Persia

Persia (7,000), occupies the tableland 5000 ft. high between the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea on the S., the Caspian Sea and Turkestan on the N., Armenia on the W., and Afghanistan and Beluchistan on the E., and is a country three times as large as France; lofty mountain ranges traverse it from NW. to SE. and gird its northern boundary; the highest peak is Mount Demavend, 18,500 ft., in the Elburz, overlooking the Caspian. Most of the rivers evaporate inland; only one is navigable, the Karun, in the SW.; Lake Urumiyah, in the NW., is the largest, a very salt and shallow sheet of water. The eastern half of the country is largely desert, where the sand is swept about in clouds by the winds. With little rain, the climate is intensely hot in summer and cold in winter. Forests clothe the outer slopes of the mountains, and scanty brushwood the inner plains. Wheat and barley are grown on higher levels, and cotton, sugar, and fruits on the lower, all with the help of Irrigation. Agriculture is the chief industry; there are manufactures of carpets, shawls, and porcelain. The internal trade is carried on by caravans; foreign trade is not extensive, and is chiefly in Russian hands; the exports include opium, carpets, pearls, and turquoises. The capital is Teheran (210), a narrow, crooked, filthy town, at the southern foot of the Elburz. Tabriz (180), in the NW., is the emporium of trade. Ispahân (60), Meshed (60), Barfurush (60), and Shiraz (30) are the other important towns. The Government is despotic; the emperor is called the Shah. The people are courteous and refined in manner, witty, and fluent in speech; they are of Aryan stock and Mohammedan faith. The original empire of Persia was established by Cyrus 537 B.C. A century later decay set in. Revival under Parthian and Sassanian dynasties lasted from 138 B.C. till A.D. 639. Persia became then a province of the Arabs. From the 14th century it fell under Mongol sway, and again in the 16th century under Turkish. The present dynasty was founded in 1795. The future of the country is in Russian and British hands.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Perseus * Persian Gulf
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