OASIS

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OASIS (Coptic, an inhabited place); a fertile spot, situated in the midst of the uninhabitable deserts of northern Africa: the name is also applied to a cluster of verdant spots. They serve as stoppingplaces for the caravans, and often contain villages. In the desert of Sahara there are thirtytwo of these regions, which contain fountains, and date and palm trees: twenty of them are inhabited. Those of the Libyan desert are the following:the Great Oasis, of which the principal town is El Kargeh; it consists of a number of insulated spots, extending, for about a hundred miles, in a line parallel with the Nile; it is the first stage of the Darfour caravan, and it contains interesting ruins : the Little Oasis, or that of El Wah, or El Kassar, of which the best account has been given by Belzoni; the Northern Oasis, or that of Si wah (29° 12' N. ; Ion. 26° 6' E.), inhabited by a population of about 8000 souls, and supposed by some to contain the ruins of the temple of Jupiter Ammon:. the Western Oasis (lat. 20° N.), first visited by Edrnondstone, in 1819, is composed of 12 villages.See hisJouniey to the Oases of Upper Egypt (London, 1823); see, also, the Travels of Browne,Henniker, and Caillaud.