Bamboccio (little child, or simpleton), the Italian nickname of Pieter van Laer or Laar, a Dutch painter, so called either from his funny appearance (according to some accounts he was a cripple), or because he chose his subjects from low life (bambocciate), born at Laaren, near Naarden in 1613, died in Haarlem in 1673. He spent 16 years in Rome, living and working with Poussin and Claude Lorraine, and acquiring celebrity by his pictures of the wild haunts of robbers, of mobs at public gatherings and festivals, and other delineations of low life in Rome and its vicinity. In such subjects he was the best artist of his day, but Wouver-man's superior finish was said to have affected him to such a degree that he killed himself. Many of his pictures are in Vienna, Augsburg, and Florence. He etched plates from his own designs, and excelled as a violinist.


Bambook, a country in the interior of Africa, between lat. 12° 30' and 14° 30' N. and lon. 10° 30' and 12° 15' W. It is about 140 m. in length, and 90 in breadth. It is rugged, though the greatest elevation nowhere exceeds GOO ft., and is watered by the head streams of the Senegal. The higher region is barren and naked, but the lower supports an exuberant vegetation. The baobab, tamarind, and palm trees reach the greatest dimensions. The soil produces almost without culture maize, millet, cotton, melons, and a great variety of leguminous plants. Rice is yielded by the low lands, which are subject to overflow. Large herds of cattle roam over the plains. Lions and elephants are numerous. Bambook has rich gold mines, whose product is exchanged for salt. The inhabitants are Mandingoes of a very low type, and extremely numerous. Bambook was once invaded by the Portuguese, the ruins of whose forts and houses are still to be seen.

Banana Islands

Banana Islands, three small islands on the coast of Africa, 30 m. S. W. of Sierra Leone, near Cape Shilling, named after the largest, 4 m. long and 1 m. broad; lat. 8° 8' N., lon. 13° 12' W. They arc high, fertile, inhabited, and visited from Sierra Leone on account of the salubrity of the climate. The Rev. John Newton, the friend of Cowper, spent some time here in the service of a slave-dealer.


Bananal, an island in the river Araguay, province of Goyaz, Brazil, also known as Santa Anna. It is 200 m. long by 35 broad, covered with a dense forest, and said to have in its centre a navigable lake, 00 m. long by 30 wide. It is very fertile, and derives its name from the increase of the banana plants introduced by its discoverer in 1773. There are several Brazilian villages of the same name.


Banbury, a market and borough town in Oxfordshire, England, on the river Cherwell, 65 m. N. W. of London; pop. in 1871, 4,106. It has a considerable trade. The manufacture of agricultural implements has become important, and the town has much improved within 20 years. The large church is an imitation of St. Paul's cathedral. Banbury tarts and Banbury cheese are famous all over England.