Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Emirate of Aqaba is a splinter off of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Like Jerusalem, it is peopled by both Christian and Muslim folk, the Christians centered in the north, around the Crusader fortress and city of Montreal, and the Muslims occupying the rest of the land, with a sprinkling of Jews throughout. The Emirate split off from Jerusalem when the Kingdom was ruled by a regency for a very young king, and by the time that king grew up, it was a fait accompli.
Aqaba is a dry, arid land, the dryest in Outremer. The valley running to the Dead Sea - the Arabah - is well below sea level, and very hot. Water comes from wells, or, in a few places, springs, tapping into an underlying aquifer. The hills to the east are less dry, and much of the population lives here - around Montreal, Ma'an, Arindela, and Zodacatha. Petra is the old Nabatean capital - made famous by the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - resettled by Franks from Montreal.
The city of Aqaba itself is a port, dealing mostly with the Hejaz, Yemen, and Ethiopia. Coffee, incense, ivory, silver, and gold are all moved through here and up into the rest of Outremer. The Gulf of Aqaba joins with the Red Sea, and on into the Indian Ocean. Copper is mined in Timna, and that also is traded through Aqaba.
Al Maqnah, or Magna to the Christians, is a port and caravan city built around an oasis at the mouth of the Wadi Maqnah. Coconuts, dates and figs are grown, and melons, and arak is distilled. The city is the terminus for caravans coming from the Nejd, Bahrain, and Oman, as well as the areas dealing with Aqaba.