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Galabat, Galla Bat


GALABAT, GALLA BAT, or METEMME, a town in the frontier district of Egypt and Abyssinia, near one of the western sub-tributaries of the Atbara, about 100 miles W. of Gondar, in 13° N. let, and 36° E. long. Most of the houses are built in the Abyssinian style, with conical roofs of grass, and the place would be of little importance if it were not the staple market for the exportation of Abyssinian produce across the Egyptian frontier. Beeswax, coffee, cotton, and hides arc the principal articles of legitimate trade ;'..but as recently at least as 1873 the traffic in slaves was quite as important a department of its commerce. The town and district form a small ethnographical island, being peopled by a colony of Tokrooris from Darfur, who, finding the spot a convenient resting-place for their fellow-pilgrims on their way to Mecca and back, obtained permission from the king of Abyssinia to make a permanent settlement. They are an industrions race, and grow a considerable quantity of cotton. When Sir Samuel Baker was at Galabat in 1862, the sheikh refused to recognize the authority of the viceroy of Egypt ; but when De Cosson passed through in 1873, the Egyptians had a camp, with a strong stone wall, on the top of a hill commanding the town, and acted as masters of the place. The population of the town and district, which have an area of about 40 square miles, is estimated at 20,000. Galabat is the proper name, and Metemme is really the native word for a capital.

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