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a corruption of Kashghar; within the territory of which it was long included, the name having survived the dominion.*
The mountains by which this country is buttressed on every side are very lofty, and bear snow on their summits the greater part of the year. It has been conjectured, that if we except some parts of the Greater Tibet, it is the highest table-land in Asia. In confirmation of which, it has been observed, that from this high land, which, for want of a general denomination, may be called Upper Kashghar, the rivers take their course in opposite directions, and to different seas: the Sind or Indus, and the Kashkar or Ckeghanserai river, now through the mountains to the south, and after uniting near Attok, proceed to the Indian Ocean; while the Amu, which originates from the snows and springs of Pushtekar, in the same high table-land, pours down the western mountains of Belut-tagh, and after keeping for some time along the Hindukush range, pursues its course towards the sea of Aral.f No river is known to cross the Muz-tagh; but the rivers which originate on its northern face, proceed down to the desert and the lake of Lop-nor. Of these which flow north, some originate not very far from the Indus, which flows from the eastward by Ladak, between the two ranges, in the earlier part of its course.
This elevated country of Upper Kashghar, though plain when compared with the huge and broken hills which raise and inclose it on all sides, is, however, crossed in various directions by numerous hills and valleys. As the slope of the country is from the north and east, the Muz-tagh, though certainly of less height than the other ranges, probably rises from a more elevated base. Of this high and thinly-peopled country, the south-west part is called Chitral, the north-west portion Pamir, or the Plain, whence the whole country is often denominated. The country of the Dards lies in the south-east, and the rest of it is occupied by Little Tibet, which, on the east, stretches away into Great Tibet. %
The country of Usbek Turkistan may be considered as a large basin, hollowed out by the waters descending from the Paropamisan and Hindukush hills on the south, and those of Belut-tagh and Ala-tagh on the east and north, but formed into two divisions by the Asfera Mountains; on the south of which lies the vale of the Amu or Oxus, and on the north the vale of the Sirr or Jaxartes. Both of these great rivers, after receiving all the tributary streams that pour into them from the valleys and smaller branches of hills which they meet with in their course, force their way with difficulty through extensive sandy plains to the sea of Aral. Usbek Turkistan on the south, after the termination of the Paropamisan hills, may be considered as divided from Persian Khorasan by a line beginning north of Herat, in latitude 35°, and running northwest along the south verge of the Desert, so as to terminate on the Caspian, about
* Since writing the above, a friend pointed out to me Major Wilford's Discourse on Caucasus, in the sixth volume of the Asiatic Researches, in the beginning of which a similar tTain of reasoning is pursued. I certainly am not prepared to follow Major Wilford in all his subsequent conclusions, but he had good opportunities of ascertaining the existence of the Kas, or Kliasuy, in Almora, and the neighbouring hill-country.
+ Lieut. Macartney's MSS., and a memoir of Capt. Irvine.
| Lieut. Macartney and Capt. Irvine's MSS.
latitude 39°. The Caspian forms its western boundary; and a line, from the Caspian to the sea of Aral, and thence again to the Ala-tagh, or Ming Bulak Mountains, which run north of the Sirr, or Jaxartes, as far as Tashkend, completes its northern frontier.
That part of Usbek Turkistan which lies south of the Asfera Mountains, may be divided into the countries south of the Amu, or Oxus, and those to the north of that river. 4
The divisions to the south of the Amu, including also those that extend to both its banks, or which are contained between its branches, are four: 1. Badakhshan; 2. Balkh; 3. Khwarizm; and, 4. The Deserts of the Turkomans.
The divisions to the north of the Amu are five: 1. Khutlan; 2. Karatigin; 3. Hissar, or Cheghanian; 4. Kesh, or Sheher Sebz, including Karshi and Khozar; and, 5. The Vale of Soghd, in which are the celebrated cities of Samarkand and Bokhara.
The countries lying along the Vale of the Sirr, or Jaxartes, may be considered as being six in number: 1. Ferghana, now called Kokan and Nemengan; 2. Tashkend; 3. Uratippa, or Ushrushna; 4. Ghaz, or the Aral Desert; to which may perhaps be added, 5. Ilak, extending between Uratippa and Tashkend; and, lastly, The district of Turkistan Proper.
I. DIVISIONS SOUTH OF THE AMU.
It may be convenient, in reviewing the different divisions of Usbek Turkistan, to follow the course of the two great rivers, as they proceed from the hills to the Sea of Aral.
It will not be necessary to say much of the southern divisions, as they are, in general, sufficiently well known.
Badakhshan is the first district to the south of the Amu. In the age of Baber, it was considered as being bounded on the south by Kafferistan, on the east by Upper Kashghar, on the north by Khutlan, and on the west by Kundez and Anderab. It is chiefly mountainous, and appears to be formed by the course of two considerable rivers, that unite to form the Amu. That river of the two which has the longest course and the greatest body of water, is the Penj, called also the Hammu,* which appears to be the Harat of the Arabian geographers. It has lately been ascertained to rise in the high grounds east of the Belut-tagh range, issuing from under the snow of the lofty mountains of Pushtekhar, and working its way by the lower grounds of Shughnan and Derwaz.f The second river, which is called the Kokcha, or Badakhshan river, is inferior in magnitude and length of course to the first, rising to the south of it, in that high mountainous ridge of Belut-tagh, which separates Badakhshan from Chitral, and
* Hence probably the name of Amu. t Mr Elphinstone's MSS.
the course of the Kashkar or Cheghanserai river; and, on the north, divided from the course of the Penj, by a chain of lofty hills which intervene, and form the ridge of the opposite valleys. Badakhshan Proper lies along the Kokcha river, though the dominion of the King of Badakhshan generally embraced all the country south of the Penj. The country north of the Penj * belonged to Khutlaii. The mountainous tracts near its source still called Wakhan, and by Marco Polo, Vochan, are probably part of the Wakhshf of the Oriental geographers. Besides the two great valleys which run along the river, through all the extent of the country, there are numerous others which wind among the hills, particularly on the south, towards Kafferistan, and which transmit several streams of considerable size to the larger rivers. The Penj and Kokcha unite just below the Badakhshan territory.
The soil in the valleys is fertile, and the country has always been famous for producing precious stones, especially rubies and turquoises. It was visited in the 13th century by Marco Polo, whose account of this and the neighbouring provinces is far more correct than has been generally supposed. It belonged to Baber in the latter period of his life, but was not the scene of any of his more eminent exploits. He mentions, that its native king claimed descent from Sekander, or Alexander the Great; a claim which is continued down to the present day. The family may, perhaps, be descended from the Grecian dynasty of Bactriana, which subsisted so long unconnected with the empire of Alexander's successors.
The country between Badakhshan and the desert of Khwarism, on the east and west, and the Hindukush hills and the Amu, on the south and north, which, following Mr Elphinstonc, I include under the general name of Balkh, f comprehends a variety of districts that, at the present day, are under several different governments. They are chiefly valleys formed by rivers that descend from the Hindukush hills, and which, after forming glens and dales, frequently of considerable extent and fertility, discharge themselves into the Amu. The principal districts mentioned by Baber, are Anderab, Talikan, Kundez, and Khulm, to the east; Balkh, in the centre, in a plain below the Dera Gez, or Valley of Gez, and Shiberghan, Andekhud, and Mcimana, to the west. The eastern districts are generally level and fertile towards the mouth of their different rivers; but the valleys become narrower, and contract into glens as they are followed towards the sources of their parent streams on the Hindukush. The country round Balkh is level and rather sandy. The Dehas, or Balkhab, as it approaches that
* See Ebn Haukal. t See Abulfeda, Ap. Geograph. Min. Grsc. vol. III.
X This is the ancient Bactria, a term probably taken from its old Persian name of Bakhterzemin, or Eastern country, which is given it as late as the Institutes of Taimur. Khorasun is sometimes made to include this, as well as the whole country below the hills, as high up as Badakhshan on the one side, and round their ridges to Kandahar on the other. See Ebn Haukal, Baber's Memoirs, &c. The name of Khorasan may be derived either from its being the country east of Persia, or that west of Bakhterzemin; as, by an odd singularity, Khawer, in the ancient Persian, is used to signify either east or west. The first certainly seems to be the more probable.
city, after leaving the Dera Gez, diminishes in size till it nearly disappears in the barren plain; and the western districts are ill-watered, and indicate, by their sandy soil, the approach to the desert.
Baber never visited this country, which lies near the mouth of the Amu or Oxus; and, being surrounded on all sides by desert, may be considered as an island formed in the waste by the Amu; by innumerable branches and cuts from which, the whole country is enriched. Its geography is very defective and erroneous, though considerable materials exist for correcting it. The Amu, soon after it passes the cultivated country of Urgenj, meets the sandy desert, in which it is nearly swallowed up, so that the river is of no great volume when it reaches the sea of Aral.
4. Desert Of The Turkomans.!
This desert, which extends from Khwarizm and the borders of Balkh to the Caspian, and from the limits of the Persian Khorasan to the sea of Aral, and the country of the Kerghis, is inhabited by wandering Turkomans, some of whom own submission to the Chiefs of Khwarizm, or Urgenj, and others to the Persians; while a considerable portion of them yield scarcely even a nominal submission to either.
II. DIVISIONS NORTH OF THE AMU.
It has already been remarked, that these divisions are bounded on the east by the Belut-tagh mountains, which extend northward from the Hindukush to the Asfera mountains, are very lofty and precipitous, and bear snow on their summits the greater part of the year, some of them without intermission. They are probably very broken and abrupt, as no pass is known to cross them, except from Badakhshan. And it is remarkable, that, in consequence of the height and abruptness of the moun
* The Chorasmin of the Persarum Syntaxis, (see Gcograph. Gr.'Minor. vol. III. p. 5,) is, I presume, the two Khwarizms; and indeed it includes places both in Khwarizm and Balkh. The Greek translator, to express our B, always uses Mt. as in Bokhara, Balkh, Tibet (TEM niT), &c The Latin translator does not seem to have understood some of the names; thus, MAPANA, Mayrana, is Maweralnaher; ZAOTL, Saul, is Zabul, or Zablestan; KOISTAN, Koittan, is Kohistan; xnfutrxi, Chamatan, forte Chamultan, is Hamadan ; Sirazin is Shiraz ; Sistarin, Shuster; Artuel, Ardebil; Giaz is Chach, &c . &c.
+ The term Turkoman, James de Vitri derives from Turci et Comani, by an etymology, says Gibbon; which few critics will adopt . Vet, as we find the Turkomans pushing in on both sides of the Caspian, by Azerbaejan and the desert of Khwarizm, in both instances advancing out of the country called Comania, by the earliest travellers, from the wandering tribe of Romans, who inhabited it, there seems to be no good reason why they might not have received their name from being designated as Turk-Koman, or Koman-Turks, to distinguish them from the numerous tribes of the same race. See the travels of Carpini and Rubriquis in Hakluyt and Bergeron. The Cuban derives its name from this tribe of Cornani or Cobani.
tains which inclose the country that has been denominated Usbek Turkistan on the east, there appear in all ages to have been only two passes across them for caravans and armies, both of which are gained by following the course of the two great rivers the Amu and the Sirr, to which the country appears to owe many of its most obvious features. The one of these grand passes leads through Badakhshan, and is the route taken by the caravan of Kabul, and frequently by that of Samarkand and Bokhara, on its road to Khoten and Kashghar. This was the road followed by Marco Polo, in the thirteenth century, and more recently by De Goes,* the last European who is known to have crossed these mountains. The second pass, which ascends by the sources of the Sirr, lies in the hills that separate Ferghana from Kashghar, to the eastward of Ush. This is the road by which the ambassadors of Sharokh returned from China. Some inroads of Taimur's generals, by this pass, are recorded; and the caravan of Kashgar seems to have taken this road in going between that city and Samarkand in the time of Baber's father, as it does at the present day. The route pursued by the caravan of Tashkend, in its way to Kashghar and China, is not quite clear; but, in some instances, it seems to have gone up the right bank of the Sirr; and after passing the Julgeh Ahengeran, or Blacksmith's Dale, to have crossed the range of hills that encloses Ferghana on the west, near Ahsi; to have proceeded on thence to Uzkend, and from that place, by the same pass, as the caravan of Samarkand. There is, however, reason to imagine, that the caravan of Tashkend frequently kept a more northerly course, skirting the Ala-tagh hills that enclose Ferghana on the north and east; and that after rounding them, and passing near Almaligh, it proceeded straight to Kashghar. These are the only routes by which Eastern Turkistan f appears to have been reached from the west; and an attention to this fact will explain several difficulties in the earlier historians and travellers. If the supposed route to the north of the Ala-tagh hills was really one of those followed by the caravan of Tashkend, it will perhaps explain a difficulty stated by Major Rennell, in his Memoir of a Map of Hindostan. After mentioning that Kashghar was 25 days' journey from Samarkand, he observes, that one account differs so much from the rest, that he will draw no conclusion from it. It is one that makes 27 journeys from Tashkend to Kashgar, "although Tashkend is supposed to be five journeys nearer to it than Samarkand is." If the Tashkend route led round the hills to the north of Ferghana, whence the traveller had to return southward towards Kashghar, the itinerary in question will not be so inconsistent with the others as it might at first seem to be.
The two districts of Khutlan and Karatigin, which stretch along the Belut-tagh mountains, are more inaccessible and less known than most of the others. The name of Khutl,
* See Kircher's China Illustrata, p. 62, folio; and Astley's Collection of Voyages, vol. IV. p. 6*3, quarto, t The country very absurdly called Little Bucharia.