Black Hills, a range of mountains in S. W. Dakota and N. E. Wyoming, lying near the parallel of 44° N. latitude and between lon. 103° and 105° W., about 100 m. long and 60 m. wide-. They are a continuation of the Big Horn and Snow mountains, which branch off from the Rocky mountains. The base of these hills is about 2,500 or 3,000 ft. above the sea, and the highest peak is 0,700 ft. About one third of their area is covered with vast forests of magnificent pine trees. Their geological formation indicates great mineral wealth. Gold has been discovered, and it has been conclusively proved that this region abounds in iron, coal, lead, salt, and petroleum, besides its valuable pine and cedar timber, limestone, and good stone for building purposes.
Black Jack. See Blende.
Black Lead. See Graphite.
Black Mail, a tribute formerly paid by the occupants of lands in the northern counties of England to some Scottish chieftain for protection against the depredations of border rievers or moss troopers. At a later period, after civil order had been established in the border counties, and agriculture and peaceful habits prevailed in the lowlands of Scotland, the custom of paying black mail to the highland chiefs by the lowland farmers became common, and continued till within a century. The origin of the term in this sense is doubtful, some deriving it from the signification of "rent in kind," which mail had in the old English and Scotch law; others, from the moral blackness of the custom. - The modern sense of "hush money, extorted by threats of exposure," evidently had its origin in the compulsory character of the old tribute.
Black River. I. A river of New York, which rises in Herkimer county, pursues a N. W. course through Oneida and Lewis counties, and as far as Great Bend, in Jefferson county, and thence flows W. by Watertown, and empties through Black River bay into Lake Ontario. Near Turin, in Lewis county, it has a fall of about 03 ft. Below the fall it is navigable to Carthage, a distance of 40 m. From Carthage to Watertown is a series of rapids, rendering navigation almost impossible. A canal has been opened from the upper falls to Rome on the Erie canal. The whole length of the river is 125 m., and its breadth at Water-town (6 m. from its mouth) is 00 yards. II. See Big Black River.
Black Vomit, the last vomiting, in many cases of yellow fever, of a dark mucous-looking fluid, like coffee grounds. It is regarded as a fatal symptom. The disease itself is sometimes called by this name. The blood is blackened and partially coagulated by a free acid, perhaps acetic and hydrochloric acids, which form in the system.
Black Walnut. See Walnut.
Black Warrior, a river of Alabama, rises in the N. E. part of the state, flows S. W. and S., and empties into the Tombigbee just above Demopolis, Marengo co. Its course is through the valuable Warrior coal field; iron is found along its banks. In the S. E. corner of Walker county it receives its principal tributary, Mulberry fork. Above this point it is also known as Locust fork. The river is navigable for steamboats to Tuscaloosa, at which point the water during floods rises to a height of 50 feet. The length of the main stream is nearly 150 m.