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loaded up, they turn back to the desert.
As the desert is the key to Wang Ye Fu's industries, so Mongol migrations are the key to its history. It was founded nearly 250 years ago by a Mongol tribe or division, which sought refuge with the emperor of China. Galdan, a great warrior and conqueror, head of the Eleuth Mongols, had driven the tribe from its ancestral home and grazing grounds near Koko Nor (see map, page 199). During migration a few Moslem refugees and Mongols of other strains joined them.
The emperor granted the refugees the land. they still occupy, north of the Province of Kansu, and the wall of the city still bears a Chinese inscription to commemorate its founding.
The kings of Ala Shan enjoyed high
Manchu dynasty, and on several occasions married daughters of the Imperial family a fact which accounts for the presence of rich Manchu families in this outof-the-way corner. They came in the retinue of a princess, or as refugees after the 1911 revolution, which overthrew the dynasty.
1,200 MILES OF EMPTINESS
Although there is something resembling a court in the capital, most of the people of Ala Shan are still nomad herdsmen. Their country is about 300 miles long from east to west and as wide from north to south, with its southern edge resting on the Great Wall of China and its northern border lost in the Gobi Desert.
On the southeast the Ho Lan Shan, a steep and stony mountain range which rises to about 10,000 feet, separates Ala Shan from the valley of the Yellow River and the Chinese city of Ningsiafu.
To the west Ala Shan extends to the Edsin Gol, a small river which flows down from the snow peaks of the mountains of western Kansu, past the city of Suchow, divides, and ioses itself in two desert lakes.
To the northwest the desert and prairie stretch 1,200 miles without a city.
Wang Ye Fu is one of the few towns which border on the empty land of the nomads and affords its dwellers glimpses of some of the comforts of settled civilization.
The pastoral life is full of hardships and, as a rule, diseases are quickly cured or are fatal. Many of the Ala Shan Mongols have had smallpox, which can be treated successfully by Chinese methods.
Sometimes, however, Chinese and Mongol ideas of medicine are disconcerting. To a heavy-set herdsman who once came to me with a high fever I gave quinine and ordered rest and light diet. The next day I found him outside the chief Buddhist temple, engaged in performing a long series of prayers and prostrations prescribed by a friend in the priesthood as an infallible remedy for fever. Of course, he had taken my medicine, but ignored the advice that went with it.
The Ala Shan Mongols are well-formed and healthy. They are short, thickset men with round, brown, weather-beaten faces; not lean and spare like Tibetans, but solid and muscular. They walk like football players in hobnailed shoes, the shoulders somewhat forward and the feet set down like stumps, perhaps because of the enormous boots with flat, stiff soles which they have worn from childhood.
In Wang Ye Fu the country Mongol is only a visitor, though a frequent one, and his character has left its mark in every detail of the city.
THE CHINESE ARE TRADESMEN AND
Most of the town's working population is Chinese, from Chen fan, in Kansu, 150 miles to the west, across the desert. Life is hard in Chenfan and the land is very poor; therefore many people migrate to Wang Ye Fu, where there is a market for their labor as merchants, gardeners, carters, and blacksmiths. They are gladly received by the Mongols, who do not care to do these things themselves and yet need the services rendered.
Rich Mongols have irrigated fruit and vegetable gardens adjoining their houses, on the edge of town, but the gardeners are generally Chinese.
The Mongol may move to a town and learn letters, but he always remains far more apt at praying and riding than trading.
There are only two cities in Ala ShanTöngkow, a salt market and shipping
point on the banks of the Yellow River, and Wang Ye Fu. The latter lies in a well-watered oasis below the western flanks of the Ho Lan Shan. From the forts on the hill one looks out to a level, yellow horizon. Almost all the country is desert, with wells here and there which are used for watering goats, sheep, horses, and camels.
I was unable to obtain an accurate estimate of the population and the regent seemed amazed that I should make inquiries on the subject. He admitted that there were probably several tens of thousands of inhabitants, but that was absolutely all he seemed to know. From the fact that, all told, there are less than 6,000 lamas in three of the noteworthy temples in and near Wang Ye Fu, the total population is probably less than 50,000.
THE FARMER IS PUSHING THE NOMAD INTO THE DESERT
Ostensibly, a Mongol king rules Ala Shan, and his brother, a Mongol duke, is regent in his stead. But in reality the power lies with the nearest Chinese garrison, for the Mongols of the present day are too poorly armed and too few in number to oppose the Chinese with success. When two Mongols quarrel, or go to law, the case is decided by the Mongol authorities; but if the suit is between a Mongol and a Chinese, it goes to the nearest Chinese official for decision.
Farmers are constantly coming up from China to settle on the land. At first they pay rent to the nomad owners, and all is well, but eventually the land changes hands. The new occupant often refuses to pay rent, and for lack of deeds and landmarks the Mongol is almost sure to lose his lawsuit, after which he goes away smarting from the injury and without means of redress.
When Chinese settlers become numerous in any one locality, Chinese officials follow, to take over the administration of the district.
The wiser Mongols realize that eventually all except the most arid parts of Mongolia will be lost to them; but they are helpless. It is the age-old struggle between the farmer and the nomad, in which the farmer almost always wins.
COPYRIGHT. 1926. BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY, WASHINGTON D. C.. IN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN
SINGAPORE, CROSSROADS OF THE EAST The World's Greatest Mart for Rubber and Tin Was in Recent Times a Pirate-haunted,
Tiger-infested Jungle Isle
BY FREDERICK SIMPICH
AUTHOR OF "THE GEOGRAPHY OF OUR FOREIGN TRADE," "THE STORY OF THE RUHR," "A MEXICAN LAND OF CANAAN," ETC., IN THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
INGAPORE, the Lion City, Cross
roads of the East! Every time you open a tin can or have a blow-out you make business for Singapore, for it boasts the biggest tin smelters in the world and three-fourths of all our rubber comes out of Malaya.
And, in all the swift, significant changes wrought by white men in the East, no one event stands out more conspicuously than the rapid rise of Singapore. From a jungle isle, where tigers ate men at night, to a magnificent city, tenth among the ports of the world, in less than a century! A boom-town record this might be, even in new America, but striking indeed when one thinks of the remote geographic position of Singapore and the many centuries which other oriental cities have taken in the building.
Its place on the map, its strategic position here at the crossroads of the East, forced it to a growth at once unique and astonishing. Last year nearly 10,000 ships cut the cobalt-blue seas of the Malacca Strait, tying up the trade of Singapore with Europe, Africa, and India, with Australia, China, Japan, and the Americas.
And how Singapore came to be a city is one of the latter-day romances of the
a romance linked with the name of Raffles, that adventurous Englishman whose career has gone down in the annals of the East with that of Albuquerque, of Chinese Gordon and Warren Hastings.
A JUNGLE ISLAND A CENTURY AGO Away back in history, before even the days of Marco Polo, the Malays had founded their powerful States and set up an empire on their peninsula. Then came the Portuguese and laid waste to the strongholds of the sultans, leaving colonists whose descendants, bearing long, aristocratic names oddly out of place among Malay cognomens, are still found throughout the Indies.
After the Portuguese came the Dutch, sweeping from Malacca to Manila, only to be followed later by the British, who, with their genius for colonization, are here to this day.
It was this British adventure, about a hundred years ago, that lured Stamford Raffles, born at sea, into this restless region of the then unknown East. And Fate willed that he should found this great Singapore.
Singapore was not conquered like Hindustan, nor acquired as a ready-made
"THE LION CITY'S" TEEMING HARBOR AND WATERFRONT, AS SEEN FROM THE AMERICAN CONSULATE
Within little more than a century, a tiny fishing village on a jungle isle, tiger-infested and pirate-haunted, metamorphosed itself into a metropolis of the British Empire and "a great international turnstile of commerce.' Its dizzy, picturesque career is largely due to its strategic position at the southern extremity of Asia, on the great water highroad between India and China (see map, page 238), and to Sir Stamford Raffles' insistence that it be a free port.
, LIKE CANTON, HAS A CHINESE
them are all the impedimenta of a home, including the chickens and a dog and cat. Several thousand Chinese, some of whom never set foot on land, use these boats not only as a means of livelihood, but as a place of living. In A mat canopy or awning usually covers the middle
, which is propelled by a long, single oar projecting from the stern