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MALABAR

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 453 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MALABAR, a district of British India, in the Madras Presidency. Geographically the name is sometimes extended to the entire western coast of the peninsula. Properly it should apply to the strip below the Ghats, which is inhabited by people speaking the Malayalam language, a branch of the Dravidian stock, who form a peculiar race, with castes, customs and traditions of their own. It would thus be coextensive with the old kingdom of Chera, including the modern states of Travancore and Cochin, and part of Kanara. In 19o1 the tramway. Pop. (1903), 20,136. The leading industries are total number of persons speaking Malayalam in all India was the refining of sugar, fishing, trade, the weaving of jusi cloth, 6,029,304. the making of cigars, and the cultivation of ilang-ilang-trees The district of Malabar extends for 145 M. along the coast, (Cananga odorata) for their flowers, from which a fine perfume running inland to the Ghats with a breadth varying from is distilled; ilang-ilang is one of the principal exports, mostly 70 to 25 M. The administrative headquarters are at Calicut. to France. Tagalog and Spanish are the principal languages. Area, J795 sq. m. Malabar is singularly diversified in its Malabon was formerly known as Tambbbong. configuration; from the eastward, the great range of the Western MALACCA, a town on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, in Ghats, only interrupted by the Palghat gap, looks down on a 20 14' N., 102° 12' E., which, with the territory lying immediately country broken by long spurs, extensive ravines, dense forests around and behind it forms one of the Straits Settlements, and and tangled jungle. To the westward, gentler slopes and downs, gives its name to the Straits which divide Sumatra from the and gradually widning valleys closely cultivated, succeed the Malay Peninsula. Its name, which is more correctly transliterforest uplands, tiff, nearer the seaboard, the low laterite table- ated mehika, is that of a species of jungle fruit, and is also borne lands shelve into rice plains and backwaters fringed with coco- by the small river on the right bank of which the old Dutch nut palms. The coast runs in a south-easterly direction, and town stands. The Dutch town is connected by a bridge with forms a few headlands and small bays, with a natural harbour the business quarter on the left bank, which is inhabited almost in the south at Cochin. In the south there is considerable exclusively by Chinese, Eurasians and Malays. extent of table-land. The mountains of the Western Ghats run Malacca, now a somnolent little town, a favourite resort of almost parallel to the coast, and vary from 3000 to 7000 ft. rich Chinese who have retired from business, is visited by few in height. One of the most characteristic features of Malabar ships and is the least important of the three British settlements is an all but continuous chain of lagoons or backwaters lying on the Straits which give their name to the colony. It has, parallel to the coast, which have been formed by the action however, a remarkable history. The precise date of its of the waves and shore currents in obstructing the waters of foundation cannot be ascertained, but there is strong reason the rivers. Connected by artificial canals, they form a cheap to believe that this event took place at the earliest in the 14th means of transit; and a large local trade is carried on by inland century. The Roman youth Ludovigo Barthema is believed to navigation. Fishing and fishcuring is an important industry. have been the first European to visit it, some time before 1503; The forests are extensive and of great value, but they are almost and in 1509 Diogo Lopez de Siqueira sailed from Portugal for entirely private property. The few tracts which are conserved the express purpose of exploiting Malacca. At first he was have come into government hands by escheat or by contract. hospitably received, but disagreements with the natives ensued Wild animals include the elephant, tiger, panther, bison, and word was brought to Siqueira by Magellan, who was one sambhar, spotted deer, Nilgiri ibex, and bear. The population of his company, that a treacherous attack was about to be made in 1901 was 2,800,555, showing an increase of 5.6% in the upon his ships. Siqueira then sent a native man and woman decade. ashore " with an arrow passed through their skulls " to the The staple crop is rice, the next most important product sultan, " who was thus informed," says de Barros; " through being coco-nuts. Coffee is grown chiefly in the upland tract his subjects that unless he kept a good watch the treason which known as the Wynaad, where there are also a few acres under he had perpetrated would be punished with fire and sword." tea. The Madras railway crosses the district and has been The sultan retaliated by arresting Ruy de Araujo, the factor, extended from Calicut to Cannanore along the coast. There and twenty other men who were ashore with him collecting are eleven seaports, of which the principal are Calicut, Telli- cargo for the ships. Siqueira immediately burned one of his cherry, Cannanore and Cochin. The principal exports are coffee, vessels and sailed direct for Portugal. In 1510 Mendez de coco-nut products and timber. There are factories for cleaning Vasconcellos with a fleet of four ships set out from Portugal coffee, pressing coir and making matting, making tiles, sawing " to go and conquer Malacca," but d'Alboquerque detained timber and weaving cotton. him at Goa, and it was not until 1511 that d'Alboquerque himself See Malabar District Gazetteer (Madras, 19(38). found time to visit Malacca and seek to rescue the Portuguese
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