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Geographical Notes


    THE present number of the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie commences with a paper by M. Duveyrier, on the geographical extent of the Mussulman confraternity of Senousi. This sect, which is distinguished by its au tere and fanatical tenets, arose forty-six years ago under an Algerian, and appears to have in a greater or less degree permeated the Mohammedan world, and acquired vast political importance. It flourishes especially in Northern Africa, reaching as far south as Timbuctoo. The details of its precise extent and the nature of its activity are given in the paper. The second paper, which is not signed, records a French hydrographical mission to the coast of Morocco by the French officer M. Vincendon-Dumoulin in 1854. The most interesting part of the paper is the introduction, in which the writer discusses the necessity of having a dictionary of geographical etymology; that is, a work which will explain as far as possible the origin and meaning of geographical names, not only from a philological but also an historical point of view. The names, he says, which, for example, Stanley and De Brazza are giving their settlements in Africa, are explicable now, when everybody knows why Leopoldville is so called; but it may be different fifty years hence. But who knows, he inquires, that the territory called Adélie in the Polar Ocean was so called after the wife of Admiral Dumont d'Urville, or that the capes known as Jagcrsschmidt and Cotelle were named after the members of the hydrographical expedition to Morocco, which the paper then goes on to describe? From the report of a Committee of the Society appointed for the purpose, we see that three gold medals for geographical work have been awarded this year. The first was granted to M. Alphonse Milne-Edwards for his submarine investigations; the second to M. Thouar for his journey to the Grand Chaco in search of the survivors of the Crevaux Mission; and the third to M. Charnay for his explorations and archæological discoveries in Yucatan. The last paper in the number is composed of a series of extracts from the letters of Abbé Desgodins on the boundary region between Thibet, Burmah, Assam, and China.

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