Arabia (by the Arabs called Jeziret el-Arab, the island or peninsula of the Arabs), a peninsula forming the S. W. extremity of Asia, between lat. 12° 40' and 34° N, and Ion. 32° 30' and G0° E., bounded N. by Palestine, the Syrian desert, and the Euphrates, E. by the Euphrates, Persian gulf, and gulf of Oman. S. by the Indian ocean and the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, and W. by the Red sea, the gulf of Suez, and northern Egypt. It is about 1,500 m. in length from near Anah on the Euphrates to the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, and 900 in breadth from Suez to Bassorah. The S. coast is 1,200 m. long. Area estimated at somewhat more than 1,000,000 sq. m. Its northern limits can hardly be defined with accuracy, owing to the fact that the vast arid deserts of Syria and Arabia blend into each other without any distinct landmarks. Burck-hardt represents the boundary as extending from the shores of the Mediterranean near El-Arish along the southern border of Palestine and the Dead sea, thence winding across the Syrian desert to Palmyra, and crossing in a straight line to the Euphrates at Anah. The ancient geographers divided Arabia into three parts.

Arabia Petraea or the Rocky occupied the mountainous tract between Palestine and the Red sea; Arabia Deserta or the Desert extended eastward and southward from Pe-traea to the Euphrates and the Persian gulf, comprising the great desert; and Arabia Felix or the Happy occupied the shores of the Red sea and the Indian ocean. These divisions, however, have always been unknown to the inhabitants themselves. The modern divisions are: 1. The Bahr el-Tur Sinah or Sinaitic peninsula of Petermann, the El-Hadjr of Yon Hammer, comprising the small peninsula between the Mediterranean and the two northern arms of the Red sea, and corresponding very nearly to the Arabia Petraea of Ptolemy. 2. Hedjaz, or the land of pilgrimage, commencing S. of the above, extending along the Red sea to the parallel of 19°, and bounded E. by the great central desert. It is a barren district, consisting of sandy plains toward the coast and rocky hills in the interior; the inhabitants depend for a livelihood mainly on the gains from Moslem pilgrims. Some places, as Wady Fatimeh and Taif, are well watered and produce grain and vegetables. The chief commercial ports and cities are Jiddah and Yembo, and the two sacred cities of Mecca and Medina are also in this division.

The viceroy of Egypt is nominally the ruler of this territory, but the Beled el-Haram or holy land proper, including the two sacred cities, is under the peculiar jurisdiction of the sherif of Mecca. The Howei-tat Arabs, a fierce and dangerous tribe, control the coast from the 25th parallel northward. 3. Yemen, occupying the remainder of the Red sea coast, and forming part of Arabia Felix. It comprises the finest and most fertile portion of the peninsula. Toward the sea the soil is scorched and barren, but the interior is a highland country, of precipitous though fertile hills, and a healthy climate. Its extent is about 30,000 sq. m., and it is governed by several petty sovereigns or chiefs. Its principal towns are Sana, Mocha, and Loheia, and it is in this province that the celebrated Mocha coffee is raised. The stronghold and port of Aden, an Asiatic Gibraltar, now belonging to Great Britain, is in this district. The Tehama is a sandy belt extending along the Red sea nearly from Akaba to Aden, and stretching backward to the mountains, varying in breadth from 30 to 60 miles. It bears many marks of having anciently formed part of the bed of the sea, and various marine fossils are to be found in the soil.

As the sea gradually recedes and leaves the coral banks exposed, these are soon tilled up by the sands. This tract is of no service to man; it contains vast strata of salt, and the sandy soil is wholly incapable of cultivation. 4. Hadramaut, forming the great southern portion of Arabia. It extends along the Indian ocean from Ion. 45° to 54° 30', and stretches far into the interior. The mountains on the coast, brown and bare, rise in several ranges behind each other to the height of 1,000 or 1,500 feet, intersected by well watered and fruitful vales. Beyond is the Dahna or great sandy desert, which covers the greater portion of central Arabia. Hadramaut contains about 20 towns; its harbors are Makalla, Dafar, Merbat, and Hasek. The inhabitants are a thriving and commercial people, and the country was formerly famous for producing frankincense. 5. Oman, occupying the tract lying between the Persian gulf and the Indian ocean, and having for its western boundaries the district of Hadramaut and the great central desert.

It is a very mountainous region, and toward the sea presents the same appearance as Hadramaut. It is divided among several petty chiefs, the most powerful and enlightened of whom is the imam of Muscat, as he is called by English and Americans, but whose proper title is sultan of Oman. His efforts to extend the commerce of his country with foreign nations have given him considerable reputation. He claims the greater part of the seacoast. Between Oman and Hasa is a tract called Me-nasir and the cape of Katar. This portion is dreary, sun-scorched, and nearly destitute of vegetation. The bay of Bahr el-Banat, on which it borders, contains the best and most copious pearl fisheries in the Persian gulf, and is a source of considerable wealth to the inhabitants. G. El-Hasa or Ahsa, extending along the W. coast of the Persian gulf, between Katar and Irak Arab, and the Euphrates. It is partly mountainous and partly level. This district is subject to occasional shocks of earthquake, and almost all the springs are warm with a slightly sulphurous taste, and the rocks are of tufa and basalt.

A bath was built at one of these hot sulphur springs and frequented by invalids for many years; but when the country fell into the hands of the Wahabees, they destroyed it from superstitious motives. i The products of Hasa are tine wool, cotton, rice, wheat, dates, sugar cane, and almost all i the leguminous plants. Cloaks, shawds, gold lace, swords, and daggers are manufactured here. The chief towns are Hofhuf and Katif. The Wahabee chieftains have greatly reduced the commerce and manufactures of Hasa by drafting merchants and artisans into their army. 7. Nedjed or Nejd, the central and largest of the divisions of Arabia, is traversed from N. E. to S. W. by a range of mountains, forming a plateau about 3,000 feet above the level of | the sea. This plateau is intersected by numerous fertile valleys, bordered by steep and often precipitous banks; in these are built the villages and towns. In the E. part of this region iron ore is found in considerable quantities; and in the west, in Jebel Toweik, are both iron and copper. The best breed of Arabian horses is produced in Nedjed. Riyad is the capital of the Wahabee monarch. Nedjed is separated from Hasa by a tongue of the Dahna, the great desert.