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Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It separates the Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert, it stretches around 2,500 km through Morocco and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, in southwestern Morocco, with an elevation of 4,167 metres; the Atlas mountains are inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for ` mountain' are adras in some Berber languages; these terms are believed to be cognates of the toponym Atlas. The mountains are home to a number of animals and plants which are found within Africa but some of which can be found in Europe. Many of these species are endangered and a few are extinct; the basement rock of most of Africa was formed during the Precambrian supereon and is much older than the Atlas Mountains lying on the continent. The Atlas was formed during three subsequent phases of Earth's geology; the first tectonic deformation phase involves only the Anti-Atlas, formed in the Paleozoic Era as the result of continental collisions. North America and Africa were connected millions of years ago.

The Anti-Atlas Mountains are believed to have been formed as part of Alleghenian orogeny. These mountains were formed when Africa and America collided, were once a chain rivaling today's Himalayas. Today, the remains of this chain can be seen in the Fall Line region in the Eastern United States; some remnants can be found in the formed Appalachians in North America. A second phase took place during the Mesozoic Era, it consisted of a widespread extension of the Earth's crust that rifted and separated the continents mentioned above. This extension was responsible for the formation of many thick intracontinental sedimentary basins including the present Atlas. Most of the rocks forming the surface of the present High Atlas were deposited under the ocean at that time. In the Paleogene and Neogene Periods, the mountain chains that today constitute the Atlas were uplifted, as the land masses of Europe and Africa collided at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula; such convergent tectonic boundaries occur where two plates slide towards each other forming a subduction zone, and/or a continental collision.

In the case of the Africa-Europe collision, it is clear that tectonic convergence is responsible for the formation of the High Atlas, as well as for the closure of the Strait of Gibraltar and the formation of the Alps and the Pyrenees. However, there is a lack of evidence for the nature of the subduction in the Atlas region, or for the thickening of the Earth's crust associated with continental collisions. In fact, one of the most striking features of the Atlas to geologists is the relative small amount of crustal thickening and tectonic shortening despite the important altitude of the mountain range. Recent studies suggest that deep processes rooted in the Earth's mantle may have contributed to the uplift of the High and Middle Atlas; the Atlas are rich in natural resources. There are deposits of iron ore, lead ore, silver, rock salt, marble, anthracite coal and natural gas among other resources; the range can be divided into four general regions: High Atlas and Middle Atlas. Tell Atlas. Aurès Mountains.

Saharan Atlas. The Anti-Atlas extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest of Morocco toward the northeast to the heights of Ouarzazate and further east to the city of Tafilalt. In the south it borders the Sahara; the easternmost point of the anti-Atlas is the Jbel Saghro range and its northern boundary is flanked by sections of the High Atlas range. It includes the Djebel Siroua, a massif of volcanic origin with the highest summit of the range at 3,304 m; the Jebel Bani is a much lower range running along the southern side of the Anti Atlas. The High Atlas in central Morocco rises in the west at the Atlantic coast and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border, it has several peaks over 4,000 m, including the highest summit in North Africa and further east Ighil m'Goun the second major summit of the range. At the Atlantic and to the southwest, the range drops abruptly and makes a transition to the coast and the Anti-Atlas range. To the north, in the direction of Marrakesh, the range descends less abruptly.

On the heights of Ouarzazate the massif is cut through by the Draa Valley. It is inhabited by Berber people, who live in small villages and cultivate the high plains of the Ourika Valley. Near Barrage Cavagnac there is a hydroelectric dam that has created the artificial lake Lalla Takerkoust; the lake serves as a source for fish for the local fishermen. The largest villages and towns of the area are Ouarzazate, Amizmiz, Tin Mal and Ijoukak; the Middle Atlas is in Morocco and is the northernmost of its main three Atlas ranges. The range lies north of High Atlas, separated by the Moulouya and Oum Er-Rbia rivers, south of the Rif mountains, separated by the Sebou River. To the west are the main coastal plains of Morocco with many of the major cities and, to the east, the high barren plateau that lies between the Saharan and Tell Atlas; the high point of the range is the jbel Bou Naceur. The Middle Atlas experiences more rain than the ranges to the south, making it an important water catchment for the coast

Royal Historical Commission of Burma

The Royal Historical Commission of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma produced the standard court chronicles of Konbaung era, Hmannan Yazawin and Dutiya Yazawin. In May 1829, three years after the disastrous First Anglo-Burmese War, King Bagyidaw created the first Royal Historical Commission to write an official chronicle of Konbaung Dynasty; the standard official chronicle at the time was Maha Yazawin, the standard chronicle of Toungoo Dynasty that covers from time immemorial to October 1711. It was the second attempt by Konbaung kings to update Maha Yazawin; the first attempt, Yazawin Thit, commissioned by Bagyidaw's predecessor and grandfather Bodawpaya, had not been accepted because the new chronicle contained severe criticisms of earlier chronicles. Although it was Bodawpaya himself who had ordered the author of Yazawin Thit, Twinthin Taikwun, to verify the accuracy of Maha Yazawin by consulting a variety of sources including hundreds of inscriptions, the king did not accept the new chronicle when it was presented to him.

The members of the commission consisted of learned monks, court historians and court Brahmins: The commission first convened for the first time on 11 May 1829. Three years and four months the commission had brought up the history to 1821, producing Hmannan Yazawin; the second commission was formed in 1867. It was about 15 years after an more disastrous Second Anglo-Burmese War, about a year after a serious rebellion that killed Crown Prince Kanaung Mintha. A shaken King Mindon commissioned another committee of scholars to update Hmannan; the commission consisted of five members—senior court officials, a librarian, a scribe. Whereas the first commission had stopped short of the First Anglo-Burmese War, the second commission had no choice but to tackle the two disastrous wars that had their dismembered kingdom on the brink; the commission updated the chronicle up to 1854, right after the second war. The Second Chronicle's account of the two wars, according to historian Htin Aung, was "written with the objectivity of a true historian, the great national defeats were described faithfully in detail."

The second chronicle in ten volumes was completed in 1869. Burma Research Society Myanmar Historical Commission Allot, Anna. Patricia Herbert, Anthony Crothers Milner. South-East Asia: Languages and Literatures: a Select Guide. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824812676. Htin Aung, Maung. A History of Burma. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. Royal Historical Commission. Hmannan Yazawin. 1–3. Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar. Khin Maung Nyunt. "The Second Myanmar Historical Commission". Association of Myanmar Archaeologists. Thaw Kaung, U. Aspects of Myanmar History and Culture. Yangon: Gangaw Myaing

Joseph Swan (engraver)

Joseph Swan was an engraver and publisher active in Glasgow in the early nineteenth century. Joseph Swan was born 11 November 1796 in Manchester England to Thomas Janet Russell, he started his career in what had become his hometown of Edinburgh as an apprentice to engraver John Beugo and worked with other engravers. In August 1817, he married Margaret Thomson in Edinburgh before setting off to Glasgow. There he took over the engraving business established by Charles Dearie, who died 28 November 1818. Swan was one of a number of engravers and printers in Glasgow whose business encompassed pictures, maps, plans, bills, bank notes, silver work. One of his commissions was to illustrate rare plants in the collection of the Royal Botanic Institute of Glasgow. In 1836 Swan was one of the first to apply steam to the lithographic printing process, he employed staff who specialised in a particular area such as pictures and seal engraving. They included Robert Charles Bell who, like Swan, had worked with John Beugo in Edinburgh and Thomas Annan known for his photographic work.

Swan's reputation was established by his engraved illustrations of Scottish towns and landscapes which were based on pictures by contemporary Scottish artists such as John Fleming, John Knox, Andrew Donaldson, James Stewart and William Brown. The first major work, Views of Scotland and its environs, appeared in 1826 with accompanying text by John Leighton and sold at five shillings and sixpence for fine proof impressions on India paper and four shillings and sixpence for common impressions. To ensure the commercial success of such a project, subscribers were required to make payments in advance of publication to ensure that the work could proceed. Subscribers for the Views of Glasgow included the Duchess of Montrose, the Lord Provost of Glasgow and Archibald McLellan, a founder of the civic art collection; the engravings were made from pictures produced by Greenock-based John Fleming, Glasgow’s John Knox and Swan himself. The thirty-three plates include views of the city from different vantage points, the leading thoroughfares and districts.

Contemporary newspapers praised the work both for its choice of subjects and the quality of workmanship. Following the success of the Select Views of Glasgow, Swan published part one of the Select Views on the River Clyde in February 1828; the engravings for the series were taken from pictures by Andrew Donaldson. They were larger than the price rose accordingly. By February 1830 the series was complete and included views of country houses such as Blythswood, Carstairs and Hamilton Place plus Helensburgh, Greenock and Campbelltown. Followed Views of the Lakes of Scotland, the first part of, published in 1830. Swan was keen to point out to potential subscribers and purchasers that the work was of national importance as it was the first to group together Highland and Lowland lochs and included many of the lesser-known ones, he attracted well over 1000 subscribers from throughout Britain. All the engravings were based on pictures by John Fleming and the text was by Leighton with an introduction by Professor Wilson.

From 1832 to 1836 Swan’s entry in the Post Office Directory shows him as ‘engraver and publisher of the Lakes of Scotland’. Two works by Charles Mackie, Historical Description of the Abbey and Town of Paisley and Historical Description of the Town of Dundee, contain Swans engravings; the Paisley views were all based on Swan’s own artwork while the Dundee volume contains both his work and that of James Stewart. Stewart provided the artwork for the History of the County of Fyfe, Sir William Hooker’s Perthshire Illustrated has Swan’s engravings after Stewart, William Brown, Andrew Donaldson and D. MacKenzie. Swan’s engravings appear in further works including Strathclutha. Joseph Swan was a committee member and for some time treasurer of the Glasgow Mechanics’ Institution, founded in 1832. From January 1824, the institution published a successful magazine which included many of his engravings such as portraits of James Watt and John Anderson, founder of Anderson’s institution, the numerous mechanical inventions and improvements discussed in the text.

A key figure in Glasgow’s art world, Swan co-founded the Glasgow Dilettanti Society in 1825 to promote interest in the fine arts among the city’s artists, art collectors and connoisseurs. He was an honorary member of the West of Scotland Academy of the Fine Arts, founded in 1841, to which his firms supplied printed material. In the same year, he was on the management committee and treasurer of the newly founded Glasgow and West of Scotland Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts, an art union. Swan operated his business from a number of locations through his career; these included different addresses in the Trongate between 1818 and 1841 when he relocated to St Vincent Street, adjacent to the Western Club. Other premises were at Exchange Square, Bothwell Street, Buchannan Street, Parliamentary Road where the renowned Swan’s Universal Copy Books were manufactured for use in schools worldwide, he was listed in the Post Office Directory as an lithographer into the 1860s. He lived with his family at various locations in Glasgow between 1818 and his death in 1872.

Some survive such as the villa at 114 Hill Street, Garnethill and 21 Sandyforth place, Sauchiehall Street, where he died 22 September 1872. His first wife with whom he had eight children, Margaret Thomson