Africa — страница 11

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Nyanza, Libyan and Hamitic elements are respectively stronger than the Negroid. Of the tracts excepted, Abyssinia is inhabited mainly by Semito-Hamites (though a fairly strong negroid element can be found), and Somali and Galla-lands by Hamites. North of the Sahara in Algeria and Morocco are the Libyans (Berbers, q.v.), a distinctively white people, who have in certain respects (e.g. religion) fallen under Arab influence. In the north-east the brown-skinned Hamite and the Semite mingle in varied proportions. The Negroid peoples, which inhabit the vast tracts of forest and savanna between the areas held by Bushmen to the south and the Hamites, Semites and Libyans to the north, fall into two groups divided by a line running from the Cameroon (Rio del Rey) crossing the Ubangi river

below the bend and passing between the Ituri and the Semliki rivers, to Lake Albert and thence with a slight southerly trend to the coast. North of this line are the Negroes proper, south are the Bantu. The division is primarily philological. Among the true Negroes the greatest linguistic confusion prevails; for instance, in certain parts of Nigeria it is possible to find half-a-dozen villages within a comparatively small area speaking, not different dialects, but different languages, a fact which adds greatly to the difficulty of political administration. To the south of the line the condition of affairs is entirely different; here the entire population speaks one or another dialect of the Bantu Languages (q.v..) As said before, the division is primarily linguistic and,

especially upon the border line, does not always correspond with the variations of physical type. At the same time it is extremely convenient and to a certain extent justifiable on physical and psychological grounds; and it may be said roughly that while the linguistic uniformity of the Bantu is accompanied by great variation of physical type, the converse is in the main true of the Negro proper, especially where least affected by Libyan and Hamitic admixture, e.g. on the Guinea coast. The variation of type among the Bantu is due probably to a varying admixture of alien blood, which is more apparent as the east coast is approached. This foreign element cannot be identified with certainty, but since the Bantu seem to approach the Hamites in those points where they differ from the

Negro proper, and since the physical characteristics of Hamites and Semites are very similar, it seems probable that the last two races have entered into the composition of the Bantu, though it is highly improbable that Semitic influence should have permeated any distance from the east coast. An extremely interesting section of the population not hitherto mentioned is constituted by the Pygmy tribes inhabiting the densely forested regions along the equator from Uganda to the Gabun and living the life of nomadic hunters. The affinities of this little people are undecided, owing to the small amount of knowledge concerning them. The theories which connected them with the Bushmen do not seem to be correct. It is more probable that they are to be classed among the Negroids, with whom

they appear to have intermingled to a certain extent in the upper basin of the Ituri, and perhaps elsewhere. As far as is known they speak no language peculiar to themselves but adopt that of the nearest agricultural tribe. They are of a dark brown complexion, with very broad noses, lips but slightly everted, and small but usually sturdy physique, though often considerably emaciated owing to insufficiency of food. Another peculiar tribe, also of short stature, are the Vaalpens of the steppe region of the north Transvaal. Practically nothing is known of them except that they are said to be very dark in colour and live in holes in the ground, and under rock shelters. Principal ethnological zones. Having indicated the chief races of which in various degrees of purity and

intermixture the population of Africa is formed, it remains to consider them in greater detail, particularly from the cultural standpoint. This is hardly possible without drawing attention to the main physical characters of the continent, as far as they affect the inhabitants. For ethnological purposes three principal zones may be distinguished; the first two are respectively a large region of steppes and desert in the north, and a smaller region of steppes and desert in the south. These two zones are connected by a vertical strip of grassy highland lying mainly to the east of the chain of great lakes. The third zone is a vast region of forest and rivers in the west centre, comprising the greater part of the basin of the Congo and the Guinea coast. The rainfall, which also has an