The country peculiarly called Turkestān by Bābur, lies below Seirām, between it and the sea of Aral. It lies on the right bank of the Sirr, and stretches considerably to the north, along the banks of some small rivers that come from the east and north. Some part of it was rich, and had been populous. A city of the same name stands on one of these inferior streams. In the time of the Arabs it is said to have been a rich and flourishing country, full of considerable towns, such as Jund, Yangikent, &c. In the time of Bābur it seems to have had few towns, but was the chief seat of the Uzbeks, who had recently settled there, and whose territories extended a considerable way to the north; though Sheibāni Khan never recovered the great kingdom of Tūra, whence his grandfather Abulkhair had been expelled, the succession of which was continued in another branch of the family. It was to this Turkestān that Sheibāni Khan retired when unsuccessful in his first attempt on Samarkand; and it was from the deserts around this tract, and from Tāshkend, which they had conquered, that his successors called the Tartars, who assisted them in expelling Bābur from Māweralnaher, after Sheibāni’s death.

Such is a general outline of the divisions of the country of Uzbek Turkestān, which may deserve that name, from having had its principal districts chiefly occupied for upwards of three centuries past by Uzbek tribes. The face of the country, it is obvious, is extremely broken, and divided by lofty hills; and even the plains are diversi­fied by great varieties of soil, some extensive districts along the Kohik river, nearly the whole of Ferghāna, the greater part of Khwārizm along the branches of the Amu, with large portions of Balkh, Badakhshān, Késh, and Hissār, being of uncommon fertility; while the greater part of the rest is a barren waste, and in some places a sandy desert. Indeed, the whole country north of the Amu has a decided tendency to degenerate into desert; and many of its most fruitful districts are nearly surrounded by barren sands; so that the population of all these dis­tricts still, as in the time of Bābur, consists of the fixed inhabitants of the cities and fertile lands, and of the unsettled and roving wanderers of the desert, the Īls and the Ulūses of Bābur, who dwell in tents of felt, and live on the produce of their flocks. The cultivated spots are rich in wheat, barley, millet, and cotton; and the fruits, particularly the peaches, apricots, plums, grapes, apples, quinces, pome­granates, figs, melons, cucumbers, &c., are among the finest in the world. The mulberry abounds, and a consider­able quantity of silk is manufactured. The cultivation is managed, as far as is practicable, by means of irrigation. The breed of horses is excellent. The less fertile parts of the country are pastured by large flocks of sheep. They have also bullocks, asses, and mules, in sufficient numbers, and some camels. The climate, though in the low lands extremely cold in winter,* and hot in summer, brings to perfection most of the fruits and grains of temperate climates; and perhaps there are few countries in the world to which Nature has been more bountiful.