Euphrates (Pers. Ufratu, Heb. Phrat, Syr. Ephrat, Arab. Furat), the largest river in Western Asia, has its source in the heart of Armenia in the Kara-Su (270 miles) and the Murad (300 miles), of which the former rises NE. of Erzerum, and the latter over 130 miles to the east, near Lake Van - uniting close to Keban Maadin (2664 feet above the sea). The united stream breaks through the Taurus in a succession of rapids and cataracts for about 40 miles. Flowing south and then south-east, it separates Mesopotamia from Syria and the deserts of Syrian Arabia, and is joined by the Tigris at Kurna. The joint river, taking the name of the Shat-el-Arab, empties itself by several arms (only one of which is navigable by large vessels) into the Persian Gulf, 60 miles below Basra, after a course of fully 1700 miles. The principal of its few tributaries are the Sajur, Balik-su, and Khabur, besides the Persian river Karun, which enters the estuary at Mohammera. The chief towns now on its banks are Sumeysat, Bir, Ana, Hit, and Hilla, Basra lying really on a creek a short distance from the main stream; the river between Ana and Hit is studded with islands, many of them inhabited. The Euphrates is more or less navigable for light craft as far as Bir (nearly 1200 miles); war-vessels can ascend to the junction at Kurna (120 miles). In ancient times, when canals and embankments regulated the river's inundations, these exercised the same beneficial effect on the country as those of the Nile on Egypt. Numerous remains of ancient cities are still to be traced near the banks, such as the famous site of Babylon, and the Birs Nimnid. In 1831 Captain F. R. Chesney, R.A., descended the Euphrates, and established the fact that the river was navigable for vessels of moderate draught, at least as high up as Ana. He maintained that this was the shortest and best route to Bombay, and in 1835 he commanded a second and equally successful expedition. Two attempts, however, to establish a railway, in 1856 and 1862, both collapsed, though, as an alternative to the Suez Canal, and as an instrument for opening up a rich but neglected country, the Euphrates Valley route would still be a valuable channel of commercial and military communication for the British empire. See works by Chesney (1850), Cameron (1888), and Ainsworth (1888).