Barka (Cyrenaica) as described in Historic Encyclopedias



Pierer 1857-1865, Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Meyer 1902-1909





Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Barka
Barka, highland of 1500 - 2000 feet altitude, between Tripolis, Egypt, the Sahara and the Mediterranean, without precisely determined borders (about 150 square miles, with 300,000 to 400,000 inhabitants), in the west fertile but neglected, in the east too sandy, has a healthy climate, too litle water (a few coastal rivers), several large oases, many ruins, produces rice, olives, dates, some grain, safran, senes leaves, sugar, tobacco, also wine grows well; camels, buffalo, excellent horses, fat tail sheep etc. The inhabitants (Arabs, Berbers, partially nomadic) because of the good pastures engage in livestock breeding (cattle, sheep), are tributary to the Bey of Tripolis and are placed under separate Beys. Barka is the Cyrenaica of old.
source in German, posted by Zeno


Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Article : Barka (1876)
Barka, the Cyrenaica of old, a highland in north Africa, between the Great Syrte (Sidra Bay) and Egypt in the west and east, and between the Libyan Desert and the Mediterranean in the south and north. Area about 159,000 square km (2865 square miles). The land rises to a 500 m (1680 feet) high plateau. The northern part is extraordinarily fertile, but large parts of the country consist or bare rocks and fields of flying sand. The number of inhabitants is given as about 320,000. They consist of Arabs and a few Berbers, and until 1869 they were sbordinated to the Pasha in Tripoli, but now are administrated directly by the Porte.
source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg


Meyers Grosses Conversations-Lexikon 1902-1909, Article : Barka
Barka. Region in North Africa on the Mediterranean, between 19 and 25 degrees eastern longitude, 50,000 square km, a plateau of an average altitude of 500 m, which in the east gradually changes into the Egyptian Desert, and which declines toward the south into the Great Libyan Desert. The northern part, which rises in the Jabal al Akhdar to 660 m, is a limestone plateau with seep valleys incised, the reddish soil of which gave it the name Barka el Hamra (Red Barka). While incides only by small rivulets which run dry, it is rich in springs and precipitation. The mountains are covered by majestic Thuja forests; palm and olive groves are found in the plains, rich pastures and hunting areas stretch toward the coast, where they gradually change into fertile farmland. In the south the Barka el Beida (White Barka) follows, so called after the sandstone, covered with bushes and halfa, then almost without vegetation. The climate is the Italian, average annual temperature 22 degrees Celsius. The population estimated at 302,000 inhabitants consists of Arabs, Berbers, Turks, strongly mixed with Negro blood, and a few Greeks in the ports. Main occupations are agriculture, livestock keeping, the production of seasalt, sponge fishing, trade (export of grain, ivory, dyers' bark, wool, oxen, camels, horses, salt, spongs; imports cotton, woollen textiles, drugs, oil). Barka forms the Vilayet Benghazi wih the capital by the same name. In fact the Senussi Order is all powerful. The governor pays to the Sublime Porte 3 million Mark annually. In Antiquity, the region was named Cyrenaica after the main city of Cyrene, but in the Ptolemaic era was called Pentapolis after its five larger cities. Of Ptolemais, now Tolmeita, pictoresque ruins remain, also of Barka. Ain ash Shehad, at the site of ancient Cyrene, has large remnants of temples, theaters, of a stadium and a necropolis.
See : Barth, Wanderungen durch die Küstenländer des Mittelmeers, Berlin 1849, Rohlfs, Von Tripolis nach Alexandria, Bremen 1871, 2 vols., Camperio, in "Petermanns Mitteilungen" 1881

source in German, posted by Zeno





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First posted on April 14th 2009

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