BERAT (Slav. Byelgorod; Turk. Arnaut-Beligradi), the capital of a sanjak in the vilayet of Iannina, southern Albania, Turkey; on the river Ergene, Ergeni or Osum, a left-hand tributary of the Semeni. Pop. (1900) about 15,000. Berat is a fortified town, situated in a fertile valley, which produces wine, olive-oil, fruit and grain. It is the see of an Orthodox metropolitan, and the inhabitants, of whom two-thirds are Albanian and the remainder principally Greek, are equally divided in religion between Christianity and Islam.
BERAUN (Czech Beroun), a town of Bohemia, Austria, 27 m. S.W. of Prague by rail. Pop. (1900) 9693, mostly Czech. It is situated at the confluence of the Beraun with the Litawa river, and is the seat of important textile industry, sugar-refining, corn-milling and brewing. Lime-kilns and the manufacture of cement, and smelting and iron works are carried on in the environs. Beraun is a place of immemorial antiquity. It was originally called na Brodě (by the ford), and received the name of Bern, Berun or Verona in the 13th century, when it obtained the privileges of a city from the emperor Charles IV., who was specially attached to the place, calling it “Verona mea.” Under his patronage the town rapidly prospered. In 1421 Žižka stormed the town, which later on was retaken and devastated by the troops of Duke Leopold, bishop of Passau. During the Thirty Years’ War it was sacked by the Imperialists, the Saxons and the Swedes in turn; and in the first Silesian war the same fate befell it at the hands of the French and Bavarians.
BERBER, a town and mudiria (province) of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. The town is on the right bank of the Nile, 1140 ft. above sea-level, in 18° 1′ N., 33° 59′ E., and 214 m. by rail N.W. of Khartum. Pop. about 6000. Berber derived its importance from being the starting-point of the caravan route, 242 m. long, across the Nubian desert to the Red Sea at Suakin, a distance covered in seven to twelve days. It was also one of the principal stopping-places between Cairo and Khartum. The caravan route to the Red Sea was superseded in 1906 by a railway, which leaves the Wadi Halfa-Khartum line at the mouth of the Atbara. Berber thus lost the Red Sea trade. It remains the centre and market-place for the produce of the Nile valley for a considerable distance. East of the town is an immense plain, which, if irrigated, would yield abundant crops.
Berber, or El Mekerif, is a town of considerable antiquity. Before its conquest by the Egyptians in 1820 its ruler owed allegiance to the kings of Sennar. It was captured by the Mahdists on the 26th of May 1884, and was re-occupied by the Anglo-Egyptian army on the 6th of September 1897. It was the capital of the mudiria until 1905, in which year the headquarters of the province were transferred to Ed Damer, a town near the confidence of the Nile and Atbara. At the northern end of the mudiria is Abu Hamed (q.v.), important as a railway junction for Dongola mudiria. The best-known of the tribes inhabiting the province are the Hassania, Jaalin, Bisharin and Kimilab. During the Mahdia most of these tribes suffered severely at the hands of the dervishes. In 1904 the total population of the province was estimated at 83,000. It has since considerably increased. The riverain population is largely engaged in agriculture, the chief crops cultivated being durra, barley, wheat and cotton.
BERBERA, chief town and principal port of the British Somaliland protectorate, North-East Africa, 155 m. S. of Aden, in 10° 26′ N., 45° 4′ E. Berbera stands at the head of a deep inlet which forms the only completely sheltered haven on the south side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the residence of the commissioner of the protectorate and the headquarters of the Somaliland battalion of the King's African Rifles. The harbour is eleven to thirteen fathoms deep at the entrance (indicated by a lighthouse), decreasing to five fathoms near the shore. Ocean-going steamers find ample accommodation. There are two piers and numerous warehouses. The town is built in two divisions—the native town to the east, the new town, laid out by the Egyptians (1875–1877), to the west. The majority of the better-class houses are of rubble, one-storeyed and flat-roofed. The public buildings include the fort, hospital and barracks. There are a Roman Catholic mission and convent and a government school. The affairs of the town are administered by a municipality. The water-supply is brought to the town by an aqueduct from the hills some 8 m. distant. The bulk of the inhabitants are Somali, who have abandoned a nomadic life and adopted largely the ways of the Arab and Indian traders. The permanent population is under 10,000; but from October to April the population rises to 30,000 or more by the arrival of caravans from Ogaden and Dolbahanta. The traders bring with them tents on the backs of camels and these are pitched near the native town. Their merchandise consists of sheep and goats, gum and resin, skins and ostrich feathers. The trade is almost entirely with Aden, of which Berbera may be considered a commercial dependency. The value of the goods brought in yearly by caravan exceeds on the average £100,000. The total trade of the port for the five years 1901–1902 to 1905–1906 averaged over £200,000 a year. The chief articles of import are cotton goods (European white long cloth and American grey shirting), rice and jowari, flour, dates, sugar and tobacco (the last from Rotterdam). Berbera is said to have been founded by the Ptolemies among the Barbari of the adjacent coast lands. It fell subsequently into the possession of Arabs and was included in the Mahommedan state of Adel. At the time of the visit to the town of R. F. Burton and J. H. Speke (1854) it was governed by its own sheiks. In 1870 it was claimed by the khedive Ismail, but was not permanently occupied by Egypt until 1875. In 1884 it passed into the possession of Great Britain (see Somaliland, §2, History).
BERBERINE, C20H17NO4, an alkaloid occurring together with the alkaloids oxyacanthine C18H19NO3, berbamine C18H19NO3, hydrastine C21H21NO6, and canadine C20H21NO4, in Berberis vulgaris; it also occurs in other plants, Berberis aristata, B. aquifolium, Hydrastis canadensis, &c. It is a yellow, crystalline solid, insoluble in ether and chloroform, soluble in 4½ parts of water at 21°, and moderately soluble in alcohol. It is a monacid base; the hydrochloride, C20H17NO4·HCl, is insoluble in cold alcohol, ether and chloroform, and soluble in 500 parts of water; the acid sulphate, C20H17NO4·H2SO4 dissolves in about 100 parts of water. Canadine is a tetrahydroberberine.
Its constitution was worked out by W. H. Perkin (J.C.S., 1889, 55, p. 63; 1890, 57, p. 991). This followed from a study of the decomposition products, there being obtained hemipinic acid (CH3O)2C6H2(COOH)2, and a substance which proved to be ω-amino-ethyl-piperonyl carboxylic acid, CH2O2 : C6H2·COOH·CH2·CH2NH2. His formula was modified by Gadamer (Abs. J.C.S., 1902, 1, p. 555), who made the free base an aldehyde, but the salts of an iso-quinolinium type. This formula, which necessitates the presence of two asymmetric carbon atoms in an alkyl tetrahydroberberine, has been accepted by M. Freund and F. Mayer (Abs. J.C.S., 1907, 1, p. 632), who showed that two racemic propyl tetrahydroberberines are produced when propyl dihydroberberine is reduced.
BERBERS, the name under which are included the various branches of the indigenous “Libyan” race of North Africa. Since the dawn of history the Berbers have occupied the tract between the Mediterranean and the Ethnology. Sahara from Egypt to the Atlantic. The origin of the name is doubtful. Some believe it to be derived from the word βάρβαροι (barbarians), employed first by the Greeks and later by the Romans. Others attribute the first use of the term to the Arab conquerors. However this may be, tribal titles, Barabara and Beraberata, appear in Egyptian inscriptions of 1700 and 1300 B.C., and the Berbers were probably intimately related with the Egyptians in very early times. Thus the true ethnical name may have become confused with Barbari, the designation naturally used by classical conquerors. To the Egyptians they were known as “Lebu,” “Mashuasha,” “Tamahu,” “Tehennu” and “Kahaka”; a long list of names is found in Herodotus, and the Romans called them Numidae, Gaetuli and Mauri, terms which have been derived respectively from the Greek νομάδες (nomads), the name Gued’oula, of a great Berber tribe, and the Hebrew mahur (western). To speak of more modern times