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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 876 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HAMDANI, in full ABU MAI;IOMMED UL-IIASAN IBN AHMAD IBN YA'QUB UL-HAMDANI (d. 945), Arabian geographer, also known as Ibn ul-Ha'ik. Little is known of him except that he belonged to a family of Yemen, was held in repute as a grammarian in his own country, wrote much poetry, compiled astronomical tables, devoted most of his life to the study of the ancient history and geography of Arabia, and died in prison at San'a in 945. His Geography of the Arabian Peninsula (Kitdb Jazirat ul-'Arab) is by far the most important work on the subject. After being used in manuscript by A. Sprenger in his Post- and Reiserouten des Orients (Leipzig, 1864) and further extended and developed by the French occupation of Holland in 1795, when the Dutch trade was largely directed to its port. The French Revolution and the insecurity of the political situation, however, exercised a depressing and retarding effect. The wars which ensued, the closing of continental ports against English trade, the occupation of the city after the disastrous battle of Jena, and pestilence within its walls brought about a severe commercial crisis and caused a serious decline in its prosperity. Moreover, the great contributions levied by Napoleon on the city, the plundering of its bank by Davoust, and the burning of its prosperous suburbs inflicted wounds from which the city but slowly recovered. Under the long peace which followed the close of the Napoleonic wars, its trade gradually revived, fostered by the declaration of independence of South and Central America, with both of which it energetically opened close commercial relations, and by the introduction of steam navigation. The first steamboat was seen on the Elbe on the 17th of June 1816; in 1826 a regular steam communication was opened with London; and in 1856 the first direct steamship line linked the port with the United States. The great fire of 1842 (5th-8th of May) laid in waste the greatest part of the business quarter of the city and caused a temporary interruption of its commerce. The city, however, soon rose from its ashes, the churches were rebuilt and new streets laid out on a scale of considerable magnificence. In 1866 Hamburg joined the North German Confederation, and in 1871, while remaining outside the Zollverein, became a constituent state of the German empire. In 1883-1888 the works for the Free Harbour were completed, and on the 18th of October 1888 Hamburg joined the Customs Union (Zollverein). In 1892 the cholera raged within its walls, carried off 85oo of its inhabitants, and caused considerable losses to its commerce and industry; but the visitation was not without its salutary fruits, for an improved drainage system, better hospital accommodation, and a purer water-supply have since combined to make it one of the healthiest commercial cities of Europe. in his Alte Geographic Arabiens (Bern, 1875), it was edited by D. H. Muller (Leiden, 1884; cf. A. Sprenger's criticism in Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, vol. 45, pp. 361-394). Much has also been written on this work by E. Glaser in his various publications on ancient Arabia. The other great work of Hamdani is the Iklil (Crown) concerning the genealogies of the Himyarites and the wars of their kings in ten volumes. Of this, part 8, on the citadels and castles of south Arabia, has been edited and annotated by D. H. Muller in Die Burgen and Schlosser Sudarabiens (Vienna, 1879–1881). For other works said to have been written by Hamdani cf. G. Fliigel's Die grammatischen Schulen der Araber (Leipzig, 1862), pp. 220-221. (G. W. T.)
End of Article: HAMDANI

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