Charles Alfred Browne.

An introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; online

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which speedily terminated in. the con-
quest by the former of the entire king-
dom. The raja's territories remained
under the immediate direction of the
British resident until 1813, when they
were restored, and have since remained
at peace.

The principality of Cochin was resort-
ed to at an early period by the Euro-
peans ; the Portuguese under Albuquer-
que having obtained leave to build a fort
at the town of Cochin in 1503, the first
possessed by that nation in India. In
1663 the Portuguese were driven out
by the Dutch, with whom the town of
Cochin remained until the establishment
of the English. The raja of Cochin
maintained his independence until the
latter part of the 18th century, when he
was compelled to pay tribute to Mysore.
In 1791, his tribute was transferred to
the English, who had restored to him
the places conquered by Hyder and Tip-
poo. The dewan having afterwards
confederated with the dewan of Tra-
vancore in the war of 1809, and having
treacherously attacked the British resi-
dent and troops, the raja was for a time
deprived of his authority, and his cotin-
try has since remained chiefly under the


History, control of the English, the rajahs govern-
ment being restricted to about one-half
of his original territory.

Religion. Hindooism. There are also in this
province, as already noticed, a consider-
able number of Syrians and Romanists,
and a small proportion of Mahomedans
and Jews.

Language. The general language of the province
is Malay aliin. In the southern parts,
bordering upon Tinnevelly, Tamil.

Islands connected with India.

The islands which may be classed as connected
with India, are the Laccadives, the Maldives, and


^tuation The Laccadives are opposite the coast
criptkm." 'of Malabar, and distant about 75 miles
from it. They consist of thirty small low-
islets, extending from the 10th to the
J 2th degree of north latitude, being sep-
arated from each other by wide chan-
nels, and the largest not containing six
square miles of land.






They are all very barren, producing
nothing but cocoa-nuts, coir, jaggery,
and a little betel-nut, which are exported
to India in exchange for grain, cloths,
and other articles.

The name Laccadives is a corruption
of the Sanskrit words, "Luksha Dwipa,"
or hundred thousand islands, and was
given them at a time when, being very
little known, they were supposed to be
much more numerous than they are now
ascertained to be. %

The inhabitants are Mahomedans of
the Maplay class ; they are very poor,
and subsist chiefly upon cocoa-nut and

These islands were probably peopled
at an early period by colonists from the
Malabar coast, but nothing was known
of them to Europeans prior to their
discovery by the Portuguese navigator,
Vasco de Gama, in his passage to India.
They subsequently came under the rule
of the bebee of Cannanore, by whom
they were ceded to Tippoo Sooltan, since
whose time they have been independent,
though nominally forming part of the
British province of Kanara.

and Des-


The Maldives lie between lat. 7 6' N.
and lat. 46' S. They consist of
numerous circular clusters, separated
from each other by narrow passages, and
amounting to about 1200 of various sizes ;



and Des-


the largest not being more than three
miles in circumference. The larger islets
are inhabited and cultivated, but the
greater number are mere rocks and sand
banks. The principal island is named
"Mull,*" and is the residence of the chief.

Their chief articles of produce are
coir, cocoa-nut oil, cowries, tortoise-shell,
and dried fish, which are exported by the
islanders in their own boats, to the coast
of Orissa, and to the straits of Malacca,
in exchange for rice, sugar, and other ne-

The name Maldives is a corruption of
the two Sanskrit words, "Muluya Dwi-
pa," the isles of Muluya.

They are inhabited by Mahomedans,
the descendants of Arab colonists.

These islands were known at an early
period to the ancients, being mentioned
by Ptolemy ; and are supposed to have
been colonised by the Arabs soon after
the commencement of their intercourse
with Ceylon, some centuries probably
prior to the first visit to India of the
Portuguese navigators. They are under
the government of a chief who takes the
title of Sooltan.

Language. ft i s no t accurately known what lan-
guage is properly that of the Maldives,
but the islanders all understand and
speak Hindoostanee.





Mahomedanism mingled with paganism.
Like the Biajoos of Borneo, they annually


Religion. gen( j adrift into the sea a vessel laden
with perfumes, gums, and flowers, as an
offering to the spirit of the winds, and
sometimes a like offering is made to the
spirit whom they term the king of the


Situation Ceylon is situated on the south-east of
criptionT southern India, from which it is separat-
ed by a narrow channel, called the gulf
of Manar, between lat. 5 56' and 9
46' N. and long. 79 36' and 81 58' E.
From Point Pedro, the northern ex-
tremity, to Dondra Head, at the south-
ern, its greatest length is about 270
miles, and its greatest breadth about
145. The inland districts are mountain-
ous and covered with forest, the highest
peaks rising to about 6,000 feet above
the sea. There are numerous small
rivers and streams running down on all
sides from the high land.

Produc- Its principal productions are cinna-
mon, cocoa-nut oil, coir, betel-nut, and
tobacco ; arrack also of a superior quali-
ty is distilled from the toddy of the co-
coa-nut tree. The island abounds with
elephants and other animals, and has nu-
merous kinds of snakes. The forests
produce a great variety of the finest
sorts of wood, and the mountainous
districts are rich in gems of different
species, such as the cats^-eye, the ame-
thyst, topaz, ruby, garnet, &c. Ceylon
also possesses an extensive pearl fishery
in the bay of Condatchy, on its north-


Produc- western coast, and another fishery of

tions. i 11 i ii *

chalk shells.

Towns. The principal towns are Jaffnapatam,

Calpenty, Chilaw, Negombo, Colombo,
Caltura, and Point de Galle, along the
western coast, Trincomalee and Batti-
colo on the eastern coast, and Matura at
the southern extremity.

Colombo is the seat of government.
It is situated in lat. 6 55' N. long. 79
45' E.

Trincomalee, in lat. 8 32' N. long.
81 17' E., is a place of great importance
on account of its large and excellent har-
bour, which is the best in India, and
forms the depot of the British ships of
war employed in the eastern seas.

Candy, situated nearly in the centre
of the island, was its ancient capital, but
was never superior to a village of mud-
huts, its population not exceeding 3,000

Name. The proper name of this island is Sin-

gala, from which the English name of
Ceylon has probably been derived. By
the Hindoos it is called Lunka, or some-
times from its former capital, "Khundi,"
and by the Arabians, Serin deb (Surun-
deeb.) By the ancient Romans it was
called Taprobane. The name Lunka,
though now generally applied to Ceylon,
belongs properly to a fabulous island
which the Brahmins supposed to be sit-
uated on the equator, and through
which the Hindoo astronomers were ac-
customed to draw their first meridian,
which they called the meridian of Lunka.


inhabit- The great body of the Natives may be
divided into three classes, nearly equal in
number : the Singalese, the Candians,
and the Tamil people. The Singalese
occupy the southern half of the island,
the Tamil people the coasts of the north-
ern half, and the Candians the central
parts. There are also some Maplays.

The total population of the island is
estimated at 900,000.

History. Little is known of the history of Cey-
lon prior to 1505, when the Portuguese
formed settlements upon the coast,
where they found that the Arabs had
already obtained a footing. In 1603,
the Dutch arrived, and in 1656, having
succeeded in completely expelling the
Portuguese, acquired possession of all
the maritime districts, the Native prince
being confined to the interior, where he
was protected from invasion by the na-
tural obstacles of a mountainous and
jungly country. In 1796, the Dutch pos-
sessions were conquered by the English,
who were subsequently engaged in vari-
ous wars with the raja until 1819, when
their authority was finally established
over the whole island.

Religion. The religion of the Singalese and Can-
dians is that of Boodh. The Tamil
people follow the Brahminical system.
Christians are also numerous and in-

Language. The prevailing languages are Singa-
lese, Tamil, and a corrupted Dutch.




Bound- Beloochistan lies to the north-west-
ward of Hindoostan. It is bounded on
the north by Persia and Afghanistan ;
east, by Afghanistan, and the Brahooee
Mountains, separating it from Sind ;
south, by the sea ; and west, by Persia.

Divisions. Its chief divisions are Shawl, Kelat,
Kuch-Gundava, formerly called Sewis-
tan, and Mukran.

General The general character of this country
I fl3/ p " is mountainous, and its climate in winter,
in the northern parts, Intensely cold, the
snow lying deep, even in the valleys,
from the end of November to the begin-
ning of February. The soil is generally
sandy, stony, and arid, but there are oc-
casional tracts of great fertility. Kuch-
Gundava, in particular, was formerly
much celebrated as a very populous and
well cultivated district, though now from
the prevalence of light drifting sand al-
most desert.

Produc- Its productions are in general the
same as those of Afghanistan and Sind.
Wheat, barley, and other grains, but no
rice. Fruits of all kinds, both European
and Asiatic. Sheep and cattle are nu-


Prodnc- merous, and camels and horses in abund-
ance. The woods are principally the
apoor resembling the teak, tamarind,
and the babool. The date also grows in
the plains. Minerals of all descriptions
are said to be found in different parts,
but our information on this subject is as
yet defective. The greyhounds of this
country are excellent, and are bred with
great care by the Beloochees, who hold
them in great estimation.

Towns. The principal towns are Kevetta, in

Shawl ; Kelat, Dadur, Bhag, and Gun-
dava, in Kuch-Gundava ; and Kedje, in

Kelat, which is the capital, is situated
in a well cultivated valley, in lat. 29 8'
N. long. 65 50' E. It is inhabited by a
mixed population of Beloochees, Afghans,
and Hindoos, the latter principally trad-
ers from Mooltan, and speaking the Pun-
jabee dialect. The gardens around Ke-
Jat produce every kind of fruit European
and Asiatic in great abundance, notwith-
standing the severe cold of the winter.

Gundava is the second town in impor-
tance, and is the usual winter residence
of the Khan, the cold not being so great
here as at Kelat. It is situated in lat.
27 55' N. long. 67 38' E.

Name. T ne name of this country is of Persian

origin, and signifies the land of the Be-


The inhabitants are called by the ge-
neral name of Beloochees. They are
composed of two great divisions, the one


Inhabit- named Beloochee, the other Brahooee,
and both subdivided into a number of
smaller tribes and families. There are
also many Hindoo and Afghan settlers,
and a tribe called Juts, who appear to
be descended from the original Hindoo
inhabitants of the country converted to

History. Previous to the first invasion of the
Mahomedans in 664, this country was
possessed by the Hindoos ; and, as late
as the year 1600, Kelat belonged to a
Hindoo raja. It subsequently fell under
the dominion of a Beloochee chief, in
whose family it now remains. For
many years past, however, the country
has been in the greatest disorder, and
involved in incessant broils and revolu-
tions, so that it can hardly be considered
to have been under any regular govern-

The title of its chief is "Khan of Ke-
lat." Previous to the war between the
English and Afghans, which broke out
in 1838, he was nominally feudatory
to the chief of Cabul. He may now be
considered as dependent upon the Bri-
tish Government.

Religion. j n re ligion, both Beloochees and Bra-
hooees are Mahomedans of the Soonnee

Language. Each division has its own language,
neither of which has any written charac-
ter. The Beloochee partakes very much
of the Persian, and the Brahooee of the







This kingdom lies upon the north-
western frontier of Hindoostan. It is
bounded on the north by ranges of
mountains separating it from Tartary ;
east, by Cashmeer and the Indus ; south,
by Sind and Beloochistan ; and west, by

It is divided into a number of districts,
corresponding with the divisions of tribes
of the inhabitants, but its main portions
may be considered as included under the
following general heads : Herat, Kafir-
istan, Cabul, Peshawur, and Candahar.

Mountains. The principal mountains are the Hin-
doo Koosh, or Indian Caucasus, which
are a continuation of the Himalayas,
and run westward, terminating nearly
north of the city of Cabul ; the Paro-
pamisan, which run from the Hindoo
Koosh towards Herat ; and the Sooliman
Mountains, which run from north to
south, from about 34 to 29 north lat.
There are several other inferior ranges
of hills connected with those above men-
tioned, which cross the country in various

Rivers. Numerous mountain streams flow

through the country ; but with the


Kivers. exception of the Cabul river, the Hel-
mund, and the Urghundab, none are of
any size. The Cabul river rises in the
Paropamisan mountains, and flows past
Cabul easterly into the Indus, a little
above Attock. The Helmund also rises
in the same mountains, about thirty
miles to the westward of Cabul, and
flows southerly and westerly into a large
lake called the Zoor, on the borders of
Persia. The Arghundab rises in the
hills, about 80 miles north-east of Can-
dahar, and flows south-westerly into the

General This country possesses great variety of
tion. surface, as well as of climate and produc-
tions. It may be described generally as
consisting of wild bleak mountains and
hills, with extensive tracts of waste land,
together with fertile plains and vallies,
populous and well cultivated. The cli-
mate of different parts vary extremely,
owing partly to the difference of latitude,
but chiefly to the difference of elevation.
About Herat the snow lies deep through
the winter months, and in the Cabul dis-
trict the cold is severe. At Ghuznee
especially where the snow is often on
the ground from October to March, while
the rivers are frozen, the cold is quite
equal to that of England. The climate
of Candahar is mild, snow being rarely
seen, and that of Peshawur is oppressive-
ly hot during summer, and not colder in
winter than that of Hindoostan.

During winter the inhabitants of the
cold districts clothe themselves in woollen
garments, and in some places in clothes


General o f f^ over w hich they wear a large

J tton? P great coat, called a posteen, made of

tanned sheep skin, with the wool inside.

They have fires in their houses, and

often sleep round stoves.

Kafiristan occupies the mountainous
country lying along the northern frontier
of Cabul. It is composed of snowy
mountains covered with deep pine for-
ests, with small but fertile valleys pro-
ducing abundance of grapes, and furnish-
ing pasture for sheep and cattle.

Cabul is also mountainous, but has ex-
tensive plains and forests, though be-
tween the city of Cabul and the Indus
there is a great scarcity of wood. The
part lying between Cabul and the moun-*
tains is called the Kohistan or highlands.

Candahar is more open, but not so
fertile, and large portions are desert.
Herat is hilly towards the north and
north-east, but generally open, and one of
the most fertile countries in the world.

Produc- Wheat, barley, and rice, are the prin-

ticms. . , J \ -, . ',,.

cipal grains produced in this country.
Wheat is the general food, barley be-
ing given to the horses. It also yields
abundance of fruits and vegetables, both
European and Asiatic ; besides tobacco,
sugar, assafoetida, alum, rock salt, salt-
petre, sulphur, lead, antimony, iron, cop-
per, and a little gold. The wild animals
are generally the same as in India, the
elephant excepted, which is not an in-
habitant of Afghanistan. The common
Indian camel is found in all parts of the
level country, and wild sheep and goats
are numerous. Herat is celebrated for a


Prodne- g ne breed of horses, and Bameean for a
description of poneys, called yaboos,
much used for carrying burdens. Mules
and asses also abound, and are used for
the same purpose. The sheep, of which
large flocks are pastured, are generally
of the broad fat tailed kind. There are
fine dogs, especially greyhounds and
pointers, and cats of the long-haired des-
cription, known in India as the Persian.
Snakes and scorpions are found, but no
alligators. Wolves are numerous, and
during winter are fierce, sometimes at-
tacking men. The commonest woods
are oak, cedar, walnut, and a species
of fir.

Wind-mills and water-mills are gene-
rally used for grinding the corn. Neither
palankeens nor wheeled carriages are
used, both sexes being accustomed to
travel on horses or camels.

Coal is found about Kohat in the
Peshawur district, and naphta y or petro-
leum, that is, earth oil. Silk worms are
also reared in this part.

Towns. The principal towns are Herat, Cabul,

Julalabad, Peshawur, Ghuznee, Canda-
har, Khelat-i-Ghilzee, and Dura Ismail

Herat is situated on the western fron-
tier, in lat. 34 20' N. long. 60 50' E.
in a very beautiful and fertile plain. It
is one of the most ancient and celebrated
cities in Asia, giving its name to an ex-
tensive province at the time of the inva-
sion of Alexander, and subsequently it
was for> many years the capital of the
empire established by Tymoor Lung. It


Towns. was taken from the Persians by the
Afghans in 1715, and was retaken by
Nadir Shah in 1731. It was again cap-
tured by the Afghans in 1749, and has
ever since remained in their possession.
It usually formed a government for one of
the king's family, and on the dissolution
of the Dooranee monarchy in 1823, it
became a separate principality under
Shah Kamran, the son of the king Shah
Mahmood, and has since continued under
his rule.

Cabul is a very ancient and beautiful
city, situated in a fine plain upon the
banks of the Cabul river, in lat. 34 10'
N. long. 69 15' E. After the subver-
sion of the dynasty of Ghuzriee Cabul
became the capital of the country, and
is to be considered as such. It has not
many buildings of note, the houses being
constructed principally of wood, in con-
sequence of the frequency of earthquakes.
It had a very fine covered bazar built by
Ali Murdan Khan, a celebrated noble-
man in the service of the emperor Juhan-
geer, but which was destroyed by the
English on their second capture of the
city in 1842. On a neck of land at the
eastern side of the city, about 150 feet
above the plain, stands the Bala Hissar
or upper citadel, the usual residence of
the kings. Outside the town is the tomb
of the renowned emperor Baber. Cabul
enjoys a remarkably fine climate, and is
celebrated for its beautiful gardens which
produce fruits and flowers of all kinds in
the greatest abundance. Fruit indeed is
more plentiful than bread, and is con-
sidered by the people as one of the


Towns. necessaries of life. Its population, before
the war with the English, was estimated
at 60,000.

In the mountains, a short distance to
the north-westward of Cabul, in lat. 34
40' N. long. 66 57' E. is the city of Ba-
meean, the capital of a small district of
the same name, dependent upon Cabul.
It consists for the greater part of a
multitude of apartments and recesses
cut out of the rock, which are believed
to be of great antiquity. Amongst other
remarkable objects are two colossal sta-
tues cut in the face of the mountain,
about 150 feet in height, and supposed
to be ancient idols. There are also some
large mounds, or, as they are termed by
the Natives, topes, constructed of blocks
of stone, by some considered to have been
the work of the Greeks.

Julalabad is situated in lat. 34 6' N.
long. 69 46' E., a short distance to the
westward of the Khyber Pass. It was
formerly a place of considerable import-
ance, and is still one of the principal
towns ; but it is chiefly noted on account
of its gallant defence by a handful of
British troops, under Sir Robert Sale,
against the Afghans in 1842.

Peshawur is situated in lat. 34 6' N.
long. 71 13' E. It stands in a well cul-
tivated populous plain, forming a circle
of about thirty-five miles across, and
nearly surrounded by mountains.

This city was founded by the emperor
Akber, and from its convenient situation
between western Afghanistan and India,
it has become a place of considerable
commerce. Its population is estimated


Towns. at 100,000, principally of Indian origin.
It was captured in 1825 byRunjeet Sing,
and has since remained in possession of
the Sikhs.

G/mznee is situated in lat. 33 10' N.
long. 66 57' E. For nearly two cen-
turies this was the capital of a powerful
kingdom, commencing with Subuktageen
in 975, to the time of Mahomed Ghourie
in 1171, who subdued the empire, of
Ghuznee and burnt the city. For many
years afterwards, however, Ghuznee con-
tinued to be one of the principal towns
in Afghanistan, and has always been re-
garded with veneration by the Mahome-
dans, in consequence of its containing the
tombs of numerous distinguished person-
ages of their faith. About three miles
from the city is the tomb of the celebrat-
ed Sooltan Mahmood. Ghuznee was
taken by storm by the British troops in
1839. Upon the insurrection in 1841, it
again fell into the hands of the Afghans,
from whom it was re-captured in 1842,
when the English entirely demolished
the fort, and carried off the sandal-wood
gates of Mahmood's tomb, which had
been taken by him from the Hindoo
temple of Somnath in 1024. They also
took away the Sooltaivs mace as a trophy
of their conquest.

Travelling distance from Cabul 80
miles, from Delhi 920.

Candahar is situated in lat. 36 IT N.
long. 6d 28' E. This place is believed
to have been founded by Alexander the'
Great, and has always, from its position
near the frontiers of Persia, been a place
of considerable importance. The origi-


Towns. na i c ity was destroyed by Nadir Shah,
and the present town was built in 1753
by Ahmed Shah, who made it his capital.
It contains about 100,000 inhabitants, of
whom a large porportion are Doorariee

Travelling distance from Delhi, by Ca-
bul, 1070 miles.

Name. By Europeans this country is com-

monly designated by the general name
of Cabul. By the Persians it is styled
Afghanistan, meaning the land of the
Afghans, by which name also it is usually
mentioned in Indian history.

The inhabitants are known by the
general name of Afghans, which is a
Persian appellation. Their common na-
tional designation, among themselves, is
Pooshtanu or Pookhtanu, but they more
frequently use the names of the different
tribes. In India they are generally de-
nominated Pathans, and in the province
of Delhi, Rohillas.

The Afghans assert that they are des-
cended from the Jews, and often style
themselves "Bun-i-Israeel," or children of
Israel, though they consider the term Ya-
hoodee, or Jew, as one of reproach. It is
certain that they have in many points a
strong resemblance to the Jews, and there
appears reason to believe that the tradi-
tion of their origin is not unfounded.

They are divided into a number of
distinct tribes, or Oolooss, each consisting
of a number of separate clans ; and these
last again subdivided into khails, which
means a band or assemblage.


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Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 16 of 26)