Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 904 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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YAOS, or AJAWA, a Bantu-Negroid people of east-central Africa, whose home is the country 'around the upper reaches of the Rovuml river, and the north of Portuguese East Africa. They are an enterprising and intelligent race, and have spread into British territory south of Lake Nyasa and throughout the Shire districts. They are the tallest and strongest of the natives in the Mozambique country, have negroid features and faces which are noticeable for their roundness, and, for Africans, have light skins. They have long been popular among Europeans as carriers and servants. They earned, however, a bad name as slave-traders, and gave much trouble to the British authorities in Nyasaland until 1896, when they were reduced to submission. They do not tattoo except for tribal marks on their foreheads. The women wear disks of ivory or burnished lead in the sides of their nostrils, and some, probably of Anyanja origin, disfigure the lip with the pelele or lip-ring. The Yaos have elaborate ceremonies of initiation for the youth of both sexes. They bury their dead in a contracted position, the grave being roofed with logs and earth sprinkled over; in the case of a rich man, some of his property is buried with him and the rest is inherited by his eldest sister's son. See Miss A. Werner, The Natives of British Central Africa (1906); Sir H. H. Johnston, British Central Africa (1897); H. L. Duff, Nyasaland under the Foreign Office (1903). For the Yao language see BANTU LANGUAGES. YA'QUBI [Ahmad ibn abi Ya'qub ibn Ja'far ibn Wahb ibn Wadih] (9th century), Arab historian and geographer, was a great-grandson of Wa41ih, the freedman of the caliph Mansur. Until 873 he lived in Armenia and Khorasan; then he travelled in India, Egypt and the Maghrib, where he died in 891. His history is divided into two parts. In the first he gives a comprehensive account of the pre-Mahommedan and non-Mahommedan peoples, especially of their religion and literature. For the time of the patriarchs his source is now seen to be the Syriac work published by C. Bezold as Die SchatzhOhle. In his account of India he is the first to give an account of the stories of Kalila and Dimna, and of Sindibad (Sinbad). When treating of Greece he gives many extracts from the philosophers (cf. M. Klamroth in the Zeitschrift der deutsclzen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, vols. xl. and x1i.). The second part contains Mahommedan history up to 872, and is neither extreme nor unfair, although he inherited Shi'ite leanings from his great-grandfather. The work is characterized by its detailed account of some provinces, such as Armenia and Khorasan, by its astronomical details and its quotations from religious authorities rather than poets. Edition by T. Houtsma (2 vols., Leiden, 1883). Ya'qubi's geography, the Kitdb ul-Buldan, contains a description of the Maghrib, with a full account of the larger cities and much topographical and political information (ed. M. de Goeje, Leiden, 1892). (G. W. T.)
End of Article: YAOS, or AJAWA

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