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Si-Kobo [Pora of the Malays, South Porn, Good Fortune T>f Europeans], separated from the southern by Nassau strait and from the northern by Scaflower strait, is about 34 miles long, with an average breadth of about 10. It has also its attendant islets, amongst which P. Noko, P. Burong and P. Si-Buro-buro (Si-Gere) may be mentioned. The largest island of the group and the most northerly, Si-Beru [Si-Bcrut and 8i-Biru of the Malays, Mantawe, North Pora, Great Fortune of Europeans] is about 72 miles long and 14 broad, with a surface of about 1,000 square miles. The strait of Si-Berut intervenes between it and the Batu islands.
"Along the east coasts of these islands numerous creeks and bays afford anchorage for ships, but many of them have bad ground and are rendered dangerous and difficult of approach by coral reefs, which rise, almost as steeply as walls, from an unfathomable depth. They are always covered at high water, but at low water are exposed in many places. On these the waves of the ocean, suddenly meeting with so strong a resistance, break with inconceivable violence, producing a surf such as norocks or storms can occasion in the northern hemisphere.* The principal bays are those of Tepeket, Kachapugan, Si-Berut, Katorey and Teleleu on Si-Berut; Si-Biribenua, Telo-Dalam, Hurlok's-bay, Telo-Plana, Telo-Aru and Se-Oban on Pora; and Si-labu and Labuan Java on Poggy." [R.]
"Along their whole length the islands are intersected by ranges of hills, the highest summits of which do not rise above 500 feet,f and only in a few places reach the coast and sink with a steep declivity into the sea. The streams are insignificant, owing to the lowness of the hills and the narrowness of the land. The most important is the Katorey, which has a course of about 6 hours, and at its mouth attains a breadth of about 22 J yards." [B.]
The geological formation of the hills has not been described.
It probably resembles thai of the adjacent groups of Batu and
Nias,—aqueous rocks elevated and partially altered by the
• The suif of the exposed West Coast of Sumatra is strikingly described by Marnlen. t In Nias Hili Mujeia and Hili Machua are about 1,600 feet high.
plutonic intumescence of the Sumatran band, and coming within the occasional influence of the earthquakes, if not of the eruptions, by which the presence of the deeply seated phi tonic force continues to show itself at and near the surface. As in these islands, the northern part of the Malay Peninsula and the more eastern parts of the Indian Archipelago, layers of coral and of coralline limestone appear to occur abundantly. Mr Rosenberg found different kinds of limestone and sandstone and also flint and porphyry. Mr Christie states that in those parts of the Pagis with which he was acquainted the rocks were of coral with layers of sandstone. In Raffles' map "chalk cliffs" are marked. No traces of volcanic action, properly so called, and no hot springs have been remarked, according to Mr Rosenberg, but Marsden says, without indicating which of his authorities supplied the statement, that Si-Beru is rendered conspicuous by a volcanic mountain. No metals have been found and no fossils save coral. But as even the few accessible spots that have come under the superficial observation of Europeans, are mostly covered with vegetation and mould, the mineral possessions of the islands may be considered as almost wholly undescribed. The soil consists chiefly of clay—probably calcareous—and a rich black humus. The beach in many places is composed of glittering white sand, the remains of coral and shells that have been ground down by the waves. [R.]
The climate and seasons arc the same as those of the adjacent coast of Sumatra, but the position and the narrowness of the islands render the heat less powerful.
The hill ranges are everywhere covered to their summits with trees, and the whole land, as seen from the sea, appears a dense and continuous forest, in this respect resembling other thinly inhabited lands of the Indian Archipelago, the habits of the navigating tribes restricting their cultivation to the low lying banks of the rivers and creeks, while the dread of piratical attacks prevents its extension to their mouths and leaves the seaboard and outlying islets, like the more elevated inland tracts, a jungle. The almost impervious natural forest is formed, like that of other uncultivated lands in this part of the world, of a great variety of trees and underwood, more or leas matted together by hanging and trailing plants. It is only where the ground is a recently elevated coral reef, with a scanty soil, that the absence of a thorny underwood enables the traveller to make his way without difficulty amongst the trees. On the richer soil of the hills timber trees of several species attain a great size and are in much repute on the Sumatran coast. The bintangur (Mai.) abounds, and it is found large enough for the lower mast of a first rate man of war. Several kinds of Ficus, the wild nutmeg and probably most of the other trees of the Sumatran forests occur. No plant has been found that is not also Sumatran. Among the most striking of the botanical features of the islands are the long and regular rows of the Aru (? Casuarina), 100 to 150 feet in height, which grow along the shore in many places. [R., C]
More prized by the inhabitants than any of these trees are the abundant natural groves of cocoanut and sago palms. The plantain, nipa, pandanus and bambu are equally common, and the jungle yields most of the indigenous fruits of the Archipelago— the durian, mangustan, jambu, duku, papaya, bua chupa &c. [R, C]
The large carnivore and pachydermata of Sumatra are entirely wanting. Monkeys of different species and the Sumatran deer abound. Various kinds of Vespertilio, Sorex Mustela, Viverra, Sciurus, Mus, Hystrix &c, are met with. The Indian crocodile (Crocodilus biporcatus) inhabits most of the rivers. The iguana (Varanus bivittatus) and the tortoise which furnishes the shell of trade (Testudo imbricata) occur. The sea and rivers teem with fishes of many kinds, some of which are of a very delicate flavour; these are chiefly of the species Raya, Carcharias, Muraena, Pleuronectes, Scomber &c. Insects swarm, and amongst the more familiar are bees, wasps, ants of various species and mosquitoes. Land and sea crabs and lobsters of different species, are common. They are mostly of the genera Portunus, Alpheus, Ibacus &c. [R.]
"In this portion of the Indian ocean, nearly all the smaller islands are the production of different kinds of zoophytes which are still continuously labouring to raise their architecture to the surface of the sea, and thus incessantly, although slowly, to form new islands, which by the decay of animal and vegetable substances thrown up by the waves, acquire a deposit of humus fit for the growth and spread of plants." [R.]
"So long as the reefs remain beneath the surface of the sea, the water on them is remarkably clear and transparent; like a leafless wood we see through it the different corals, decked with brilliant colours, and beautifully coloured fishes with species of llololhuria, Echinus &c, moving in all directions amongst the coral shrubs. It is in dark nights, however, that the sight becomes most striking. The countless multitudes of these animals then appear to be surrounded by light, and the water is full of small shining specks like stars on a dark blue field." [It.]
General Condition, Number, Distribution and Ethnic Position of the Race.—The Chagalelegnt are a rude, simple and sequestered race, spread over the four principal islands, living in villages and deriving their animal food chiefly from the sea and the forest, and their vegetable from the natural groves of the sago and' coconut. They do not inhabit the smaller islands, probably from dread of attacks by enemies and pirates. They are not found beyond the Mantawe group, either in tribes or as individual settlers. The nearest foreign peoples are the Niha of Batu and Nias, the Malayan tribes of the adjacent Sumatran coast and tha Battas to the norlh of these. At present neither the Nihas nor the Battas have any intercourse with them, and even the Chinese settled in the Batu islands and engrossing most of their trade, do not appear to have any dealings with the Mantaweans. The Malays visit them for timber and traffic, and some of them remain for a considerable time. In the most recent period of their history their knowledge of foreign nations and civilisations appears to have been in great measure limited to the Malays, who alone have been in a position to influence them. Their communication with other races has been only occasional and slight. The numerous foreign traders resorting to the western ports of Sumatra, the Bugis, Madurans and Javanese from the eastward, who visit even the savage tribe of Pulo Tilanjang, and those Bugis who are settled in the Batu group, have not been attracted to these islands. The isolation of their condition
compared with that of the Batu islanders is attributable to their not being connected by language or historical derivation with anyadjacent race. The Batuans owe their freer intercourse with other nations to their being an offshoot from the Nihas, a race long connected with the ancient civilised peoples of northern Sumatra—the Battas and Achinese.
The Mantawe population is estimated at about eleven thousand, and the following table by Mr Rosenberg shows its distribution:
All the other islands arc without inhabitants, and are only visited from time to lime for fishing or other purposes.
Personal Characters.—The Mautaweans are of middle size, well made and very muscular. Their height seldom exceeds five feet and a half and many are shorter. Some are remarkably handsome, with finely moulded limbs. The nose is broad and more or less flat, the mouth projecting—but not in the same degree as with the Malays,—the eyes large and bright, the eyebrows thin and only slightly curved, the feet and hands rather larger than those of the Sumatrans and Javan so, the hair fine, lank and jet black, the beard naturally scanty, and the colour of the skin, yellowish brown with a ruddv tinge. The expression of the face is agreeable [It., C.J.