Flora of Aden. Records of the Botanical Survey of India, Volume VII, Number 3

Flora of Aden is a botanical catalog of plants found in Aden and vicinity at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The work appeared in three issues in 1914‒16. Despite never having traveled to the region, Father Ethelbert Blatter was able to add 250 plants to the literature of the region’s known species. He relied on various herbaria and travel accounts, beginning with those by Henry Salt (1780‒1827). Each plant is described in detail with its physical description, Latin and local names, location, growing season, and other available information. It is interesting to note that the descriptions rarely cite medicinal or culinary uses. There are colorful comments on the circumstance of reported finds, such as “Marchesetti is the only botanist who reported this species from Aden, and we have included it on his authority…we are perhaps allowed to doubt the actual occurrence of Cl. droserifolia at Aden.” Ethelbert Blatter (1877‒1934) was a Swiss Jesuit priest and pioneering botanist in India. He left his native land to study in Germany and the Netherlands, and later for theological studies in England. In 1903, he moved to Mumbai (Bombay), India, to teach at Saint Xavier College and engage in the botanical research and publishing that occupied him for the remainder of his life. Although his main contributions were in British India, his books on the plants of Aden and Arabia are also important contributions to botanical literature. Flora of Aden comprises volume VII of the Records of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI or the Survey). The BSI was established in 1890 for the purpose of identifying the plants of India and their economic value. European interest in the flora of India dates to the earliest days of exploration and colonial expansion. Beginning in the 16th century, the Portuguese, Dutch, and British collected and studied native plants. As the lands under control of the British East India Company grew in extent, so too did the study of plant life in the north and northwest of the Indian subcontinent. Economic and imperial expansion extended the surveys beyond the borders of British India to Myanmar (Burma) and the Arabian Peninsula.

Flora Arabica, Part I. Records of the Botanical Survey of India, Volume VIII, Number 1

Flora Arabica is a botanical catalog of the plants of the Arabia. The work is in six volumes covering the whole of the Arabian Peninsula: the extra-tropical west, the tropical west, the tropical east, and the extra-tropical east including the Persian Gulf region. The catalog is by Father Ethelbert Blatter, and is largely based on the herbaria of the British Museum, which itself contained the records of other collections. The author asserts that Flora Arabica contains “all the plant material ever collected in Arabia.” The work is noteworthy for the inclusion of the native names for plants in Arabic and Persian, including regional dialect variants. Blatter’s Flora Arabica held pride of place among reference books on Arabian plants until the late 20th century. Ethelbert Blatter (1877‒1934) was a Swiss Jesuit priest and pioneering botanist in India. He left his native land to study in Germany and the Netherlands, and later for theological studies in England. In 1903, he moved to Mumbai (Bombay), India, to teach at Saint Xavier College and engage in the botanical research and publishing that occupied him for the remainder of his life. Although his main contributions were in British India, his books on the plants of Aden and Arabia are also important contributions to botanical literature. Flora Arabica comprises volume VIII of the Records of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI or the Survey). The BSI was established in 1890 for the purpose of identifying the plants of India and their economic value. European interest in the flora of India dates to the earliest days of exploration and colonial expansion. Beginning in the 16th century, the Portuguese, Dutch, and British collected and studied native plants. As the lands under control of the British East India Company grew in extent, so too did the study of plant life in the north and northwest of the Indian subcontinent. Economic and imperial expansion extended the surveys beyond the borders of British India to Myanmar (Burma) and the Arabian Peninsula.

Note on the Tribes of the Aden Protectorate

Note on the Tribes of the Aden Protectorate is an annotated list of the Arab tribes and sub-tribes of the Aden Protectorate. The short monograph was prepared by a Captain Knapp of the Royal Artillery. It is undated, but based on internal evidence it can be surmised that it was compiled sometime before administrative functions were transferred from the government of India to the British Foreign Office in 1917. The Aden Protectorate, like the Trucial States of the Persian Gulf and the tribal areas of India’s Northwest Frontier, was based on British treaty arrangements with local tribes, the first of which was concluded in 1886. The Aden Protectorate system ended in the 1960s. In the early days, Britain’s aim was to prevent other European powers from extending their reach to the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula and thus threaten the route to India. Later, British administrative officers became more intimately concerned with the internal affairs of the shaykhdoms. Note on the Tribes of the Aden Protectorate is in the form of an intelligence report that provides information on 14 major tribes and their constituent clans. Each entry includes the name of the tribe, its geographic distribution, climate and topography, a population estimate, villages, principal characteristics (e.g., farming, nomadism, brigandage, and so forth), and treaty obligations. This is not a work of original research. Much of the information it contains was taken from Hunter and Sealy’s An Account of the Arab Tribes in the Vicinity of Aden, published in 1886, and the tables of overland routes were derived from Indian Army reports from 1870 to 1894. There is no title page. The title is handwritten on the front flyleaf. The book was published in Simla, India, at the Government Central Press

An Account of the Arab Tribes in the Vicinity of Aden

An Account of the Arab Tribes in the Vicinity of Aden is an ethnography prepared for use by the British administrators and army in the Aden Protectorate. It was first published in 1886. This edition of 1909 was “corrected and added to by various officers of the Aden Residency” until September 1907. The Aden Residency and the Aden Protectorate were not the same entities. The residency governed the town and port of Aden, beginning in 1839. The protectorate was established in 1886 with the conclusion of separate treaties with tribes of the coast and hinterland. This web of agreements established Great Britain “as a kind of paramount power, which, while recognizing independence in regard to internal government, yet is ready to prevent alienation of territory to foreign nations, or inter-tribal disputes which are carried on to the detriment of the public peace or the interests of commerce.”  In addition to the detailed ethnography of the region, the work contains genealogical tables, biographies of tribal notables, and the texts of treaties and other agreements. It includes histories and ethnographic details for approximately 20 Arab tribes or tribal confederations. A second volume containing maps is not in the collections of the Library of Congress and is not shown here. The authors of the work, Frederick Hunter and Charles Sealy, were officers in the Indian Army who served as resident (governor) in British Somaliland in the 1880s and 1890s, respectively. Hunter was also acting resident in Aden in 1885. Sealy was known in the army as an orientalist and was the translator of A.W.C. van den Berg’s Hadthramut and the Arab Colonies of the Indian Archipelago (1887).

Monograph on the Aden Hinterland as Touching the States of Dthala, Yafa, Alawi, Et cetera

Monograph on the Aden Hinterland is an intelligence report prepared in 1908 by a British army major, Harold Jacob (1866–1936), who was posted to the mountainous areas north of the port town of Aden. It is a richly detailed account of tribal life and practical politics. Jacob led the commission to demarcate the border between the Aden Protectorate and Ottoman Yemen. The detachment operated over difficult terrain, encountering sometimes violent opposition from the inhabitants. The report is marked “secret” and was printed for use by the Aden administration and for the information of the government of India in Bombay. It covers the complex and confusing political situation in the Dhala tribal areas and the need to combine knowledge of the people with military firmness and administrative finesse, qualities that Jacob found lacking in the distant governments of Aden and Bombay. In his view, the British could not advise rulers, in this case the amir of al-Dhala (present-day Ad Dhale’e), “without a perfect and detailed grasp of the habits of the people, their language and customs, and this most essential knowledge cannot be obtained without our living, moving and having our being with the people.” During his long career in Aden, Jacob was in turn political agent in upland Aden, first assistant resident in the Aden settlement, and political advisor in the settlement to the British Army during World War I. After the war he became advisor on Arabian affairs to the British High Commissioner in Cairo. Jacob is the author of Perfumes of Araby: Silhouettes of Al Yemen (1915), Kings of Arabia: The Rise and Set of the Turkish Sovranty in the Arabian Peninsula (1923), and The Kingdom of Yemen: Its Place in the Comity of Nations (1933).

Dhows of the Indian Ocean: Disputes over Zanzibar and Muscat

Les boutriers de la Mer des Indes, affaires de Zanzibar et Mascate (The dhows of the Indian Ocean: Disputes over Zanzibar and Muscat) is a diplomatic history of the confrontation in the 19th century between France and Britain involving these territories. Britain’s goal was to preserve maritime security in the Indian Ocean, while France was attempting to retain its few trading outposts and its diplomatic influence in Muscat, Zanzibar, and on the East African coast. The author, Charles Brunet, takes the view that the French position was doomed because of the “pusillanimity and folly” of the French government in the face of British bullying. Brunet was a man of letters and political figure in the French overseas province of Réunion. This work is his doctoral dissertation. Brunet begins with an historical introduction and romantic depiction of the traditional commerce of the two-masted dhows and a discussion of the expertise of their Omani shipmasters. He then proceeds to the heart of his research, which traces in minute detail using the body of available texts the progress of British territorial acquisition at the expense of the French and their Omani and African allies. French authorities in the region attempted to hold the line against the expansion of British influence through a series of measures regulating the dhow trade. The British challenged these acts, using the curbing of slavery as the pretext for extending their control of the seas. The author argues that a judgement at the Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 1905 went largely against the French because warnings by French officials in the region went unheeded and as a consequence of the lack of knowledge and often stupidity shown by French ministers, the ignorance of the negotiators, the silence of the press, and the indifference of the French parliament. Brunet concludes that “under these conditions the result of Anglo-French rivalry was never in doubt.”

Notes on the Environs of York

This pen-and-ink and watercolor manuscript map of 1781 shows the area from Williamsburg to Yorktown, between the James and York Rivers, at the time of the Battle of Yorktown, which took place in September‒October of that year. Williamsburg was founded in 1632, and it was the capital of colonial Virginia from 1699 until 1780. York (more commonly known as Yorktown after the Revolutionary War) was founded in 1691 and became a major port for the export of tobacco. The map shows roads, houses, hospitals, and a church, and it gives the names of some local landowners. It also shows Burwell’s Ferry, Halfway House, mills, bridges, creeks, and various other places of interest. The text on the right side of the map, in French, contains notes on many of the sites indicated on the map and the role that they played in the battle. Some of the sites are indicated by letter. No scale is given, but the map approximates to 1:44,000. Yorktown was the last major land battle of the Revolutionary War. The defeat of the British and the surrender of their army under General Lord Cornwallis led to peace negotiations and conclusion of the Treaty of Paris of September 3, 1783, which officially ended hostilities and brought international recognition of American independence. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.

Notes on the Environs of York. Map Provided by Local Land Surveyors

This pen-and-ink and watercolor manuscript map is a draft containing information provided by local land surveyors that was used by a French military cartographer to create a finished map. It shows the area from Williamsburg to Yorktown, Virginia, between the James and York Rivers, where the Battle of Yorktown was fought in September‒October 1781. Williamsburg was founded in 1632, and was the capital of colonial Virginia from 1699 until 1780. York (more commonly known as Yorktown after the Revolutionary War) was founded in 1691 and became a major port for the export of tobacco. The map shows roads, houses, hospitals, and a church, and it gives the names of some local landowners. It also shows Burwell’s Ferry, Halfway House, mills, bridges, creeks, and various other places of interest. The text on the right side of the map, in French, contains notes on many of the sites indicated on the map and the role that they played in the battle. Some of the sites are indicated by letter. No scale is given. Yorktown was the last major land battle of the Revolutionary War. The defeat of the British and the surrender of their army under General Lord Cornwallis led to peace negotiations and conclusion of the Treaty of Paris of September 3, 1783, which officially ended hostilities and brought international recognition of American independence. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.

Map of the Terrain on the Left Bank of the James River Across from Jamestown, Virginia, Where a Battle Took Place on July 6, 1781, between the American Army led by the Marquis de La Fayette and the English Army under the Leadership of Lord Cornwallis

This pen-and-ink and watercolor manuscript map was drawn by Jean Nicolas Desandrouins (1729–92), an engineer with the French army of General Rochambeau during the American Revolution. It shows the layout of the Battle of Green Spring, in southeastern Virginia, on July 6, 1781. This battle came near the end of the war, and involved Continental Army troops under the Marquis de Lafayette and General Anthony Wayne and British troops under General Lord Cornwallis. The battle was a minor victory for the British and the last land battle in Virginia before their ultimate loss at Yorktown. This map shows the town of Jamestown, as well as the battle site on the left bank of the James River across from the town. A lettered key identifies the troop positions of the Americans and the French, their maneuvers, and other points of military interest. The map also shows a mill, a church, a ferry, houses, roads, creeks, and vegetation. Among the sites listed are Humbler’s plantation, and the properties of Monsieur Lralchfeld, Monsieur Wilkesson, and Monsieur Harris. Virginia was a colonial center of tobacco production, and many of these plantations were part of the tobacco economy. The map has a watermark. Relief is shown by hachures. Scale is given in toises, an old French unit measuring almost 1.95 meters. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.

Map of Portsmouth, Virginia

This pen-and-ink manuscript map shows Portsmouth, Virginia, at the time of the American Revolution. Portsmouth served as a primary British post and naval base. On July 4, 1781, British general Charles Cornwallis (1738–1805) left Williamsburg, Virginia in order to cross the James River at Jamestown and reach Portsmouth. Once at Portsmouth, the British army loaded onto transports. Cornwallis and his men then sailed to Yorktown, where their defeat at the Siege of Yorktown would conclude the American Revolution. The map shows forts, bridges, country homes, marshes, a windmill, and Scott’s Creek. It also shows the Portsmouth waterfront, along the Elizabeth River, as well as roads leading into town and the adjacent area of Gosport. It lists property sites named for owners called Davis, Samuel Veals, Captain Badson, and Tucker. Portsmouth was founded in 1752, but dates back even further as a notable shipbuilding site. Scale is indicated in perches, an old unit measuring more than three meters. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.