Charles Alfred Browne.

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

. (page 22 of 26)
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gree, and they are universally in the
practice of intoxicating themselves with
opium. Their vessels, which are called
prows, are many of them very well built,
and skilfully navigated ; but it is only
as pirates that they have ever shown ac-
tivity or enterprise,


History. Nothing is known of this country prior
to the time of the Malays, who colonised
it in 1160. Since that time it appears
to have been under the rule of various
independent chiefs, continually at feud
amongst themselves, and occasionally at
war with the Siamese ; and except on ac-
count of its situation for the purposes of
commerce, never obtaining any import-

Religion. The religion of the Malays is Maho-
medanism of the Soonnee sect, which
appears to have been introduced among
them in 1260, and from them to have
spread over the adjacent islands.

Language. Their language is termed the Malay.
It is a compound of various others, in-
cluding Sanscrit and Arabic, and is con-
sidered very soft and simple. It is writ-
ten from right to left in the Arabic
character, with a few slight alterations,
and is general to all the adjacent islands.
The purest Malay is said' to be spoken
in the Queda district.

Islands connected with Malaya.


General Penang is situated opposite the coast
of Queda, from which it is separated by
a strait two miles broad.

It is of an irregular four-sided figure,
containing about 160 square miles. It is


General mountainous and woody, well supplied

Account. .,, , n ti i

with water, and well cultivated.

Its principal article of produce is pepper.
It also yields betel, coffee, spices, sugar, rice,
cayapooti oil, and caoutchouc, common-
ly named Indian rubber. In the forests
there is also abundance of excellent timber.

The town of Penang, called by the
English George Town, with a fort named
Fort Cornwallis, is situated on the north-
eastern corner in lat. 5 25' N. long. 100
19' E. The hill overlooking the town
on which the flag-staff is placed, is the
highest point in the island, its elevation
being 2,248 feet above the sea.

This island, called by the English
Prince of Wales' Island, and by the
Natives Pulo Penang, was granted in
1785 by the king of Queda, as a mar-
riage portion with his daughter to Cap-
tain Light, of an English country ship,
and by him transferred to the British
Government. In 1800 the king of
Queda further sold to the British a
tract on the main land opposite, now
called Province Wellesley. Penang is
believed to have been peopled by the
Malays or others in early times ; but
when taken possession of by the Bri-
tish, it was one large forest, with no
inhabitants excepting a few fishermen
on the coasts. Its population is now
about 50,000, comprising a mixed a-
seniblage of almost all the nations of
the east, about one half being Malays.


Singapoor, or Sinkapore, is a small
island at the southern extremity of Ma-



General laya. It belongs to the British, who
obtained it by purchase from its Native
chief in 1819, and on account of its sit-
uation commanding the navigation of
the straits and its good harbour, it is
considered a place of great commercial
importance. It has a mixed population
of about 15,000, of whom one- third or
more are Chinese, and it is rapidly in-
creasing. When taken possession of by
the British, there were not more than
150 persons on the island.

The town of Singapoor stands in lat.
1 15' N. long. 104 E.


Bintang is a small island lying off the
south-eastern end of Malaya, in lat. 1
N. about 35 miles in length by 18 in
breadth. It belongs to the Dutch, who
have a town there named Rhio.


Eastern Islands.


Situation. The Eastern Archipelago, as it is some
times termed, comprises the largest as-
semblage of islands on the globe. It
extends from long. 95 to 138 E. and
from lat. 11 south to 19 north, and
includes the following principal islands.


Situation. Northward, the Philippines ; central, the
Sooloo Isles, Borneo, Celebes, the Moluc-
cas, and the Isles of Banda; east, Papua ;
south and west, the Sunda Islands ; all
which after a few general remarks, we
shall separately notice.

Produc- The productions of the several islands
will be separately noticed. Gold is gen-
eral throughout, the total annual produce
of the Archipelago being estimated at
150,000 ounces, or about 7,050,000 rupees.
The diamond is also found in Borneo.

inhabit- These islands have two original but

. ant distinct races of inhabitants, a fair or

brown complexioned people with lank

hair ; and a people of black complexion,

with woolly frizzled hair.

Of the first class there are numerous
different tribes, some tolerably civilized,
others in a state of great barbarism.
Some amongst them are addicted to can-
nibalism, that is the eating of human
flesh, as the Battas in Sumatra ; and in
Borneo it is an invariable rule that no
man may marry until he can show the
skull of some man whom he has slaugh-
tered; a man's wealth being estimated
by the number of heads he has obtained.
- The latter class, commonly designated
as oriental Negroes, may be traced from
one extremity of the Archipelago to the
other. They are, however, few in num-
ber to the westward, from which the
brown and more civilized tribes appear
gradually to have expelled them ; but are
numerous to the eastward, the island of
Papua being still almost entirely inhabit-



inhabit- e( j b v them. Of their origin nothing is

ants. -4 m , . 6 . n

now known. I hey are in a still more sa-
vage state than any of the brown race, and
seem very little raised above the brutes.

Religion. They may also be divided into two
principal classes in respect to religion.
Idolaters of various degrees of ignorance,
and Mahomedans.

Of the pagan tribes, many are alto-
gether without any system of religion,
having neither idols nor temples, nor any
intelligible belief of the existence of a
Supreme Being, though full of supersti-
tious fears of evil spirits.

Mahomedanism of the Soonnee sect
appears to have been introduced from
Arabia about the year 1300. Hindoo-
ism also was formerly established by col-
onists from India ; but is now hardly
known except in the island of Bally,
and amongst a few of the mountain
tribes of Java.

History. These islands were first visited by Eu-
ropean navigators in 1501, when settle-
ments were made by the Portuguese.
These were followed by the Spaniards
and Dutch ; in 1602 by the English, and
in 1621 by the French.

Language, r r ne languages, or rather dialects, of
the Archipelago are numerous, but ap-
parently derived from the same source.
Of these, many are written in distinct
characters, and others are merely collo-
quial. The Malay may be considered as
the most general, and after it the Java-
nese, Buggess, and Macassar.









The Philippines, or Manillas, comprise
a number of islands lying between the
5th and 19th degrees of north latitude,
due eastward from Cochin China. The
principal are Luzon, Mindoro, Samar,
Palawan, and Mindanao.

These islands are mountainous, and
there are in them several volcanoes, par-
ticularly in Luzon, the largest of their
number, which has suffered some severe
earthquakes. The latest great eruption
took place in 1814, and occasioned great

They are exceedingly fertile, and yield
all the ordinary productions of India ; in
addition to which they possess the bread-
fruit tree, as also the edible birds'* nests or
sea-slug, so much esteemed by the Chi-
nese. Their domestic animals are also
the same as in India, but they are believ-
ed to be free from tigers and other large
wild beasts. There are mines of gold
and iron, and abundance of excellent
timber much used for ship-building.

The principal town is Manilla, in Lu-
zon, situated in lat. 14 38' N. long.
120 50' E. This is the capital of the
Spanish possessions, and contains about
175,000 inhabitants of all classes. In
1650 it was nearly destroyed by a se-
vere earthquake.


Name. These islands received the general

name of Philippines in honor of King
Philip the 2nd of Spain. By the Eng-
lish they are more commonly styled the
Manillas from the name of the capital.

I nts >it " Besides Europeans and Chinese, the
inhabitants consist of a number of dis-
tinct tribes, the most considerable of
which are the Natives of Luzon, com-
prising both races, the brown and the
Negro. The Natives of Manilla of Eu-
ropean descent, are considered much su-
perior to the others in intelligence, and
are much employed in the country ships
of India, being very active and clever
sailors. The total population of the
islands in 1820 amounted to 225,000, of
which number 2,800 were Europeans,
6,000 Mestizos (mixed descendants of
Europeans,) and 6,000 Chinese.

History. These islands were first visited by the
celebrated navigator Magellan in 1561,
and were taken possession of by the
Spaniards in 1565, at which time they
were found under the government of
numerous petty chiefs of the Malay
race. The Spanish settlements have
been attacked at different times by the
Chinese and by the Sooloos, and in 1762
Manilla was captured by the English,
but was restored to the Spaniards shortly
after, and the islands have since remain-
ed under the Spanish government, though
in continual conflict with various Native
tribes, several of which have never yet
been completely subdued. Mindanao in
fact does not acknowledge the authority



History. o f the Spaniards at all. They have a
fort there, but the island may be consid-
ered to form a distinct Malay state under
its own sooltan, and constantly engaged
in piracy.

Religion. The religion of the Native inhabitants
is principally paganism. Some of the
tribes, however, are Mahomedans, and
the Romish religion has been introduced
by the Spaniards.

Language. Several distinct dialects are current in
the islands, the principal of which are the
Tagala, and the Bisayan, the former a
written language.



Sooloo Isles*

These are a chain of numerous small
islands situated between the western ex-
tremity of Mindanao the southernmost of
the Philippines, and the north-eastern ex-
tremity of Borneo, and lying between the
4th and 7th degrees of north latitude.

Sooloo, which is the principal, and
gives its name to the group, is situated
about lat. 6 N. and long. 121E., and
is about 40 miles in length by seven the
average breadth.

This island is fertile and well cultivat-
ed. It produces rice and the usual trop-
ical fruits, and possesses the common
domestic animals. It is believed to be
free from the large sorts of wild beasts.
The shoals round and between the islands




yield abundance of pearls and mother of
pearl, which are disposed of chiefly to the

The inhabitants who are termed Soo-
loos, are of the Malay race. They are
an exceedingly savage and treacherous
people, and have always been noted as

They are under the government of a
Malay chief, who has the title of sooltan.

Their religion is Mahomedanism of the
Soonnee sect, and their language a mix-
ture of Malay, Javanese, and Tagala,
written in the Malay character.



Situation. This island, which is the largest in the
Archipelago, extends from lat. 7 N. to
lat. 4 S. and from long. 109 to 118 E.
In length it is estimated to be about 750
miles by an average breadth of 350.

Divisions. it comprehends several distinct princi-
palities, of which the principal and only
one of note is Borneo, occupying the
north-western coast along a line of about
700 miles. There are several rivers in
the island, but none of them have as yet
been explored by Europeans.


Little is known of its interior, but as
far as has been ascertained, the island is
in general level towards the coast, and
cultivated ; and inland, mountainous and
covered with forests.


Produc- it s productions are abundant ; rice,


sago, pepper, camphor, cinnamon, wax,
rattans, and many useful woods ; and in
the seas, pearls, mother of pearl, tortoise-
shell, and sea-slug (biche de mer.) It
has all the common domestic animals,
and the forests swarm with wild beasts,
including the elephant, rhinoceros, and
leopard, but no tigers. It has numerous
varieties of the ape and monkey tribes,
amongst which is the ourang-outang, or
"man of the woods" so called by the
Malays from its great resemblance in
size and figure to the human form.
Gold is abundant, and diamonds fre-
quently of a large size.

As sago, which has been mentioned
above, is throughout the Archipelago an
article of nearly as general use for food
as rice is in India, it may be useful to
give a more detailed account of it. It
is produced from a species of palm,
the trunk of which is filled with a
spongy pith, which being extracted is
ground down in a mortar and then
passed through a sieve, by which means
it is formed into grains, as it is seen
when brought to India. One tree yields
upon an average about 300 pounds of
sago, and the tree is generally con-
sidered ripe for cutting down in fifteen

Towns. The principal town is Borneo, situated

on the coast, in lat. 4 56' N. long. 114
44' E. There was formerly an English
factory here, but it has been abandoned
for some years in consequence of the un-
settled state of the country,


Name. gy Jt s inhabitants, and throughout the

Archipelago, this island is called Pulo
Klemantan ; but Europeans have given
it the name of Borneo, from "Boornee,"
the principal state, and the first visited
by them.

Inhabit- The inhabitants are composed of Ma-
lays, Sooloos, Javanese and others, on
the coast, noted as rapacious and cruel
pirates ; and a number of savage tribes
in the interior, of which the principal are
the Dayaks and Biajos. These are of
the original brown race, and are much
handsomer and fairer than the Malays,
to whom they are also superior in
strength and activity. There are also
great numbers of Chinese, more than
200,000 of that nation being settled at
the gold mines. None of the Negro race
have been seen in Borneo. The total
population of the island is supposed to
be about 4,000,000.

History. The Malays appear to have settled
themselves on this island about the mid-
dle of the 13th century, and they now
possess the coasts, which are divided into
a number of petty Mahomedan states ;
the interior being left to the original
savage tribes. The chief of Borneo has
the title of raja. The Dutch have small
factories on the west coast, the chief at
Pontiana, lat. 3 S. long. J09 E.

Religion. Mahomedanism and Paganism.
Language, Principally the Malay.












This is a large island, of very irregular
shape, extending from lat. 2 N. to near-
ly 6 S. and from long. 119 to 125 E.
and lying east of Borneo, from which it
is separated by the Straits of Macassar.

It is divided into a number of inde-
pendent states, of which the principal
are Boni and Macassar.

Its principal articles of export are
gold, cotton cloths, sago, cassia, pearls,
and sea-slug. The small island of Boo-
toon, at the south-eastern extremity of
Celebes, also produces the bread-fruit.

The principal towns are Macassar and

By the Natives and by the Malays
this island is called Negree Ourang Bug-
gess, or the " Buggessman's Country,"
and sometimes "Thana Macassar." 11 It
receded its European name of Celebes
from the Portuguese.

It contains several distinct tribes of in-
habitants, of which the principal are the
Buggesses and the Macassees.

It is not known that there was ever
any intercourse between either India or
China and the Celebes, prior to the year
1600, yet the Natives assert that they
are descended from the Hindoos, and


History, many of the names of their ancient idols
indicate a connection with India at a
former period. The island was first
visited by the Portuguese in 1512, fol-
lowed by the Dutch, who established
themselves at Macassar in 1660, and
subsequently extended their rule over
the island generally. Macassar was
taken from the Dutch by the English
in 1811, but restored in 1816, and it
has since remained with them. The
Native governments under the Dutch
compose several distinct states, each
having its own chief.

Religion. The prevailing religion is Mahome-
danism, which was introduced in 1603.
The Buggesses have the Koran trans-
lated into their own language. The cen-
tral tribes of the interior are still pagan.

Language. The principal languages are the Bng-
gess and the Macassar, both written.


Situation. This group of islands is situated a
little to the eastward of Celebes, and
occupies nearly the same latitudes. The
principal are Gilolo, Ternate, Tidore,
Ceram, and Amboyna.

Produe- Their most important articles of pro-
duce are cloves and nutmegs. They
abound with sago, and Amboyna yields
also indigo and cayapooti oil. They are



Produc- f ree f rom beasts of prey, but possess the

tions. i . . i

common domestic animals.

Towns. The principal towns are Ossa in Gilolo,

and Amboyna, or Fort Victoria, in Am-
boyna, the capital of the Dutch possessions.

Name. These islands are now generally term-

ed the Molucca or Spice Islands, although
originally this name belonged only to the
smaller islands of Ternate and Tidore,
and some others westward of Gilolo and

Inhabit- They are inhabited partly by Mahome-
dans and partly by Pagans of the brown
race. Mahomedanism was introduced in
the course of the 16th century.

They are distinguished as the most
civilized and enterprising people of the
whole Archipelago, particularly the Bug-
gesses, who have always been actively em-
ployed in navigation and commerce, and
are noted for honesty and fair dealing.

These islands are considered to form
the eastern boundary of the brown race
of men, and beyond this line there are no
horses, horned cattle, nor sheep.

History. These islands were formerly under the
government of different independent sool-
tans, chiefly those of Ternate and Tidore,
but have latterly become generally sub-
ject to the Dutch, who expelled the Por-
tuguese, the first European settlers, and
established themselves in different parts
about the beginning of the 17th century.
The Dutch possessions were twice taken
by the English in 1801 and 181 1, and final-
ly restored to them at the peace in 1814.



Language. The general language on the coasts is
the Malay.



of Banda.

These form a small cluster situated
about 120 miles south-easterly from Am-
boyna, the principal being the island of

They are almost exclusively appropri-
ated to the cultivation of the nutmeg,
which they produce in great abundance.

They belong to the Dutch, and in their
history, inhabitants, religion, and lan-
guage, resemble the Moluccas.

Papua, or Mew Guinea.

Situation. This is a large island commencing a
little to the eastward of Gilolo, and slant-
ing in a south-easterly direction as far as
lat. 10 S. having the Pacific Ocean along
its northern and eastern coasts, and sep-
arated by Torres Straits on the south
from the continent of Australia.

tion and


It appears to rise gradually from the
coast to hills of considerable elevation,
covered with palm trees and forests of
large timber. It produces both the co-
coa-nut and bread-fruit trees, but has
no animals except dogs, wild cats, and


inhabit- The western part of the island is in-
habited by the Negro race, and the east-
ern by a people approaching more to the
appearance of the South Sea Islanders,
that is, having yellow complexions and
long black hair. Such of these Negro
tribes as are known to Europeans are in
an entirely savage state, and some of
them are said to be cannibals. They
wear their hair bushed round the head
to a circumference of two and three feet,
combing it out straight, and occasionally
sticking it full of feathers ; and from this
practice they have received from Euro-
peans the name frequently applied to
them of "the mop-headed Negroes."
They understand the manufacture of
common earthen-ware and mats, and
are so far civilized as to comprehend
the nature of traffic, which they carry
on with the Buggesses and Chinese,
from whom they purchase iron tools,
crockery, and cloths, in exchange for
slaves, missoy-bark, ambergris, sea-slug,
birds of paradise, loorees, and other birds
which they dry and preserve with great
skill. The origin of this race is not
known. They formerly were found in
all the islands of the Archipelago, and
are still to be met with in the mountain
districts ; and the aborigines of Malaya,
as well as the Natives of the Andamans,
seem to be of the same stock, though
much inferior to the Papuans, who are
robust and powerful men. Their arms
are chiefly bows and arrows.

Name. The word Papua is a corruption of

Pua Pua, the term commonly used by




the brown tribes to designate the Negro
The name New Guinea was given


to the island by the first European navi-
gators, on account of the resemblance of
its inhabitants to the Africans.


The Sunda Islands.

Situation. The Sunda Islands, or Sumatran chain,
form the southern and western line of
the Archipelago, comprehending Timor,
Floris, Java, and Sumatra, with some
smaller islands.

General li es between about lat. 8 and 11




and long. 123 and 127 E.

Its chief productions are sandal-wood
and earth oil. It also yields gold and
copper. The principal article of food is
maize. Rice is also cultivated, and a
species of sago, and it has all the com-
mon domestic animals.

It is inhabited by a pagan race of dark
complexion and frizzled bushy hair, but
differing in other respects from the Pa-
puans, and appearing to hold a middle
place between them and the brown

This island belongs to the Dutch, who
have a fort at Koopang at the southern ex-
tremity, in lat. 10 10' S. long. 124 10' E.


or Ende, is situated immediately to the
westward of Timor.

JAVA. 381

General Its productions are the same as those

Account. /> rn-

or limor.

The town of Ende on the south coast
possesses an excellent harbour.

It is inhabited by Buggesses and Ma-
lays on the coast, and by Negro abori-
gines in the interior. The Portuguese
have a small settlement at Sarantooka,
but the rest of the island is independent.


Situation. This is a large island lying westward of
Floris, between the 6th and 9th degrees
of south lat. and the 115th and 105th
of east long., being about 660 miles in
length, and of a breadth varying from
50 to 130 miles. It includes the small
islands of Madura and Bally,

General The interior of this island throughout

Descnp- .. 111 ,1 i i i .

tion. its whole length is marked by an uninter-
rupted range of mountains, varying in
their elevation from 5,000 to 12,000 feet,
and many of them occasionally subject to
volcanic eruptions. The rivers are nu-
merous, and the soil remarkably rich.

Java abounds with all the productions,
and swarms with all the animals, both
wild and domestic, known in India. It
also produces sago and the edible birds 1

Towns. The principal to\vns are Batavia, Sa-

marang, Sooryakarta, and Soorabaya.

Batavia, which is the capital of Java
and of all the Dutch possessions in the

382 JAVA.

Towns. east, is situated on the northern coast in
lat. 6 8' S. long. 106 54' E. Its popu-
lation of all classes is estimated at about
50,000. It was founded by the Dutch
in ]619. .

Name. gy the Malays and Natives this island

is named Thana Java.

I "^ it " The inhabitants are called Javanese,
there are also many Chinese, Malays,
Buggesses, Arabs, and Indians. The
total population amounts to about

History. The early history of this country is
unknown, as there are no records which
can be depended upon prior to about the

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Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 22 of 26)