I Believe That The Population Of The Entire Peninsula, South Of A
[P.561] line from Akaba to Suez, as far as cape Abou Mohammed, does not
exceed four thousand souls.
In years of dearth, even this small number
is sometimes at a loss to find pasturage for their cattle.
The Towara are some of the poorest of the Bedouin tribes, which is to be
attributed principally to the scarcity of rain and the consequent want
of pasturage. Their herds are scanty, and they have few camels; neither
of their two Sheikhs, the richest individuals amongst them, possesses
more than eight; few tents have more than two; it often happens that two
or three persons are partners in one camel, and great numbers are
without any. There are no horses even among the Sheikhs, who constantly
ride on camels; but asses are common. Their means of subsistence are
derived from their pastures, the transport trade between Suez and Cairo,
the sale at the latter place of the charcoal which they burn in their
mountains, of the gum arabic which they collect, and of their dates and
other fruits. The produce of this trade is laid out by them at Cairo in
purchasing clothing and provisions, particularly corn, for the supply of
their families; and if any thing remains in hand, they buy with it a few
sheep and goats at Tor or at Sherm, to which latter place they are
brought by the Bedouins of the opposite coast of Arabia.
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