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CARAVAN, or KARA VAN ; a Persian word, used to denote large companies which travel together in the Levant and in Africa, for the sake of security from robbers, having in view, principally, trade or pilgrimages. Such a company often has more than 1000 camels to carry their baggage and their goods. These walk in single file, so that the line is often a mile long. On account of the excessive heat, they travel, mostly, early in the morning. As every Mohammedan is obliged to visit the tomb of Mohammed once, at least, during his life, caravans of pilgrims go to Mecca, every year, from various places of meeting. The leader of such a caravan to Mecca, who carries with him some cannon for protection, is called Emir Adge. Trading caravans choose one of their own number for a leader, whom they call Ca?*ava7iBaschi. Much information on the subject of caravans is to be found in the travels of Niebuhr, who made many journeys with them, and describes them, as it is well known, minutely and faithfully. (For an account of some of the most important routes pursued by the caravans in Africa, see the article Africa, p. 90, vol. i.)