صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

is more elevated than the eastern, where live the Sheeranees, Lohanees, Oosturanees, and others, but these hills do not rise to a great height. We need not except even the hill Toba, lying 90 miles to the southeast of Candahar, which is now famous from having been during the last years of Ahmed Shah's life the cool summer retreat of that monarch.

15. Bulochistan is in general a flat and arid country, yet is not destitute of hills. We may trace a low range from near Sihwan, in a direction somewhat to the west of south and parallel to the Indus, almost to the sea-shore. At Sihwan it appears to change its direction, and instead of proceeding north to a junction with the Soolemanee range, as represented in former maps, passes north-west, and ends some stage short of Jellalabad of Seestan. On this range is situated Kilat, nearly where it is highest. The mountain called Maran, which lies two days north of that place, is the only one in the range which bears perpetual snow. By this range Seeweestan is separated from that tract to the south-west inhabited by roving tribes of the Rinds in which Kirachee is situated, and the roads are said to be difficult. Towards its termination to the north-west this range seems to connect itself with the hills of the Kakurs; there are other hills in Bulochistan which however seem irreducible to any chain. Kilat and whatever lies west of Seeweestan is commonly reckoned part of the geographical division of Khoorasan. Kirachee is perhaps part of Hindoostan, and Seeweestan certainly is. Sindh is a champaign country. Bhukhur however is situated on a low hill or rock insulated by the Indus, but which must be considered as a prolongation of a low range which runs from the left bank of the river in a south direction diagonally into the desert, ending in the space of 30 miles. Jesulmer in the centre of the Indian desert, is built on an insulated low hill. The country of Kuchh which lies between the desert and the Indian ocean is a hilly one.

16. We have seen that the range of 34o and the salt range cross the Indus into the Doab of the Vehut and Indus. This Doab has also branches from the great northern range which run in directions very far from parallel to the preceding. The most remarkable is that which separates Chhuchh Hazara, the Khatirs, and other districts on the west and north-west, from Pothwar on the east and south-east. To. wards the commencement of the range live the Gukhurs, a tribe which has been famous in history. Here is the chief elevation, which is but moderate. This Doab has also solitary hills or small ranges, not clearly derivable from any of the above-mentioned chains. The shape

* I use the term as our geographers seem to do, the natives employ it seldom, and give it a wider application.

and conformation of the country is thus very irregular, and the natural character of the portions very various. The hills and ranges (if indeed any there be) of Seestan and of all parts of Khoorasan are equally irregularly disposed, and cannot in writing be brought clearly before the mind. Few indeed rise to a considerable height.

17. Having concluded our sketch of the ranges of mountains, we now proceed to enumerate the various natural divisions thus formed and marked out. Some have been already mentioned, Kashkar lies north of the great northern range and east of the Belur; to its east is the country of little Tibet. Both are lofty and cold countries, and both seem to be more plain to the north and more mountainous to the south. The Upper Indus is perhaps the boundary. Little Tibet, or a part of it, is by some called Balteestan, from Baltee a Moosulman tribe inhabiting it, but the majority of the people seem to be in little Tibet of the system of religion known in the great Tibet lying to the east of Kush meer. Little Tibet and Kashkar are as yet independent of the Emperor of China, who never entered them or sent his troops thither, still less has he ever threatened Budukhshan; but part at least of the Pamer is annexed to the Chinese Toorkistan. This extensive country is formed by the northern slope of the great upland track already mentioned (7, 8.) and by the tracts to the north as far as the Altaian chain (8,). Its eastern boundary is unascertained, and probably very uncertain, or marked by desert tracts. Although the whole be firmly attached to the Chinese empire, of which it forms the most western province, it is not under one governor, but many, who seem to be dependent only on the court of Pekin. We may distinguish Kashghur and Yarkund in the southwestern angle, Aksoo to the NNE., Ela and Toorfan in the NE. and Khootun (which is not a city, but a country containing seven, towns) in the centre. The great majority of the people are of the Toork race, and hence I have called it Chinese Toorkistan. To the north, however, are tribes of pasturing Calmucs; and perhaps this vast province contains some part of the Kobee nation, which although its chief seat be to the east, in the wastes called the desert of Kobee or Sham, yet spreads west into Kashkar, and constitutes the chief population on the banks of the Kashkar river. On the course of this river we find four principalities, and in all, the chiefs are of this race; the highest is the most powerful, and extends his dominion to the right of the Indus, and the mountains north of Swad. These particulars are here the less misplaced, that the countries in question have ever been among the obscurest in Asia, and even the latest inquiries have

but little elucidated them. In future they will be but seldom men. tioned,

18. We have already seen that the Belur and Alak chains divide the Chinese from the independent Toorkistan, which stretches thence west to the Caspian, and its three natural divisions into Toorkistan; this side the Oxus. Toorkistan, between the Oxus and Jaxartes, has been mentioned. The boundaries of the last division to the north, where it touches the Russian empire, are supposed to be defined by no great river or mountainous chain or other natural line. Geographers name minor ranges of hills in this division, but it is certain the far greater part is occupied by plains. This is still more true of its western than its eastern parts, and the former in consequence is scarcely an agricultural country, while in the latter we find the greater part of the dominions of the civilized state of Tashkund, and part of that of Kokun, but the capital of that principality and the greater part of the dominions lie in the middle division of Toorkistan. The east of this division contains in addition to Kokun, Keerategen, Wukheet a part of Durwaz, and nearly the whole of Hissar, with some other petty states. All these are hilly countries, and with the exception of the last, they may all be called mountainous; the valleys are of various widths, but generally narrow, and the road from one to another difficult. Durwaz is particularly narrow and impracticable; it lies on the Punj or Upper Oxus, and its princes were of a race which claimed descent from Alexander the Great. By late accounts, the living representative has been expelled by the Keerategenees.* In the west of this middle division we find Shuhr Subz, an inconsiderable state, and the dominions of Bokhara, which is the most powerful state in Toorkistan. The mountains of the east enter this tract, but diminish in their progress, and at length disappear. The west is therefore an open plain with the exception of the district of Nooruta, in which we find the Akhtan hills. These are of moderate height, although the name would lead us to judge otherwise. The highest of the whole has no snow beyond the middle of April. The extent of the range is not great, and no stream originates in it. The parts of this division of Toorkistan which border on the Aral lake, or sea to the west, are flat, sandy, and uncultivated ; and the like is true of the opposite tracts beyond the Jaxartes and of those beyond the Oxus, with the exception of Khwaruzm. This was in ancient times the centre of a powerful kingdom, but now its weight is but small; its

* Not expelled, but deprived of part of his dominions (December 12:h).

foreign dependencies have passed into other hands; the blowing of the sands have submerged part of its territory, and the productiveness of the remainder been lessened by the change artificially made in the course of the river Oxus. Mr. Pinkerton has expressed his scepticism in regard to the fact, and it may well be questioned whether the whole of this river was on that occasion turned; but the learned in the history of Toorkistan assure us that in the century, the Calmucs did divert a great stream which passed west through the kingdom of Khwaruzm, and made it to run where' now runs the Oxus into the lake of Aral. Khwaruzm still has its stream artificially drawn from the Oxus, and which is indispensable to its cultivation and existence. At no great distance from the river commence deserts, which extend to the Caspian, and are traversed by the pasturing tribes of Toorkmans (who moreover possess the sandy banks of the Oxus from Kelif downwards) and some other tribes. The chief city of Khwaruzm is Oorgunj.

19. Bactria, the only remaining part of Toorkistan, lies on the left of the Oxus during its middle course. It is now distinguished into several sub-divisions according to the remarkable cities and the existing distribution of dominion. Beginning from the quarter of Khoorasan, first occurs on this side the Murghab Kuburmach of the Jum. sheedees, which tribe however living chiefly on the left of the Murghab for this and other reasons (4) we must assign it to Khoorasan. From Kuburmach proceeding in a direction not much different from ENE. we come at the distance of 30, 56, 20, 24, miles to Mymuna, Undkho, Shibirghan, and Bulkh, capitals of little states now independent. The traveller has to his right branches of the Paraparnisan, which are generally visible; he pursues his journey in a cultivated or cultivatable country, but beyond it to his left begin sands which continue to the Oxus. That river here holding a course to the north of west while his course is to the north of east, and the cultivatable country being usually of an equal breadth, the tract of sands beyond it is necessarily widest to the west. With Bulkh begins a country of a different character; the Paraparnisan still lies to the south, but the Gavee Paraparnisan, moreover, to the south-east, intervenes between this country and Cabul; and to the east, towards Budukhshan, are branches from the Hindookoosh. Hence is this tract very diversified, and while the south and east are generally hilly or mountainous, the north and west are generally level. Bulkh is itself level, but has dependencies among the valleys of the Paraparnisan to the south. From Bulkh, one very long day's journey of that quarter to the east or south-east, lies Khoollum, which to the east rises into hills and mountains; this place is subject to Bulkh, the chief of which extends his dominion to within two days of Bamian, where begins the government of the Afghans. The intermediate country is billy and poor. The chief of Bulkh has influence in the remaining part of Bactria, which lies to the east. Talikan alone is a hostile state, and is independent. Its bills are however less lofty and difficult than those of Ghoree and Khost to the south. Between Ghoree and Khost is Undurab, which is also mountainous. Koonduz lies to the north-west of those places, being in the road between Bulkh and Talikan, four days from the former and one from the latter. It is a level and fertile tract. If to these we add Huzrut Imam, situated thirty-five miles below the junction of the river Koocha with the Oxus and under Hissar, already mentioned as a state beyond the Oxus, we have enumerated the chief remarkable districts in Bactria.

20. The river Koocha in its upper course intersects Budukhshan in its lower boundary, the eastern and southern boundaries have been already mentioned. Its northern limits are more difficult to assign. The natives seem at present to restrict it to the country politically under the chief of Fyzabad (who is a Syyud and is stiled Shah) which many consider as a convertible term for Budukhshan ; it is situated on the left of the Koocha, five days east of Talikan. It is not easy to discover what extent the majority of European geographers wish to give to Budukhshan, but there seems little or no authority for extending it beyond the river Oxus, and it seems convenient to have a general term for the tract of country which the upper course of that river bounds. It is a diversified country, but its general character is ruggedness and poverty. The valleys are narrow, the mountains steep, the streams rapid ;-by far the greater part is subject to Fyzabad. To the north beyond the river are Durwaz, Wukheeha and Keerategin already mentioned, and whose natural character is very similar.

21. The Gavee mountains which have been shewn to connect the Hindookoosh with the great body of the Paraparnisan, divide Bactria on the north-west, from Cabul on the south-east. One of the most frequented roads passes through Bamian and Goorbund, which are narrow tracts. The delightful valley of Cabul is open only to the south, where some inconsiderable heights divide it from the table land of Ghuznee, which here inclines to it. Cabul is politically divided into four tuppas or districts, Logur to the south, Kodamun to the north-west Pughman to the west, and Bhootkhah to the east. To the north and north-west is what is called the Kohistan or highlands of Cabul, in

« السابقةمتابعة »