BEIRUT, or BEYROUT, or ba root' (ancient Bicovrns), Syria, a flourishing seaport, 60 miles northwest of Damascus. It stands on a tongue of land projecting into an open bay, and spreading out toward the land into a beautiful plain, backed by the mountains of Lebanon. It consists of the old town, com posed generally of narrow, dirty streets, the residence of the poorer classes, and the busi ness place of the merchants; and of the new town, which stretches around it. The latter, with its modern houses, carriage roads and gardens,— its churches, colleges, schools and hotels,— has little or nothing of the Oriental in its composition. Beirut has rapidly increased Ance 1844 'when its Population was only 8,030, its rise being largely due to the extension of the silk trade, of which it is the centre. The better protection afforded both to foreigners and na tives by its being the residence of the consuls general has also contributed to its prosperity. It is the seat of a consulate of the United States. Besides silk its principal exports are olive oil, cereals, sesame seed, tobacco and wool. Ship building is carried on here; an English company completed waterworks here in 1875 and gas works were built by a French company in 1886.
Besides a Scottish school for Jews, there is an American-Syrian mission in Beirut, printing an nually thousands of Arabic Bibles and having a school and hospital connected with it. In ancient times Beirut was a large and important Phcenician city, and under the Romans was long celebrated for its school of jurisprudence. The Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II raised it to the rank of a metropolis. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 551. The Arabs took posses sion of it in 635, and yielded it to Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem, in 1110. Saladin recaptured it from the Christians in 1187 but it soon fell into the hands of the Druses, who maintained their control of it until the last century. It was bombarded and taken by the British on 29 Aug. 1840. There is a railway to Damascus, Aleppo and Tripoli. A pasha, a Greek bishop, a Maro nite archbishop and a papal delegate are sta tioned here. The population, about 120,000, is composed of 36,000 Mohammedans, 76,000 Christians, 2,500 Jews, 400 Druses and about 4,300 Europeans.