Page:EB1911 - Volume 26.djvu/202

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
184
Swat — Swaziland

Linnaeus and Thunberg, and began early to make excursions. He made a voyage to America in 1783, visited England in 1788, returned to Sweden in 1789, and was made professor of natural history in Stockholm. He was the author of many systematic works, and largely extended our knowledge of both flowering plants and cryptograms. He died in 1818.

Swat, a tract on the Peshawar border of the North-West Frontier Province of India, consisting of the valley of the Swat river above its confluence with the Panjkora. This valley is some 70 m. long, varying from 10 m. to a few hundred yards in breadth; it is intersected by ravines and glens, which bring down the drainage of the ranges on either side. Only that portion of the valley which lies beyond the Peshawar frontier hills, and which is reached by the Malakand, the Shahkot and other passes from the south, is Swat. To the east are the independent hill tracts of Kohistan and Buner, all bordering the Indus, and to the west are Dir and Bajour.

The Swat river rises among snow mountains in the Kohistan, not far from the source of the Gilgit river. After flowing due south for nearly 70 m., it turns to the west and is joined by the Panjkora. It then passes through the Mohmand country, and on entering Peshawar district spreads out to the south-east in many channels which ultimately fall into the Kabul river. Total length about 400 m. In British territory its waters have been utilised by a series of canals to irrigate an area of about 160,000 acres; and the system is now being extended by means of a tunnel through the Malakand range, which will tap the river much higher up.

Swat was better known to the ancients, and to the warriors of Baber’s time, than it was to us until the frontier risings of 1895–97 gave British surveyors the opportunity of visiting the country. The ancient name of the river was Suastos, and that of the Panjkora was Ghoura, under which names they figure in the history of Alexander’s campaign. The site of the city Massaga, the capital of the Assakeni, is supposed to be near the modern Manglaur. But since the adoption of the Khyber as the main high road from Kabul to India the Swat routes had passed into oblivion. Only the lower portion of the Swat valley, where the river intervenes between Malakand and the passes leading to Dir from the Panjkora, is of military significance. The upper valley is closely gripped between mountain spurs stretching southwards from the Hindu Koh, rising to 15,000 ft. on one side and 19,000 ft. on the other, leaving but a narrow space between their rugged summits and the banks of the river. The valley, narrow though it is, and traversed by the worst conceivable type of hill tracks, contains many villages or hamlets, and is pretty thickly populated. The district has come into prominence of recent years, on account of its lying on the direct road to Chitral.

The Swatis are a clan of Yusafzai Pathans numbering 40,000 fighting men but are of weakly and thin physique, due to the malaria with which the valley is saturated. They are divided into three main clans, the Baizais, Ranizais and Khwazozais. They had not much name for valour, but they opposed a stout resistance to Sir Robert Low’s advance over the Malakand Pass in 1895 to the relief of Chitral; and again in 1897, under the influence of fanaticism, they showed desperate bravery in the attack on the Malakand Fort and Chakdara. They are all Suni Mahommedans, and have earned the reputation of being the most bigoted of all the Afghan tribes. For many years they were under the religious dominance of the Akhund of Swat, Abdul Ghafur, who, born in 1794, obtained ascendancy by means of his ascetic practices, ruled practically undisputed in Swat for the last 30 years of his life, and died in 1877. The Akhund, after his experience of the British strength in the Umbeyla Campaign of 1863, always exerted his influence in favour of peace with the British government, though in his earlier days he was sometimes troublesome. He was succeeded by his son Mian Gul, who never possessed the same influence as his father.

Swatow (also Shan‘tow), a port of China, in the province of Kwang-tung, opened to foreign trade in 1869. The population is upwards of 60,000. The town is situated at the mouth of the main branch of the river Han, which 30 miles inland flows past the great city of Ch’aochow Fu or Tai-chu (Tie-chu), while the surrounding country is more populous and full of towns and villages than any other part of the province. The climate is good, but being situated at the southern end of the Formosa Strait the town is exposed to the full force of the typhoons, and much destruction is occasionally wrought. English merchants settled on Double Island in the river as early as 1856; but the city, which is built on ground but recently recovered from the sea, was formerly a mere fishing village. The trade of the port has rapidly increased. In 1869 the total value of the trade was £4,800,000, in 1884 £5,519,772, and in 1904 £7,063,579. The surrounding country is a great sugar-cane district producing annually about 2,400,000 cwt. of sugar, and there is an extensive refinery in the town employing upwards of 600 workmen and possessing a reservoir for 7,000,000 gallons of water. Next in value comes the manufacture of bean-cake, which is also imported in large quantities from Niuchwang, Chifu, Shanghai, Amoy and Hong-Kong. Among the leading exports are tea (since about 1872); grass-cloth, manufactured at Swatow from so-called Taiwan hemp (the fibre of the Boehmeria nivea from Formosa); pine-apple cloth, manufactured in the villages about Chieh-Yang (a town 22 m. distant); oranges, for which the district is famous; cheap fans; and pewter, iron and tin wares. Swatow is also a great emigration port and was the scene of many kidnapping adventures on the part of foreigners in the early days. Their outrages gave rise to much hostile feeling towards foreigners who were not allowed to enter the city of Ch’aochow Fu until the year 1861. Of the whole foreign trade of the port upwards of 83% is in British bottoms, the trade with Hong-Kong being of especial importance.

About 1865 the whole Swatow district was still divided into a number of “independent townships, each ruled by its own headmen,” and the population was described in the official gazetteer, as “generally rebellious and wicked in the highest degree.” Mr Forrest, British consular agent, relates that in that year he was witness to the preparations for a fight between the people living on the opposite sides of the estuary, which was only prevented by a British war-vessel. The T‘aip‘ings swept over the country, and by their ravages and plundering did much to tame the independence of the clans. The punishment inflicted in 1869 by Commander Tones on the inhabitants of Otingpui (Ou-ting-pei), about 8 m. from Swatow, for the attack they had made on the boats of H.M.S. “Cockchafer,” showed the Chinese authorities that such piratical villages were not so strong as had been supposed. General Fang (a native of Ch‘aochow Fu) was sent to reduce the district to order, and he carried out his instructions with remorseless rigour.

Swaziland (native name Pungwane), a country of British South Africa bounded S., W. and N. by the Transvaal, E. by the Portuguese possessions at Delagoa Bay and the Ingwavuma division of Zululand. It lies between the Drakensberg and Lebombo Mountains and is separated from the Indian Ocean by low land varying in width from 30 to 50 m. It has an area of 6536 sq. m. (being somewhat larger than Yorkshire) and a population (1904), of 85,484, of whom 898 were whites. The natives are nearly all Ama-Swazi Bantus, commonly called Swazis, and are closely allied to the Zulus.

Spurs from the Drakensberg occupy a large part of the country, which may be divided into three parallel belts running north and south. The western belt has an average altitude of about 4500 ft., and is known as the high veld. It is succeeded by the middle veld — not more than 2500 ft. above the sea, and that by the low veld — 1000 ft. high, which reaches to the foot of the Lebombo Mountains. These are flat-topped, nowhere higher than 2000 ft. The country is well watered by numerous rivers, all of which discharge into Delagoa Bay. The central and southern parts are drained by the Usutu and other tributaries of the Maputa; the northern region by the Komati (q.v.) and the Umbelozi. The Umbelozi has two chief headstreams, the Black and the White Umbelozi, the White branch being the more southerly. The climate is warm but healthy save in some of the river valleys. The flora and fauna differ in no