Fezzan (anc. Phazania, and the land of the Garamantes), an inland country of X. Africa, supposed to extend from about lat. 23° to 31° N., and from Ion. 12° to 18° E., but the boundaries are ill defined; pop. about 50,000. It lies south of the pashalic of Tripoli, to which it is tributary, and is bounded on all other sides by the Sahara. In consequence of the want of moisture, and the great heat, it is almost barren of vegetation. The soil consists of black shining sandstone, or the fine sand of the desert, gypsum, and rock salt, with strata of dolomite and limestone. The valleys intersecting the low ranges of hills contain the cultivable land of the region. Its northern parts are traversed by two ridges of stony and sandy hills, which in some places attain an elevation of 1,200 ft. from their base. In the eastern district they are called El-lTa-ruj, but in the west take the name of the Ghu-rian and Soodah mountains. S. of the Soo-dah extends the salt-incrusted desert of Ben Afien. The table land of Moorzook occupies the middle and southern parts of the country. The land lies in a hollow lower than the surrounding desert.

The heat in summer is intense, rising sometimes to 133° F. In winter the cold is greater than might be anticipated from its latitude; in 1850 snow fell at Sokna, and ice as thick as a man's finger was found at Moorzook. There are no rivers or brooks, rain seldom falls, thunder storms are rare, and the climate is very unhealthy for Europeans. Dates are the staple product; small quantities of maize and barley are raised. Among the other productions are figs, pomegranates, watermelons, legumes, durra, and a little wheat. Of domestic animals, goats are the most numerous; camels, horses, and asses are reared. Of wild animals, there are the lion, leopard, hyaena, jackal, buffalo, fox, and porcupine; among birds, vultures, falcons, and other birds of prey, with ostriches and bustards. Fezzan is exempt from flies, but ants, scorpions, and bugs abound. Planted on the high road of commerce between the coast of Africa and the interior, the inhabitants place their main reliance upon the caravan trade. From Cairo to Moorzook the caravan takes about 40 days, from Tripoli to the same place about 25 days. Of manufactures, besides a little leather and articles in iron, the country is almost destitute.

Fezzan is inhabited by two branches of the Berber race: the Tuariks, who occupy the northwest, and the Tibboos, who dwell in the southeast. Their complexion is dark brown, and their persons are well formed. They speak a corrupt dialect of Arabic and Berber. Their writing is in the Mograbin characters, but they have little idea of arithmetic, and reckon everything by dots in the sand, ten in a line. Their media of exchange are Spanish coin and grain. The country is ruled by a sultan, who resides at Moorzook. The chief sources of his revenue are taxes upon slaves and merchandise. The only places exhibiting prosperity, according to Barth, are Moorzook and Sokna; the population of each is estimated at about 3,000.-L. Cornelius Balbus the younger, Roman proconsul of Africa, penetrated into Phazania about 20 B. C. The remains of Roman civilization, in the shape of columns or mausoleums, are still found as far S. as 20° 25'. In the 7th century Fezzan fell under the dominion of the Arabs, who introduced Mohammedanism, to which religion the people are still fanatically attached. Since then Fezzan has generally been tributary to some Arab potentate.

In 1811 the bey Mukni usurped the throne and acknowledged allegiance to the pasha of Tripoli. Fezzan has been much visited by modern travellers, and is regarded as the starting point for the interior of Negroland. Denham and Clapperton, Oudney, Hornemann, Lyon, Ritchie, Barth, Richardson, and lastly Dr. Vogel, have all visited and described it.