The Bretons, who most nearly represent the Celts, and the Basques, who inhabit parts of the western versant of the Pyrenees, have preserved their distinctive languages and customs, and are ethnically the most interesting sections of the nation; the Flemings of French Flanders where Flemish is still spoken are also racially distinct.
These rivers rise on the eastern versant of a chain of mountains which traverse the country in a south-westerly to north-easterly direction.
The Shilka and the Argun, which form it, flow first towards the north-east along the windings of the lower terrace of the great plateau; from this the Amur descends, cutting through the Great Khingan and flowing down the terraces of the eastern versant towards the Pacific. A noteworthy feature of the principal Siberian rivers is that each is formed by the confluence of a pair of rivers.
The rivers of the northern versant, such as the Nera, are, like those of Asturias, for the most part short, rapid and subject to violent floods.
Though rugged in places, with outlying spurs and secondary chains, the westward slopes of the Drakensberg are much gentler than the eastern or Natal versant of the chain.
Guatemala is naturally divided into five regions - the lowlands of the Pacific coast, the volcanic mountains of the Sierra Madre, the so-called plateaus immediately north of these, the mountains of the Atlantic versant and the plain of Peten.
On the western side of the sierras the versant is short, and the streams, while very numerous, are consequently small and rapid; but on the eastern side a number of the rivers attain a very considerable development.
Oases.In the western desert lie the five large oases of Egypt, namely, Siwa, Baharia, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga or Great Oasis, occupying depressions in the plateau or, in the case of the last three, large indentations in the face of limestone escarpments which form the western versant of the Nile valley hills.
On the western versant of the Andes of Ecuador there are three river systems of considerable size - the Mira, the Esmeraldas and the Guayas.
In the south-western versant the largest river is the Kapuas, which, rising near the centre of the island, falls into the sea between Mampawa and Sukadana after a long and winding course.
The Barito, which is the principal river of the southern versant, takes its rise in the Kuti Lama Lake, and falls into the Java Sea in 114° 30' E.
The south-eastern like the northwestern corner of the island is watered by a considerable number of short mountain streams. The one great river of the eastern versant is the Kutei or Mahakan, which, rising in the central mountains, flows east with a sinuous course and falls by numerous mouths into the Straits of Macassar.
The Kayan or Bulungan river is the only other in the eastern versant that calls for mention.
Most of the rivers of the northern versant are comparatively small, as the island narrows into a kind of promontory.
In the great lacustrine depression of Nicaragua is collected all the drainage from the eastern versant of the volcanic mountains, from the sheer western escarpment of the main cordillera, and from a large area of northern Costa Rica.
On the northern versant and at 7800 ft.
The eastern slopes are, as a rule, rugged and precipitous, but the western versant falls gently to plains.
Besides the Bokovoi Khrebet several other short subsidiary ranges branch off from the main range at acute angles, lifting up high montane glens between them; for instance, the two ranges in Svanetia, which divide, the one the river (glen) Ingur from the river (glen) Tskhenis-Tskhali, and the other the river (glen) TskhenisTskhali from the rivers (glens) Lechkhum and Racha.Down all these glens glacier streams descend, until they find an opportunity to pierce through the flanking ranges, which they do in deep and picturesque gorges, and then race down the northern slopes of the mountains to enter the Terek or the Kuban, or down the southern versant to join the Rion or the Kura.
The rivers which go down from the central Caucasus northwards have considerably longer courses than those on the south side of the range, partly as a consequence of the gentler versant and partly also because of the great distances to which the steppes extend across which they make their way to the sea.
In some places limestones appear as projections from the range; at others conglomerates and Tertiary clay marls form the outermost fold."' On the north versant of the ranges the rainfall increases from the foot of the mountains upwards, and at woo-10,000 ft.
The south versant, on the other hand, is barren and desolate below the 10,000 ft.
The Kebbi, fed by many torrents rising in the eastern versant of the Mandara Hills, issues from the S.W.
The careful examination of the chain by members of the English and French Alpine Clubs has since 1880 considerably modified the views held with respect to its general character; the southern versant, formerly regarded as inferior in, area, has been proved to be the more important of the two.
The importance shown to attach to the Spanish versant has greatly modified the values formerly assigned to the area and mean elevation of the Pyrenees.