Sejarah Sumatra (Marsden)/Bab 23

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The chain of islands which extends itself in a line nearly parallel to the western coast, at the distance from it of little more than a degree, being immediately connected with the principal subject of this work, and being themselves inhabited by a race or races of people apparently from the same original stock as those of the interior of Sumatra, whose genuineness of character has been preserved to a remarkable degree (whilst the islands on the eastern side are uniformly peopled with Malays), I have thought it expedient to add such authentic information respecting them as I have been enabled to obtain; and this I feel to be the more necessary from observing in the maps to which I have had recourse so much error and confusion in applying the names that the identity and even the existence of some of them have been considered as doubtful.


Of these islands the most southern is Engano, which is still but very imperfectly known, all attempts to open a friendly communication with the natives having hitherto proved fruitless; and in truth they have had but too much reason to consider strangers attempting to land on their coast as piratical enemies. In the voyage of J.J. Saar, published in 1662, we have an account of an expedition fitted out from Batavia in 1645 for the purpose of examining this island, which terminated in entrapping and carrying off with them sixty or seventy of the inhabitants, male and female. The former died soon after their arrival, refusing to eat any other food than coconuts, but the women, who were distributed amongst the principal families of Batavia, proved extremely tractable and docile, and acquired the language of the place. It is not stated, nor does it appear from any subsequent publication, that the opportunity was taken of forming a collection of their words.

From that period Engano had only been incidentally noticed, until in March 1771 Mr. Richard Wyatt, then governor, and the council of Fort Marlborough, sent Mr. Charles Miller in a vessel belonging to the Company to explore the productions of this island. On approaching it he observed large plantations of coconut-trees, with several spots of ground cleared for cultivation on the hills, and at night many fires on the beach. Landing was found to be in most parts extremely difficult on account of the surf. Many of the natives were seen armed with lances and squatting down amongst the coral rocks, as if to conceal their numbers. Upon rowing into a bay with the ship's boat it was pursued by ten canoes full of men and obliged to return. Mr. Whalfeldt, the surveyor, and the second mate proceeded to make a survey of the bay and endeavour to speak with the natives. They were furnished with articles for presents, and, upon seeing a canoe on the beach of a small island, and several people fishing on the rocks, they rowed to the island and sent two caffrees on shore with some cloth, but the natives would not come near them. The mate then landed and advanced towards them, when they immediately came to him. He distributed some presents among them, and they in return gave him some fish. Several canoes came off to the ship with coconuts, sugar-cane, toddy, and a species of yam. The crew of one of them took an opportunity of unshipping and carrying away the boat's rudder, and upon a musket being fired over their heads many of them leaped into the sea.

Mr. Miller describes these people as being taller and fairer than the Malays, their hair black, which the men cut short, and the women wear long, and neatly turned up. The former go entirely naked except that they sometimes throw a piece of bark of tree, or plantain-leaf over their shoulders to protect them from the heat of the sun. The latter also are naked except a small slip of plantain-leaf round the waist; and some had on their heads fresh leaves made up nearly in the shape of a bonnet, with necklaces of small pieces of shell, and a shell hanging by a string, to be used as a comb. The ears of both men and women have large holes made in them, an inch or two in diameter, into which they put a ring made of coconut-shell or a roll of leaves. They do not chew betel. Their language was not understood by any person on board, although there were people from most parts adjacent to the coast. Their canoes are very neat, formed of two thin planks sewn together, sharp-pointed at each end and provided with outriggers. In general they contain six or seven men. They always carry lances, not only as offensive weapons, but for striking fish. These are about seven feet in length, formed of ni­bong and other hard woods; some of them tipped with pieces of bamboo made very sharp, and the concave part filled with fish-bones (and shark's teeth), others armed with pieces of bone made sharp and notched, and others pointed with bits of iron and copper sharpened. They seemed not to be unaccustomed to the sight of vessels. (Ships bound from the ports of India to the straits of Sunda, as well as those from Europe, when late in the season, frequently make the land of Engano, and many must doubtless be wrecked on its coast).

Attempts were made to find a river or fresh water, but without success, nor even a good place to land. Two of the people from the ship having pushed in among the rocks and landed the natives soon came to them, snatched their handkerchiefs off their heads and ran away with them, but dropped them on being pursued. Soon afterwards they sounded a conch-shell, which brought numbers of them down to the beach. The bay appeared to be well sheltered and to afford good anchorage ground. The soil of the country for the most part a red clay. The productions Mr. Miller thought the same as are commonly found on the coast of Sumatra; but circumstances did not admit of his penetrating into the country, which, contrary to expectation, was found to be so full of inhabitants. In consequence of the loss of anchors and cables it was judged necessary that the vessel should return to Fort Marlborough. Having taken in the necessary supplies, the island was revisited. Finding no landing-place, the boat was run upon the coral rocks. Signs were made to the natives, who had collected in considerable numbers, and upon seeing our people land had retreated towards some houses, to stop, but to no purpose until Mr. Miller proceeded towards them unaccompanied, when they approached in great numbers and accepted of knives, pieces of cloth, etc. Observing a spot of cultivated ground surrounded by a sort of fence he went to it, followed by several of the natives who made signs to deter him, and as soon as he was out of sight of his own people began to handle his clothes and attempt to pull them off, when he returned to the beach.

Their houses stand singly in their plantations, are circular, about eight feet in diameter, raised about six from the ground on slender iron­wood sticks, floored with planks, and the roof, which is thatched with long grass, rises from the floor in a conical shape. No rice was seen among them, nor did they appear to know the use of it when shown to them; nor were cattle nor fowls of any kind observed about their houses.

Having anchored off a low point of marshy land in the northern part of the bay, where the natives seemed to be more accustomed to intercourse with strangers, the party landed in hopes of finding a path to some houses about two miles inland. Upon observing signs made to them by some people on the coral reef Mr. Miller and Mr. Whalfeldt went towards them in the sampan, when some among them took an opportunity of stealing the latter's hanger and running away with it; upon which they were immediately fired at by some of the party, and notwithstanding Mr. Miller's endeavours to prevent them both the officer and men continued to fire upon and pursue the natives through the morass, but without being able to overtake them. Meeting however with some houses they set fire to them, and brought off two women and a boy whom the caffrees had seized. The officers on board the vessel, alarmed at the firing and seeing Mr. Miller alone in the sampan, whilst several canoes full of people were rowing towards him, sent the pinnace with some sepoys to his assistance. During the night conch-shells were heard to sound almost all over the bay, and in the morning several large parties were observed on different parts of the beach. All further communication with the inhabitants being interrupted by this imprudent quarrel, and the purposes of the expedition thereby frustrated, it was not thought advisable to remain any longer at Engano, and Mr. Miller, after visiting some parts of the southern coast of Sumatra, returned to Fort Marlborough.

PULO MEGA[sunting]

Pualu di sebelah barat laut Engano, namun sangat jauh, yang disebut oleh orang-orang Melayu sebagai Pulo Mega (pulau awan), dan disebut oleh orang-orang Eropa sebagai Triste, atau isle de Recif. Pulau tersebut kecil dan tak berpenghuni, dan seperti kebanyakan pulau lain di laut tersebut, pulau tersebut dikelilingi oleh terumbu karang dengan laguna di bagian tengah. Pohon-pohon kelapa tumbuh dalam jumlah besar di pasir dekat pantai, yang buahnya disantap tikus dan tupai, satu-satunya binatang yang ditemukan di sana. Di perbatasan laguna adalah sekumpulan tumbuhan kecil, tepat di atas permukaan air pasang, dimana tumbuh beberapa spesies pohon.


The name of Pulo Sanding or Sandiang belongs to two small islands situated near the south-eastern extremity of the Nassau or Pagi islands, in which group they are sometimes included. Of these the southernmost is distinguished in the Dutch charts by the term of Laag or low, and the other by that of Bergen or hilly. They are both uninhabited, and the only productions worth notice is the long nutmeg, which grows wild on them, and some good timber, particularly of the kind known by the name of marbau (Metrosideros amboinensis). An idea was entertained of making a settlement on one of them, and in 1769 an officer with a few men were stationed there for some months, during which period the rains were incessant. The scheme was afterwards abandoned as unlikely to answer any useful purpose.


The two islands separated by a narrow strait, to which the Dutch navigators have given the name of the Nassaus, are called by the Malays Pulo Pagi or Pagei, and by us commonly the Poggies. The race of people by whom these as well as some other islands to the northward of them are inhabited having the appellation of orang mantawei, this has been confounded with the proper names of the islands, and, being applied sometimes to one and sometimes to another, has occasioned much confusion and uncertainty. The earliest accounts we have of them are the reports of Mr. Randolph Marriot in 1749, and of Mr. John Saul in 1750 and 1751, with Captain Thomas Forrest's observations in 1757, preserved in Mr. Dalrymple's Historical Relation of the several Expeditions from Fort Marlborough to the Islands adjacent to the West-coast of Sumatra; but by much the most satisfactory information is contained in a paper communicated by Mr. John Crisp to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in the sixth volume of whose Transactions it is published, and from these documents I shall extract such particulars as may best serve to convey a knowledge of the country and the people.

Mr. Crisp sailed from Fort Marlborough on the 12th of August 1792 in a vessel navigated at his own expense, and with no other view than that of gratifying a liberal curiosity. On the 14th he anchored in the straits of See Cockup (Si Kakap), which divide the Northern from the Southern Pagi. These straits are about two miles in length and a quarter of a mile over, and make safe riding for ships of any size, which lie perfectly secure from every wind, the water being literally as smooth as in a pond. The high land of Sumatra (inland of Moco-moco and Ipu) was plainly to be distinguished from thence. In the passage are scattered several small islands, each of which consists of one immense rock, and which may have been originally connected with the main island. The face of the country is rough and irregular, consisting of high hills of sudden and steep ascent, and covered with trees to their summits, among which the species called bintangur or puhn, fit for the largest masts, abounds. The sago-tree grows in plenty, and constitutes the chief article of food to the inhabitants, who do not cultivate rice. The use of betel is unknown to them. Coconut-trees, bamboos, and the common fruits of Sumatra are found here. The woods are impervious to man: the species of wild animals that inhabit them but few; the large red deer, hogs, and several kinds of monkey, but neither buffaloes nor goats; nor are they infested with tigers or other beasts of prey; They have the common domestic fowl, but pork and fish are the favourite animal food of the natives.

When the vessel had been two days at anchor they began to come down from their villages in their canoes, bringing fruit of various kinds, and on invitation they readily came on board without showing signs of apprehension or embarrassment. On presenting to them plates of boiled rice they would not touch it until it had been previously tasted by one of the ship's company. They behaved whilst on board with much decorum, showed a strong degree of curiosity, but not the least disposition for pilfering. They appeared to live in great friendship and harmony with each other, and voluntarily divided amongst their companions what was given to them. Their stature seldom exceeds five feet and a half. Their colour is like that of the Malays, a light brown or copper-colour. Some canoes came alongside the vessel with only women in them, and upon being encouraged by the men several ventured on board. When on the water they use a temporary dress to shield them from the heat of the sun, made of the leaves of the plantain, of which they form a sort of conical cap (the same was observed of the women of Engano), and there is also a broad piece of the leaf fastened round the body over their breasts, and another round their waist. This leaf readily splits, and has the appearance of a coarse fringe. When in their villages the women, like the men, wear only a small piece of coarse cloth, made of the bark of a tree, round their middle. Beads and other ornaments are worn about the neck. Although coconuts are in such plenty they have not the use of oil, and their hair, which is black, and naturally long, is, for want of it and the use of combs, in general matted and full of vermin. They have a method of filing or grinding their teeth to a point, like the people of Sumatra.

The number of inhabitants of the two islands is supposed not to exceed 1400 persons. They are divided into small tribes, each occupying a small river and living in one village. On the southern island are five of these villages, and on the northern seven, of which Kakap is accounted the chief, although Labu-labu is supposed to contain the greater number of people. Their houses are built of bamboos and raised on posts; the under part is occupied by poultry and hogs, and, as may be supposed, much filth is collected there. Their arms consist of a bow and arrows. The former is made of the nibong-tree, and the string of the entrails of some animal. The arrows are of small bamboo, headed with brass or with a piece of hard wood cut to a point. With these they kill deer, which are roused by dogs of a mongrel breed, and also monkeys, whose flesh they eat. Some among them wear krises. It was said that the different tribes of orang mantawei who inhabit these islands never make war upon each other, but with people of islands to the northward they are occasionally in a state of hostility. The measurement of one of their war-canoes, preserved with great care under a shed, was twenty-five feet in the length of the floor, the prow projecting twenty-two, and the stern eighteen, making the whole length sixty-five feet. The greatest breadth was five feet, and the depth three feet eight inches. For navigating in their rivers and the straits of Si Kakap, where the sea is as smooth as glass, they employ canoes, formed with great neatness of a single tree, and the women and young children are extremely expert in the management of the paddle. They are strangers to the use of coin of any kind, and have little knowledge of metals. The iron bill or chopping-knife, called parang, is in much esteem among them, it serves as a standard for the value of other commodities, such as articles of provision.

The religion of these people, if it deserves the name, resembles much what has been described of the Battas; but their mode of disposing of their dead is different, and analogous rather to the practice of the South­sea islanders, the corpse, being deposited on a sort of stage in a place appropriated for the purpose, and with a few leaves strewed over it, is left to decay. Inheritance is by male descent; the house or plantation, the weapons and tools of the father, become the property of the sons. Their chiefs are but little distinguished from the rest of the community by authority or possessions, their pre-eminence being chiefly displayed at public entertainments, of which they do the honours. They have not even judicial powers, all disputes being settled, and crimes adjudged, by a meeting of the whole village. Murder is punishable by retaliation, for which purpose the offender is delivered over to the relations of the deceased, who may put him to death; but the crime is rare. Theft, when to a considerable amount, is also capital. In cases of adultery the injured husband has a right to seize the effects of the paramour, and sometimes punishes his wife by cutting off her hair. When the husband offends the wife has a right to quit him and to return to her parents' house. Simple fornication between unmarried persons is neither considered as a crime nor a disgrace. The state of slavery is unknown among these people, and they do not practise circumcision.

The custom of tattooing, or imprinting figures on the skin, is general among the inhabitants of this group of islands. They call it in their language teetee or titi. They begin to form these marks on boys at seven years of age, and fill them up as they advance in years. Mr. Crisp thinks they were originally intended as marks of military distinction. The women have a star imprinted on each shoulder, and generally some small marks on the backs of their hands. These punctures are made with an instrument consisting of a brass wire fixed perpendicularly into a piece of stick about eight inches in length. The pigment made use of is the smoke collected from dammar, mixed with water (or, according to another account, with the juice of the sugar-cane). The operator takes a stalk of dried grass, or a fine piece of stick, and, dipping the end in the pigment, traces on the skin the outline of the figure, and then, dipping the brass point in the same preparation, with very quick and light strokes of a long, small stick, drives it into the skin, whereby an indelible mark is produced. The pattern when completed is in all the individuals nearly the same.

In the year 1783 the son of a raja of one of the Pagi islands came over to Sumatra on a visit of curiosity, and, being an intelligent man, much information was obtained from him. He could give some account of almost every island that lies off the coast, and when a doubt arose about their position he ascertained it by taking the rind of a pumplenose or shaddock, and, breaking it into bits of different sizes, disposing them on the floor in such a manner as to convey a clear idea of the relative situation. He spoke of Engano (by what name is not mentioned) and said that their boats were sometimes driven to that island, on which occasions they generally lost a part, if not the whole, of their crews, from the savage disposition of the natives. He appeared to be acquainted with several of the constellations, and gave names for the Pleiades, Scorpion, Great Bear, and Orion's Belt. He understood the distinction between the fixed and wandering stars, and particularly noticed Venus, which he named usutat-si-geb-geb or planet of the evening. To Sumatra he gave the appellation of Seraihu. As to religion he said the rajas alone prayed and sacrificed hogs and fowls. They addressed themselves in the first place to the Power above the sky; next to those in the moon, who are male and female; and lastly, to that evil being whose residence is beneath the earth, and is the cause of earthquakes. A drawing of this man, representing accurately the figures in which his body and limbs were tattooed, was made by Colonel Trapaud, and obligingly given to me. He not only stood patiently during the performance, but seemed much pleased with the execution, and proposed that the Colonel should accompany him to his country to have an opportunity of making a likeness of his father. To our collectors of rare prints it is well known that there exists an engraving of a man of this description by the title of The Painted Prince, brought to England by Captain Dampier from one of the islands of the eastern sea in the year 1691, and of whom a particular account is given in his Voyage. He said that the inhabitants of the Pagi islands derived their origin from the orang mantawei of the island called Si Biru.


North-westward of the Pagi islands, and at no great distance, lies that of Si Porah, commonly denominated Good Fortune Island, inhabited by the same race as the former, and with the same manners and language. The principal towns or villages are named Si Porah, containing, when visited by Mr. John Saul in 1750, three hundred inhabitants, Si Labah three hundred (several of whom were originally from the neighbouring island of Nias), Si Bagau two hundred, and Si Uban a smaller number; and when Captain Forrest made his inquiries in 1757 there was not any material variation. Since that period, though the island has been occasionally visited, it does not appear that any report has been preserved of the state of the population. The country is described as being entirely covered with wood. The highest land is in the vicinity of Si Labah.

SI BIRU[sunting]

The next island in the same direction is named Si Biru, which, although of considerable size, being larger than Si Porah, has commonly been omitted in our charts, or denoted to be uncertain. It is inhabited by the Mantawei race, and the natives both of Si Porah and the Pagi Islands consider it as their parent country, but notwithstanding this connexion they are generally in a state of hostility, and in 1783 no intercourse subsisted between them. The inhabitants are distinguished only by some small variety of the patterns in which their skins are tattooed, those of Si Biru having them narrower on the breast and broader on the shoulders. The island itself is rendered conspicuous by a volcano­mountain.

PULO BATU[sunting]

Next to this is Pulo Batu, situated immediately to the southward of the equinoctial line, and, in consequence of an original mistake in Valentyn's erroneous chart, published in 1726, usually called by navigators Mintaon, being a corruption of the word Mantawei, which, as already explained, is appropriated to a race inhabiting the islands of Si Biru, Si Porah, and Pagi. Batu, on the contrary, is chiefly peopled by a colony from Nias. These pay a yearly tax to the raja of Buluaro, a small kampong in the interior part of the island, belonging to a race different from both, and whose number it is said amounts only to one hundred, which it is not allowed to exceed, so many children being reared as may replace the deaths. They are reported to bear a resemblance to the people of Makasar or Bugis, and may have been adventurers from that quarter. The influence of their raja over the Nias inhabitants, who exceed his immediate subjects in the proportion of twenty to one, is founded on the superstitious belief that the water of the island will become salt when they neglect to pay the tax. He in his turn, being in danger from the power of the Malay traders who resort thither from Padang and are not affected by the same superstition, is constrained to pay them to the amount of sixteen ounces of gold as an annual tribute.

The food of the people, as in the other islands, is chiefly sago, and their exports coconuts, oil in considerable quantities, and swala or sea­slugs. No rice is planted there, nor, if we may trust to the Malayan accounts, suffered to be imported. Upon the same authority also we are told that the island derives its name of Batu from a large rock resembling the hull of a vessel, which tradition states to be a petrifaction of that in which the Buluaro people arrived. The same fanciful story of a petrified boat is prevalent in the Serampei country of Sumatra. From Natal Hill Pulo Batu is visible. Like the islands already described it is entirely covered with wood.

PULO KAPINI[sunting]

Between Pulo Batu and the coast of Sumatra, but much nearer to the latter, is a small uninhabited island, called Pulo Kapini (iron-wood island), but to which our charts (copying from Valentyn) commonly give the name of Batu, whilst to Batu itself, as above described, is assigned the name of Mintaon. In confirmation of the distinctions here laid down it will be thought sufficient to observe that, when the Company's packet, the Greyhound, lay at what was called Lant's Bay in Mintaon, an officer came to our settlement of Natal (of which Mr. John Marsden at that time was chief) in a Batu oil-boat; and that a large trade for oil is carried on from Padang and other places with the island of Batu, whilst that of Kapini is known to be without inhabitants, and could not supply the article.

PULO NIAS[sunting]

The most productive and important, if not the largest of this chain of islands, is Pulo Nias. Its inhabitants are very numerous, and of a race distinct not only from those on the main (for such we must relatively consider Sumatra), but also from the people of all the islands to the southward, with the exception of the last-mentioned. Their complexions, especially the women, are lighter than those of the Malays; they are smaller in their persons and shorter in stature; their mouths are broad, noses very flat, and their ears are pierced and distended in so extraordinary a manner as nearly, in many instances, to touch the shoulders, particularly when the flap has, by excessive distension or by accident, been rent asunder; but these pendulous excrescences are commonly trimmed and reduced to the ordinary size when they are brought away from their own country. Preposterous however as this custom may appear, it is not confined to the Nias people. Some of the women of the inland parts of Sumatra, in the vicinity of the equinoctial line (especially those of the Rau tribes) increase the perforation of their ears until they admit ornaments of two or three inches diameter. There is no circumstance by which the natives of this island are more obviously distinguished than the prevalence of a leprous scurf with which the skins of a great proportion of both sexes are affected; in some cases covering the whole of the body and limbs, and in others resembling rather the effect of the tetter or ringworm, running like that partial complaint in waving lines and concentric curves. It is seldom if ever radically cured, although by external applications (especially in the slighter cases) its symptoms are moderated, and a temporary smoothness given to the skin; but it does not seem in any stage of the disease to have a tendency to shorten life, or to be inconsistent with perfect health in other respects, nor is there reason to suppose it infectious; and it is remarkable that the inhabitants of Pulo Batu, who are evidently of the same race, are exempt from this cutaneous malady. The principal food of the common people is the sweet-potato, but much pork is also eaten by those who can afford it, and the chiefs make a practice of ornamenting their houses with the jaws of the hogs, as well as the skulls of the enemies whom they slay. The cultivation of rice has become extensive in modern times, but rather as an article of traffic than of home consumption.

These people are remarkable for their docility and expertness in handicraft work, and become excellent house-carpenters and joiners, and as an instance of their skill in the arts they practise that of letting blood by cupping, in a mode nearly similar to ours. Among the Sumatrans blood is never drawn with so salutary an intent. They are industrious and frugal, temperate and regular in their habits, but at the same time avaricious, sullen, obstinate, vindictive, and sanguinary. Although much employed as domestic slaves (particularly by the Dutch) they are always esteemed dangerous in that capacity, a defect in their character which philosophers will not hesitate to excuse in an independent people torn by violence from their country and connexions. They frequently kill themselves when disgusted with their situation or unhappy in their families, and often their wives at the same time, who appeared, from the circumstances under which they were found, to have been consenting to the desperate act. They were both dressed in their best apparel (the remainder being previously destroyed), and the female, in more than one instance that came under notice, had struggled so little as not to discompose her hair or remove her head from the pillow. It is said that in their own country they expose their children by suspending them in a bag from a tree, when they despair of being able to bring them up. The mode seems to be adopted with the view of preserving them from animals of prey, and giving them a chance of being saved by persons in more easy circumstances.

The island is divided into about fifty small districts, under chiefs or rajas who are independent of, and at perpetual variance with, each other; the ultimate object of their wars being to make prisoners, whom they sell for slaves, as well as all others not immediately connected with them, whom they can seize by stratagem. These violences are doubtless encouraged by the resort of native traders from Padang, Natal, and Achin to purchase cargoes of slaves, who are also accused of augmenting the profits of their voyage by occasionally surprising and carrying off whole families. The number annually exported is reckoned at four hundred and fifty to Natal, and one hundred and fifty to the northern ports (where they are said to be employed by the Achinese in the gold-mines), exclusive of those which go to Padang for the supply of Batavia, where the females are highly valued and taught music and various accomplishments. In catching these unfortunate victims of avarice it is supposed that not fewer than two hundred are killed; and if the aggregate be computed at one thousand it is a prodigious number to be supplied from the population of so small an island.

Beside the article of slaves there is a considerable export of padi and rice, the cultivation of which is chiefly carried on at a distance from the sea-coasts, whither the natives retire to be secure from piratical depredations, bringing down the produce to the harbours (of which there are several good ones), to barter with the traders for iron, steel, beads, tobacco, and the coarser kinds of Madras and Surat piece-goods. Numbers of hogs are reared, and some parts of the main, especially Barus, are supplied from hence with yams, beans, and poultry. Some of the rajas are supposed to have amassed a sum equal to ten or twenty thousand dollars, which is kept in ingots of gold and silver, much of the latter consisting of small Dutch money (not the purest coin) melted down; and of these they make an ostentatious display at weddings and other festivals.

The language scarcely differs more from the Batta and the Lampong than these do from each other, and all evidently belong to the same stock. The pronunciation is very guttural, and either from habit or peculiar conformation of organs these people cannot articulate the letter p, but in Malayan words, where the sound occurs, pronounce it as f (saying for example Fulo Finang instead of Pulo Pinang), whilst on the contrary the Malays never make use of the f, and pronounce as pikir the Arabic word fikir. Indeed the Arabians themselves appear to have the same organic defect as the people of Nias, and it may likewise be observed in the languages of some of the South-sea islands.


On the western side of Nias and very near to it is a cluster of small islands called Pulo Nako-nako, whose inhabitants (as well as others who shall presently be noticed) are of a race termed Maros or orang maruwi, distinct from those of the former, but equally fair-complexioned. Large quantities of coconut-oil are prepared here and exported chiefly to Padang, the natives having had a quarrel with the Natal traders. The islands are governed by a single raja, who monopolizes the produce, his subjects dealing only with him, and he with the praws or country vessels who are regularly furnished with cargoes in the order of their arrival, and never dispatched out of turn.

PULO BABI[sunting]

Pulo Babi or Hog island, called by the natives Si Malu, lies north­westward from Nias, and, like Nako-Nako, is inhabited by the Maruwi race. Buffaloes (and hogs, we may presume) are met with here in great plenty and sold cheap.

PULO BANIAK[sunting]

The name of Pulo Baniak belongs to a cluster of islands (as the terms imply) situated to the eastward, or in-shore of Pulo Babi, and not far from the entrance of Singkel River. It is however most commonly applied to one of them which is considerably larger than the others. It does not appear to furnish any vegetable produce as an article of trade, and the returns from thence are chiefly sea-slug and the edible birds-nest. The inhabitants of these islands also are Maruwis, and, as well as the others of the same race, are now Mahometans. Their language, although considered by the natives of these parts as distinct and peculiar (which will naturally be the case where people do not understand each other's conversation), has much radical affinity to the Batta and Nias, and less to the Pagi; but all belong to the same class, and may be regarded as dialects of a general language prevailing amongst the original inhabitants of this eastern archipelago, as far at least as the Moluccas and Philippines.