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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1240] (289/688)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (341 folios). It was created in 1917. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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a court-yard, into which the rooms and a dlwdn open. They usually have sardahs, or
underground rooms, for use in the hot weather. The number of houses has been
estimated at 12,000. There are numerous mosques and several large khans. The
bazaars are held in booths in the streets. About the middle of the river front, not far
above the bridge, is an old citadel. The church of the French Dominican Mission is
marked on a plan of 1873 as slightly west of the centre of the town.
Mosul is not an attractive place ; it is insanitary and dirty, with a bad climate
and smoky atmosphere. The smoke comes from the gypsum kilns. The most un
pleasant quarter appears to be a cluster of some 300 houses near the river, which serves
as ' abattoir, tannery, and dyary for the whole town In 1906 it was stated that the
Government had twice endeavoured to abolish this quarter, but on both occasions
the attempt had provoked a riot.
Climate and Hygiene. —The climate of Mosul is very trying in the summer. The
worst part of the hot weather is from July to September, when the thermometer may go
as high as 120° Fe. in the day, and not fall below 95° at night. Hot winds blow in from
the desert. Even in May a temperature of 100° may be looked for, and the cool season
does not begin till November. In the cool weather, which is also the rainy season,
the nights are often frosty.
Owing to the glare and the dust, the amount of which is appreciably increased by
the numerous kilns and pounding mills in which gypsum is worked, ophthalmia is
common, and tuberculosis is said to be ' terribly prevalent. Cholera, on the other
hand, is not common, though its existence has been suspected. Visitations of plague
are reported. Mosul has its ' boil,' from which few who reside there long escape; it
is said to be not distinguishable from the Baghdad ' date-mark. ' Almost all travellers
comment on the filthy and isanitary conditions of the place ; which, in the opinion of one
observer, call for the abandonment of the place and the building of a new town on
another site. Sulphur springs, some of them hot, are found near the Tigris both above
and below Mosul {e.g., al Hammam ' Ali), and are much resorted to for medicinal
A hot eddying wind—the Sam—which blows in the desert west of the city, is said
occasionally to affect fatally those who are exposed to it. It is sometimes possible to
avoid its worst effects by lying on the ground.
Supplies and Commerce. —In spite of its arid appearance much of the country from
which Mosul is supplied is fertile, and agriculture has on the whole been developing
during the past twenty or thirty years. There are said to be about 200 flour-mills in
the city. In normal times the bazaars of the town are well stocked with grain, fruit
and meat. The principal crops of the Mosul country are wheat and barley, which ripen
in April, and among the minor produce may be mentioned lentils, peas, beans, millet,
maize, cucumbers, as well as many fruits—melon, orange, fig, plum, pear and grape.
The date palm grows but does not fruit freely. Sheep and goats were numerous before
the present war.
The water-supply is not satisfactory ; there are numerous wells, but they are brackish;
and the people rely for their drinking supplies on the Tigris, from which the water
is brought on ponies in skins. The Tigris water is considered good except when the river
is low. Schemes for a municipal water-supply has been talked of for years, but
nothing has been done.
There is much excellent spring grazing near Mosul . Wood for fuel seems scarcely to
be found in the neighbourhod of the city. In normal times timber is brought from the
Kurdish hills.
Mosul would make a good centre for the collection of transport animals of all kinds.
In peace time numerous donkeys, mules, horses, and camels could be obtained here.
In the middle ages Mosul was an important entrepot and manufacturing centre, and
was celebrated for its jewellery, _a.rms and carpets as well as for cotton and silk and
embroidered fabrics (the word ' muslin' is said to be derived from the name of the
town). Misrule insecurity of transport, the introduction of cheap machine-made
goods, and the diversion of trade by the Suez Canal have in various ways affected its
prosperity, but there are still a considerable number of gold and silversmiths, of workers
in non an copper, o shoemakers, and above all of weavers ; and only security is
required to increase very largely its commercial importance. Mosul is a distributing

About this item


Volume II of III of the Gazetteer of Arabia. The Gazetteer is alphabetically-arranged and this volume contains entries K through to R.

The Gazetteer is an alphabetically-arranged compendium of the tribes, clans and geographical features (including towns, villages, lakes, mountains and wells) of Arabia that is contained within three seperate bound volumes. The entries range from short descriptions of one or two sentences to longer entries of several pages for places such as Iraq and Yemen.

A brief introduction states that the gazetteer was originally intended to deal with the whole of Arabia, "south of a line drawn from the head of the Gulf of 'Aqabah, through Ma'an, to Abu Kamal on the Euphrates, and to include Baghdad and Basrah Wilayats" and notes that before the gazetteer could be completed its publication was postponed and that therefore the three volumes that now form this file simply contain "as much of the MSS. [manuscript] as was ready at the time". It further notes that the contents have not been checked.

Extent and format
1 volume (341 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: This volume's foliation system is circled in pencil, in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1240] (289/688), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/16/2/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 September 2019]

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