SAGO

1654

SAHARA

sula of Michigan, is 60 miles long and 30 wide. Saginaw River, 30 miles long, falls into it. It has several good harbors, and under its islands and shores vessels find shelter from the fierce storms that sweep over Lake Huron.

Sa'go, a starch obtained from the stems of certain palms. See Palm.

Saguenay {sg'e-nā'), a large river of Canada, falling into the St. Lawrence, about 115 miles below Quebec. It drains Lake St. John, and is about 100 miles long. In its lower course it flows between cliffs, often from 500 to 1,500 feet high, and in many places is two or three miles broad. Its scenery is beautiful, and it is navigable for the largest steamers to Ha, Ha Bay. At its mouth is the watering-place and former fur-post of Tadousac.

Sagun'tum, a wealthy and warlike town of early Spain, stood where the modern town of Murviedro is now, near the mouth of Pallantias River. It was a Greek trading-town of prominence, but is kept in memory because of its siege and destruction by the Carthaginians under Hannibal in 219 B. C. Having held out the greater part of a year against the great captain and his army of 150,000, the half-starved Saguntines preferred death to unavoidable surrender. Heaping their valuables into one huge pile and placing their women and children around it, the men made a last sally and the women fired the pile, casting themselves upon it with their children, thus expiring in the flames at the same time that their husbands were dying in battle. The capture of Saguntum initiated the second Punic war. See Carthage, Hannibal and Roman Empire.

Sahara (să-h'r), the vast desert region of North Africa, stretching from the Atlantic to the Nile and from Morocco, Algeria, Tunis and Tripoli south to the Sudan, is estimated to have a total area of 3,459,500 square miles. Europe could almost be put into this space. It is a link in the chain of great deserts which girdle the Old World from the Atlantic across Africa, Arabia, Persia, Turkestan and Mongolia to the Pacific. The old idea that the Sahara was a vast expanse of sand and once the bed of an inland sea is hardly true. The surface is mostly above the sea, and in one place reaches a height of 8,000 feet. Of large tracts next to nothing is known. On the northern side of this desert is a vast bow of sand-hills; the middle portion is a high tableland with snow-clad mountain peaks; and in the east and west are mountain ranges. Water can almost always be found in the hollows between the sand-dunes and also a little below the surface in the deep valleys between the western mountains, these valleys being mostly dry beds of old rivers. In many parts of the Sahara are oases, islands of green in the midst of an

ocean of desert. These oases are most plentiful on the southern side of the Atlas and Algerian mountains, on the northern side of the large central tableland and along certain lines across the desert, which mark the caravan routes between the Sudanese states and the Mediterranean. The principal routes lead from Timbuktu to Morocco and Algeria; from Haussaland and Bornu in Nigeria to Tripoli; from Wadai to Barca; and from Darfur to Siut in Egypt.

A large part of the Sahara, though not the whole, undoubtedly was under water once. The greater part of the surface seems to have been raised, and a process of drying up, similar to that which is now going on in the Turkestan desert, has gone on here from the earliest historic times. The sand is the Saharan rocks ground to dust. The great heat by day causes the rocks to expand; the great fall of the temperature by night, with the great evaporation which then takes place, makes them split and crack and break in pieces; and the strong, fierce winds use these picees like files or sand-blasts to grind other rocks to fragments. These sand-storms are more feared by the traveler than lack of water. Thick deposits of sand have been found on the floor of the Atlantic, a long way west of the African coast. The thermometer falls from above 100° F. during the day to just below freezing-point at night.

On the oases grow date-palms, oranges, peaches and other fruits, rice, millet etc. The oases are the chief centers of population. In the desert little grows except thorny shrubs and coarse grasses. The giraffe, antelope, wild cattle, the wild ass, jackal, ostrich, crow, viper, python, locusts and flies are found. The camel is the great carrier. The people, numbering 2,000,000, are Moors, Berbers, Negroes, Arabs and Jews. The chief products are dates and salt. But a large trade is carried on by caravans, bringing to the Mediterranean ivory, ostrich feathers, gums, hides, gold-dust etc. To get this trade the French are building a railroad from Algiers, which is to extend across the Sahara to the Niger. Another road is projected from Tripoli to the Sudan. Many thousand tons of phosphate are extracted. Different plans for flooding the Sahara and so making it an inland sea have been proposed, but have been dropped since it became known that the greater part is above sea-level. However, the French since 1856 have dug many artesian wells, striking water in abundance at depths of 10 to 300 feet. Wherever these wells have been bored, date-palm groves and orchards have increased in size and the population has become greater.

The Sahara, to the extent of a million and a half square miles, has been recognized by Great Britain as under the protectorate of France, taking in the entire