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Gujarat, a state of India, islocated on the country’s western coast, on the Arabian Sea. It encompasses the entire Kathiawar Peninsula (Saurashtra) as well as the surrounding area on the mainland.

Rani Sipri Mosque. Ahmedabad. Gujarat, India. 16th Century.

The state is bounded primarily by Pakistan to the northwest and by the Indian states of Rajasthan to the north, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and Maharashtra to the southeast. Gujarat also shares a small segment of its southeastern border with the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and, together with the Arabian Sea, it surrounds the territory of Daman and Diu.

The coastline of Gujarat is 992 miles (1,596 km) long, and no part of the state is more than 100 miles (160 km) from the sea. The capital is Gandhinagar, on the outskirts of the north-central city of Ahmadabad (Ahmedabad)—the former capital, the largest city in the state, and one of the greatest cotton-textile centres in India.

Temple Ruins. Patan. Gujarat

It was in Ahmadabad that Mahatma Gandhi built his Sabarmati ashram (Sanskrit: ashrama, “retreat,” or “hermitage”) as a headquarters for his campaigns. Gujarat draws its name from the Gurjara (supposedly a subtribe of the Huns), who ruled the area during the 8th and 9th centuries ce. The state assumed its present form in 1960, when the former Bombay state was divided between Maharashtra and Gujarat on the basis of language. Area 75,685 square miles (196,024 square km). Pop. (2011) 60,383,628.

April 17, 1885, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

How News Is Carried in Astatic Countries in Rivalry with the Telegraph

(London Spectator.)

How do Asiatics, without telegraphs or semaphores or heliographs — though, as they have mirrors and ingenuity, they ought to have invented these latter — contrive to transmit the heads of intelligence so rapidly as they do? We suppose that in all countries where dromedaries are used remarkable speed in , transmitting a message is quite a possibility. A regular Arab courier, trained to excessive exertion, and careless whether he killed his animals or himself, could, we imagine, if he could change his beast every hundred miles, carry a letter or a message 250 miles in a day. The French Government, which has been making experiments in Algeria, has sent news, it is reported, nearly as fast as that, and its messengers, though one of them rode till he either died or fainted, never changed their beasts. Fifty stages are as easy to fifty men and fifty animals as one stage is to one. Anything like that rate would at once clear up every Indian story, and it is quite conceivable that after Gujarat riding camels were employed for a great portion of the way, horses being used for the remainder, and the animals in both instances compelled to put out their utmost strength along an admirable road, that method would at once account for the transmission of the first news of the fall of Berber, for it might have been carried across the desert to Suakim in thirty hours, say, or even less — that is, some four days quicker than by ordinary methods — have been sent by a steamer just starting from Suez and then have been flashed in cipher to the French houses in Alexandria, which certainly received it first.

It seems a long way from Khartoum to Kairwan, and it is at least 1,500 miles, but if the Mahdi desired it news of the capture on January 26th could easily have reached the Holy City by February 3d without going through Egypt at all, being carried by dromedaries over the desert from tribe to tribe. Speed like that would account for anything in the desert, while the limit of speed for a quick boat descending a rapid is still to seek. At least 150 miles might be got over in a single term of daylight, and in the East, where it is never totally dark on water, great distances oould be accomplished even at night. There is no necessity, however, for imagining either dromedaries or boats. The native rider is tireless and light ; he thinks nothing of his animal; and, with rapid changes, such as in many parts of Asia are still possible — the organization of couriers being still thoroughly understood — a degree of speed may be attained which, to men who always in thought prosuppose wheeled conveyances, is great indeed. Two hundred and fifty miles can be so passed in the twenty-four hours and a message thus transmitted over a thousand miles in four days. The world is small — a thousand miles cover an immense distance on the map — for example, Warsaw is not seven hundred miles from London — and the tendency to exaggerate a feat of this kind is almost instinctive. We doubt if intelligence can be clearly proved ever to have been transmitted faster than this; and if so, the only surprise felt should be at the completeness of the .organization, which, however, has been familiar to the Asiatics for thoueands of years and was developed by one Asiatic, Jenig iz Khan, into a system which surprised anything known in Europe before the telegraph was invented. A trained courier in the service of a great Asiatic will go on till he drops; and the ground he will cover before he drops — being all whipcord, careless of hunger and an hereditary teetotaler would amaze the most enduring English groom. Even runners will, if relieved at intervals, cover extraordinary distances and a message which has been sent on foot six hundred miles in four days seems to the recipient to have been forwarded with miraculous quickness.

Whether the carrier pigeon is often used in Asia to convey intelligence nobody seems to know for certain. If it is, of course the difficulty would bo solved at once; but there is no evidence. There would be some difficulty in conveying the birds and the rates of transmission recorded do not point to their employment. The presumption, on the evidence, is the employment of couriers, who still in Russia and Turkey are believed on occasion to perform extraordinary feats; but the possibility of a system of signals to convey exceedingly short messages, and so in special localities greatly add to the speed of couriers, should not be too summarily dismissed.

We used signals before the semaphore was invented, and sent one message at least over England in a night; and that meseages are sent across broad rivers by a call repeated from boat to boat, almost in a moment, is as certain as the existence of the rivers themselves. We have often heard the messages delivered, and never lost a sense of wonder at a rapidity which, nevertheless, is not wonderful, for Colonel Henderfon, by a particular arrangement of police, could speak from Stratford to the Marble Arch in seven minutes.

March 22, 1891, San Francisco Call, San Francsico, California, U.S.A.

Images in That Metal That Are the Perfection of Art.

The only real work of art in copper that now exists in India is the casting of Hindu and other Images for. religious purposes. These are, of course, mostly to be found in old temples. Almost all the old temples which can really claim antiquity have images made of copper, which are the perfection of art, and which, with all the assistance of machinery, could never be excelled or even imitated by European cities. Southern India has been the cradle of this art, and seems likely soon to become its grave, for barely half a dozen artisans still exist who understand the subtleties of the old craft.

Till quite lately copper chombras with brass or silver ornamentations used to be manufactured in Tanjore, Arkonum. and are still drawing their last breath at Manambuchavadi and Tirnpati; but the cunning has gone from the hand, and the work is less powerful than the ancient one. The most lasting monuments of the copper art are the old grains written on copper plate and coins which are constantly being discovered and stored up in the Madras Central and other museums. The only nation that possesses these imperishable forms of documents is India; palmyra leaf is supposed to last five centuries, and likala, a specimen of this palm, greatly grown on the Ceylon coast, can be preserved for upward of seven centuries; but a document on copper, according to the immense number which modern research has brought to light, and which have been lithographed in the "Indian Antiquary," can last even for twenty centuries without the least injury being made by lime. The original Magna Charta is preserved in a case in a shapeless form like a handful of torn scraps of paper. What hands could put it together, although it is only six centuries old? Look at the most insignificant record of a grant of rice to some poor Branmin in any temple during the days of the Chola or Chalukia, ten or fifteen centuries ago; each letter, each stroke or dot stands out in clear, distinct form, as legible as it was years ago, when its wording meant so much to the poor recipient. But want of art energy is allowing this to die. Ready as the Indian nation is to present addresses of welcome to Rajahs and to English officials of position, they never take the trouble to engrave lasting ones on copper.

The Wisdom of the Vedas. J. C. Chatterji.

Iron work, too, runs the same chance of being extinguished. India whs the first country which turned this metal into weapons. Persia borrowed the art from India. The Rig Veda, which is the oldest record in the world, gives evidence of this; so do also the Astras and Sastras of the Dhanurneda, and during the early part of the Christian era the Indian blade was the most used throughout the Eastern and Western world. This art reached its greatest perfection in Northern India, the Punjab, Nepaul, Rajputana, Gujarat and other provinces, where they still make beautiful arms; also In Hyderabad, where English art has not penetrated so deeply. — The Nineteenth Century.

December 28, 1899, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Hindoos Pray for Great Britain's Success

New York, December 27.— Hindoo astrologers, according to Bombay papers which have just been received, are connecting the famine plague and British reverses to the peculiar conjunction of the planets, when on the 15th of November seven planets were In the sign of Scorpio. The Hindoos of Bombay, therefore, to avert further calamity and insure success to the British arms, arranged for special prayers and religious ceremonies at one of their great temples. Seventy-five learned Brahmins officiated. The first act was the presentation of gifts to these priests of valuable shawls and money. The priests then Invoked divine blessing on the rulers and ruled, and the people sang hymns In Marathl and Gujarat!, of which the Indian papers give the following translation:

"God grant that the illustrious and merciful Victoria may always enjoy perfect peace and happiness; that feelings of loyally may remain deeply rooted In the hearts of her subjects, and that her domain may be free from all foreign invasions. May all differences between the rulers nnl ruled vanish; may her Majesty's subjects move on the path of righteousness; may all treason disappear; may famine and pestilence fly away; may the people of the Transvaal come to repent their acts of folly, and may her Majesty's forces gain glory and success on the fields of battle in Africa."

At the elope of the service three cheers given tor the long life, glory and success of her Majesty, the Queen Empress.

November 10, 1889, Daily Alta California, San Francsico, California, U.S.A.

A Wonderful Jewel in India

Jeweler's Weekly.

It is doubtful whether Shakespeare's toad, Ugly and venemous. Wears yet a precious jewel on his head but there is a belief current in all parts of India that a certain variety of snake, called Shesh Nag, when it attains the age of 1000 years, has a precious jewel formed in his head. This jewel, it ia affirmed, possesses the quality of sucking up the poison of the deadliest snake if applied to the wounded part. Strangely enough, a Parsee gentleman is reputed to possess this invaluable jewel, according, to a correspondent of a Gojarati weekly published at Wadhan, in Gujarat.

The correspondent says that when the present owner, who, by the way, ia now 63, was 23 years old he found a snake of the above-mentioned variety, which he killed. Then he found the jewel in its head. Is has already saved several lives. Last year when Mr. Vidal, the collector of the district, was there it was shown to him. The jewel is said to contain a thin, crescent-like fiber which unceasingly oscillates in the center. His highness the Gaikwar of Baroda, his highness the Maharajah of Kolhapur and several other native princes are said to have offered more than 100,000 rupees for this unique jewel. The name and address of the owner are Framji Dadabhal Govekar, Tarapur, Bombay Presidency.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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