man is sometimes thus excluded from the upper portion of his own house for many days . Ladies of the upper or middle classes lead a life of extreme inactivity, spending their time at the bath, which is the general place of gossip, or in receiving visits, embroidering, and the like, and in absolute dolce far niente . Both sexes are given to licentiousness . The principal meals are breakfast, about an
See also:hour after sunrise;
See also:dinner, or the
See also:meal, at
See also:noon; and supper, which is the chief meal of the day, a little after sunset . Pastry, sweetmeats and fruit are highly esteemed . Coffee is taken at all hours, and is, with a
See also:pipe, presented at least once to each
See also:guest . Tobacco is the great luxury of the men of all classes in Egypt, who begin and end the day with it, and generally
See also:smoke all day with little intermission . Many women, also, especially among the rich, adopt the
See also:habit . The smoking of
See also:hashish, though illegal, is indulged in by considerable numbers of people . Men, who can afford to keep a horse, mule or ass are very seldom seen to walk .
Ladies ride asses and sit astride . The poorer classes cannot fully observe the harem system, but the women are in general carefully veiled . Some of them keep small shops, and all fetch water, make fuel, and
See also:cook for their households . Domestic
See also:slavery lingers but is moribund . The majority of the slaves are negresses employed in household duties . In social intercourse the Egyptians observe many forms of salu- tation and much
See also:etiquette; they are very affable, and readily enter into conversation with strangers . Their courtesy and dignity of manner are very striking, and are combined with ease and a fluency of discourse . They have a remarkable quickness of apprehension, a ready wit, a retentive memory, combined, however, with religious
See also:pride and
See also:hypocrisy, and a disregard for the truth . Their common discourse is full of asseverations and expressions respecting sacred things . They entertain reverence for their Prophet; and the Koran is treated with the utmost respect—never, for example. being placed in a low situation—and this is the case with everything they esteem
See also:holy . They are fatalists, and bear calamities with surprising resignation . Their filial piety and respect for the aged have been mentioned, and benevolence and charity are conspicuous in their character .
Humanity to animals is another virtue, andcruelty is openly discountenanced in the streets . Their affability, cheerfulness and hospitality are remarkable, as well as frugality and
See also:temperance in food and drink, and honesty in the payment of
See also:debt . Their cupidity is mitigated by generosity; their natural indolence by the necessity, especially among the peasantry, to work hard to gain a livelihood . Egyptians, however, are as a rule suspicious of all not of their own creed and country . Murders and other grave crimes are rare, but
See also:petty larcenies are very common . The amusements of the people are generally not of a violent kind, being in keeping with their sedentary habits and the
See also:heat of the climate . The bath is a favourite resort of both sexes and all classes . They are acquainted with
See also:backgammon, and other
See also:games, among which is one peculiar to themselves, called Mankalah, and played with cowries . Notwithstanding its condemnation by Mahomet,
See also:music is the most favourite recreation of the people; the songs of the boatmen, the religious chants, and the cries in the streets are all musical . There are male and female musical per-formers; the former are both instrumental and vocal, the latter (called 'Almeh, pl . 'Awalim) generally vocal . The 'Awalim are, as their name (" learned ") implies, generally accomplished women, and should not be confounded with the Ghawazi, or dancing-girls .
There are many kinds of musical
See also:instruments . The music, vocal and instrumental, is generally of little compass, and in the minor
See also:key; it is therefore plaintive, and strikes a European ear as some-what monotonous, though often possessing a simple beauty, and the charm of antiquity, for there is little doubt that the favourite airs have been handed down from remote ages . The Ghawazi (sing . Ghazia) form a separate class, very similar to the
See also:gipsies . They inter-marry among themselves only, and their women are professional dancers . Their performances are often objectionable and are so regarded by many Egyptians . They dance in public, at fairs and religious festivals, and at private festivities, but, it is said, not in respectable houses . Mehemet Ali banished them to Esna, in Upper Egypt; and the few that remained in Cairo called themselves 'Awalim, to avoid punishment . Many of the dancing-girls of Cairo to-day are neither 'Awalim nor Ghawazi, but women of the very lowest class whose performances are both ungraceful and indecent . A most objectionable class of male dancers also exists, who imitate the dances of the Ghawazi, and dress in a kind of nondescript female attire . Not the least curious of the public performances are those of the serpent-charmers, who are generally Rifa'ia (Saadia) dervishes . Their power over serpents has been doubted, yet their performances remain unexplained; they, however, always extract the fangs of venomous serpents .
Jugglers, rope-dancers and
See also:farce-players must also be mentioned . In the principal coffee-shops of Cairo are to be found reciters of romances, surrounded by interested audiences . The periodical public festivals are exceedingly interesting, but many of the remarkable observances connected with them are passing away . The first ten days of the Mahommedan Perbttc year are held to be blessed, and especially the tenth; festivals. and many curious practices are observed on these days, particularly by the women . The tenth day, being the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hosain, the son of Ali and
See also:grandson of the Prophet, the mosque of the Hasanen at Cairo is thronged to excess, mostly by women . In the evening a procession goes to the mosque, the principal figure being a white horse with white trappings, upon which is seated a small boy, the horse and the lad, who represents Hosain, being smeared with blood . From the mosque the procession goes to a private house, where a
See also:mullah recites the story of the
See also:martyr-dom . Following the order of the lunar year, the next festival is that of the Return of the Pilgrims, which is the occasion of great rejoicing, many having friends or relatives in the caravan . The Mahmal, a kind of covered
See also:litter, first originated by
See also:Queen Sheger-ed-Dur, is brought into the city in procession, though not with as much pomp as when it leaves with the pilgrims . These and other processions have lost much of their effect since the extinction of the Mamelukes, and the gradual disuse of gorgeous dress for the retainers of the
See also:officers of state . A regiment of regular
See also:infantry makes but a sorry substitute for the splendid cavalcade of former times . The
See also:Birth of the Prophet (Molid en-Nebi), which is celebrated in the beginning of the third month, is the greatest festival of the whole year .
For nine days and nights Cairo has more the aspect of a
See also:fair than of a city keeping a religious festival . The chief ceremonies take place in some large open spot round which are erected the tents of the khedive, of great state officials, and of the dervishes . Next in time, and also in importance, is the Molid El-Hasanen, commemorative of the birth of Hosain, and lasting fifteen days and nights; and at the same time is kept the Molid of al-Salib Ayyub, the last sovereign but two of the Ayyubite dynasty . In the seventh month occur the Molid of the sayyida Zenab, and the
See also:commemoration of the Miarag, or the Prophet's miraculous journey to
See also:heaven . Early in the eighth month (Sha'
See also:ban), the Molid of the imam Shafi'i is observed; and the night of the middle of that month has its peculiar customs, being held by the Moslems to be that on which the
See also:fate of all living is decided for the ensuing year . Then follows
See also:Ramadan, the month of abstinence, a severe trial to the faithful; and the Lesser Festival (Al-'id as-saghir), which commences Shawwal, is hailed by them with delight . A few days after, the Kiswa, or new covering for the Ka'ba at Mecca, is taken in procession from the citadel, where it is always manufactured, to the mosque of the Hasanen to be completed; and, later, the caravan of pilgrims departs, when the grand procession of the Mahmal takes place . On the tenth day of the last month of the year the Great Festival (Al-'id al-
See also:kabir), or that of the Sacrifice (commemorating the willingness of
See also:Ibrahim to slay his son Ismail—according to the Arab legen, closes the calendar . The Lesser and Great Festivals are those known in Turkish as the
See also:Bairam (q.v.) . The rise of the Nile is naturally the occasion of annual customs, some of which are doubtless relics of antiquity; these are observed according to the Coptic calendar . The commencement of the rise is commemorated on the night of the I1th of Bauna, the 17th of June, called that of the Drop (Lelet-en-Nukta), because a miraculous drop is then supposed to fall and cause the swelling of the river . The real rise begins at Cairo about the summer solstice, or a few days later, and early in July a crier in each district of the city begins to go his daily rounds, announcing, in a
See also:quaint chant, the increase of water in the nilometer of the island of Roda .
When the river has risen 20 or 21 ft., he proclaims the Wefa en-Nil, " Completion " or " Abundance of the Nile." On the following day the dam which closed the canal of Cairo was cut with much ceremony . The canal having been filled up in 1897 the ceremony has been much modified, but a brief description of what used to take place may be given . A pillar of earth before the dam is called the " Bride of the Nile," and Arab historians relate that this was substituted, at the Moslem
See also:conquest, for a virgin whom it was the custom annually to sacrifice, to ensure a plentiful inundation . A large boat, gaily decked out, representing that in which the victim used to be conveyed, was anchored near, and a
See also:gun on board fired every quarter of an hour during the night . Rockets and other
See also:fireworks were also let off, but the best, strangely, after daybreak . The
See also:governor of Cairo attended the ceremony, with the cadi and others, and gave the
See also:signal for the cutting of the dam . As soon as sufficient water had entered, boats ascended the canal to the city . The crier continues his daily rounds, with his former chant, excepting on the Coptic New Year's Day, when the cry of the Wefa is repeated, until the Salib, or Discovery of the
See also:Cross, the 26th or 27th of September, at which period, the river having attained its greatest height, he concludes his annual employment with another chant, and presents to each house some limes and other fruit, and dry lumps of Nile mud . The period of the hot winds, called the khamsin, that is, " the fifties," is calculated from the day after the Coptic
See also:Easter, and terminates on the day of
See also:Pentecost, and the Moslems observe the Wednesday preceding this period, called "
See also:Job's Wednesday," as well as its first day, when many go into the country from Cairo, " to smell the air." This day is hence called Shem en-Nesim, or " the smelling of the zephyr." The Ulema observe the same custom on the first three days of the spring quarter . Tombs of saints abound, one or more being found in every town and village; and no traveller up the Nile can fail to remark how every prominent
See also:hill has the sepulchre of its
See also:saint . The great saints of Egypt are the imam Ash-Shafi'i, founder of the per-suasion called after him, the sayyid Abmad al-Baidawi, and the sayyid Ibrahim Ed-Desuki, both of whom were founders of orders of dervishes . Al-Baidawi, who lived in the 13th century A.D., is buried at the town of Tanta, in the Delta, and his tomb attracts many thousands of visitors at each of the three festivals held yearly in his
See also:honour; Ed-Desuki is also much revered, and his festivals draw together, in like manner, great crowds to his birthplace, the town of Desuk .
But, besides the
See also:graves of her native saints, Egypt boasts of those of several members of the Prophet's
See also:family, the tomb of the sayyida Zeyneb, daughter of 'Ali, that of the sayyida Sekeina, daughter of Hosain, and that of the sayyida Nefisa, great-granddaughter of
See also:Hasan, all of which are held in high veneration . The mosque of the Hasanen (or that of the " two Hasans ") is the most reverenced
See also:shrine in the country, and is believed to contain the head of Hosain . Many orders of Dervishes live in Egypt, the following being the most celebrated:—O) the Rifa'ia, and their sects the 'Ilwania and Saadia; (2) the Qadiria (Kahiria), or howling dervishes; (3) the Ahmedia, or followers of the sayyid Abmad al-Baidawi, and their sects the Beyumia (known by their long hair), Shinnawia, Sharawia and many others: and (4) the Baramia, or followers of the sayyid Ibrahim Ed-Desuki . These are all presided over by a direct descendant of the caliph Abu Bekr, called the Sheikh El-Bekri . The Saadia are famous for charming and eating live serpents, &c., and the 'Ilwania for eating
See also:glass, &c . The Egyptians firmly believe in the efficacy of charms, a belief associatedwith that in an omnipresent and over-ruling
See also:providence . Thus the doors of houses are inscribed with sentences from the Koran, or the like, to preserve from the evil eye, or avert the dangers of an unlucky
See also:threshold; similar inscriptions may be observed over most shops, while almost every one carries some charm about his person . The so-called sciences of magic,
See also:astrology and
See also:alchemy still flourish .
EGRESS (Lat. egressus, going out)
EGYPT AND WESTERN
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