A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

The third resident is fixed at Mokha, being always a merchant, having two factors under him.  This country is under the government of an Arab prince, styled Imaum, who resides in the inland country, about 200 miles east from Mokha.  The sea-port of his dominions was formerly Aden; but as that was found very inconvenient, he removed the trade to Mokha, then only a fishing village.  Mokha is situated close to the sea, in a large dry sandy plain, which affords neither fruits nor water, except what is brackish and unwholesome, and those who are forced to drink it have long worms bred in their legs and feet, which are very troublesome and dangerous.  The town is supplied with very good and wholesome water from Musa, a town at the distance of twenty miles; but it is so dear, being brought by land carriage; that it costs as much as small beer does in England.  Mokha is large, and makes a fine appearance from the sea, the buildings being lofty, but they look much better without than within.  The markets are well supplied with provisions, such as beef, mutton, goats, kid, lamb, and camels flesh, antelopes, poultry, guinea-fowls, partridges, and pigeons.  The sea affords a variety of fish, but not well tasted, owing probably to the nature of their food.  It is also furnished all the year with excellent fruits, as grapes, peaches, apricots, and quinces, of which they make great quantities of marmalade, both for their own use and exportation.  Yet there is neither tree nor shrub to be seen near the town, except a few date-trees, and they seldom have above two or three showers of rain in a year, sometimes no rain for two or three years.  Among the mountains, however, about twenty miles inland, seldom a morning passes without a moderate shower, which makes the vallies very fertile in such corn and fruits as suit the soil and climate.  They have plenty of wheat and barley, but no rice.

Since Mokha has been made a free port, it has become a place of great trade.  Besides the Dutch factory, it has one belonging to the English East-India Company.  Trade is also carried on here by English free merchants, by Portuguese, Banians, and Moors; also by vessels from Basora, Persia, and Muskat.  The country itself produces few commodities, except coffee and some drugs, as myrrh, olibanum or frankincense from Cossin, Soccotrine aloes from Soccotora, liquid storax, white and yellow arsenic, some gum-arabic, mummy, and balm of gilead, these two last being brought down the Red Sea.  The coffee trade brings a continual supply of gold and silver from Europe, particularly Spanish money, German crowns, and other European silver coins, with chequins and German and Hungarian gold ducats, and ebramies and magrabees of Turkey.  It is a settled point here, though other goods may be bought and sold on credit for a certain time, coffee must always be paid for in ready money.  The European shipping that comes here annually rather exceeds 20,000 tons, and that belonging to other nations may amount to nearly the same tonnage.  The whole province of Betlefackee is planted with coffee-trees, which are never allowed to grow above four or five yards high.  The berries cling to the branches like so many insects, and are shaken off when ripe.  They are at first green, then red, and lastly of a dark-brown colour.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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