FEZZAN, fez-ziin'. A lieutenant-governorship of the Turkish Vilayet of Tripoli, in northern Africa (Map: Africa, F 2). It is an ex tensive oasis occupying the southern portion of the vilayet, with a total area of about 150,000 square miles. The greater portion of the surface consists of hills of black quartz sandstone, among which the most prominent are the Jebel-es-Soda or Black Mountains, running from east to west, for a distance of about 170 miles, and not exceed ing 3000 feet in altitude. The northwestern part of the country is an elevated waterless plateau known as Hammada-el-Homra, while the southern portion is a desert. The rivers are insignificant, and vegetation is found mainly along the wadies, or dried-up river-courses, where also are lo cated the chief centres of population. The chief of these wadies are the Shati, lying between lati tudes 27° and 28° N., and the Sherki, situated south of the Shati, the centre of the most fertile section of Fezzan. The climate is hot and dry in the summer, and cold in the winter. Not more than a tenth of the area is cultivable. In the neighborhood of the villages, which are situated mainly in the wadies, wheat, barley, etc., are grown partly with the aid of artificial irrigation. The date is the principal article of food. Large
numbers of camels and horses are raised. The population is estimated at a little over 40.000. The inhabitants are a mixed race. of a brown color, generally well formed. and in many re spects resembling the negro. The original inhabi tants belonged to the Berber family, but since the invasion of the country by the Arabs the traces of this native North African element have grad ually disappeared. The chief elements in the population are Tuaregs. Arabs, Moors, and negroes. The language spoken is a corrupt mixture of Berber and Arabic. The capital is Murzuk (q.v.). Fezzan is the Phazania of the ancients, and was conquered in B.C. 19 by the Romans tinder the proconsul L. Cornelius IlaIbus. Christianity was introduced at the end of the sixth century, but with the conquest of the territory by the Arabs at the end of the seventh century Mohammedanism took its place. The territory was governed by its own princes under the suzerainty of the Arabs, and subse quently became a tributary State of Tripoli. With the extinction of its dynasty of rulers. Fezzan became. after a period of internal uprisings and usurpations. a dependeney of Tripoli.