A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.

The principal lords of Abyssinia informed me, that in their country the winter began in May, and lasted all June and July and part of August, in which latter month the weather becomes mild and pleasant.  In June and July it is a great wonder if the sun ever make his appearance; and in these two months so great and continual are the rains that the fields and low grounds are entirely overflown, so that the people cannot go from one place to another.  That this prodigious quantity of water hath no other issue or gathering-place excepting the Nile; as towards the Red Sea the country is entirely skirted by very high mountains.  Hence that river must necessarily swell prodigiously and go beyond its ordinary bounds, as unable to contain such vast quantities of water, and overflows therefore both in Egypt and the other lands through which it passes.  And as the territories of Egypt are the most plain of these, of necessity the overflowing there must be the more copious, as the river has there more scope and freedom to spread out its waters than in the high and mountainous lands of Abyssinia.  Now, it is manifest that the inundations of the Nile in Egypt always begin when the sun is in the summer solstice, which is in June, while in July the river increases in greater abundance, and in August, when the rains diminish in Abyssinia, the river decreases by similar degrees to its former increase.  Hence the manifest cause of the increase of the Nile is from the great and continual rains that fall in Abyssinia during the months of June and July.  I was myself in Massua in the month of June and part of July, where I saw great storms of thunder and rain; and we saw within the continent great and constant black clouds; though the Abyssinians said what we saw was little in comparison of what it was in the inland country.  We likewise know that the months of June and July are the winter season at the Cape of Good Hope and all the coast of Africa, where the rains are continual.  I was likewise told that the Nile formed many islands, especially one exceedingly large, in which was a great and rich city; which on due consideration must be the Island of Meroe.  They told me also that on this great island, and all through the river, there were great numbers of fierce and pestiferous animals, which doubtless must be crocodiles.  Enquiring if the river in a certain place fell from such a height, that with the noise of the fall those who inhabited the neighbouring towns were born deaf; they said that certainly in one place the river did fall over a great rock with a prodigious noise, but had no such effects.

As an extended account of the manners and customs of the Abyssinians would interfere with this journal, I must touch them only shortly, though most worthy of being known; more especially the causes of the overthrow and ruin of this empire in these our own days.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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