Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

PREFATORY NOTE TO PART II.

The delay in the publication of the second part of this edition of the Manual has been caused by the thoroughness of the revision to which it has been subjected. A very considerable portion of it, including the United States and the British colonies in Africa, America, and, Australasia, has been almost wholly rewritten; a larger type has been adopted than in the corresponding portion of the first edition; while the Industry and Commerce of all the countries treated of have been fully described. In order to facilitate reference, the names of towns in all the Descriptive Notes have been put in clarendon type; while a very copious Index has been added. The result is, that now the work approximates far more closely to the author's ideal of what a Manual of Modern Geography ought to be than the first edition.

Since the publication of Part I. great and unexpected changes have taken place in the political condition of the continent. France, having recklessly declared war against Prussia, has experienced a dreadful retribution. Her "sacred soil" has been profaned by countless legions of "barbarians "; in every encounter her gallant armies have been vanquished; all her mightiest fortresses have been captured; her Emperor has been compelled to give up his sword to the King of Prussia, and with 300,000 of his troops, and nearly all his generals, to march in captivity to the interior of Germany. Paris, her proud capital, after a gallant resistance, has been obliged to capitulate, and her now Kepublican Government reluctantly compelled to submit to a war indemnity of £200,000,000, besides the cession to Germany of Alsace and a part of Lorraine, amounting to 4500 English square miles, and containing a population of 1,580,000 souls!

The territory thus restored to Germany has been named Elsass, and has Strasburg (instead of Colmar) for its capital. North and South Germany are much more closely united than before the war began, while King William of Prussia is now proclaimed, with general acclamation, the Emperor of Germany.

Nor is this the only result of the humiliation of France. The Army of Occupation having been suddenly recalled from Eome, King Victor Emanuel has decreed that the Papal States shall henceforth constitute an integral portion of the Kingdom of Italy, of which Rome, and not Florence, is the capital; while his second son, Prince Amadeus, has become King of Spain.

The Grange, Edinrurgh, 20th April 1871.

[merged small][table]
[table][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ASIA.

1. Position and Boundaries.—N., the Arctic Ocean; "W., the Ural Mountains and River, the Caspian, Black Sea, Mediterranean, and Bed Sea; S., the Indian Ocean; E., the North Pacific Ocean.

Europe and Asia form in reality but one continent, which extends halfway round the globe. Of this gigantic continent Europe forms only a great peninsula. Asia alone is by far the largest and most populous of the six great divisions of the globe. Its form approximates to that of a scalene triangle, the longest side of which extends from East Cape in Behring Strait to Suez in Arabia, and the shortest from Suez to Cambodia. The only parts of Asia projecting beyond this triangle are, on the S., the three peninsulas of Malaya, Hindustan, and Arabia; on the N.W., the peninsulas of Anatolia and the two smaller ones on either side of the G. of Obi; and on the E., the projections of Kamtchatka, Corea, and Eastern China. Continental Asia extends from lat. 1°10' (C Romania) to 78° 12 N. (C Severo), and from Ion. 26° 3' E. (C Baba) to 169° W. (E. Cape). Hence it lies wholly in the northern hemisphere, and embraces 77 degs. of lat. and 165 of Ion. The exact centre of the continent is Earamangnai, a small lake in Southern Mongolia, about 8° W. of Pekin.

2. Coast-Line and Extreme Points.—The coast-line is variously estimated from 30,000 to 35,000 m. The former gives 1 m. of coast to every 550 m. of surface, while Europe has 1 m. to every 225 m. (p. 64). The extreme length from Behring Str. to Str. of Bab-el-Miindeb is 6700 m., and the extreme breadth from C. Severo to C. Romania 5100 m.

3. Area and Population The area of Asia is but very imperfectly ascertained; but, according to the most recent estimates, it amounts to 16,427,015 sq. m., or nearly a third part of the land surface of the globe. It is more than the area of Europe and Africa together, or even than North and South America. The population is also variously estimated, there being no accurate census of most Asiatic countries; but the sum of the populations of the different states, as given in the following table, is 784,728,500, or about four-sevenths of the population of the globe. Vast as this population is, Asia is far less densely peopled than Europe, having only 42 persons to each sq. m., while Europe has 75. The most densely peopled regions are China and the valley of the Ganges, while the least populous are the marshy flats of Siberia, and the deserts of Arabia, Syria, Persia, and Central Asia.

4. Political Divisions.—The actual number of independent states is uncertain and ever fluctuating, and several of the countries enumerated in the following table contain individually a number oi small states not acknowledging allegiance to any other power.

« AnteriorContinuar »