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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 467 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JAVA.) Inhabitants.-The majority of the native inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago belong to two races, the Malays and the Melanesians (Papuans). As regards the present racial distribution, the view accepted by many anthropologists, following A. H. Keane, is that the Negritos, still found in the Philippines, are the true aborigines of Indo-China and western Malaysia, while the Melanesians, probably their kinsmen, were the earliest occupants of eastern Malaysia and western Polynesia. At some date long anterior to history it is supposed that Indo-China was occupied first by a fair Caucasian people and later by a yellow Mongolian race. From these two have come all the peoples-other than Negrito or Papuan-found to-day from the Malay Peninsula to the farthest islands of Polynesia. The Malay Archipelago was thus first invaded by the Caucasians, who eventually passed eastward and are to-day represented in the Malay Archipelago only by the Mentawi islanders. They were followed by an immigration of Mongol-Caucasic peoples with a preponderance of Caucasic blood-the Indonesians of some, the pre-Malays of other writers-who are to-day represented in the archipelago by such peoples as the Dyaks of Borneo and the Battas of Sumatra. At a far later date, probably almost within historic times, the true Malay race, a combination of Mongol and Caucasic elements, came into existence and overran the archipelago, in time becoming the dominant race. A Hindu strain is evident in Java and others of the western islands; Moors and Arabs (that is, as the names are used in the archipelago, Mahommedans from various countries between Arabia and India) are found more or less amalgamated with many of the Malay peoples; and the' Chinese form, from an economical point of view, one of the most important sections of the community in many of the more civilized districts. Chinese have been established in the archipelago from a very early date: the first Dutch invaders found them settled at Jacatra; and many of them, as, for instance, the colony of Ternate, have taken so kindly to their new home that they have acquired Malay to the disuse of their native tongue. Chinese tombs are among the objects that strike the traveller's attention at Amboyna and other ancient settlements. There is a vast field for philological explorations in the archipelago. Of, the great number of distinct languages known to exist, few have been studied scientifically. The most widely distributed is the Malay, which has not only been diffused by the Malays themselves throughout the coast regions of the various islands, but, owing partly to the readiness with which it can be learned, has become the common medium between the Europeans and the natives. The most cultivated of the, native tongues is the Javanese, and it is spoken by a greater number of people than any of the others. To it Sundanese stands in the relation that Low German holds to High German, and the Madurese in the relation of a strongly individualized dialect. Among the other languages which have been reduced to writing and grammatically analysed are the Balinese, closely connected with the Javanese, the Batta (with its dialect the Toba), the Dyak and the Macassarese. Alfurese, a vague term meaning in the mouths of the natives little else than non-Mahommedan, has been more particularly applied by Dutch philologists to the native speech of certain tribes in Celebes. The commercial activity of the Buginese causes their language to be fairly widely spoken-little, however, by Europeans. Political Division.-Politically the whole of the archipelago, except British North Borneo, &c. (see BORNEO), part of Timor (Portuguese), New Guinea east of the 141st meridian (British and German), and the Philippine Islands, belongs to the Nether-lands. The Philippine Islands which had been for several centuries a Spanish possession, passed in 1898 by conquest to the United States of America. For these several political units see the separate articles; a general view, however, is here given of the government, economic conditions, &c., of the Dutch possessions, which the Dutch call Nederlandsch-Indie.
End of Article: JAVA

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