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.
latter work this description of the Red Sea is extracted, on purpose to illustrate the two preceding journals, and to shew that there really is such a gulf on the coast of Arabia as that mentioned by the ancients, that geographers may not be misled by the mistake of Don Juan de Castro.  In this edition, the words inserted between parenthesis are added on purpose to accommodate the names to the English orthography, or to make the description more strictly conformable to the Arabic.  The situations or geographical positions are here thrown out of the text, to avoid embarrassment, and formed into a table at the end.  We cannot however warrant any of them, as those which may have been settled by actual observation are not distinguished from such as may not have had that advantage; which indeed is the general fault of oriental tables of latitude and longitude.  The latitude of Al Kossir comes pretty near that formed by Don Juan de Castro; but that of Al Kolzum must err above one degree, while that of Swakem is more than two degrees erroneous.—­Ast.

[Footnote 338:  Astley, I. 130.  We have adopted this article from Astleys Collection, that nothing useful or curious may be omitted.  In the present time, when the trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope is about to be thrown open, it might be highly useful to publish a series of Charts of all the coasts and islands of the great Eastern Ocean; and among others, a Chart of the Red Sea, with a dissertation on its geography and navigation, might be made of singular interest and utility.—­E.]

[Footnote 339:  See Gagnier’s preface to the life of Mahomet by Abu’lfeda; and the preface of Shulten to that of Saladin—­Astl.  I. 130. d.]

The author begins his description of the sea of Kolzum or of Yaman at Al Kolzum[340], a small city at the north end of this sea; which from thence runs south, inclining a little towards the east, as far as al Kasir (al Kossir) the port of Kus[341].  Hence it continues its course south, bending somewhat westward to about Aidab (Aydhab[342].) The coast passes afterwards directly south to Sawakan (Swakem), a small city in the land of the blacks, (or al Sudan).  Proceeding thence south, it encompasses the island of Dahlak, which is not far from the western shore.  Afterwards advancing in the same direction, it washes the shores of al Habash (Ethiopia or Abyssinia), as far as the cape or mountain of al Mandab (or al Mondub), at the mouth of the Bahr al Kolzum or Red Sea, which here terminates; the Bahr al Hind, or Indian Sea flowing into it at this place.  The cape or mountain of al Mandub and the desert of Aden approach very near, being separated only by so narrow a strait that two persons on the opposite sides may see each other across.  These Straits are named Bab al Mandab.  By some travellers the author was informed that these Straits lie on this side of Aden to the north-west, a day and nights sail.  The mountains of al Mandab are in the country of the negroes, and may be seen from the mountains of Aden, though at a great distance.  Thus much for the western side of this sea.  Let us now pass over to the eastern coast.

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