Charles Alfred Browne.

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

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year 1200. It appears to have been
divided into a number of petty states,
which about A. D. 1600 were consoli-
dated under the general government of
the Sooltan of Sooryakarta, and in a few
years after the whole fell under the do-
minion of the Dutch. In 1811 the island
was taken possession of by the British,
but restored to the Dutch in 1816, with
whom it now remains.

Religion. The predominant religion is Mahome-
danism, which was introduced in 1406 by
a sheikh from Arabia, prior to which
time, the Javanese followed the Hindoo
systems both of Brahma and Booddh, but
without observing the distinctions of
caste. The Hindoo system, however, is
still prevalent in the island of Bally.

Language. The language is called Javanese, and
is written in a character formed upon
the Sanscrit alphabet.




Situation. This is a large island lying obliquely
north-west and south-east between the
6'th degree of north lat. and the 6th of
south, and long. 95| and 107 E. In
length it may be estimated at ] ,000 miles
by 150 the average breadth.

Divisions. Its chief divisions are Acheen, the
Batta Country, Menancaboo, Palembang,
and the Rejangs.



It has numerous rivers, some of them
large and navigable, but not well known
to Europeans.

Ranges of lofty mountains run through
the whole extent of the island ; many of
them are volcanic, and lava is occasion-
ally seen to flow from them. Earth-
quakes also are frequent, but generally
slight. The highest mountain visible
from the sea has been named by Euro-
peans Mount Ophir, and is 13,842 feet
in height.

Produc- l n addition to all the productions of
India which it possesses in remarkable
abundance, this island produces camphor,
cassia, nutmegs, cloves, benzoin, rattans,
sago, the bread-fruit, and the edible birds' 5
nests. The animals, wild and domestic,
are the same as in India, the tiger grow-
ing to a very large size. There is also
the ourang-outang. The horses are of a
small and active breed generally known
in India as the Acheen poneys. In the


P tns C ~ Batta Country they are used for food.
Gold is abundant, and there are mines
of copper, tin, and iron. Earth oil and
sulphur are also plentiful.

Towns. The principal towns are Acheen, Men-

ancaboo, Palembang, Padang, and Ben-

Acheen is situated at the north-west-
ern extremity of the island. This was
formerly the principal trading port in this
part of the world, and its sooltan was
held in great respect throughout the east.
It has since greatly declined, and is now
a place of no consequence.

Menancaboo is the capital of the state
so named, and was in former times con-
sidered the chief city in Sumatra, and the
seat of all Malay learning and religious
authority. The state of Menancaboo
constitutes the original country of the
Malays, and is entirely peopled with
them at the present time. The Natives
of this place are the expertest artists in
the island, and are particularly noted for
their gold and silver fillagree work.

Palembang on the eastern coast, an
ancient Malay town, and Padang on the
western, now form the two principal set-
tlements of the Dutch.

Bencoolen^ or Fort Marlborough, on
ihe south-western coast, formerly belong-
ed to the English, who made a settlement
there in 1685, but in 1825 it was given
over to the Dutch.

Name. By the Natives this island is usually

called Pulo Purichoo, and by the Java~


nese Thana Palembang ; the origin of its
European name Sumatra is quite un-

Its inhabitants consist of various tribes
of the brown race, of which the principal
are the Malays and Battas. The Battas
are addicted to an extraordinary system
of cannibalism. According to their laws,
all persons put to death for capital offen-
ces are cut up and eaten ; as are also
enemies killed or taken prisoners during;
any general war. Notwithstanding this
savage practice, the Battas are remark-
able as a quiet and timid people. In ap-
pearance they resemble the Hindoos. It
is a general custom throughout Sumatra
for both sexes to file down their teeth,
and to stain them jet black, many also
casing the two front teeth in gold. All
classes are inveterately given to gaming
and cock-fighting, and all are great opium

Of the early history of this country
nothing has been satisfactorily ascertain-
ed, though the Natives commence their
own history with the landing of certain
persons from Noah's ark after the flood.
It does not appear ever to have formed a
single kingdom, but to have been com-
posed of a number of petty states, in which
condition it still remains ; the Dutch now
possessing the principal authority over
the whole.

Mahomedanism is the religion of the
Malay tribe, but the Battas and others
are still pagans, without any regular



Religion, form of religion as they have no kind
of worship, possessing little more than a
confused notion of some superior and in-
visible beings, with very little idea of a
future state.

Language, The principal languages are the Malay
and the Batta. The Batta differs not
greatly from the Malay, but is written
in characters derived from the Sanscrit,
from left to right, upon the inner bark
of a tree and on bamboos.




Intended chiefly for the use of Native Students.

ABORIGINES, derived from the Latin a&, from, and origjne, the
beginning, and signifies the first inhabitants of any country.

ANNUAL, from the Latin annus, a year, signifies any thing
that happens yearly, or once a year.

ANTTECI, derived from the Greek avn anti, opposite, and
oiKCQ) oikeo, to inhabit, are those who live in the same degree
of longitude, and in equal degrees of latitude, but the one in
north, and the other in south latitude. They have noon at the
same time, but contrary seasons of the year. Those who live at
the equator can have no antaeci.

ANTARCTIC, derived from the Greek . OCI/TI, anti, against or
opposite to, and pxro<; arktos* the bear, generally signifies
southern, so called because it is opposite to the arctic or

ANTIPODES, are those inhabitants of the earth who live dia-
metrically opposite to each other, and consequently walk feet to
feet ; their latitudes, longitudes, seasons of the year, days and
nights, are all contrary to each other. Derived from the Greek
fjtvTt anti, opposite, and 7ro5a$ podas, feet.

APHELION, derived from the Greek GCTTO apo, from, and
helios, the sun. It signifies that part of the orbit of a planet or
comet, in which it is at its greatest distance from the sun.

APOGEE, derived from CCTTO po, from, and yti #e, the earth,
and signifies that point in the orbit of a planet, which is at the
greatest distance from the earth. The ancients considered the
earth as the centre of the planetary system, and therefore
assigned to the suu with the planets an apogee, But the



moderns reckon the sun as the centre, and therefore use the
terms aphelion and perihelion. The sun's apogee therefore is
m truth the earth's aphelion apogee is properly applicable
to the moon.

ARCHIPELAGO, supposed to be derived from the Greek ap%ps
archos, chief, and 7reAyo pelages, the sea, primarily signifies that
part of the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Asia
Minor. Its general import is a sea interspersed with many isles.

ARCTIC, derived from the Greek DXTO arktos 9 a bear, and
signifies northern, so called because the bear is generally called
the northern constellation.

ASTRONOMY, derived from the Greek aarpov astron, a star,
and 1/0/10$ nomos 9 a law, or rule; it signifies the science which
teaches the knowledge of the celestial bodies, their magnitudes,
motions, distances, periods of revolution, aspects, order, &c.

ATMOSPHERE, from the Greek T/XO atmos, vapour, and
ff(paipa sphaira, a sphere, and signifies the whole mass of fluid
consisting of air, aqueous and other vapours surrounding the

AXIS, derived from the Latin axis, an axle-tree, and signifies a
straight line, real or imaginary, passing through a body on which
it revolves, or may revolve, as the axis of the earth.

BAY see page 3.

BOGS, signify wet grounds, which are too soft to bear a man. It
is sometimes defined by marsh and morass, but differs from
them as a part from the whole.

BREAKER, from the English word to break, is a rock which
breaks the waves ; it sometimes also signifies the wave itself,
which breaks against a rock, a sand-bank, or the shore, exhibit-
ing a white foam.

BROOK, signifies a small natural stream of water, or a current
flowing from a spring or fountain, less than a river.

CANAL, is derived from the Latin canalis, a watercourse ;. this
word is usually applied to those artificial watercourses which
are made for the purpose of facilitating the conveyance of goods
from one part of the country to another.

CANTONMENT, from the Latin centum, a hundred, and signifies
a part or division of a town or village, assigned to a particular
regiment of troops.

CAPE see page 2.

CARDINAL, derived from the Latin cardo, a hinge, which is the
principal support of a door, and that on which it turns. Hence
it came to signify principal or chief, and in this sense is applied
to the four chief points, north, south, east and west.


CATARACT, from the Greek XT, kata, downwards, and
jO<r0"a> 7 rasso, to strike or dash, and signifies a great fall of
water over a precipice, as the cataract, or as it is more gen-
erally called, the Falls of Niagara.

CELESTIAL, derived from the Latin ccelum, the heaven, and
signifies any thing belonging to the heavens.

CENTRIFUGAL, from the Latin centrum, the centre, and fugio,
to fly from, and signifies a tendency to recede from the centre.

CENTRIPETAL, from the Latin centrum, the centre, and peto,
to seek, and signifies a tendency to draw towards the centre.

CHAIN, derived from the French chaine, or from the Latin
catena, and originally signifies a series of links or rings fastened
to one another. Hence it comes to be applied to a continuation
of mountains, which are linked as it were to each other, as the
chain of the Andes.

CHAMPAIGN, derived from the Latin campus, a field, and
signifies a flat open country.

CHANNEL, derived from the Latin canalis, a watercourse, and
generally signifies a passage ; but other meanings are attached to
this word, as the deeper part or hollow in which the principal
current of a river flows, as the channel of the Thames ; or a part
of the sea, as the British Channel, the Irish Channel.

CHART see pages 7 and 8.

CIRCUMFERENCE, from the Latin circum, around, and fero,
to bear see page 5.

CITY, derived from the Latin word civitas, and signifies in
England generally a large town, or a large number of inhabitants
established in one place, and having a bishop.

CLIMATE see page 26.

COLONY, from the Latin colo, to cultivate, and signifies a com-
pany of people transplanted from their mother-country to a
remote land, in order to inhabit and cultivate it.

COMET, from the Greek xo/xr? come, hair, and is an opaque
spherical solid body like a planet, but accompanied with a train
of light, performing 'their revolutions in an elliptical orbit. They
are so called because in popular language they are represented
as bearded, hairy, &c.

COMPASS seepages.

CONDUIT, derived from the Latin con, together, and duco, to
lead, and signifies a canal or pipe for the conveyance of water.
They are made of lead, stone, cast iron, &c.

CONFLUENCE or CONFLUX, both these words are derived
from the Latin con, together, and fiuo, to flow, and signify
the junction or meeting of two or more streams of water, as
the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna.

CONSTELLATION, derived from the Latin con, together, and
stella, a star, signifies a cluster or group of fixed stars.

CONSTITUTION, derived from the Latin con, together, and
statuo, to set, and signifies the established form of government
in a state or country.

CONTlNENT-see pages 1 and 2.


COUNTRY, from the Latin con, with, and terra, the earth, and
primarily signifies land adjacent to a city, but is more generally
applied to the land belonging to a kingdom or state.

CREEK or COVE see page 3.

DALE, primarily signifies a low place, through which rivers

run. Generally speaking it has the same signification with vale

and valley, ancl is a poetic word.
DEFILE, from the Latin de, from, and filum, a thread, and pri-

marily signified a narrow passage or way in which troops may

march only in a file ; hence it came to signify a narrow pas-

sage between two hills.
DELTA see page 4.
DEPOT, derived from the Latin de, from, and pono, to place, and

signifies a store or magazine for depositing goods or merchandise.
DESERT, from the Latin desertum, signifies an uninhabited tract

of land. Sometimes applied to an uninhabited country covered

with woods.

DESPOTISM, derived from the Greek S(TTTOTII<; despotes, a
master, and signifies absolute power or authority unlimited and
uncontrolled by men, laws, or any thing else.

DIAMETER, from the Greek dia dia, through, and

metric, to measure see page 5.
DIOCESE, from the Greek d/ct dia, through, and

oikesis, a residence, and is applied to the circuit or extent of a

bishop's jurisdiction. Formerly it was a division of the Roman

empire, for the purpose of civil government.

DISTRICT, from the Latin distringo, to draw tight, and signifies
- a limited extent of country.
DIURNAL, from the Latin dies, a day, and signifies any thing

that happens daily, or every day.
DOCK, signifies a broad deep trench by the side of a harbour, or

mouth of a river, where ships are built or repaired.

DOWNS, derived from the Saxon dun, and primarily signifies a hill
or elevation. It is applied to a bank or elevation of sand thrown
up by the sea, as the Downs, so called by way of eminence, off
the S. Eastern coast of England. It also signifies a large open
plain, primarily an elevated land.

DYNASTY, derived from the Greek d(/t/<mK dunastes, a lord
or chief, and signifies government, sovereignty, or rather a suc-
cession of kings of the same line of family, who govern a country.

EARTH, in its primary sense signifies fine particles. Its common
signification is that globe or planet which we inhabit.

EARTHQUAKE, compounded of two English words, earth and
quake, signifies a shaking or trembling of the earth, at other
times a rocking or heaving of the earth.


ECCENTRIC, from the Latin ex* from, and centrum, the centre,
and signifies deviating or departing from the centre.

ECLIPSE, derived from the Greek ef ex, without, and Af/7r<y
leipo, to leave. An eclipse of the sun is an obscuring of part of
the face of the sun, caused by the moon coming between the
earth and the sun ; consequently all eclipses of the sun happen
at new moon time. An eclipse of the moon is a privation of the
light of the moon, occasioned by the interposition (or coming
between) of the earth between the sun and moon ; consequently
all eclipses of the moon happen at full moon.

ECLIPTIC, derived from the Greek exAe/Trw eklelpo, to fail, is a
great circle in which the sun makes his apparent annual progress
among the fixed stars. But more properly it is the track which
the earth would appear to describe, if viewed from the centre of
the sun. It is called the ecliptic because eclipses can only
happen when the moon appears to be in or very near this

EMPIRE, derived from the Latin imperium, signifies supremo
power in governing ; also a large tract of land under the juris-
diction of an emperor. It is generally larger than a kingdom.
As for instance the British Empire. '

EMPORIUM, from the Greek tpTropiov emporion, a market
place, and is a place of merchandise, a city or town of extensive

EQUATOR, from the Latin csquo, to make equal see page 5.


EQUINOCTIAL POINTS, are the two points where the equator
and ecliptic intersect each other. The one being in the first point
of Aries, is called the vernal equinox, (from the Latin ver,
spring) the other in the first point of Libra, the autumnal equinox
(from the Latin autumnus, autumn.)

EQUINOX, is the precise time when the sun enters one of the
equinoctial points, or the first point of Aries about the 21st
March, and the first point of Libra about the 23rd September,
making the day and night of equal length.

ESTUARY, from the Latin word astuo, to boil, and was originally
applied to the sea when in a state of agitation. Its most common
signification is a narrow arm of the sea, and signifies much the
same as frith.

FEN, signifies low land overflowed or covered wholly or partially
by water, but producing coarse grass or other aquatic plants.

FEUD, is of Saxon origin, and signifies right to lands or hereditary
estates held in trust, or on the terms of performing certain con-

FEUDAL, usually means dependant upon a lord or chief.

FOREST, signifies an extensive wood, or a large tract of land cover-
ed with trees.

FORTRESS, signifies any fortified place, a place of defence or


FRIGID see page 9.

FRITH, derived from the Latin word /return, and its primary
signification is the water that beats against the shore. Its more
common signification is a narrow arm of the sea, as the Frith of
Sol way ; or the opening of a river into the sea, as the Frith of
Forth, the Frith of Clyde.

FRONTIER, signifies the border, confine, or extreme part of a
country bordering on another country.

GEOGRAPHY see page 1.
GHAUT see page 25.
GLOBE seepage 1.

GULF, perhaps derived from the Greek KO\TTO<; kolpos, which
signifies a bosom see page 3.

HARBOUR see page 3.

HAVEN see page 3.

HEADLAND see page 2 from the English words head and land*

HEMISPHEREsee page 5.

HILL, derived from the Saxon hyl^ and signifies a natural eleva-
tion of Jand, or a mass of earth, rising above the common level
of the surrounding land.

HILLOCK, diminutive of hill, and denotes a smaller eminence.

HORDE signifies a company of wandering people dwelling in
tents, and migrating from place to place, to procure pasturage
for their cattle.

HORIZON see page 8.

ISLAND, compounded of the English words isle and land see
page 2.

ISLE and ISLET, these are the diminutives of island, and signify
a small island.

ISTHMUS, from the Greek iffdpog isthmos, and in its primary
sense signifies a passage see page 2.

JUNGLE, is of Hindoo origin, and signifies a thick wood of small
trees or shrubs.

LAKE, derived from the Latin lacus, and primarily signifies .a
reservoir for water, a basin see page 4.


LATITUDE, means breadth, applied by the ancients to the
measurement of the earth, north and south, because they thought
it was less that way than from east to west.

LAVA, probably from the Latin word lavo, to flow. It is a mass
or stream of melted minerals, or stony matter, which is thrown
out from the mouth or sides of a volcano, and is often ejected in
such quantities as to overwhelm cities ; as Catana destroyed by
the lava of Mount Etna, Herculaneum and Pompeii by that of
Mount Vesuvius.

LINE, the this term is applied by way of eminence to the
equator, because it is the first and principal line by which
latitude is measured. It is most commonly used by mariners.

LONGITUDE, means length, applied by the ancients to the
measurement of the earth, east and west, because they considered
it to be larger that way than from north to south.

MAP see pages 7 and 8.

MARSH, signifies a tract of low land usually covered with water,

and overgrown with coarse grass.
MART, is a contraction for the English word market, and signifies

a place of sale or traffic.
MERIDIAN see page 6.

MERIDIAN, BRAZEN, is the circle on which the artificial globe
turns, and is divided into 360 equal parts called degrees. In the
upper semicircle of the brass meridian these degrees are num-
bered from to 90% from the equator towards the poles, and
are used for finding the latitudes of places. On the lower semi-
circle of the brass meridian they are numbered from to 90 ;
from the poles towards the equator, and are used on the eleva-
tion of the poles.

MINERAL, is the general name for all metals, whether pure or
compound. It is applied also to those things that are neither
animal nor vegetable.

MONARCHY, from the Greek fj.ovij mone, single, and apxtj
arche, a government, and is a state or government in which the
supreme power is lodged in the hands of a single individual.

MONSOON see page 26 it is of Hindoo origin.
MOOR, signifies a tract of wet low ground, a marsh or fen.
MORASS, signifies a tract of low moist ground it is the same as

a marsh.

MOUNTAIN, derived from the Latin mans, is a large mass of
' earth, rising above the common level of the earth, or of the

adjacent land. It is generally applied to larger eminences than



NADIR, is a point in the heavens exactly under our feet.
NO MADE, from the Greek i/o/j.a$ nomas 9 pasturage, and sig-
nifies pastoral , wandering for the sake of pasturage.


OBLIQUE, derived from the Latin olliquus, signifies deviating
from a right line, not perpendicular, not parallel, aslant.

OCEAN, from the Greek Qtxsavoc, okeanos, and signifies a vast
body of water see page 3.

OFFING, derived from our English word off, and generally signi-
fies that part of the sea which is at a good distance from the
land, and where there is deep water.

ORBIT, from the Latin orbis, a circle, any thing round. It sig-
nifies the curved line which a planet describes in its periodical

PARALLELS see page 8.

PASS, derived from the Latin pando, to open, and hence signifies

an opening, or a narrow passage between mountains.
PENINSULA see page 2.

PERIGEE, derived from the Greek Kept peri, about, and yn g*->
the earth, and signifies that point in the orbit of the sun or moon,
which is at the least distance from the earth. It is the opposite
term of apogee see apogee.

PERIHELION, derived from the Greek Trepi peri, about, and j;A*o$
helios, the sun. It signifies that part of the orbit of a planet or
comet in which it is at its least distance from the sun.

PERICECI, derived from the Greek mpt peri, about, and o/xe<y
oikeo, to inhabit, are those who live in the same latitude, but in
opposite longitudes ; when it is noon with the one, it is midnight
with the other. The inhabitants of the poles can have no periceci.

PH ASIS, from the Greek <paffis phasis, a shining, signifies gen-
erally an appearance, but it sometimes also signifies any appear-
ance or quantity of illumination of the moon or other planet.

PLAIN, derived from the Latin planus, level, signifies any smooth,
even, level, or flat extent of ground.

PLANET, from the Greek 7rAi/<w planao, to wander, they
are celestial bodies which revolve round the sun or any other
centre, and are so called because they have no fixed position in
opposition to the fixed stars.

POLAR, from the Latin polus, signifies of or belonging to the

POLE, from the Latin polus, and in its primary sense is the end
of the axis round which the wheel turns hence it has come to
be applied to the extremities of that axis or diameter about
which our earth revolves.

POLICE, from the Greek 7roA/s, polls, a city, and signifies the

government of a city or town.
PRECIPICE, from the Latin preceps, headlong strictly signifies*

a falling headlong, hence a steep descent of land, and hence

it comes to signify a steep descent generally.


PRESIDENCY, from the Latin prce, before, and sedeo, to sit, and
signifies superintendence ; but it also sometimes means the
jurisdiction of a president as the British dominions in the East

PRINCIPALITY, from the Latin princeps, chief, and signifies
sovereignty, supreme power ; though sometimes it signifies the
territory of a prince.

PROMONTORY see page 2.

PROVINCE, from the Latin provincia. Among the Romans it
signified a country acquired by conquest. Among moderns it
is a state belonging to a kingdom, either by conquest or coloni-

QUADRANT, derived from the Latin quatuor* four, because it is
the fourth part of a circle. The quadrant of altitude is a thin
flexible piece of brass divided, upwards from to 90, and
downwards from to 18, and when used is generally screwed
to the brazen meridian. The upper divisions are usecl to deter-

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Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 23 of 26)