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Emirate of Khemed
General location of Khemed
General location of Khemed
Capital Wadesdah
Official languages Arabic
Ethnic groups Bedouin Arabs
Government Emirate
 •  Emir Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab
Currency dirham

Khemed is a fictional country in The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. It is an Arab emirate located on the shores of the Red Sea and has been compared to Jordan, with its Emir resembling the Hashemite kings and the character Mull Pasha corresponding to the British General Glubb Pasha.[1] Khemed is depicted in Land of Black Gold and The Red Sea Sharks.

The name means "got it!" in Marols, the Brussels Flemish dialect. The names of many people and places in the country are based on Marols phrases.


Hergé's stories place the Arab Emirate Khemed somewhere on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, near Saudi Arabia. More precisely, the state is outside the Gulf of Aqaba, being an enclave in what is now Saudi Arabia. According to the narrative in Land of Black Gold, the capital is less than one day's journey by car from the port, which in the original serialization in Le Petit Vingtième (1939–40) and Tintin magazine (1948–50) is referred to as the oil port of "Caiffa". In the first album edition (1950) it is clearly identified with Haifa (so stated by the Lieutenant of the Speedol Star) and is fictionalized as "Khemikhal" ("Khemkhah" in French) in editions from 1971 on.[2]

The capital is on the shore of the Red Sea halfway between Aqaba and Jeddah, as is clear in the map prepared by Hergé for The Red Sea Sharks.[3]

The region is subject to the Khamsin, a burning sandstorm which blows from the Egyptian desert towards Palestine.[4] Foreign correspondents covering Khemed are based in Beirut[5] and a regular air service (formerly by DC3) links Beirut to the emirate's capital. In Khemed one can find ruins, mistaken by Haddock as Roman, but actually from the Nabataean civilization, like those in Petra, Jordan.

The country is inhabited by Bedouin tribes, with an age-old feud between the family of Bab El Ehr and that of Ben Kalish Ezab; the former is nomadic and present in the western desert, while the latter is settled on the coastline and form a majority in the capital. The family of Patrash Pasha is the third largest of the nomadic tribes and usually lives far from cities.

The capital and principal city of the country is Wadesdah (Brussels dialect wadesdah = "What's that?").

The second city of the emirate, the oil port of Khemikhal (chemical), is very active.

The Emir resides in Hasch El Hemm, located 20 km from the capital. (This is a pun on the French abbreviation H.L.M., habitation à loyer modéré = "low rent housing", meaning council flat (GB) or apartment in a public housing unit (US).[6])

The territory of Khemed consists mainly of a very large desert, Jebel Kadheïh. The country's main resource is the exploitation of onshore oil.

Political system[edit]

Emirate under an absolute monarchy.

The reign of Emir Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab (Brussels dialect kalichesap = "licorice juice"[7]) is disputed. His opponents are led by Sheikh Bab El Ehr (Brussels dialect babbeleer ="babbler"[8]) of the rival tribe. In Land of Black Gold, the rebellion is supported by an agent of European origin called Mull Pasha (who turns out to be Dr. Müller), representing the Skoil Petroleum Company. In The Red Sea Sharks, Dr. Müller succeeds in overthrowing the Emir, this time with the support of the Marquis di Gorgonzola (an alias for gangster Rastapopoulos) funding an air force due to the Emir threatening to reveal he was involved in slave-trading, but later the Emir is restored to power.


The main resource is oil, coveted by rival multinationals Speedol and Skoil Petroleum Company, which dominate this market.[9] Khemed is crossed by several pipelines.

The Wadesdah airport is served by daily Arab Air flights including the Beirut-Mecca line.


The country is Muslim and tolerant of other religions (non-Muslims are allowed to consume alcohol but not to sell it).

The Bedouin culture has a strong presence in Khemed.

The manners are rough. The Emir has the absolute power to inflict floggings, and impalement was practiced until very recently.


In Land of Black Gold and The Red Sea Sharks, the military of Khemed are equipped with rifles and sub-machine guns and wear the British Battle Dress. Known vehicles of the army are Willys Jeeps, Daimler Armored Cars, GMC CCKW's, Supermarine Spitfire and Mosquito fighter-bombers. The Emir's soldiers dress in a light uniform with white puttees and red headcloth tied with a black band.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pouillon, François (2008). Dictionnaire des orientalistes de langue française. KARTHALA Editions. p. 491. ISBN 2-84586-802-2. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  2. ^ Edhem Eldem and Osmanlı Bankası (2007). Consuming the Orient, p 191
  3. ^ Yves Horeau (2004). Tintin, Haddock et les bateaux, p 48
  4. ^ Hergé, Land of Black Gold
  5. ^ Hergé, The Red Sea Sharks
  6. ^ http://www.free-tintin.net/langues2.htm À la découverte de Tintin
  7. ^ http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/characters/b.html#benkalish Tintinologist.org
  8. ^ http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/characters/b.html#babelehr Tintinologist.org
  9. ^ Jean-Marie Apostolidès and Jocelyn Hoy (2009). The metamorphoses of Tintin, or, Tintin for adults, p 195

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khemed — Please support Wikipedia.
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170 news items

The National
Tue, 16 Aug 2011 04:24:38 -0700

Hergé quietly drew on the anecdotes to fashion his character Prince Abdullah of the imaginary kingdom of Khemed. The mischievous Arab prince and practical joker both exasperated and charmed the boy reporter Tintin and his irascible friend Captain ...
The Independent
Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:15:00 -0700

Herge quietly drew on the anecdotes to fashion his character Prince Abdullah of the imaginary kingdom of Khemed. The mischievous Arab prince and practical joker both exasperated and charmed boy reporter Tintin and his irascible friend Captain Haddock, ...

E! Online

E! Online
Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:43:15 -0800

And while some of his capers have occurred in purely made-up lands like Borduria, Khemed, Syldavia and Nuevo Rico, the results aren't always to everyone's liking. To wit, his journey to the real-life Congo reportedly features such unpleasant racial ...
Huffington Post
Wed, 14 Dec 2011 04:43:42 -0800

Tintin has hobnobbed with Emirs, cruised the Caribbean seafloor in a shark-shaped submersible and been waylaid by Tibetan snows. An inveterate wanderer, Herge's creation narrowly edges out Waldo and Mr. Peabody for the title of world's most traveled ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Mon, 30 Aug 2010 05:49:29 -0700

As a long-time admirer of my brother's Tintin albums, I couldn't resist seeing first-hand some of the locations depicted in the Red Sea Sharks and Land Of Black Gold, largely set in Jordan (or the Emirate of Khemed in the stories). i joined a party of ...

Telegraph.co.uk (blog)

Telegraph.co.uk (blog)
Sat, 15 Jan 2011 09:12:04 -0800

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman, was set up by decree of the Vatican today as three former Anglican bishops were ordained Catholic priests to lead their flocks to Rome – and one of ...

Comic Book Resources

Comic Book Resources
Thu, 06 Oct 2011 06:52:30 -0700

... “I was about the spend a year abroad studying how The Adventures of Tintin is a Orientalist text precisely because Hergé rarely left the confines of Belgium while drawing the far off landscapes of India, Egypt, China, or made-up Arab lands like Khemed.

Bangladesh News 24 hours

Bangladesh News 24 hours
Sat, 24 May 2014 19:48:45 -0700

Comic books, like many products we know, are an American invention. The US and Japan (manga) account for most since the form appeared in the 1930s, but neither can lay claim to having produced the most famous comics ever - an honour which goes to ...

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