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Tripoli

miles, south, district, desert, north, coast and fezzan

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TRIPOLI, North Africa, formerly a Turk ish province, but since 1912 annexed to Italy, situated along the Mediterranean Coast from Egypt to Tunis, and extending inland from 60 to 600 miles to the Libyan Desert and French Sahara. It consists of Tripoli proper, the semi detached district of Barca or Benghazi in the northeast and the oasis district of Fezzan in the south, and is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the south by the Sahara, on the east and southeast by the Libyan Desert and on the west by Tunis. The total area of Tripoli and its dependencies is about 406,000 square miles.

Topography.— There are practically no harbors of any importance with the exception of Tripoli, the capital city, as the coast line stretches for over 700 miles in an irregular line and is almost unbroken by protecting headlands or indented with bays. The eastern half forms the Syrtis Major or Gulf of Sidra and is broken by numerous rocky points, which are, however, of insufficient size to form harbors; the western half, extending from the Gulf of Cabes, or Les ser Syrtis, east to Mesurata Point, is low and sandy. The greater portion of the interior, even up to the Mediterranean shores, is a desert country consisting of sandy plains or naked mountains and plateaus. Two mountain ranges stretch from west to east, running nearly par allel to the coast, to the south the Suara Moun tains and to the north the Gharian Mountains, the latter about 20 miles from the coast, having a width of from 12 to 15 miles and consisting for the most part of volcanic rocks and isolated peaks. In the southwestern and southern parts of Tripoli proper is the Hammada-el-Homra. an interminable stony tableland covering about 40,000 square miles and about 1,500 feet above sea-level, south of which is the Fezzan depres sion, in the oasis of which dwell tribes nomi nally subject to Tripoli, but practically inde pendent. The eastern part of the country (Barca) is practically a continuation of the desert in the south, the mountains to the north being a continuation of the two ranges in Tripoli proper.

Fezzan.— This section of the country cov ers an area of about 150,200 square miles. In the northern part are low mountains or hills and sandy plains and a few fertile valleys are in the southern part. To the south, especially

in the district surrounding the capital, Muzruk, are numerous oases, which together with the Valley of Wady Lajal, form the most fertile section of Fezzan, corn and dates being culti vated in large quantities. The most common animals found in the hills are foxes, jackals, gazelles, the ostrich, vulture and falcon. There are no streams of water and but a few natural springs and small lakes, the rainfall being very slight and with long periods intervening.

Bares.— To the western and northern parts of this district, which is about 500 miles long by 400 miles wide,' is the elevated plateau of Cyrenaica, which encloses the Gulf of Sidra and which is separated on the south from the Libyan Desert by the Aujila depression, a remarkable chain of low-lying oases. South of this depres sion the land gradually rises to a height of 1,200 feet and then again depresses to the level of the desert. The sides and summits of the hills in the east and north are well cultivated and af ford excellent pasture.

The climate is dry and warm, but healthful, droughts prevailing from May to September and rains from November to March.

In the hilly districts a large portion of the land is left for purposes and cattle-breeding has become an important branch of trade, but olives, figs, almonds and other fruits are cultivated to a considerable ex tent. The coast region in the extreme west, particularly the district of Mesheea, is a fertile fruit and cotton-raising district, the chief prod ucts of which are wheat, barley (the chief food of the people), millet, Indian corn, pomegran ates, lemons, figs, jujubes, apricots, plums, watermelons, cotton, silk, tobacco, saffron, mad der and castor-oil; while from the interior comes senna, dates and galls. Esparto-grass, barley and other grains, straw mats, earthen jars and other manufactures, beside the sur plus products of the date and olive plantations, are exported by sea. The principal articles manufactured are carpets, cloaks, etc., sack ing, prepared skins, morocco leather, earthen wares, etc. There is considerable trade by caravan with the Sudan, carrying European goods south, and ivory, ostrich feathers, rubber and gold north. The total value of the com merce is about $7,000,000 annually.

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