From Primary Geography for Children, On an Improved Plan
C[atharine] and H[arriet] Beecher
Cincinnati: Published by Corey & Fairbank, 1833


Races of Men.

  THE inhabitants of this world are different in their appearance, according to the country they inhabit. Some are white, like the people of America; some have a dark yellowish complexion; some are copper colored; and some are black. They are therefore divided into five classes, according to their appearance. These classes are, the European, the Asiatic, the African, the American, and the Malayan.

  All the people in Europe, excepting in Lapland and Finland, belong to the European race. The people in the western part of Asia, as far as the river Obi, those in the Barbary States, in Egypt, and in Abyssinia, also belong to this race. They have far complexions, and their features are more regular and beautiful than those of any other class.

  The white people in America belong to this class, and came originally from Europe. There is, however, a difference in the complex-


ions of this race. Those natives who live in the south part of Europe, are darker than those who live in the north; and those in the Barbary States, and in Egypt, are darker than those in Europe. Here are pictures of an European and an Asiatic.

  Before the white people came over to America, it had many tribes of people in it. Some of these tribes still remain in the United States, and in the countries north of it, and in South America. These form what are called the American race. They have a copper-colored skin—long, black hair— small, dark eyes—and very thick lips, and broad noses.

  If you look on the map of Asia, you will see a country called Malaya, and you notice the islands around it. This country and all these


islands, together with Australasia and Polynesia, are inhabited by the Malay race.

  These people are different from the American, in having a brown, instead of a copper-colored skin; and in having soft, curly, black hair, instead of straight and coarse. Many of the Malay race are handsome, for their complexion often is not darker than some of the darkest ones in our country.

  The African race have black, wooly hair, and black skin. They live principally in the middle parts of Africa. Here are pictures of an African and an American.

  All the rest of the countries of Asia are inhabited by the Asiatic race. These people have dusky, yellowish skins, of the color of dried


orange-peel, and sometimes of a tawny white. They have coarse, straight, black hair, and small, black eyes. The people in Lapland and Greenland also belong to this race.



  THIS country is the most degraded and uncivilized of any of the four quarters of the globe.

  There are no republican governments here. There are no countries possessed of the Bible. What I told you about the countries where the Bible is unknown, is true of all these. Vice and cruelty, and ignorance and laziness are in all these lands.

  That northern portion, which you see divided into many little countries, is called the Barbary States. This is one of the richest and most productive portions of the world. Wheat and rice, and every kind of


grain is cultivated. There are pomgranates with scarlet blossoms, and oranges, and lemons, and olives, with other fine fruits. White roses blossom wild, and oleanders with pink flowers; the sugar cane flourishes excellently, and the fan-palm with its broad leaves waves over the houses.

  The manners of the inhabitants are like those of the orientals which I have described—but they are fierce and cruel, and so jealous, and unsociable, and selfish, that you could put no confidence in them. Tunis is governed by an officer called a bashaw—Algiers by one called a dey—and Tripoli by one called a bey. These men are subject to the sultan of Turkey in Europe. They are absolute monarchs, however, in their own provinces.

  The country that you see, called Egypt, used to be a very great and powerful nation. It is the oldest kingdom of which we read in history.

  It used to be a very learned country, and had the largest library in the world. It was here that geometry and arithmetic was first studied. The other nations of the world learnt most that they knew from the Egyptians.

  There used to be many splendid cities and palaces here, and there are many ruins to this day. Among these are the pyramids. These are made of stone, and are so strongly built, that it is likely they will stand as long as the world does.

  These buildings are covered with all sorts of strange looking signs, images of birds, and beasts, and other things. This is a kind of writing called hieroglyphics.—Learned men have studied these writings,


and in many cases, found out what they mean. Some of them were written as long ago as the time of Moses and Abraham, and help us to understand some parts of the Bible.

  You remember it was in this country that Abraham lived, when there was a famine in Canaan. Here Joseph was sold by his brothers. Here the children of Israel were cruelly treated till God raised up Moses to bring them away.—That little arm of the Red Sea that you see at the top, was where they passed over.

  Egypt is, in some parts, a delightfully pleasant country. But many parts of it are only waste, and barren deserts. Many regions that used to be fertile, have been overwhelmed by sand storms. It seldom rains here, and the country is watered by the Nile, which at certain times in the year overflows, and spreads its waters over the country.

  It used to be a beautiful sight, when Egypt was as fresh and flourishing as a garden, to see the clumps of sycamores—the tall green palms—the tamarind trees, all rising out of a sheet of clear water at such times. The people then, used to sail round to see each other in boats.

  The Nile still overflows, and those parts of the country which are watered in this way, are the most fruitful.

  The desert of Zahara is a great plain of burning sand, like that which I have already described to you in Arabia. South of this, you see the countries of Senegambia, the coast of Guinea, and the countries of Congo, Loango, and Angola. These countries are inhabited by negroes, who have the features of the African race. There are a number of little kingdoms here, which are not put down upon your map.


  The inhabitants, many of them, are fierce and cruel. One of these kings has his bed-chamber paved with human skulls, and hung round with the jaw-bones of men whom he has killed in battle. Some of these governments are the most despotic in the world.

  As for their religion, they worship all sorts of things for Gods—worms—sticks—stones—beads—bits of paper—or any thing that they can find. To these they pray, and think that they can help them in trouble.

  Ivory and gold, and many kinds of gums and spices, are produced on this coast—and it is here near the equator, that most of those productions are found of which I told you on pages 33 and 34. Liberia is a little country on the west coast, settled by black people, who have gone out from this country.

  Nothing is known about that middle part, which you see on your map called Ethiopia. The south part of Africa is called the colony of the Cape. It is inhabited by a number of different tribes, who are very stupid and ignorant. The south part of it has been settled by Europeans.

  On the eastern coast of Africa, you see a number of little countries—Ajan, Adel, Zangeubar, Mozambique, and Sofala. The religion of these countries is pagan. They are governed by many different kings. The soil is fertile. Very large elephants are found, and gold is washed down by the waters of some of the rivers. The climate and productions are those of the torrid zone.

  Abyssinia has a pleasant climate and a fertile soil. The people once professed to be Christians, but are as stupid and ignorant as heath-


ens. They are so brutal as to eat raw flesh cut off from living animals. The people are continually quarreling, and the lives of men are no more regarded than if they were brutes.


Southern States.

  YOU may now turn to your map of the southern states, for I am going to tell you about them. In these states, the climate is warmer than it is either in New England or the western states, because they lie so much farther south. Florida, which is the lowest of them,


reaches almost down to the tropic. In these states, especially in the most southern ones, oranges, lemons, and figs can be raised.

  The people do not live in little villages as much as they do in N. England. They have large farms, sometimes a great many miles in extent, and these farms are called plantations. Sometimes a family on one of these plantations will not have a neighbor within six or seven miles.

  The white people scarcely work at all here, but buy negroes to do their work. Sometimes one man will own several hundred of them.

  These negroes do various things. The females and the little children are employed about the house; for as there is such a large family of them, they must of course have a great deal to do. The men take care of the plantation.

  Sometimes on these plantations they raise the sugar cane. This is a tall plant, the stock of which is like a rattan. It is planted in rows, and the negroes hoe around it, to keep the ground loose, and when the proper time comes, they cut it down and pack it up to make sugar of.

  Sometimes they raise cotton on their plantations. This is a sort of bush. It bears a blossom, and after the blossom, a pod which is full of cotton. At the proper time of the year, the negroes pick off the cotton-pods, and after the cotton has been cleaned and prepared, it is


packed up and sent away to Europe, where cotton is manufactured. Here is a picture of some slaves.

  Sometimes they raise tobacco, which is also a kind of small plant. The leaves of it are picked off and dried, and form tobacco and snuff. And sometimes they raise rice. I told you about rice when I was teaching you in Asia.

  Many beautiful shrubs and plants grow at the south, that are not known at the north. There are in the woods, white and yellow jessamines, with flowers shaped like stars; and there are trees called magnolias, which bear a beautiful and very fragrant blossom, and many other plants which I have not now time to tell you about. The people at the south are said to be very warm-hearted and kind to strangers, so as to make you feel quite at your ease in visiting them.