[HISTORICAL ACCOUNT AND 1854 BURTON'S EXPEDITION OF YEMEN / BOMBAY IMPRINT] A history of Arabia Felix or Yemen: From the commencement of the Christian era to the middle of the XIXth century, including an account of the British settlement of Aden

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ROBERT LAMBERT PLAYFAIR, (1828-1899), Education Society's Press (Selections from the Records of the Bombay Government, No. 49), Bombay, 1859.

Original cloth, paper label on upper cover (lacks spine). Large roy. 8vo. (25 x 17 cm). In English. [xii], 193, [1] p., one folded map of Yemen, hand-colored in outline, compiled by Playfair (size: 40x38 cm). Discoloration on the boards, wear on the label, chipped on the spine. Ex-libris of I. G. Taylor. A tiny tape on the folded margin of the map. Overall a good copy.

Extremely rare first edition of this historical account of South Arabia and Yemen in chronological order by Playfair including his first-hand and eyewitness travel account and Burton's ill-fated expedition to Aden and the Somali Country in 1854 he participated in as well in the supplementary chapter of the book.

The was published by the Government of Bombay under a series of Selections from its Record, "illustrative of the History of Aden since its occupation by the British".

Contents: General remarks of Yemen; Aden; The Tehama; Sanaa; Lahej; Kaukeban: Belâd-el-Kabail or Hashid-wa-Bakeel, Aboo-Areesh, and Beni HAllal; Khaulan, Sanhan and Saadeh, Nejran, Nehm, and East Khaulan; Belad-el-Jehaf; Yaffa; History of Yemen from the commencement of the Christian Era to the Abyssinian conquest:; Yemen during the Abyssinian and Persian occupations; Yemen from the Era of the Hejira to the First Dynasty of the Sultans, or Imams; Yemen during the First dynasty of Sultans or Imams; Early discoveries and conquests of the Portuguese and Turks in Yemen; From the first appearance of the British in the Red Sea to the evacuation of Yemen by the Turks; Yemen from the Second dynasty of Imams of Sanaa to the Wahabie Invcasion; Yemen from the Wahabie Invasion to the present time; History of the reigning family of Lahej and Aden, from the period of their Independence to the Conquest of Aden by the British; Aden since the British Coonquest; Concerning the Expedition to the Somali Coast in 1855, under Lieutenant [Richard] Burton. Appendices: Chronological table of the Imams of Sanaa, of the Sultans of Lahej from the period of their independence; Existing treaty between the British and the Sultan of Lahej; Treaty between the British and the Habr Owel Tribe of Somalies; Treaty between the British and various chiefs and elders on the coasts of Arabia and Africa, for the suppression of the trade in slaves.

In 1854 Playfair moved to Aden, then under the British Indian administration, as assistant to the Political Resident, Brigadier Sir James Outram, and began a very active and highly successful political career. Whilst at Aden, he was central in negotiations to maintain peace between the often warring tribes of the Barbary Coast, in attempts to track down and rescue explorers and shipwrecked mariners who had disappeared into the interior, and in the ceaseless struggle to prevent the slave trade in from the African coast to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf [.] Playfair was an active diplomat in the area, made his negotiation of a peace treaty between the settlements of Miat and Hais in a bloody dispute over guano in 1859, the rescue of 63 enslaved people from traders in 1860, the rescue of shipwrecked British sailors in 1861 an investigation into the murder of the crew of HMS Penguin in 1862 and reported a massacre of Europeans at Mecca and insurgency against Turkish domination of Yemen in 1856 and 1859. (the University of St. Andrews online).

Playfair served in Aden under the command of Colonel William Marcus Coghlan (q.v.), and together with Hormuzd Rassam (q.v.) and Rev. George Percy Badger (q.v.); from 1854-62 he served as Acting Political Representative. During his time in Aden, he held the rank of Lieutenant and later Captain in the Royal Artillery; he was subsequently knighted and became the British Consul at Algiers. During his earlier residence in Aden, he succeeded in transplanting Somali frankincense trees to his garden, and a variety of frankincense is named after him. In 1862 and 1863 he presented three ancient South Arabian inscriptions to The British Museum which he had evidently acquired during his earlier posting to Aden. He also sent a set of salt & albumen photographic prints of ancient South Arabian inscriptions, some from the collection of one Rev. Dr. Wilson of Bombay, to A. Panizzi, Principal Librarian of The British Museum (Central Archives; copies in ME archives 173.6); three of these objects, including two from Dr. Wilson's collection and one from Playfair himself, were later acquired in 1863 by the Museum either (in the first two cases) from the British Foreign and Bible Society (q.v.) or directly from Playfair. (British Museum online).

OCLC 68326103. The first edition of this book is of the utmost scarcity and hardy appeared on the market and institutional holdings (it appeared only in Christie's Auction on 19 Jun 2012).