Bashan, a country of North-eastern Palestine, situated to the east of the Jordan. A volcanic plateau rising in the Jebel-ed-Druz to 6000 feet, it extends 60 miles north and south, and about 40 miles east and west. It is covered with the ruins of the so-called 'giant cities,' which, however, according to Major Conder, date only from the early Christian centuries; their roofs, doors, stairs, and windows are of stone, some of them as perfect as when first built. See Dr Porter's Giant Cities of Bashan (1865).
Bashi, or Batanes Islands, the most northerly small cluster of islets in the Philippine chain of islands, lying between Luzon and Formosa. They consist of three larger (Bayal, Batan, and Saptang) and many smaller islets. Area, 127 sq. m.; pop. 8250.
Basingstoke, a town in the north of Hampshire, 48 miles WSW. of London. It is a busy road and railway centre, and has a trade in corn, malt, coal, and timber. Basing House (Marquis of Winchester), 1 1/2 mile E., for two years withstood the Roundheads; but Cromwell at last took it by storm, and burned it to the ground, in 1645. Pop. (1871) 5574; (1901, mun. borough) 9793.
Basle. See Basel.
Basra (also Bassora or Bussora), a town of Asiatic Turkey, on the west bank of the Euphrates, 56 miles from its mouth in the Persian Gulf. The river, navigable up to Basra for ships of 500 tons, is there divided into a number of channels, and by evaporation and frequent overflowing makes the climate very unhealthy. The population, once 150,000, had sunk in 1854 to 5000, but the establishment of the English Tigris and Euphrates Steamship Company altogether changed the prospects of Basra, and now it probably contains at least 40,000 inhabitants. Basra was founded in 636 by the Calif Omar, and soon became one of the most famous cities of the East.
Bass. See Bass Rock.
Bassadore, the principal station for British ships in the Persian Gulf, situated at the west end of the island of Kishm.
Bassas, dangerous ledges of rocks to the SE. of Ceylon, in 6° 11' - 6° 22' N. lat., and in 81° 28' - 81° 43' E. long. On both are lighthouses.
Bassein', (1) a town in Burma, on the Bassein River, one of the mouths of the Irawadi, 75 miles from the sea, but accessible to the largest ships. It is an important centre of the rice trade. It was captured by the British in 1852. Pop. 30,147. - (2) A decayed town, 28 miles N. of Bombay. Ceded to the Portuguese in 1534, it was taken by the Mahrattas in 1765, and in 1780 surrendered 'to the British. Pop. (1720) 60.499; (1901)11,000.