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HEIR (Lat. heres, from a root meaning...

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 217 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HEIR (Lat. heres, from a root meaning to grasp, seen in heres or erus, master of a house, Gr. xeip, hand, Sans. hat ana, hand), in law, technically one who succeeds, by descent, to aq, estate of inheritance, in contradistinction to one who succeeds to personal property, i.e. next of kin. The word is now used generally to denote the person who is entitled by law to inherit property, titles, &c., of another. The rules regulating the descent of property to 'an heir will be found in the articles INHERITANCE, SUCCESSION, &C. An heir apparent (Lat. apparens, manifest) is he whose right of inheritance is indefeasible, provided he outlives the ancestor, e.g. an eldest or only son. Heir by custom, or customary heir, he who inherits by a particular and local custom, as in borough-English, whereby the youngest son inherits, or in gavelkind, whereby all the sons I named was formerly an important station on the Egyptian pilgrim route, and in ancient days was a Roman settlement, and the port of the Nabataean towns of el Hajr 150 M. to the east. Inland the sandstone desert of El Hisma reaches from the Syrian border at Ma'an to Jebel Awerid, where the volcanic tracts known as harra begin, and extend southwards along the western borders of the Nejd plateau as far as the latitude of Mecca. East of Jebel Awerid lies the oasis of Tema, identified with the Biblical Teman, which belongs to the Shammar tribe; its fertility depends on the famous well, known as Bir el Hudaj. Farther south and on the main pilgrim route is El `Ala, the principal settlement of El Hajr, the Egra of Ptolemy, to whom it was known as an oasis town on the gold and frankincense road. Higher up the same valley are the rock-cut tombs of Medina Salih, similar to those at Petra and shown by the Nabataean coins and inscriptions discovered there by Doughty and Huber to date from the beginning of the Christian era. To the south-east again is the oasis of Khaibar, with some 2500 inhabitants, chiefly negroes, the remnants of an earlier slave population. The citadel, known as the Kasr el Yahudi, preserves the tradition of its former Jewish ownership. With these exceptions there are no settled villages between Ma'an and Medina, the stations on the pilgrim road being merely small fortified posts with reservoirs, at intervals of 30 or 40 m., which are kept up by the Turkish government for the protection of the yearly caravan. The southern part of the province is more favoured by nature. Medina is a city of 25,000 to 30,000 inhabitants, situated in a broad plain between the coast range and the low hills across which lies the road to Nejd. Its altitude above the sea is about 2500 ft. It is well supplied with water and is surrounded by gardens and plantations; barley and wheat are grown, but the staple produce, as in all the cultivated districts of Hejaz, is dates, of which too different sorts are said to grow. Yambu' has a certain importance as the port for Medina. The route'follows for part of the way along the Wadi es Safra, which contains several small settlements with abundant date groves; from Badr Hunen, the last of these, the route usually taken from Medina to Mecca runs near the coast, passing villages with some cultivation at each stage. The eastern route though more direct is less used; it passes through a barren country described by Burton as a succession of low plains and basins surrounded by rolling hills and intersected by torrent beds; the predominant formation is basalt. Suwerikiya and Es Safina are the only villages of importance on this route. ' Mecca and the holy places in its vicinity are described in a separate article; it is about 48 m. from the port of Jidda, the most important trade centre of the Hejaz province. The great majority of pilgrims for Mecca arrive by sea at Jidda. Their transport and the supply of their wants is therefore the chief business of the place; in 1904 the number was 66,500, and the imports amounted in value to £1,400,000. From the hot lowland in which Mecca is situated the country rises steeply up to the Taif plateau, some 6000 ft. above sea-level, a district resembling in climate and physical character the highlands of Asir and Yemen. Jebel el Kura at the northern edge of the plateau is a fertile well-watered district, producing wheat and barley and fruit. Taif, a day's journey farther south, lies in a sandy plain, surrounded by low mountains. The houses, though small, are well built of stone; the gardens for which it is celebrated lie at a distance of a mile or more to the S.W. at the foot of the mountains. Hejaz, together with the other provinces of Arabia which on` the overthrow of the Bagdad Caliphate in 1258 had fallen under Egyptian domination, became by the conquest of Egypt in 1517 a dependency of the Ottoman empire. Beyond assuming the title of Caliph, neither Salim I. nor his successors interfered much in the government, which remained in the hands of the sharifs of Mecca until the religious upheaval which culminated at the beginning of the 19th century in the pillage of the holy cities by the Wahhabi fanatics. Mehemet Ali, viceroy of Egypt, was entrusted by the sultan with the task of establishing order. and after several arduous campaigns the Wahhabis were routed Heir general, or heir at law, he who after the death of his ancestor has, by law, the right to the inheritance. Heir presumptive, one who is next in succession, but whose right is defeasible by the birth of a nearer heir, e.g. a brother or nephew, whose presumptive right may be destroyed by the birth of a child, or a daughter, whose right may be defeated by the birth of a son. Special heir, one not heir at law (i.e. special custom. Ultimate heir, he to whom lands come by escheat on failure of proper heirs. In Scots law the technical use of the word " heir " is not confined to the succession to real property, but includes succession to personal property as well.
End of Article: HEIR (Lat. heres, from a root meaning to grasp, seen in heres or erus, master of a house, Gr. xeip, hand, Sans. hat ana, hand)
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