From 1250 in 1885, of which 903 were in Europe and 347 in Asia, the mileage of railways had increased to some 4440 in 1909, of which 1377 are in Europe, 1810 in Asia Minor, 418 in Syria and 835 fall to the share of the Hejaz railway, including the Ed-Dera-Haifa branch.
Makkah),' the chief town of the Hejaz in Arabia, and the great holy city of Islam.
The merchant aristocracy became satraps or pensioners of a great empire; but the seat of dominion was removed beyond the desert, and though Mecca and the Hejaz strove for a time to maintain political as well as religious predominance, the struggle was vain, and terminated on the death of Ibn Zubair, the Meccan pretendant to the caliphate, when the city was taken by Hajjaj (A.D.
But the real sovereign of Mecca and the Hejaz is the sherif, who, as head of a princely family claiming descent from the Prophet, holds a sort of feudal position.
When the great Mahommedan sultanates had become too much occupied in internecine wars to maintain order in the distant Hejaz, those branches of the Hassanids which from the beginning of Islam had retained rural property in Arabia usurped power in the holy cities and the adjacent Bedouin territories.