William Shepherd.

Systematic education: or Elementary instruction in the various departments of literature and science; with practical rules for studying each branch of useful knowledge (Volume 1) online

. (page 27 of 44)
Online LibraryWilliam ShepherdSystematic education: or Elementary instruction in the various departments of literature and science; with practical rules for studying each branch of useful knowledge (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Atlas, situated in the north-west of Africa. The northern, or
frozen ocean surrounds the north pole, and is bounded to-
wards the south by the northern limits of Europe, Asia, and
America, with the Atlantic Ocean and Beering's Strait, by
which last a communication is formed between it and the
Pacific Ocean. The South Polar Sea encompasses the south
pole in a similar manner, and is a continuation of the Atlan-
tic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. The Indian Ocean washes



the eastern coasts of Africa, the southern shores of Asia, and
forms the western boundary of Ne>v Holland.

Tliere is no doubt, from the experience of past ages, as
recorded in well-authenticated histories, that the waters are
constantly encroaching upon the land in some places, and re-
ceding from it in others, A considerable part of the eastern
coast of Great Britain appears, at some remote period, to
have been under the sea ; and, in the reign of Henry I. the
estates of the Earl Goodwin were overflowed by the sea, and
formed what are now denominated the Goodwin Sands. It
is not improbable that the island of Sicily was once united to
Italy, and our island, with France.


Europe is bounded on the north by the Frozen Ocean,
on the west by the Atlantic, on the south by the Mediterra-
nean, and on the east it is divided from Asia by an imaginary
line drawn through the Archipelago, the Black Sea, the Sea of
Azoph, continued along the rivers Don and Wolga, and thence
to the UraHan mountains, from which it proceeds to the north
sea under Nova Zembla. Within these limits are several
kingdoms, as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Russia, in the
north ; then follow Prussia, Germany, Austria, and Turkey in
Europe, Italy, and Switzerland ; on the westerly side there are
Holland, France, Portugal, and Spain. Between Switzerland
and Italy, is the city of Geneva. The lower part of Italy is
called the kingdom of Naples. At the top, to the west, is
Genoa, above this, is Piedmont, in which is Turin, formerly
the capital of the king of Sardinia's dominions. At the top
of Italy, on the east, is Venice, from which the gulf of Ve-
nice, that separates Italy from Turkey in Europe, takes its
Dame. Above the gulf of Venice is the Tyrol, Cariuthia,
Istria, and Cumiola ; and above Turkey in Europe are the do-
minions of the emperor of Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia.
The lower part of Turkey in Europe is called Romclia ; this

Was anciently the celebrated Greece, of which the lowest
part, called the Morea, was the Peloponnesus. To the east
of Germany, above Hungary, was formerly situated the king*
dom of Poland, which the then sovereigns of Russia and Ger-
many, with the king of Prussia, seized, and wickedly divided
among themselves. That part of Russia which is contained
between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azoph, is called the
Crimea, or Little Tartary. To the north of Norway, Sweden,
and Russia, is Lapland, divided into Danish, Swedish, and
Russian Lapland, and between the gulfs of Bothnia and Fin-
land, is that large tract of country denominated Finland.
Norway has long been subject to the crown of Denmark ;
but, by a late treaty, it is to pass under the government of
Sweden. Between the island of Zealand and the coast of
Sweden, is the Sound, where a toll is claimed by the king of
Denmark, from all ships which pass through it.

The chief of the European islands are Great Britain and
Ireland, whose decided pre-eminence among the .nations of
the world, was never so signally displayed as within the last
five or six years. Above these islands is Iceland ; and, about
midway between Europe and America, off the coast of Por-
tugal, are the Azores, the most remote of the European
islands. In the Mediterranean, off the coast of Spain, are
Yvica, Majorca, and Minorca. Under Genoa are Corsica
and Sardinia. At the foot of Sicily is the celebrated island
of Malta. To these may be added to the east, Candia and Cy
prus. Zealand is the principal island in the Baltic, in which
is Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.


Asia is bounded on the north by the Arctic ocean, on the
east by the Pacific, on the south by the Indian ocean, and on
the west by Europe, the Mediterranean and Red Sea : by
the latter it is separated from Africa.

Asiatic Turkey comprizes several states which have obtain-
ed conspicuous places in the ancient history of the world 5

VOL. 1. * Y *


among these are Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia,
Mingrelia. It is now divided into provinces, Natolia, or An-
atolia, occupies the western part of Lesser Asia, and is fol-
lowed on the south-east by Caramania. East of this is Roum,
extending from the north-east shore of the Mediterranean to
tlie southern coast of the Black Sea. Syria is the name still
applied to a district on the eastern limits of the Mediterranean
Sea ; and Armenia, on the south-east extremity of the Black
Sea, retains its ancient appellation. Algezira borders on the
Arabian desert, and occupies the greatest part of the ancient
Mesopotamia, situated between the Euphrates and Tigris.

To the south of Asiatic Turkey, and between the Arabian
or Red Sea, and Persian Gqlph, is Arabia, and on the East is
Persia, below which is Hindostan, the ancient empire of the
Great Mogul, lying between the rivers Indus and Ganges.
In this part of Asia are the principal British and European
settlements. On the west of Hindostan is the British settle-
ment of Bombay, an island a little below the gulph of Cam-
bay. Lower down on the western side is the coast of Mala-
bar, and on the eastern, is the coast of Coromandel. On
the coast of Malabar is the Mysore, and on the opposite is
the Camatic. The southern point of Hindostan, is called
Cape Comorin. On the Coromandel coast is Pondicherry,
long famous as the capital of the French settlements in the
East Indies, but now possessed by the British, who are, in
fact, the masters of India Proper. Above Pondicherry is
Madras, and, at the mouth of the river Gauges is Bengal, of
which the capital is Calcutta, the principal of the British set-
tlements in India. South of Bengal is Orissa, and, to the
north-west of it, is Bahar. Above Bahar is Oude, and to the
north of Oude is Delhi ; below Delhi is Agra. Eastward of
the Ganges is the kingdom of Pegu, which, with Ava, consti-
tutes the Birman empire. To the south of Pegu is Siam,
and on the west of tlie gulph of Siam is Malaya, and on the
east of the same gulph is Cambodia. On the north-east of
this is Cochin-China, and more north is Tonquio. China


extends from the gulph of Tonquiu to the Yelled Sea. West
of Cl)ina is Thibet. North and north-west of China, is the
region of Chinese, or Mogul Tartary. Still westward, to-
wards the Caspian, is Calmuc and Usbec Tartary, and the
space between the Black and Caspian Seas, is Russian Tar-
tary. The whole of the upper part of Asia, beyond the pro-
vinces already described, is Siberia. Quite in the north-east,
is Kamtschatka.

The principal Asiatic islands, are, Ceylon, to the south-
east of Cape Comorin. Off the promontory of Malacca,
are the Sunnatran or Sunda Isles. East of Sumatra, and
above Java, is the large island of Borneo, and north of Bor-
neo, are the Philippines, called also the Manillas. East of
Borneo, are the Celebezian Isles ; north-east of the Celebes,
are the Molucca or Banda Isles. East of these is New Gui-
nea. Off the coast of China, lies the island of Hainan : to
the east of Canton, is the island of Formosa ; and, north of the
coast of China, are the islands of Japan.


Africa is an immense peninsula, connected with Asia by
the isthmus of Suez, bounded on the north by the Mediterra-
nean, which separates it from Europe, on the East by the
above named isthmus, the Red Sea, and the Indian ocean,
by which it is divided from Asia: its southern part runs into the
Southern ocean, and the Atlantic flows on its western shores.
It is probably more than thrice as large as Europe, but in the
estimation of the politician and philosopher it is of vastly less
importance than any of the other three grand divisions of the
globe, nevertheless, if its relative situation be examined, it is
better adapted to commerce than any other quarter of the
globe. Its north coast, for a thousand miles, being opposite
to, and at no great distance from Europe. From Asia it is
separated only by the Red or Arabian Sea : and its western
coast, for two thousand miles, lies opposite to America, l^he
people, however, are ignorant, and where there is little or no

y O '


knowledge, the great spring to action is wanting, and from
such a country, nothing good can be expected or hoped for.

In Africa, the first kingdom on the western side below the
straits of Gibraltar, is Fez; proceeding eastward is Algiers,
then Tunis, and Tripoli, beyond which is Barca, and still
more eastward is Egypt. The coast from Fez to Tripoli in-
clusive, is called the Barbary coast, of which the governments
are military, under a governor called a Dey or Bey, who is
said to be subject to the Grand Signior; but who, in fact, is
really independent, except on his own troops.

South of the Barbary coast is the Sahara, an immense and
unexplored Desert ; and below this, reaching from a little
above Cape de Verde to the coast of Guinea, is the coast of
Senegambia. On the south of this is the settlement of Sierra
Leone, below which is the coast of Guinea, divided into the
Grain, the Ivory, and Gold coasts. Below Guinea are the
Portuguese settlements of Congo, Loango, and Angola. The
southern point of Africa is called the Cape of Good Hope.
Here is Caffraria, the country of the Hottentots. Ascending
from the Cape along the eastern side of Africa, are the coasts
of Natal, Sabia, Sofala, Mozambique, Querimba, Zanguebar,
Azania, and Ajan. On the north point of Ajan, is Cape
Guardana, west of which are the straits of Babelniandel,
which lead into the Red or Arabian Sea. West of this sea lu
the kingdom of Abyssinia, above which is Nubja, comprizing
Sennaar and Dongola, and, still higher up, is the long and far-
famed Egypt. The remainder of Africa is but little known,
notwithstanding the attempts that have been made to explore
the country.

The islands to be enumerated with this quarter of the globe
are the Madeiras. The Canaries, or Fortunate Islands, of
which seven are inhabited. The chief of these is Tenerifte,
celebrated for its mountain called the Peak of Teneriffe, an
extinct volcano, twelve thousand feet above the level of iUc
sea. South of the Canaries, are the ten Cape de Verde islands,
f which St. Jago is the chief. In the gulph of Guinea, are


Prince's and St. Thomas's Islands. South of the latter is tlie
island Annabon, far to the west of which are St. Matthew
and Ascension islands; and, much to the south of St. Matthew,
is the island of St. Helena. Off the coast of Mozambique is
the island of Madagascar, one of the largest in the world,
to the East of which are the islands of St. Mauritius and


Amebica, though usually denominated a quarter of the
world, is, more properly speaking, a hemisphere, discovered
as we have seen, by the immortal Columbus. On the 1 1 th
of October, 1492, this great man perceived a light in one of
the Bahama islands, on which he landed the following morn-
ing, and gave it the name of San Salvador, though by the
natives it was called Guanahani. Soon after, he landed at
Cuba, and on the 6th of December, he arrived at the island of
Hispaniola, since called St. Domingo. It was not till some
years after, that he discovered the main land of South America ;
previously to which, North America had been visited by Gio-
vanni Cabot, a Venetian, employed by Henry VII. of Eng-

Among the followers of Columbus, was Amerigo Vespucci,
a Florentine, who, on his return, wrote a narrative of his ad-
venturesr, with so much art as to make it appear, that he had
the glory of having first discovered the continent of the New
World. Amerigo's account was drawn up with elegance : it
contained an amusing history of the voyage, and as it was the
first description that was published, it circulated with amazing
rapidity, and was read with admiration. The country of
which Amerigo was supposed to be the discoverer, came
gradually to be called by his name, and time has perpetuated
the error. Notwithstanding attempts have been made to sub-
stitute the name of Columbia for that of America, the
latter is almost universally adopted as the designation of this
newly discovered hemisphere. Thus the bold pretensions of


a fortunate adventurer and impostor, have robbed the disco-
verer of tlie New World, of a distinction that belonged to
him. The name of Amerigo has supplanted that of Colum-
bus, and mankind may in vain regret an act of injustice,
which, having received the sanction of ages, it is now too late
to redress.

North America, with which we shall begin, is bounded on
the east by the Atlantic, on the west by the great Pacific
ocean, on the south by the isthmus of Panama, on the* north,
above Hudson's Bay, its boundaries are unknown. Travellers
have, however, penetrated far into the Arctic circle. Davis's
Strait, which leads into Baffin's Bay, may be said to separate
North America from Greenland, which has been divided into
West or New Greenland, and East or Old Greenland. A
north-west passage, in these high latitudes, has been frequently
attempted, but without success, and the project seems now
to be completely abandoned.

The British possessions in North America, lie above lakes
Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, which dis-
charge themselves, through the river St. Lawrence, into the
Atlantic ocean. At the mouth of St. Lawrence, and on the
eastern side, is New Brunswick, and still farther east is Nova
Scotia, almost surrounded by the Atlantic, but the part which
separates this peninsula from New Brunswick, is called Fundy
Bay, remarkable for its high and rapid tides, which frequently
rise fifty or sixty feet in height.

The country, lying north-east of St. Lawrence, is called
Lower Canada, that which is to the north of the lakes just enu-
merated, is Upper Canada. Labrador, or New Britain, is a
very extensive tract of coimtry north of Lower Canada, be-
tween Hudson's Bay and Davis's Straits. On the southern
coast of Hudson's Bay, is New South Wales, and on the
west, is New North Wales. The British territories are the
two Canadas, Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scptia,
besides the islands of Newfoundland, Cape Bveton and St.
Johu. The metropolis of the British American possessions


is Quebec, situated on the river St. Lawrence : next to this is
Montreal in the Lower, and York, the seat of government
of the Upper Canada.

South of the iiver St. Lawrence and the lakes, are the
United States of America, formerly provinces of Great Britain,
but which, in 1782, after a seven years' war, obtained their
independence. There were at first only thirteen of these con-
federated provinces, but they are now divided into seventeen ;
besides seven territorial governments. In books of Geography
they are frequently arranged according to their situation, as
the northern and southern, and the middle between the other
two ; but if they are enumerated according to their population,
the following will be the order, as given in the late census :

Provinces. Population.

Virginia 965,079

New York 959,220

Pennsylvania 810,163
Massachusets )

and the Main 5 "^00,745

North Carolina 563,526

South Carolina 414,935

Kentucky 406,511

Maryland 380,546

The territorial governments are,

Orleans 76,556

Mississippi 40,352

Indiana 24,520

Columbia - 24,023

It should be noticed that Louisiana is a subject still in dis-
pute between Spain and America. The remainder of North
America belongs to Spain, consisting of East and West Flo-
rida, New Mexico, and, still more westward, California. To
the south of these is Mexico, or New Spain, divided into va-
rious provinces, at the lower part of which is Honduras, ce-
lebrated for its logwood, and, still more southward, if Panama,
giving name to the isthmus which separates Nortli from South









New Jersey






New Hampshire


Rhode Island











America. The western parts of North America are but little


We have already noticed the large and important island of
Newfoundland : in the mid-way between thb and the West
Indies, are the Bermudas or Sommer's Islands. Off the
coast of East Florida lie the Bahamas, and below are Cuba,
Hispaniola, and Jamaica. Porto-Rico is east of Hispaniola,
and to. the south-west of this, are llie Caribbee Islands, of
which the chief are BarbaBoes, Martinique, and Guadaloupe.
Of the Caiibbees, those south of 15 N. Lat. are called
Windward islands: those more northerly, are denominated
Leeward islands.

South America requires a very short description. The
more northerly part is called the Spanish Main : east of the
isthmus of Panama is the goN'ernment of the Carraccas, to
the east of which is Guiana, divided among the Spaniards,
French, and Portuguese : on the west is New Granada.
South-east of these is the immense province of Brasil, belong-
ing to the Portuguese, at the back of which is Paraquay, at-
tached to Spain. Below is Buenos Ayres, and below this,
in the central parts of Soutli America, are the Pampas, or
immense plains between the Eastern coast and the Andes.
At the most southern parts of the continent is Patagonia, on
the western side above this is Chili. Above this is Peru,
and above this is Granada, reaching up to the Isthmus of

Tlie islands of South America, in the Pacific ocean, are
the Gallipagoes, through which the Equator runs. Off" the
coast of Chili, is the island of Juan Fernandez. At the bot-
tom of Chili, is the island of Chiloe. At the extremity of
South America is a collection of small islands, called Terra
del Fuego, or land of fire, from the volcanoes there. The
extreme southern point of these is called Cape Hofn. Terra
del Fuego is separated from South America, by the straits of
Magellaiift North-east of these are the Falkland isles.

Australasia, is a name employed by some modem geo-


graphers of eminence, to denote the territory of New Hol-
land, and some other lai^e islands situated on the south-east of
the great Asiatic continent. This part of the globe includes,
(1.) New Holland and the adjacent isles. (2.) Van Die-
men's Land. (3.) Papua, or New Guinea. (4.) New Bri-
tain, New Ireland, and Solomon's Isles. (5.) New Caledo-
nia, and tl>e New Hebrides, and (d.) New Zealand.

Polynesia. The islands said to be included in this geo-
graphical division, are (1.) The Pelew Isles. (2.) The La-
drones. (3.) The Carolines. (4) The Sandwich Isles. (5.)
The Marquesas. (6.) The Society Isles. (7.) The Friendly




Ancient Geography Europe Asia Africa. Directions for stadying

We shall now give a brief sketch of ancient geography,
which will be useful, as well in reading the classics, as to
those who study ancient history. This will connect the mo-
dem with the ancient state of the world, and the ready will
find his advantage in having before him a modern atlas, with
D'Anville's maps of Ancient Geography, or a work entitled
" Atlas Classica," published several years since, by Wilkinson
of London. We shall et out with the southern part of

HisPANiA, which answers to our Spain and Portugal,
was divided into Citerior and Ulterior. The citerior, or
nearer, was afterwards called Tarraconensb, and extended
from the Pyrenees to the mouth of the Douro, comprehending
all the north of Spain, together with the south, as far as a
line drawn below Carthago Nova, or Carthagena, and con-
tinued obhquely to the Douro, above Salmantica, now Sala-
manca. Hispania Ulterior was divided into Boetica, situated


between the river Anas, or Guadiana, and Hispania Citerior ;
and Lusitania, which corresponds nearly to our Portugal.

Hispania was sometimes denominated Iberia, from the
river Iberus, Ebro ; and Hesperia, from its westerly situation.
At the ancient Fretum Herculeum stood Calpe, or Gibraltar,
one of the pillars of Hercules ; the other was at Abila, on
the African coast. These pillars were supposed to have been
erected by Hercules, as the boundaries of the western world.
The name Gibraltar, is derived from Gebel Tarik, the
mountain of Tarik, a Moorish General, who first led the
Moors into Spain. The Junonis promontorium on the At-
lantic side of the straits, is the modern Trafalgar, which is
Gades, now Cadiz. The modern Cape St. Vincent was
denominated the Sacrum promontorium, because the aucients
thought that this was the place, at which the Sun plunged his
chariot into the sea. The isles of Majorca and Minorca,
were the insulae Baleares of the Romans, and the GymnesiaB
of the Greeks.

Gallia was much more extensive than modern France,
as it included parts of the United Provinces, the Netherlands,
Switzerland, and Italy to the west of the Alps. It was
originally divided among three great nations, viz. the Celtae,
the Belgae, and the Aquitani. The Celtae extended from the
Sequana or Seine to the Garumna or Garonne : the Belgae
lay above the Celtae, between the Seine and the Lower Rhine ;
and were intermixed with several of the Germanic tribes:
the Aquitanse lay between the Garonne and the Pyrenees,
and were intermixed with the Spanish tribes.

About 126 years B.C. the Romans, at the request of the
people of Marseilles, entered Gallia, and obtained possession
of a district called Provincia, anciently called Gallia Brac-
cata, from the braccae, or breeches, worn by the inhabitants,
hence the second division of Gallia consisted of Belgica,
"Celtica, Aquitania, and Provincia. In the year 27, B.C.
Augustus made a new distribution of Gallia into the provinces,
Aquitania, Belgica, Lugdunensis atid Narbonensis.


Britannia included England, Scotland, the Orkney,
Shetland and Hebrides islands; also the isles of Man, An-
glesea, Wight, and Thanet. But Britannia and Albion,
were often especially applied to England and Scotland. Hi-
BERNiA, sometimes denominated Britannia Minor, Scotia
and Irne, was the modern Ireland. Vectis was the isle of
Wight, and the modern Scilly islands were denominated the
Cassiterides ; Mona Taciti was the isle of Anglesea, and Mona
Caesaris, the isle of Man.

Germania included part of the United Provinces, Den-
mark, or the Cimbrica Chersonesus of the ancients, Ger-
many as far South as the Danube, including Bohemia, part
of Prussia, Poland, to the West of the Vistula, and that part
of Hungary contained between the Danube, the Morava, and
the Gran. The remainder of Europe, East of Germania, and
North of the Danube, went under the generic name of Sarmatia,
the inhabitants being called Sarmatas and Sauromatse. In the
same manner, the North of Asia, beyond the Euxine and Cas-
pian seas, was known by the generic name of Scythia. In ancient
Germany was an immense forest, called Hercynia Sylva, the
whole extent of which was unknown ; Caesar was nine days in
crossing it, and a longitudinal journey of sixty days, had been
made without coming to its boundary. It contained part of
Switzerland and Transylvania.

Scandinavia included Norway, Sweden, and Lapland.

Rhcetia included the country of the Grisons, part of
the circle of Swabia, the greatest portion of Bavaria, and
part of the circle of Austria.

NoRicuM included that portion of the circle of Bavaria,
which is east of the right branch of the Inn, and that part of
tbe circle of Austria, which is south of the Danube, west of
Vienna, north of the Save, and to the east of Wessenfels situate
on the Save, near it* source. Noricum once an independent
government was reduced, during the reign of Augustus, tfc
the subjection of the Romans.

*annoniA; situated to the east of NoricuiD; cousisted of


llie territory included within the Drave and Danube, till
their junction near Essek, and part of Croatia, Sclavonia, a
small portion of Bosnia and Servia, and the eastern part of
the circle of Austria. Pannonia was first reduced to a Roman
province by Tiberius, after which it was divided into Supe-

Online LibraryWilliam ShepherdSystematic education: or Elementary instruction in the various departments of literature and science; with practical rules for studying each branch of useful knowledge (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 44)