Part 8 out of 23
plural) in the Arab _Relations_ of the 9th century, the last point of
departure on the voyage to China, from which it was a month distant. This
old record gives us the name _Sondor_; in modern times we have it as
_Kondor_; Polo combines both names. ["These may also be the 'Satyrs'
Islands' of Ptolemy, or they may be his _Sindai_; for he has a _Sinda_
city on the coast close to this position, though his Sindai islands are
dropt far away. But it would not be difficult to show that Ptolemy's
islands have been located almost at random, or as from a pepper castor."
(_Yule_, _Oldest Records_, p. 657.)] The group consists of a larger island
about 12 miles long, two of 2 or 3 miles, and some half-dozen others of
insignificant dimensions. The large one is now specially called Pulo
Condore. It has a fair harbour, fresh water, and wood in abundance.
Dampier visited the group and recommended its occupation. The E.I.
Company did establish a post there in 1702, but it came to a speedy end in
the massacre of the Europeans by their Macassar garrison. About the year
1720 some attempt to found a settlement there was also made by the French,
who gave the island the name of _Isle d'Orleans_. The celebrated Pere
Gaubil spent eight months on the island and wrote an interesting letter
about it (February, 1722; see also _Lettres Edifiantes_, Rec. xvi.). When
the group was visited by Mr. John Crawford on his mission to Cochin China
the inhabitants numbered about 800, of Cochin Chinese descent. The group
is now held by the French under Saigon. The chief island is known to the
Chinese as the mountain of Kunlun. There is another cluster of rocks in
the same sea, called the Seven Cheu, and respecting these two groups
Chinese sailors have a kind of _Incidit-in-Scyllan_ saw:--
"_Shang p'a Tsi-cheu, hia-pa Kun-lun,
Chen mi t'uo shih, jin chuen mo tsun._"
"With Kunlun to starboard, and larboard the Cheu,
Keep conning your compass, whatever you do,
Or to Davy Jones' Locker go vessel and crew."
(_Ritter_, IV. 1017; _Reinaud_, I. 18; _A. Hamilton_, II. 402; _Mem. conc.
les Chinois_, XIV. 53.)
NOTE 3.--Pauthier reads the name of the kingdom _Soucat_, but I adhere to
the readings of the G.T., _Lochac_ and _Locac_, which are supported by
Ramusio. Pauthier's C and the Bern MS. have _le chac_ and _le that_, which
indicate the same reading.
Distance and other particulars point, as Hugh Murray discerns, to the east
coast of the Malay Peninsula, or (as I conceive) to the territory now
called Siam, including the said coast, as subject or tributary from time
The kingdom of Siam is known to the Chinese by the name of _Sien-Lo_. The
Supplement to Ma Twan-lin's Encyclopaedia describes Sien-Lo as on the
sea-board to the extreme south of Chen-ching. "It originally consisted of
two kingdoms, _Sien_ and _Lo-hoh_. The Sien people are the remains of a
tribe which in the year (A.D. 1341) began to come down upon the Lo-hoh, and
united with the latter into one nation.... The land of the Lo-hoh consists
of extended plains, but not much agriculture is done."
In this _Lo_ or LO-HOH, which apparently formed the lower part of what is
now Siam, previous to the middle of the 14th century, I believe that we
have our Traveller's Locac. The latter half of the name may be either the
second syllable of Lo-Hoh, for Polo's _c_ often represents _h_; or it may
be the Chinese _Kwo_ or _Kwe_, "kingdom," in the Canton and Fo-kien
pronunciation (i.e. the pronunciation of Polo's mariners) _kok_;
_Lo-kok_, "the kingdom of Lo." _Sien_-LO-KOK is the exact form of the
Chinese name of Siam which is used by Bastian.
What was this kingdom of Lo which occupied the northern shores of the Gulf
of Siam? Chinese scholars generally say that _Sien-Lo_ means Siam and
_Laos_; but this I cannot accept, if Laos is to bear its ordinary
geographical sense, i.e. of a country bordering Siam on the _north-east
and north_. Still there seems a probability that the usual interpretation
may be correct, when properly explained.
[Regarding the identification of Locac with Siam, Mr. G. Phillips writes
(_Jour. China B.R.A.S._, XXI., 1886, p. 34, note): "I can only fully
endorse what Col. Yule says upon this subject, and add a few extracts of
my own taken from the article on Siam given in the _Wu-pe-che_. It would
appear that previously to 1341 a country called Lohoh (in Amoy
pronunciation Lohok) existed, as Yule says, in what is now called Lower
Siam, and at that date became incorporated with Sien. In the 4th year of
Hung-wu, 1372, it sent tribute to China, under the name of Sien Lohok. The
country was first called Sien Lo in the first year of Yung Lo, 1403. In
the T'ang Dynasty it appears to have been known as _Lo-yueh_, pronounced
_Lo-gueh_ at that period. This _Lo-yueh_ would seem to have been situated
on the Eastern side of Malay Peninsula, and to have extended to the
entrance to the Straits of Singapore, in what is now known as Johore."
In 1864, Dr. Bastian communicated to the Asiatic Society of Bengal the
translation of a long and interesting inscription, brought [in 1834] from
Sukkothai to Bangkok by the late King of Siam [Mongkut, then crown
prince], and dated in _a_ year 1214, which in the era of Salivahana (as it
is almost certainly, see _Garnier_, cited below) will be A.D. 1292-1293,
almost exactly coincident with Polo's voyage. The author of this
inscription was a Prince of _Thai_ (or Siamese) race, styled Phra Rama
Kamheng ("The Valiant") [son of Sri Indratiya], who reigned in Sukkothai,
whilst his dominions extended from Vieng-chan on the Mekong River (lat.
18 deg.), to Pechabur, and Sri-Thammarat (i.e. Ligor, in lat. 8 deg. 18"),
on the coast of the Gulf of Siam. [This inscription gives three
dates--1205, 1209, and 1214 s'aka = A.D. 1283, 1287 and 1292. One passage
says: "Formerly the Thais had no writing; it is in 1205 s'aka, year of the
goat = A.D. 1283, that King Rama Kamheng sent for a teacher who invented
the Thai writing. It is to him that we are indebted for it to-day." (Cf.
_Fournereau, Siam ancien_, p. 225; _Schmitt, Exc. et Recon._, 1885;
_Aymonier, Cambodge_, II. p. 72.)--H.C.] The conquests of this prince are
stated to have extended eastward to the "Royal Lake", apparently the Great
Lake of Kamboja; and we may conclude with certainty that he was the leader
of the Siamese, who had invaded Kamboja shortly before it was visited (in
1296) by that envoy of Kublai's successor, whose valuable account of the
country has been translated by Remusat.
Now this prince Rama Kamheng of Sukkothai was probably (as Lieutenant
Garnier supposes) of the _Thai-nyai_, Great Thai, or Laotian branch of the
race. Hence the application of the name Lo-kok to his kingdom can be
It was another branch of the Thai, known as _Thai-noi_, or Little Thai,
which in 1351, under another Phra Rama, founded Ayuthia and the Siamese
monarchy, which still exists.
The explanation now given seems more satisfactory than the suggestions
formerly made of the connection of the name _Locac_, either with Lophaburi
(or _Lavo, Louvo_), a very ancient capital near Ayuthia, or with _Lawek_,
i.e. Kamboja. Kamboja had at an earlier date possessed the lower valley
of the Menam, but, we see, did so no longer.
The name _Lawek_ or Lovek is applied by writers of the 16th and 17th
centuries to the capital of what is still Kamboja, the ruins of which
exist near Udong. _Laweik_ is mentioned along with the other Siamese or
Laotian countries of Yuthia, Tennasserim, Sukkothai, Pichalok, Lagong,
Lanchang (or Luang Prabang), Zimme (or Kiang-mai), and Kiang-Tung, in the
vast list of states claimed by the Burmese Chronicle as tributary to Pagan
before its fall. We find in the _Ain-i-Akbari_ a kind of aloes-wood called
_Lawaki_, no doubt because it came from this region.
The G.T. indeed makes the course from Sondur to Locac _sceloc_ or S.E.;
but Pauthier's text seems purposely to correct this, calling it, "_v. c.
milles_ oultre _Sandur_." This would bring us to the Peninsula somewhere
about what is now the Siamese province of Ligor, and this is the only
position accurately consistent with the next indication of the route, viz.
a run of 500 miles _south_ to the Straits of Singapore. Let us keep in
mind also Ramusio's specific statement that Locac was on _terra firma_.
As regards the products named: (1) gold is mined in the northern part of
the Peninsula and is a staple export of Kalantan, Tringano, and Pahang,
further down. Barbosa says gold was so abundant in Malacca that it was
reckoned by _Bahars_ of 4 cwt. Though Mr. Logan has estimated the present
produce of the whole Peninsula at only 20,000 ounces, Hamilton, at the
beginning of last century, says Pahang alone in some years exported above
8 cwt. (2) Brazil-wood, now generally known by the Malay term _Sappan_, is
abundant on the coast. Ritter speaks of three small towns on it as
entirely surrounded by trees of this kind. And higher up, in the latitude
of Tavoy, the forests of sappan-wood find a prominent place in some maps
of Siam. In mediaeval intercourse between the courts of Siam and China we
find Brazil-wood to form the bulk of the Siamese present. ["Ma Huan fully
bears out Polo's statement in this matter, for he says: This Brazil (of
which Marco speaks) is as plentiful as firewood. On Ch'eng-ho's chart
Brazil and other fragrant woods are marked as products of Siam. Polo's
statement of the use of porcelain shells as small change is also
corroborated by Ma Huan." (_G. Phillips, Jour. China B.R.A.S._, XXI.,
1886, p. 37.)--H.C.] (3) Elephants are abundant. (4) Cowries, according
to Marsden and Crawford, are found in those seas largely only on the Sulu
Islands; but Bishop Pallegoix says distinctly that they are found _in
abundance_ on the sand-banks of the Gulf of Siam. And I see Dr. Fryer, in
1673, says that cowries were brought to Surat "from Siam and the
For some centuries after this time Siam was generally known to traders by
the Persian name of _Shahr-i-nao_, or New City. This seems to be the name
generally applied to it in the _Shijarat Malayu_ (or Malay Chronicle), and
it is used also by Abdurrazzak. It appears among the early navigators of
the 16th century, as Da Gama, Varthema, Giovanni d'Empoli and Mendez
Pinto, in the shape of _Sornau, Xarnau_. Whether this name was applied to
the new city of Ayuthia, or was a translation of that of the older
_Lophaburi_ (which appears to be the Sansk. or Pali _Nava pura_ =
New-City) I do not know.
[Reinaud (_Int. Abulfeda_, p. CDXVI.) writes that, according to the
Christian monk of Nadjran, who crossed the Malayan Seas, about the year
980, at this time, the King of Lukyn had just invaded the kingdom of Sanf
and taken possession of it. According to Ibn Khordadhbeh (_De Goeje_, p.
49) Lukyn is the first port of China, 100 parasangs distant from Sanf by
land or sea; Chinese stone, Chinese silk, porcelain of excellent quality,
and rice are to be found at Lukyn.--H.C.]
(_Bastian_, I. 357, III. 433, and in _J.A.S.B._ XXXIV. Pt. I. p. 27
seqq.; _Ramus._ I. 318; _Amyot_, XIV. 266, 269; _Pallegoix_, I. 196;
_Bowring_, I. 41, 72; _Phayre_ in _J.A.S.B._ XXXVII. Pt. I. p. 102;
_Ain Akb._ 80; _Mouhot_, I. 70; _Roe and Fryer_, reprint, 1873, p. 271.)
Some geographers of the 16th century, following the old editions which
carried the travellers south-east or south-west of Java to the land of
_Boeach_ (for Locac), introduced in their maps a continent in that
situation. (See e.g. the map of the world by P. Plancius in Linschoten.)
And this has sometimes been adduced to prove an early knowledge of
Australia. Mr. Major has treated this question ably in his interesting
essay on the early notices of Australia.
 [From the _Hsing-ch'a Sheng-lan_, by Fei Hsin.]
 The extract of which this is the substance I owe to the kindness of
Professor J. Summers, formerly of King's College.
 I am happy to express my obligation to the remarks of my lamented
friend Lieutenant Garnier, for light on this subject, which has led to
an entire reform in the present note. (See his excellent Historical
Essay, forming ch. v. of the great "_Voyage d'Exploration en
Indo-Chine_," pp. 136-137).
 The _Kakula_ of Ibn Batuta was probably on the coast of Locac.
The _Kamarah Komar_ of the same traveller and other Arab writers,
I have elsewhere suggested to be _Khmer_, or Kamboja Proper. (See
_I.B._ IV. 240; _Cathay_, 469, 519.) Kakula and Kamarah
were both in "_Mul-Java_"; and the king of this undetermined
country, whom Wassaf states to have submitted to Kublai in 1291, was
called _Sri Rama_. It is possible that this was Phra Rama of
Sukkothai. (See _Cathay_, 519; _Elliot_, III. 27)
 Mr. G Phillips supposes the name locac to be Ligor, or rather lakhon
as the Siamese call it. But it seems to me pretty clear from what has
been said the Lo-kok though including Ligor, is a different name from
Lakhon. The latter is a corruption of the Sanskrit, _Nagara_, "city."
OF THE ISLAND CALLED PENTAM, AND THE CITY MALAIUR
When you leave Locac and sail for 500 miles towards the south, you come to
an island called PENTAM, a very wild place. All the wood that grows
thereon consists of odoriferous trees.[NOTE 1] There is no more to say
about it; so let us sail about sixty miles further between those two
Islands. Throughout this distance there is but four paces' depth of water,
so that great ships in passing this channel have to lift their rudders,
for they draw nearly as much water as that.[NOTE 2]
And when you have gone these 60 miles, and again about 30 more, you come
to an Island which forms a Kingdom, and is called MALAIUR. The people have
a King of their own, and a peculiar language. The city is a fine and noble
one, and there is great trade carried on there. All kinds of spicery are
to be found there, and all other necessaries of life.[NOTE 3]
NOTE 1.--_Pentam_, or as in Ram. _Pentan_, is no doubt the Bintang of our
maps, more properly BENTAN, a considerable Island at the eastern extremity
of the Straits of Malacca. It appears in the list, published by Dulaurier
from a Javanese Inscription, of the kingdoms conquered in the 15th century
by the sovereigns reigning at Majapahit in Java. (_J.A._ ser. IV. tom.
xiii. 532.) Bintang was for a long time after the Portuguese conquest of
Malacca the chief residence of the Malay Sultans who had been expelled by
that conquest, and it still nominally belongs to the Sultan of Johore, the
descendant of those princes, though in fact ruled by the Dutch, whose port
of Rhio stands on a small island close to its western shore. It is the
_Bintao_ of the Portuguese whereof Camoens speaks as the persistent enemy
of Malacca (X. 57).
[Cf. _Professor Schlegel's Geog. Notes_, VI. _Ma-it_; regarding the
odoriferous trees, Professor Schlegel remarks (p. 20) that they were
probably santal trees.--H.C.]
NOTE 2.--There is a good deal of confusion in the text of this chapter.
Here we have a passage spoken of between "those two Islands," when only
one island seems to have been mentioned. But I imagine the other "island"
in the traveller's mind to be the continuation of the same Locac, i.e.
the Malay Peninsula (included by him under that name), which he has
coasted for 500 miles. This is confirmed by Ramusio, and the old Latin
editions (as Mueller's): "between the kingdom of Locac and the Island of
Pentan." The passage in question is the Strait of Singapore, or as the old
navigators called it, the Straits of Gobernador, having the mainland of
the Peninsula and the Island of Singapore, on the one side, and the
Islands of Bintang and Batang on the other. The length of the strait is
roughly 60 geographical miles, or a little more; and I see in a route
given in the _Lettres Edifiantes_ (II. p. 118) that the length of
navigation is so stated: "Le detroit de Gobernador a vingt lieues de long,
et est for difficile quand on n'y a jamais passe."
The Venetian _passo_ was 5 feet. Marco here alludes to the well-known
practice with the Chinese junks of raising the rudder, for which they have
a special arrangement, which is indicated in the cut at p. 248.
NOTE 3.--There is a difficulty here about the indications, carrying us, as
they do, first 60 miles through the Strait, and then 30 miles further to
the Island Kingdom and city of Malaiur. There is also a singular variation
in the readings as to this city and island. The G.T. has "_Une isle qe
est roiame, et s'apelle_ Malanir e l'isle Pentam." The Crusca has the
same, only reading _Malavir_. Pauthier: "_Une isle qui est royaume, et a
nom_ Maliur." The Geog. Latin: "_Ibi invenitur una insula in qua est unus
rex_ quem vocant Lamovich. _Civitas et insula vocantur_ Pontavich." Ram.:
"_Chiamasi la citta_ Malaiur, e cosi l'isola Malaiur."
All this is very perplexed, and it is difficult to trace what may have
been the true readings. The 30 miles beyond the straits, whether we give
the direction _south-east_ as in G.T. or no, will not carry us to the
vicinity of any place known to have been the site of an important city. As
the point of departure in the next chapter is from _Pentam_ and not from
Malaiur, the introduction of the latter is perhaps a digression from the
route, on information derived either from hearsay or from a former voyage.
But there is not information enough to decide what place is meant by
Malaiur. Probabilities seem to me to be divided between _Palembang_, and
its colony _Singhapura_. Palembang, according to the Commentaries of
Alboquerque, was called by the Javanese MALAYO. The List of Sumatran
Kingdoms in De Barros makes TANA-MALAYU the _next_ to Palembang. On the
whole, I incline to this interpretation.
[In _Valentyn_ (V. 1, _Beschryvinge van Malakka_, p. 317) we find it
stated that the Malay people just dwelt on the River _Malayu_ in the
Kingdom of Palembang, and were called from the River _Orang Malayu.--MS.
[Professor Schlegel in his _Geog. Notes_, IV., tries to prove by Chinese
authorities that Maliur and Tana-Malayu are two quite distinct countries,
and he says that Maliur may have been situated on the coast opposite
Singapore, perhaps a little more to the S.W. where now lies Malacca, and
that Tana-Malayu may be placed in Asahan, upon the east coast of
Singhapura was founded by an emigration from Palembang, itself a Javanese
colony. It became the site of a flourishing kingdom, and was then,
according to the tradition recorded by De Barros, the most important
centre of population in those regions, "whither used to gather all the
navigators of the Eastern Seas, from both East and West; to this great
city of Singapura all flocked as to a general market." (Dec. II. 6, 1.)
This suits the description in our text well; but as Singhapura was in
sight of any ship passing through the straits, mistake could hardly occur
as to its position, even if it had not been visited.
I omit _Malacca_ entirely from consideration, because the evidence appears
to me conclusive against the existence of Malacca at this time.
The Malay Chronology, as published by Valentyn, ascribes the foundation of
that city to a king called Iskandar Shah, placing it in A.D. 1252, fixes
the reign of Mahomed Shah, the third King of Malacca and first Mussulman
King, as extending from 1276 to 1333 (not stating _when_ his conversion
took place), and gives 8 kings in all between the foundation of the city
and its capture by the Portuguese in 1511, a space, according to those
data, of 259 years. As Sri Iskandar Shah, the founder, had reigned 3 years
in Singhapura _before_ founding Malacca, and Mahomed Shah, the loser,
reigned 2 years in Johore _after_ the loss of his capital, we have 264
years to divide among 8 kings, giving 33 years to each reign. This
certainly indicates that the period requires considerable curtailment.
Again, both De Barros and the Commentaries or Alboquerque ascribe the
foundation of Malacca to a Javanese fugitive from Palembang called
Paramisura, and Alboquerque makes Iskandar Shah (_Xaquem darxa_) the _son_
of Paramisura, and the first convert to Mahomedanism. _Four_ other kings
reign in succession after him, the last of the four being Mahomed Shah,
expelled in 1511.
[Godinho de Eredia says expressly (Cap. i. _Do Citio Malaca_, p. 4) that
Malacca was founded by _Permicuri, primeiro monarcha de Malayos_, in the
year 1411, in the Pontificate of John XXIV., and in the reign of Don Juan
II. of Castille and Dom Juan I. of Portugal.]
The historian De Couto, whilst giving the same number of reigns from the
conversion to the capture, places the former event about 1384. And the
Commentaries of Alboquerque allow no more than some ninety years from the
foundation of Malacca to his capture of the city.
There is another approximate check to the chronology afforded by a Chinese
record in the XIVth volume of Amyot's collection. This informs us that
Malacca first acknowledged itself as tributary to the Empire in 1405, the
king being _Sili-ju-eul-sula_ (?). In 1411 the King of Malacca himself,
now called _Peilimisula_ (Paramisura), came in person to the court of
China to render homage. And in 1414 the Queen-Mother of Malacca came to
court, bringing her son's tribute.
Now this notable fact of the visit of a King of Malacca to the court of
China, and his acknowledgment of the Emperor's supremacy, is also recorded
in the Commentaries of Alboquerque. This work, it is true, attributes the
visit, not to Paramisura, the founder of Malacca, but to his son and
successor Iskandar Shah. This may be a question of a _title_ only, perhaps
borne by both; but we seem entitled to conclude with confidence that
Malacca was founded by a prince whose son was reigning, and visited the
court of China in 1411. And the real chronology will be about midway
between the estimates of De Couto and of Alboquerque. Hence Malacca did
not exist for a century, more or less, after Polo's voyage.
[Mr. C.O. Blagden, in a paper on the Mediaeval Chronology of Malacca
(_Actes du XI'e Cong. Int. Orient. Paris_, 1897), writes (p. 249) that "if
Malacca had been in the middle of the 14th century anything like the great
emporium of trade which it certainly was in the 15th, Ibn Batuta would
scarcely have failed to speak of it." The foundation of Malacca by Sri
Iskandar Shah in 1252, according to the _Sejarah Malayu_ "must be put at
least 125 years later, and the establishment of the Muhammadan religion
there would then precede by only a few years the end of the 14th century,
instead of taking place about the end of the 13th, as is generally
supposed" (p. 251). (Cf. _G. Schlegel, Geog. Notes_, XV.)--H.C.]
Mr. Logan supposes that the form _Malayu-r_ may indicate that the Malay
language of the 13th century "had not yet replaced the strong
naso-guttural terminals by pure vowels." We find the same form in a
contemporary Chinese notice. This records that in the 2nd year of the Yuen,
tribute was sent from Siam to the Emperor. "The Siamese had long been at
war with the _Maliyi_ or MALIURH, but both nations laid aside their feud
and submitted to China." (_Valentyn_, V. p. 352; _Crawford's Desc.
Dict._ art. _Malacca_; _Lassen_, IV. 541 seqq.; _Journ. Ind. Archip._ V.
572, II. 608-609; _De Barros_, Dec. II. 1. vi. c. 1; _Comentarios do grande
Afonso d'Alboquerque_, Pt. III. cap. xvii.; _Couto_, Dec. IV. liv. ii.;
_Wade_ in _Bowring's Kingdom and People of Siam_, I. 72.)
[From I-tsing we learn that going from China to India, the traveller
visits the country of _Shih-li-fuh-shi_ (_Cribhoja_ or simply _Fuh-shi_ =
Bhoja), then _Mo-louo-yu_, which seems to Professor Chavannes to
correspond to the _Malaiur_ of Marco Polo and to the modern Palembang, and
which in the 10th century formed a part of Cribhodja identified by
Professor Chavannes with Zabedj. (_I-tsing_, p. 36.) The Rev. S. Beal has
some remarks on this question in the _Merveilles de l'Inde_, p. 251, and
he says that he thinks "there are reasons for placing this country
[Cribhoja], or island, on the East coast of Sumatra, and near Palembang,
or, on the Palembang River." Mr. Groeneveldt (_T'oung Pao_, VII. abst. p.
10) gives some extracts from Chinese authors, and then writes: "We have
therefore to find now a place for the Molayu of I-tsing, the Malaiur of
Marco Polo, the Malayo of Alboquerque, and the Tana-Malayu of De Barros,
all which may be taken to mean the same place. I-tsing tells us that it
took fifteen days to go from Bhoja to Molayu and fifteen days again to go
from there to Kieh-ch'a. The latter place, suggesting a native name Kada,
must have been situated in the north-west of Sumatra, somewhere near the
present Atjeh, for going from there west, one arrived in thirty days at
Magapatana; near Ceylon, whilst a northern course brought one in ten days
to the Nicobar Islands. Molayu should thus lie half-way between Bhoja and
Kieh-ch'a, but this indication must not be taken too literally where it is
given for a sailing vessel, and there is also the statement of De Barros,
which does not allow us to go too far away from Palembang, as he mentions
Tana-Malayu _next_ to that place. We have therefore to choose between the
next three larger rivers: those of Jambi, Indragiri, and Kampar, and there
is an indication in favour of the last one, not very strong, it is true,
but still not to be neglected. I-tsing tells us: 'Le roi me donna des
secours grace auxquels je parvins au pays de _Mo-louo-yu_; j'y sejournai
derechef pendant deux mois. Je changeai de direction pour aller dans le
pays de _Kie-tcha_.' The change of direction during a voyage along the
east coast of Sumatra from Palembang to Atjeh is nowhere very perceptible,
because the course is throughout more or less north-west, still one may
speak of a change of direction at the mouth of the River Kampar, about the
entrance of the Strait of Malacca, whence the track begins to run more
west, whilst it is more north before. The country of Kampar is of little
importance now, but it is not improbable that there has been a Hindoo
settlement, as the ruins of religious monuments decidedly Buddhist are
still existing on the upper course of the river, the only ones indeed on
this side of the island, it being a still unexplained fact that the
Hindoos in Java have built on a very large scale, and those of Sumatra
hardly anything at all."--Mr. Takakusu (_A Record of the Buddhist
Religion_, p. xli.) proposes to place Shih-li-fuh-shi at Palembang and
Mo-louo-yu farther on the northern coast of Sumatra.--(Cf. _G. Schlegel,
Geog. Notes_, XVI.; _P. Pelliot, Bul. Ecole Franc. Ext. Orient_, II. pp.
CONCERNING THE ISLAND OF JAVA THE LESS. THE KINGDOMS OF FERLEC AND BASMA.
When you leave the Island of Pentam and sail about 100 miles, you reach
the Island of JAVA THE LESS. For all its name 'tis none so small but that
it has a compass of two thousand miles or more. Now I will tell you all
about this Island.[NOTE 1]
You see there are upon it eight kingdoms and eight crowned kings. The
people are all Idolaters, and every kingdom has a language of its own. The
Island hath great abundance of treasure, with costly spices, lign-aloes
and spikenard and many others that never come into our parts.[NOTE 2]
Now I am going to tell you all about these eight kingdoms, or at least the
greater part of them. But let me premise one marvellous thing, and that is
the fact that this Island lies so far to the south that the North Star,
little or much, is never to be seen!
Now let us resume our subject, and first I will tell you of the kingdom of
This kingdom, you must know, is so much frequented by the Saracen
merchants that they have converted the natives to the Law of Mahommet--I
mean the townspeople only, for the hill-people live for all the world like
beasts, and eat human flesh, as well as all other kinds of flesh, clean or
unclean. And they worship this, that, and the other thing; for in fact the
first thing that they see on rising in the morning, that they do worship
for the rest of the day.[NOTE 3]
Having told you of the kingdom of Ferlec, I will now tell of another which
is called BASMA.
When you quit the kingdom of Ferlec you enter upon that of Basma. This
also is an independent kingdom, and the people have a language of their
own; but they are just like beasts without laws or religion. They call
themselves subjects of the Great Kaan, but they pay him no tribute; indeed
they are so far away that his men could not go thither. Still all these
Islanders declare themselves to be his subjects, and sometimes they send
him curiosities as presents.[NOTE 4] There are wild elephants in the
country, and numerous unicorns, which are very nearly as big. They have
hair like that of a buffalo, feet like those of an elephant, and a horn in
the middle of the forehead, which is black and very thick. They do no
mischief, however, with the horn, but with the tongue alone; for this is
covered all over with long and strong prickles [and when savage with any
one they crush him under their knees and then rasp him with their tongue].
The head resembles that of a wild boar, and they carry it ever bent
towards the ground. They delight much to abide in mire and mud. 'Tis a
passing ugly beast to look upon, and is not in the least like that which
our stories tell of as being caught in the lap of a virgin; in fact, 'tis
altogether different from what we fancied.[NOTE 5] There are also monkeys
here in great numbers and of sundry kinds; and goshawks as black as crows.
These are very large birds and capital for fowling.[NOTE 6]
I may tell you moreover that when people bring home pygmies which they
allege to come from India, 'tis all a lie and a cheat. For those little
men, as they call them, are manufactured on this Island, and I will tell
you how. You see there is on the Island a kind of monkey which is very
small, and has a face just like a man's. They take these, and pluck out
all the hair except the hair of the beard and on the breast, and then they
dry them and stuff them and daub them with saffron and other things until
they look like men. But you see it is all a cheat; for nowhere in India
nor anywhere else in the world were there ever men seen so small as these
Now I will say no more of the kingdom of Basma, but tell you of the others
NOTE 1.--Java the Less is the Island of SUMATRA. Here there is no
exaggeration in the dimension assigned to its circuit, which is about 2300
miles. The old Arabs of the 9th century give it a circuit of 800
parasangs, or say 2800 miles, and Barbosa reports the estimate of the
Mahomedan seamen as 2100 miles. Compare the more reasonable accuracy of
these estimates of Sumatra, which the navigators knew in its entire
compass, with the wild estimates of Java Proper, of which they knew but
the northern coast.
Polo by no means stands alone in giving the name of Java to the island now
called Sumatra. The terms _Jawa, Jawi_, were applied by the Arabs to the
islands and productions of the Archipelago generally (e.g., _Luban
jawi_, "Java frankincense," whence by corruption _Benzoin_), but also
specifically to Sumatra. Thus Sumatra is the _Jawah_ both of Abulfeda and
of Ibn Batuta, the latter of whom spent some time on the island, both in
going to China and on his return. The Java also of the Catalan Map appears
to be Sumatra. _Javaku_ again is the name applied in the Singalese
chronicles to the Malays in general. _Jau_ and _Dawa_ are the names still
applied by the Battaks and the people of Nias respectively to the Malays,
showing probably that these were looked on as Javanese by those tribes who
did not partake of the civilisation diffused from Java. In Siamese also
the Malay language is called _Chawa_; and even on the Malay peninsula, the
traditional slang for a half-breed born from a Kling (or Coromandel)
father and a Malay mother is _Jawi Pakan_, "a Jawi (i.e. Malay) of the
market." De Barros says that all the people of Sumatra called themselves
by the common name of _Jauijs_. (Dec. III. liv. v. cap. 1.)
There is some reason to believe that the application of the name Java to
Sumatra is of very old date. For the oldest inscription of ascertained
date in the Archipelago which has yet been read, a Sanskrit one from
Pagaroyang, the capital of the ancient Malay state of Menang-kabau in the
heart of Sumatra, bearing a date equivalent to A.D. 656, entitles the
monarch whom it commemorates, Adityadharma by name, the king of "the First
Java" (or rather Yava). This Mr. Friedrich interprets to mean Sumatra. It
is by no means impossible that the _Iabadiu_, or Yavadvipa of Ptolemy may
be Sumatra rather than Java.
An accomplished Dutch Orientalist suggests that the Arabs originally
applied the terms Great Java and Little Java to Java and Sumatra
respectively, not because of their imagined relation in size, but as
indicating the former to be Java _Proper_. Thus also, he says, there is a
_Great Acheh_ (Achin) which does not imply that the place so called is
greater than the well-known state of Achin (of which it is in fact a
part), but because it is Acheh _Proper_. A like feeling may have suggested
the Great Bulgaria, Great Hungary, Great Turkey of the mediaeval
travellers. These were, or were supposed to be, the original seats of the
Bulgarians, Hungarians, and Turks. The _Great Horde_ of the Kirghiz Kazaks
is, as regards numbers, not the greatest, but the smallest of the three.
But the others look upon it as the most ancient. The Burmese are alleged
to call the _Rakhain_ or people of Arakan _Mranma Gyi_ or Great Burmese,
and to consider their dialect the most ancient form of the language. And,
in like manner, we may perhaps account for the term of _Little Thai_,
formerly applied to the Siamese in distinction from the _Great Thai_,
their kinsmen of Laos.
In after-days, when the name of Sumatra for the Great Island had
established itself, the traditional term "Little Java" sought other
applications. Barbosa seems to apply it to _Sumbawa_; Pigafetta and
Cavendish apply it to _Bali_, and in this way Raffles says it was still
used in his own day. Geographers were sometimes puzzled about it. Magini
says Java Minor is almost _incognita_.
(_Turnour's Epitome_, p. 45; _Van der Tuuk, Bladwijzer tot de drie
Stukken van het Bataksche Leesboek_, p. 43, etc.; _Friedrich_ in _Bat.
Transactions_, XXVI.; _Levchine, Les Kirghiz Kazaks_, 300, 301.)
NOTE 2.--As regards the _treasure_, Sumatra was long famous for its
produce of gold. The export is estimated in Crawford's History at 35,530
ounces; but no doubt it was much more when the native states were in a
condition of greater wealth and civilisation, as they undoubtedly were
some centuries ago. Valentyn says that in some years Achin had exported 80
bahars, equivalent to 32,000 or 36,000 Lbs. avoirdupois (!). Of the other
products named, lign-aloes or eagle-wood is a product of Sumatra, and is
or was very abundant in Campar on the eastern coast. The _Ain-i-Akbari_
says this article was usually brought to India from _Achin_ and
Tenasserim. Both this and spikenard are mentioned by Polo's contemporary,
Kazwini, among the products of Java (probably Sumatra), viz., _Java
lign-aloes (al-' Ud al-Jawi)_, camphor _spikenard (Sumbul)_, etc.
_Narawastu_ is the name of a grass with fragrant roots much used as a
perfume in the Archipelago, and I see this is rendered _spikenard_ in a
translation from the Malay Annals in the _Journal of the Archipelago_.
With regard to the kingdoms of the island which Marco proceeds to
describe, it is well to premise that all the six which he specifies are to
be looked for towards the north end of the island, viz., in regular
succession up the northern part of the east coast, along the north coast,
and down the northern part of the west coast. This will be made tolerably
clear in the details, and Marco himself intimates at the end of the next
chapter that the six kingdoms he describes were all at _this_ side or end
of the island: "_Or vos avon contee de cesti roiames que sunt de ceste
partie de scele ysle, et des autres roiames de_ l'autre _partie ne voz
conteron-noz rien._" Most commentators have made confusion by scattering
them up and down, nearly all round the coast of Sumatra. The best remarks
on the subject I have met with are by Mr. Logan in his _Journal of the
Ind. Arch._ II. 610.
The "kingdoms" were certainly many more than eight throughout the island.
At a later day De Barros enumerates 29 on the coast alone. Crawford
reckons 15 different nations and languages on Sumatra and its dependent
isles, of which 11 belong to the great island itself.
(_Hist. of Ind. Arch._ III. 482; _Valentyn_, V. (Sumatra), p. 5; _Desc.
Dict._ p. 7, 417; Gildemeister, p. 193; _Crawf. Malay Dict._ 119; _J. Ind.
Arch._ V. 313.)
NOTE 3.--The kingdom of PARLAK is mentioned in the _Shijarat Malayu_ or
Malay Chronicle, and also in a Malay History of the Kings of Pasei, of
which an abstract is given by Dulaurier, in connection with the other
states of which we shall speak presently. It is also mentioned (_Barlak_),
as a city of the Archipelago, by Rashiduddin. Of its extent we have no
knowledge, but the position (probably of its northern extremity) is
preserved in the native name, _Tanjong_ (i.e. Cape) _Parlak_ of the N.E.
horn of Sumatra, called by European seamen "Diamond Point," whilst the
river and town of _Perla_, about 32 miles south of that point, indicate, I
have little doubt, the site of the old capital. Indeed in Malombra's
Ptolemy (Venice, 1574), I find the next city of Sumatra beyond _Pacen_
marked as _Pulaca_.
The form _Ferlec_ shows that Polo got it from the Arabs, who having no _p_
often replace that letter by _f_. It is notable that the Malay alphabet,
which is that of the Arabic with necessary modifications, represents the
sound _p_ not by the Persian _pe_ ([Arabic]), but by the Arabic _fe_
([Arabic]), with three dots instead of one ([Arabic]).
A Malay chronicle of Achin dates the accession of the first Mahomedan king
of that state, the nearest point of Sumatra to India and Arabia, in the
year answering to A.D. 1205, and this is the earliest conversion among the
Malays on record. It is doubtful, indeed, whether there _were_ Kings of
_Achin_ in 1205, or for centuries after (unless indeed _Lambri_ is to be
regarded as Achin), but the introduction of Islam may be confidently
assigned to that age.
The notice of the Hill-people, who lived like beasts and ate human flesh,
presumably attaches to the Battas or Bataks, occupying high table-lands in
the interior of Sumatra. They do not now extend north beyond lat. 3 deg.
The interior of Northern Sumatra seems to remain a _terra incognita_, and
even with the coast we are far less familiar than our ancestors were 250
years ago. The Battas are remarkable among cannibal nations as having
attained or retained some degree of civilisation, and as being possessed of
an alphabet and documents. Their anthropophagy is now professedly practised
according to precise laws, and only in prescribed cases. Thus: (i) A
commoner seducing a Raja's wife must be eaten; (2) Enemies taken in battle
_outside their village_ must be eaten _alive_; those taken in storming a
village may be spared; (3) Traitors and spies have the same doom, but may
ransom themselves for 60 dollars a-head. There is nothing more horrible or
extraordinary in all the stories of mediaeval travellers than the _facts_
of this institution. (See _Junghuhn_, _Die Battalander_, II. 158.) And it
is evident that human flesh is also at times kept in the houses for food.
Junghuhn, who could not abide Englishmen but was a great admirer of the
Battas, tells how after a perilous and hungry flight he arrived in a
friendly village, and the food that was offered by his hosts was the flesh
of two prisoners who had been slaughtered the day before (I. 249).
Anderson was also told of one of the most powerful Batta chiefs who would
eat only such food, and took care to be supplied with it (225).
The story of the Battas is that in old times their communities lived in
peace and knew no such custom; but a Devil, _Nanalain_, came bringing
strife, and introduced this man-eating, at a period which they spoke of
(in 1840) as "three men's lives ago," or about 210 years previous to that
date. Junghuhn, with some enlargement of the time, is disposed to accept
their story of the practice being comparatively modern. This cannot be,
for their hideous custom is alluded to by a long chain of early
authorities. Ptolemy's anthropophagi may perhaps be referred to the
smaller islands. But the Arab _Relations_ of the 9th century speak of
man-eaters in Al-Ramni, undoubtedly Sumatra. Then comes our traveller,
followed by Odoric, and in the early part of the 15th century by Conti, who
names the _Batech_ cannibals. Barbosa describes them without naming them;
Galvano (p. 108) speaks of them by name; as does De Barros. (Dec. III. liv.
viii. cap. I.)
The practice of worshipping the first thing seen in the morning is related
of a variety of nations. Pigafetta tells it of the people of Gilolo, and
Varthema in his account of Java (which I fear is fiction) ascribes it to
some people of that island. Richard Eden tells it of the Laplanders.
(_Notes on Russia_, Hak. Soc. II. 224.)
NOTE 4.--_Basma_, as Valentyn indicated, seems to be the PASEI of the
Malays, which the Arabs probably called _Basam_ or the like, for the
Portuguese wrote it PACEM. [Mr. J.T. Thomson writes (_Proc.R.G.S._ XX.
p. 221) that of its actual position there can be no doubt, it being the
Passier of modern charts.--H.C.] Pasei is mentioned in the Malay
Chronicle as founded by Malik-al-Salih, the first Mussulman sovereign of
Samudra, the next of Marco's kingdoms. He assigned one of these states to
each of his two sons, Malik al-Dhahir and Malik al-Mansur; the former of
whom was reigning at Samudra, and apparently over the whole coast, when
Ibn Batuta was there (about 1346-47). There is also a Malay History of the
Kings of Pasei to which reference has already been made.
Somewhat later Pasei was a great and famous city. Majapahit, Malacca, and
Pasei being reckoned the three great cities of the Archipelago. The
stimulus of conversion to Islam had not taken effect on those Sumatran
states at the time of Polo's voyage, but it did so soon afterwards, and,
low as they have now fallen, their power at one time was no delusion.
Achin, which rose to be the chief of them, in 1615 could send against
Portuguese Malacca an expedition of more than 500 sail, 100 of which were
galleys larger than any then constructed in Europe, and carried from 600
to 800 men each.
[Dr. Schlegel writes to me that according to the Malay Dictionary of Von de
Wall and Van der Tuuk, n. 414-415, Polo's _Basman_ is the Arab
pronunciation of _Paseman_, the modern Ophir in West Sumatra. _Gunung
Paseman_ is Mount Ophir.--H.C.]
[Illustration: The three Asiatic Rhinoceroses, (upper) Indicus, (middle)
Sondaicus, (lower) Sumatranus.]
NOTE 5.--The elephant seems to abound in the forest tracts throughout the
whole length of Sumatra, and the species is now determined to be a
distinct one (_E. Sumatranus_) from that of continental India and identical
with that of Ceylon. The Sumatran elephant in former days was caught
and tamed extensively. Ibn Batuta speaks of 100 elephants in the train
of Al Dhahir, the King of Sumatra Proper, and in the 17th century Beaulieu
says the King of Achin had always 900. Giov. d'Empoli also mentions them at
Pedir in the beginning of the 16th century; and see _Pasei Chronicle_
quoted in _J. As._ ser. IV. tom. ix. pp. 258-259. This speaks of elephants
as used in war by the people of Pasei, and of elephant-hunts as a royal
diversion. The _locus_ of that best of elephant stories, the elephant's
revenge on the tailor, was at Achin.
As Polo's account of the rhinoceros is evidently from nature, it is
notable that he should not only _call_ it unicorn, but speak so precisely
of its one horn, for the characteristic, if not the only, species on the
island, is a two-horned one (_Rh. Sumatranus_), and his mention of the
buffalo-like hair applies only to this one. This species exists also on
the Indo-Chinese continent and, it is believed, in Borneo. I have seen it
in the Arakan forests as high as 19 deg. 20'; one was taken not long since
near Chittagong; and Mr. Blyth tells me a stray one has been seen in Assam
or its borders.
[Ibn Khordadhbeh says (_De Goeje's Transl._ p. 47) that rhinoceros is to
be found in Kameroun (Assam), which borders on China. It has a horn, a
cubit long, and two palms thick; when the horn is split, inside is found
on the black ground the white figure of a man, a quadruped, a fish, a
peacock or some other bird.--H.C.]
[John Evelyn mentions among the curiosities kept in the Treasury at St.
Denis: "A faire unicorne's horn, sent by a K. of Persia, about 7 foote
long." _Diary_, 1643, 12th Nov.--H.C.]
What the Traveller says of the animals' love of mire and mud is well
illustrated by the manner in which the _Semangs_ or Negritoes of the Malay
Peninsula are said to destroy him: "This animal ... is found frequently
in marshy places, with its whole body immersed in the mud, and part of the
head only visible.... Upon the dry weather setting in ... the mud
becomes hard and crusted, and the rhinoceros cannot effect his escape
without considerable difficulty and exertion. The Semangs prepare
themselves with large quantities of combustible materials, with which they
quietly approach the animal, who is aroused from his reverie by an immense
fire over him, which being kept well supplied by the Semangs with fresh
fuel, soon completes his destruction, and renders him in a fit state to
make a meal of." (_J. Ind. Arch._ IV. 426.) There is a great difference
in aspect between the one-horned species (_Rh. Sondaicus_ and _Rh.
Indicus_) and the two-horned. The Malays express what that difference is
admirably, in calling the last _Badak-Karbau_, "the Buffalo-Rhinoceros,"
and the Sondaicus _Badak-Gajah_, "the Elephant-Rhinoceros."
The belief in the formidable nature of the tongue of the rhinoceros is
very old and wide-spread, though I can find no foundation for it but the
rough _appearance_ of the organ. ["His tongue also is somewhat of a
rarity, for, if he can get any of his antagonists down, he will lick them
so clean, that he leaves neither skin nor flesh to cover his bones." (_A.
Hamilton_, ed. 1727, II. 24. _M.S. Note of Yule_.) Compare what is said of
the tongue of the Yak, I. p. 277.--H.C.] The Chinese have the belief, and
the Jesuit Lecomte attests it from professed observation of the animal in
confinement. (_Chin. Repos._ VII. 137; _Lecomte_, II. 406.) [In a Chinese
work quoted by Mr. Groeneveldt (_T'oung Pao_, VII. No. 2, abst. p. 19) we
read that "the rhinoceros has thorns on its tongue and always eats the
thorns of plants and trees, but never grasses or leaves."--H.C.]
The legend to which Marco alludes, about the Unicorn allowing itself to be
ensnared by a maiden (and of which Marsden has made an odd perversion in
his translation, whilst indicating the true meaning in his note), is also
an old and general one. It will be found, for example, in Brunetto Latini,
in the _Image du Monde_, in the _Mirabilia of Jordanus_, and in the
verses of Tzetzes. The latter represents Monoceros as attracted not by the
maiden's charms but by her perfumery. So he is inveigled and blindfolded
by a stout young knave, disguised as a maiden and drenched with scent:--
"'Tis then the huntsmen hasten up, abandoning their ambush;
Clean from his head they chop his horn, prized antidote to poison;
And let the docked and luckless beast escape into the jungles."
--V. 399, seqq.
In the cut which we give of this from a mediaeval source the horn of the
unicorn is evidently the tusk of a _narwhal_. This confusion arose very
early, as may be seen from its occurrence in Aelian, who says that the
horn of the unicorn or _Kartazonon_ (the Arab _Karkaddan_ or Rhinoceros)
was not straight but twisted ([Greek: eligmous echon tinas], Hist. An.
xvi. 20). The mistake may also be traced in the illustrations to Cosmas
Indicopleustes from his own drawings, and it long endured, as may be seen
in Jerome Cardan's description of a unicorn's horn which he saw suspended
in the church of St. Denis; as well as in a circumstance related by P.
della Valle (II. 491; and Cardan, _de Varietate_, c. xcvii.). Indeed the
supporter of the Royal arms retains the narwhal horn. To this popular
error is no doubt due the reading in Pauthier's text, which makes the horn
_white_ instead of black.
[Illustration: Monoceros and the Maiden.]
We may quote the following quaint version of the fable from the Bestiary
of Philip de Thaun, published by Mr. Wright (_Popular Treatises on
Science_, etc. p. 81):
"Monosceros est Beste, un corne ad en la teste,
Purceo ad si a nun, de buc ad facun;
Par Pucele est prise; or vez en quel guise.
Quant hom le volt cacer et prendre et enginner,
Si vent hom al forest u sis riparis est;
La met une Pucele hors de sein sa mamele,
Et par odurement Monosceros la sent;
Dunc vent a la Pucele, et si baiset la mamele,
En sein devant se dort, issi vent a sa mort
Li hom suivent atant ki l'ocit en dormant
U trestout vif le prent, si fais puis sun talent.
Grant chose signifie."....
And so goes on to moralise the fable.
NOTE 6.--In the _J. Indian Archip._ V. 285, there is mention of the _Falco
Malaiensis_, black, with a double white-and-brown spotted tail, said to
belong to the ospreys, "but does not disdain to take birds and other
 See _Anderson's Missing to East Coast of Sumatra_. pp. 229, 233 and
map. The _Ferlec_ of Polo was identified by Valentyn. (_Sumatra_, in
vol. v. p. 21.) Marsden remarks that a terminal _k_ is in Sumatra
always softened or omitted in pronunciation. (_H. of Sum._ 1st. ed. p.
163.) Thus we have Perlak, and _Perla_, as we have Battak and _Batta_.
 Since this engraving was made a fourth species has been established,
_Rhin lasyotis_, found near Chittagong.
 The elephant of India has 6 true ribs and 13 false ribs, that of
Sumatra and Ceylon has 6 true and 14 false.
 Marsden, however, does say that a one-horned species (_Rh. sondaicus_?)
is also found on Sumatra (3rd ed. of his _H. of Sumatra_, p. 116).
 An American writer professes to have discovered in Missouri the fossil
remains of a bogged mastodon, which had been killed precisely in this
way by human contemporaries. (See _Lubbock, Preh. Times_, ad ed. 279.)
 _Tresor_, p. 253; _N. and E._, V. 263; _Jordanus_, p. 43.
 Another mediaeval illustration of the subject is given in _Les Arts au
Moyen Age_, p. 499, from the binding of a book. It is allegorical, and
the Maiden is there the Virgin Mary.
THE KINGDOMS OF SAMARA AND DAGROIAN.
So you must know that when you leave the kingdom of Basma you come to
another kingdom called Samara, on the same Island.[NOTE 1] And in that
kingdom Messer Marco Polo was detained five months by the weather, which
would not allow of his going on. And I tell you that here again neither
the Pole-star nor the stars of the Maestro[NOTE 2] were to be seen, much
or little. The people here are wild Idolaters; they have a king who is
great and rich; but they also call themselves subjects of the Great Kaan.
When Messer Mark was detained on this Island five months by contrary
winds, [he landed with about 2000 men in his company; they dug large
ditches on the landward side to encompass the party, resting at either end
on the sea-haven, and within these ditches they made bulwarks or stockades
of timber] for fear of those brutes of man-eaters; [for there is great
store of wood there; and the Islanders having confidence in the party
supplied them with victuals and other things needful.] There is abundance
of fish to be had, the best in the world. The people have no wheat, but
live on rice. Nor have they any wine except such as I shall now describe.
You must know that they derive it from a certain kind of tree that they
have. When they want wine they cut a branch of this, and attach a great
pot to the stem of the tree at the place where the branch was cut; in a
day and a night they will find the pot filled. This wine is excellent
drink, and is got both white and red. [It is of such surpassing virtue
that it cures dropsy and tisick and spleen.] The trees resemble small
date-palms; ... and when cutting a branch no longer gives a flow of wine,
they water the root of the tree, and before long the branches again begin
to give out wine as before.[NOTE 3] They have also great quantities of
Indian nuts [as big as a man's head], which are good to eat when fresh;
[being sweet and savoury, and white as milk. The inside of the meat of the
nut is filled with a liquor like clear fresh water, but better to the
taste, and more delicate than wine or any other drink that ever existed.]
Now that we have done telling you about this kingdom, let us quit it, and
we will tell you of Dagroian.
When you leave the kingdom of Samara you come to another which is called
DAGROIAN. It is an independent kingdom, and has a language of its own. The
people are very wild, but they call themselves the subjects of the Great
Kaan. I will tell you a wicked custom of theirs.[NOTE 4]
When one of them is ill they send for their sorcerers, and put the
question to them, whether the sick man shall recover of his sickness or
no. If they say that he will recover, then they let him alone till he gets
better. But if the sorcerers foretell that the sick man is to die, the
friends send for certain judges of theirs to put to death him who has thus
been condemned by the sorcerers to die. These men come, and lay so many
clothes upon the sick man's mouth that they suffocate him. And when he is
dead they have him cooked, and gather together all the dead man's kin, and
eat him. And I assure you they do suck the very bones till not a particle
of marrow remains in them; for they say that if any nourishment remained
in the bones this would breed worms, and then the worms would die for want
of food, and the death of those worms would be laid to the charge of the
deceased man's soul. And so they eat him up stump and rump. And when they
have thus eaten him they collect his bones and put them in fine chests,
and carry them away, and place them in caverns among the mountains where
no beast nor other creature can get at them. And you must know also that
if they take prisoner a man of another country, and he cannot pay a ransom
in coin, they kill him and eat him straightway. It is a very evil custom
and a parlous.[NOTE 5]
Now that I have told you about this kingdom let us leave it, and I will
tell you of Lambri.
NOTE 1.--I have little doubt that in Marco's dictation the name was really
_Samatra_, and it is possible that we have a trace of this in the
_Samarcha_ (for _Samartha_) of the Crusca MS.
The _Shijarat Malayu_ has a legend, with a fictitious etymology, of the
foundation of the city and kingdom of _Samudra_, or SUMATRA, by Marah
Silu, a fisherman near Pasangan, who had acquired great wealth, as wealth
is got in fairy tales. The name is probably the Sanskrit _Samudra_, "the
sea." Possibly it may have been imitated from Dwara Samudra, at that time
a great state and city of Southern India. [We read in the Malay Annals,
_Salalat al Salatin_, translated by Mr. J.T. Thomson (_Proc.R.G.S._
XX. p. 216): "Mara Silu ascended the eminence, when he saw an ant as big
as a cat; so he caught it, and ate it, and on the place he erected his
residence, which he named Samandara, which means Big Ant (_Semut besar_ in
Malay)."--H.C.] Mara Silu having become King of Samudra was converted to
Islam, and took the name of Malik-al-Salih. He married the daughter of the
King of _Parlak_, by whom he had two sons; and to have a principality for
each he founded the city and kingdom of _Pasei_. Thus we have Marco's
three first kingdoms, Ferlec, Basma, and Samara, connected together in a
satisfactory manner in the Malayan story. It goes on to relate the history
of the two sons Al-Dhahir and Al-Mansur. Another version is given in the
history of Pasei already alluded to, with such differences as might be
expected when the oral traditions of several centuries came to be written
Ibn Batuta, about 1346, on his way to China, spent fifteen days at the
court of Samudra, which he calls _Samathrah_ or _Samuthrah_. The king whom
he found there reigning was the Sultan Al-Malik Al-Dhahir, a most zealous
Mussulman, surrounded by doctors of theology, and greatly addicted to
religious discussions, as well as a great warrior and a powerful prince.
The city was 4 miles from its port, which the traveller calls _Sarha_; he
describes the capital as a large and fine town, surrounded with an
enceinte and bastions of timber. The court displayed all the state of
Mahomedan royalty, and the Sultan's dominions extended for many days along
the coast. In accordance with Ibn Batuta's picture, the Malay Chronicle
represents the court of Pasei (which we have seen to be intimately
connected with Samudra) as a great focus of theological studies about this
There can be little doubt that Ibn Batuta's Malik Al-Dhahir is the prince
of the Malay Chronicle the son of the first Mahomedan king. We find in
1292 that Marco says nothing of Mahomedanism; the people are still wild
idolaters; but the king is already a rich and powerful prince. This may
have been Malik Al-Salih before his conversion; but it may be doubted if
the Malay story be correct in representing him as the _founder_ of the
city. Nor is this apparently so represented in the Book of the Kings of
Before Ibn Batuta's time, Sumatra or Samudra appears in the travels of Fr.
Odoric. After speaking of _Lamori_ (to which we shall come presently), he
says: "In the same island, towards the south, is another kingdom, by name
SUMOLTRA, in which is a singular generation of people, for they brand
themselves on the face with a hot iron in some twelve places," etc. This
looks as if the conversion to Islam was still (circa 1323) very
incomplete. Rashiduddin also speaks of _Sumutra_ as lying beyond Lamuri.
(_Elliot_, I. p. 70.)
The power attained by the dynasty of Malik Al-Salih, and the number of
Mahomedans attracted to his court, probably led in the course of the 14th
century to the extension of the name of Sumatra to the whole island. For
when visited early in the next century by Nicolo Conti, we are told that
he "went to a fine city of the island of Taprobana, which island is called
by the natives _Shamuthera_." Strange to say, he speaks of the natives as
all idolaters. Fra Mauro, who got much from Conti, gives us _Isola
Siamotra_ over _Taprobana_; and it shows at once his own judgment and
want of confidence in it, when he notes elsewhere that "Ptolemy,
professing to describe Taprobana, has really only described Saylan."
We have no means of settling the exact position of the city of Sumatra,
though possibly an enquiry among the natives of that coast might still
determine the point. Marsden and Logan indicate Samarlanga, but I should
look for it nearer Pasei. As pointed out by Mr. Braddell in the _J. Ind.
Arch._, Malay tradition represents the site of Pasei as selected on a
hunting expedition from Samudra, which seems to imply tolerable proximity.
And at the marriage of the Princess of Parlak to Malik Al-Salih, we are
told that the latter went to receive her on landing at Jambu Ayer (near
Diamond Point), and thence conducted her to the city of Samudra. I should
seek Samudra near the head of the estuary-like Gulf of Pasei, called in the
charts _Telo_ (or Talak) _Samawe_; a place very likely to have been sought
as a shelter to the Great Kaan's fleet during the south-west monsoon. Fine
timber, of great size, grows close to the shore of this bay, and would
furnish material for Marco's stockades.
When the Portuguese first reached those regions Pedir was the leading
state upon the coast, and certainly no state _called_ Sumatra continued to
exist. Whether the _city_ continued to exist even in decay is not easy to
discern. The _Ain-i-Akbari_ says that the best civet is that which is
brought from _the seaport town of Sumatra, in the territory of Achin_, and
is called _Sumatra Zabad_; but this may have been based on old
information. Valentyn seems to recognise the existence of a place of note
called _Samadra_ or _Samotdara_, though it is not entered on his map. A
famous mystic theologian who flourished under the great King of Achin,
Iskandar Muda, and died in 1630, bore the name of Shamsuddin _Shamatrani_,
which seems to point to the city of Sumatra as his birth place. The
most distinct mention that I know of the city so called, in the Portuguese
period, occurs in the _soi-disant_ "Voyage which Juan Serano made when he
fled from Malacca," in 1512, published by Lord Stanley of Alderley, at the
end of his translation of Barbosa. This man speaks of the "island of
Samatra" as named from "_a city of this northern part_." And on leaving
Pedir, having gone down the northern coast, he says, "I drew towards the
south and south-east direction, and reached to another country and city
which is called Samatra," and so on. Now this describes the position in
which the city of Sumatra should have been if it existed. But all the rest
of the tract is mere plunder from Varthema.
There is, however, a like intimation in a curious letter respecting the
Portuguese discoveries, written from Lisbon in 1515, by a German,
Valentine Moravia, who was probably the same Valentyn Fernandez, the
German, who published the Portuguese edition of Marco Polo at Lisbon in
1502, and who shows an extremely accurate conception of Indian geography.
He says: "La maxima insula la quale e chiamata da Marcho Polo Veneto Iava
Minor, et al presente si chiama _Sumotra_, da un _emporie di dicta
insula_" (printed by _De Gubernatis, Viagg. Ita._ etc., p. 170).
Several considerations point to the probability that the states of Pasei
and Sumatra had become united, and that the town of Sumatra may have been
represented by the Pacem of the Portuguese. I have to thank Mr. G.
Phillips for the copy of a small Chinese chart showing the northern coast
of the island, which he states to be from "one of about the 13th century."
I much doubt the date, but the map is valuable as showing the town of
Sumatra (_Sumantala_). This seems to be placed in the Gulf of Pasei, and
very near where Pasei itself still exists. An extract of a "Chinese account
of about A.D. 1413" accompanied the map. This states that the town was
situated some distance up a river, so as to be reached in two tides. There
was a village at the mouth of the river called _Talumangkin_.
[Mr. E.H. Parker writes (_China Review_, XXIV. p. 102): "Colonel Yule's
remarks about Pasei are borne out by Chinese History (Ming, 325, 20, 24),
which states that in 1521 Pieh-tu-lu (Pestrello [for Perestrello ?])
having failed in China 'went for' _Pa-si_. Again 'from Pa-si, Malacca, to
Luzon, they swept the seas, and all the other nations were afraid of
Among the Indian states which were prevailed on to send tribute (or
presents) to Kublai in 1286, we find _Sumutala_. The chief of this state
is called in the Chinese record _Tu-'han-pa-ti_, which seems to be just the
Malay words _Tuan Pati_, "Lord Ruler." No doubt this was the rising state
of Sumatra, of which we have been speaking; for it will be observed that
Marco says the people of that state called themselves the Kaan's subjects.
Rashiduddin makes the same statement regarding the people of Java (i.e. the
island of Sumatra), and even of Nicobar: "They are all subject to the
Kaan." It is curious to find just the same kind of statements about the
princes of the Malay Islands acknowledging themselves subjects of Charles
V., in the report of the surviving commander of Magellan's ship to that
emperor (printed by Baldelli-Boni, I. lxvii.). Pauthier has curious Chinese
extracts containing a notable passage respecting the disappearance of
Sumatra Proper from history: "In the years _Wen-chi_ (1573-1615), the
Kingdom of Sumatra divided in two, and the new state took the name of Achi
(Achin). After that Sumatra was no more heard of." (_Gaubil_, 205; _De
Mailla_, IX. 429; _Elliot_, I. 71; _Pauthier_, pp. 605 and 567.)
NOTE 2.--"_Vos di que la Tramontaine ne part. Et encore vos di que
l'estoilles dou Meistre ne aparent ne pou ne grant_" (G.T.). The
_Tramontaine_ is the Pole star:--
"De nostre Pere l'Apostoille
Volsisse qu'il semblast l'estoile
Qui ne se muet ...
Par cele estoile vont et viennent
Et lor sen et lor voie tiennent
Il l'apelent la _tres montaigne_."
--_La Bible Guiot de Provins_ in _Barbazan_, by _Meon_, II. 377.
The _Meistre_ is explained by Pauthier to be Arcturus; but this makes
Polo's error greater than it is. Brunetto Latini says: "Devers la
tramontane en a il i. autre (vent) plus debonaire, qui a non _Chorus_.
Cestui apelent li marinier MAISTRE _por vij. estoiles qui sont en celui
meisme leu_," etc. (_Li Tresors_, p. 122). _Magister_ or _Magistra_ in
mediaeval Latin, _La Maistre_ in old French, signifies "the beam of a
plough." Possibly this accounts for the application of _Maistre_ to the
Great Bear, or _Plough_. But on the other hand the pilot's art is called in
old French _maistrance_. Hence this constellation may have had the name as
the pilot's guide,--like our _Lode-star_. The name was probably given to
the N.W. point under a latitude in which the Great Bear sets in that
quarter. In this way many of the points of the old Arabian _Rose des Vents_
were named from the rising or setting of certain constellations. (See
_Reinaud's Abulfeda_, Introd. pp. cxcix.-cci.)
NOTE 3.--The tree here intended, and which gives the chief supply of toddy
and sugar in the Malay Islands, is the _Areng Saccharifera_ (from the
Javanese name), called by the Malays _Gomuti_, and by the Portuguese
_Saguer_. It has some resemblance to the date-palm, to which Polo compares
it, but it is a much coarser and wilder-looking tree, with a general
raggedness, "_incompta et adspectu tristis_," as Rumphius describes it. It
is notable for the number of plants that find a footing in the joints of
its stem. On one tree in Java I have counted thirteen species of such
parasites, nearly all ferns. The tree appears in the foreground of the cut
at p. 273.
Crawford thus describes its treatment in obtaining toddy: "One of the
_spathae_, or shoots of fructification, is, on the first appearance of the
fruit, beaten for three successive days with a small stick, with the view
of determining the sap to the wounded part. The shoot is then cut off, a
little way from the root, and the liquor which pours out is received in
pots.... The _Gomuti_ palm is fit to yield toddy at 9 or 10 years old, and
continues to yield it for 2 years at the average rate of 3 quarts a day."
(_Hist. of Ind. Arch._ I. 398.)
The words omitted in translation are unintelligible to me: "_et sunt
quatre raimes trois cel en_." (G.T.)
["Polo's description of the wine-pots of Samara hung on the trees 'like
date-palms,' agrees precisely with the Chinese account of the _shu theu
tsiu_ made from 'coir trees like cocoa-nut palms' manufactured by the
Burmese. Therefore it seems more likely that Samara is Siam (still
pronounced _Shumuro_ in Japan, and _Siamlo_ in Hakka), than Sumatra."
(_Parker_, _China Review_, XIV. p. 359.) I think it useless to discuss
NOTE 4.--No one has been able to identify this state. Its position,
however, must have been near PEDIR, and perhaps it was practically the
same. Pedir was the most flourishing of those Sumatran states at the
appearance of the Portuguese.
Rashiduddin names among the towns of the Archipelago _Dalmian_, which may
perhaps be a corrupt transcript of Dagroian.
Mr. Phillips's Chinese extracts, already cited, state that west of Sumatra
(proper) were two small kingdoms, the first _Naku-urh_, the second _Liti_.
Naku-urh, which seems to be the _Ting-'ho-'rh_ of Pauthier's extracts,
which sent tribute to the Kaan, and may probably be Dagroian as Mr.
Phillips supposes, was also called the _Kingdom of Tattooed Folk_.
[Mr. G. Phillips wrote since (_J.R.A.S._, July 1895, p. 528): "Dragoian has
puzzled many commentators, but on (a) Chinese chart ... there is a country
called _Ta-hua-mien_, which in the Amoy dialect is pronounced _Dakolien_,
in which it is very easy to recognise the Dragoian, or Dagoyam, of Marco
Polo." In his paper of _The Seaports of India and Ceylon_ (_Jour. China
B.R.A.S._, xx. 1885, p. 221), Mr. Phillips, referring to his Chinese Map,
already said: _Ta-hsiao-hua-mien_, in the Amoy dialect _Toa-sio-hoe_ (or
_Ko_)-_bin_, "The Kingdom of the Greater and Lesser Tattooed Faces." The
Toa-Ko-bin, the greater tattooed-face people, most probably represents the
Dagroian, or Dagoyum, of Marco Polo. This country was called _Na-ku-erh_
and Ma Huan says, "the King of _Na-ku-erh_ is also called the King of the
Tattooing is ascribed by Friar Odoric to the people of _Sumoltra_.
(_Cathay_, p. 86.) _Liti_ is evidently the _Lide_ of De Barros, which by
his list lay immediately east of Pedir. This would place _Naku-urh_ about
Samarlangka. Beyond _Liti_ was _Lanmoli_ (i.e. Lambri). [See _G.
Schlegel_, _Geog. Notes_, XVI. Li-tai, Nakur.--H.C.]
There is, or was fifty years ago, a small port between Ayer Labu and
Samarlangka, called _Darian_-Gade (_Great_ Darian?). This is the nearest
approach to Dagroian that I have met with. (_N. Ann. des V._, tom. xviii.
NOTE 5.--Gasparo Balbi (1579-1587) heard the like story of the Battas
under Achin. True or false, the charge against them has come down to our
times. The like is told by Herodotus of the Paddaei in India, of the
Massagetae, and of the Issedonians; by Strabo of the Caspians and of the
Derbices; by the Chinese of one of the wild tribes of Kwei-chau; and was
told to Wallace of some of the Aru Island tribes near New Guinea, and to
Bickmore of a tribe on the south coast of Floris, called _Rakka_ (probably
a form of Hindu _Rakshasa_, or ogre-goblin). Similar charges are made
against sundry tribes of the New World, from Brazil to Vancouver Island.
Odoric tells precisely Marco's story of a certain island called Dondin.
And in "King Alisaunder," the custom is related of a people of India,
called most inappropriately _Orphani_:--
"Another Folk woneth there beside;
_Orphani_ he hatteth wide.
When her eldrynges beth elde,
And ne mowen hemselven welde
Hy hem sleeth, and bidelve
And," etc., etc.
--Weber, I. p. 206.
Benedetto Bordone, in his _Isolario_ (1521 and 1547), makes the same
charge against the _Irish_, but I am glad to say that this seems only
copied fiom Strabo. Such stories are still rife in the East, like those of
men with tails. I have myself heard the tale told, nearly as Raffles tells
it of the Battas, of some of the wild tribes adjoining Arakan. (_Balbi_,
f. 130; _Raffles_, Mem. p. 427; _Wallace, Malay Archip._ 281; _Bickmore's
Travels_, p. III; _Cathay_, pp. 25, 100).
The latest and most authentic statement of the kind refers to a small
tribe called _Birhors_, existing in the wildest parts of Chota Nagpur and
Jashpur, west of Bengal, and is given by an accomplished Indian
ethnologist, Colonel Dalton. "They were wretched-looking objects ...
assuring me that they had themselves given up the practice, they admitted
that their fathers were in the habit of disposing of their dead in the
manner indicated, viz., by feasting on the bodies; but they declared that
they never shortened life to provide such feast, and shrunk with horror at
the idea of any bodies but those of their own blood relations being served
up at them!" (_J.A.S.B._ XXXIV. Pt. II. 18.) The same practice has been
attributed recently, but only on hearsay, to a tribe of N. Guinea called
The Battas now bury their dead, after keeping the body a considerable
time. But the people of Nias and the Batu Islands, whom Junghuhn considers
to be of common origin with the Battas, do not bury, but expose the bodies
in coffins upon rocks by the sea. And the small and very peculiar people
of the Paggi Islands expose their dead on bamboo platforms in the forest.
It is quite probable that such customs existed in the north of Sumatra
also; indeed they may still exist, for the interior seems unknown. We do
hear of pagan hill-people inland from Pedir who make descents upon the
coast, (_Junghuhn_ II. 140; _Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal_, etc. 2nd
year, No. 4; _Nouv. Ann. des. V._ XVIII.)
 _Marsden_, 1st ed. p. 291.
 _Veth's Atchin_, 1873, p. 37.
 It might be supposed that Varthema had stolen from Serano; but the
book of the former was _published_ in 1510.
 Castanheda speaks of Pacem as the best port of the land: "standing on
the bank of a river on marshy ground about a league inland; and at
the mouth of the river there are some houses of timber where a customs
collector was stationed to exact duties at the anchorage from the
ships which touched there." (Bk. II. ch. iii.) This agrees with Ibn
Batuta's account of Sumatra, 4 miles from its port. [A village named
_Samudra_ discovered in our days near Pasei is perhaps a remnant of the
kingdom of Samara. (_Merveilles de l'Inde_, p. 234.)--H.C.]
 If Mr. Phillips had given particulars about his map and quotations, as
to date, author, etc., it would have given them more value. He leaves
OF THE KINGDOMS OF LAMBRI AND FANSUR.
When you leave that kingdom you come to another which is called LAMBRI.
[NOTE 1] The people are Idolaters, and call themselves the subjects of the
Great Kaan. They have plenty of Camphor and of all sorts of other spices.
They also have brazil in great quantities. This they sow, and when it is
grown to the size of a small shoot they take it up and transplant it; then
they let it grow for three years, after which they tear it up by the root.
You must know that Messer Marco Polo aforesaid brought some seed of the
brazil, such as they sow, to Venice with him, and had it sown there; but
never a thing came up. And I fancy it was because the climate was too
Now you must know that in this kingdom of Lambri there are men with tails;
these tails are of a palm in length, and have no hair on them. These
people live in the mountains and are a kind of wild men. Their tails are
about the thickness of a dog's.[NOTE 2] There are also plenty of unicorns
in that country, and abundance of game in birds and beasts.
Now then I have told you about the kingdom of Lambri.
You then come to another kingdom which is called FANSUR. The people are
Idolaters, and also call themselves subjects of the Great Kaan; and
understand, they are still on the same Island that I have been telling you
of. In this kingdom of Fansur grows the best Camphor in the world called
_Canfora Fansuri_. It is so fine that it sells for its weight in fine
The people have no wheat, but have rice which they eat with milk and
flesh. They also have wine from trees such as I told you of. And I will
tell you another great marvel. They have a kind of trees that produce
flour, and excellent flour it is for food. These trees are very tall and
thick, but have a very thin bark, and inside the bark they are crammed
with flour. And I tell you that Messer Marco Polo, who witnessed all this,
related how he and his party did sundry times partake of this flour made
into bread, and found it excellent.[NOTE 4]
There is now no more to relate. For out of those eight kingdoms we have
told you about six that lie at this side of the Island. I shall tell you
nothing about the other two kingdoms that are at the other side of the
Island, for the said Messer Marco Polo never was there. Howbeit we have
told you about the greater part of this Island of the Lesser Java: so now
we will quit it, and I will tell you of a very small Island that is called
NOTE 1.--The name of Lambri is not now traceable on our maps, nor on any
list of the ports of Sumatra that I have met with; but in old times the
name occurs frequently under one form or another, and its position can be
assigned generally to the north part of the west coast, commencing from
the neighbourhood of Achin Head.
De Barros, detailing the twenty-nine kingdoms which divided the coast of
Sumatra, at the beginning of the Portuguese conquests, begins with _Daya_,
and then passes round by the north. He names as next in order LAMBRIJ, and
then _Achem_. This would make Lambri lie between Daya and Achin, for which
there is but little room. And there is an apparent inconsistency; for in
coming round again from the south, his 28th kingdom is _Quinchel_
(_Singkel_ of our modern maps), the 29th _Mancopa_, "which _falls upon
Lambrij_, which adjoins Daya, the first that we named." Most of the data
about Lambri render it very difficult to distinguish it from Achin.
The name of Lambri occurs in the Malay Chronicle, in the account of the
first Mahomedan mission to convert the Island. We shall quote the passage
in a following note.
The position of Lambri would render it one of the first points of Sumatra
made by navigators from Arabia and India; and this seems at one time to
have caused the name to be applied to the whole Island. Thus Rashiduddin
speaks of the very large Island LAMURI lying beyond Ceylon, and adjoining
the country of _Sumatra_; Odoric also goes from India across the Ocean to
a certain country called LAMORI, where he began to lose sight of the North
Star. He also speaks of the camphor, gold, and lign-aloes which it
produced, and proceeds thence to _Sumoltra_ in the same Island. It is
probable that the _verzino_ or brazil-wood of _Ameri_ (L'Ameri, i.e.
Lambri?) which appears in the mercantile details of Pegolotti was from
this part of Sumatra. It is probable also that the country called
_Nanwuli_, which the Chinese Annals report, with _Sumuntula_ and others,
to have sent tribute to the Great Kaan in 1286, was this same Lambri which
Polo tells us called itself subject to the Kaan.
In the time of the Sung Dynasty ships from T'swan-chau (or Zayton) bound
for _Tashi_, or Arabia, used to sail in forty days to a place called
_Lanli-poi_ (probably this is also Lambri, _Lambri-puri?_). There they
passed the winter, i.e. the south-west monsoon, just as Marco Polo's
party did at Sumatra, and sailing again when the wind became fair, they
reached Arabia in sixty days. (_Bretschneider_, p. 16.)
[The theory of Sir H. Yule is confirmed by Chinese authors quoted by Mr.
Groeneveldt (_Notes on the Malay Archipelago_, pp. 98-100): "The country
of Lambri is situated due west of Sumatra, at a distance of three days
sailing with a fair wind; it lies near the sea and has a population of
only about a thousand families.... On the east the country is bordered by
Litai, on the west and the north by the sea, and on the south by high
mountains, at the south of which is the sea again.... At the north-west of
this country, in the sea, at a distance of half a day, is a flat mountain,
called the Hat-island; the sea at the west of it is the great ocean, and
is called the Ocean of Lambri. Ships coming from the west all take this
island as a landmark." Mr. Groeneveldt adds: "Lambri [according to his
extracts from Chinese authors] must have been situated on the
north-western corner of the island of Sumatra, on or near the spot of the
present Achin: we see that it was bounded by the sea on the north and the
west, and that the Indian Ocean was called after this insignificant place,
because it was considered to begin there. Moreover, the small island at
half a day's distance, called Hat-island, perfectly agrees with the small
islands Bras or Nasi, lying off Achin, and of which the former, with its
newly-erected lighthouse, is a landmark for modern navigation, just what it
is said in our text to have been for the natives then. We venture to think
that the much discussed situation of Marco Polo's Lambri is definitely
settled herewith." The Chinese author writes: "The mountains [of Lambri]
produce the fragrant wood called _Hsiang-chen Hsiang_." Mr. Groeneveldt
remarks (l.c. p. 143) that this "is the name of a fragrant wood, much used
as incense, but which we have not been able to determine. Dr. Williams says
it comes from Sumatra, where it is called laka-wood, and is the product of
a tree to which the name of _Tanarius major_ is given by him. For different
reasons, we think this identification subject to doubt."
Captain M.J.C. Lucardie mentions a village called Lamreh, situated at
Atjeh, near Tungkup, in the xxvi. Mukim, which might be a remnant of the
country of Lameri. (_Merveilles de l'Inde_, p. 235.)--H.C.]
(_De Barros_, Dec. III. Bk. V. ch. i.; _Elliot_, I. 70; _Cathay_, 84,
seqq.; _Pegol._ p. 361; _Pauthier_, p. 605.)
NOTE 2.--Stories of tailed or hairy men are common in the Archipelago, as
in many other regions. Kazwini tells of the hairy little men that are
found in Ramni (Sumatra) with a language like birds' chirping. Marsden was
told of hairy people called _Orang Gugu_ in the interior of the Island,
who differed little, except in the use of speech, from the Orang utang.
Since his time a French writer, giving the same name and same description,
declares that he saw "a group" of these hairy people on the coast of
Andragiri, and was told by them that they inhabited the interior of
Menangkabau and formed a small tribe. It is rather remarkable that this
writer makes no allusion to Marsden though his account is so nearly
identical (_L'Oceanie_ in _L'Univers Pittoresque_, I. 24.) [One of the
stories of the _Merveilles de l'Inde_ (p. 125) is that there are
anthropophagi with tails at Lulu bilenk between Fansur and Lameri.--H.C.]
Mr. Anderson says there are "a few wild people in the Siak country, very
little removed in point of civilisation above their companions the
monkeys," but he says nothing of hairiness nor tails. For the earliest
version of the tail story we must go back to Ptolemy and the Isles of the
Satyrs in this quarter; or rather to Ctesias who tells of tailed men on an
Island in the Indian Sea. Jordanus also has the story of the hairy men.
Galvano heard that there were on the Island certain people called _Daraque
Dara_ (?), which had tails like unto sheep. And the King of Tidore told
him of another such tribe on the Isle of Batochina. Mr. St. John in Borneo
met with a trader who had seen and _felt_ the tails of such a race
inhabiting the north-east coast of that Island. The appendage was 4 inches
long and very stiff; so the people all used perforated seats. This Borneo
story has lately been brought forward in Calcutta, and stoutly maintained,
on native evidence, by an English merchant. The Chinese also have their
tailed men in the mountains above Canton. In Africa there have been many
such stories, of some of which an account will be found in the _Bulletin
de la Soc. de Geog._ ser. IV. tom. iii. p. 31. It was a story among
mediaeval Mahomedans that the members of the Imperial House of Trebizond
were endowed with short tails, whilst mediaeval Continentals had like
stories about Englishmen, as Matthew Paris relates. Thus we find in the
Romance of Coeur de Lion, Richard's messengers addressed by the "Emperor
"Out, _Taylards_, of my palys!
Now go, and say your _tayled_ King
That I owe him nothing."
--_Weber_, II. 83.
The Princes of Purbandar, in the Peninsula of Guzerat, claim descent from
the monkey-god Hanuman, and allege in justification a spinal elongation
which gets them the name of _Punchariah_, "Taylards."
(_Ethe's Kazwini_, p. 221; _Anderson_, p. 210; _St. John, Forests of the
Far East_, I. 40; _Galvano_, Hak. Soc. 108, 120; _Gildemeister_, 194;
_Allen's Indian Mail_, July 28, 1869; _Mid. Kingd._ I. 293; _N. et Ext._
XIII. i. 380; _Mat. Paris_ under A.D. 1250; _Tod's Rajasthan_, I. 114.)
NOTE 3.--The Camphor called _Fansuri_ is celebrated by Arab writers at
least as old as the 9th century, e.g., by the author of the first part
of the _Relations_, by Mas'udi in the next century, also by Avicenna, by
Abulfeda, by Kazwini, and by Abul Fazl, etc. In the second and third the
name is miswritten _Kansur_, and by the last _Kaisuri_, but there can be
no doubt of the correction required. (_Reinaud_, I. 7; _Mas._ I. 338;
_Liber Canonis_, Ven. 1544, I. 116; _Buesching_, IV. 277; _Gildem._ p. 209;
_Ain-i-Akb._ p. 78.) In Serapion we find the same camphor described as
that of _Pansor_; and when, leaving Arab authorities and the earlier
Middle Ages we come to Garcias, he speaks of the same article under the
name of camphor of _Barros_. And this is the name--_Kapur Barus_--derived
from the port which has been the chief shipping-place of Sumatran camphor
for _at least_ three centuries, by which the native camphor is still known
in Eastern trade, as distinguished from the _Kapur China_ or
_Kapur-Japun_, as the Malays term the article derived in those countries by
distillation from the _Laurus Camphora_. The earliest western mention of
camphor is in the same prescription by the physician Aetius (circa A.D.
540) that contains one of the earliest mentions of musk. (supra, I. p.
279.) The prescription ends: "and _if you have a supply of camphor_ add two
ounces of that." (_Aetii Medici Graeci Tetrabiblos_, etc., Froben, 1549, p.
It is highly probable that _Fansur_ and _Barus_ may be not only the same
locality but mere variations of the same name. The place is called in
the _Shijarat Malayu_, _Pasuri_, a name which the Arabs certainly made
into _Fansuri_ in one direction, and which might easily in another, by a
very common kind of Oriental metathesis, pass into _Barusi_. The legend in
the Shijarat Malayu relates to the first Mahomedan mission for the
conversion of Sumatra, sent by the Sherif of Mecca via India. After
sailing from Malabar the first place the party arrived at was PASURI, the
people of which embraced Islam. They then proceeded to LAMBRI, which also
accepted the Faith. Then they sailed on till they reached _Haru_ (see on
my map _Aru_ on the East Coast), which did likewise. At this last place
they enquired for SAMUDRA, which seems to have been the special object of
their mission, and found that they had passed it. Accordingly they
retraced their course to PERLAK, and after converting that place went on
to SAMUDRA, where they converted Mara Silu the King. (See note 1, ch. x.
above.) This passage is of extreme interest as naming _four_ out of
Marco's six kingdoms, and in positions quite accordant with his
indications. As noticed by Mr. Braddell, from whose abstract I take the
passage, the circumstance of the party having passed Samudra unwittingly
is especially consistent with the site we have assigned to it near the
head of the Bay of Pasei, as a glance at the map will show.
Valentyn observes: "_Fansur_ can be nought else than the famous _Pantsur_,
no longer known indeed by that name, but a kingdom which we become
acquainted with through _Hamza Pantsuri_, a celebrated Poet, and native of
this Pantsur. It lay in the north angle of the Island, and a little west
of Achin: it formerly was rife with trade and population, but would have
been utterly lost in oblivion had not Hamza Pantsuri made us again
acquainted with it." Nothing indeed could well be "a little west of
Achin"; this is doubtless a slip for "a little down the west coast from
Achin." Hamza Fantsuri, as he is termed by Professor Veth, who also
identifies Fantsur with Barus, was a poet of the first half of the 17th
century, who in his verses popularised the mystical theology of Shamsuddin
Shamatrani (supra, p. 291), strongly tinged with pantheism. The works of
both were solemnly burnt before the great mosque of Achin about 1640. (_J.
Ind. Arch._ V. 312 seqq; _Valentyn_, Sumatra, in Vol. V., p. 21; _Veth,
Atchin_, Leiden, 1873, p. 38.)
Mas'udi says that the Fansur Camphor was found most plentifully in years
rife with storms and earthquakes. Ibn Batuta gives a jumbled and highly
incorrect account of the product, but one circumstance that he mentions is
possibly founded on a real superstition, viz., that no camphor was formed
unless some animal had been sacrificed at the root of the tree, and the
best quality only then when a human victim had been offered. Nicolo Conti
has a similar statement: "The Camphor is found inside the tree, and if
they do not sacrifice to the gods before they cut the bark, it disappears
and is no more seen." Beccari, in our day, mentions special ceremonies
used by the Kayans of Borneo, before they commence the search. These
superstitions hinge on the great uncertainty of finding camphor in any
given tree, after the laborious process of cutting it down and splitting
it, an uncertainty which also largely accounts for the high price. By far
the best of the old accounts of the product is that quoted by Kazwini from
Mahomed Ben Zakaria Al-Razi: "Among the number of marvellous things in
this Island" (_Zanij_ for Zabaj, i.e. Java or Sumatra) "is the Camphor
Tree, which is of vast size, insomuch that its shade will cover a hundred
persons and more. They bore into the highest part of the tree and thence
flows out the camphor-water, enough to fill many pitchers. Then they open
the tree lower down about the middle, and extract the camphor in lumps."
[This very account is to be found in Ibn Khordadhbeh. (_De Goeje's
transl._ p. 45.)--H.C.] Compare this passage, which we may notice has
been borrowed bodily by Sindbad of the Sea, with what is probably the best
modern account, Junghuhn's: "Among the forest trees (of Tapanuli adjoining
Barus) the Camphor Tree (_Dryabalanops Camphora_) attracts beyond all the
traveller's observation, by its straight columnar and colossal grey trunk,
and its mighty crown of foliage, rising high above the canopy of the
forest. It exceeds in dimensions the _Rasamala_, the loftiest tree of
Java, and is probably the greatest tree of the Archipelago, if not of the
world, reaching a height of 200 feet. One of the middling size which I
had cut down measured at the base, where the camphor leaks out, 7-1/2
Paris feet in diameter (about 8 feet English); its trunk rose to 100 feet,
with an upper diameter of 5 feet, before dividing, and the height of the
whole tree to the crown was 150 feet. The precious consolidated camphor is
found in small quantities, 1/4 lb. to 1 lb. in a single tree, in
fissure-like hollows in the stem. Yet many are cut down in vain, or split
up the side without finding camphor. The camphor oil is prepared by the
natives by bruising and boiling the twigs." The oil, however, appears also
to be found in the tree, as Crawford and Collingwood mention, corroborating
the ancient Arab.
It is well known that the Chinese attach an extravagantly superior value
to the Malay camphor, and probably its value in Marco's day was higher
than it is now, but still its estimate as worth its weight in gold looks
like hyperbole. Forrest, a century ago, says Barus Camphor was in the
Chinese market worth nearly its weight in _silver_, and this is true
still. The price is commonly estimated at 100 times that of the Chinese
camphor. The whole quantity exported from the Barus territory goes to
China. De Vriese reckons the average annual export from Sumatra between
1839 and 1844 at less than 400 kilogrammes. The following table shows the
wholesale rates in the Chinese market as given by Rondot in 1848:--
_Qualities of Camphor_. _Per picul of 133-1/3 lbs._
Ordinary China, 1st quality 20 dollars.
" " 2nd " 14 "
Formosa 25 "
Japan 30 "
China _ngai_ (ext. from an Artemisia) 250 "
Barus, 1st quality 2000 "
" 2nd " 1000 "
The Chinese call the Sumatran (or Borneo) Camphor _Ping-pien_ "Icicle
flakes," and _Lung-nan_ "Dragon's Brains." [Regarding Baros Camphor, Mr.
Groeneveldt writes (_Notes_, p. 142): "This substance is generally called
_dragon's brain perfume_, or _icicles_. The former name has probably been
invented by the first dealers in the article, who wanted to impress their
countrymen with a great idea of its value and rarity. In the trade three
different qualities are distinguished: the first is called
_prune-blossoms_, being the larger pieces; the second is _rice-camphor_, so
called because the particles are not larger than a rice-kernel, and the
last quality is _golden dregs_, in the shape of powder. These names are
still now used by the Chinese traders on the west coast of Sumatra. The
_Pen-ts'au Kang-mu_ further informs us that the Camphor Baros is found in
the trunk of a tree in a solid shape, whilst from the roots an oil is
obtained called _Po-lut_ (Pa-lut) _incense_, or _Polut balm_. The name of
Polut is said to be derived from the country where it is found (Baros.)"
--H. C] It is just to remark, however, that in the _Ain Akbari_ we find the
price of the Sumatran Camphor, known to the Hindus as _Bhim Seni_, varying
from 3 rupees as high as 2 mohurs (or 20 rupees) for a rupee's weight,
which latter price would be _twice_ the weight in gold. Abul Fazl says the
worst camphor went by the name of _Balus_. I should suspect some mistake,
as we know from Garcias that the fine camphor was already known as _Barus_.
(_Mas'udi_, I. 338; _I.B._ IV. 241; _J.A._ ser. IV. tom. viii. 216;
_Lane's Arab. Nights_ (1859), III. 21; _Battalaender_, I. 107; _Crawf.
Hist._ III. 218, and _Desc. Dict._ 81; _Hedde et Rondot, Com. de la
Chine_, 36-37; _Chin. Comm. Guide; Dr. F.A. Flueckiger, Zur Geschichte des
Camphers_, in _Schweiz. Wochenschr. fuer Pharmacie_, Sept., Oct., 1867.)
NOTE 4.--An interesting notice of the Sago-tree, of which Odoric also
gives an account. Ramusio is, however, here fuller and more accurate:
"Removing the first bark, which is but thin, you come on the wood of the
tree which forms a thickness all round of some three fingers, but all
inside this is a pith of flour, like that of the _Carvolo_ (?). The trees
are so big that it will take two men to span them. They put this flour
into tubs of water, and beat it up with a stick, and then the bran and
other impurities come to the top, whilst the pure flour sinks to the
bottom. The water is then thrown away, and the cleaned flour that remains
is taken and made into _pasta_ in strips and other forms. These Messer
Marco often partook of, and brought some with him to Venice. It resembles
barley bread and tastes much the same. The wood of this tree is like iron,
for if thrown into the water it goes straight to the bottom. It can be
split straight from end to end like a cane. When the flour has been
removed the wood remains, as has been said, three inches thick. Of this
the people make short lances, not long ones, because they are so heavy
that no one could carry or handle them if long. One end is sharpened and
charred in the fire, and when thus prepared they will pierce any armour,
and much better than iron would do." Marsden points out that this heavy
lance-wood is not that of the true Sago-palm, but of the _Nibong_ or
Caryota urens; which does indeed give some amount of sago.
["When sago is to be made, a full-grown tree is selected just before it is
going to flower. It is cut down close to the ground, the leaves and
leaf-stalks cleared away, and a broad strip of the bark taken off the upper
side of the trunk. This exposes the pithy matter, which is of a rusty
colour near the bottom of the tree, but higher up pure white, about as hard
as a dry apple, but with woody fibres running through it about a quarter of
an inch apart. This pith is cut or broken down into a coarse powder, by
means of a tool constructed for the purpose.... Water is poured on the mass
of pith, which is kneaded and pressed against the strainer till the starch
is all dissolved and has passed through, when the fibrous refuse is thrown
away, and a fresh basketful put in its place. The water charged with sago
starch passes on to a trough, with a depression in the centre, where the
sediment is deposited, the surplus water trickling off by a shallow outlet.
When the trough is nearly full, the mass of starch, which has a slight
reddish tinge, is made into cylinders of about thirty pounds' weight, and
neatly covered with sago leaves, and in this state is sold as raw sago.
Boiled with water this forms a thick glutinous mass, with a rather
astringent taste, and is eaten with salt, limes, and chilies. Sago-bread is
made in large quantities, by baking it into cakes in a small clay oven
containing six or eight slits side by side, each about three-quarters of an
inch wide, and six or eight inches square. The raw sago is broken up, dried
in the sun, powdered, and finely sifted. The oven is heated over a clear
fire of embers, and is lightly filled with the sago powder. The openings
are then covered with a flat piece of sago bark, and in about five minutes
the cakes are turned out sufficiently baked. The hot cakes are very nice
with butter, and when made with the addition of a little sugar and grated
cocoa-nut are quite a delicacy. They are soft, and something like
corn-flour cakes, but have a slight characteristic flavour which is lost in
the refined sago we use in this country. When not wanted for immediate use,
they are dried for several days in the sun, and tied up in bundles of
twenty. They will then keep for years; they are very hard, and very rough
and dry...." (_A. R. Wallace's Malay Archipelago_, 1869, II. pp. 118-121.)
NOTE 5.--In quitting the subject of these Sumatran Kingdoms it may appear
to some readers that our explanations compress them too much, especially
as Polo seems to allow only two kingdoms for the rest of the Island. In
this he was doubtless wrong, and we may the less scruple to say so as he
had _not_ visited that other portion of the Island. We may note that in
the space to which we assign the _six_ kingdoms which Polo visited, De
Barros assigns _twelve_, viz.: Bara (corresponding generally to _Ferlec_),
Pacem (_Basma_), Pirada, Lide, Pedir, Biar, Achin, _Lambri_, Daya,
Mancopa, Quinchel, Barros (_Fansur_). (_Dec._ III. v. 1.)
[Regarding these Sumatrian kingdoms, Mr. Thomson (_Proc.R.G.S._ XX. p.
223) writes that Malaiur "is no other than Singapore ... the ancient
capital of the Malays or Malaiurs of old voyagers, existent in the times
of Marco Polo [who] mentions no kingdom or city in Java Minor till he
arrives at the kingdom of Felech or Perlak. And this is just as might be
expected, as the channel in the Straits of Malacca leads on the
north-eastern side out of sight of Sumatra; and the course, after clearing
the shoals near Selangore, being direct towards Diamond Point, near which
... the tower of Perlak is situated. Thus we see that the Venetian
traveller describes the first city or kingdom in the great island that he
arrived at.... [After Basman and Samara] Polo mentions Dragoian ... from
the context, and following Marco Polo's course, we would place it west from
his last city or Kingdom Samara; and we make no doubt, if the name is not
much corrupted, it may yet be identified in one of the villages of the
coast at this present time.... By the Malay annalist, Lambri was west of
Samara; consecutively it was also westerly from Samara by Marco Polo's
enumeration. Fanfur ... is the last kingdom named by Marco Polo [coming
from the east], and the first by the Malay annalist [coming from the west];
and as it is known to modern geographers, this corroboration doubly settles
the identity and position of all. Thus all the six cities or kingdoms
mentioned by Marco Polo were situated on the north coast of Sumatra, now
commonly known as the Pedir coast." I have given the conclusion arrived at
by Mr. J.T. Thomson in his paper, _Marco Polo's Six Kingdoms or Cities in
Java Minor, identified in translations from the ancient Malay Annals_,
which appeared in the _Proc.R.G.S._ XX. pp. 215-224, after the second
edition of this Book was published and Sir H. Yule added the following note
(_Proc._, l.c., p. 224): "Mr. Thomson, as he mentions, has not seen my
edition of _Marco Polo_, nor, apparently, a paper on the subject of these
kingdoms by the late Mr. J.R. Logan, in his _Journal of the Indian
Archipelago_, to which reference is made in the notes to _Marco Polo_. In
the said paper and notes the quotations and conclusions of Mr. Thomson have
been anticipated; and _Fansur_ also, which he leaves undetermined,
 I formerly supposed _Al-Ramni_, the oldest Arabic name of
Sumatra, to be a corruption of Lambri; but this is more probably of
Hindu origin. One of the _Dvipas_ of the ocean mentioned in the
Puranas is called _Ramaniyaka_, "delightfulness." (_Williams's
 Van der Tuuk says positively, I find: "Fantsur was the ancient name of
Barus." (_J.R.A.S._ n.s. II. 232.) [Professor Schlegel writes
also (_Geog. Notes_, XVI. p. 9): "At all events, _Fansur_ or
_Pantsur_ can be naught but Baros."--H.C.]
 _Liquidambar Altingiana_.
 The Californian and Australian giants of 400 feet were not then known.
CONCERNING THE ISLAND OF NECUVERAN.
When you leave the Island of Java (the less) and the kingdom of Lambri,
you sail north about 150 miles, and then you come to two Islands, one of
which is called NECUVERAN. In this Island they have no king nor chief, but
live like beasts. And I tell you they go all naked, both men and women,
and do not use the slightest covering of any kind. They are Idolaters.
Their woods are all of noble and valuable kinds of trees; such as Red
Sanders and Indian-nut and Cloves and Brazil and sundry other good spices.
There is nothing else worth relating; so we will go on, and I will tell
you of an Island called Angamanain.
NOTE 1.--The end of the last chapter and the commencement of this I have
taken from the G. Text. There has been some confusion in the notes of the
original dictation which that represents, and corrections have made it
worse. Thus Pauthier's text runs: "I will tell you of two small Islands,
one called Gauenispola and the other Necouran," and then: "You sail north
about 150 miles and find two Islands, one called Necouran and the other
Gauenispola." Ramusio does not mention Gauenispola, but says in the former
passage: "I will tell you of a small Island called Nocueran"--and then:
"You find two islands, one called Nocueran and the other Angaman."
Knowing the position of Gauenispola there is no difficulty in seeing how
the passage should be explained. Something has interrupted the dictation
after the last chapter. Polo asks Rusticiano, "Where were we?" "Leaving
the Great Island." Polo forgets the "very small Island called
Gauenispola," and passes to the north, where he has to tell us of two
islands, "one called Necuveran and the other Angamanain." So, I do not
doubt, the passage should run.
Let us observe that his point of departure in sailing north to the Nicobar
Islands was the _Kingdom of Lambri_. This seems to indicate that Lambri
included Achin Head or came very near it, an indication which we shall
presently see confirmed.
As regards Gauenispola, of which he promised to tell us and forgot his
promise, its name has disappeared from our modern maps, but it is easily
traced in the maps of the 16th and 17th centuries, and in the books of
navigators of that time. The latest in which I have observed it is the
_Neptune Oriental_, Paris 1775, which calls it _Pulo Gommes_. The name is
there applied to a small island off Achin Head, outside of which lie the
somewhat larger Islands of Pulo Nankai (or Nasi) and Pulo Bras, whilst
Pulo Wai lies further east. I imagine, however, that the name was by
the older navigators applied to the larger Island of Pulo Bras, or to the
whole group. Thus Alexander Hamilton, who calls it _Gomus_ and _Pulo
Gomuis_, says that "from the Island of Gomus and Pulo Wey ... the
southernmost of the Nicobars may be seen." Dampier most precisely applies
the name of Pulo Gomez to the larger island which modern charts call Pulo
Bras. So also Beaulieu couples the islands of "_Gomispoda_ and Pulo Way"
in front of the roadstead of Achin. De Barros mentions that Gaspar
d'Acosta was lost on the Island of _Gomispola_. Linschoten, describing the
course from Cochin to Malacca, says: "You take your course towards the
small Isles of GOMESPOLA, which are in 6 deg., near the corner of Achin in
the Island of Sumatra." And the Turkish author of the _Mohit_, in speaking
of the same navigation, says: "If you wish to reach Malacca, guard against
seeing JAMISFULAH ([Arabic]), because the mountains of LAMRI advance into
the sea, and the flood is there very strong." The editor has misunderstood
the geography of this passage, which evidently means "Don't go near enough
to Achin Head to see even the islands in front of it." And here we see
again that Lambri is made to extend to Achin Head. The passage is
illustrated by the report of the first English Voyage to the Indies. Their
course was for the Nicobars, but "by the Master's fault in not duly
observing the South Star, they fell to the southward of them, _within
sight of the Islands of Gomes Polo_." (_Nept. Orient._ Charts 38 and 39,
and pp. 126-127; _Hamilton_, II. 66 and Map; _Dampier_, ed. 1699, II. 122;
_H. Gen. des Voyages_, XII. 310; _Linschoten_, Routier, p. 30; _De
Barros_, Dec. III. liv. iii. cap. 3; _J.A.S.B._ VI. 807; _Astley_, I.
The two islands (or rather groups of islands) _Necuveran_ and _Angamanain_
are the Nicobar and Andaman groups. A nearer trace of the form Necuveran,
or _Necouran_ as it stands in some MSS., is perhaps preserved in
_Nancouri_, the existing name of one of the islands. They are perhaps the
_Nalo-kilo-cheu_ (_Narikela-dvipa_) or Coco-nut Islands of which Hiuen
Tsang speaks as existing some thousand _li_ to the south of Ceylon. The
men, he had heard, were but 3 feet high, and had the beaks of birds. They
had no cultivation and lived on coco-nuts. The islands are also believed
to be the _Lanja balus_ or _Lankha balus_ of the old Arab navigators:
"These Islands support a numerous population. Both men and women go naked,
only the women wear a girdle of the leaves of trees. When a ship passes
near, the men come out in boats of various sizes and barter ambergris and
coco-nuts for iron," a description which has applied accurately for many
centuries. [Ibn Khordadhbeh says (_De Goeje's transl._, p. 45) that the
inhabitants of Nicobar (Alankabalous), an island situated at ten or
fifteen days from Serendib, are naked; they live on bananas, fresh fish,
and coco-nuts; the precious metal is iron in their country; they frequent
foreign merchants.--H.C.] Rashiduddin writes of them nearly in the same
terms under the name of _Lakvaram_, but read NAKAVARAM opposite LAMURI.
Odoric also has a chapter on the island of _Nicoveran_, but it is one full
of fable. (_H. Tsang_, III. 114 and 517; _Relations_, p. 8; _Elliot_, I.
p. 71; _Cathay_, p. 97.)
[Mr. G. Phillips writes (_J.R.A.S._, July 1895, P. 529) that the name
Tsui-lan given to the Nicobars by the Chinese is, he has but little doubt,
"a corruption of Nocueran, the name given by Marco Polo to the group. The
characters Tsui-lan are pronounced Ch'ui-lan in Amoy, out of which it is
easy to make Cueran. The Chinese omitted the initial syllable and called
them the Cueran Islands, while Marco Polo called them the Nocueran
[The Nicobar Islands "are generally known by the Chinese under the name of
_Rakchas_ or Demons who devour men, from the belief that their inhabitants
were anthropophagi. In A.D. 607, the Emperor of China, Yang-ti, had sent
an envoy to Siam, who also reached the country of the Rakchas. According
to _Tu-yen's T'ung-tien_, the Nicobars lie east [west] of Poli. Its
inhabitants are very ugly, having red hair, black bodies, teeth like
beasts, and claws like hawks. Sometimes they traded with _Lin-yih_
(Champa), but then at night; in day-time they covered their faces." (_G.
Schlegel, Geog. Notes_, I. pp. 1-2).--H.C.]
Mr. Phillips, from his anonymous Chinese author, gives a quaint legend as
to the nakedness of these islanders. Sakya Muni, having arrived from
Ceylon, stopped at the islands to bathe. Whilst he was in the water the
natives stole his clothes, upon which the Buddha cursed them; and they
have never since been able to wear any clothing without suffering for it.
[Professor Schlegel gives the same legend (_Geog. Notes_, I. p. 8) with
reference to the _Andaman_ Islands from the _Sing-ch'a Sheng-lan_,
published in 1436 by Fei-sin; Mr. Phillips seems to have made a confusion
between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. (_Doolittle's Vocab._ II. p. 556;
cf. _Schlegel_, l.c. p. 11.)--H.C.]
The chief part of the population is believed to be of race akin to the
Malay, but they seem to be of more than one race, and there is great
variety in dialect. There have long been reports of a black tribe with
woolly hair in the unknown interior of the Great Nicobar, and my friend
Colonel H. Man, when Superintendent of our Andaman Settlements, received
spontaneous corroboration of this from natives of the former island, who
were on a visit to Port Blair. Since this has been in type I have seen in
the _F. of India_ (28th July, 1874) notice of a valuable work by F.A. de
Roepstorff on the dialects and manners of the Nicobarians. This notice
speaks of an aboriginal race called _Shob'aengs_, "purely Mongolian," but
does not mention negritoes. The natives do not now go quite naked; the men
wear a narrow cloth; and the women a grass girdle. They are very skilful
in management of their canoes. Some years since there were frightful
disclosures regarding the massacre of the crews of vessels touching at
these islands, and this has led eventually to their occupation by the
Indian Government. Trinkat and Nancouri are the islands which were guilty.
A woman of Trinkat who could speak Malay was examined by Colonel Man, and
she acknowledged having seen nineteen vessels scuttled, after their
cargoes had been plundered and their crews massacred. "The natives who
were captured at Trinkat," says Colonel Man in another letter, "were a
most savage-looking set, with remarkably long arms, and very projecting
The islands have always been famous for the quality and abundance of their
"Indian Nuts," i.e. cocos. The tree of next importance to the natives is
a kind of Pandanus, from the cooked fruit of which they express an edible
substance called Melori, of which you may read in Dampier; they have the
betel and areca; and they grow yams, but only for barter. As regards the
other vegetation, mentioned by Polo, I will quote, what Colonel Man writes
to me from the Andamans, which probably is in great measure applicable to
the Nicobars also! "Our woods are very fine, and doubtless resemble those
of the Nicobars. Sapan wood (i.e. Polo's _Brazil_) is in abundance;
coco-nuts, so numerous in the Nicobars, and to the north in the Cocos, are
not found naturally with us, though they grow admirably when cultivated.
There is said to be sandal-wood in our forests, and camphor, but I have
not yet come across them. I do not believe in _cloves_, but we have lots
of the wild nutmeg." The last, and cardamoms, are mentioned in the
_Voyage of the Novara_, vol. ii., in which will be found a detail of the
various European attempts to colonise the Nicobar Islands with other
particulars. (See also _J.A.S.B._ XV. 344 seqq.) [See _Schlegel's
Geog. Notes_, XVI., _The Old States in the Island of Sumatra._--H.C.]
 It was a mistake to suppose the name had disappeared, for it is
applied, in the form _Pulo Gaimr_, to the small island above indicated,
in Colonel Versteeg's map to Veth's _Atchin_ (1873). In a map chiefly
borrowed from that, in _Ocean Highways_, August, 1873, I have ventured
to restore the name as _Pulo Gomus_. The name is perhaps (Mal.)
_Gamas_, "hard, rough."
 Kurz's _Vegetation of the Andaman Islands_ gives four _myristicae_
(nutmegs); but no sandal-wood nor camphor-laurel. Nor do I find
sappan-wood, though there is another Caesalpinia (_C. Nuga_).
CONCERNING THE ISLAND OF ANGAMANAIN.
Angamanain is a very large Island. The people are without a king and are
Idolaters, and no better than wild beasts. And I assure you all the men of
this Island of Angamanain have heads like dogs, and teeth and eyes
likewise; in fact, in the face they are all just like big mastiff dogs!
They have a quantity of spices; but they are a most cruel generation, and
eat everybody that they can catch, if not of their own race.[NOTE 1] They
live on flesh and rice and milk, and have fruits different from any of
Now that I have told you about this race of people, as indeed it was
highly proper to do in this our book, I will go on to tell you about an
Island called Seilan, as you shall hear.
NOTE 1.--Here Marco speaks of the remarkable population of the Andaman
Islands--Oriental negroes in the lowest state of barbarism--who have
remained in their isolated and degraded condition, so near the shores of
great civilised countries, for so many ages. "Rice and milk" they have
not, and their fruits are only wild ones.
[From the _Sing-ch'a Sheng-lan_ quoted by Professor Schlegel (_Geog.
Notes_, I. p. 8) we learn that these islanders have neither "rice or corn,
but only descend into the sea and catch fish and shrimps in their nets;
they also plant Banians and Cocoa-trees for their food."--H.C.]
I imagine our traveller's form _Angamanain_ to be an Arabic (oblique)
dual--"The two ANDAMANS," viz. The Great and The Little, the former being
in truth a chain of three islands, but so close and nearly continuous as
to form apparently one, and to be named as such.
[Illustration: The Borus. (From a Manuscript.)]
[Professor Schlegel writes (_Geog. Notes._ I. p. 12): "This etymology is
to be rejected because the old Chinese transcription gives _So_--(or
_Sun_) _daman_.... The _Pien-i-tien_ (ch. 107, I. fol. 30) gives a
description of Andaman, here called _An-to-man kwoh_, quoted from the
The origin of the name seems to be unknown. The only person to my
knowledge who has given a meaning to it is Nicolo Conti, who says it means
"Island of Gold"; probably a mere sailor's yarn. The name, however, is
very old, and may perhaps be traced in Ptolemy; for he names an island of
cannibals called that of _Good Fortune_, [Greek: Agathou daimonos]. It
seems probable enough that this was [Greek: Agdaimouos Naesos], or the
like, "The Angdaman Island," misunderstood. His next group of Islands is
the _Barussae_, which seems again to be the Lankha _Balus_ of the oldest
Arab navigators, since these are certainly the Nicobars. [The name first
appears distinctly in the Arab narratives of the 9th century. (_Yule,
The description of the natives of the Andaman Islands in the early Arab
_Relations_ has been often quoted, but it is too like our traveller's
account to be omitted: "The inhabitants of these islands eat men alive.
They are black with woolly hair, and in their eyes and countenance there
is something quite frightful.... They go naked, and have no boats. If they
had they would devour all who passed near them. Sometimes ships that are
wind-bound, and have exhausted their provision of water, touch here and
apply to the natives for it; in such cases the crew sometimes fall into
the hands of the latter, and most of them are massacred" (p. 9).
[Illustration: The Cynocephali. (From the _Livre des Merveilles_.)]
The traditional charge of cannibalism against these people used to be very
persistent, though it is generally rejected since our settlement upon the
group in 1858. Mr. Logan supposes the report was cherished by those who
frequented the islands for edible birds' nests, in order to keep the
monopoly. Of their murdering the crews of wrecked vessels, like their
Nicobar neighbours, I believe there is no doubt; and it has happened in
our own day. Cesare Federici, in Ramusio, speaks of the terrible fate of
crews wrecked on the Andamans; all such were killed and eaten by the
natives, who refused all intercourse with strangers. A. Hamilton mentions
a friend of his who was wrecked on the islands; nothing more was ever
heard of the ship's company, "which gave ground to conjecture that they
were all devoured by those savage cannibals."
They do not, in modern times, I believe, in their canoes, quit their own
immediate coast, but Hamilton says they used, in his time, to come on
forays to the Nicobar Islands; and a paper in the _Asiatic Researches_
mentions a tradition to the same effect as existing on the Car Nicobar.
They have retained all the aversion to intercourse anciently ascribed to
them, and they still go naked as of old, the utmost exception being a
leaf-apron worn by the women near the British Settlement.
The Dog-head feature is at least as old as Ctesias. The story originated,
I imagine, in the disgust with which "allophylian" types of countenance
are regarded, kindred to the feeling which makes the Hindus and other
eastern nations represent the aborigines whom they superseded as demons.
The Cubans described the Caribs to Columbus as man-eaters with dogs'
muzzles; and the old Danes had tales of Cynocephali in Finland. A curious
passage from the Arab geographer Ibn Said pays an ambiguous compliment to
the forefathers of Moltke and Von Roon: "The _Borus_ (Prussians) are a
miserable people, and still more savage than the Russians..... One reads
in some books _that the _Borus _have dogs' faces; it is a way of saying
that they are very brave"_ Ibn Batuta describes an Indo-Chinese tribe on
the coast of Arakan or Pegu as having dogs' mouths, but says the _women_
were beautiful. Friar Jordanus had heard the same of the dog-headed
islanders. And one odd form of the story, found, strange to say, both in
China and diffused over Ethiopia, represents the males as _actual_ dogs