Ala-tau ('mottled'), a range of lofty mountains forming the boundary between Turkestan and Mongolia, and the northern limit of the great tableland of Central Asia. It is made up of five sierra-like sub-ranges, all grouped round Lake Issik-Kul, which range in elevation from 10,000 to 15,000 feet. The loftiest peak, Khan Tengri, is 24,000 feet above the sea.


Alatyr, a Russian town, on the Sura, 103 miles NW. of Simbirsk; pop. 15,000,


Alausl, a town of Ecuador, 70 miles E. of Guayaquil, 7980 feet above the sea; pop. 6000.


Al'ava, the southern and largest, but most sparsely populated, of the three Basque provinces of Spain. Mountains are scattered through the whole province, and yield various minerals, stone, and timber in abundance. Area, 1205 sq. m. The inhabitants, who are chiefly Basques, number a little over 96,000. The soil is generally fertile, and along the Ebro fruits and wine are produced. The capital is Vittoria.


Alba (anc. Alba Pompeia), a very ancient city of North Italy, on the Tanaro, 41 miles SW. of Alessandria by rail. Its cathedral was founded in 1486. Pop. 6961.


Alba'no, a town of Italy, 13 miles SSE. of Rome, on the declivity of the lava-walls which encompass Lake Albano, and opposite the site of Alba Longa. It is the seat of a bishop, and is surrounded by the mansions of wealthy Romans. There are numerous remains of ancient buildings. Good wine is made here. Pop. 8560.

The Alban Lake, or Lago di Castello, is formed in the basin of an extinct volcano, and has a circumference of 6 miles, with a depth of 530 feet. Its surface is 961 feet above the sea-level. While the Romans were at war with Veii (390 b.c), they opened a tunnel through the lava-wall which bounds it. The tunnel, which still fulfils its ancient office, is a mile in length, with a height of 7 feet, and a width of 4 feet.

Albany is a division of the eastern province of Cape Colony, in which Grahamstown (q.v.) stands.


Albay, a town in the south end of the Philippine island of Luzon, 2 miles from the Bay of Albay; pop. 13,000.

Albemarle Sound

Albemarle Sound, a shallowish inlet in the north coast of North Carolina, U.S., running 60 miles inland, with a breadth of 4 to 15 miles.


Alberta, from 1S82 one of the four provisional districts of the North-west Territory of Canada, made a province of the Dominion in February 1905. It includes, besides the former district, about one-half of the former district of Athabasca and small parts of Saskatchewan and Assiniboia. The area is 275,000 sq. m. The SW. portion of the province contains the great cattle-ranches of Canada, and has good grass and water. Fort MacLeod and Calgary, both thriving towns, are the two great centres for the ranchmen. The latter stands in a valley between the Bow and Elbow rivers, and is the trading centre for a large district. Coal is abundant on the Bow and Belly rivers; timber is plentiful; there are also petroleum deposits, and the Rocky Mountains and their foot-hills are rich in minerals. The capital is Edmonton. Pop. estimated at 250,000.