Belu`chistan (200 to 400), a desert plateau lying between Persia and
India, Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea; is crossed by many mountain
ranges, the Suliman, in the N., rising to 12,000 ft. Rivers in the NE.
are subject to great floods. The centre and W. is a sandy desert exposed
to bitter winds in winter and sand-storms in summer. Fierce extremes of
temperature prevail. There are few cattle, but sheep are numerous; the
camel is the draught animal. Where there is water the soil is fertile,
and crops of rice, cotton, indigo, sugar, and tobacco are raised; in the
higher parts, wheat, maize, and pulse. Both precious and useful metals
are found; petroleum wells were discovered in the N. in 1887. The
population comprises Beluchis, robber nomads of Aryan stock, in the E.
and W., and Mongolian Brahuis in the centre. All are Mohammedan. Kelat is
the capital; its position commands all the caravan routes. Quetta, in the
N., is a British stronghold and health resort. The Khan of Kelat is the
ruler of the country and a vassal of the Queen.
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