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Title: Man, Past and Present

Author: A. H. Keane

Editor: Alfred C. Haddon

A. Hingston Quiggin

Release date: March 26, 2011 [eBook #35685]
Most recently updated: January 29, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Adrian Mastronardi and the Online Distributed
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C. F. CLAY, Manager








Those who are familiar with the vast amount of ethnological literature published since the close of last century will realize that to revise and bring up to date a work whose range in space and time covers the whole world from prehistoric ages down to the present day, is a task impossible of accomplishment within the compass of a single volume. Recent discoveries have revolutionized our conception of primeval man, while still providing abundant material for controversy, and the rapidly increasing pile of ethnographical matter, although a vast amount of spade work remains to be done, is but one sign of the remarkable interest in ethnology which is so conspicuous a feature of the present decade. Even to keep abreast of the periodical literature devoted to his subject provides ample occupation for the ethnologist and few are those who can now lay claim to such an omniscient title.

Under such circumstances the faults of omission and compression could not be avoided in revising Professor Keane's work, but it is hoped that the copious references which form a prominent feature of the present edition will compensate in some measure for these obvious defects. The main object of the revisers has been to retain as much as possible of the original text wherever it fairly represents current opinion at the present time, but so different is our outlook from that of 1899 that certain sections have had to be entirely rewritten and in many places pages have been suppressed to make room for more important information. In every case where new matter has been inserted references are given to the responsible authorities and the fullest use has been made of direct quotation from the authors cited.

Mrs Hingston Quiggin is responsible for the whole work of revision with the exception of Chapter XI, revised by Miss Lilian Whitehouse, while Dr A. C. Haddon has criticized, corrected and supervised the work throughout.

A. H. Q.
A. C. H.

    10 October, 1919.




(at the end of the volume)

1.Hausa slave of Tunis (Western Sudanese Negro).
2.Zulu girl, South Africa (Bantu Negroid).
3, 4.Abraham Lucas, Age 32, South Africa (Koranna Hottentot).
5, 6.Swaartbooi, Age 20, South Africa (Bushman).
1.Andamanese (Negrito).
2.Semang, Malay Peninsula (Negrito).
3.Aeta, Philippines (Negrito).
4.Central African Pygmy (Negrillo).
5-7.Tapiro, Netherlands New Guinea (Negrito).
1, 2.Jemmy, native of Hampshire Hills, Tasmania (Tasmanian).
3, 4.Native of Oromosapua, Kiwai, British New Guinea (Papuan).
5, 6.Native of Hula, British New Guinea (Papuo-Melanesian).
1.Chinese man (Mixed Southern Mongol).
2.Chinese woman of Kulja (mixed Southern Mongol).
3, 4.Kara-Kirghiz of Semirechinsk.
5.Kara-Kirghiz woman of Semirechinsk.
6.Solon of Kulja (Manchu-Tungus).
1.Jelai, an Iban (Sea-Dayak) of the Rejang river, Sarawak, Borneo (mixed Proto-Malay).
2.Buginese, Celebes (Malayan).
3.Bontoc Igorot, Luzon, Philippines (Malayan).
4.Bagobo, Mindanao, Philippines (Malayan).
5, 6.Kenyah girls, Sarawak, Borneo (mixed Proto-Malay).
1.Samoyed, Tavji.
3.Ostiak of the Yenesei (Palaeo-Siberian).
4.Kalmuk woman (Western Mongol).
5.Gold of Amur river (Tungus).
6.Gilyak woman (N.E. Mongol).
1.Ainu woman, Yezo, Japan (Palaeo-Siberian).
2.Ainu man, Yezo, Japan (Palaeo-Siberian).
3, 4.Fine and coarse types of Japanese men (mixed Manchu-Korean and Southern Mongol.)
5.Korean (mixed Tungus-Eastern Mongoloid).
6.Lapp (Finnish).
1.Eskimo, Port Clarence, West Alaska.
2.Indian of the north-west coast of North America. ?Kwakiutl (Wakashan stock).
3.Cocopa, Lower California (Yuman stock).
4.Navaho, Arizona (Athapascan linguistic stock).
5, 6.Buffalo Bull Ghost, Dakota of Crow Creek (Siouan stock).
1.Carib, British Guiana.
2.Guatuso, Costa Rica.
3.Native of Otovalo, Ecuador.
4.Native of Zámbisa, Ecuador.
5.Tehuel-che man, Patagonia.
6.Tehuel-che woman, Patagonia.
1.Sita Wanniya, a Henebedda Vedda, Ceylon (Pre-Dravidian).
2.Sakai, Perak, Malay Peninsula (Pre-Dravidian).
3.Irula of Chingleput, Nilgiri Hills, South India (Pre-Dravidian).
4.Paniyan woman, Malabar, South India (Pre-Dravidian).
5.Kaitish, Central Australia (Australian).
6.Mulgrave woman (Australian).
1, 2.Dane (Nordic).
3.Dane (mixed Alpine).
4.Breton woman of Guingamp (mixed Alpine).
5.Swiss woman (Nordic).
6.Swiss woman (Alpine).
1.Catalan man, Spain (Iberian).
2.Irishman, Co. Roscommon (Mediterranean).
3, 4.Kababish, Egyptian Sudan (mixed Semite).
5.Egyptian Bedouin (mixed Semite).
6.Afghan of Zerafshán (Iranian).
1, 2.Bisharin, Egyptian Sudan (Hamite).
3.Beni Amer, Egyptian Sudan (Hamite).
4.Masai, British East Africa (mixed Nilote and Hamite).
5.Shilluk, Egyptian Sudan (Nilote, showing approach to Hamitic type).
6.Shilluk, Egyptian Sudan (Nilote).
1, 2.Kurd, Nimrud-Dagh, lake Van, Kurdistan, Asia Minor (Nordic).
3, 4.Armenian, Kessab, Djebel Akrah, Kurdistan (Armenoid Alpine).
5.Tajik woman of E. Turkestan (Alpine).
6.Tajik of Tashkend (mixed Alpine and Turki).
1, 2.Sinhalese, Ceylon (mixed "Aryan").
3.Hindu merchant, Western India (mixed "Aryan").
4.Kling woman, Eastern India (Dravidian).
5.Linga Banajiga, South India (Dravidian).
6.Vakkaliga, Canarese, South India (mixed Alpine).
1, 2.Ruatoka and his wife, Raiatea (Polynesian).
3.Tiawhiao, Maori, New Zealand (Polynesian).
4.Maori woman, New Zealand (Polynesian).
5, 6.Girls of the Caroline Islands (Micronesian).

We offer our sincere thanks for the use of the following photographs:

A. H. Keane, Ethnology (1896), IV. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; IX. 3, 4; XII. 6; XIV. 5, 6.
A. H. Keane, Man, Past and Present (1899), I. 2; II. 3; V. 2; VI. 4, 5, 6; VII. 5; IX. 1, 2; X. 4, 6; XII. 5.
A. R. Brown, II. 1.
Prof. R. B. Yapp, II. 2.
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, II. 4; V. 4; VII. 1, 2; VIII. 1, 2, 3, 4; IX. 5, 6; XV. 1, 2.
Dr Wollaston, cf. Pygmies and Papuans, p. 212; II. 5, 6, 7.
Dr G. Landtman, III. 3, 4.
Anthony Wilkin, III. 5, 6.
Prof. C. G. Seligman, V. 1; (The Veddas, pl. V) X. 1; XII. 3, 4; XIII. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6.
L. F. Taylor, V. 3.
A. C. Haddon, I. 3, 4, 5, 6; III. 1, 2; IV. 1; V. 5, 6; VII. 6; XI. 1, 2, 3; XII. 1, 2; XIII. 4; XVI. 1, 2, 3, 4.
Miss M. A. Czaplicka, VI. 1, 2, 3.
Dr W. Crooke (cf. Northern India, pl. III), XV. 3.
Baelz, VII. 3, 4.
Bureau of American Ethnology, VIII. 5, 6.
E. Thurston (Castes and Tribes of Southern India, II. p. 387), X. 3; (ibid. IV. pp. 236, 240), XV. 5; XV. 6.
Sir Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen and Messrs Macmillan & Co. (Across Australia, II. fig. 169), X. 5.
Prof. J. Kollmann, XI. 5, 6.
P. W. Luton, XII. 2.
Prof. F. von Luschan and the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute (Journ. Roy. Anth. Inst., XLI., pl. XXIV, 1, 2, pl. XXX, 1, 2), XIV. 1, 2, 3, 4.
Dr W. H. Furness, XVI. 5, 6.

[Pg 1]



The World peopled by Migration from one Centre by Pleistocene Man—The Primary Groups evolved each in its special Habitat—Pleistocene Man: Pithecanthropus erectus; The Mauer jaw, Homo Heidelbergensis; The Piltdown skull, Eoanthropus Dawsoni—General View of Pleistocene Man—The first Migrations—Early Man and his Works—Classification of Human Types: H. primigenius, Neandertal or Mousterian Man; H. recens, Galley Hill or Aurignacian Man—Physical Types—Human Culture: Reutelian, Mafflian, Mesvinian, Strepyan, Chellean, Acheulean, Mousterian, Aurignacian, Solutrian, Magdalenian, Azilian—Chronology—The early History of Man a Geological Problem—The Human Varieties the Outcome of their several Environments—Correspondence of Geographical with Racial and Cultural Zones.

The World peopled by Migration from one Center by Pleistocene Man.

In order to a clear understanding of the many difficult questions connected with the natural history of the human family, two cardinal points have to be steadily borne in mind—the specific unity of all existing varieties, and the dispersal of their generalised precursors over the whole world in pleistocene times. As both points have elsewhere been dealt with by me somewhat fully[1], it will here suffice to show their direct bearing on the general evolution of the human species from that remote epoch to the present day.

It must be obvious that, if man is specifically one, though not necessarily sprung of a single pair, he must have had, in homely language, a single cradle-land, from which the peopling of the earth was brought about by migration, not by independent developments from different species in so many independent geographical areas.

The Primary Groups evolved each in its special Habitat.

It follows further, and this point is all-important, that, since the world was peopled by pleistocene man, it was [Pg 2] peopled by a generalised proto-human form, prior to all later racial differences. The existing groups, according to this hypothesis, have developed in different areas independently and divergently by continuous adaptation to their several environments. If they still constitute mere varieties, and not distinct species, the reason is because all come of like pleistocene ancestry, while the divergences have been confined to relatively narrow limits, that is, not wide enough to be regarded zoologically as specific differences.

The battle between monogenists and polygenists cannot be decided until more facts are at our disposal, and much will doubtless be said on both sides for some time to come[2]. Among the views of human origins brought forward in recent years should be mentioned the daring theory of Klaatsch[3]. Recognising two distinct human types, Neandertal and Aurignac (see pp. 8, 9 below), and two distinct anthropoid types, gorilla and orang-utan, he derives Neandertal man and African gorilla from one common ancestor, and Aurignac man and Asiatic orang-utan from another. Though anatomists, especially those conversant with anthropoid structure[4], are not able to accept this view, they admit that many difficulties may be solved by the recognition of more than one primordial stock of human ancestors[5]. The questions of adaptation to climate and environment[6], the possibilities of degeneracy, the varying degrees of physiological activity, of successful mutations, the effects of crossing and all the complicated problems of heredity are involved in the discussion, and it must be acknowledged that our information concerning all of these is entirely inadequate.

Nevertheless all speculations on the subject are not based merely on hypotheses, and three discoveries of late years have provided solid facts for the working out of the problem.

[Pg 3]

Pleistocene Man.
Pithecanthropus erectus.

These discoveries were the remains of Pithecanthropus erectus[7] in Java, in 1892, of the Mauer jaw[8], near Heidelberg, in 1907, and of the Piltdown skull[9] in Sussex in 1912. Although the Mauer jaw was accepted without hesitation, the controversy concerning the correct interpretation of the Javan fossils has been raging for more than twenty years and shows no sign of abating, while Eoanthropus Dawsoni is too recent an intruder into the arena to be fairly dealt with at present. Certain facts however stand out clearly. In late pliocene or early pleistocene times certain early ancestral forms were already in existence which can scarcely be excluded from the Hominidae. In range they were as widely distributed as Java in the east to Heidelberg and Sussex in the west, and in spite of divergence in type a certain correlation is not impossible, even if the Piltdown specimen should finally be regarded as representing a distinct genus[10]. Each contributes facts of the utmost importance for the tracing out of the history of human evolution. Pithecanthropus raises the vexed question as to whether the erect attitude or brain development came first in the story. The conjunction of pre-human braincase with human thighbone appeared to favour the popular view that the erect attitude was the earlier, but the evidence of embryology suggests a reverse order. And although at first the thighbone was recognised as distinctly human it seems that of late doubts have been cast on this interpretation[11], and even the claim to the title erectus is called in question. The characters of straightness and slenderness on which much stress was laid are found in exaggerated form in gibbons and lemurs. The intermediate position in respect of mental endowment (in so far as brain can be estimated by cranial capacity) is shown in the accompanying diagram in which the cranial measurements of Pithecanthropus are compared with those of a chimpanzee and prehistoric man. The[Pg 4] teeth strengthen the evidence, for they are described as too large for a man and too small for an ape. Thus Pithecanthropus has been confidently assigned to a place in a branch of the human family tree.

(Manouvrier, Bul. Soc. d'Anthrop. 1896, p. 438.)
Mauer jaw. Homo Heidelbergensis.

The Mauer jaw, the geological age of which is undisputed, also represents intermediate characters. The extraordinary strength and thickness of bone, the wide ascending ramus with shallow sigmoid notch (distinctly simian features) and the total absence of chin[12] would deny it a place among human jaws, but the teeth, which are all fortunately preserved in their sockets, are not only definitely human, but show in certain peculiarities less simian features than are to be found in the dentition of modern man[13].[Pg 5]

(A. Keith, The Antiquity of Man, 1915; fig. 187, p. 501.)
Piltdown skull. Eoanthropus Dawsoni.

The cranial capacity of the Piltdown skull, though variously estimated[14], is certainly greater than that of Pithecanthropus, the general outlines with steeply rounded forehead resemble that of modern man, and the bones are almost without exception typically human. The jaw, however, though usually attributed to the same individual[15], recalls the primitive features of the[Pg 6] Mauer specimen in its thick ascending portion and shallow notch, while in certain characters it differs from any known jaw, ancient or modern[16]. The evidence afforded by the teeth is even more striking. The teeth of Pithecanthropus and of Homo Heidelbergensis were recognised as remarkably human, and although primitive in type, are far more advanced in the line of human evolution than the lowly features with which they are associated would lead one to expect. The Piltdown teeth are more primitive in certain characters than those of either the Javan or the Heidelberg remains. The first molar has been compared to that of Taubach, the most ape-like of human or pre-human teeth hitherto recorded, but the canine tooth (found by P. Teilhard in the same stratum in 1913[17]) finds no parallel in any known human jaw; it resembles the milk canine of the chimpanzee more than that of the adult dentition.

General view of Pleistocene Man.

It cannot be said that any clear view of pleistocene man can be obtained from these imperfect scraps of evidence, valuable though they are. Rather may we agree with Keith that the problem grows more instead of less complex. "In our first youthful burst of Darwinianism we pictured our evolution as a simple procession of forms leading from ape to man. Each age, as it passed, transformed the men of the time one stage nearer to us—one more distant from the ape. The true picture is very different. We have to conceive an ancient world in which the family of mankind was broken up into narrow groups or genera, each genus again divided into a number of species—much as we see in the monkey or ape world of to-day. Then out of that great welter of forms one species became the dominant form, and ultimately the sole surviving one—the species represented by the modern races of mankind[18]."

The first Migrations.

We may assume therefore that the earth was mainly peopled by the generalised pleistocene precursors, who moved about, like the other migrating faunas, unconsciously, everywhere following the lines of least resistance, advancing or receding, and acting generally on blind impulse rather than of any set purpose.[Pg 7]

That such must have been the nature of the first migratory movements will appear evident when we consider that they were carried on by rude hordes, all very much alike, and differing not greatly from other zoological groups, and further that these migrations took place prior to the development of all cultural appliances beyond the ability to wield a broken branch or a sapling, or else chip or flake primitive stone implements[19].

Early Man and his Works.

Herein lies the explanation of the curious phenomenon, which was a stumbling-block to premature systematists, that all the works of early man everywhere present the most startling resemblances, affording absolutely no elements for classification, for instance, during the times corresponding with the Chellean or first period of the Old Stone Age. The implements of palaeolithic type so common in parts of South India, South Africa, the Sudan, Egypt, etc., present a remarkable resemblance to one another. This, while affording a prima facies case for, is not conclusive of, the migrations of a definite type of humanity.

After referring to the identity of certain objects from the Hastings kitchen-middens and a barrow near Sevenoaks, W. J. L. Abbot proceeds: "The first thing that would strike one in looking over a few trays of these implements is the remarkable likeness which they bear to those of Dordogne. Indeed many of the figures in the magnificent 'Reliquiae Aquitanicae' might almost have been produced from these specimens[20]." And Sir J. Evans, extending his glance over a wider horizon, discovers implements in other distant lands "so identical in form and character with British specimens that they might have been manufactured by the same hands.... On the banks of the Nile, many hundreds of feet above its present level, implements of the European types have been discovered, while in Somaliland, in an ancient river valley, at a great elevation above the sea, Seton-Karr has collected a large number of implements formed of flint and quartzite, which, judging from their form and character, might have been dug out of the drift-deposits of the Somme and the Seine, the Thames or the ancient Solent[21]."[Pg 8]

It was formerly held that man himself showed a similar uniformity, and all palaeolithic skulls were referred to one long-headed type, called, from the most famous example, the Neandertal, which was regarded as having close affinities with the present Australians. But this resemblance is shown by Boule[22] and others to be purely superficial, and recent archaeological finds indicate that more than one racial type was in existence in the Palaeolithic Age.

Classification of Human Types.

W. L. H. Duckworth on anatomical evidence constructs the following table[23].

Group I. Early ancestral forms.
     Ex. gr. H. heidelbergensis.
Group II. Subdivision A. H. primigenius.
     Ex. gr. La Chapelle.
 Subdivision B. H. recens; with varieties
 {    H. fossilis. Ex. gr. Galley Hill.
    H. sapiens.

H. Obermaier[24] argues as follows: Homo primigenius is neither the representative of an intermediate species between ape and man, nor a lower or distinct type than Homo sapiens, but an older primitive variety (race) of the latter, which survives in exceptional cases down to the present day[25]. Clearly then, according to the rules of zoological classification, we must term the two, Homo sapiens var. primigenius, as compared with Homo sapiens var. recens.

H. primigenius, Neandertal or Mousterian Man.

Whatever classification or nomenclature may be adopted the dual division in palaeolithic times is now generally recognised. The more primitive type is commonly called Neandertal man, from the famous cranium found in the Neandertal cave in 1857, or Mousterian man, from the culture associations. To this group belong the Gibraltar skull[26], and the skeletons from Spy[27], and Krapina, Croatia[28], together with[Pg 9] the later discoveries (1908-11) at La Chapelle[29] (Corrèze), Le Moustier[30], La Ferassie[31] (Dordogne) and many others.

H. recens, Galley Hill or Aurignacian Man.

Palaeolithic examples of the modern human type have been found at Brüx (Bohemia)[32], Brünn (Moravia)[33] and Galley Hill in Kent[34], but the most complete find was that at Combe Capelle in 1909[35]. The numerous skeletons found at Cro-Magnon[36] and at the Grottes de Grimaldi at Mentone[37] though showing certain skeletal differences may be included in this group, the earliest examples of which are associated with Aurignacian culture[38].

Physical Types.

From the evidence contributed by these examples the main characteristics of the two groups may be indicated, although, owing to the imperfection of the records, any generalisations must necessarily be tentative and subject to criticism.

Homo primigenius.

The La Chapelle skull recalls many of the primitive features of the "ancestral types." The low receding forehead, the overhanging brow-ridges, forming continuous horizontal bars of bone overshadowing the orbits, the inflated circumnasal region, the enormous jaws, with massive ascending ramus, shallow sigmoid notch, "negative" chin and other "simian" characters seem reminiscent of Pithecanthropus and Homo Heidelbergensis. The cranial capacity however is estimated at over 1600 c.c., thus exceeding that of the average modern European, and this development, even though associated, as M. Boule has pointed out, with a comparatively lowly brain, is of striking significance. The low stature, probably about 1600 mm. (under 5½ feet) makes the size of the skull and cranial capacity all the more remarkable. "A survey of the[Pg 10] characters of Neanderthal man—as manifested by his skeleton, brain cast, and teeth—have convinced anthropologists of two things: first, that we are dealing with a form of man totally different from any form now living; and secondly, that the kind of difference far exceeds that which separates the most divergent of modern human races[39]."

Homo recens.

The earliest complete and authentic example of "Aurignacian man" was the skeleton discovered near Combe Capelle (Dordogne) in 1909[40]. The stature is low, not exceeding that of the Neandertal type, but the limb bones are slighter and the build is altogether lighter and more slender. The greatest contrast lies in the skull. The forehead is vertical instead of receding, and the strongly projecting brow-ridges are diminished, the jaw is less massive and less simian with regard to all the features mentioned above. Especially is this difference noticeable in the projection of the chin, which now for the first time shows the modern human outline. In short there are no salient features which cannot be matched among the living races of the present day.

Human Culture.

On the cultural side no less than on the physical, the thousands of years which the lowest estimate attributes to the Early Stone Age were marked by slow but continuous changes.

Reutelian, Mafflian, Mesvinian.

The Reutelian (at the junction of the Pliocene and Pleistocene), Mafflian and Mesvinian industries, recognised by M. Rutot in Belgium, belong to the doubtful Eolithic Period, not yet generally accepted[41].


The lowest palaeolithic deposit is the Strepyan, so called from Strépy, near Charleroi, typically represented at St Acheul, Amiens, and recognised also in the Thames Valley[42]. The tools exhibit deliberate flaking, and mark the transition between eolithic and palaeolithic work. The associated fauna includes two species of elephant,[Pg 11] E. meridionalis and E. antiquus, two species of rhinoceros, R. Etruscus and R. Merckii, and the hippopotamus. It is possible that the Mauer jaw and the Piltdown skull belong to this stage.


The Chellean industry[43], with the typical coarsely flaked almond-shaped implements, occurs abundantly in the South of England and in France, less commonly in Belgium, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia, while examples have been recognised in Palestine, Egypt, Somaliland, Cape Colony, Madras and other localities, though outside Europe the date is not always ascertainable and the form is not an absolute criterion[44].


Acheulean types succeed apparently in direct descent but the implements are altogether lighter, sharper, more efficient, and are characterised by finer workmanship and carefully retouched edges. A small finely finished lanceolate implement is typical of the sub-industry or local development at La Micoque (Dordogne).

The Chellean industry is associated with a warm climate and the remains of Elephas antiquus, Rhinoceros Merckii and hippopotamus. Lower Acheulean shows little variation, but with Upper Acheulean certain animals indicating a colder climate make their appearance, including the mammoth, Elephas primigenius, and the woolly rhinoceros, R. tichorhinus, but no reindeer.


The Mousterian industry is entirely distinct from its predecessors. The warm fauna has disappeared, the reindeer first occurs together with the musk ox, arctic fox, the marmot and other cold-loving animals. Man appears to have sought refuge in the caves, and from complete skeletons found in cave deposits of this stage we gain the first clear ideas concerning the physical type of man of the early palaeolithic period. Typical Mousterian implements consist of leaf-like or triangular points made from flakes struck from the nodule instead of from the dressed nodule itself, as in the earlier stages. The Levallois flakes, occurring at the base of the Mousterian (sometimes included in the Acheulean stage), initiate this new style of workmanship, but the Mousterian point shows an improvement in[Pg 12] shape and a greater mastery in technique, producing a more efficient tool for piercing and cutting. Scrapers, carefully retouched, with a curved edge are also characteristic, besides many other forms. The complete skeletons from Le Moustier itself, La Chapelle, La Ferassie, and Krapina all belong to this stage, which marks the end of the lower palaeolithic period, the Age of the Mammoth.


The upper palaeolithic or Reindeer Age is divided into Aurignacian, Solutrian, and Magdalenian[45] culture stages, with the Azilian[46] separating the Magdalenian from the neolithic period. Each stage is distinguished by its implements and its art. The Aurignacian fauna, though closely resembling the Mousterian, indicates an amelioration of climate, the most abundant animals being the bison, horse, cave lion, and cave hyena, and human settlements are again found in the open. Among the typical implements are finely worked knife-like blades (Châtelperron point, Gravette point), keeled scrapers (Tarté type), burins or gravers, and various tools and ornaments of bone. Art is represented by engravings and wall paintings, and to this stage belong statuettes representing nude female figures such as those of Brassempouy, Mentone, Pont-à-Lesse (Belgium), Predmost and Willendorf, near Krems. The Neandertal type appears to have died out and Aurignacian man belongs to the modern type represented at Combe Capelle. If the evidence of the figurines is to be accepted, a steatopygous race was at this time in existence, which Sollas is inclined to connect with the Bushmen[47].


The Solutrian stage is characterised by the abundance of the horse, replaced in the succeeding period by the reindeer. The Solutrians seem to have been a warlike steppe people who came from the east into western Europe. Their subsequent fate has not been elucidated. The culture appears to have had a limited range, only a few stations being found outside Dordogne and the neighbouring departments. The technique, as shown in the laurel-leaf and willow-leaf points, exhibits a perfection of workmanship unequalled in the Palaeolithic Age, and only excelled by late prehistoric knives of Egypt.[Pg 13]


The rock shelter at La Madeleine has given its name to the closing epoch of the Palaeolithic Age. The flint industry shows distinct decadence, but the working in bone and horn was at its zenith; indeed, so marked is the contrast between this and the preceding stage that Breuil is convinced that "the first Magdalenians were not evolved from the Solutrians; they were new-comers in our region[48]." The typical implements are barbed harpoons in reindeer antler (later that of the stag), often decorated with engravings. Sculpture and engravings of animals in life-like attitudes are among the most remarkable records of the age, and the polychrome pictures in the caves of Altamira, "the Sistine chapel of Quaternary Art," are the admiration of the world[49].


In the cave of Mas-d'Azil, between the Magdalenian and Neolithic deposits occurs a stratum, termed Azilian, which, to some extent, bridges over the obscure transition between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic Ages. The reindeer has disappeared, and its place is taken by the stag. The realistic art of the Magdalenians is succeeded by a more geometric style. In flint working a return is made to Aurignacian methods, and a particular development of pygmy flints has received the name Tardenoisian[50].

The characteristic implement is still the harpoon, but it differs in shape from the Magdalenian implement, owing to the different structure of the material. Painted pebbles, marked with red and black lines, in some cases suggesting a script, have given rise to much controversy. Their meaning at present remains obscure[51].


The question of prehistoric chronology is a difficult one, and the more cautious authorities do not commit themselves to dates. Of late years, however, such researches as those of A. Penck and E. Brückner[Pg 14] in the Alps[52] and of Baron de Geer and W. C. Brøgger in Sweden[53], have provided a sound basis for calculations. Penck recognises four periods of glaciation during the pleistocene period, which he has named after typical areas, the Günz, Mindel, Riss and Würm. He dates the Würm maximum at between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago and estimates the duration of the Riss-Würm interglacial period at about 100,000 years. According to his calculations the Chellean industry occurs in the Mindel-Riss, or even in the Günz-Mindel interval, but it is more commonly placed in the mild phase intervening before the last (Würm) glaciation, this latter corresponding with the cold Mousterian stage. At least four subsequent oscillations of climate have been recognised by Penck, the Achen, Bühl, Gschnitz and Daun, and the correspondence of these with palaeolithic culture stages may be seen in the following table[54].

James Geikie[55], under the heading, "Reliable and Unreliable estimates of geological time," points out that the absolute duration of the Pleistocene cannot be determined, but such investigations as those of Penck "enable us to form[Pg 15] some conception of the time involved." He accepts as a rough approximation Penck's opinion that "the Glacial period with all its climatic changes may have extended over half a million years, and as the Chellean stage dates back to at least the middle of the period, this would give somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 years for the antiquity of man in Europe. But if, as recent discoveries would seem to indicate, man was an occupant of our Continent during the First Interglacial epoch, if not in still earlier times, we may be compelled greatly to increase our estimate of his antiquity" (p. 303).

W. J. Sollas, on the other hand, is content with a far more contracted measure. Basing his calculations mainly on the investigations of de Geer, he concludes that the interval that separates our time from the beginning of the end of the last glacial episode is 17,000 years. He places the Azilian age at 5500 B.C., the middle of the Magdalenian age somewhere about 8000 B.C., Mousterian 15,000 B.C., and the close of the Chellean 25,000 B.C.[56]

But when all the changes in climate are taken into consideration, the periods of elevation and depression of the land, the transformations of the animals, the evolution of man, the gradual stages of advance in human culture, the development of the races of mankind, and their distribution over the surface of the globe, this estimate is regarded by many as insufficient. Allen Sturge claims "scores of thousands of years" for the neolithic period alone[57], and Sir W. Turner points out the very remote times to which the appearance of neolithic man must be assigned in Scotland. After showing that there is undoubted evidence of the presence of man in North Britain during the formation of the Carse clays, this careful observer explains that the Carse cliffs, now in places 45 to 50 feet above the present sea-level, formed the bed of an estuary or arm of the sea, which in post-glacial times extended almost, if not quite across the land from east to west, thus separating the region south of the Forth from North Britain. He even suggests, after the separation of Britain from the Continent in earlier times, another land connection, a "Neolithic land-bridge" by which the men of the New Stone Age may have reached Scotland when the[Pg 16] upheaved 100-foot terrace was still clothed with the great forest growths that have since disappeared[58].

One begins to ask, Are even 100,000 years sufficient for such oscillations of the surface, upheaval of marine beds, appearance of great estuaries, renewed connection of Britain with the Continent by a "Neolithic land-bridge"? In the Falkirk district neolithic kitchen-middens occur on, or at the base of, the bluffs which overlook the Carse lands, that is, the old sea-coast. In the Carse of Gowrie also a dug-out canoe was found at the very base of the deposits, and immediately above the buried forest-bed of the Tay Valley[59].

That the neolithic period was also of long duration even in Scandinavia has been made evident by Carl Wibling, who calculates that the geological changes on the south-east coast of Sweden (Province of Bleking), since its first occupation by the men of the New Stone Age, must have required a period of "at least 10,000 years[60]."

Still more startling are the results of the protracted researches carried on by J. Nüesch at the now famous station of Schweizersbild, near Schaffhausen in Switzerland[61]. This station was apparently in the continuous occupation of man during both Stone Ages, and here have been collected as many as 14,000 objects belonging to the first, and over 6000 referred to the second period. Although the early settlement was only post-glacial, a point about which there is no room for doubt, L. Laloy[62] has estimated "the absolute duration of both epochs together at from 24,000 to 29,000 years." We may, therefore, ask, If a comparatively recent post-glacial station in Switzerland is about 29,000 years old, how old may a pre- or inter-glacial station be in Gaul or Britain?

The early History of Man a Geological Problem.

From all this we see how fully justified is J. W. Powell's remark that the natural history of early man becomes more and more a geological, and not merely an ethnological problem[63]. We also begin to understand how it is that, after an existence of some five score millenniums, the first specialised human[Pg 17] varieties have diverged greatly from the original types, which have thus become almost "ideal quantities," the subjects rather of palaeontological than of strictly anthropological studies.

The Human Varieties the Outcome of their several Environments.

And here another consideration of great moment presents itself. During these long ages some of the groups—most African negroes south of the equator, most Oceanic negroes (Negritoes and Papuans), and Australian and American aborigines—have remained in their original habitats ever since what may be called the first settlement of the earth by man. Others again, the more restless or enterprising peoples, such as the Mongols, Manchus, Turks, Ugro-Finns, Arabs, and most Europeans, have no doubt moved about somewhat freely; but these later migrations, whether hostile or peaceable, have for the most part been confined to regions presenting the same or like physical and climatic conditions. Wherever different climatic zones have been invaded, the intruders have failed to secure a permanent footing, either perishing outright, or disappearing by absorption or more or less complete assimilation to the aboriginal elements. Such are some "black Arabs" in Egyptian Sudan, other Semites and Hamites in Abyssinia and West Sudan (Himyarites, Fulahs and others), Finns and Turks in Hungary and the Balkan Peninsula (Magyars, Bulgars, Osmanli), Portuguese and Netherlanders in Malaysia, English in tropical or sub-tropical lands, such as India, where Eurasian half-breeds alone are capable of founding family groups.

The human varieties are thus seen to be, like all other zoological species, the outcome of their several environments. They are what climate, soil, diet, pursuits and inherited characters have made them, so that all sudden transitions are usually followed by disastrous results[64]. "To urge the emigration of women and children, or of any save those of the most robust health, to the tropics, may not be to murder in the first degree, but it should be classed, to put it mildly, as incitement to it[65]." Acclimatisation may not be impossible[Pg 18] but in all extreme cases it can be effected only at great sacrifice of life, and by slow processes, the most effective of which is perhaps Natural Selection. By this means we may indeed suppose the world to have been first peopled.

At the same time it should be remembered that we know little of the climatic conditions at the time of the first migrations, though it has been assumed that it was everywhere much milder than at present. Consequently the different zones of temperature were less marked, and the passage from one region to another more easily effected than in later times. In a word the pleistocene precursors had far less difficulty in adapting themselves to their new surroundings than modern peoples have when they emigrate, for instance, from Southern Europe to Brazil and Paraguay, or from the British Isles to Rhodesia and Nyassaland.

Correspondence of Geographical with Racial and Cultural Zones.

What is true of man must be no less true of his works; from which it follows that racial and cultural zones correspond in the main with zones of temperature, except so far as the latter may be modified by altitude, marine influences, or other local conditions. A glance at past and existing relations the world over will show that such harmonies have at all times prevailed. No doubt the overflow of the leading European peoples during the last 400 years has brought about divers dislocations, blurrings, and in places even total effacements of the old landmarks.

But, putting aside these disturbances, it will be found that in the Eastern hemisphere the inter-tropical regions, hot, moist and more favourable to vegetable than to animal vitality, are usually occupied by savage, cultureless populations. Within the same sphere are also comprised most of the extra-tropical southern lands, all tapering towards the antarctic waters, isolated, and otherwise unsuitable for areas of higher specialisation.

Similarly the sub-tropical Asiatic peninsulas, the bleak Tibetan tableland, the Pamir, and arid Mongolian steppes are found mainly in possession of somewhat stationary communities, which present every stage between sheer savagery and civilisation.

In the same way the higher races and cultures are confined to the more favoured north temperate zone, so that between the parallels of 24° and 50° (but owing to local conditions[Pg 19] falling in the far East to 40° and under, and in the extreme West rising to 55°) are situated nearly all the great centres, past and present, of human activities—the Egyptian, Babylonian, Minoan (Aegean), Hellenic, Etruscan, Roman, and modern European. Almost the only exceptions are the early civilisations (Himyaritic) of Yemen (Arabia Felix) and Abyssinia, where the low latitude is neutralised by altitude and a copious rainfall.

Thanks also to altitude, to marine influences, and the contraction of the equatorial lands, the relations are almost completely reversed in the New World. Here all the higher developments took place, not in the temperate but in the tropical zone, within which lay the seats of the Peruvian, Chimu, Chibcha and Maya-Quiché cultures; the Aztec sphere alone ranged northwards a little beyond the Tropic of Cancer.

Thus in both hemispheres the iso-cultural bands follow the isothermal lines in all their deflections, and the human varieties everywhere faithfully reflect the conditions of their several environments.


[1] Ethnology, Chaps. V. and VII.

[2] See A. H. Keane, Ethnology, 1909, Chap. VII.

[3] H. Klaatsch, "Die Aurignac-Rasse und ihre Stellung im Stammbaum des Menschen," Ztschr. f. Eth. LII. 1910. See also Prähistorische Zeitschrift, Vol. I. 1909.

[4] Cf. A. Keith's criticisms in Nature, Vol. LXXXV. 1911, p. 508.

[5] W. L. H. Duckworth, Prehistoric Man, 1912, p. 146.

[6] W. Ridgeway, "The Influence of Environment on Man," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst., Vol. XL. 1910, p. 10.

[7] E. Dubois, "Pithecanthropus erectus, transitional form between Man and the Apes," Sci. Trans. R. Dublin Soc. 1898.

[8] O. Schoetensack, Der Unterkiefer des Homo Heidelbergensis, etc., 1908.

[9] C. Dawson and A. Smith Woodward, "On the Discovery of a Palaeolithic Skull and Mandible," etc., Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. 1913.

[10] This was the view of A. Smith Woodward when the skull was first exhibited (loc. cit.), but in his paper, "Missing Links among Extinct Animals," Brit. Ass. Birmingham, 1913, he is inclined to regard "Piltdown man, or some close relative" as "on the direct line of descent with ourselves." For A. Keith's criticism see The Antiquity of Man, 1915, p. 503.

[11] W. L. H. Duckworth, Prehistoric Man, 1912, p. 8.

[12] For the relation between chin formation and power of speech, see E. Walkhoff, "Der Unterkiefer der Anthropomorphen und des Menschen in seiner funktionellen Entwicklung und Gestalt," E. Selenka, Menschenaffen, 1902; H. Obermaier, Der Mensch der Vorzeit, 1912, p. 362; and W. Wright, "The Mandible of Man from the Morphological and Anthropological points of view," Essays and Studies presented to W. Ridgeway, 1913.

[13] Cf. W. L. H. Duckworth, Prehistoric Man, 1912, p. 10, and A. Keith, The Antiquity of Man, 1915, p. 237.

[14] A. Smith Woodward, 1070 c.c.; A. Keith, 1400 c.c.

[15] G. G. MacCurdy, following G. S. Miller, Smithsonian Misc. Colls. Vol. 65, No. 12 (1915), is convinced that "in place of Eoanthropus dawsoni we have two individuals belonging to different genera," a human cranium and the jaw of a chimpanzee. Science, N.S. Vol. XLIII. 1916, p. 231. See also Appendix A.

[16] For a full description see Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. March, 1913. Also A. Keith, The Antiquity of Man, 1915, p. 320, and pp. 430-452.

[17] C. Dawson and A. Smith Woodward, "Supplementary Note on the Discovery of a Palaeolithic Human Skull and Mandible at Piltdown (Sussex)," Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. April, 1914.

[18] The Antiquity of Man, 1915, p. 209.

[19] Thus Lucretius:

    "Arma antiqua manus, ungues, dentesque fuerunt,
    Et lapides, et item silvarum fragmina rami."

[20] Jour. Anthrop. Inst. 1896, p. 133.

[21] Inaugural Address, Brit. Ass. Meeting, Toronto, 1897.

[22] M. Boule, "L'homme fossile de la Chapelle-aux-Saints," Annales de Paléontologie, 1911 (1913). Cf. also H. Obermaier, Der Mensch der Vorzeit, 1912, p. 364.

[23] Prehistoric Man, 1912, p. 60.

[24] Der Mensch der Vorzeit, 1912, p. 365.

[25] This is not generally accepted. See A. Keith's diagram, p. 5 and pp. 9-10.

[26] W. J. Sollas, "On the Cranial and Facial Characters of the Neandertal Race," Phil. Trans. 1907, CXCIV.

[27] J. Fraipont and M. Lohest, "Recherches Ethnographiques sur les Ossements Humains," etc., Arch. de Biologie, 1887.

[28] Gorjanovič-Kramberger, Der diluviale Mensch von Krapina in Kroatia, 1906.

[29] M. Boule, "L'homme fossile de la Chapelle-aux-Saints," L'Anthr. XIX. 1908, and Annales de Paléontologie, 1911 (1913).

[30] H. Klaatsch, Prähistorische Zeitschrift, Vol. I. 1909.

[31] Peyrony and Capitan, Rev. de l'Ecole d'Anthrop. 1909; Bull. Soc. d'Anthr. de Paris, 1910.

[32] G. Schwalbe, "Der Schädel von Brüx," Zeitschr. f. Morph. u. Anthr. 1906.

[33] Makowsky, "Der diluviale Mensch in Löss von Brünn," Mitt. Anthrop. Gesell. in Wien, 1892.

[34] See A. Keith, The Antiquity of Man, 1915, Chap. X.

[35] H. Klaatsch, "Die Aurignac-Rasse," etc., Zeitschr. f. Ethn. LII. 1910.

[36] L. Lartet, "Une sépulture des troglodytes du Périgord," and Broca, "Sur les crânes et ossements des Eyzies," Bull. Soc. d'Anthr. de Paris, 1868.

[37] R. Verneau, Les Grottes de Grimaldi, 1906-11.

[38] For a complete list with bibliographical references, see H. Obermaier, "Les restes humains Quaternaires dans l'Europe centrale," Anthr. 1905, p. 385, 1906, p. 55.

[39] A. Keith, The Antiquity of Man, 1915, p. 158. See also W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, p. 186 ff.

[40] H. Klaatsch, "Die Aurignac-Rasse," Zeitschr. f. Eth. 1910, LII. p. 513.

[41] The Mesvinian implements are now accepted as artefacts and placed by H. Obermaier immediately below the Chellean, though M. Commont interprets them as Acheulean or even later. See W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, p. 132 ff.

[42] R. Smith and H. Dewey, "Stratification at Swanscombe," Archaeologia, LXIV. 1912.

[43] So called from Chelles-sur-Marne, near Paris.

[44] Cf. J. Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, I. 1908, p. 89.

[45] From Aurignac (Haute-Garonne), Solutré (Saône-et-Loire), and La Madeleine (Dordogne).

[46] Mas-d'Azil, Ariège.

[47] W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, pp. 378-9.

[48] "Les Subdivisions de paléolithique supérieur," Congrès Internat. d'Anth. 1912, XIV. pp. 190-3.

[49] H. Breuil and E. Cartailhac, La Caverne d'Altamira, 1906. For a list of decorated caves, with the names of their discoverers, see J. Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, I. 1908, p. 241. A complete Répertoire de l'Art Quaternaire is given by S. Reinach, 1913; and for chronology see E. Piette, "Classifications des Sédiments formés dans les cavernes pendant l'Age du Renne," Anthr. 1904.

[50] From La Fère-en-Tardenois, Aisne.

[51] Cf. W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, pp. 95, 534 f.

[52] Die Alpen in Eiszeitalter, 1901-9. See also "Alter des Menschengeschlechts," Zeit. f. Eth. XL. 1908.

[53] See W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, p. 561.

[54] H. Obermaier, Der Mensch der Vorzeit, 1911-2, p. 332.

[55] The Antiquity of Man in Europe, 1914, p. 301.

[56] Ancient Hunters, 1915, p. 567.

[57] Proc. Prehist. Soc. E. Anglia, 1. 1911, p. 60.

[58] Discourse at the R. Institute, London, Nature, Jan. 6 and 13, 1898.

[59] Nature, 1898, p. 235.

[60] Tiden för Blekings första bebyggande, Karlskrona, 1895, p. 5.

[61] "Das Schweizersbild, eine Niederlassung aus palaeolithischer und neolithischer Zeit," in Nouveaux Mémoires Soc. Helvétique des Sciences Naturelles, Vol. XXXV. Zurich, 1896. This is described by James Geikie, The Antiquity of Man in Europe, 1914, pp. 85-99.

[62] L'Anthropologie, 1897, p. 350.

[63] Forum, Feb. 1898.

[64] The party of Eskimo men and women brought back by Lieut. Peary from his Arctic expedition in 1897 were unable to endure our temperate climate. Many died of pneumonia, and the survivors were so enfeebled that all had to be restored to their icy homes to save their lives. Even for the Algonquians of Labrador a journey to the coast is a journey to the grave.

[65] W. Z. Ripley, The Races of Europe, 1900, p. 586.

[Pg 20]



Progress of Archaeological Studies—Sequence of the Metal Ages—The Copper Age—Egypt, Elam, Babylonia, Europe—The Bronze Age—Egypt and Babylonia, Western Europe, the Aegean, Ireland—Chronology of the Copper and Bronze Ages—The Iron Age—Hallstatt, La Tène—Man and his Works in the Metal Ages—The Prehistoric Age in the West, and in China—Historic Times—Evolution of Writing Systems—Hieroglyphs and Cuneiforms—The Alphabet—The Persian and other Cuneiform Scripts—The Mas-d'Azil Markings—Alphabetiform Signs on Neolithic Monuments—Character and Consequences of the later historic Migrations—The Race merges in the People—The distinguishing Characters of Peoples—Scheme of Classification.

Progress of Archaeological Studies.

If, as above seen, the study of human origins is largely a geological problem, the investigation of the later developments, during the Metal Ages and prehistoric times, belongs mainly to the field of Archaeology. Hence it is that for the light which has in recent years been thrown upon the obscure interval between the Stone Ages and the strictly historic epoch, that is to say, the period when in his continuous upward development man gradually exchanged stone for the more serviceable metals, we are indebted chiefly to the pioneer labours of such men as Worsaae, Steenstrup, Forchhammer, Schliemann, Sayce, Layard, Lepsius, Mariette, Maspero, Montelius, Brugsch, Petrie, Peters, Haynes, Sir J. Evans, Sir A. J. Evans and many others, all archaeologists first, and anthropologists only in the second instance.

Sequence of the Metal Ages.

From the researches of these investigators it is now clear that copper, bronze, and iron were successively in use in Europe in the order named, so that the current expressions, "Copper," "Bronze," and "Iron" Ages remain still justified. But it also appears that overlappings, already beginning in late Neolithic times, were everywhere so frequent that in many localities it is quite impossible to draw any well-marked dividing lines between the successive metal periods.[Pg 21]

That iron came last, a fact already known by vague tradition to the ancients[66], is beyond doubt, and it is no less certain that bronze of various types intervened between copper and iron. But much obscurity still surrounds the question of copper, which occurs in so many graves of Neolithic and Bronze times, that this metal has even been denied an independent position in the sequence.

But we shall not be surprised that confusion should prevail on this point, if we reflect that the metals, unlike stone, came to remain. Once introduced they were soon found to be indispensable to civilised man, so that in a sense the "Metal Ages" still survive, and must last to the end of time. Hence it was natural that copper should be found in prehistoric graves associated, first with polished stone implements, and then with bronze and iron, just as, since the arrival of the English in Australia, spoons, clay pipes, penknives, pannikins, and the like, are now found mingled with stone objects in the graves of the aborigines.

The Copper Age.

But that there was a true Copper Age[67] prior to that of Bronze, though possibly of not very long duration, except of course in the New World[68], has been placed beyond reasonable doubt by recent investigations. Considerable attention was devoted to the subject by J. H. Gladstone, who finds that copper was worked by the Egyptians in the Sinaitic Peninsula, that is, in the famous mines of the Wadi Maghára, from the fourth to the eighteenth dynasty, perhaps from 3000 to 1580 B.C.[69] During that epoch tools were made of pure copper in Egypt and Syria, and by the Amorites in Palestine, often on the model of their stone prototypes[70].


Elliot Smith[71] claims that "the full story of the coming of [Pg 22]copper, complete in every detail and circumstance, written in a simple and convincing fashion that he who runs may read," has been displayed in Egypt ever since the year 1894, though the full significance of the evidence was not recognised until Reisner called attention to the record of pre-dynastic graves in Upper Egypt when superintending the excavations at Naga-ed-dêr in 1908[72]. These excavations revealed the indigenous civilisation of the ancient Egyptians and, according to Elliot Smith, dispose of the idea hitherto held by most archaeologists that Egypt owed her knowledge of metals to Babylonia or some other Asiatic source, where copper, and possibly also bronze, may be traced back to the fourth millennium B.C. There was doubtless intercourse between the civilisations of Egypt and Babylonia but "Reisner has revealed the complete absence of any evidence to show or even to suggest that the language, the mode of writing, the knowledge of copper ... were imported" (p. 34). Elliot Smith justly claims (p. 6) that in no other country has a similarly complete history of the discovery and the evolution of the working of copper been revealed, but until equally exhaustive excavations have been undertaken on contemporary or earlier sites in Sumer and Elam, the question cannot be regarded as settled.


The work of J. de Morgan at Susa[73] (1907-8) shows the extreme antiquity of the Copper Age in ancient Elam, even if his estimate of 5000 B.C. is regarded as a millennium too early[74]. At the base of the mound on the natural soil, beneath 24 meters of archaeological layers, were the remains of a town and a necropolis consisting of about 1000 tombs. Those of the men contained copper axes of primitive type; those of the women, little vases of paint, together with discs of polished copper to serve as mirrors. At Fara, excavations by Koldewey in 1902, and by Andrae and Nöldeke in 1903 on the site of Shuruppak (the home of the Babylonian Noah) in the valley of the Lower Euphrates, revealed graves attributed[Pg 23] to the prehistoric Sumerians, containing copper spear heads, axes and drinking vessels[75].


In Europe, North Italy, Hungary and Ireland[76] may lay claim to a Copper Age, but there is very little evidence of such a stage in Britain. To this period also may be attributed the nest or cache of pure copper ingots found at Tourc'h, west of the Aven Valley, Finisterre, described by M. de Villiers du Terrage, and comprising 23 pieces, with a total weight of nearly 50 lbs.[77] These objects, which belong to "the transitional period when copper was used at first concurrently with polished stone, and then disappeared as bronze came into more general use[78]," came probably from Hungary, at that time apparently the chief source of this metal for most parts of Europe. Of over 200 copper objects described by Mathaeus Much[79] nearly all were of Hungarian or South German provenance, five only being accredited to Britain and eight to France.

The study of this subject has been greatly advanced by J. Hampel, who holds on solid grounds that in some regions, especially Hungary, copper played a dominant part for many centuries, and is undoubtedly the characteristic metal of a distinct culture. His conclusions are based on the study of about 500 copper objects found in Hungary and preserved in the Buda Pesth collections. Reviewing all the facts attesting a Copper Age in Central Europe, Egypt, Italy, Cyprus, Troy, Scandinavia, North Asia, and other lands, he concludes that a Copper Age may have sprung up independently wherever the ore was found, as in the Ural and Altai Mountains, Italy, Spain, Britain, Cyprus, Sinai; such culture being generally indigenous, and giving evidence of more or less characteristic local features[80]. In fact we know for certain that such an independent Copper Age was developed not only in the region of the Great Lakes of North America, but also amongst the Bantu peoples of Katanga and other parts of Central Africa. Copper is not an alloy like bronze, but a[Pg 24] soft, easily-worked metal occurring in large quantities and in a tolerably pure state near the surface in many parts of the world. The wonder is, not that it should have been found and worked at a somewhat remote epoch in several different centres, but that its use should have been so soon superseded in so many places by the bronze alloys.

The Bronze Age.

From copper to bronze, however, the passage was slow and progressive, the proper proportion of tin, which was probably preceded in some places by an alloy of antimony, having been apparently arrived at by repeated experiments often carried out with no little skill by those prehistoric metallurgists.

As suggested by Bibra in 1869, the ores of different metals would appear to have been at first smelted together empirically, and the process continued until satisfactory results were obtained. Hence the extraordinary number of metals, of which percentages are found in some of the earlier specimens, such as those of the Elbing Museum, which on analysis yielded tin, lead, silver, iron, antimony, arsenic, sulphur, nickel, cobalt, and zinc in varying quantities[81].

Egypt and Babylonia.

Some bronzes from the pyramid of Medum analysed by J. H. Gladstone[82] yielded the high percentage of 9.1 of tin, from which we must infer, not only that bronze, but bronze of the finest quality, was already known to the Egyptians of the fourth dynasty, i.e. 2840 B.C. The statuette of Gudea of Lagash (2500 B.C.) claimed as the earliest example of bronze in Babylonia is now known to be pure copper, and though objects from Tello (Lagash) of earlier date contain a mixture of tin, zinc, arsenic and other alloys, the proportion is insignificant. The question of priority must, however, be left open until the relative chronology of Egypt and Babylonia is finally settled, and this is still a much disputed point[83]. Neither would all the difficulties with regard to the origin of bronze be cleared up should Egypt or Babylonia establish her claim to possess the earliest example of the metal, for neither country appears[Pg 25] to possess any tin. The nearest deposit known in ancient times would seem to be that of Drangiana, mentioned by Strabo, identified with modern Khorassan[84].

Western Europe.

Strabo and other classical writers also mention the occurrence of tin in the west, in Spain, Portugal and the Cassiterides or tin islands, whose identity has given rise to so much speculation[85], but "though in after times Egypt drew her tin from Europe it would be bold indeed to suppose that she did so [in 3000 B.C.] and still bolder to maintain that she learned from northern people how to make the alloy called bronze[86]." Apart from the indigenous Egyptian origin maintained by Elliot Smith (above) the hypothesis offering fewest difficulties is that the earliest bronze is to be traced to the region of Elam, and that the knowledge spread from S. Chaldaea (Elam-Sumer) to S. Egypt in the third millennium B.C.[87]

The Aegean.

There seems to be little doubt that the Aegean was the centre of dispersal for the new metals throughout the Mediterranean area, and copper ingots have been found at various points of the Mediterranean, marked with Cretan signs[88]. Bronze was known in Crete before 2000 B.C. for a bronze dagger and spear head were found at Hagios Onuphrios, near Phaistos, with seals resembling those of the sixth to eleventh dynasties[89].

From the eastern Mediterranean the knowledge spread during the second millennium along the ordinary trade routes which had long been in use. The mineral ores of Spain were exploited in pre-Mycenean times and probably contributed in no small measure to the industrial development of southern Europe. From tribe to tribe, along the Atlantic coasts the traffic in minerals reached the British Isles, where the rich ores were discovered which, in their turn, supplied the markets of the north, the west and the south.


Even Ireland was not left untouched by Aegean influence, [Pg 26] which reached it, according to G. Coffey[90], by way of the Danube and the Elbe, and thence by way of Scandinavia, though this is a matter on which there is much difference of opinion. Ireland's richness in gold during the Bronze Age made her "a kind of El Dorado of the western world," and the discovery of a gold torc found by Schliemann in the royal treasury in the second city of Troy raises the question as to whether the model of the torc was imported into Ireland from the south[90], or whether (which J. Déchelette[91] regards as less probable) there was already an exportation of Irish gold to the eastern Mediterranean in pre-Mycenean times.

Chronology of the Copper and Bronze Ages.

Of recent years great strides have been made towards the establishment of a definite chronology linking the historic with the prehistoric periods in the Aegean, in Egypt and in Babylonia, and as the estimates of various authorities differ sometimes by a thousand years or so, the subjoined table will be of use to indicate the chronological schemes most commonly followed; the dates are in all cases merely approximate.

The Iron Age.

It has often been pointed out that there is no reason why iron should not have been the earliest metal to be used by man. Its ores are more abundant and more easily reduced than any others, and are worked by peoples in a low grade of culture at the present day[92]. Iron may have been known in Egypt almost as early as bronze, for a piece in the British Museum is attributed to the fourth dynasty, and some beads of manufactured iron were found in a pre-dynastic grave at El Gerzeh[93]. But these and other less well authenticated occurrences of iron are rare, and the metal was not common in Egypt before the middle of the second millennium. By the end of the second millennium the knowledge had spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean[94], and towards 900 at latest iron was in common use in Italy and Central Europe.[Pg 27]

Chronological Table.

Egypt[95]Babylonia[96]Aegean[97]Greece[98]Bronze Age in Europe[99]
3300Dynasty I
3000Dynasty of Opis?Early Minoan I?Pre-Mycenean
2900Dyn. of Kish
2800Dyn. III, IVDyn. of Erech
Dyn. of Akkad[100]
2600Dyn. V2nd Dyn. of Erech
2500Dyn. VIGutian DominationEarly Minoan IIPeriod I. Eneolithic
2400Dyn. of Ur(implements of stone, copper
2300Dyn. IXand bronze, poor in tin)
2200Dyn. of IsinMiddle Minoan I
2100Dyn. XIMid. Minoan II
2000Dyn. XII1st Dyn. BabylonMycenean I
19002nd Dyn.Mid. Minoan IIIPeriod II
1700Dyn. XIII3rd Dyn.Late Minoan I
1600Dyn. XVPeriod III
1500Dyn. XVIIILate Minoan IIMycenean II
1400Late Minoan III
1300Dyn. XIXPeriod IV
1200Dyn. XXHomeric Age
11004th Dyn.
1000Dyn. XXI5th to 7th Dyn.Close of Bronze Age[101]
  900Dyn. XXII8th Dyn.Hallstatt

[Pg 28]


The introduction of iron into Italy has often been attributed to the Etruscans, who were thought to have brought the knowledge from Lydia. But the most abundant remains of the Early Iron Age are found not in Tuscany, but along the coasts of the Adriatic[102], showing that iron followed the well-known route of the amber trade, thus reaching Central Europe and Hallstatt (which has given its name to the Early Iron Age), where alone in Europe the gradual transition from the use of bronze to that of iron has been clearly traced. W. Ridgeway[103] believes that the use of iron was first discovered in the Hallstatt area and that thence it spread to Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, the Aegean area, and Egypt rather than that the culture drift was in the opposite direction. There is no difference of opinion however as to the importance of this Central European area which contained the most famous iron mines of antiquity. Hallstatt culture extended from the Iberian peninsula in the west to Hungary in the east, but scarcely reached Scandinavia, North Germany, Armorica or the British Isles where the Bronze Age may be said to have lasted down to about 500 B.C. Over such a vast domain the culture was not everywhere of a uniform type and Hoernes[104] recognises four geographical divisions distinguished mainly by pottery and fibulae, and provisionally classified as Illyrian in the South West, or Adriatic region, in touch with Greece and Italy; Celtic in the Central or Danubian area; with an off-shoot in Western Germany, Northern Switzerland and Eastern France; and Germanic in parts of Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Posen.

La Tène.

The Hallstatt period ends, roughly, at 500 B.C., and the Later Iron Age takes its name from the settlement of La Tène, in a bay of the Lake of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. This culture, while owing much to that of Hallstatt, and much also to foreign sources, possesses a distinct individuality, and though soon overpowered on the Continent by Roman influence, attained a remarkable brilliance in the Late Celtic period in the British Isles.[Pg 29]

Man and his Works in the Metal Ages.

That the peoples of the Metal Ages were physically well developed, and in a great part of Europe and Asia already of Aryan speech, there can be no reasonable doubt. A skull of the early Hallstatt period, from a grave near Wildenroth, Upper Bavaria, is described by Virchow as long-headed, with a cranial capacity of no less than 1585 c.c., strongly developed occiput, very high and narrow face and nose, and in every respect a superb specimen of the regular-featured, long-headed North European[105]. But owing to the prevalence of cremation the evidence of race is inadequate. The Hallstatt population was undoubtedly mixed, and at Glasinatz in Bosnia, another site of Hallstatt civilisation, about a quarter of the skulls examined were brachycephalic[106].

Their works, found in great abundance in the graves, especially of the Bronze and Iron periods, but a detailed account of which belongs to the province of archaeology, interest us in many ways. The painted earthenware vases and incised metal-ware of all kinds enable the student to follow the progress of the arts of design and ornamentation in their upward development from the first tentative efforts of the prehistoric artist at pleasing effects. Human and animal figures, though rarely depicted, occasionally afford a curious insight into the customs and fashions of the times. On a clay vessel, found in 1896 at Lahse in Posen, is figured a regular hunting scene, where we see men mounted on horseback, or else on foot, armed with bow and arrow, pursuing the quarry (nobly-antlered stags), and returning to the penthouse after the chase[107]. The drawing is extremely primitive, but on that account all the more instructive, showing in connection with analogous representations on contemporary objects, how in prehistoric art such figures tend to become conventionalised and purely ornamental, as in similar designs on the vases and textiles from the Ancon Necropolis, Peru. "Most ornaments of primitive peoples, although to our eye they may seem merely geometrical and freely-invented designs, are in reality nothing more than degraded animal and human figures[108]."[Pg 30]

This may perhaps be the reason why so many of the drawings of the metal period appear so inferior to those of the cave-dwellers and of the present Bushmen. They are often mere conventionalised reductions of pictorial prototypes, comparable, for instance, to the characters of our alphabets, which are known to be degraded forms of earlier pictographs.

The Prehistoric Age in the West,

Of the so-called "Prehistoric Age" it is obvious that no strict definition can be given. It comprises in a general way that vague period prior to all written records, dim memories of which—popular myths, folklore, demi-gods[109], eponymous heroes[110], traditions of real events[111]—lingered on far into historic times, and supplied ready to hand the copious materials afterwards worked up by the early poets, founders of new religions, and later legislators.

That letters themselves, although not brought into general use, had already been invented, is evident from the mere fact that all memory of their introduction beyond the vaguest traditions had died out before the dawn of history. The works of man, while in themselves necessarily continuous, stretched back to such an inconceivably remote past, that even the great landmarks in the evolution of human progress had long been forgotten by later generations.

and in China.

And so it was everywhere, in the New World as in the Old, amongst Eastern as amongst Western Peoples. In the Chinese records the "Age of the Five Emperors"—five, though nine are named—answers somewhat to our prehistoric epoch. It had its eponymous hero, Fu Hi, reputed founder of the empire, who invented nets and snares for fishing and hunting, and taught his people how to rear domestic animals. To him also is ascribed the institution of marriage, and in his time Tsong Chi is supposed to have invented the Chinese characters, symbols, not of sounds, but of objects and ideas.[Pg 31]

Then came other benevolent rulers, who taught the people agriculture, established markets for the sale of farm produce, discovered the medicinal properties of plants, wrote treatises on diseases and their remedies, studied astrology and astronomy, and appointed "the Five Observers of the heavenly bodies."

But this epoch had been preceded by the "Age of the Three [six] Rulers," when people lived in caves, ate wild fruits and uncooked food, drank the blood of animals and wore the skins of wild beasts (our Old Stone Age). Later they grew less rude, learned to obtain fire by friction, and built themselves habitations of wood or foliage (our Early Neolithic Age). Thus is everywhere revealed the background of sheer savagery, which lies behind all human culture, while the "Golden Age" of the poets fades with the "Hesperides" and Plato's "Atlantis" into the region of the fabulous.

Historic Times.

Little need here be said of strictly historic times, the most characteristic feature of which is perhaps the general use of letters. By means of this most fruitful of human inventions, everything worth preserving was perpetuated, and thus all useful knowledge tended to become accumulative. It is no longer possible to say when or where the miracle was wrought by which the apparently multifarious sounds of fully-developed languages were exhaustively analysed and effectively expressed by a score or so of arbitrary signs. But a comparative study of the various writing-systems in use in different parts of the world has revealed the process by which the transition was gradually brought about from rude pictorial representations of objects to purely phonetical symbols.

Evolution of Writing Systems.

As is clearly shown by the "winter counts" of the North American aborigines, and by the prehistoric rock carvings in Upper Egypt, the first step was a pictograph, the actual figure, say, of a man, standing for a given man, and then for any man or human being. Then this figure, more or less reduced or conventionalised, served to indicate not only the term man, but the full sound man, as in the word manifest, and in the modern rebus. At this stage it becomes a phonogram, or phonoglyph, which, when further reduced beyond all recognition of its original form, may stand for the syllable ma as in ma-ny,[Pg 32] without any further reference either to the idea or the sound man. The phonogram has now become the symbol of a monosyllable, which is normally made up of two elements, a consonant and a vowel, as in the Devanágari, and other syllabic systems.

Lastly, by dropping the second or vowel element the same symbol, further modified or not, becomes a letter representing the sound m, that is, one of the few ultimate elements of articulate speech. A more or less complete set of such characters, thus worn down in form and meaning, will then be available for indicating more or less completely all the phonetic elements of any given language. It will be a true alphabet, the wonderful nature of which may be inferred from the fact that only two, or possibly three, such alphabetic systems are known with absolute certainty to have ever been independently evolved by human ingenuity[112]. From the above exposition we see how inevitably the Phoenician parent of nearly all late alphabets expressed at first the consonantal sounds only, so that the vowels or vowel marks are in all cases later developments, as in Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Greek, the Italic group, and the Runes.

Hieroglyphs and Cuneiforms.

In primitive systems, such as the Egyptian, Sumerian, Chinese, Maya-Quiché and Mexican, one or more of the various transitional steps may be developed and used simultaneously, with a constant tendency to advance on the lines above indicated, by gradual substitution of the later for the earlier stages. A comparison of the Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphic systems brings out some curious results. Thus at an extremely remote epoch, some millenniums ago, the Sumerians had already got rid of the pictorial, and to a great extent of the ideographic, but had barely reached the alphabetic phase. Consequently their cuneiform groups, although possessing phonetic value, mainly express full syllables, scarcely ever letters, and rarely complete words. Ideographs had given place first to phonograms and then to mere syllables,[Pg 33] "complex syllables in which several consonants may be distinguished, or simple syllables composed of only one consonant and one vowel or vice versa[113]."

The Egyptians, on the other hand, carried the system right through the whole gamut from pictures to letters, but retained all the intermediate phases, the initial tending to fall away, the final to expand, while the bulk of the hieroglyphs represented in various degrees the several transitional states. In many cases they "had kept only one part of the syllable, namely a mute consonant; they detached, for instance, the final u from bu and pu, and gave only the values b and p to the human leg leg symbol and to the mat mat symbol. The peoples of the Euphrates stopped half way, and admitted actual letters for the vowel sounds a, i and u only[114]."

In the process of evolution, metaphor and analogy of course played a large part, as in the evolution of language itself. Thus a lion might stand both for the animal and for courage, and so on. The first essays in phonetics took somewhat the form of a modern rebus, thus: sieve symbol = khau = sieve, mat symbol = pu = mat; mouth symbol = ru = mouth, whence to be = kho-pi-ru = to be, where the sounds and not the meaning of the several components are alone attended to[115].

The Alphabet.

By analogous processes was formed a true alphabet, in which, however, each of the phonetic elements was represented at first by several different characters derived from several different words having the same initial syllable. Here was, therefore, an embarras de richesses, which could be got rid of only by a judicious process of elimination, that is, by discarding all like-sounding symbols but one for the same sound. When this final process of reduction was completed by the scribes, in other words, when all the phonetic signs were rejected except 23, i.e. one for each of the 23 phonetic elements, the Phoenician alphabet as we now have it was completed. Such may be taken as the real origin of this system, whether the scribes in question were Babylonians, Egyptians, Minaeans, or Europeans, that is, whether the Phoenician alphabet had a cuneiform, a hieroglyphic, a South Arabian, a Cretan (Aegean), Ligurian or Iberian origin, for all these and perhaps other peoples have[Pg 34] been credited with the invention. The time is not yet ripe for deciding between these rival claimants[116].

The Persian and other Cuneiform Scripts.

But whatever be the source of the Phoenician, that of the Persian system current under the Achaemenides is clear enough. It is a true alphabet of 37 characters, derived by some selective process directly from the Babylonian cuneiforms, without any attempt at a modification of their shapes. Hence although simple compared with its prototype, it is clumsy enough compared with the Phoenician script, several of the letters requiring groups of as many as four or even five "wedges" for their expression. None of the other cuneiform systems also derived from the Sumerian (the Assyrian, Elamite, Vannic, Medic) appear to have reached the pure alphabetic state, all being still encumbered with numerous complex syllabic characters. The subjoined table, for which I have to thank T. G. Pinches, will help to show the genesis of the cuneiform combinations from the earliest known pictographs. These pictographs themselves are already reduced to the merest outlines of the original pictorial representations. But no earlier forms, showing the gradual transition from the primitive picture writing to the degraded pictographs here given, have yet come to light[117].

The Mas-d'Azil Markings.

Here it may be asked, What is to be thought of the already-mentioned pebble-markings from the Mas-d'Azil Cave at the close of the Old Stone Age? If they are truly phonetic, then we must suppose that palaeolithic man not only invented an alphabetic writing system, but did this right off by intuition, as it were, without any previous knowledge of letters. At least no one will suggest that the Dordogne cave-dwellers were already in possession of pictographic or other crude systems, from which the Mas-d'Azil "script" might have been slowly evolved. Yet E. Piette, who groups these pebbles, painted with peroxide of iron, in the four categories of numerals, symbols, pictographs, and alphabetical characters, states, in reference to these last, that 13 out of 23 Phoenician characters were equally Azilian graphic signs. He even suggests that there may be an approach to an inscription in [Pg 35] one group, where, however, the mark indicating a stop implies a script running Semitic-fashion from right to left, whereas the letters themselves seem to face the other way[118]. G. G. MacCurdy[119], who accepts the evidence for the existence of writing in Azilian, if not in Magdalenian times, notes the close similarity between palaeolithic signs and Phoenician, ancient Greek and Cypriote letters. But J. Déchelette[120], [Pg 36] reviewing (pp. 234, 236) the arguments against Piette's claims, points out in conclusion (p. 320) the impossibility of admitting that the population of Gaul could suddenly lose so beneficial a discovery as that of writing. Yet thousands of years elapse before the earliest appearance of epigraphic monuments.

Evolution of the Sumerian Cuneiforms. Evolution of the Sumerian Cuneiforms.
Alphabetiform Signs on Neolithic Monuments.

A possible connection has been suggested by Sergi between the Mas-d'Azil signs and the markings that have been discovered on the megalithic monuments of North Africa, Brittany, and the British Isles. These are all so rudimentary that resemblances are inevitable, and of themselves afford little ground for necessary connections. Primitive man is but a child, and all children bawl and scrawl much in the same way. Nevertheless C. Letourneau[121] has taken the trouble to compare five such scrawls from "Libyan inscriptions" now in the Bardo Museum, Tunis, with similar or identical signs on Brittany and Irish dolmens. There is the familiar circle plain and dotted plain and dotted circles, the cross in its simplest form +, the pothook and segmented square pothook and segmented square, all of which recur in the Phoenician, Keltiberian, Etruscan, Libyan or Tuareg systems. Letourneau, however, who does not call them letters but only "signes alphabétiformes," merely suggests that, if not phonetic marks when first carved on the neolithic monuments, they may have become so in later times. Against this it need only be urged that in later times all these peoples were supplied with complete alphabetic systems from the East as soon as they required them. By that time all the peoples of the culture-zone were well-advanced into the historic period, and had long forgotten the rude carvings of their neolithic forefathers.

Character and Consequences of the later (historical) Migrations.

Armed with a nearly perfect writing system, and the correlated cultural appliances, the higher races soon took a foremost place in the general progress of mankind, and gradually acquired a marked ascendancy, not only over the less cultured populations of the globe, but in large measure over the forces of nature herself. With the development of navigation and improved methods of locomotion, inland seas, barren wastes, and mountain ranges ceased to be insurmountable obstacles to their movements, which within[Pg 37] certain limits have never been arrested throughout all recorded time.

Thus, during the long ages following the first peopling of the earth by pleistocene man, fresh settlements and readjustments have been continually in progress, although wholesale displacements must be regarded as rare events. With few exceptions, the later migrations, whether hostile or peaceful, were, for reasons already stated[122], generally of a partial character, while certain insular regions, such as America and Australia, remained little affected by such movements till quite recent times. But for the inhabitants of the eastern hemisphere the results were none the less far-reaching. Continuous infiltrations could not fail ultimately to bring about great modifications of early types, while the ever-active principle of convergence tended to produce a general uniformity amongst the new amalgams. Thus the great varietal divisions, though undergoing slow changes from age to age, continued, like all other zoological groups, to maintain a distinct regional character.

The "Race" merges in the "People."

Flinders Petrie has acutely observed that the only meaning the term "race" now can have is that of a group of human beings, whose type has become unified by their rate of assimilation exceeding the rate of change produced by foreign elements[123]. We are also reminded by Gustavo Tosti that "in the actual state of science the word 'race' is a vague formula, to which nothing definite may be found to correspond. On the one hand, the original races can only be said to belong to palaeontology, while the more limited groups, now called races, are nothing but peoples, or societies of peoples, brethren by civilization more than by blood. The race thus conceived ends by identifying itself with nationality[124]." Hence it has been asked why, on the principle of convergence, a fusion of various races, if isolated long enough in a given area, may not eventually lead to a new racial type, without leaving any trace of its manifold origin[125].

Such new racial types would be normal for the later varietal groups, just as the old types were normal for the[Pg 38] earlier groups, and a general application might be given to Topinard's famous dictum that les peuples seuls sont des réalités[126], that is, peoples alone—groups occupying definite geographical areas—have an objective existence. Thus, the notion of race, as a zoological expression in the sense of a pure breed or strain, falls still more into the background, and, as Virchow aptly remarks, "this term, which always implied something vague, has in recent times become in the highest degree uncertain[127]."

The distinguishing Characters of Peoples.

Hence Ehrenreich treats the present populations of the earth rather as zoological groups which have been developed in their several geographical domains, and are to be distinguished not so much by their bony structure as by their external characters, such as hair, colour, and expression, and by their habitats and languages. None of these factors can be overlooked, but it would seem that the character of the hair forms the most satisfactory basis for a classification of mankind, and this has therefore been adopted for the new edition of the present work. It has the advantage of simplicity, without involving, or even implying, any particular theory of racial or geographical origins. It has stood the test of time, being proposed by Bory de Saint Vincent in 1827, and adopted by Huxley, Haeckel, Broca, Topinard and many others.

The three main varieties of hair are the straight, the wavy and the so-called woolly, termed respectively Leiotrichous, Cymotrichous and Ulotrichous[128]. Straight hair usually falls straight down, though it may curl at the ends, it is generally coarse and stiff, and is circular in section. Wavy hair is undulating, forming long curves or imperfect spirals, or closer rings or curls, and the section is more or less elliptical. Woolly hair is characterised by numerous, close, often interlocking spirals, 1-9 mm. in diameter, the section giving the form of a lengthened ellipse. Straight hair is usually the longest, and woolly hair the shortest, wavy hair occupying an intermediate position.

[Pg 39]

Scheme of Classification.

I. Ulotrichi (Woolly-haired).
1. The African Negroes, Negrilloes, Bushmen.
2. The Oceanic Negroes: Papuans, Melanesians in part, Tasmanians, Negritoes.

II. Leiotrichi (Straight-haired).
1. The Southern Mongols.
2. The Oceanic Mongols, Polynesians in part.
3. The Northern Mongols.
4. The American Aborigines.

III. Cymotrichi (Curly or Wavy-haired).
1. The Pre-Dravidians: Vedda, Sakai, etc., Australians.
2. The "Caucasic" peoples:
A. Southern Dolichocephals: Mediterraneans, Hamites, Semites, Dravidians, Indonesians, Polynesians in part.
B. Northern Dolichocephals: Nordics, Kurds, Afghans, some Hindus.
C. Brachycephals: Alpines, including the short Cevenoles of Western and Central Europe, and tall Adriatics or Dinarics of Eastern Europe and the Armenians of Western Asia.


[66] Thus Lucretius:

    "Posterius ferri vis est aerisque reperta,
    Sed prior aeris erat quam ferri cognitus usus."

[67] J. Déchelette points out that the term Copper "Age" is not justified for the greater part of Europe, as it suggests a demarcation which does not exist and also a more thorough chemical analysis of early metals than we possess. He prefers the term aeneolithic (aeneus, copper, λίθος, stone), coined by the Italians, to denote the period of transition, dating, according to Montelius, from about 2500 B.C. to 1900 B.C. Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, II. 1, Age du Bronze, 1910, pp. 99-100, 105.

[68] Eth., Chap. XIII.

[69] See G. Elliot Smith, The Ancient Egyptians, 1911, pp. 97-8.

[70] Paper on "The Transition from Pure Copper to Bronze," etc., read at the Meeting of the Brit. Assoc. Liverpool, 1896.

[71] Loc. cit. p. 3. But cf. H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, 1912, pp. 33 and 90 n. 2.

[72] G. A. Reisner, The Early Cemeteries of Naga-ed-dêr (University of California Publications), 1908, and Report of the Archaeological Survey of Nubia, 1907-8.

[73] "Campagnes de 1907-8," Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1908, p. 373.

[74] Cf. J. Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, II. 1, Age du Bronze, 1910, pp. 53-4.

[75] Cf. L. W. King, A History of Sumer and Akkad, 1910, p. 26.

[76] G. Coffey, The Bronze Age in Ireland, 1913, p. 6.

[77] L'Anthropologie, 1896, p. 526 sq. This antiquary aptly remarks that "l'expression âge de cuivre a une signification bien précise comme s'appliquant à la partie de la période de la pierre polie où les métaux font leur apparition."

[78] L'Anthropologie, 1896, p. 526 sq.

[79] In Die Kupferzeit in Europa, 1886.

[80] "Neuere Studien über die Kupferzeit," in Zeitschr. f. Eth. 1896, No. 2.

[81] Otto Helm, "Chemische Untersuchungen vorgeschichtlicher Bronzen," in Zeitschr. f. Eth. 1897, No. 2. This authority agrees with Hampel's view that further research will confirm the suggestion that in Transylvania (Hungary) "eine Kupfer-Antimonmischung vorangegangen, welche zugleich die Bronzekultur vorbereitete" (ib. p. 128).

[82] Proc. Soc. Bib. Archaeol. 1892, pp. 223-6.

[83] For the chronology of the Copper and Bronze Ages see p. 27.

[84] Copper and tin are found together in abundance in Southern China, but this is archaeologically speaking an unknown land; "to search for the birth-place of bronze in China is therefore barren of positive results," British Museum Guide to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age, 1904, p. 10.

[85] T. Rice Holmes, Ancient Britain, 1907, pp. 483-498.

[86] British Museum Guide to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age, 1904, p. 10.

[87] J. de Morgan, Les Premières Civilisations, 1909, pp. 169, 337 ff.

[88] J. Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, II. 1, Age du Bronze, 1910, pp. 98 and 397 ff.

[89] J. Déchelette, loc. cit. p. 63 n.

[90] G. Coffey, The Bronze Age in Ireland, 1913, pp. v, 78.

[91] J. Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, II. 1, Age du Bronze, 1910, p. 355 n.

[92] Guide to the Antiquities of the Early Iron Age (British Museum), 1905, p. 2.

[93] Wainwright, "Pre-dynastic iron beads in Egypt," Man, 1911, p. 177. See also H. R. Hall, "Note on the early use of iron in Egypt," Man, 1903, p. 147.

[94] W. Belck attributes the introduction of iron into Crete in 1500 B.C. to the Phoenicians, whom he derives from the neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf. He suggests that these traders were already acquainted with the metal in S. Arabia in the fourth millennium, and that it was through them that a piece found its way into Egypt in the fourth dynasty. "Die Erfinder des Eisentechnik," Zeitschrift f. Ethnologie, 1910. See also F. Stuhlmann, Handwerk und Industrie in Ostafrika, 1910, p. 49 ff., who on cultural grounds derives the knowledge of iron in Africa from an Asiatic source.

[95] E. Meyer, "Aegyptische Chronologie," Abh. Berl. Akad. 1904, and "Nachträge," ib. 1907. This chronology has been adopted by the Berlin school and others, but is unsatisfactory in allowing insufficient time for Dynasties XII to XVIII, which are known to contain 100 to 200 rulers. Flinders Petrie therefore adds another Sothic period (1461 years, calculated from Sothis or Sirius), thus throwing the earlier dynasties a millennium or two further back. Dynasty I, according to this computation starts in 5546 B.C. and Dynasty XII at 3779. H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, 1912, p. 23.

[96] L. W. King, The History of Sumer and Akkad, 1910, and "Babylonia," Hutchinson's History of the Nations, 1914.

[97] C. H. Hawes and H. Boyd Hawes, Crete the Forerunner of Greece, 1909.

[98] J. Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, II. 1, Age du Bronze, 1910, p. 61.

[99] J. Déchelette, loc. cit. p. 105 ff. based on the work of O. Montelius and P. Reinecke.

[100] The Dynasty of Akkad is often dated a millennium earlier, relying on the statement of Nabonidus (556-540 B.C.) that Narâm-Sin (the traditional son of Sargon of Akkad) reigned 3200 years before him; but this statement is now known to be greatly exaggerated. See the section on chronology in the Art. "Babylonia," in Ency. Brit. 1910.

[101] Guide to the Antiquities of the Early Iron Age (British Museum), 1905, p. 1.

[102] Cf. J. Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, II. 2, Premier Age du Fer, 1913, pp. 546, 562-3.

[103] The Early Age of Greece, 1900, pp. 594-630.

[104] "Die Hallstattperiode," Ass. française p. l'av. des sciences, 1905, p. 278, and Kultur der Urzeit, III. Eisenzeit, 1912, p. 54.

[105] "Ein Schädel aus der älteren Hallstattzeit," in Verhandl. Berlin. Ges. f. Anthrop. 1896, pp. 243-6.

[106] Guide to the Antiquities of the Early Iron Age (British Museum), 1905, p. 8.

[107] Hans Seger, "Figürliche Darstellungen auf schlesischen Gräbgefässen der Hallstattzeit," Globus, Nov. 20, 1897.

[108] Ibid. p. 297.

[109] Homer's ἡμιθέων γένος ἀνδρῶν, Il. XII. 23, if the passage is genuine.

[110] Such as the Greek Andreas, the "First Man," invented in comparatively recent times, as shown by the intrusive d in ἄνδρες for the earlier ἄνερες, "men." Andreas was of course a Greek, sprung in fact from the river Peneus and the first inhabitant of the Orchomenian plain (Pausanias, IX. 34, 5).

[111] For instance, the flooding of the Thessalian plain, afterwards drained by the Peneus and repeopled by the inhabitants of the surrounding mountains (rocks, stones), whence the myth of Deucalion and Pyrrha, who are told by the oracle to repeople the world by throwing behind them the "bones of their grandmother," that is, the "stones" of mother Earth.

[112] Such instances as George Guest's Cherokee system, and the crude attempt of a Vei (West Sudanese) Negro, if genuine, are not here in question, as both had the English alphabet to work upon. A like remark applies to the old Irish and Welsh Ogham, which are more curious than instructive, the characters, mostly mere groups of straight strokes, being obvious substitutes for the corresponding letters of the Roman alphabet, hence comparable to the cryptographic systems of Wheatstone and others.

[113] Maspero, The Dawn of Civilisation, 1898, p. 728.

[114] Ibid.

[115] Ibid. p. 233.

[116] See P. Giles, Art. "Alphabet," Ency. Brit. 1910.

[117] See A. J. Booth, The Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions, 1902.

[118] L'Anthr. xv. 1904, p. 164.

[119] Recent Discoveries bearing on the Antiquity of Man in Europe (Smithsonian Report for 1909), 1910, p. 566 ff.

[120] Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique, I. 1908.

[121] "Les signes libyques des dolmens," Bul. Soc. d'Anthrop. 1896, p. 319.

[122] Eth. Chap. XIII.

[123] Address, Meeting British Assoc. Ipswich, 1895.

[124] Amer. J. of Sociology, Jan. 1898, pp. 467-8.

[125] A. Vierkandt, Globus, 72, p. 134.

[126] Éléments d'Anthropologie Générale, p. 207.

[127] Rassenbildung u. Erblichkeit; Bastian-Festschrift, 1896, p. 1.

[128] From Gk. λεῖος, smooth, κῦμα, wave, οὐλος, fleecy, and θρίξ, τρῐχός, hair. J. Deniker (The Races of Man, 1900, p. 38) distinguishes four classes, the Australians, Nubians etc. being grouped as frizzy. He gives the corresponding terms in French and German:—straight, Fr. droit, lisse, Germ. straff, schlicht; wavy, Fr. ondé, Germ. wellig; frizzy, Fr. frisé, Germ. lockig; woolly, Fr. crépu, Germ. kraus.

[Pg 40]



Conspectus—The Negro-Caucasic "Great Divide"—The Negro Domain—Negro Origins—Persistence of the Negro Type—Two Main Sections: Sudanese and Bantus—Contrasts and Analogies—Sudanese and Bantu Linguistic Areas—The "Drum Language"—West Sudanese Groups—The Wolofs: Primitive Speech and Pottery; Religious Notions—The Mandingans: Culture and Industries; History; the Guiné and Mali Empires—The Felups: Contrasts between the Inland and Coast Peoples; Felup Type and Mental Characters—Timni—African Freemasonry—The Sierra Leonese—Social Relations—The LiberiansThe KrumenThe Upper Guinea Peoples—Table of the Gold Coast and Slave Coast Tribes—Ashanti Folklore—Fetishism; its true inwardness—Ancestry Worship and the "Customs"—The Benin Bronzes—The Mossi—African Agnostics—Central Sudanese—General Ethnical and Social Relations—The Songhai—Domain—Origins—Egyptian Theories—Songhai Records—The Hausas—Dominant Social Position—Speech and Mental Qualities—Origins—Kanembu; Kanuri; Baghirmi; Mosgu—Ethnical and Political Relations in the Chad Basin—The Aborigines—Islám and Heathendom—Slave-Hunting—Arboreal Strongholds—Mosgu Types and Contrasts—The Cultured Peoples of Central Sudan—Kanem-Bornu Records—Eastern Sudanese—Range of the Negro in Eastern Sudan—The Mabas—Ethnical Relations in Wadai—The Nubas—The Nubian Problem—Nubian Origins and Affinities—The Negro Peoples of the Nile-Congo Watersheds—Political Relations—Two Physical Types—The Dinka—Linguistic Groups—Mental Qualities—Cannibalism—The African Cannibal Zone—Arts and Industries—High Appreciation of Pictorial Art—Sense of Humour.

Conspectus of Sudanese Negroes.

Distribution in Past and Present Times.

Present Range. Africa south of the Sahara, less Abyssinia, Galla, Somali and Masai lands; Tripolitana, Mauritania and Egypt sporadically; several of the southern United States; West Indies; Guiana; parts of Brazil and Peru.

Physical Characters.

Hair, always black, rather short, and crisp, frizzly or woolly, flat in transverse section; skin-colour, very dark brown or chocolate and blackish, never quite black; skull, generally dolichocephalous (index 72); jaws, prognathous; cheek-bone, rather small, moderately retreating, rarely prominent; nose, very[Pg 41] broad at base, flat, small, platyrrhine; eyes, large, round, prominent, black with yellowish cornea; stature, usually tall, 1.78 m. (5 ft. 10 in.); lips, often tumid and everted; arms, disproportionately long; legs, slender with small calves; feet, broad, flat, with low instep and larkspur heel.

Mental Characters.

Temperament, sensuous, indolent, improvident; fitful, passionate and cruel, though often affectionate and faithful; little sense of dignity, and slight self-consciousness, hence easy acceptance of yoke of slavery; musical.

Speech, almost everywhere in the agglutinating state, generally with suffixes.

Religion, anthropomorphic; spirits endowed with human attributes, mostly evil and more powerful than man; ancestry-worship, fetishism, and witchcraft very prevalent; human sacrifices to the dead a common feature.

Culture, low; cannibalism formerly rife, perhaps universal, still general in some regions; no science or letters; arts and industries confined mainly to agriculture, pottery, wood-carving, weaving, and metallurgy; no perceptible progress anywhere except under the influence of higher races.

Main[129] Divisions.

West Sudanese: Wolof; Mandingan; Felup; Timni; Kru; Sierra Leonese; Liberian; Tshi, Ewe, and Yoruba; Ibo; Efik; Borgu; Mossi.

Central Sudanese: Songhai; Hausa; Mosgu; Kanembu; Kanuri; Baghirmi; Yedina.

East Sudanese: Maba; Fúr; Nuba; Shilluk; Dinka; Bari; Abaka; Bongo; Mangbattu; Zandeh; Momfu; Basé; Barea.

The Negro-Caucasic "Great Divide."

From the anthropological standpoint Africa falls into two distinct sections, where the highest (Caucasic) and the lowest (Negro) divisions of mankind have been conterminous throughout all known time. Mutual encroachments and interpenetrations have probably been continuous, and indeed are still going on. Yet so marked is the difference between the two groups, and such is the tenacity with which each clings to its proper domain, that, despite any very distinct geographical frontiers, the ethnological parting line may still be detected. Obliterated at one[Pg 42] or two points, and at others set back always in favour of the higher division, it may be followed from the Atlantic coast along the course of the Senegal river east by north to the great bend of the Niger at Timbuktu; then east by south to Lake Chad, beyond which it runs nearly due east to Khartum, at the confluence of the White and Blue Niles.

From this point the now isolated Negro groups (Basé and Barea), on the northern slope of the Abyssinian plateau, show that the original boundary was at first continued still east to the Red Sea at or about Massowa. But for many ages the line appears to have been deflected from Khartum along the White Nile south to the Sobat confluence, then continuously south-eastwards round by the Sobat Valley to the Albert Nyanza, up the Somerset Nile to the Victoria Nyanza, and thence with a considerable southern bend round Masailand eastwards to the Indian Ocean at the equator.

The Negro Domain.

All the land north of this irregular line belongs to the Hamito-Semitic section of the Caucasic division, all south of it to the western (African) section of the Ulotrichous division. Throughout this region—which comprises the whole of Sudan from the Atlantic to the White Nile, and all south of Sudan except Abyssinia, Galla, Somali and Masai lands—the African Negro, clearly, distinguished from the other main groups by the above summarised physical[130] and mental qualities, largely predominates everywhere and in many places exclusively. The route by which he probably reached these intertropical lands, where he may be regarded as practically indigenous, has been indicated in Ethnology, Chs. X. and XI.

Negro Origins.

As regards the date of this occupation, nothing can be clearly proved. "The history of Africa reaches back but a short distance, except, of course, as far as the lower Nile Valley and Roman Africa is concerned; elsewhere no records exist, save tribal traditions, and these only relate to very recent events. Even archaeology, which can often sketch the main outlines of a people's history, is here practically powerless, owing to the insufficiency of[Pg 43] data. It is true that stone implements of palaeolithic and neolithic types are found sporadically in the Nile Valley[131], Somaliland, on the Zambesi, in Cape Colony and the northern portions of the Congo Free State, as well as in Algeria and Tunisia; but the localities are far too few and too widely separated to warrant the inference that they are to be in any way connected. Moreover, where stone implements are found they are, as a rule, very near, even actually on, the surface of the earth," and they are rarely, if ever, found in association with bones of extinct animals. "Nothing occurs resembling the regular stratification of Europe, and consequently no argument based on geological grounds is possible[132]." The exceptions are the lower Nile and Zambesi where true palaeoliths have been found not only on the surface (which in this case is not inconsistent with great antiquity) but also in stratified gravel. Implements of palaeolithic type are doubtless common, and may be compared to Chellean, Mousterian and even Solutrian specimens[133], but primitive culture is not necessarily pleistocene. Ancient forms persisted in Egypt down to the historic period, and even patination is no sure test of age, so until further evidence is found the antiquity of man in Africa must remain undecided[134].

Persistence of the Negro Type.

Yet since some remote if undated epoch the specialised Negro type, as depicted on the Egyptian monuments some thousands of years ago[135], has everywhere been maintained with striking uniformity. "Within this wide domain of the black Negro there is a remarkably general similarity of type.... If you took a Negro from the Gold Coast of West Africa and passed him off amongst a number of Nyasa natives, and if he were not remarkably distinguished from them by dress or tribal marks, it would not be easy to pick him out[136]."

Two Main Sections: Sudanese and Bantus.

Nevertheless considerable differences are perceptible to [Pg 44]the practised eye, and the contrasts are sufficiently marked to justify ethnologists in treating the Sudanese and the Bantu as two distinct subdivisions of the family. In both groups the relatively full-blood natives are everywhere very much alike, and the contrasts are presented chiefly amongst the mixed or Negroid populations. In Sudan the disturbing elements are both Hamitic (Berbers and Tuaregs) and Semitic (Arabs); while in Bantuland they are mainly Hamitic (Galla) in all the central and southern districts, and Arabs on the eastern seaboard from the equator to Sofala beyond the Zambesi. To the varying proportions of these several ingredients may perhaps be traced the often very marked differences observable on the one hand between such Sudanese peoples as the Wolof, Mandingans, Hausa, Nubians, Zandeh[137], and Mangbattu, and on the other between all these and the Swahili, Baganda, Zulu-Xosa, Be-Chuana, Ova-Herero and some other Negroid Bantu.

Contrasts and Analogies.

But the distinction is based on social, linguistic, and cultural, as well as on physical grounds, so that, as at present constituted, the Sudanese and Bantu really constitute two tolerably well-defined branches of the Negro family. Thanks to Muhammadan influences, the former have attained a much higher level of culture. They cultivate not only the alimentary but also the economic plants, such as cotton and indigo; they build stone dwellings, walled towns, substantial mosques and minarets; they have founded powerful states, such as those of the Hausa and Songhai, of Ghana and Bornu, with written records going back a thousand years, although these historical peoples are all without exception half-breeds, often with more Semitic and Hamitic than Negro blood in their veins.

No such cultured peoples are anywhere to be found in Bantuland except on the east coast, where the "Moors" founded great cities and flourishing marts centuries before the appearance of the Portuguese in the eastern seas. Among the results of the gold trade with these coastal settlements may be classed the Zimbabwe monuments and other ruins explored by Theodore Bent in the mining districts south of[Pg 45] the Zambesi. But in all the Negro lands free from foreign influences no true culture has ever been developed, and here cannibalism, witchcraft, and sanguinary "customs" are often still rife, or have been but recently suppressed by the direct action of European administrations.

Numberless authorities have described the Negro as unprogressive, or, if left to himself, incapable of progress in his present physical environment. Sir H. H. Johnston, who knows him well, goes much further, and speaks of him as a fine animal, who, "in his wild state, exhibits a stunted mind and a dull content with his surroundings, which induces mental stagnation, cessation of all upward progress, and even retrogression towards the brute. In some respects I think the tendency of the Negro for several centuries past has been an actual retrograde one[138]."

Sudanese and Bantu Linguistic Areas.

There is one point in which the Bantu somewhat unaccountably compare favourably with the Sudanese. In all other regions the spread of culture has tended to bring about linguistic unity, as we see in the Hellenic world, where all the old idioms were gradually absorbed in the "common dialect" of the Byzantine empire, again in the Roman empire, where Latin became the universal speech of the West, and lastly in the Muhammadan countries, where most of the local tongues have nearly everywhere, except in Sudan, disappeared before the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages.

But in Negroland the case is reversed, and here the less cultured Bantu populations all, without any known exception, speak dialects of a single mother-tongue, while the greatest linguistic confusion prevails amongst the semi-civilised as well as the savage peoples of Sudan.

Although the Bantu language may, as some suppose[139], have originated in the north and spread southwards to the Congo, Zambesi, and Limpopo basins, it cannot now be even remotely affiliated to any one of the numerous distinct forms of speech current in the Sudanese domain. Hence to allow time for its[Pg 46] diffusion over half the continent, the initial movement must be assigned to an extremely remote epoch, and a corresponding period of great duration must be postulated for the profound linguistic disintegration that is everywhere witnessed in the region between the Atlantic and Abyssinia. Here agglutination, both with prefixed and postfixed particles, is the prevailing morphological order, as in the Mandingan, Fulah, Nubian, Dinkan, and Mangbattu groups. But every shade of transition is also presented between true agglutination and inflection of the Hamito-Semitic types, as in Hausa, Kanuri, Kanem, Dasa or Southern and Teda or Northern Tibu[140].

Elsewhere, and especially in Upper Guinea, the originally agglutinating tongues have developed on lines analogous to those followed by Tibetan, Burmese, Chinese, and Otomi in other continents, with corresponding results. Thus the Tshi, Ewe, and Yoruba, surviving members of a now extinct stock-language, formerly diffused over the whole region between Cape Palmas and the Niger Delta, have become so burdened with monosyllabic homophones (like-sounding monosyllables), that to indicate their different meanings several distinguishing tones have been evolved, exactly as in the Indo-Chinese group. In Ewe (Slave Coast) the root do, according as it is toned may mean to put, let go, tell, kick, be sad, join, change, grow big, sleep, prick, or grind. So great are the ravages of phonetic decay, that new expedients have been developed to express quite simple ideas, as in Tshi (Gold Coast) addanmu, room (addan house, mu interior); akwancherifo, a guide (akwan road, cheri to show, fo person); ensahtsiabah, finger (ensah hand, tsia small, abbah child = hand's-little-child); but middle-finger = "hand's-little-chief" (ensahtsiahin, where ehin chief takes the place of abbah child[141]).

The "Drum Language."

Common both to Sudanese and Bantus, especially about the western borderlands (Upper Guinea, Cameruns, etc.) is the "drum-language," which affords a striking illustration of the Negro's musical faculty. "Two or three drums are usually used together, each producing a different note, and they are played either with the fingers or with two sticks. The lookers-on generally beat time by clapping the hands. To a European, whose[Pg 47] ear and mind are untrained for this special faculty, the rhythm of a drum expresses nothing beyond a repetition of the same note at different intervals of time; but to a native it expresses much more. To him the drum can and does speak, the sounds produced from it forming words, and the whole measure or rhythm a sentence. In this way, when company drums are being played at an ehsádu [palaver], they are made to express and convey to the bystanders a variety of meanings. In one measure they abuse the men of another company, stigmatising them as fools and cowards; then the rhythm changes, and the gallant deeds of their own company are extolled. All this, and much more, is conveyed by the beating of drums, and the native ear and mind, trained to select and interpret each beat, is never at fault. The language of drums is as well understood as that which they use in their daily life. Each chief has his own call or motto, sounded by a particular beat of his drums. Those of Amankwa Tia, the Ashanti general who fought against us in the war of 1873-4, used to say Pĭrĭhūh, hasten. Similar mottoes are also expressed by means of horns, and an entire stranger in the locality can at once translate the rhythm into words[142]."

Similar contrasts and analogies will receive due illustration in the detailed account here following of the several more representative Sudanese groups.

West Sudanese.

Wolofs. Throughout its middle and lower course the Senegal river, which takes its name from the Zenaga Berbers, forms the ethnical "divide" between the Hamites and the Sudanese Negroes. The latter are here represented by the Wolofs, who with the kindred Jolofs and Serers occupy an extensive territory between the Senegal and the Gambia rivers. Whether the term "Wolof" means "Talkers," as if they alone were gifted with the faculty of speech, or "Blacks" in contrast to the neighbouring "Red" Fulahs, both interpretations are fully justified by these Senegambians, at once the very blackest and amongst the most garrulous tribes in the[Pg 48] whole of Africa. The colour is called "ebony," and they are commonly spoken of as "Blacks of the Black." They are also very tall even for Negroes, and the Serers especially may claim to be "the Patagonians of the Old World," men six feet six inches high and proportionately muscular being far from rare in the coast districts about St Louis and Dakar.

Primitive Wolof Speech.

Their language, which is widespread throughout Senegambia, may be taken as a typical Sudanese form of speech, unlike any other in its peculiar agglutinative structure, and unaffected even in its vocabulary by the Hamitic which has been current for ages on the opposite bank of the Senegal. A remarkable feature is the so-called "article," always postfixed and subject to a two-fold series of modifications, first in accordance with the initial consonant of the noun, for which there are six possible consonantal changes (w, m, b, d, s, g), and then according as the object is present, near, not near, and distant, for which there are again four possible vowel changes (i, u, o, a), or twenty-four altogether, a tremendous redundancy of useless variants as compared with the single English form the. Thus this Protean particle begins with b, d or w to agree with báye, father, digene, woman, or fos, horse, and then becomes bi, bu, bo, ba; di, du etc.; wi, wu etc. to express the presence and the varying distances of these objects: báye-bi = father-the-here; báye-bu = father-the-there; báye-bo = father-the-yonder; báye-bá = father-the-away in the distance.

All this is curious enough; but the important point is that it probably gives us the clue to the enigmatic alliterative system of the Bantu languages as explained in Ethnology, p. 273, the position of course being reversed. Thus as in Zulu in- kose requires en- kulu, so in Wolof baye requires bi, digene di, and so on. There are other indications that the now perfected Bantu grew out of analogous but less developed processes still prevalent in the Sudanese tongues.

Primitive Wolof Pottery.

Equally undeveloped is the Wolof process of making earthenware, as observed by M. F. Regnault amongst the natives brought to Paris for the Exhibition of 1895. He noticed how one of the women utilised a somewhat deep bowl resting on the ground in such a way as to be easily spun round by the hand, thus illustrating the transition between hand-made and turned pottery. Kneading a lump of clay, and thrusting it into the[Pg 49] bowl, after sprinkling the sides with some black dust to prevent sticking, she made a hollow in the mass, enlarging and pressing it against the bowl with the back of the fingers bent in, the hand being all the time kept in a vertical position. At the same time the bowl was spun round with the left palm, this movement combined with the pressure exerted by the right hand causing the sides of the vessel to rise and take shape. When high enough it was finished off by thickening the clay to make a rim. This was held in the right hand and made fast to the mouth of the vessel by the friction caused by again turning the bowl with the left hand. This transitional process is frequently met with in Africa[143].

Religious Notions.

Most of the Wolofs profess themselves Muhammadans, the rest Catholics, while all alike are heathen at heart; only the former have charms with texts from the Koran which they cannot read, and the latter medals and scapulars of the "Seven Dolours" or of the Trinity, which they cannot understand. Many old rites still flourish, the household gods are not forgotten, and for the lizard, most popular of tutelar deities, the customary milk-bowl is daily replenished. Glimpses are thus afforded of the totemic system which still survives in a modified form amongst the Be-Chuana, the Mandingans, and several other African peoples, but has elsewhere mostly died out in Negroland. The infantile ideas associated with plant and animal totem tokens have been left far behind, when a people like the Serers have arrived at such a lofty conception as Takhar, god of justice, or even the more materialistic Tiurakh, god of wealth, although the latter may still be appealed to for success in nefarious projects which he himself might scarcely be expected to countenance. But the harmony between religious and ethical thought has scarcely yet been reached even amongst some of the higher races.

Mandingan Groups, Culture and Industries.

Mandingans. In the whole of Sudan there is scarcely a more numerous or widespread people than the Mandingans, who—with their endless ramifications, Kassonké, Jallonké, Soninké, Bambara, Vei and many others—occupy most of the region between the Atlantic and the Joliba (Upper Niger) basin, as far south as about 9° N. latitude. Within these limits it is[Pg 50] often difficult to say who are, or who are not members of this great family, whose various branches present all the transitional shades of physical type and culture grades between the true pagan Negro and the Muhammadan Negroid Sudanese.

Even linguistic unity exists only to a limited extent, as the numerous dialects of the Mandé stock-language have often diverged so greatly as to constitute independent tongues quite unintelligible to the neighbouring tribes. The typical Mandingans, however—Faidherbe's Malinka-Soninké group—may be distinguished from the surrounding populations by their more softened features, broader forehead, larger nose, fuller beard, and lighter colour. They are also distinguished by their industrious habits and generally higher culture, being rivalled by few as skilled tillers of the soil, weavers, and workers in iron and copper. They thus hold much the same social position in the west that the Hausa do in the central region beyond the Niger, and the French authorities think that "they are destined to take a position of ever increasing importance in the pacified Sudan of the future[144]."

Thus history brings about its revenges, for the Mandingans proper of the Kong plateau may fairly claim, despite their late servitude to the Fulah conquerors and their present ready acceptance of French rule, to be a historical people with a not inglorious record of over 1000 years, as founders of the two great empires of Melle and Guiné, and of the more recent states of Moasina, Bambara, Kaarta, Kong, and others about the water-parting between the head-streams of the Niger, and the rivers flowing south to the Gulf of Guinea. Here is the district of Manding, which is the original home of the Manding'ké, i.e. "People of Manding," as they are generally called, although Mandé appears to be the form used by themselves[145]. Here also was the famous city of Mali[Pg 51] or Melle, from which the Upper Niger group take the name of Mali'nké, in contradistinction to the Soni'nké of the Senegal river, the Jalo'nké of Futa-Jallon, and the Bamana of Bambara, these being the more important historical and cultured groups.

The Guiné and Mali Empires.

According to native tradition and the annals of Ahmed Bábá, rescued from oblivion by Barth[146], the first Mandingan state of Guiné (Ghána, Ghánata), a name still surviving in the vague geographical term "Guinea," goes back to pre-Muhammadan times. Wakayamangha, its legendary founder, is supposed to have flourished 300 years before the Hejira, at which date twenty-two kings had already reigned. Sixty years after that time the Moslem Arabs or Berbers are said to have already reached West Sudan, where they had twelve mosques in Ghána, first capital of the empire, and their chief stronghold till the foundation of Jinni on the Upper Niger (1043 A.D.).

Two centuries later (1235-60) the centre of the Mandingan rule was transferred to Mali, which under the great king Mansa-Musa (1311-31) became the most powerful Sudanese state of which there is any authentic record. For a time it included nearly the whole of West Sudan, and a great part of the western Sahara, beside the Songhai State with its capital Gogo, and Timbuktu. Mansa-Musa, who, in the language of the chronicler, "wielded a power without measure or limits," entered into friendly relations with the emperor of Morocco, and made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca, the splendours of which still linger in the memory of the Mussulman populations through whose lands the interminable procession wound its way. He headed 60,000 men of arms, says Ahmed Bábá, and wherever he passed he was preceded by 500 slaves, each bearing a gold stick weighing 500 mitkals (14 lbs.), the whole representing a money value of about £4,000,000 (?). The people of Cairo and Mecca were dazzled by his wealth and munificence; but during the journey a great part of his followers were seized by a painful malady called in their language tuat, and this word still lives in the Oasis of Tuat, where most of them perished.[Pg 52]

Even after the capture of Timbuktu by the Tuaregs (1433), Mali long continued to be the chief state in West Nigritia, and carried on a flourishing trade, especially in slaves and gold. But this gold was still supposed to come from the earlier kingdom of Guiné, which word consequently still remains associated with the precious metal in the popular belief. About the year 1500 Mali was captured by the Songhai king, Omar Askia, after which the empire fell to pieces, and its memory now survives only in the ethnical term Mali'nké.

Contrasts between the Inland and Coast Peoples.

Felups. From the semi-civilised Muhammadan negroid Mandingans to the utterly savage full-blood Negro Felups the transition is abrupt, but instructive. In other regions the heterogeneous ethnical groups crowded into upland valleys, as in the Caucasus, have been called the "sweepings of the plains." But in West Sudan there are no great ranges towering above the lowlands, and even the "Kong Mountains" of school geographies have now been wiped out by L. G. Binger[147]. Hence the rude aborigines of the inland plateau, retreating before the steady advance of Islam, found no place of refuge till they reached the indented fjord-like Atlantic seaboard, where many still hold their ground. This is the explanation of the striking contrasts now witnessed between the interior and so many parts of the West Coast; on the one hand powerful political organisations with numerous, more or less homogeneous, and semi-civilised negroid populations, on the other an infinite tangle of ethnical and linguistic groups, all alike weltering in the sheerest savagery, or in grades of barbarism even worse than the wild state.

Felup Type and Mental Characters.

Even the Felups, whose territory now stretches from the Gambia to the Cacheo, but formerly reached the Geba and the Bissagos Islands, do not form a single group. Originally the name of an obscure coast-tribe, the term Felup or Fulup has been extended by the Portuguese traders to all the surrounding peoples—Ayamats, Jolas, Jigúshes, Vacas, Joats, Karons, Banyúns, Banjars, Fulúns, Bayots and some others who amid much local diversity, presented a sufficiently general outward resemblance to be regarded as a single people by the first[Pg 53] European settlers. The Felups proper display the physical and mental characters of the typical Negro even in an exaggerated form—black colour, flat nose, wide nostrils, very thick and everted lips, red on the inner surface, stout muscular frame, correlated with coarse animal passions, crass ignorance, no arts, industry, or even tribal organisation, so that every little family group is independent and mostly in a state of constant feud with its neighbours. All go naked, armed with bow and arrow, and live in log huts which, though strongly built, are indescribably filthy[148].

Mother-right frequently prevails, rank and property being transmitted in the female line. There is some notion of a superhuman being vaguely identified with the sky, the rain, wind or thunderstorm. But all live in extreme terror of the medicine-man, who is openly courted, but inwardly detested, so that whenever it can be safely done the tables are turned, the witch-doctor is seized and tortured to death.

Timni, Kru, Sierra-Leonese, Liberians. Somewhat similar conditions prevail all along the seaboard from Sierra Leone to, and beyond, Cape Palmas, disturbed or modified by the Liberian intruders from the North American plantations, and by the slaves rescued in the thirties and forties by the British cruisers and brought to Sierra Leone, where their descendants now live in settled communities under European influences. These "coloured" citizens of Sierra Leone and Liberia, who are so often the butt of cheap ridicule, and are themselves perhaps too apt to scorn the kindred "niggers" of the bush, have to be carefully distinguished from these true aborigines who have never been wrenched from their natural environment.

In Sierra Leone the chief aboriginal groups on the coastlands are the Timni of the Rokelle river, flanked north and south by two branches of the Bulams, and still further south the Gallinas, Veys and Golas; in the interior the Lokkos, Limbas, Konos, and Kussas, with Kurankos, Mendis, Hubus, and other Mandingans and Fulahs everywhere in the Hinterland.

Timni Beliefs.

Of all these the most powerful during the British occupation have always been the Timni (Timani, Temné), who sold to the English the peninsula on which now stands Freetown, but afterwards crying off the bargain, repeatedly tried to drive the white and coloured[Pg 54] intruders into the sea. They are a robust people of softened Negro type, and more industrious farmers than most of the other natives. Like the Wolofs they believe in the virtue both of Christian and Moslem amulets, but have hitherto lent a deaf ear to the preachers of both these religions. Nevertheless the Protestant missionaries have carefully studied the Timni language, which possesses an oral literature rich in legends, proverbs, and folklore[149].

West African Freemasonry.

The Timni district is a chief centre of the so-called porro fraternity[150], a sort of secret society or freemasonry widely diffused throughout the coastlands, and possessing its own symbols, skin markings, passwords, and language. It presents curious points of analogy with the brotherhoods of the Micronesian islanders, but appears to be even more potent for good and evil, a veritable religious and political state within the state. "When their mandates are issued all wars and civil strife must cease, a general truce is established, and bloodshed stopped, offending communities being punished by bands of armed men in masks. Strangers cannot enter the country unless escorted by a member of the guild, who is recognised by passwords, symbolic gestures, and the like. Their secret rites are celebrated at night in the depths of the forest, all intruders being put to death or sold as slaves[151]."

The Sierra Leonese.

In studying the social conditions prevalent amongst the Sierra Leonese proper, it should be remembered that they are sprung, not only from representatives of almost every tribe along the seaboard, and even in the far interior, but also to a large extent from the freedmen and runaways of Nova Scotia and London, besides many maroons of Jamaica, who were settled here under the auspices of the Sierra Leone Company towards the close of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. Others also have in recent years been attracted to the settlements from the Timni and other tribes of the neighbouring districts. The Sierra Leonese are consequently not[Pg 55] themselves a tribe, nor yet a people, but rather a people in course of formation under the influence of a new environment and of a higher culture. An immediate consequence of such a sudden aggregation of discordant elements was the loss of all the native tongues, and the substitution of English as the common medium of intercourse. But English is the language of a people standing on the very highest plane of culture, and could not therefore be properly assimilated by the disjecta membra of tribes at the lowest rung of the social ladder. The resultant form of speech may be called ludicrous, so ludicrous that the Sierra Leonese version of the New Testament had to be withdrawn from circulation as verging almost on the blasphemous[152].

Social Relations.

It has also to be considered that all the old tribal relations were broken up, while an attempt was made to merge these waifs and strays in a single community based on social conditions to which each and all were utter strangers. It is not therefore surprising that the experiment has not proved a complete success, and that the social relations in Sierra Leone leave something to be desired. Although the freedmen and the rescued captives received free gifts of land, their dislike for the labours of the field induced many to abandon their holdings, and take to huckstering and other more pleasant pursuits. Hence their descendants almost monopolise the petty traffic and even the "professions" in Freetown and the other colonial settlements. Although accused of laziness and dishonesty, they have displayed a considerable degree of industrial as well as commercial enterprise, and the Sierra Leone craftsmen—smiths, mechanics, carpenters, builders—enjoy a good reputation in all the coast towns. All are Christians of various denominations, and even show a marked predilection for the "ministry." Yet below the surface the old paganism still slumbers, and vodoo practices, as in the West Indies and some of the Southern States, are still heard of.

Morality also is admittedly at a low ebb, and it is curious to note that this has in part been attributed to the freedom[Pg 56] enjoyed under the British administration. "They have passed from the sphere of native law to that of British law, which is brought to this young community like an article of ready-made clothing. Is it a wonder that the clothes do not fit? Is it a wonder that kings and chiefs around Sierra Leone, instead of wishing their people to come and see how well we do things, dread for them to come to this colony on account of the danger to their morals? In passing into this colony, they pass into a liberty which to them is license[153]."

The Liberians.

An experiment of a somewhat different order, but with much the same negative results, has been tried by the well-meaning founders of the Republic of Liberia. Here also the bulk of the "civilised aristocrats" are descended of emancipated plantation slaves, a first consignment of whom was brought over by a philanthropic American society in 1820-22. The idea was to start them well in life under the fostering care of their white guardians, and then leave them to work out their own redemption in their own way. All control was accordingly withdrawn in 1848, and since then the settlement has constituted an absolutely independent Negro state in the enjoyment of complete self-government. Progress of a certain material kind was undoubtedly made. The original "free citizens" increased from 8000 in 1850 to perhaps 20,000 in 1898[154], and the central administration, modelled on that of the United States, maintained some degree of order among the surrounding aborigines, estimated at some two million within the limits of the Republic.

But these aborigines have not benefited perceptibly by contact with their "civilised" neighbours, who themselves stand at much the same level intellectually and morally as their repatriated forefathers. Instead of attending to the proper administration of the Republic, the "Weegee," as they are called, have constituted themselves into two factions, the "coloured" or half-breeds, and the full-blood Negroes who, like the "Blancos" and "Neros" of some South American States, spend most of their time in a perpetual struggle for[Pg 57] office. All are of course intensely patriotic, but their patriotism takes a wrong direction, being chiefly manifested in their insolence towards the English and other European traders on the coast, and in their supreme contempt for the "stinking bush-niggers," as they call the surrounding aborigines. In 1909 internal and external difficulties led to the appointment of a Commission by President Roosevelt with the result that the American Government took charge of the finances, military organisation, agriculture and boundary questions, besides arranging for a loan of £400,000. The able administration of President Barclay, a pure blooded Negro, though not of Liberian ancestry, is perhaps the happiest augury for the future of the Republic[155].

The Krumen.

The Krus (Kroomen, Krooboys[156]), whose numerous hamlets are scattered along the coast from below Monrovia nearly to Cape Palmas, are assuredly one of the most interesting people in the whole of Africa. Originally from the interior, they have developed in their new homes a most un-African love of the sea, hence are regularly engaged as crews by the European skippers plying along those insalubrious coastlands.

In this service, in which they are known by such nicknames as "Bottle-of-Beer," "Mashed-Potatoes," "Bubble-and-Squeak," "Pipe-of-Tobacco," and the like, their word may always be depended upon. But it is to be feared that this loyalty, which with them is a strict matter of business, has earned for them a reputation for other virtues to which they have little claim. Despite the many years that they have been in the closest contact with the missionaries and traders, they are still at heart the same brutal savages as ever. After each voyage they return to the native village to spend all their gains and pilferings in drunken orgies, and relapse generally into sheer barbarism till the next steamer rounds the neighbouring headland. "It is not a comfortable reflection," writes Bishop Ingham, whose testimony will not be suspected of bias, "as we look at this mob on our decks, that, if the ship chance to strike on a sunken rock and become unmanageable, they would rise to a man, and seize all they could lay hands on, cut the very rings off our fingers if[Pg 58] they could get them in no other way, and generally loot the ship. Little has been done to Christianise these interesting, hard-working, cheerful, but ignorant and greedy people, who have so long hung on the skirts of civilisation[157]."

It is only fair to the Kru to say that this unflattering picture of them stands alone. "There is but one man of all of us who have visited West Africa who has not paid a tribute to the Kruboy's sterling qualities," says Miss Kingsley. Her opinion coincides with that of the old coasters based on life-long experience, and she waxes indignant at the ingratitude with which Kruboy loyalty is rewarded. "They have devoted themselves to us English, and they have suffered, laboured, fought, been massacred and so on with us generation after generation.... Kruboys are, indeed, the backbone of white effort in West Africa[158]."

The Upper Guinea Peoples.

But the very worst "sweepings of the Sudanese plateau" seem to have gathered along the Upper Guinea Coast, occupied by the already mentioned Tshi, Ewe, and Yoruba groups[159]. They constitute three branches of one linguistic, and probably also of one ethnical family, of which, owing to their historic and ethnical importance, the reader may be glad to have here subjoined a somewhat complete tabulated scheme.

Ashanti Folklore.

The Ga of the Volta delta are here bracketed with the Tshi because A. B. Ellis, our great authority on the Guinea peoples[160], considers the two languages to be distantly connected. He also thinks there is a foundation of fact in the native traditions, which bring the dominant tribes—Ashanti, Fanti, Dahomi, Yoruba, Bini—from the interior to the coast districts at no very remote period. Thus it is recorded of [Pg 59]the Ashanti and Fanti, now hereditary foes, that ages ago they formed one people who were reduced to the utmost distress during a long war with some inland power, perhaps the conquering Muhammadans of the Ghana or Mali empire. They were saved, however, some by eating of the shan, others of the fan plant, and of these words, with the verb di, "to eat," were made the tribal names Shan-di, Fan-di, now Ashanti, Fanti. The seppiriba plant, said to have been eaten by the Fanti, is still called fan when cooked.

Tribes of Tshi
and Ga Speech
Tribes of Ewe
Tribes of Yoruba
Gold CoastSlave Coast WestSlave Coast East
and Niger Delta
AkwapimGengBenin (Bini)

Other traditions refer to a time when all were of one speech, and lived in a far country beyond Salagha, open, flat, with little bush, and plenty of cattle and sheep, a tolerably accurate description of the inland Sudanese plateaux. But then came a red people, said to be the Fulahs, Muhammadans, who oppressed the blacks and drove them to take refuge in the forests. Here they thrived and multiplied, and after many vicissitudes they came down, down, until at last they reached the coast, with the waves rolling in, the white foam hissing and frothing on the beach, and thought it was all boiling water until some one touched it and found it was not hot, and so to this day they call the sea Eh-huru den o nni[Pg 60] shew, "Boiling water not hot," but far inland the sea is still "Boiling water[162]."

Fetishism—its true inwardness.

To A. B. Ellis we are indebted especially for the true explanation of the much used and abused term fetish, as applied to the native beliefs. It was of course already known to be not an African but a Portuguese word[163], meaning a charm, amulet, or even witchcraft. But Ellis shows how it came to be wrongly applied to all forms of animal and nature worship, and how the confusion was increased by De Brosses' theory of a primordial fetishism, and by his statement that it was impossible to conceive a lower form of religion than fetishism, which might therefore be assumed to be the beginning of all religion[164].

On the contrary it represents rather an advanced stage, as Ellis discovered after four or five years of careful observation on the spot. A fetish, he tells us, is something tangible and inanimate, which is believed to possess power in itself, and is worshipped for itself alone. Nor can such an object be picked up anywhere at random, as is commonly asserted, and he adds that the belief "is arrived at only after considerable progress has been made in religious ideas, when the older form of religion becomes secondary and owes its existence to the confusion of the tangible with the intangible, of the material with the immaterial; to the belief in the indwelling god being gradually lost sight of until the power originally believed to belong to the god, is finally attributed to the tangible and inanimate object itself."

But now comes a statement that may seem paradoxical to most students of the evolution of religious ideas. We are assured that fetishism thus understood is not specially or at all characteristic of the religion of the Gold Coast natives, who are in fact "remarkably free from it" and believe in invisible intangible deities. Some of them may dwell in a tangible inanimate object, popularly called a "fetish"; but the idea of the indwelling god is never lost sight of, nor is[Pg 61] the object ever worshipped for its own sake. True fetishism, the worship of such material objects and images, prevails, on the contrary, far more "amongst the Negroes of the West Indies, who have been christianised for more than half-a-century, than amongst those of West Africa. Hence the belief in Obeah, still prevalent in the West Indies, which formerly was a belief in indwelling spirits which inhabited certain objects, has now become a worship paid to tangible and inanimate objects, which of themselves are believed to possess the power to injure. In Europe itself we find evidence amongst the Roman Catholic populations of the South, that fetishism is a corruption of a former culte, rather than a primordial faith. The lower classes there have confused the intangible with the tangible, and believe that the images of the saints can both see, hear and feel. Thus we find the Italian peasants and fishermen beat and ill-treat their images when their requests have not been complied with.... These appear to be instances of true fetishism[165]."

Ancestry Worship and the "Customs."

Another phase of religious belief in Upper Guinea is ancestry worship, which has here been developed to a degree unknown elsewhere. As the departed have to be maintained in the same social position beyond the grave that they enjoyed in this world, they must be supplied with slaves, wives, and attendants, each according to his rank. Hence the institution of the so-called "customs," or anniversary feasts of the dead, accompanied by the sacrifice of human victims, regulated at first by the status and afterwards by the whim and caprice of chiefs and kings. In the capitals of the more powerful states, Ashanti, Dahomey, Benin, the scenes witnessed at these sanguinary rites rivalled in horror those held in honour of the Aztec gods. Details may here be dispensed with on a repulsive subject, ample accounts of which are accessible from many sources to the general reader. In any case these atrocities teach no lesson, except that most religions have waded through blood to better things, unless arrested in mid-stream by the intervention of higher powers, as happily in Upper Guinea, where the human shambles of Kumassi, Abomeh, Benin and most other places have now been swept away.

[Pg 62]

The Benin Bronzes.

On the capture of Benin by the English in 1897 a rare and unexpected prize fell into the hands of ethnologists. Here was found a large assortment of carved ivories, woodwork, and especially a series of about 300 bronze and brass plates or panels with figures of natives and Europeans, armed and in armour, in full relief, all cast by the cire perdue process[166], some barbaric, others, and especially a head in the round of a young negress, showing high artistic skill. Many of these remarkable objects are in the British Museum, where they have been studied by C. H. Read and O. M. Dalton[167], who are evidently right in assigning the better class to the sixteenth century, and to the aid, if not the hand, of some Portuguese artificers in the service of the King of Benin. They add that "casting of an inferior kind continues down to the present time," and it may here be mentioned that armour has long been and is still worn by the cavalry, and even their horses, in the Muhammadan states of Central Sudan. "The chiefs (Kashelláwa) who serve as officers under the Sultan [of Bornu] and act as his bodyguard wear jackets of chain armour and cuirasses of coats of mail[168]." It is clear that metal casting in a large way has long been practised by the semi-civilised peoples of Sudan.

The Mossi.

Within the great bend of the Niger the veil, first slightly raised by Barth in the middle of the nineteenth century, has now been drawn aside by L. G. Binger, F. D. Lugard and later explorers. Here the Mossi, Borgu and others have hitherto more or less successfully resisted the Moslem advance, and are consequently for the most part little removed from the savage state. Even the "Faithful" wear the cloak of Islám somewhat loosely, and the level of their culture may be judged from the case of the Imám of Diulasu, who pestered Binger for nostrums and charms against ailments, war, and misfortunes. What he wanted chiefly to know was the names of Abraham's two[Pg 63] wives. "Tell me these," he would say, "and my fortune is made, for I dreamt it the other night; you must tell me; I really must have those names or I'm lost[169]."

In some districts the ethnical confusion is considerable, and when Binger arrived at the Court of the Mossi King, Baikary, he was addressed successively in Mossi, Hausa, Songhai, and Fulah, until at last it was discovered that Mandingan was the only native language he understood. Waghadugu, capital of the chief Mossi state, comprises several distinct quarters occupied respectively by Mandingans, Marengas (Songhai), Zang-wer'os (Hausas), Chilmigos (Fulahs), Mussulman and heathen Mossis, the whole population scarcely exceeding 5000. However, perfect harmony prevails, the Mossi themselves being extremely tolerant despite the long religious wars they have had to wage against the fanatical Fulahs and other Muhammadan aggressors[170].

African Agnostics.

Religious indifference is indeed a marked characteristic of this people, and the case is mentioned of a nominal Mussulman prince who could even read and write, and say his prayers, but whose two sons "knew nothing at all," or, as we should say, were "Agnostics." One of them, however, it is fair to add, is claimed by both sides, the Moslems asserting that he says his prayers in secret, the heathens that he drinks dolo (palm-wine), which of course no true believer is supposed ever to do.

Central Sudanese.

General Ethnical and Social Relations.

In Central Sudan, that is, the region stretching from the Niger to Wadai, a tolerably clean sweep has been made of the aborigines, except along the southern fringe and in parts of the Chad basin. For many centuries Islám has here been firmly established, and in Negroland Islám is synonymous with a greater or less degree of miscegenation. The native tribes who resisted the fiery Arab or Tuareg or Tibu proselytisers were for the most part either extirpated, or else driven to the[Pg 64] southern uplands about the Congo-Chad water-parting. All who accepted the Koran became merged with the conquerors in a common negroid population, which supplied the new material for the development of large social communities and powerful political states.

Under these conditions the old tribal organisations were in great measure dissolved, and throughout its historic period of about a millennium Central Sudan is found mainly occupied by peoples gathered together in a small number of political systems, each with its own language and special institutions, but all alike accepting Islám as the State religion. Such are or were the Songhai empire, the Hausa States, and the kingdoms of Bornu with Kanem and Baghirmi, and these jointly cover the whole of Central Sudan as above defined.

Songhai Domain.

Songhais[171]. How completely the tribe[172] has merged in the people[172] may be inferred from the mere statement that, although no longer an independent nation[172], the negroid Songhais form a single ethnical group of about two million souls, all of one speech and one religion, and all distinguished by somewhat uniform physical and mental characters. This territory lies mainly about the borderlands between Sudan and the Sahara, stretching from Timbuktu east to the Asben oasis and along both banks of the Niger from Lake Debo round to the Sokoto confluence, and also at some points reaching as far as the Hombori hills within the great bend of the Niger.

Here they are found in the closest connection with the Ireghenaten ("mixed") Tuaregs, and elsewhere with other Tuaregs, and with Arabs, Fulahs or Hausas[173], so that exclusively Songhai communities are now somewhat rare. But the bulk of the race is still concentrated in Gurma and in the district between Gobo and Timbuktu, the two chief cities of the old Songhai empire.

Songhai Type and Temperament.

They are a distinctly negroid people, presenting various [Pg 65]shades of intermixture with the surrounding Hamites and Semites, but generally of a very deep brown or blackish colour, with somewhat regular features and that peculiar long, black, and ringletty hair, which is so characteristic of Negro and Caucasic blends, as seen amongst the Trarsas and Braknas of the Senegal, the Bejas, Danakils, and many Abyssinians of the region between the Nile and the Red Sea. Barth, to whom we still owe the best account of this historical people, describes them as of a dull, morose temperament, the most unfriendly and churlish of all the peoples visited by him in Negroland.

Songhai Origins.
Egyptian Theories.

This writer's suggestion that they may have formerly had relations with the Egyptians[174] has been revived in an exaggerated form by M. Félix Dubois, whose views have received currency in England through uncritical notices of his Timbouctou la Mystérieuse (Paris, 1897). But there is no "mystery" in the matter. The Songhai are a Sudanese people, whose exodus from Egypt is a myth, and whose Kissur language, as it is called, has not the remotest connection with any form of speech known to have been at any time current in the Nile Valley[175]. Nor has it any evident affinities with any group of African tongues. H. H. Johnston regards the Songhai as the result of the mixing of "the Libyan section of the Hamitic peoples, reinforced by Berbers (Iberians) from Spain," with the pre-existing Fulah type and the Negroids; as also from the far earlier intercourse between the Fulah and the Negro[176].

Songhai Records.

The Songhai empire, like that of the rival Mandingans, claims a respectable antiquity, its reputed founder Za-el-Yemeni having flourished about 680 A.D. Za Kasi, fifteenth in succession from the founder,[Pg 66] was the first Muhammadan ruler (1009); but about 1326 the country was reduced by the Mandingans, and remained throughout the fourteenth and a great part of the fifteenth century virtually subject to the Mali empire, although Ali Killun, founder of the new Sonni dynasty, had acquired a measure of independence about 1335-6. But the political supremacy of the Songhai people dates only from about 1464, when Sonni Ali, sixteenth of the Sonni dynasty, known in history as "the great tyrant and famous miscreant," threw off the Mandingan yoke, "and changed the whole face of this part of Africa by prostrating the kingdom of Melle[177]." Under his successor, Muhammad Askia[178], "perhaps the greatest sovereign that ever ruled over Negroland[179]," the Songhai Empire acquired its greatest expansion, extending from the heart of Hausaland to the Atlantic seaboard, and from the Mossi country to the Tuat oasis, south of Morocco. Although unfavourably spoken of by Leo Africanus, Askia is described by Ahmed Bábá as governing the subject peoples "with justice and equity, causing well-being and comfort to spring up everywhere within the borders of his extensive dominions, and introducing such of the institutions of Muhammadan civilisation as he considered might be useful to his subjects[180]."

Askia also made the Mecca pilgrimage with a great show of splendour. But after his reign (1492-1529) the Songhai power gradually declined, and was at last overthrown by Mulay Hamed, Emperor of Morocco, in 1591-2. Ahmed Bábá, the native chronicler, was involved in the ruin of his people[181], and since then the Songhai nation has been broken into fragments, subject here to Hausas, there to Fulahs, elsewhere to Tuaregs, and, since the French occupation of Timbuktu (1894), to the hated Giaur.

The Hausas—their dominant Social Position.

Hausas. In everything that constitutes the real greatness [Pg 67]of a nation, the Hausas may rightly claim preeminence amongst all the peoples of Negroland. No doubt early in the nineteenth century the historical Hausa States, occupying the whole region between the Niger and Bornu, were overrun and reduced by the fanatical Fulah bands under Othmán Dan Fodye. But the Hausas, in a truer sense than the Greeks, "have captured their rude conquerors[182]," for they have even largely assimilated them physically to their own type, and the Hausa nationality is under British auspices asserting its natural social, industrial and commercial predominance throughout Central and even parts of Western Sudan.

Hausa Speech and Mental Qualities.

It could not well be otherwise, seeing that the Hausas form a compact body of some five million peaceful and industrious Sudanese, living partly in numerous farmsteads amid their well-tilled cotton, indigo, pulse, and corn fields, partly in large walled cities and great trading centres such as Kano[183], Katsena, Yacoba, whose intelligent and law-abiding inhabitants are reckoned by many tens of thousands. Their melodious tongue, with a vocabulary containing perhaps 10,000 words[184], has long been the great medium of intercourse throughout Sudan from[Pg 68] Lake Chad to and beyond the Niger, and is daily acquiring even greater preponderance amongst all the settled and trading populations of these regions.

But though showing a marked preference for peaceful pursuits, the Hausas are by no means an effeminate people. Largely enlisted in the British service, they have at all times shown fighting qualities of a high order under their English officers, and a well-earned tribute has been paid to their military prowess amongst others by Sir George Goldie and Lieut. Vandeleur[185]. With the Hausas on her side England need assuredly fear no rivals to her beneficent sway over the teeming populations of the fertile plains and plateaux of Central Sudan, which is on the whole perhaps the most favoured land in Africa north of the equator.

Hausa Origins.

According to the national traditions, which go back to no very remote period[186], the seven historical Hausa States known as the "Hausa bokoy" ("the seven Hausas") take their name from the eponymous heroes Biram, Daura, Gober, Kano, Rano, Katsena and Zegzeg, all said to be sprung from the Deggaras, a Berber tribe settled to the north of Munyo. From Biram, the original seat, the race and its language spread to seven other provinces—Zanfara, Kebbi, Nupe (Nyffi), Gwari, Yauri, Yariba and Kororofa, which in contempt are called the "Banza bokoy" ("the seven Upstarts"). All form collectively the Hausa domain in the widest sense.

Authentic history is quite recent, and even Komayo, reputed founder of Katsena, dates only from about the fourteenth century. Ibrahim Maji, who was the first Moslem ruler, is assigned to the latter part of the fifteenth century, and since then the chief events have been associated with the Fulah wars, ending in the absorption of all the Hausa States in the unstable Fulah empire of Sokoto at the beginning of the nineteenth century. With the fall of Kano and Sokoto[Pg 69] in 1903 British supremacy was finally established throughout the Hausa States, now termed Northern Nigeria[187].

Ethnical and Political Relations in the Chad Basin.

Kanembu; Kanuri[188]; Baghirmi, Mosgu. Round about the shores of Lake Chad are grouped three other historical Muhammadan nations, the Kanembu ("People of Kanem") on the north, the Kanuri of Bornu on the west, and the Baghirmi on the south side. The last named was conquered by the Sultan of Wadai in 1871, and overrun by Rabah Zobeir, half Arab, half Negro adventurer, in 1890. But in 1897 Emile Gentil[189], French commissioner for the district, placed the country under French protection, although French authority was not firmly established until the death of Rabah and the rout of his sons in 1901. At the same time Kanem was brought under French control, and shortly afterwards Bornu was divided between Great Britain, France and Germany.

In this region the ethnical relations are considerably more complex than in the Hausa States. Here Islám has had greater obstacles to contend with than on the more open western plateaux, and many of the pagan aborigines have been able to hold their ground either in the archipelagos of Lake Chad (Yedinas, Kuri, Buduma[190]), or in the swampy tracts and uplands of the Logon-Shari basin (Mosgu, Mandara, Makari, etc.).

The Aborigines.
Islám and Heathendom.

It was also the policy of the Muhammadans, whose system is based on slavery, not to push their religious zeal too far, for, if all the natives were converted, where could they procure a constant supply of slaves, those who accept the teachings of the Prophet being ipso facto entitled to their freedom? Hence the pagan districts [Pg 70]were, and still are, regarded as convenient preserves, happy hunting-grounds to be raided from time to time, but not utterly wasted; to be visited by organised razzias just often enough to keep up the supply in the home and foreign markets. This system, controlled by the local governments themselves, has long prevailed about the borderlands between Islám and heathendom, as we know from Barth, Nachtigal, and one or two other travellers, who have had reluctantly to accompany the periodical slave-hunting expeditions from Bornu and Baghirmi to the territories of the pagan Mosgu people with their numerous branches (Margi, Mandara, Makari, Logon, Gamergu, Keribina) and the other aborigines (Bede, Ngisem, So, Kerrikerri, Babir) on the northern slopes of the Congo-Chad water-parting. As usual on such occasions, there is a great waste of life, many perishing in defence of their homes or even through sheer wantonness, besides those carried away captives. "A large number of slaves had been caught this day," writes Barth, "and in the evening a great many more were brought in; altogether they were said to have taken one thousand, and there were certainly not less than five hundred. To our utmost horror, not less than 170 full-grown men were mercilessly slaughtered in cold blood, the greater part of them being allowed to bleed to death, a leg having been severed from the body[191]." There was probably just then a glut in the market.

Arboreal Strongholds.

A curious result of these relations is that in the wooded districts some of the natives have reverted to arboreal habits, taking refuge during the raids in the branches of huge bombax-trees converted into temporary strongholds. Round the vertical stem of these forest giants is erected a breast-high look-out, while the higher horizontal branches, less exposed to the fire of the enemy, support strongly-built huts and store-houses, where the families of the fugitives take refuge with their effects, including, as Nachtigal assures us[192], their domestic animals, such as goats, dogs, and poultry. During the siege of the aërial fortress, which is often successfully defended, long light ladders of withies are let down at night, when no attack need be feared, and the supply of water and provisions is[Pg 71] thus renewed from caches or hiding-places round about. In 1872 Nachtigal accompanied a predatory excursion to the pagan districts south of Baghirmi, when an attack was made on one of these tree-fortresses. Such citadels can be stormed only at a heavy loss, and as the Gaberi (Baghirmi) warriors had no tools capable of felling the great bombax-tree, they were fain to rest satisfied with picking off a poor wretch now and then, and barbarously mutilating the bodies as they fell from the overhanging branches.

Mosgu Types and Contrasts.

Some of these aborigines disfigure their faces by the disk-like lip-ornament, which is also fashionable in Nyassaland, and even amongst the South American Botocudos. The type often differs greatly, and while some of the widespread Mosgu tribes are of a dirty black hue, with disagreeable expression, wide open nostrils, thick lips, high cheek-bones, coarse bushy hair, and disproportionate knock-kneed legs, other members of the same family astonished Barth "by the beauty and symmetry of their forms, and by the regularity of their features, which in some had nothing of what is called the Negro type. But I was still more astonished at their complexion, which was very different in different individuals, being in some of a glossy black, and in others of a light copper, or rather rhubarb colour, the intermediate shades being almost entirely wanting. I observed in one house a really beautiful female who, with her son, about eight or nine years of age, formed a most charming group, well worthy of the hand of an accomplished artist. The boy's form did not yield in any respect to the beautiful symmetry of the most celebrated Grecian statues. His hair, indeed, was very short and curled, but not woolly. He, as well as his mother and the whole family, were of a pale or yellowish-red complexion, like rhubarb[193]."

There is no suggestion of albinism, and the explanation of such strange contrasts must await further exploration in the whole of this borderland of Negroes and Bantus about the divide between the Chad and the Congo basins. The country has until lately been traversed only at rare intervals by pioneers, interested more in political than in anthropological matters.

[Pg 72]

The Cultured Peoples of Central Sudan.
Kanem-Bornu Records.

Of the settled and more or less cultured peoples in the Chad basin, the most important are the Kanembu[194], who introduce a fresh element of confusion in this region, being more allied in type and speech to the Hamitic Tibus than to the Negro stock, or at least taking a transitional position between the two; the Kanuri, the ruling people in Bornu, of somewhat coarse Negroid appearance[195]; and the southern Baghirmi, also decidedly Negroid, originally supposed to have come from the Upper Shari and White Nile districts[196]. Their civilisation, such as it is, has been developed exclusively under Moslem influences, but it has never penetrated much below the surface. The people are everywhere extremely rude, and for the most part unlettered, although the meagre and not altogether trustworthy Kanem-Bornu records date from the time of Sef, reputed founder of the monarchy about 800 A.D. Duku, second in descent from Sef, is doubtfully referred to about 850 A.D. Hamé, founder of a new dynasty, flourished towards the end of the eleventh century (1086-97), and Dunama, one of his successors, is said to have extended his sway over a great part of the Sahara, including the whole of Fezzan (1221-59). Under Omar (1394-98) a divorce took place between Kanem and Bornu, and henceforth the latter country has remained the chief centre of political power in the Chad basin.

A long series of civil wars was closed by Ali (1472-1504), who founded the present capital, Birni, and whose grandson, Muhammad, brought the empire of Bornu to the highest pitch of its greatness (1526-45). Under Ahmed (1793-1810)[Pg 73] began the wars with the Fulahs, who, after bringing the empire to the verge of ruin, were at last overthrown by the aid of the Kanem people, and since 1819 Bornu has been ruled by the present Kanemíyín dynasty, which though temporarily conquered by Rabah in 1893, was restored under British administration in 1902[197].

Eastern Sudanese.

Range of the Negro in Eastern Sudan.

As some confusion prevails regarding the expression "Eastern Sudan," I may here explain that it bears a very different meaning, according as it is used in a political or an ethnical sense. Politically it is practically synonymous with Egyptian Sudan, that is the whole region from Darfur to the Red Sea which was ruled or misruled by the Khedivial Government before the revolt of the Mahdi (1883-4), and was restored to Egypt by the British occupation of Khartum in 1898. Ethnically Eastern Sudan comprises all the lands east of the Chad basin, where the Negro or Negroid populations are predominant, that is to say, Wadai, Darfur, and Kordofan in the West, the Nile Valley from the frontier of Egypt proper south to Albert Nyanza, both slopes of the Nile-Congo divide (the western tributaries of the White Nile and the Welle-Makua affluent of the Congo), lastly the Sobat Valley with some Negro enclaves east of the White Nile, and even south of the equator (Kavirondo, Semliki Valley).

The Mabas.
Ethnical Relations in Wadai.

Throughout this region the fusion of the aborigines with Hamites and Arabs, Tuareg, or Tibu Moslem intruders, wherever they have penetrated, has been far less complete than in Central and Western Sudan. Thus in Wadai the dominant Maba people, whence the country is often called Dar-Maba ("Mabaland"), are rather Negro than Negroid, with but a slight strain of foreign blood. In the northern districts the Zogháwa, Gura'an, Baele and Bulala Tibus keep quite aloof from the blacks, as do elsewhere; the Aramkas, as the Arabs are collectively called in Wadai. Yet the Mahamíd and some other Bedouin tribes have here been[Pg 74] settled for over 500 years, and it was through their assistance that the Mabas acquired the political supremacy they have enjoyed since the seventeenth century, when they reduced or expelled the Tynjurs[198], the former ruling race, said to be Nubians originally from Dongola. It was Abd-el-Kerim, founder of the new Moslem Maba state, who gave the country its present name in honour of his grandfather, Wadai. His successor Kharúb I removed the seat of government to Wara, where Vogel was murdered in 1856. Abeshr, the present capital, dates only from the year 1850. Except for Nachtigal, who crossed the frontier in 1873, nothing was known of the land or its people until the French occupation at the end of the last century (1899). Since that date it has been prominent as the scene of the attack on a French column and the death of its leader, Colonel Moll, in 1910, and the tragic murder of Lieutenant Boyd Alexander earlier in the same year[199].

The Nubian Problem.

Nubas. As in Wadai, the intruding and native populations have been either imperfectly or not at all assimilated in Darfur and Kordofan, where the Muhammadan Semites still boast of their pure Arab descent[200], and form powerful confederacies. Chief among these are the Baggara (Baqqara, "cow-herds"), cattle-keepers and agriculturalists, of whom some are as dark as the blackest negroes, though many are fine-looking, with regular, well-shaped features. Their form of Arabic is notoriously corrupt. Their rivals, the Jaalan (Jalin, Jahalin), are mostly riverain[Pg 75] "Arabs," a learned tribe, containing many scribes, and their language is said to be closer to classical Arabic than the form current in Egypt. These are the principal slave-hunters of the Sudan, and the famous Zobeir belonged to their tribe. The Yemanieh are largely traders, and trace their origin from South Arabia. The Kababish are the wealthiest camel-owning tribe, perhaps less contaminated by negro blood than any other Arab tribe in the Sudan[201]. The Nuba and the Nubians have been a source of much confusion, but recent investigations in the field such as those of C. G. Seligman[202] and H. A. MacMichael[203], and the publications of the Archaeological Survey of Nubia conducted by G. A. Reisner, help to elucidate the problem. We have first of all to get rid of the "Nuba-Fulah" family, which was introduced by Fr. Müller and accepted by some English writers, but has absolutely no existence. The two languages, although both of the agglutinative Sudanese type, are radically distinct in all their structural, lexical, and phonetic elements, and the two peoples are equally distinct. The Fulahs are of North African origin, although many have in recent times been largely assimilated to their black Sudanese subjects. The Nuba on the contrary belong originally to the Negro stock, with hair of the common negro type, and are among the darkest skinned tribes in the Sudan, their colour varying from a dark chocolate brown to the darkest shade of brown black.

But rightly to understand the question we have carefully to avoid confusion between the Nubians of the Nile Valley and the Negro Nubas, who gave their name to the Nuba Mountains, Kordofan, where most of the aborigines (Kargo, Kulfan, Kolaji, Tumali, Lafofa, Eliri, Talodi) still belong to this connection[203]. Kordofan is probably itself a Nuba word meaning "Land of the Kordo" (fán = Arab, dár, land, country). There is a certain amount of anthropological evidence to connect the Nuba with the Fur and the Kara of Darfur to the west[204]. But it is a different anthropological type that is represented in the three groups of Matokki[Pg 76] (Kenus) between the First Cataract and Wadi-el-Arab, the Mahai (Marisi) between Korosko and Wadi-Halfa, at the Second Cataract, and the Dongolawi, of the province of Dongola between Wadi-Halfa and Jebel Deja near Meroe.

Nubian Origins and Affinities.

These three groups, all now Muhammadans, but formerly Christians, constitute collectively the so-called "Nubians" of European writers, but call themselves Barabra, Plural of Berberi, i.e. people of Berber, although they do not at present extend so far up the Nile as that town[205]. Possibly these are Strabo's "Noubai, who dwell on the left bank of the Nile in Libya [Africa], a great nation etc.[206]"; and are also to be identified with the Nobatae, who in Diocletian's time were settled, some in the Kharga oasis, others in the Nile Valley about Meroe, to guard the frontiers of the empire against the incursions of the restless Blemmues. But after some time they appear to have entered into peaceful relations with these Hamites, the present Bejas, even making common cause with them against the Romans; but the confederacy was crushed by Maximinus in 451, though perhaps not before crossings had taken place between the Nobatae and the Caucasic Bejas. Then these Bejas withdrew to their old homes, which they still occupy, between the Nile and the Red Sea above Egypt, while the Nobatae, embracing Christianity, as is said, in 545, established the powerful kingdom of Dongola which lasted over 800 years, and was finally overthrown by the Arabs in the fourteenth century, since which time the Nile Nubians have been Muhammadans.

There still remains the problem of language which, as shown by Lepsius[207], differs but slightly from that now current amongst the Kordofan Nubas. But this similarity only holds in the north, and is now shown to be due to Berberine[Pg 77] immigration into Kordofan[208]. Recent investigations show that the Nuba and the Barabra, in spite of this linguistic similarity which has misled certain authors[209], are not to be regarded as belonging to the same race[210]. "The Nuba are a tall, stoutly built muscular people, with a dark, almost black skin. They are predominantly mesaticephalic, for although cephalic indices under 70 and over 80 both occur, nearly 60 per cent. of the individuals measured are mesaticephals, the remaining being dolichocephalic and brachycephalic in about equal proportions." The hair is invariably woolly. The Barabra, on the contrary, is of slight, or more commonly medium build, not particularly muscular and in skin colour varies from a yellowish to a chocolate brown. The hair is commonly curly or wavy and may be almost straight, while the features are not uncommonly absolutely non-Negroid. "Thus there can be no doubt that the two peoples are essentially different in physical characters and the same holds good on the cultural side" (p. 611). Barabra were identified by Lepsius with the Wawat, a people frequently mentioned in Egyptian records, and recent excavations by the members of the Archaeological Survey of Nubia show a close connection with the predynastic Egyptians, a connection supported also on physical grounds. It seems strange, therefore, to meet with repeated reference on Egyptian monuments to Negroes in Nubia when, as proved by excavations, the inhabitants were by no means Negroes or even frankly Negroid. Seligman's solution of the difficulty is as follows (p. 619). It seems that only one explanation is tenable, namely that for a period subsequent to the Middle Kingdom the country in the neighbourhood of the Second Cataract became essentially a Negro country and may have remained in this condition for some little time. Then a movement in the opposite direction set in; the Negroes, diminished by war, were in part driven back by the great conquerors of the New Empire; those that were left mixed with the Egyptian garrisons and traders and once more a hybrid race arose which, however,[Pg 78] preserved the language of its Negro ancestors. Although Seligman regards the conclusion that this race gave rise directly to the present-day inhabitants of Nubia as "premature," and suggests further mixture with the Beja of the eastern deserts, Elliot Smith recognises the essential similarity between the homogeneous blend of Egyptian and Negro traits which characterise the Middle Nubian people (contemporary with the Middle Empire, XII-XVII dynasties), a type which "seems to have remained dominant in Nubia ever since then, for the span of almost 4000 years[211]."

The Negro Peoples of the Nile-Congo Watersheds.

Before the incursions of the Nubian-Arab traders and raiders, who began to form settlements (zeribas, fenced stations) in the Upper Nile regions above Khartum about the middle of the nineteenth century, most of the Nile-Congo divide (White Nile tributaries and Welle-Makua basin) belonged in the strictest sense to the Negro domain. Sudanese tribes, and even great nations reckoned by millions, had been for ages in almost undisturbed possession, not only of the main stream from the equatorial lakes to and beyond the Sobat junction, but also of the Sobat Valley itself, and of the numerous south-western head-waters of the White Nile converging about Lake No above the Sobat junction. Nearly all the Nile peoples—the Shilluks and Dinkas about the Sobat confluence, the Bari and Nuers of the Bahr-el-Jebel, the Bongos (Dors), Rols, Golos, Mittus, Madis, Makarakas, Abakas, Mundus, and many others about the western affluents, as well as the Funj of Senaar—had been brought under the Khedivial rule before the revolt of the Mahdi.

Political Relations.

The same fate had already overtaken or was threatening the formerly powerful Mombuttu (Mangbattu) and Zandeh[212] nations of the Welle lands, as well as the Krej and others about the low watersheds of the Nile-Congo and Chad basins. Since then the Welle groups have been subjected to the jurisdiction of the Congo Free State, while the political destinies of the Nilotic tribes must henceforth be controlled by the British masters of the Nile lands from the Great Lakes to the Mediterranean.

Although grouped as Negroes proper, very few of the[Pg 79] Nilotic peoples present the almost ideal type of the blacks, such as those of Upper Guinea and the Atlantic coast of West Sudan. The complexion is in general less black, the nose less broad at the base, the lips less everted (Shilluks and one or two others excepted), the hair rather less frizzly, the dolichocephaly and prognathism less marked.

Two Physical Types.

Apart from the more delicate shades of transition, due to diverse interminglings with Hamites and Semites, two distinct types may be plainly distinguished—one black, often very tall, with long thin legs, and long-headed (Shilluks, Dinkas, Bari, Nuers, Alur), the other reddish or ruddy brown, more thick-set, and short-headed (Bongos, Golos, Makarakas, with the kindred Zandehs of the Welle region). No explanation has been offered of their brachycephaly, which is all the more difficult to account for, inasmuch as it is characteristic neither of the aboriginal Negro nor of the intruding Hamitic and Semitic elements. Have we here an indication of the transition suspected by many between the true long-headed Negro and the round-headed Negrillo, who is also brownish, and formerly ranged as far north as the Nile head-streams, as would appear from the early Egyptian records (Chap. IV.)? Schweinfurth found that the Bongos were "hardly removed from the lowest grade of brachycephaly[213]," and the same is largely true of the Zandehs and their Makaraka cousins, as noticed by Junker: "The skull also in many of these peoples approaches the round form, whereas the typical Negro is assumed to be long-headed[214]." But so great is the diversity of appearance throughout the whole of this region, including even "a striking Semitic type," that this observer was driven to the conclusion that "woolly hair, common to all, forms in fact the only sure characteristic of the Negro[215]."

The Dinka.

Dinka is the name given to a congeries of independent tribes spread over a vast area, stretching from 300 miles south of Khartum to within 100 miles of Gondokoro, and reaching many miles to the west in the Bahr-el-Ghazal Province. All these tribes according to C. G. Seligman[216] call themselves Jieng or Jenge, corrupted[Pg 80] by the Arabs into Dinka; but no Dinka nation has arisen, for the tribes have never recognised a supreme chief, as do their neighbours, the Shilluk, nor have they even been united under a military despot, as the Zulu were united under Chaka. They differ in manners and customs and even in physique and are often at war with one another. One of the most obvious distinctions in habits is between the relatively powerful cattle-owning Dinka and the small and comparatively poor tribes who have no cattle and scarcely cultivate the ground, but live in the marshes in the neighbourhood of the Sudd, and depend largely for their sustenance on fishing and hippopotamus-hunting. Their villages, which are generally dirty and evil-smelling, are built on ground which rises but little above the reed-covered surface of the country. The Dinka community is largely autonomous under leadership of a chief or headman (bain) who is sometimes merely the local magician, but in one community in each tribe he is the hereditary rain-maker whose wish is law. "Cattle form the economic basis of Dinka society; ... they are the currency in which bride-price and blood-fines are paid; and the desire to acquire a neighbour's herds is the common cause of those inter-tribal raids which constitute Dinka warfare."

Linguistic Groups.

Some uniformity appears to prevail amongst the languages of the Nile-Welle lands, and from the rather scanty materials collected by Junker, Fr. Müller was able to construct an "Equatorial Linguistic Family," including the Mangbattu, Zandeh, Barmbo, Madi, Bangba, Krej, Golo and others, on both sides of the water-parting. Leo Reinisch, however, was not convinced, and in a letter addressed to the author declared that "in the absence of sentences it is impossible to determine the grammatical structure of Mangbattu and the other languages. At the same time we may detect certain relations, not to the Nilotic, but the Bantu tongues. It may therefore be inferred that Mangbattu and the others have a tolerably close relationship to the Bantu, and may even be remotely akin to it,[Pg 81] judging from their tendency to prefix formations[217]." Future research will show how far this conjecture is justified.

Mental Qualities.

Although Islám has made considerable progress, throughout the greater part of the Sudanese region, though not among the Nilotic tribes, the bulk of the people are still practically pagan. Witchcraft continues to flourish amongst the equatorial peoples, and important events are almost everywhere attended by sanguinary rites. These are absent among the true Nilotics. The Dinka are totemic, with ancestor-worship. The Shilluk have a cult of divine kings.


Cannibalism however, in some of its most repulsive forms, prevails amongst the Zandehs, who barter in human fat as a universal staple of trade, and amongst the Mangbattu, who cure for future use the bodies of the slain in battle and "drive their prisoners before them, as butchers drive sheep to the shambles, and these are only reserved to fall victims on a later day to their horrible and sickly greediness[218]."

The Cannibal Zone.

In fact here we enter the true "cannibal zone," which, as I have elsewhere shown, was in former ages diffused all over Central and South Africa, or, it would be more correct to say, over the whole continent[219], but has in recent times been mainly confined to "the region stretching west and east from the Gulf of Guinea to the western head-streams of the White Nile, and from below the equator northwards in the direction of Adamáwa, Dar-Banda and Dar-Fertit. Wherever explorers have penetrated into this least-known region of the continent they have found the practice fully established, not merely as a religious rite or a privilege reserved for priests, but as a recognised social institution[220]."[Pg 82]

Arts and Industries.

Yet many of these cannibal peoples, especially the Mangbattus and Zandehs, are skilled agriculturists, and cultivate some of the useful industries, such as iron and copper smelting and casting, weaving, pottery and wood-carving, with great success. The form and ornamental designs of their utensils display real artistic taste, while the temper of their iron implements is often superior to that of the imported European hardware. Here again the observation has been made that the tribes most addicted to cannibalism also excel in mental qualities and physical energy. Nor are they strangers to the finer feelings of human nature, and above all the surrounding peoples the Zandeh anthropophagists are distinguished by their regard and devotion for their women and children.

High Appreciation of Pictorial Art.

In one respect all these peoples show a higher degree of intelligence even than the Arabs and Hamites. "My later experiences," writes Junker, "revealed the remarkable fact that certain negro peoples, such as the Niam-Niams, the Mangbattus and the Bantus of Uganda and Unyoro, display quite a surprising understanding of figured illustrations or pictures of plastic objects, which is not as a rule exhibited by the Arabs and Arabised Hamites of North-east Africa. Thus the Unyoro chief, Riongo, placed photographs in their proper position, and was able to identify the negro portraits as belonging to the Shuli, Lango, or other tribes, of which he had a personal knowledge. This I have called a remarkable fact, because it bespoke in the lower races a natural faculty for observation, a power to recognise what for many Arabs or Egyptians of high rank was a hopeless puzzle. An Egyptian pasha in Khartum could never make out how a human face in profile showed only one eye and one ear, and he took the portrait of a fashionable Parisian lady in extremely low dress for that of the bearded sun-burnt American naval officer who had shown him[Pg 83] the photograph[221]." From this one is almost tempted to infer that, amongst Moslem peoples, all sense of plastic, figurative, or pictorial art has been deadened by the Koranic precept forbidding the representation of the human form in any way.

Sense of Humour.

The Welle peoples show themselves true Negroes in the possession of another and more precious quality, the sense of humour, although this is probably a quality which comes late in the life of a race. Anyhow it is a distinct Negro characteristic, which Junker was able to turn to good account during the building of his famous Lacrima station in Ndoruma's country. "In all this I could again notice how like children the Negroes are in many respects. Once at work they seemed animated by a sort of childlike sense of honour. They delighted in praise, though even a frown or a word of reproach could also excite their hilarity. Thus a loud burst of laughter would, for instance, follow the contrast between a piece of good and bad workmanship. Like children, they would point the finger of scorn at each other[222]."

One morning Ndoruma, hearing that they had again struck work, had the great war-drum beaten, whereupon they rushed to arms and mustered in great force from all quarters. But on finding that there was no enemy to march against, and that they had only been summoned to resume operations at the station, they enjoyed the joke hugely, and after a general explosion of laughter at the way they had been taken in, laid aside their weapons and returned cheerfully to work. Some English overseers have already discovered that this characteristic may be utilised far more effectively than the cruel kurbash. Ethnology has many such lessons to teach.


[129] For a tentative classification of African tribes see T. A. Joyce, Art. "Africa: Ethnology," Ency. Brit. 1910, p. 329.

[130] Graphically summed up in the classical description of the Negress:

    "Afra genus, totâ patriam testante figurâ,
    Torta comam labroque tumens, et fusca colorem,
    Pectore lata, jacens mammis, compressior alvo,
    Cruribus exilis, spatiosâ prodiga plantâ."

[131] See H. R. Hall, papers and references in Man, 19, 1905.

[132] T. A. Joyce, "Africa: Ethnology," Ency. Brit. 1910, I. 327.

[133] J. P. Johnson, The Prehistoric Period in South Africa, 1912.

[134] See H. H. Johnston, "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913.

[135] The skeleton found by Hans Reck at Oldoway in 1914 and claimed by him to be of Pleistocene age exhibits all the typical Negro features, including the filed teeth, characteristic of East African negroes at the present day, but the geological evidence is imperfect.

[136] H. H. Johnston, British Central Africa, 1897, p. 393.

[137] Zandeh is the name usually given to the groups of tribes akin to Nilotics, but probably with Fulah element, which includes the Azandeh or Niam Niam, Makaraka, Mangbattu and many others. Cf. T. A. Joyce, loc. cit. p. 329.

[138] British Central Africa, p. 472. But see R. E. Dennett, At the Back of the Black Man's Mind, 1906, and A. G. Leonard, The Lower Niger and its Tribes, 1906, for African mentality.

[139] For theories of Bantu migrations see H. H. Johnston, George Grenfell and the Congo, 1908, and "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Soc. XLIII. 1913, p. 391 ff. Also F. Stuhlmann, Handwerk und Industrie in Ostafrika, 1910, p. 138, f. 147, with map, Pl. 1. B. For the date see p. 92.

[140] Even a tendency to polysynthesis occurs, as in Vei, and in Yoruba, where the small-pox god Shakpanna is made up of the three elements shan to plaster, kpa to kill, and enia a person = one who kills a person by plastering him (with pustules).

[141] The Nilotic languages are to a considerable extent tonic.

[142] A. B. Ellis, The Tshi-speaking Peoples, etc., 1887, pp. 327-8. Only one European, Herr R. Betz, long resident amongst the Dualas of the Cameruns district, has yet succeeded in mastering the drum language; he claims to understand nearly all that is drummed and is also able to drum himself. (Athenæum, May 7, 1898, p. 611.)

[143] Cf. H. S. Harrison, Handbook to the cases illustrating stages in the evolution of the Domestic Arts. Part II. Horniman Museum and Library. Forest Hill, S.E.

[144] E. T. Hamy, "Les Races Nègres," in L'Anthropologie, 1897, p. 257 sq.

[145] "Chaque fois que j'ai demandé avec intention à un Mandé, 'Es-tu Peul, Mossi, Dafina?' il me répondait invariablement, 'Je suis Mandé.' C'est pourquoi, dans le cours de ma relation, j'ai toujours désigné ce peuple par le nom de Mandé, qui est son vrai nom." (L. G. Binger, Du Niger au Golfe de Guinée, 1892, Vol. II. p. 373.) At p. 375 this authority gives the following subdivisions of the Mandé family, named from their respective tenné (idol, fetish, totem):

    1. Bamba, the crocodile: Bammana, not Bambara, which means kafir or infidel, and is applied only to the non-Moslem Mandé groups.
    2. Mali, the hippopotamus: Mali'nké, including the Kagoros and the Tagwas.
    3. Sama, the elephant: Sama'nké.
    4. Sa, the snake: Sa-mokho.

Of each there are several sub-groups, while the surrounding peoples call them all collectively Wakoré, Wangara, Sakhersi, and especially Diula. Attention to this point will save the reader much confusion in consulting Barth, Caillié, and other early books of travel.

[146] Travels, Vol. IV. p. 579 sqq.

[147] "La chaîne des Montagnes de Kong n'a jamais existé que dans l'imagination de quelques voyageurs mal renseignés," Du Niger au Golfe de Guinée, 1892, I. p. 285.

[148] Bertrand-Bocandé, "Sur les Floups ou Féloups," in Bul. Soc. de Géogr. 1849.

[149] A full account of this literature will be found in the Rev. C. F. Schlenker's valuable work, A Collection of Temne Traditions, Fables and Proverbs, London, 1861. Here is given the curious explanation of the tribal name, from o-tem, an old man, and , himself, because, as they say, the Temné people will exist for ever.

[150] There is also a sisterhood—the bondo—and the two societies work so far in harmony that any person expelled from the one is also excluded from the other.

[151] Reclus, Keane's English ed., XII. p. 203.

[152] "Da Njoe Testament, translated into the Negro-English Language by the Missionaries of the Unitas Fratrum," Brit. and For. Bible Soc., London, 1829. Here is a specimen quoted by Ellis from The Artisan of Sierra Leone, Aug. 4, 1886, "Those who live in ceiled houses love to hear the pit-pat of the rain overhead; whilst those whose houses leak are the subjects of restlessness and anxiety, not to mention the chances of catching cold, that is so frequent a source of leaky roofs."

[153] Right Rev. E. G. Ingham (Bishop of Sierra Leone), Sierra Leone after a Hundred Years, London, 1894, p. 294. Cf. H. C. Lukach, A Bibliography of Sierra Leone, 1911, and T. J. Alldridge, A Transformed Colony, 1910.

[154] This increase, however, appears to be due to a steady immigration from the Southern States, but for which the Liberians proper would die out, or become absorbed in the surrounding native populations.

[155] H. H. Johnston, Liberia, 1906.

[156] Possibly the English word "crew," but more probably an extension of Kraoh, the name of a tribe near Settra-kru, to the whole group.

[157] Sierra Leone after a Hundred Years, p. 280.

[158] Mary H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, 1899, pp. 54-5.

[159] Since the establishment of British authority in Nigeria (1900 to 1907) much light has been thrown on ethnological problems. See among other works C. Partridge, The Cross River Natives, 1905; A. G. Leonard, The Lower Niger and its Tribes, 1906; A. J. N. Tremearne, The Niger and the Western Sudan, 1910, The Tailed Head-Hunters of Nigeria, 1912; R. E. Dennett, Nigerian Studies, 1910; E. D. Morel, Nigeria, its People and its Problems, 1911, besides the Anthropological Reports of N. W. Thomas, 1910, 1913, and papers by J. Parkinson in Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XXXVI. 1906, XXXVII. 1907.

[160] The services rendered to African anthropology by this distinguished officer call for the fullest recognition, all the more that somewhat free and unacknowledged use has been made of the rich materials brought together in his classical works on The Tshi-speaking Peoples (1887), The Ewe-speaking Peoples (1890), and The Yoruba-speaking Peoples (1894).

[161] N. W. Thomas classifies Yoruba, Edo, Ibo and Efik as four main stocks in the Western Sudanic language group. "In the Edo and Ibo stocks people only a few miles apart may not be able to communicate owing to diversity of language" (p. 141). Anthropological Report of the Ibo-speaking Peoples of Nigeria, Part 1. 1913.

[162] The Tshi-speaking Peoples, p. 332 sq.

[163] Feitiço, whence also feiticeira, a witch, feiticeria, sorcery, etc., all from feitiço, artificial, handmade, from Lat. facio and factitius.

[164] Du Culte des Dieux Fétiches, 1760. It is generally supposed that the word was invented, or at least first introduced, by De Brosses; but Ellis shows that this also is a mistake, as it had already been used by Bosman in his Description of Guinea, London, 1705.

[165] The Tshi-speaking Peoples, Ch. XII. p. 194 and passim. See also R. H. Nassau, Fetichism in West Africa, 1904.

[166] That is, from a wax mould destroyed in the casting. After the operation details were often filled in by chasing or executed in repoussé work.

[167] "Works of Art from Benin City," Journ. Anthr. Inst. February, 1898, p. 362 sq. See H. Ling Roth, Great Benin, its Customs, etc., 1903.

[168] A. Featherman, Social History of Mankind, The Nigritians, p. 281. See also Reclus, French ed., Vol. XII. p. 718: "Les cavaliers portent encore la cuirasse comme au moyen âge.... Les chevaux sont recouverts de la même manière." In the mythical traditions of Buganda also there is reference to the fierce Wakedi warriors clad in "iron armour" (Ch. IV.). Cf. L. Frobenius, The Voice of Africa, II. 1913, pl. p. 608.

[169] Du Niger au Golfe de Guinée, 1892, I. p. 377.

[170] Early in the fourteenth century they were strong enough to carry the war into the enemy's camp and make more than one successful expedition against Timbuktu. At present the Mossi power is declining, and their territory has been parcelled out between the British and French Sudanese hinterlands.

[171] Also Sonrhay, gh and rh being interchangeable throughout North Africa; Ghat and Rhat, Ghadames and Rhadames, etc. In the mouth of an Arab the sound is that of the guttural Symbol ghain, which is pronounced by the Berbers and Negroes somewhat like the Northumberland burr, hence usually transliterated by rh in non-Semitic words.

[172] It should be noticed that these terms are throughout used as strictly defined in Eth. Ch. I.

[173] Barth's account of Wulu (IV. p. 299), "inhabited by Tawárek slaves, who are trilingues, speaking Temáshight as well as Songhay and Fulfulde," is at present generally applicable, mutatis mutandis, to most of the Songhai settlements.

[174] As so much has been made of Barth's authority in this connection, it may be well to quote his exact words: "It would seem as if they (the Sonrhay) had received, in more ancient times, several institutions from the Egyptians, with whom, I have no doubt, they maintained an intercourse by means of the energetic inhabitants of Aujila from a relatively ancient period" (IV. p. 426). Barth, therefore, does not bring the people themselves, or their language, from Egypt, but only some of their institutions, and that indirectly through the Aujila Oasis in Cyrenaica, and it may be added that this intercourse with Aujila appears to date only from about 1150 A.D. (IV. p. 585).

[175] Hacquard et Dupuis, Manuel de la langue Soñgay, parlée de Tombouctou à Say, dans la boucle du Niger, 1897, passim.

[176] "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Soc. XLIII. 1913, p. 386.

[177] Barth, IV. pp. 593-4.

[178] The Ischia of Leo Africanus, who tells us that in his time the "linguaggio detto Sungai" was current even in the provinces of Walata and Jinni (VI. ch. 2). This statement, however, like others made by Leo at second hand, must be received with caution. In these districts Songhai may have been spoken by the officials and some of the upper classes, but scarcely by the people generally, who were of Mandingan speech.

[179] Barth, IV. p. 414.

[180] Ib. p. 415.

[181] Carried captive into Marakesh, although later restored to his beloved Timbuktu to end his days in perpetuating the past glories of the Songhai nation; the one Negroid man of letters, whose name holds a worthy place beside those of Leo Africanus, Ibn Khaldún, El Tunsi, and other Hamitic writers.


    "Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes
    Intulit agresti Latio." Hor. Epist. II. 1, 156-7.

The epithet agrestis is peculiarly applicable to the rude Fulah shepherds, who were almost barbarians compared with the settled, industrious, and even cultured Hausa populations, and whose oppressive rule has at last been relaxed by the intervention of England in the Niger-Benue lands.

[183] "One of their towns, Kano, has probably the largest market-place in the world, with a daily attendance of from 25,000 to 30,000 people. This same town possesses, what in central Africa is still more surprising, some thirty or forty schools, in which the children are taught to read and write" (Rev. C. H. Robinson, Specimens of Hausa Literature, University Press, Cambridge, 1896, p. x).

[184] See C. H. Robinson, Hausaland, or Fifteen Hundred Miles through the Central Soudan, 1896; Specimens of Hausa Literature, 1896; Hausa Grammar, 1897; Hausa Dictionary, 1899. Authorities are undecided whether to class Hausa with the Semitic or the Hamitic family, or in an independent group by itself, and it must be admitted that some of its features are extremely puzzling. While Sudanese Negro in phonology and perhaps in most of its word roots, it is Hamitic in its grammatical features and pronouns. But the Hamitic element is thought by experts to be as much Kushite, or even Koptic, as Libyan. "On the whole, it seems probable," says H. H. Johnston, "that the Hausa speech was shaped by a double influence: from Egypt, and Hamiticized Nubia, as well as by Libyan immigrants from across the Sahara." "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Soc. XLIII. 1913, p. 385. Cf. also Julius Lippert, "Über die Stellung der Hausasprache," Mitteilungen des Seminärs für Orientalische Sprachen, 1906. It is noteworthy that Hausa is the only language in tropical Africa which has been reduced to writing by the natives themselves.

[185] Campaigning on the Upper Nile and Niger, by Lt Seymour Vandeleur, with an Introduction by Sir George Goldie, 1898. "In camp," writes Lt Vandeleur, "their conduct was exemplary, while pillaging and ill-treatment of the natives were unknown. As to their fighting qualities, it is enough to say that, little over 500 strong (on the Bida expedition of 1897), they withstood for two days 25,000 or 30,000 of the enemy; that, former slaves of the Fulahs, they defeated their dreaded masters," etc.

[186] The Kano Chronicle, translated by H. R. Palmer, Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XXXVIII. 1908, gives a list of Hausa kings (Sarkis) from 999 A.D.

[187] For references to recent literature see note on p. 58. Also R. S. Rattray, Hausa Folk-lore, 1913; A. J. N. Tremearne, Hausa Superstitions and Customs, 1913, and Hausa Folk-Tales, 1914.

[188] By a popular etymology these are Ka-Núri, "People of Light." But, as they are somewhat lukewarm Muhammadans, the zealous Fulahs say it should be Ka-Nari, "People of Fire," i.e. foredoomed to Gehenna!

[189] E. Gentil, La Chute de l'Empire de Rabah, 1902.

[190] The Buduma, who derive their legendary origin from the Fulahs whom they resemble in physique, worship the Karraka tree (a kind of acacia). P. A. Talbot, "The Buduma of Lake Chad," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLI. 1911. The anthropology of the region has lately been dealt with in Documents Scientifiques de la Mission Tilho (1906-9), République Française, Ministère des Colonies, Vol. III. 1914; R. Gaillard and L. Poutrin, Étude anthropologique des Populations des Régions du Tchad et du Kanem, 1914.

[191] III. p. 194.

[192] Sahara and Sudan, II. p. 628.

[193] II. pp. 382-3.

[194] That is "Kanem-men," the postfix bu, be, as in Ti-bu, Ful-be, answering to the Bantu prefix ba, wa, as in Ba-Suto, Wa-Swahili, etc. Here may possibly be discovered a link between the Sudanese, Teda-Daza, and Bantu linguistic groups. The transposition of the agglutinated particles would present no difficulty; cf. Umbrian and Latin (Eth. p. 214). The Kanembu are described by Tilho, who explored the Chad basin, 1906-9. His reports were published in 1914. République Française Ministère des Colonies, Documents Scientifiques de la Mission Tilho (1906-9), Vol. III. 1914.

[195] Barth draws a vivid picture of the contrasts, physical and mental, between the Kanuri and the Hausa peoples; "Here we took leave of Hausa with its fine and beautiful country, and its cheerful and industrious population. It is remarkable what a difference there is between the character of the ba-Haushe and the Kanuri—the former lively, spirited, and cheerful, the latter melancholic, dejected, and brutal; and the same difference is visible in their physiognomies—the former having in general very pleasant and regular features, and more graceful forms, while the Kanuri, with his broad face, his wide nostrils and his large bones, makes a far less agreeable impression, especially the women, who are very plain and certainly among the ugliest in all Negroland" (II. pp. 163-4).

[196] See Nachtigal, II. p. 690.

[197] For recent literature see Lady Lugard's A Tropical Dependency, 1905, and the references, note 3, p. 58.

[198] These are the same people as the Tunjurs (Tunzers) of Darfur, regarding whose ethnical position so much doubt still prevails. Strange to say, they themselves claim to be Arabs, and the claim is allowed by their neighbours, although they are not Muhammadans. Lejean thinks they are Tibus from the north-west, while Nachtigal, who met some as far west as Kanem, concluded from their appearance and speech that they were really Arabs settled for hundreds of years in the country (op. cit. II. p. 256).

[199] A. H. Keane, "Wadai," Travel and Exploration, July, 1910; and H. H. Johnston, on Lieut. Boyd Alexander, Geog. Journ. same date.

[200] H. A. MacMichael has investigated the value of these racial claims in the case of the Kababish and indicates the probable admixture of Negro, Mediterranean, Hamite and other strains in the Sudanese Arabs. He says, "Among the more settled tribes any important sheikh or faki can produce a table of his ancestors (i.e. a nisba) in support of his asseverations.... I asked a village sheikh if he could show me his pedigree, as I did not know from which of the exalted sources his particular tribe claimed descent. He replied that he did not know yet, but that his village had subscribed 60 piastres the month before to hire a faki to compose a nisba for them, and that he would show me the result when it was finished." "The Kababish: Some Remarks on the Ethnology of a Sudan Arab Tribe," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XL. 1910, p. 216.

[201] See the Kababish types, Pl. XXXVII in C. G. Seligman's "Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913, but cf. also p. 626 and n. 2.

[202] "The Physical Characters of the Nuba of Kordofan," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XL. 1910, "Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem," etc., tom. cit. XLIII. 1913.

[203] See H. A. MacMichael, The Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofán, 1912.

[204] Cf. A. W. Tucker and C. S. Myers, "A Contribution to the Anthropology of the Sudan," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XL. 1910, p. 149.

[205] This term, however, has by some authorities been identified with the Barabara, one of the 113 tribes recorded in the inscription on a gateway of Thutmes, by whom they were reduced about 1700 B.C. In a later inscription of Rameses II at Karnak (1400 B.C.) occurs the form Beraberata, name of a southern people conquered by him. Hence Brugsch (Reisebericht aus Ægypten, pp. 127 and 155) is inclined to regard the modern Barabra as a true ethnical name confused in classical times with the Greek and Roman Barbarus, but revived in its proper sense since the Moslem conquest. See also the editorial note on the term Berber, in the new English ed. of Leo Africanus, Vol. 1. p. 199.

[206] Ἐξ ἀριστερῶν δὲ ῥύσεως τοῦ Νείλου Νοῦβαι κατοικοῦσιν ἐν τῇ Λιβύῃ, μέγα ἔθνος, etc. (Book XVII. p. 1117, Oxford ed. 1807). Sayce, therefore, is quite wrong in stating that Strabo knew only of "Ethiopians," and not Nubians, "as dwelling northward along the banks of the Nile as far as Elephantiné" (Academy, April 14, 1894).

[207] Nubische Grammatik, 1881, passim.

[208] B. Z. Seligman, "Note on the Languages of the Nubas of S. Kordofan," Zeitschr. f. Kol.-spr. I. 1910-11; C. G. Seligman, "Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem," etc., Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913, p. 621 ff.

[209] See A. H. Keane, Man, Past and Present, 1900, p. 74.

[210] C. G. Seligman, "The Physical Characters of the Nuba of Kordofan," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XL. 1910, p. 512, and "Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem," etc., Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913, passim.

[211] Archaeological Survey of India, Bull. III. p. 25.

[212] See note 1, p. 44.

[213] Op. cit. I. p. 263.

[214] Travels in Africa, Keane's English ed., Vol. III. p. 247.

[215] Ibid. p. 246.

[216] C. G. Seligman, Art. "Dinka," Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. See also the same author's "Cult of Nyakangano the Divine Kings of the Shilluk," Fourth Report Wellcome Research Lab. Khartoum, Vol. B, 1911, p. 216; S. L. Cummins, Journ. Anthr. Inst. XXXIV. 1904, and H. O'Sullivan, "Dinka Laws and Customs," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XL. 1910. Measurements of Dinka, Shilluk etc. are given by A. W. Tucker and C. S. Myers, "A Contribution to the Anthropology of the Sudan," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XL. 1910. G. A. S. Northcote, "The Nilotic Kavirondo," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XXXVI. 1907, describes an allied people, the Jaluo.

[217] Travels in Africa, Keane's Eng. ed., III. p. 279. Thus the Bantu Ba, Wa, Ama, etc., correspond to the A of the Welle lands, as in A-Zandeh, A-Barmbo, A-Madi, A-Bangba, i.e. Zandeh people, Barmbo people, etc. Cf. also Kanembu, Tibu, Fulbe, etc., where the personal particle (bu, be) is postfixed. It would almost seem as if we had here a transition between the northern Sudanese and the southern Bantu groups in the very region where such transitions might be looked for.

[218] Schweinfurth, op. cit. II. p. 93.

[219] G. Elliot Smith denies that cannibalism occurred in Ancient Egypt, The Ancient Egyptians, 1911, p. 48.

[220] Africa, 1895, Vol. II. p. 58. In a carefully prepared monograph on "Endocannibalismus," Vienna, 1896, Dr Rudolf S. Steinmetz brings together a great body of evidence tending to show "dass eine hohe Wahrscheinlichkeit dafür spricht den Endocannibalismus (indigenous anthropophagy) als ständige Sitte der Urmenschen, sowie der niedrigen Wilden anzunehmen" (pp. 59, 60). It is surprising to learn from the ill-starred Bòttego-Grixoni expedition of 1892-3 that anthropophagy is still rife even in Gallaland, and amongst the white ("floridi") Cormoso Gallas. Like the Fans, these prefer the meat "high," and it would appear that all the dead are eaten. Hence in their country Bòttego found no graves, and one of his native guides explained that "questa gente seppellisce i suoi cari nel ventre, invece che nella terra," i.e. these people bury their dear ones in their stomach instead of in the ground. Vittorio Bòttego, Viaggi di Scoperta, etc. Rome, 1895.

[221] I. p. 245.

[222] II. p. 140.

[Pg 84]



The Sudanese-Bantu Divide—Frontier Tribes—The Bonjo CannibalsThe Baya Nation—A "Red People"—The North-East Door to Bantuland—Semitic Elements of the Bantu Amalgam—Malay Elements in Madagascar only—Hamitic Element everywhere—The Ba-Hima—Pastoral and Agricultural Clans—The Bantus mainly a Negro-Hamitic Cross—Date of Bantu Migration—The Lacustrians—Their Traditions—The Kintu Legend—The Ba-Ganda, Past and Present—Political and Social Institutions—Totemic System—Bantu Peoples between Lake Victoria and the Coast—The Wa-Giryama—Primitive Ancestry-Worship—Mulungu—The Wa-Swahili—The Zang Empire—The Zulu-Xosas—Former and Present Domain—Patriarchal Institutions—Genealogies—Physical Type—Social Organisation—"Common Law"—Ma-Shonas and Ma-Kalakas—The mythical Monomotapa Empire—The Zimbabwe Ruins—The Be-ChuanasThe Ba-Rotse Empire—The Ma-Kololo Episode—Spread of Christianity amongst the Southern Bantus—King Khama—The Ova-HereroCattle and Hill DamarasThe Kongo People—Old Kongo Empire—The Kongo Language—The Kongo Aborigines—Perverted Christian Doctrines—The Kabindas and "Black Jews"—The Ba-Shilange Bhang-smokers—The Ba-Lolo "Men of Iron"—The West Equatorial Bantus—Ba-KalaiThe Cannibal Fans—Migrations, Type, Origin—The Camerun Bantus—Bantu-Sudanese Borderland—Early Bantu Migrations—Eastern Ancestry and Western Nature-worshippers—Conclusion—VaalpensStrandloopersNegrilloes—Negrilloes at the Courts of the Pharaohs—Negrilloes and Pygmy Folklore—The Dume and Doko reputed Dwarfs—The Wandorobbo Hunters—The Wochua Mimics—The Bushmen and Hottentots—Former and Present Range—The Wa-Sandawi—Hottentot Geographical Names in Bantuland— Hottentots disappearing—Bushman Folklore Literature—Bushman-Hottentot Language and Clicks—Bushman Mental Characters—Bushman Race-Names.


Distribution in Past and Present Times.

Present Range. Bantu: S. Africa from the Sudanese frontier to the Cape; Negrillo: West Equatorial and Congo forest zones; Bush.-Hot.: Namaqualands; Kalahari; Lake Ngami and Orange basins.

Physical Characters.

Hair. Bantu: same as Sudanese, but often rather longer; Negrillo: short, frizzly or crisp, rusty brown; Bush.-Hot.: [Pg 85]much the same as Sudanese, but tufty, simulating bald partings. Colour. Bantu: all shades of dark brown, sometimes almost black; Negrillo and Bush.-Hot.: yellowish brown. Skull. Bantu: generally dolicho, but variable; Negrillo: almost uniformly mesati; Bush.-Hot.: dolicho. Jaws. Bantu: moderately prognathous and even orthognathous; Negrillo and Bush.-Hot.: highly prognathous. Cheek-bones. Bantu: moderately or not at all prominent; Negrillo and Bush.-Hot.: very prominent, often extremely so, forming a triangular face with apex at chin. Nose. Bantu: variable, ranging from platyrrhine to leptorrhine; Negrillo and Bush.-Hot.: short, broad at base, depressed at root, always platyrrhine. Eyes. Bantu: generally large, black, and prominent, but also of regular Hamitic type; Negrillo and Bush.-Hot.: rather small, deep brown and black. Stature. Bantu: tall, from 1.72 m. to 1.82 m. (5 ft. 8 in. to 6 ft.); Negrillo: always much under 1.52 m. (5 ft.), mean about 1.22 m. (4 ft.); Bushman: short, with rather wide range, from 1.42 m. to 1.57 m. (4 ft. 8 in. to 5 ft. 2 in.); Hot.: undersized, mean 1.65 m. (5 ft. 5 in.).

Mental Characters.

Temperament. Bantu: mainly like the Negroid Sudanese, far more intelligent than the true Negro, equally cruel, but less fitful and more trustworthy; Negrillo: bright, active and quick-witted, but vindictive and treacherous, apparently not cruel to each other, but rather gentle and kindly; Bushman: in all these respects very like the Negrillo, but more intelligent; Hot.: rather dull and sluggish, but the full-blood (Nama) much less so than the half-caste (Griqua) tribes.

Speech. Bantu: as absolutely uniform as the physical type is variable, one stock language only, of the agglutinating order, with both class prefixes, alliteration and postfixes[223]; Negrillo: unknown; Hot.: agglutinating with postfixes only, with grammatical gender and other remarkable features; of Hamitic origin.

Religion. Bantu: ancestor-worship mainly in the east, spirit-worship mainly in the west, intermingling in the centre, with witchcraft and gross superstitions everywhere; Negrillo: little known; Bush.-Hot.: animism, nature-worship, and[Pg 86] reverence for ancestors; among Hottentots belief in supreme powers of good and evil.

Culture. Bantu: much lower than the Negroid Sudanese, but higher than the true Negro; principally cattle rearers, practising simple agriculture; Negrillo and Bush.: lowest grade, hunters; Hot.: nomadic herdsmen.

Main Divisions.

Bantus[224]: Bonjo; Baya; Ba-Ganda; Ba-Nyoro; Wa-Pokomo; Wa-Giryama; Wa-Swahili; Zulu-Xosa; Ma-Shona; Be-Chuana; Ova-Herero; Eshi-Kongo; Ba-Shilange; Ba-Lolo; Ma-Nyema; Ba-Kalai; Fan; Mpongwe; Dwala; Ba-Tanga.

Negrilloes: Akka; Wochua; Dume(?); Wandorobbo(?); Doko(?); Obongo; Wambutte (Ba-Mbute); Ba-Twa.

Bushmen: Family groups; no known tribal names.

Hottentots: Wa-Sandawi (?); Namaqua; Griqua; Gonaqua; Koraqua; Hill Damaras.

In ethnology the only intelligible definition of a Bantu is a full-blood or a half-blood Negro of Bantu speech[225]; and from the physical standpoint no very hard and fast line can be drawn between the northern Sudanese and southern Bantu groups, considered as two ethnical units.

The Sudanese-Bantu Divide.

Thanks to recent political developments in the interior, the linguistic divide may now be traced with some accuracy right across the continent. In the extreme west, Sir H. H. Johnston has shown that it coincides with the lower course of the Rio del Rey, while farther east the French expedition of 1891 under M. Dybowski found that it ran at about the same parallel (5° N.) along the elevated plateau which here forms the water-parting between the Congo and the Chad basin. From this point the line takes a south-easterly trend along the southern borders of the Zandeh and Mangbattu territories to[Pg 87] the Semliki Valley between Lakes Albert Edward and Albert Nyanza, near the equator. Thence it pursues a somewhat irregular course, first north by the east side of the Albert Nyanza to the mouth of the Somerset Nile, then up that river to Mruli and round the east side of Usoga and the Victoria Nyanza to Kavirondo Bay, where it turns nearly east to the sources of the Tana, and down that river to its mouth in the Indian Ocean.

At some points the line traverses debatable territory, as in the Semliki Valley, where there are Sudanese and Negrillo overlappings, and again beyond Victoria Nyanza, where the frontiers are broken by the Hamitic Masai nomads and their Wandorobbo allies. But, speaking generally, everything south of the line here traced is Bantu, everything north of it Sudanese Negro in the western and central regions, and Hamitic in the eastern section between Victoria Nyanza and the Indian Ocean.

Frontier Tribes—The Bonjo Cannibals.

In some districts the demarcation is not quite distinct, as in the Tana basin, where some of the Galla and Somali Hamites from the north have encroached on the territory of the Wa-Pokomo Bantus on the south side of the river. But on the central plateau M. Dybowski passed abruptly from the territory of the Bonjos, northernmost of the Bantu tribes, to that of the Sudanese Bandziri, a branch of the widespread Zandeh people. In this region, about the crest of the Congo-Chad water-parting, the contrasts appear to be all in favour of the Sudanese and against the Bantus, probably because here the former are Negroids, the latter full-blood Negroes. Thus Dybowski[226] found the Bonjos to be a distinctly Negro tribe with pronounced prognathism, and altogether a rude, savage people, trading chiefly in slaves, who are fattened for the meat market, and when in good condition will fetch about twelve shillings. On the other hand the Bandziri, despite their Niam-Niam connection, are not cannibals, but a peaceful, agricultural people, friendly to travellers, and of a coppery-brown complexion, with regular features, hence perhaps akin to the light-coloured people met by Barth in the Mosgu country.

The Baya Nation.

Possibly the Bonjos may be a degraded branch of the [Pg 88]Bayas or Nderes, a large nation, with many subdivisions widely diffused throughout the Sangha basin, where they occupy the whole space between the Kadei and the Mambere affluents of the main stream (3° to 7° 30' N.; 14° to 17° E.). They are described by M. F. J. Clozel[227] as of tall stature, muscular, well-proportioned, with flat nose, slightly tumid lips, and of black colour, but with a dash of copper-red in the upper classes. Although cannibals, like the Bonjos, they are in other respects an intelligent, friendly people, who, under the influence of the Muhammadan Fulahs, have developed a complete political administration, with a Royal Court, a Chancellor, Speaker, Interpreter, and other officials, bearing sonorous titles taken chiefly from the Hausa language. Their own Bantu tongue is widespread and spoken with slight dialectic differences as far as the Nana affluents.

A "Red People."

M. Clozel, who regards them as mentally and morally superior to most of the Middle and Lower Congo tribes, tells us that the Bayas, that is, the "Red People," came at an unknown period from the east, "yielding to that great movement of migration by which the African populations are continually impelled westwards." The Yangere section were still on the move some twelve years ago, but the general migration has since been arrested by the Fulahs of Adamawa. Human flesh is now interdicted to the women; they have domesticated the sheep, goat, and dog, and believe in a supreme being called So, whose powers are manifested in the dense woodlands, while minor deities preside over the village and the hut, that is, the whole community and each separate family group. Thus both their religious and political systems present a certain completeness, which recalls those prevalent amongst the semi-civilised peoples of the equatorial lake region, and is evidently due to the same cause—long contact or association with a race of higher culture and intelligence.

The North-East Door to Bantuland.

In order to understand all these relations, as well as the general constitution of the Bantu populations, we have to consider that the already-described Black Zone, running from the Atlantic seaboard eastwards, has for countless generations been almost[Pg 89] everywhere arrested north of the equator by the White Nile. Probably since the close of the Old Stone Age the whole of the region between the main stream and the Red Sea, and from the equator north to the Mediterranean, has formed an integral part of the Hamitic domain, encroached upon in prehistoric times by Semites and others in Egypt and Abyssinia, and in historic times chiefly by Semites (Arabs) in Egypt, Upper Nubia, Senaar, and Somaliland. Between this region and Africa south of the equator there are no serious physical obstructions of any kind, whereas farther west the Hamitic Saharan nomads were everywhere barred access to the south by the broad, thickly-peopled plateaux of the Sudanese Black Zone. All encroachments on this side necessarily resulted in absorption in the multitudinous Negro populations of Central Sudan, with the modifications of the physical and mental characters which are now presented by the Kanuri, Hausas, Songhai and other Negroid nations of that region, and are at present actually in progress amongst the conquering Fulah Hamites scattered in small dominant groups over a great part of Sudan from Senegambia to Wadai.

Semitic Elements of the Bantu Amalgam.

It follows that the leavening element, by which the southern Negro populations have been diversely modified throughout the Bantu lands, could have been drawn only from the Hamitic and Semitic peoples of the north-east. But in this connection the Semites themselves must be considered as almost une quantité négligeable, partly because of their relatively later arrival from Asia, and partly because, as they arrived, they became largely assimilated to the indigenous Hamitic inhabitants of Egypt, Abyssinia, and Somaliland. Belief in the presence of a Semitic people in the interior of S.E. Africa in early historic times was supported by the groups of ruins (especially those of Zimbabwe), found mainly in Southern Rhodesia, described in J. T. Bent's Ruined Cities of Mashonaland. Exploration in 1905 dispelled the romance hitherto connected with the "temples" and produced evidence to show that they were not earlier in date than the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries and were of native construction[228]. They[Pg 90] probably served as distributing centres for the gold traffic carried on with the Semitic traders of the coast. For certainly in Muhammadan times Semites from Arabia formed permanent settlements along the eastern seaboard as far south as Sofala, and these intermingled more freely with the converted coast peoples (Wa-Swahili, from sahel = "coast"), but not with the Kafirs, or "Unbelievers," farther south and in the interior. In our own days these Swahili half-breeds, with a limited number of full-blood Arabs[229], have penetrated beyond the Great Lakes to the Upper and Middle Congo basin, but rather as slave-hunters and destroyers than as peaceful settlers, and contracting few alliances, except perhaps amongst the Wa-Yao and Ma-Gwangara tribes of Mozambique, and the cannibal Ma-Nyemas farther inland.

Malay Elements in Madagascar only.

To this extent Semitism may be recognised as a factor in the constituent elements of the Bantu populations. Malays have also been mentioned, and some ethnologists have even brought the Fulahs of Western Sudan all the way from Malaysia. Certainly if they reached and formed settlements in Madagascar, there is no intrinsic reason why they should not have done the same on the mainland. But I have failed to find any evidence of the fact, and if they ever at any time established themselves on the east coast they have long disappeared, without leaving any clear trace of their presence either in the physical appearance, speech, usages or industries of the aborigines, such as are everywhere conspicuous in Madagascar. The small canoes with two booms and double outriggers which occur at least from Mombasa to Mozambique are of Indonesian origin, as are the fish traps that occur at Mombasa.

Hamitic Element everywhere.

There remain the north-eastern Hamites, and especially the Galla branch, as the essential extraneous factor in this obscure Bantu problem. To the stream of migration described by M. Clozel as setting east and west, corresponds another and an older stream, which ages ago took a southerly direction along the eastern seaboard to the extremity of the continent, where are now settled the Zulu-Xosa nations, almost more Hamites than Negroes.[Pg 91]

The Ba-Himas.

The impulse to two such divergent movements could have come only from the north-east, where we still find the same tendencies in actual operation. During his exploration of the east equatorial lands, Capt. Speke had already observed that the rulers of the Bantu nations about the Great Lakes (Karagwe, Ba-Ganda, Ba-Nyoro, etc.) all belonged to the same race, known by the name of Ba-Hima, that is, "Northmen," a pastoral people of fine appearance, who were evidently of Galla stock, and had come originally from Gallaland. Since then Schuver found that the Negroes of the Afilo country are governed by a Galla aristocracy[230], and we now know that several Ba-hima communities bearing different names live interspersed amongst the mixed Bantu nations of the lacustrian plateaux as far south as Lake Tanganyika and Unyamweziland[231]. Here the Wa-Tusi, Wa-Hha, and Wa-Ruanda are or were all of the same Hamitic type, and M. Lionel Dècle "was very much struck by the extraordinary difference that is to be found between them and their Bantu neighbours[232]." Then this observer adds: "Pure types are not common, and are only to be found amongst the aristocracy, if I may use such an expression for Africans. The mass of the people have lost their original type through intermixture with neighbouring tribes."

J. Roscoe[233] thus describes the inhabitants of Ankole. "The pastoral people are commonly called Bahima, though they prefer to be called Banyankole; they are a tall fine race though physically not very strong. Many of them are over six feet in height, their young king being six feet six inches and broad in proportion to his height.... It is not only the men who are so tall, the women also being above the usual stature of their sex among other tribes, though they do injustice to their height by a fashionable stoop which makes them appear much shorter than they really are. The features[Pg 92] of these pastoral people are good: they have straight noses with a bridge, thin lips, finely chiselled faces, heads well set on fairly developed frames, and a good carriage; there is in fact nothing but their colour and their short woolly hair to make you think of them as negroids."

Pastoral and Agricultural Clans.

The contrast and the relationship between the pastoral conquerors and the agricultural tribes is clearly seen among the Ba-Nyoro. "The pastoral people are a tall, well-built race of men and women with finely cut features, many of them over six feet in height. The men are athletic with little spare flesh, but the women are frequently very fat and corpulent: indeed their ideal of beauty is obesity, and their milk diet together with their careful avoidance of exercise tends to increase their size. The agricultural clans, on the other hand, are short, ill-favoured looking men and women with broad noses of the negro type, lean and unkempt. Both classes are dark, varying in shade from a light brown to deep black, with short woolly hair. The pastoral people refrain, as far as possible, from all manual labour and expect the agricultural clans to do their menial work for them, such as building their houses, carrying firewood and water, and supplying them with grain and beer for their households." "Careful observation and enquiry lead to the opinion that the agricultural clans were the original inhabitants and that they were conquered by the pastoral people who have reduced them to their present servile condition[234]."

The Bantus mainly a Negro-Hamitic Cross.

From these indications and many others that might easily be adduced, it may be concluded with some confidence that the great mass of the Bantu populations are essentially Negroes, leavened in diverse proportions, for the most part by conquering Galla or Hamitic elements percolating for thousands of generations from the north-eastern section of the Hamitic domain into the heart of Bantuland.

The date of the Bantu migrations is much disputed. "As far as linguistic evidence goes," says H. H. Johnston[235], "the ancestors of the Bantu dwelt in some region like the Bahr-al-Ghazal, not far from the Mountain Nile on the east, from[Pg 93] Kordofan on the north, or the Benue and Chad basins on the west. Their first great movement of expansion seems to have been eastward, and to have established them (possibly with a guiding aristocracy of Hamitic origin) in the region between Mount Elgon, the Northern Victoria Nyanza, Tanganyika, and the Congo Forest. At some such period as about 300 B.C. their far-reaching invasion of Central and South Africa seems to have begun." The date is fixed by the date of the introduction of the fowl from Nile-land, since the root word for fowl is the same almost throughout Bantu Africa, "obviously related to the Persian words for fowl, yet quite unrelated to the Semitic terms, or to those used by the Kushites of Eastern Africa." F. Stuhlmann, on the contrary, places the migrations practically in geological times. After bringing the Sudan Negroes from South Asia at the end of the Tertiary or beginning of the Pleistocene (Pluvialperiod), and the Proto-Hamites from a region probably somewhat further to the north and west of the former, he continues: From the mingling of the Negroes and the Proto-Hamites were formed, probably in East Africa, the Bantu languages and the Bantu peoples, who wandered thence south and west. The wanderings began in the latter part of the Pleistocene period[236]. He quotes Th. Arldt, who with greater precision places the occupation of Africa by the Negroes in the Riss period (300,000 years ago) and that of the Hamites in the Mousterian period (30,000 to 50,000 years ago)[237].

All these peoples resulting from the crossings of Negroes with Hamites now speak various forms of the same organic Bantu mother-tongue. But this linguistic uniformity is strictly analogous to that now prevailing amongst the multifarious peoples of Aryan speech in Eurasia, and is due to analogous causes—the diffusion in extremely remote times of a mixed Hamito-Negro people of Bantu speech in Africa south of the equator. It might perhaps be objected that the present Ba-Hima pastors are of Hamitic speech, because we know from Stanley that the late king M'tesa of Buganda was proud of his Galla ancestors, whose language he still spoke as his mother-tongue. But he also spoke Luganda, and every echo[Pg 94] of Galla speech has already died out amongst most of the Ba-Hima communities in the equatorial regions. So it was with what I may call the "Proto-Ba-Himas," the first conquering Galla tribes, Schuver's and Dècle's "aristocracy," who were gradually blended with the aborigines in a new and superior nationality of Bantu speech, because "there are many mixed races, ... but there are no mixed languages[238]."

The Lacustrians.

These views are confirmed by the traditions and folklore still current amongst the "Lacustrians," as the great nations may be called, who are now grouped round about the shores of Lakes Victoria and Albert Nyanza. At present, or rather before the recent extension of the British administration to East Central Africa, these peoples were constituted in a number of separate kingdoms, the most powerful of which were Buganda (Uganda)[239], Bunyoro (Unyoro), and Karagwe. But they remember a time when all these now scattered fragments formed parts of a mighty monarchy, the vast Kitwara Empire, which comprised the whole of the lake-studded plateau between the Ruwenzori range and Kavirondoland.

Their Traditions—The Kintu Legend.

The story is differently told in the different states, each nation being eager to twist it to its own glorification; but all are agreed that the founder of the empire was Kintu, "The Blameless," at once priest, patriarch and ruler of the land, who came from the north hundreds of years ago, with one wife, one cow, one goat, one sheep, one chicken, one banana-root, and one sweet potato. At first all was waste, an uninhabited wilderness, but it was soon miraculously peopled, stocked, and planted with what he had brought with him, the potato being apportioned to Bunyoro, the banana to Buganda, and these form the staple food of those lands to this day.

Then the people waxed wicked, and Kintu, weary of their evil ways and daily bloodshed, took the original wife, cow, and other things, and went away in the night and was seen no more. But nobody believed him dead, and a long line of his mythical successors appear to have spent the time they[Pg 95] could spare from strife and war and evil deeds in looking for the lost Kintu. Kimera, one of these, was a mighty giant of such strength and weight that he left his footprints on the rocks where he trod, as may still be seen on a cliff not far from Ulagalla, the old capital of Buganda. There was also a magician, Kibaga, who could fly aloft and kill the Ba-Nyoro people (this is the Buganda version) by hurling stones down upon them, and for his services received in marriage a beautiful Ba-Nyoro captive, who, another Delilah, found out his secret, and betrayed him to her people.

At last came King Ma'anda, who pretended to be a great hunter, but it was only to roam the woodlands in search of Kintu, and thus have tidings of him. One day a peasant, obeying the directions of a thrice-dreamt dream, came to a place in the forest, where was an aged man on a throne between two rows of armed warriors, seated on mats, his long beard white with age, and all his men fair as white people and clothed in white robes. Then Kintu, for it was he, bid the peasant hasten to summon Ma'anda thither, but only with his mother and the messenger. At the Court Ma'anda recognised the stranger whom he had that very night seen in a dream, and so believed his words and at once set out with his mother and the peasant. But the Katikiro, or Prime Minister, through whom the message had been delivered to the king, fearing treachery, also started on their track, keeping them just in view till the trysting-place was reached. But Kintu, who knew everything, saw him all the time, and when he came forward on finding himself discovered the enraged Ma'anda pierced his faithful minister to the heart and he fell dead with a shriek. Thereupon Kintu and his seated warriors instantly vanished, and the king with the others wept and cried upon Kintu till the deep woods echoed Kintu, Kintu-u, Kintu-u-u. But the blood-hating Kintu was gone, and to this day has never again been seen or heard of by any man in Buganda. The references to the north and to Kintu and his ghostly warriors "fair as white people" need no comment[240]. It is noteworthy that in some of the Nyassaland[Pg 96] dialects Kintu (Caintu) alternates with Mulungu as the name of the Supreme Being, the great ancestor of the tribe[241].

The Ba-Ganda, past and present.

Then follows more traditional or legendary matter, including an account of the wars with the fierce Wakedi, who wore iron armour, until authentic history is reached with the atrocious Suna II (1836-60), father of the scarcely less atrocious M'tesa. After his death in 1884 Buganda and the neighbouring states passed rapidly through a series of astonishing political, religious, and social vicissitudes, resulting in the present pax Britannica, and the conversion of large numbers, some to Islám, others to one form or another of Christianity. At times it might have been difficult to see much religion in the ferocity of the contending factions; but since the establishment of harmony by the secular arm, real progress has been made, and the Ba-Ganda especially have displayed a remarkable capacity as well as eagerness to acquire a knowledge of letters and of religious principles, both in the Protestant and the Roman Catholic communities. Printing-presses, busily worked by native hands, are needed to meet the steadily increasing demand for a vernacular literature, in a region where blood had flowed continually from the disappearance of "Kintu" till the British occupation.

Political and Social Institutions.

To the admixture of the Hamitic and Negro elements amongst the Lacustrians may perhaps be attributed the curious blend of primitive and higher institutions in these communities. At the head of the State was a Kabaka, king or emperor, although the title was also borne by the queen-mother and the queen-sister. This autocrat had his Lukiko, or Council, of which the members were the Katikiro, Prime Minister and Chief Justice, the Kimbugwe, who had charge of the King's umbilical cord, and held rank next to the Katikiro, and ten District chiefs, for the administration of the ten large districts into which the country was divided, each rendering accounts to the Katikiro and through him to the King. Each District chief had to maintain in good order a road some four yards wide, reaching from the capital to his country seat, a distance possibly of nearly 100 miles. Each District chief had sub-chiefs under[Pg 97] him, independent of the chief in managing their own portion of land. These were responsible for keeping in repair the road between their own residence and that of the District chief. In each district was a supreme court, and every sub-chief, even with only a dozen followers, could hold a court and try cases among his own people. The people, however, could take their cases from one court to another until eventually they came before the Katikiro or the King.

Totemic System.

Yet together with this highly advanced social and political development a totemic exogamous clan system was in force throughout Uganda, all the Ba-Ganda belonging to one of 29 kika or clans, each possessing two totems held sacred by the clan. Thus the Lion (Mpologoma) clan had the Eagle (Mpungu) for its second totem; the Mushroom (Butiko) clan had the Snail (Nsonko); the Buffalo (Mbogo) clan had a New Cooking Pot (Ntamu). Each clan had its chief, or Father, who resided on the clan estate which was also the clan burial-ground, and was responsible for the conduct of the members of his branch. All the clans were exogamous[242], and a man was expected to take a second wife from the clan of his paternal grandmother[243].

Bantu Peoples between L. Victoria and the Coast.

No direct relations appear to exist between the Lacustrians and the Wa-Kikuyu, Wa-Kamba, Wa-Pokomo, Wa-Gweno, Wa-Chaga, Wa-Teita, Wa-Taveita, and others[244], who occupy the region east of Victoria Nyanza, between the Tana, north-east frontier of Bantuland, and the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro. Their affinities seem to be rather with the Wa-Nyika, Wa-Boni, Wa-Duruma, Wa-Giryama, and the other coast tribes between the Tana and Mombasa. All of these tribes have more or less adopted the habits and customs of the Masai.

We learn from Sir A. Harding[245] that in the British East[Pg 98] African Protectorate there are altogether as many as twenty-five distinct tribes, generally at a low stage of culture, with a loose tribal organisation, a fully-developed totemic system, and a universal faith in magic; but there are no priests, idols or temples, or even distinctly recognised hereditary chiefs or communal councils. The Gallas, who have crossed the Tana and here encroached on Bantu territory, have reminiscences of a higher civilisation and apparently of Christian traditions and observances, derived no doubt from Abyssinia. They tell you that they had once a sacred book, the observance of whose precepts made them the first of nations. But it was left lying about, and so got eaten by a cow, and since then when cows are killed their entrails are carefully searched for the lost volume.

The Wa-Giryama.

Exceptional interest attaches to the Wa-Giryama, who are the chief people between Mombasa and Melindi, the first trustworthy accounts of whom were contributed by W. E. Taylor[246], and W. W. A. Fitzgerald[247]. Here again Bantus and Gallas are found in close contact, and we learn that the Wa-Giryama, who came originally from the Mount Mangea district in the north-east, occupied their present homes only about a century ago "upon the withdrawal of the Gallas." The language, which is of a somewhat archaic type, appears to be the chief member of a widespread Bantu group, embracing the Ki-nyika, and Ki-pokomo in the extreme north, the Ki-swahili of the Zanzibar coast, and perhaps the Ki-kamba, the Ki-teita, and others of the interior between the coastlands and Victoria Nyanza. These inland tongues, however, have greatly diverged from the primitive Ki-giryama[248], which stands in somewhat the same relation to them and to the still more degraded and Arabised Ki-swahili[249] that Latin stands to the Romance languages.

[Pg 99]

Primitive Ancestry-Worship.
Mulungu and the Shades.

But the chief interest presented by the Wa-Giryama is centred in their religious ideas, which are mainly connected with ancestry-worship, and afford an unexpected insight into the origin and nature of that perhaps most primitive of all forms of belief. There is, of course, a vague entity called a "Supreme Being" in ethnographic writings, who, like the Algonquian Manitu, crops up under various names (here Mulungu) all over east Bantuland, but on analysis generally resolves itself into some dim notion growing out of ancestry-worship, a great or aged person, eponymous hero or the like, later deified in diverse ways as the Preserver, the Disposer, and especially the Creator. These Wa-Giryama suppose that from his union with the Earth all things have sprung, and that human beings are Mulungu's hens and chickens. But there is also an idea that he may be the manes of their fathers, and thus everything becomes merged in a kind of apotheosis of the departed. They think "the disembodied spirit is powerful for good and evil. Individuals worship the shades of their immediate ancestors or elder relatives; and the k'omas [souls?] of the whole nation are worshipped on public occasions."

Although the European ghost or "revenant" is unknown, the spirits of near ancestors may appear in dreams, and express their wishes to the living. They ask for sacrifices at their graves to appease their hunger, and such sacrifices are often made with a little flour and water poured into a coconut shell let into the ground, the fowls and other victims being so killed that the blood shall trickle into the grave. At the offering the dead are called on by name to come and partake, and bring their friends with them, who are also mentioned by name. But whereas Christians pray to be remembered of heaven and the saints, the Wa-Giryama pray rather that the new-born babe be forgotten of Mulungu, and so live. "Well!" they will say on the news of a birth, "may Mulungu forget him that he may become strong and well." This is an instructive trait, a reminiscence of the time when Mulungu, now almost harmless or indifferent to mundane things, was the embodiment of all evil, hence to be feared and appeased in accordance with the old dictum Timor fecit deos.

At present no distinction is drawn between good and bad spirits, but all are looked upon as, of course, often, though not always, more powerful than the living, but still human beings[Pg 100] subject to the same feelings, passions, and fancies as they are. Some are even poor weaklings on whom offerings are wasted. "The Shade of So-and-so's father is of no use at all; it has finished up his property, and yet he is no better," was a native's comment on the result of a series of sacrifices a man had vainly made to his father's shade to regain his health. They may also be duped and tricked, and when pombe (beer) is a-brewing, some is poured out on the graves of the dead, with the prayer that they may drink, and when drunk fall asleep, and so not disturb the living with their brawls and bickerings, just like the wrangling fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream[250].

The Wa-Swahili.

Far removed from such crass anthropomorphism, but not morally much improved, are the kindred Wa-Swahili, who by long contact and interminglings have become largely Arabised in dress, religion, and general culture. They are graphically described by Taylor as "a seafaring, barter-loving race of slave-holders and slave-traders, strewn in a thin line along a thousand miles of creeks and islands; inhabitants of a coast that has witnessed incessant political changes, and a succession of monarchical dynasties in various centres; receiving into their midst for ages past a continuous stream of strange blood, consisting not only of serviles from the interior, but of immigrants from Persia, Arabia, and Western India; men that have come to live, and often to die, as resident aliens, leaving in many cases a hybrid progeny. Of one section of these immigrants—the Arabs—the religion has become the master-religion of the land, overspreading, if not entirely supplanting, the old Bantu ancestor-worship, and profoundly affecting the whole family life."

The Zang Empire.

The Wa-Swahili are in a sense a historical people, for they formed the chief constituent elements of the renowned Zang (Zeng) empire[251], which in Edrisi's time (twelfth century) stretched along the seaboard from Somaliland to and beyond the Zambesi.[Pg 101] When the Portuguese burst suddenly into the Indian Ocean it was a great and powerful state, or rather a vast confederacy of states, with many flourishing cities—Magdoshu, Brava, Mombasa, Melindi, Kilwa, Angosha, Sofala—and widespread commercial relations extending across the eastern waters to India and China, and up the Red Sea to Europe. How these great centres of trade and eastern culture were one after the other ruthlessly destroyed by the Portuguese corsairs co' o ferro e fogo ("with sword and fire," Camoens) is told by Duarte Barbosa, who was himself a Portuguese and an eyewitness of the havoc and the horrors that not infrequently followed in the trail of his barbarous fellow-countrymen[252].

The Zulu-Xosas.
Former and Present Domain.

Beyond Sofala we enter the domain of the Ama-Zulu, the Ama-Xosa, and others whom I have collectively called Zulu-Xosas[253], and who are in some respects the most remarkable ethnical group in all Bantuland. Indeed they are by common consent regarded as Bantus in a preeminent sense, and this conventional term Bantu itself is taken from their typical Bantu language[254]. There is clear evidence that they are comparatively recent arrivals, necessarily from the north, in their present territory, which was still occupied by Bushman and Hottentot tribes probably within the last thousand years or so. Before the Kafir wars with the English (1811-77) this territory extended much farther round the coast than at present, and for many years the Great Kei River has formed the frontier between the white settlements and the Xosas.

But what they have lost in this direction the Zulu-Xosas,[Pg 102] or at least the Zulus, have recovered a hundredfold by their expansion northwards during the nineteenth century. After the establishment of the Zulu military power under Dingiswayo and his successor Chaka (1793-1828), half the continent was overrun by organised Zulu hordes, who ranged as far north as Victoria Nyanza, and in many places founded more or less unstable kingdoms or chieftaincies on the model of the terrible despotism set up in Zululand. Such were, beyond the Limpopo, the states of Gazaland and Matabililand, the latter established about 1838 by Umsilikatzi, father of Lobengula, who perished in a hopeless struggle with the English in 1894. Gungunhana, last of the Swazi (Zulu) chiefs in Gazaland, where the A-Ngoni had overrun the Ba-Thonga (Ba-Ronga)[255], was similarly dispossessed by the Portuguese in 1896.

North of Zambesi the Zulu bands—Ma-Situ, Ma-Viti, Ma-Ngoni (A-Ngoni), and others—nowhere developed large political states except for a short time under the ubiquitous Mirambo in Unyamweziland. But some, especially the A-Ngoni[256], were long troublesome in the Nyasa district, and others about the Lower Zambesi, where they are known to the Portuguese as "Landins." The A-Ngoni power was finally broken by the English early in 1898, and the reflux movement has now entirely subsided, and cannot be revived, the disturbing elements having been extinguished at the fountain-head by the absorption of Zululand itself in the British Colony of Natal (1895).

Zulu-Xosa Genealogies.

Nowhere have patriarchal institutions been more highly developed than among the Zulu-Xosas, all of whom, except perhaps the Ama-Fingus and some other broken groups, claim direct descent from some eponymous hero or mythical founder of the tribe. Thus[Pg 103] in the national traditions Chaka was seventh in descent from a legendary chief Zulu, from whom they take the name of Abantu ba-Kwa-Zulu, that is "People of Zulu's Land," although the true mother-tribe appear to have been the now extinct Ama-Ntombela. Once the supremacy and prestige of Chaka's tribe were established, all the others, as they were successively reduced, claimed also to be true Zulus, and as the same process went on in the far north, the term Zulu has now in many cases come to imply political rather than blood relationship. Here we have an object lesson, by which the ethnical value of such names as "Aryan," "Kelt," "Briton," "Slav," etc. may be gauged in other regions.

So also most of the southern section claim as their founder and ancestor a certain Xosa, sprung from Zuide, who may have flourished about 1500, and whom the Ama-Tembus and Ama-Mpondos also regard as their progenitor. Thus the whole section is connected, but not in the direct line, with the Xosas, who trace their lineage from Galeka and Khakhabe, sons of Palo, who is said to have died about 1780, and was himself tenth in direct descent from Xosa. We thus get a genealogical table as under, which gives his proper place in the Family Tree to nearly every historical "Kafir" chief in Cape Colony, where ignorance of these relations caused much bloodshed during the early Kafir wars:

Physical Type.

But all, both northern Zulus and southern Xosas, are essentially one people in speech, physique, usages and social institutions. The hair is uniformly of a somewhat frizzly texture, the colour of a light or clear[Pg 104] brown amongst the Ama-Tembus, but elsewhere very dark, the Swazis being almost "blue-black"; the head decidedly long (72.5) and high (195.8); nose variable, both Negroid and perfectly regular; height above the mean 1.75 m. to 1.8 m. (5 ft. 9 in. to 5 ft. 11 in.); figure shapely and muscular, though Fritsch's measurements show that it is sometimes far from the almost ideal standard of beauty with which some early observers have credited them.

Social Organisation.
"Common Law."

Mentally the Zulu-Xosas stand much higher than the true Negro, as shown especially in their political organisation, which, before the development of Dingiswayo's military system under European influences, was a kind of patriarchal monarchy controlled by a powerful aristocracy. The nation was grouped in tribes connected by the ties of blood and ruled by the hereditary inkose, or feudal chief, who was supreme, with power of life and death, within his own jurisdiction. Against his mandates, however, the nobles could protest in council, and it was in fact their decisions that established precedents and the traditional code of common law. "This common law is well adapted to a people in a rude state of society. It holds everyone accused of crime guilty unless he can prove himself innocent; it makes the head of the family responsible for the conduct of all its branches, the village collectively for all resident in it, and the clan for each of its villages. For the administration of the law there are courts of various grades, from any of which an appeal may be taken to the Supreme Council, presided over by the paramount chief, who is not only the ruler but also the father of the people[257]."

Ma-Shonas and Ma-Kalakas.

In the interior, between the southern coast ranges and the Zambesi, the Hottentot and Bushman aborigines were in prehistoric ages almost everywhere displaced or reduced to servitude by other Bantu peoples such as the Ma-Kalakas and Ma-Shonas, the Be-Chuanas and the kindred Ba-Sutos. Of these the first arrivals (from the north) appear to have been the Ma-Shonas and Ma-Kalakas, who were being slowly "eaten up" by the[Pg 105] Ma-Tabili when the process was arrested by the timely intervention of the English in Rhodesia.

The Monomotapa Myth.

Both nations are industrious tillers of the soil, skilled in metal-work and in mining operations, being probably the direct descendants of the natives, whose great chief Monomotapa, i.e. "Lord of the Mines," as I interpret the word[258], ruled over the Manica and surrounding auriferous districts when the Portuguese first reached Sofala early in the sixteenth century. Apparently for political reasons[259] this Monomotapa was later transformed by them from a monarch to a monarchy, the vast empire of Monomotapaland, which was supposed to comprise pretty well everything south of the Zambesi, but, having no existence, has for the last two hundred years eluded the diligent search of historical geographers.

The Zimbabwe Ruins.

But some centuries before the arrival of the Portuguese the Ma-Kalakas with the kindred Ba-Nyai, Ba-Senga and others, may well have been at work in the mines of this auriferous region, in the service of the builders of the Zimbabwe ruins explored and described by the late Theodore Bent[260], and by him and many others attributed to some ancient cultured people of South Arabia. This theory of prehistoric Oriental origin was supported by a calculation of the orientation of the Zimbabwe "temple," by reports of inscriptions and emblems suggesting "Phoenician rites," and by the discovery, during excavation, of foreign objects. Later investigation, however, showed that the orientation was based on inexact measurements; no authentic inscriptions were found either at Zimbabwe or elsewhere in connection with the ruins; none of the objects discovered in the course of the excavations could be recognised as more than a few centuries old, while those that were not demonstrably foreign imports were of African type. In 1905 a scientific exploration of the ruins placed these facts beyond[Pg 106] dispute. The medieval objects were found in such positions as to be necessarily contemporaneous with the foundation of the buildings, all of which could be attributed to the same period. Finally it was established that the plan and construction of Zimbabwe instead of being unique, as was formerly supposed, only differed from other Rhodesian ruins in dimensions and extent. The explorers felt confident that the buildings were not earlier than the fourteenth or fifteenth century A.D., and that the builders were the Bantu people, remains of whose stone-faced kraals are found at so many places between the Limpopo and the Zambesi. Their conclusions, however, have not met with universal acceptance[261].

The Be-Chuanas.

With the Be-Chuanas, whose territory extends from the Orange river to Lake Ngami and includes Basutoland with a great part of the Transvaal, we again meet a people at the totemic stage of culture. Here the eponymous heroes of the Zulu-Xosas are replaced by baboons, fishes, elephants, and other animals from which the various tribal groups claim descent. The animal in question is called the siboko of the tribe and is held in especial reverence, members (as a rule) refraining from killing or eating it. Many tribes take their name from their siboko, thus the Ba-Tlapin, "they of the fish," Ba-Kuena, "they of the crocodile." The siboko of the Ba-Rolong, who as a tribe are accomplished smiths, is not an animal, but the metal iron[262].

The Ba-Rotse Empire.
The Ma-Kololo Episode.

With a section of the great Be-Chuana family, the Ba-Suto, and the Ba-Rotse is connected one of the most remarkable episodes in the turbulent history of the South African peoples during the nineteenth century. Many years ago an offshoot of the Ba-Rotse migrated to the Middle Zambesi above the Victoria Falls, where they founded a powerful state, the "Barotse (Marotse) Empire," which despite a temporary eclipse still exists as a British protectorate. The eclipse was caused by another migration northwards of a great body of Ma-Kololo, a branch of the Ba-Suto,[Pg 107] who under the renowned chief Sebituane reached the Zambesi about 1835 and overthrew the Barotse dynasty, reducing the natives to a state of servitude.

But after the death of Sebituane's successor, Livingstone's Sekeletu, the Ba-Rotse, taking advantage of their oppressors' dynastic rivalries, suddenly revolted, and after exterminating the Ma-Kololo almost to the last man, reconstituted the empire on a stronger footing than ever. It now comprises an area of some 250,000 square miles between the Chobe and the Kafukwe affluents[263], with a population vaguely estimated at over 1,000,000, including the savage Ba-Shukulumbwe tribes of the Kafukwe basin reduced in 1891[264].

Yet, short as was the Ma-Kololo rule (1835-70), it was long enough to impose their language on the vanquished Ba-Rotse[265]. Hence the curious phenomenon now witnessed about the Middle Zambesi, where the Ma-Kololo have disappeared, while their Sesuto speech remains the common medium of intercourse throughout the Barotse empire. How often have analogous shiftings and dislocations taken place in the course of ages in other parts of the world! And in the light of such lessons how cautious ethnographists should be in arguing from speech to race, and drawing conclusions from these or similar surface relations!

Referring to these stirring events, Mackenzie writes: "Thus perished the Makololo from among the number of South African tribes. No one can put his finger on the map of Africa and say, 'Here dwell the Makololo[266].'" This will puzzle many who since the middle of the nineteenth century have repeatedly heard of, and even been in unpleasantly close contact with, Ma-Kololo so called, not indeed in Barotseland, but lower down the Zambesi about its Shiré affluent.

The explanation of the seeming contradiction is given by another incident, which is also not without ethnical significance. From Livingstone's Journals we learn that in 1859 he was accompanied to the east coast by a small party of Ma-Kololo and others, sent by his friend Sekeletu in quest of a cure for leprosy, from which the emperor was suffering.[Pg 108] These Ma-Kololo, hearing of the Ba-Rotse revolt, wisely stopped on their return journey at the Shiré confluence, and through the prestige of their name have here succeeded in founding several so-called "Makololo States," which still exist, and have from time to time given considerable trouble to the administrators of British Central Africa. But how true are Mackenzie's words, if the political be separated from the ethnical relations, may be judged from the fact that of the original founders of these petty Shiré states only two were full-blood Ma-Kololo. All the others were, I believe, Ba-Rotse, Ba-Toka, or Ba-Tonga, these akin to the savage Ba-Shukulumbwe.

Death without Extinction.

Thus the Ma-Kololo live on, in their speech above the Victoria Falls, in their name below the Victoria Falls, and it is only from history we know that since about 1870 the whole nation has been completely wiped out everywhere in the Zambesi valley. But even amongst cultured peoples history goes back a very little way, 10,000 years at most anywhere. What changes and shiftings may, therefore, have elsewhere also taken place during prehistoric ages, all knowledge of which is now past recovery[267]!

Spread of Christianity among the Southern Bantus.

Few Bantu peoples have lent a readier ear to the teachings of Christian propagandists than the Xosa, Ba-Suto, and Be-Chuana natives. Several stations in the heart of Kafirland—Blythswood, Somerville, Lovedale, and others—have for some time been self-supporting, and prejudice alone would deny that they have worked for good amongst the surrounding Gaika, Galeka, and Fingo tribes. Sogo, a member of the Blythswood community, has produced a translation of the Pilgrim's Progress, described by J. Macdonald as "a marvel of accuracy and lucidity of expression[268]"; numerous village schools are eagerly attended, and much land has been brought under intelligent cultivation.

The French and Swiss Protestant teachers have also achieved great things in Basutoland, where they were welcomed by Moshesh, the founder of the present Basuto nation. The tribal system has yielded to a higher social[Pg 109] organisation, and the Ba-Tau, Ba-Puti, and several other tribal groups have been merged in industrious pastoral and agricultural communities professing a somewhat strict form of Protestant Christianity, and entirely forgetful of the former heathen practices associated with witchcraft and ancestry-worship. Moshesh was one of the rare instances among the Kafirs of a leader endowed with intellectual gifts which placed him on a level with Europeans. He governed his people wisely and well for nearly fifty years, and his life-work has left a permanent mark on South African history[269].


In Bechuanaland one great personality dominates the social horizon. Khama, king of the Ba-Mangwato nation, next to the Ba-Rotse the most powerful section of the Be-Chuana, may be described as a true father of his people, a Christian legislator in the better sense of the term, and an enlightened reformer even from the secular point of view.

When these triumphs, analogous to those witnessed amongst the Lacustrians and in other parts of Bantuland, are contrasted with the dull weight of resistance everywhere opposed by the full-blood Negro populations to any progress beyond their present low level of culture, we are the better able to recognise the marked intellectual superiority of the negroid Bantu over the pure black element.

The Ova Herero
Cattle and Hill Damaras.

West of Bechuanaland the continuity of the Bantu domain is arrested in the south by the Hottentots, who still hold their ground in Namaqualand, and farther north by the few wandering Bushman groups of the Kalahari desert. Even in Damaraland, which is mainly Bantu territory, there are interminglings of long standing that have given rise to much ethnical confusion. The Ova-Herero, who were here dominant, and the kindred Ova-Mpo of Ovampoland bordering on the Portuguese possessions, are undoubted Bantus of somewhat fine physique, though intellectually not specially distinguished. Owing to the character of the country, a somewhat arid, level steppe between the hills and the coast, they are often collectively called "Cattle Damaras," or "Damaras of the Plains," in contradistinction to the "Hill Damaras" of the coast ranges. To this popular nomenclature is due the prevalent confusion regarding these aborigines. The term[Pg 110] "Damara" is of Hottentot origin, and is not recognised by the local tribes, who all call themselves Ova-Herero, that is, "Merry People." But there is a marked difference between the lowlanders and the highlanders, the latter, that is, the "Hill Damaras," having a strong strain of Hottentot blood, and being now of Hottentot speech.

The whole region is a land of transition between the two races, where the struggle for supremacy was scarcely arrested by the temporary intervention of German administrators. Though annexed by Germany in 1884, fighting continued for ten years longer, and, breaking out again in 1903, was not subdued until 1908, after the loss to Germany of 5000 lives and £15,000,000, while 20,000 to 30,000 of the Herero are estimated to have perished. Under the rule of the Union of South Africa this maltreatment of the natives will never occur again. Clearness would be gained by substituting for Hill Damaras the expression Ova-Zorotu, or "Hillmen," as they are called by their neighbours of the plains, who should of course be called Hereros to the absolute exclusion of the expression "Cattle Damaras." These Hereros show a singular dislike for salt; the peculiarity, however, can scarcely be racial, as it is shared in also by their cattle, and may be due to the heavy vapours, perhaps slightly charged with saline particles, which hang so frequently over the coastlands.

No very sharp ethnical line can be drawn between Portuguese West Africa and the contiguous portion of the Belgian Congo south and west of the main stream. In the coastlands between the Cunene and the Congo estuary a few groups, such as the historical Eshi-Kongo[270] and the Kabindas, have developed some marked characteristics under European influences, just as have the cannibal Ma-Nyema of the Upper Congo through association with the Nubian-Arab slave-raiders. But with the exception of the Ba-Shilange, the Ba-Lolo and one or two others, much the same physical and mental traits are everywhere presented by the numerous Bantu populations within the great bend of the Congo.

The Old Kongo Empire.

The people who give their name to this river present some points of special interest. It is commonly supposed that the old "Kongo Empire" was a creation of the Portuguese. But Mbanza, afterwards rechristened "San Salvador," was already the[Pg 111] capital of a powerful state when it was first visited by the expedition of 1491, from which time date its relations with Portugal. At first the Catholic missionaries had great success, thousands were at least baptised, and for a moment it seemed as if all the Congo lands were being swept into the fold. There were great rejoicings on the conversion of the Mfumu ("Emperor") himself, on whom were lavished honours and Portuguese titles still borne by his present degenerate descendant, the Portuguese state pensioner, "Dom Pedro V, Catholic King of Kongo and its Dependencies." But Christianity never struck very deep roots, and, except in the vicinity of the Imperial and vassal Courts, heathenish practices of the worst description were continued down to the middle of the nineteenth century. About 1870 fresh efforts were made both by Protestant and Catholic missionaries to re-convert the people, who had little to remind them of their former faith except the ruins of the cathedral of San Salvador, crucifixes, banners, and other religious emblems handed down as heirlooms and regarded as potent fetishes by their owners. A like fate, it may be incidentally mentioned, has overtaken the efforts of the Portuguese missionaries to evangelise the natives of the east coast, where little now survives of their teachings but snatches of unintelligible songs to the Blessed Virgin, such as that still chanted by the Lower Zambesi boatmen and recorded by Mrs Pringle:—

Sina mama, sina mamai,
Sina mama Maria, sina mamai ...
Mary, I'm alone, mother I have none,
Mother I have none, she and father both are gone, etc.[271]
The Kongo Language.
The Kongo Aborigines.

It is probable that at some remote period the ruling race reached the west coast from the north-east, and imposed their Bantu speech on the rude aborigines, by whom it is still spoken over a wide tract of country on both sides of the Lower Congo. It is an extremely pure and somewhat archaic member of the Bantu family, and W. Holman Bentley, our best authority on the subject, is enthusiastic in praise of its "richness, flexibility, exactness, subtlety of idea, and nicety of expression," a language superior to the people themselves, "illiterate folk with an elaborate and regular grammatical system of speech of [Pg 112]such subtlety and exactness of idea that its daily use is in itself an education[272]." Kishi-Kongo has the distinction of being the first Bantu tongue ever reduced to written form, the oldest known work in the language being a treatise on Christian Doctrine published in Lisbon in 1624. Since that time the speech of the "Mociconghi," as Pigafetta calls them[273], has undergone but slight phonetic or other change, which is all the more surprising when we consider the rudeness of the present Mushi-Kongos and others by whom it is still spoken with considerable uniformity. Some of these believe themselves sprung from trees, as if they had still reminiscences of the arboreal habits of a pithecoid ancestry.

Perverted Christian Doctrines.

Amongst the neighbouring Ba-Mba, whose sobas were formerly ex officio Commanders-in-chief of the Empire, still dwells a potent being, who is invisible to everybody, and although mortal never dies, or at least after each dissolution springs again into life from his remains gathered up by the priests. All the young men of the tribe undergo a similar transformation, being thrown into a death-like trance by the magic arts of the medicine-man, and then resuscitated after three days. The power of causing the cataleptic sleep is said really to exist, and these strange rites, unknown elsewhere, are probably to be connected with the resurrection of Christ after three days and of everybody on the last day as preached by the early Portuguese evangelists. A volume might be written on the strange distortions of Christian doctrines amongst savage peoples unable to grasp their true inwardness.

The Kabindas and "Black Jews."

In Angola the Portuguese distinguish between the Pretos, that is, the "civilised," and the Negros, or unreclaimed natives. Yet both terms mean the same thing, as also does Ba-Fiot[274], "Black People," which is applied in an arbitrary way both to the Eshi-Kongos and their near relations, the Kabindas of the Portuguese[Pg 113] enclave north of the Lower Congo. These Kabindas, so named from the seaport of that name on the Loango coast, are an extremely intelligent, energetic, and enterprising people, daring seafarers, and active traders. But they complain of the keen rivalry of another dark people, the Judeos Pretos, or "Black Jews," who call themselves Ma-Vambu, and whose hooked nose combined with other peculiarities has earned for them their Portuguese name. The Kabindas say that these "Semitic Negroes" were specially created for the punishment of other unscrupulous dealers by their ruinous competition in trade.

A great part of the vast region within the bend of the Congo is occupied by the Ba-Luba people, whose numerous branches—Ba-Sange and Ba-Songe about the sources of the Sankuru, Ba-Shilange (Tushilange) about the Lulua-Kassai confluence, and many others—extend all the way from the Kwango basin to Manyemaland. Most of these are Bantus of the average type, fairly intelligent, industrious and specially noted for their skill in iron and copper work. Iron ores are widely diffused and the copper comes from the famous mines of the Katanga district, of which King Mzidi and his Wa-Nyamwezi followers were dispossessed by the Congo Free State in 1892[275].

The Tushilange Bhang-Smokers.
Bantu "Progressives."

Special attention is claimed by the Ba-Shilange nation, for our knowledge of whom we are indebted chiefly to C. S. Latrobe Bateman[276]. These are the people whom Wissmann had already referred to as "a nation of thinkers with the interrogative 'why' constantly on their lips." Bateman also describes them as "thoroughly honest, brave to foolhardiness, and faithful to each other. They are prejudiced in favour of foreign customs and spontaneously copy the usages of civilisation. They are the only African tribe among whom I have observed anything [Pg 114]like a becoming conjugal affection and regard. To say nothing of such recommendations as their emancipation from fetishism, their ancient abandonment of cannibalism, and their national unity under the sway of a really princely prince (Kalemba), I believe them to be the most open to the best influences of civilisation of any African tribe whatsoever[277]." Their territory about the Lulua, affluent of the Kassai, is the so-called Lubuka, or land of "Friendship," the theatre of a remarkable social revolution, carried out independently of all European influences, in fact before the arrival of any whites on the scene. It was initiated by the secret brotherhood of the Bena-Riamba, or "Sons of Hemp," established about 1870, when the nation became divided into two parties over the question throwing the country open to foreign trade. The king having sided with the "Progressives," the "Conservatives" were worsted with much bloodshed, whereupon the barriers of seclusion were swept away. Trading relations being at once established with the outer world, the custom of riamba (bhang) smoking was unfortunately introduced through the Swahili traders from Zanzibar. The practice itself soon became associated with mystic rites, and was followed by a general deterioration of morals throughout Tushilangeland.

The Ba-Lolo "Men of iron."

North of the Ba-Luba follows the great Ba-Lolo nation, whose domain comprises nearly the whole of the region between the equator and the left bank of the Congo, and whose Kilolo speech is still more widely diffused, being spoken by perhaps 10,000,000 within the horseshoe bend. These "Men of Iron" in the sense of Cromwell's "Ironsides," or "Workers in Iron," as the name has been diversely interpreted (from lolo, iron), may not be all that they have been depicted by the glowing pen of Mrs H. Grattan Guinness[278]; but nobody will deny their claim to be regarded as physically, if not mentally, one of the finest Bantu races. But for the strain of Negro blood betrayed by the tumid under lip, frizzly hair, and wide nostrils, many might pass for average Hamites with high forehead, straight or aquiline nose, bright eye, and intelligent expression. They appear to have migrated about a hundred years ago from the east to their present homes, where they have cleared the land[Pg 115] both of its forests and the aborigines, brought extensive tracts under cultivation, and laid out towns in the American chessboard fashion, but with the houses so wide apart that it takes hours to traverse them. They are skilled in many crafts, and understand the division-of-labour principle, "farmers, gardeners, smiths, boatbuilders, weavers, cabinet-makers, armourers, warriors, and speakers being already differentiated amongst them[279]."

The West Equatorial Bantus.

From the east or north-east a great stream of migration has also for many years been setting right across the cannibal zone to the west coast between the Ogowai and Camerúns estuary. Some of these cannibal bands, collectively known as Fans, Pahuins, Mpangwes[280], Oshyebas and by other names, have already swarmed into the Gabún and Lower Ogowai districts, where they have caused a considerable dislocation of the coast tribes. They are at present the dominant, or at least the most powerful and dreaded, people in West Equatorial Africa, where nothing but the intervention of the French administration has prevented them from sweeping the Mpongwes, Mbengas, Okandas, Ashangos, Ishogos, Ba-Tekes[281], and the other maritime populations into the Atlantic. Even the great Ba-Kalai nation, who are also immigrants, but from the south-east, and who arrived some time before the Fans, have been hard pressed and driven forward by those fierce anthropophagists. They are still numerous, certainly over 100,000, but confined mainly to the left bank of the Ogowai, where their copper and iron workers have given up the hopeless struggle to compete with the imported European wares, and have consequently turned to trade. The Ba-Kalai are now the chief brokers and middlemen throughout the equatorial coastlands, and their pure Bantu language is encroaching on the Mpongwe in the Ogowai basin.

[Pg 116]

The Cannibal Fans.
Migrations, Type, Origin.

When first heard of by Bowdich in 1819, the Paämways, as he calls the Fans, were an inland people presenting such marked Hamitic or Caucasic features that he allied them with the West Sudanese Fulahs. Since then there have been inevitable interminglings, by which the type has no doubt been modified, though still presenting distinct non-Bantu or non-Negro characters. Burton, Winwood Reade, Oscar Lenz and most other observers separate them altogether from the Negro connection, describing them as "well-built, tall and slim, with a light brown complexion, often inclining to yellow, well-developed beard, and very prominent frontal bone standing out in a semicircular protuberance above the superciliary arches. Morally also, they differ greatly from the Negro, being remarkably intelligent, truthful, and of a serious temperament, seldom laughing or indulging in the wild orgies of the blacks[282]."

M. H. Kingsley adds that "the average height in mountain districts is five feet six to five feet eight (1.67 m. to 1.72 m.), the difference in stature between men and women not being great. Their countenances are very bright and expressive, and if once you have been among them, you can never mistake a Fan. The Fan is full of fire, temper, intelligence and go; very teachable, rather difficult to manage, quick to take offence and utterly indifferent to human life." The cannibalism of the Fans, though a prevalent habit, is not, according to Miss Kingsley, due to sacrificial motives. "He does it in his common sense way. He will eat his next door neighbour's relations and sell his own deceased to his next door neighbour in return; but he does not buy slaves and fatten them up for his table as some of the Middle Congo tribes do.... He has no slaves, no prisoners of war, no cemeteries, so you must draw your own conclusions[283]." The Fan language has been grouped by Sir H. H. Johnston among Bantu tongues, but he describes it as so corrupt as to be only just recognisable as Bantu. In linguistic, physical and mental features they thus show a remarkable divergence from the pure Negro, suggesting Hamitic probably Fulah elements.

The Camerún Bantus.

In the Camerún region, which still lies within Bantu territory, Sir H. H. Johnston[284] divides the numerous local [Pg 117]tribes into two groups, the aborigines, such as the Ba-Yong, Ba-Long, Ba-Sa, Abo and Wuri; and the later intruders—Ba-Kundu, Ba-Kwiri, Dwala, "Great Batanga" and Ibea—chiefly from the east and south-east. Best known are the Dwalas of the Camerún estuary, physically typical Bantus with almost European features, and well-developed calves, a character which would alone suffice to separate them from the true Negro. Nor are these traits due to contact with the white settlers on the coast, because the Dwalas keep quite aloof, and are so proud of their "blue blood," that till lately all half-breeds were "weeded-out," being regarded as monsters who reflected discredit on the tribe[285].

Bantu-Sudanese Borderland.

Socially the Camerún natives stand at nearly the same low level of culture as the neighbouring full-blood Negroes of the Calabar and Niger delta. Indeed the transition in customs and institutions, as well as in physical appearance, is scarcely perceptible between the peoples dwelling north and south of the Rio del Rey, here the dividing line between the Negro and Bantu lands. The Ba-Kish of the Meme river, almost last of the Bantus, differ little except in speech from the Negro Efiks of Old Calabar, while witchcraft and other gross superstitions were till lately as rife amongst the Ba-Kwiri and Ba-Kundu tribes of the western Camerún as anywhere in Negroland. It is not long since one of the Ba-Kwiri, found guilty of having eaten a chicken at a missionary's table, was himself eaten by his fellow clansmen. The law of blood for blood was pitilessly enforced, and charges of witchcraft were so frequent that whole villages were depopulated, or abandoned by their terror-stricken inhabitants. The island of Ambas in the inlet of like name remained thus for a time absolutely deserted, "most of the inhabitants having poisoned each other off with their everlasting ordeals, and the few survivors ending by dreading the very air they breathed[286]."

Early Bantu Migrations—a Clue to their Direction.

Having thus completed our survey of the Bantu populations from the central dividing line about the Congo-Chad water-parting round by the east, south, and west coastlands, and so back to the Sudanese zone, we may pause to ask, [Pg 118]What routes were followed by the Bantus themselves during the long ages required to spread themselves over an area estimated at nearly six million square miles? I have established, apparently on solid grounds, a fixed point of initial dispersion in the extreme north-east, and allusion has frequently been made to migratory movements, some even now going on, generally from east to west, and, on the east side of the continent, from north to south, with here an important but still quite recent reflux from Zululand back nearly to Victoria Nyanza. If a parallel current be postulated as setting on the Atlantic side in prehistoric times from south to north, from Hereroland to the Camerúns, or possibly the other way, we shall have nearly all the factors needed to explain the general dispersion of the Bantu peoples over their vast domain.

Eastern Ancestry and Western Nature Worshippers.

Support is given to this view by the curious distribution of the two chief Bantu names of the "Supreme Being," to which incidental reference has already been made. As first pointed out I think by Dr Bleek, (M)unkulunkulu with its numerous variants prevails along the eastern seaboard, Nzambi along the western, and both in many parts of the interior; while here and there the two meet, as if to indicate prehistoric interminglings of two great primeval migratory movements. From the subjoined table a clear idea may be had of the general distribution:

Munkulunkulu Nzambi
Parts of
Mpondo: Ukulukulu        Eshi-Kongo: Nzambi Western
Parts of
Zulu: Unkulunkulu        Kabinda: Nzambi Pongo
Inhambane: Mulungulu    Lunda: Zambi
Sofala: Murungu          Ba-Teke: Nzam̃
Be-Chuana: Mulungulu    Ba-Rotse: Nyampe
Lake Moero: Mulungu      Bihé: Nzambi
Lake Tanganyika: Mulungu Loango: Zambi, Nyambi
Makua: Moloko            Bunda: Onzambi
Quillimane: Mlugu        Ba-Ngala: Nsambi
Lake Bangweolo: Mungu    Ba-Kele: Nshambi
Tete, Zambesi: Muungu    Rungu: Anyambi
Nyasaland: Murungu      Ashira: Aniembie
Swahili: Muungu          Mpongwe: Njambi
Giryama: Mulungu        Benga: Anyambi
Pokomo: Mungo            Dwala: Nyambi
Nyika: Mulungu          Yanzi: Nyambi
Kamba: Mulungu          Herero: Ndyambi
Yanzi: Molongo           
Herero: Mukuru           

[Pg 119]

Of Munkulunkulu the primitive idea is clear enough from its best preserved form, the Zulu Unkulunkulu, which is a repetitive of the root inkulu, great, old, hence a deification of the great departed, a direct outcome of the ancestry-worship so universal amongst Negro and Bantu peoples[287]. Thus Unkulunkulu becomes the direct progenitor of the Zulu-Xosas: Unkulunkulu ukobu wetu. But the fundamental meaning of Nzambi is unknown. The root does not occur in Kishi-Kongo, and Bentley rightly rejects Kolbe's far-fetched explanation from the Herero, adding that "the knowledge of God is most vague, scarcely more than nominal. There is no worship paid to God[288]."

More probable seems W. H. Tooke's suggestion that Nzambi is "a Nature spirit like Zeus or Indra," and that, while the eastern Bantus are ancestor-worshippers, "the western adherents of Nzambi are more or less Nature-worshippers. In this respect they appear to approach the Negroes of the Gold, Slave, and Oil Coasts[289]." No doubt the cult of the dead prevails also in this region, but here it is combined with naturalistic forms of belief, as on the Gold Coast, where Bobowissi, chief god of all the southern tribes, is the "Blower of Clouds," the "Rain-maker," and on the Slave Coast, where the Dahoman Mawu and the Yoruba Olorun are the Sky or Rain, and the "Owner of the Sky" (the deified Firmament), respectively[290].


It would therefore seem probable that the Munkulunkulu peoples from the north-east gradually spread by the indicated routes over the whole of Bantuland, everywhere imposing their speech, general culture, and ancestor-worship on the pre-Bantu aborigines, except along the Atlantic coastlands and in parts of the interior. Here the primitive Nature-worship, embodied in Nzambi, held and still holds its ground, both meeting on equal terms—as shown in the above table—amongst [Pg 120]the Ba-Yanzi, the Ova-Herero, and the Be-Chuanas (Mulungulu generally, but Nyampe in Barotseland), and no doubt in other inland regions. But the absolute supremacy of one on the east, and of the other on the west, side of the continent, seems conclusive as to the general streams of migration, while the amazing uniformity of nomenclature is but another illustration of the almost incredible persistence of Bantu speech amongst these multitudinous illiterate populations for an incalculable period of time[291].

The Vaalpens and the Strandloopers.

The Kattea or Vaalpens.

Among the ethnological problems of Africa may be reckoned the Vaalpens and the Strandloopers. Along the banks of the Limpopo between the Transvaal and Southern Rhodesia there are scattered a few small groups of an extremely primitive people who are generally confounded with the Bushmen, but differ in some important respects from that race. They are the "Earthmen" of some writers, but their real name is Kattea, though called by their neighbours either Ma Sarwa ("Bad People") or Vaalpens ("Grey Paunches") from the khaki colour acquired by their bodies from creeping on all fours into their underground hovels. But the true colour is almost a pitch black, and as they are only about four feet high they are quite distinct both from the tall Bantus and the yellowish Hottentot-Bushmen. For the Zulus they are mere "dogs" or "vultures," and are certainly the most degraded of all the aborigines, being undoubtedly cannibals, eating their own aged and infirm like some of the Amazonian tribes. Their habitations are holes in the ground, rock-shelters, or caves, or lately a few hovels of mud and foliage at the foot of the hills. Of their speech nothing is known except that it is absolutely distinct both from the Bantu and the Bushman. There are no arts or industries of any kind, not even any weapons beyond those procured in exchange for ostrich feathers, skins or ivory. But they can make fire, and are thus able to cook the offal thrown to them by the Boers in[Pg 121] return for their help in skinning the captured game. Whether they have any religious ideas it is impossible to say, all intercourse with the surrounding peoples being restricted to barter carried on with gesture language for nobody has ever yet mastered their tongue. A "chief" is spoken of, but he is merely a headman who presides over the little family groups of from thirty to fifty (there are no tribes properly so called), and whose purely domestic functions are acquired, not by heredity, but by personal worth, that is, physical strength. Altogether the Kattea is perhaps the most perfect embodiment of the pure savage still anywhere surviving[292].

The Strandloopers.

When the Hottentots of South Africa were questioned by scientific men a hundred years ago and more regarding their traditions, they were wont to refer to their predecessors on the coast of South Africa as a savage race living on the seashore and subsisting on shellfish and the bodies of stranded whales. From their habits these were styled in Dutch the Strandloopers or "Shore-runners[293]." According to F. C. Shrubsall the Strandlooper of the Cape Colony caves preceded the Bushman in South Africa. They were a race of short but not dwarfish men with a much higher skull capacity than that of the average Bush race. The extreme of cranial capacity in the Strandloopers was a maximum of over 1600 c.c., while the extreme minimum among the Bush people descends as low as 955 c.c. The frontal region of the skull is much better developed than in the Bush race, and in that respect is more like the Negro. There is little or no brow prominence and one at least of the skulls is as orthognathous in facial angle as that of a European. L. Peringuey remarks also that the type was less dolichocephalic than the Bushmen and Hottentots, under 80 in cephalic index. "He was artistically gifted, like the race which occupied and decorated the Altamira ... and other caves of Spain and France. He painted; he possibly carved on rocks; he used bone tools; he made pottery; he perforated stones for either heading clubs or to be used as make-weights for digging tools; his ornaments consisted of sea-shells; and the ostrich egg-shell discs which he made may be said to be[Pg 122] a typical product of his industry. And this culture is retained in South Africa by a kindred race, but more dolichocephalic—the Bushmen-Hottentots. Analogous are most of his tools and his expressions of culture to those of Aurignacian man."

The Negrilloes.

The Negrilloes.
Negrilloes at the Courts of the Pharaohs.

The proper domain of the African Negrilloes is the intertropical forest-land, although they appear to be at present confined to somewhat narrow limits, between about six degrees of latitude north and south of the equator, unless the Bushmen be included. But formerly they probably ranged much farther north, and in historic times were certainly known in Egypt some 4000 or 5000 years ago. This is evident from the frequent references to them in the "Book of the Dead" as far back as the 6th Dynasty. Like the dwarfs in medieval times, they were in high request at the courts of the Pharaohs, who sent expeditions to fetch these Danga (Tank) from the "Island of the Double," that is, the fabulous region of Shade Land beyond Punt, where they dwelt. The first of whom there is authentic record was brought from this region, apparently the White Nile, to King Assa (3300 B.C.) by his officer, Baurtet. Some 70 years later Heru-Khuf, another officer, was sent by Pepi II "to bring back a pygmy alive and in good health," from the land of great trees away to the south[294]. That the Danga came from the south we know from a later inscription at Karnak, and that the word meant dwarf is clear from the accompanying determinative of a short person of stunted growth.

It is curious to note in this connection that the limestone statue of the dwarf Nem-hotep, found in his tomb at Sakkara and figured by Ernest Grosse, has a thick elongated head suggesting artificial deformation, unshapely mouth, dull expression, strong full chest, and small deformed feet, on which he seems badly balanced. It will be remembered that Schweinfurth's Akkas from Mangbattuland were also represented as top-heavy, although the best observers, Junker and others, describe those of the Welle and Congo forests as shapely and by no means ill-proportioned.[Pg 123]

Negrilloes and Pygmy Folklore.

Kollmann also, who has examined the remains of the Neolithic pygmies from the Schweizersbild Station, Switzerland, "is quite certain that the dwarf-like proportions of the latter have nothing in common with diseased conditions. This, from many points of view, is a highly interesting discovery. It is possible, as Nüesch suggests, that the widely-spread legend as to the former existence of little men, dwarfs and gnomes, who were supposed to haunt caves and retired places in the mountains, may be a reminiscence of these Neolithic pygmies[295]."

The Dume and Doko, reputed Dwarfs.

This is what may be called the picturesque aspect of the Negrillo question, which it seems almost a pity to spoil by too severe a criticism. But "ethnologic truth" obliges us to say that the identification of the African Negrillo with Kollmann's European dwarfs still lacks scientific proof. Even craniology fails us here, and although the Negrilloes are in great majority round-headed, R. Verneau has shown that there may be exceptions[296], while the theory of the general uniformity of the physical type has broken down at some other points. Thus the Dume, south of Gallaland, discovered by Donaldson Smith[297] in the district where the Doko Negrilloes had long been heard of, and even seen by Antoine d'Abbadie in 1843, were found to average five feet, or more than one foot over the mean of the true Negrillo. D'Abbadie in fact declared that his "Dokos" were not pygmies at all[298], while Donaldson Smith now tells us that "doko" is only a term of contempt applied by the local tribes to their "poor relations." "Their chief characteristics were a black skin, round features, woolly hair, small oval-shaped eyes, rather thick lips, high cheekbones, a broad forehead, and very well formed bodies" (p. 273).

The expression of the eye was canine, "sometimes timid and suspicious-looking, sometimes very amiable and merry, and then again changing suddenly to a look of intense anger."[Pg 124] Pygmies, he adds, "inhabited the whole of the country north of Lakes Stephanie and Rudolf long before any of the tribes now to be found in the neighbourhood; but they have been gradually killed off in war, and have lost their characteristics by inter-marriage with people of large stature, so that only this one little remnant, the Dume, remains to prove the existence of a pygmy race. Formerly they lived principally by hunting, and they still kill a great many elephants with their poisoned arrows" (pp. 274-5).

The Wandorobbo Hunters.

Some of these remarks apply also to the Wandorobbo, another small people who range nearly as far north as the Dume, but are found chiefly farther south all over Masailand, and belong, I have little doubt, to the same connection. They are the henchmen of the Masai, whom they provide with big game in return for divers services.

Those met by W. Astor Chanler were also "armed with bows and arrows, and each carried an elephant-spear, which they called bonati. This spear is six feet in length, thick at either end, and narrowed where grasped by the hand. In one end is bored a hole, into which is fitted an arrow two feet long, as thick as one's thumb, and with a head two inches broad. Their method of killing elephants is to creep cautiously up to the beast, and drive a spear into its loin. A quick twist separates the spear from the arrow, and they make off as fast and silently as possible. In all cases the arrows are poisoned; and if they are well introduced into the animal's body, the elephant does not go far[299]."

The Wochua Mimics.

From some of the peculiarities of the Achua (Wochua) Negrilloes met by Junker south of the Welle one can understand why these little people were such favourites with the old Egyptian kings. These were "distinguished by sharp powers of observation, amazing talent for mimicry, and a good memory. A striking proof of this was afforded by an Achua whom I had seen and measured four years previously in Rumbek, and now again met at Gambari's. His comic ways and quick nimble movements made this little fellow the clown of our society. He imitated with marvellous fidelity the peculiarities of persons whom he had once seen; for instance, the gestures and facial[Pg 125] expressions of Jussuf Pasha esh-Shelahis and of Haj Halil at their devotions, as well as the address and movements of Emin Pasha, 'with the four eyes' (spectacles). His imitation of Hawash Effendi in a towering rage, storming and abusing everybody, was a great success; and now he took me off to the life, rehearsing after four years, down to the minutest details, and with surprising accuracy, my anthropometric performance when measuring his body at Rumbek[300]."

A somewhat similar account is given by Ludwig Wolf of the Ba-Twa pygmies visited by him and Wissmann in the Kassai region. Here are whole villages in the forest-glades inhabited by little people with an average height of about 4 feet 3 inches. They are nomads, occupied exclusively with hunting and the preparation of palm-wine, and are regarded by their Ba-Kubu neighbours as benevolent little people, whose special mission is to provide the surrounding tribes with game and palm-wine in exchange for manioc, maize, and bananas[301].

Despite the above-mentioned deviations, occurring chiefly about the borderlands, considerable uniformity both of physical and mental characters is found to prevail amongst the typical Negrillo groups scattered in small hunting communities all over the Welle, Semliki, Congo, and Ogowai woodlands. Their main characters are thus described. Their skin is of a reddish or yellowish brown in colour, sometimes very dark. Their height varies from 1.37 m. to 1.45 m. (4 ft. 4¼ in. to 4 ft. 9¼ in.[302]). Their hair is very short and woolly, usually of a dark rusty brown colour; the face hair is variable, but the body is usually covered with a light downy hair. The cephalic index is 79. The nose is very broad and exceptionally flattened at the root; the lips are usually thin, and the upper one long; the eyes are protuberant; the face is sometimes prognathic. Steatopygia occurs. They are a markedly intelligent people, innately musical, cunning, revengeful and suspicious in disposition, but they never steal.

They are nomadic hunters and collectors, never resorting to agriculture. They have no domestic animals. Only meat is cooked. They wear no clothing. They use bows and[Pg 126] poisoned arrows. Their language is unknown. They live in small communities which centre round a cunning fighter or able hunter. Their dead are buried in the ground. They differ from surrounding Negroes in having no veneration for the departed, no amulets, no magicians or professional priests. They have charms for ensuring luck in hunting, but it is uncertain whether these charms derive their potency from the supreme being, though evidence of belief in a high-god is reported from various pygmy peoples.[303]

The Bushmen and Hottentots.

Bushmen and Hottentots. Former and Present Range.

Towards the south the Negrillo domain was formerly conterminous with that of the Bushmen, of whom traces were discovered by Sir H. H. Johnston[304] as far north as Lakes Nyasa and Tanganyika, and who, it has been conjectured, belong to the same primitive stock. The differences mental and physical now separating the two sections of the family may perhaps be explained by the different environments—hot, moist and densely wooded in the north, and open steppes in the south—but until more is known of the African pygmies their affinities must remain undecided.

The relationship between the Bushmen and the Hottentots is another disputed question. Early authorities regarded the Hottentots as the parent family, and the Bushmen as the offspring, but the researches of Gustav Fritsch, E. T. Hamy, F. Shrubsall[305] and others show that the Hottentots are a cross between the Bushmen—the primitive race—and the Bantu, the Bushman element being seen in the leathery colour, prominent cheek-bones, pointed chin, steatopygia and other special characters.[Pg 127]

The Wa-Sandawi.

In prehistoric times the Hottentots ranged over a vast area. Evidence has now been produced of the presence of a belated Hottentot or Hottentot-Bushman group as far north as the Kwa-Kokue district, between Kilimanjaro and Victoria Nyanza. The Wa-Sandawi people here visited by Oskar Neumann are not Bantus, and speak a language radically distinct from that of the neighbouring Bantus, but full of clicks like that of the Bushmen[306]. Two Sandawi skulls examined by Virchow[307] showed distinct Hottentot characters, with a cranial capacity of 1250 and 1265 c.c., projecting upper jaw and orthodolicho head[308]. The geographical prefix Kwa, common in the district (Kwa-Kokue, Kwa-Mtoro, Kwa-Hindi), is pure Hottentot, meaning "people," like the postfix qua (Kwa) of Kora-qua, Nama-qua, etc. in the present Hottentot domain. The transposition of prefixes and postfixes is a common linguistic phenomenon, as seen in the Sumero-Akkadian of Babylonia, in the Neo-Sanskritic tongues of India, and the Latin, Oscan, and other members of the Old Italic group.

Hottentot Geographical Names in Bantuland.

Farther south a widely-diffused Hottentot-Bushman geographical terminology attests the former range of this primitive race all over South Africa, as far north as the Zambesi. Lichtenstein had already discovered such traces in the Zulu country[309], and Vater points out that "for some districts the fact has been fully established; mountains and rivers now occupied by the Koossa [Ama-Xosa] preserve in their Hottentot names the certain proof that they at one time formed a permanent possession of this people[310]."

Thanks to the custom of raising heaps of stones or cairns over the graves of renowned chiefs, the migrations of the[Pg 128] Hottentots may be followed in various directions to the very heart of South Zambesia. Here the memory of their former presence is perpetuated in the names of such water-courses as Nos-ob, Up, Mol-opo, Hyg-ap, Gar-ib, in which the syllables ob, up, ap, ib and others are variants of the Hottentot word ib, ip, water, river, as in Gar-ib, the "Great River," now better known as the Orange River. The same indications may be traced right across the continent to the Atlantic, where nearly all the coast streams—even in Hereroland, where the language has long been extinct—have the same ending[311].

Hottentots disappearing.

On the west side the Bushmen are still heard of as far north as the Cunene, and in the interior beyond Lake Ngami nearly to the right bank of the Zambesi. But the Hottentots are now confined mainly to Great and Little Namaqualand. Elsewhere there appear to be no full-blood natives of this race, the Koraquas, Gonaquas, Griquas, etc. being all Hottentot-Boer or Hottentot-Bantu half-castes of Dutch speech. In Cape Colony the tribal organisation ceased to exist in 1810, when the last Hottentot chief was replaced by a European magistrate. Still the Koraquas keep themselves somewhat distinct about the Upper Orange and Vaal Rivers, and the Griquas in Griqualand East, while the Gonaquas, that is, "Borderers," are being gradually merged in the Bantu populations of the Eastern Provinces. There are at present scarcely 180,000 south of the Orange River, and of these the great majority are half-breeds[312].

Bushman Folklore Literature.

Despite their extremely low state of culture, or, one might say, the almost total lack of culture, the Bushmen are distinguished by two remarkable qualities, a fine sense of pictorial or graphic art[313], and a rich imagination displayed in a copious oral folklore, much of which, collected by Bleek, is preserved in manuscript form in Sir George Grey's library at Cape Town[314]. The materials here stored for future use, perhaps long after the race itself has vanished for ever, comprise no less than 84 thick volumes of[Pg 129] 3600 double-column pages, besides an unfinished Bushman dictionary with 11,000 entries. There are two great sections, (1) Myths, fables, legends and poetry, with tales about the sun and moon, the stars, the Mantis and other animals, legends of peoples who dwelt in the land before the Bushmen, songs, charms, and even prayers; (2) Histories, adventures of men and animals, customs, superstitions, genealogies, and so on.

Bushman-Hottentot Language and Clicks.

In the tales and myths the sun, moon, and animals speak either with their own proper clicks, or else use the ordinary clicks in some way peculiar to themselves. Thus Bleek tells us that the tortoise changes clicks in labials, the ichneumon in palatals, the jackal substitutes linguo-palatals for labials, while the moon, hare, and ant-eater use "a most unpronounceable click" of their own. How many there may be altogether, not one of which can be properly uttered by Europeans, nobody seems to know. But grammarians have enumerated nine, indicated each by a graphic sign as under:

From Bushman—a language in a state of flux, fragmentary as the small tribal or rather family groups that speak it[315]—these strange inarticulate sounds passed to the number of four into the remotely related Hottentot, and thence to the number of three into the wholly unconnected Zulu-Xosa. But they are heard nowhere else to my knowledge except amongst the newly-discovered Wa-Sandawi people of South Masailand. At the same time we know next to nothing of the Negrillo tongues, and should clicks be discovered to form an element in their phonetic system also[316], it would support the assumption of a common origin of all these dwarfish races now somewhat discredited on anatomical grounds.

[Pg 130]

Bushman Mental Characters.

M. G. Bertin, to whom we are indebted for an excellent monograph on the Bushman[317], rightly remarks that he is not, at least mentally, so debased as he has been described by the early travellers and by the neighbouring Bantus and Boers, by whom he has always been despised and harried. "His greatest love is for freedom, he acknowledges no master, and possesses no slaves. It is this love of independence which made him prefer the wandering life of a hunter to that of a peaceful agriculturist or shepherd, as the Hottentot. He rarely builds a hut, but prefers for abode the natural caves he finds in the rocks. In other localities he forms a kind of nest in the bush—hence his name of Bushman—or digs with his nails subterranean caves, from which he has received the name of 'Earthman.' His garments consist only of a small skin. His weapons are still the spear, arrow and bow in their most rudimentary form. The spear is a mere branch of a tree, to which is tied a piece of bone or flint; the arrow is only a reed treated in the same way. The arrow and spear-heads are always poisoned, to render mortal the slight wounds they inflict. He gathers no flocks, which would impede his movements, and only accepts the help of dogs as wild as himself. The Bushmen have, however, one implement, a rounded stone perforated in the middle, in which is inserted a piece of wood; with this instrument, which carries us back to the first age of man, they dig up a few edible roots growing wild in the desert. To produce fire, he still retains the primitive system of rubbing two pieces of wood—another prehistoric survival."

Bushman Race-names.

Touching their name, it is obvious that these scattered groups, without hereditary chiefs or social organisation of any kind, could have no collective designation. The term Khuai, of uncertain meaning, but probably to be equated with the Hottentot Khoi, "Men," is the name only of a single group, though often applied to the whole race. Saan, their Hottentot name, is the plural of Sa, a term also of uncertain origin; Ba-roa, current amongst the Be-Chuanas, has not been explained, while the Zulu Abatwa would seem to connect them even by name with Wolf's and Stanley's Ba-Twa of the Congo forest region. Other so-called tribal names (there are no "tribes" in the strict sense of the word) are either nicknames imposed upon them by their[Pg 131] neighbours, or else terms taken from the localities, as amongst the Fuegians.

We may conclude with the words of W. J. Sollas: "The more we know of these wonderful little people the more we learn to admire and like them. To many solid virtues—untiring energy, boundless patience, and fertile invention, steadfast courage, devoted loyalty, and family affection—they added a native refinement of manners and a rare aesthetic sense. We may learn from them how far the finer excellences of life may be attained in the hunting stage. In their golden age, before the coming of civilised man, they enjoyed their life to the full, glad with the gladness of primeval creatures. The story of their later days, their extermination and the cruel manner of it, is a tale of horror on which we do not care to dwell. They haunt no more the sunlit veldt, their hunting is over, their nation is destroyed; but they leave behind an imperishable memory, they have immortalised themselves in their art[318]."


[223] C. Meinhof holds that Proto-Bantu arose through the mixture of a Sudan language with one akin to Fulah. An Introduction to the Study of African Languages, 1915, p. 151 sqq.

[224] Bantu, properly Aba-ntu, "people." Aba is one of the numerous personal prefixes, each with its corresponding singular form, which are the cause of so much confusion in Bantu nomenclature. To aba, ab, ba answers a sing. umu, um, mu, so that sing. umu-ntu, um-ntu or mu-ntu, a man, a person; plu. aba-ntu, ab-ntu, ba-ntu. But in some groups mu is also plural, the chief dialectic variants being, Ama, Aba, Ma, Ba, Wa, Ova, Va, Vua, U, A, O, Eshi, as in Ama-Zulu, Mu-Sarongo, Ma-Yomba, Wa-Swahili, Ova-Herero, Vua-Twa, Ba-Suto, Eshi-Kongo. For a tentative classification of African tribes see T. A. Joyce, Art. "Africa: Ethnology," Ency. Brit. 1910, p. 329. For the classification of Bantu tongues into 44 groups consult H. H. Johnston, Art. "Bantu Languages," loc. cit.

[225] Eth. Ch. XI.

[226] Le Naturaliste, Jan. 1894.

[227] Tour de Monde, 1896, I. p. 1 sq.; and Les Bayas; Notes Ethnographiques et Linguistiques, Paris, 1896.

[228] D. Randall-MacIver, Mediaeval Rhodesia, 1906. But R. N. Hall, Prehistoric Rhodesia, 1909, strongly opposes this view. See below, p. 105.

[229] Even Tipu Tib, their chief leader and "Prince of Slavers," was a half-caste with distinctly Negroid features.

[230] "Afilo wurde mir vom Lega-König als ein Negerland bezeichnet, welches von einer Galla-Aristokratie beherrscht wird" (Petermann's Mitt. 1883, V. p. 194).

[231] The Ba-Hima are herdsmen in Buganda, a sort of aristocracy in Unyoro, a ruling caste in Toro, and the dominant race with dynasties in Ankole. The name varies in different areas.

[232] Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1895, p. 424. For details of the Ba-Hima type see Eth. p. 389.

[233] J. Roscoe, The Northern Bantu, 1915, p. 103. Herein are also described the Bakene, lake dwellers, the Bagesu, a cannibal tribe, the Basoga and the Nilotic tribes the Bateso and Kavirondo.

[234] J. Roscoe, loc. cit. pp. 4, 5.

[235] "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913, p. 390.

[236] Handwerk und Industrie in Ostafrika, 1910, p. 147.

[237] "Die erste Ausbreitung des Menschengeschlechts." Pol. Anthropol. Revue, 1909, p. 72. Cf. chronology on p. 14 above.

[238] Ethnology, p. 199.

[239] Uganda is the name now applied to the whole Protectorate, Buganda is the small kingdom, Baganda, the people, Muganda, one person, Luganda, the language. H. H. Johnston, The Uganda Protectorate, 1902, and J. F. Cunningham, Uganda and its Peoples, 1905, cover much of the elementary anthropology of East Central Africa.

[240] The legend is given with much detail by H. M. Stanley in Through the Dark Continent, Vol. I. p. 344 sq. Another and less mythical account of the migrations of "the people with a white skin from the far north-east" is quoted from Emin Pasha by the Rev. R. P. Ashe in Two Kings of Uganda, p. 336. Here the immigrant Ba-Hima are expressly stated to have "adopted the language of the aborigines" (p. 337).

[241] Sir H. H. Johnston, op. cit. p. 514.

[242] Except the Lung-fish clan.

[243] J. Roscoe, The Baganda, 1911.

[244] For the Wa-Kikuyu see W. S. and K. Routledge, With a Prehistoric People, 1910, and C. W. Hobley's papers in the Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XL. 1910, and XLI. 1911. The Atharaka are described by A. M. Champion, Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLII. 1912, p. 68. Consult for this region C. Eliot, The East Africa Protectorate, 1905; K. Weule, Native Life in East Africa, 1909; C. W. Hobley, Ethnology of the A-Kamba and other East African Tribes, 1910; M. Weiss, Die Völkerstämme im Norden Deutsch-Ostafrikas, 1910; and A. Werner, "The Bantu Coast Tribes of the East Africa Protectorate," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLV. 1915.

[245] Official Report on the East African Protectorate, 1897.

[246] Vocabulary of the Giryama Language, S.P.C.K. 1897.

[247] Travels in the Coastlands of British East Africa, London, 1898, p. 103 sq.

[248] A. Werner, "Girijama Texts," Zeitschr. f. Kol.-spr. Oct. 1914.

[249] Having become the chief medium of intercourse throughout the southern Bantu regions, Ki-swahili has been diligently cultivated, especially by the English missionaries, who have wisely discarded the Arab for the Roman characters. There is already an extensive literature, including grammars, dictionaries, translations of the Bible and other works, and even A History of Rome issued by the S.P.C.K. in 1898.

[250] W. E. H. Barrett, "Notes on the Customs and Beliefs of the Wa-Giriama," etc., Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLI. 1911, gives further details. For a full review of the religious beliefs of Bantu tribes see E. S. Hartland, Art. "Bantu and S. Africa," Ency. of Religion and Ethics, 1909.

[251] The name still survives in Zangue-bar ("Zang-land") and the adjacent island of Zanzibar (an Indian corruption). Zang is "black," and bar is the same Arabic word, meaning dry land, that we have in Mala-bar on the opposite side of the Indian Ocean. Cf. also barran wa bahran, "by land and by sea."

[252] Viage por Malabar y Costas de Africa, 1512, translated by the Hon. Henry E. J. Stanley, Hakluyt Society, 1868.

[253] In preference to the more popular form Zulu-Kafir, where Kafir is merely the Arabic "Infidel" applied indiscriminately to any people rejecting Islám; hence the Siah Posh Kafirs ("Black-clad Infidels") of Afghanistan; the Kufra oasis in the Sahara, where Kufra, plural of Kafir, refers to the pagan Tibus of that district; and the Kafirs generally of the East African seaboard. But according to English usage Zulu is applied to the northern part of the territory, mainly Zululand proper and Natal, while Kafirland or Kaffraria is restricted to the southern section between Natal and the Great Kei River. The bulk of these southern "Kafirs" belong to the Xosa connection; hence this term takes the place of Kafir, in the compound expression Zulu-Xosa. Ama is explained on p. 86, and the X of Xosa represents an unpronounceable combination of a guttural and a lateral click, this with two other clicks (a dental and a palatal) having infected the speech of these Bantus during their long prehistoric wars with the Hottentots or Bushmen. See p. 129.

[254] See p. 86 above.

[255] See the admirable monograph on the Ba-Thonga, by H. A. Junod, The Life of a South African Tribe, 1912.

[256] Robert Codrington tells us that these A-Ngoni (Aba-Ngoni) spring from a Zulu tribe which crossed the Zambesi about 1825, and established themselves south-east of L. Tanganyika, but later migrated to the uplands west of L. Nyasa, where they founded three petty states. Others went east of the Livingstone range, and are here still known as Magwangwara. But all became gradually assimilated to the surrounding populations. Intermarrying with the women of the country they preserve their speech, dress, and usages for the first generation in a slightly modified form, although the language of daily intercourse is that of the mothers. Then this class becomes the aristocracy of the whole nation, which henceforth comprises a great part of the aborigines ruled by a privileged caste of Zulu origin, "perpetuated almost entirely among themselves" ("Central Angoniland," Geograph. Jour. May, 1898, p. 512). See A. Werner, The Natives of British Central Africa, 1906.

[257] Rev. J. Macdonald, Light in Africa, p. 194. Among recent works on the Zulu-Xosa tribes may be mentioned Dudley Kidd, The Essential Kafir, 1904, Savage Childhood, 1905; H. A. Junod, The Life of a South African Tribe (Ba-Thonga), 1912-3; G. W. Stow and G. M. Theal, The Native Races of South Africa, 1905.

[258] From Mwana, lord, master, and tapa, to dig, both common Bantu words.

[259] The point was that Portugal had made treaties with this mythical State, in virtue of which she claimed in the "scramble for Africa" all the hinterlands behind her possessions on the east and west coasts (Mozambique and Angola), in fact all South Africa between the Orange and Zambesi rivers. Further details on the "Monomotapa Question" will be found in my monograph on "The Portuguese in South Africa" in Murray's South Africa, from Arab Domination to British Rule, 1891, p. 11 sq. Five years later Mr G. McCall Theal also discovered, no doubt independently, the mythical character of Monomotapaland in his book on The Portuguese in South Africa, 1896.

[260] Proc. R. Geogr. Soc. May, 1892, and The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland, 1892.

[261] D. Randall-MacIver, Mediaeval Rhodesia, 1906. But R. N. Hall strongly combats his views, Great Zimbabwe, 1905, Prehistoric Rhodesia, 1909, and South African Journal of Science, May, 1912. H. H. Johnston says, "I see nothing inherently improbable in the finding of gold by proto-Arabs in the south-eastern part of Zambezia; nor in the pre-Islamic Arab origin of Zimbabwe," p. 396, "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913.

[262] G. W. Stow, The Native Races of South Africa, 1905.

[263] The British Protectorate was limited in 1905 to about 182,000 square miles.

[264] Cf. A. St H. Gibbons, Africa South to North through Marotseland, 1904, and C. W. Mackintosh, Coillard of the Zambesi, 1907, with a bibliography.

[265] The Ma-Kololo gave the Ba-Rotse their present name. They were originally Aälui, but the conquerors called them Ma-Rotse, people of the plain.

[266] Ten Years North of the Orange River.

[267] Cf. G. M. Theal, The History of South Africa 1908-9, and The Beginning of South African History, 1902.

[268] Op. cit. p. 47.

[269] G. Lagden, The Basutos, 1909.

[270] Variously termed Ba-Kongo, Bashi-Kongo or Ba-Fiot.

[271] Towards the Mountains of the Moon, 1884, p. 128.

[272] Dictionary and Grammar of the Kongo Language, 1887, p. xxiii. F. Starr has published a Bibliography of the Congo Languages, Bull. V., Dept. of Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1908.

[273] "Li Mociconghi cosi nomati nel suo proprio idioma gli abitanti del reame di Congo" (Relatione, etc., Rome, 1591, p. 68). This form is remarkable, being singular (Moci = Mushi) instead of plural (Eshi); yet it is still currently applied to the rude "Mushi-Kongos" on the south side of the estuary. Their real name however is Bashi-Kongo. See Brit. Mus. Ethnog. Handbook, p. 219.

[274] Often written Ba-Fiort with an intrusive r.

[275] Under Belgian administration much ethnological work has been undertaken, and published in the Annales du Musée du Congo, notably the magnificent monograph on the Bushongo (Bakuba) by E. Torday and T. A. Joyce, 1911. See also H. H. Johnston, George Grenfell and the Congo, 1908; M. W. Hilton-Simpson, Land and Peoples of the Kasai, 1911; E. Torday, Camp and Tramp in African Wilds, 1913; J. H. Weeks, Among Congo Cannibals, 1913, and Among the Primitive Bakongo, 1914; and Adolf Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg, From the Congo to the Niger and the Nile, 1913.

[276] The First Ascent of the Kassai, 1889, p. 20 sq. See also my communication to the Academy, April 6, 1889, and Africa (Stanford's Compendium), 1895, Vol. II. p. 117 sq.

[277] Op. cit. p. 20.

[278] The New World of Central Africa, 1890, p. 466 sq.

[279] Op. cit. p. 471.

[280] These Mpangwe savages are constantly confused with the Mpongwes of the Gabún, a settled Bantu people who have been long in close contact, and on friendly terms, with the white traders and missionaries in this district.

[281] The scanty information about the Ba-Teke is given, with references, by E. Torday and T. A. Joyce, "Notes on the Ethnography of the Ba-Huana," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XXXVI. 1906.

[282] My Africa, II. p. 58. Oscar Lenz, who perhaps knew them best, says: "Gut gebaut, schlank und kräftig gewachsen, Hautfarbe viel lichter, manchmal stark ins Gelbe spielend, Haar und Bartwuchs auffallend stark, sehr grosse Kinnbärte" (Skizzen aus West-Afrika, 1878, p. 73).

[283] M. H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, 1897, pp. 331-2.

[284] Official Report, 1886.

[285] H. H. Johnston, George Grenfell and the Congo ... and Notes on the Cameroons, 1908.

[286] Reclus, English ed., XII. p. 376.

[287] So also in Minahassa, Celebes, Empung, "Grandfather," is the generic name of the gods. "The fundamental ideas of primitive man are the same all the world over. Just as the little black baby of the Negro, the brown baby of the Malay, the yellow baby of the Chinaman are in face and form, in gestures and habits, as well as in the first articulate sounds they mutter, very much alike, so the mind of man, whether he be Aryan or Malay, Mongolian or Negrito, has in the course of its evolution passed through stages which are practically identical" (Sydney J. Hickson, A Naturalist in North Celebes, 1889, p. 240).

[288] Op. cit. p. 96.

[289] "The God of the Ethiopians," in Nature, May 26, 1892.

[290] A. B. Ellis, Tshi, p. 23; Ewe, p. 31; Yoruba, p. 36.

[291] Cf. E. S. Hartland, Art. "Bantu and S. Africa," Ency. of Religion and Ethics, 1909.

[292] This account of the Vaalpens is taken from A. H. Keane, The World's Peoples, 1908, p. 149.

[293] This summary of our information about the Strandloopers, with quotations from F. C. Shrubsall and L. Peringuey, is taken from H. H. Johnston, "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913, p. 377.

[294] Schiaparelli, Una Tomba Egiziana, Rome, 1893.

[295] James Geikie, Scottish Geogr. Mag. Sept. 1897.

[296] Thus he finds (L'Anthropologie, 1896, p. 153) a presumably Negrillo skull from the Babinga district, Middle Sangha river, to be distinctly long-headed (73.2) with, for this race, the enormous cranial capacity of about 1440 c.c. Cf. the Akka measured by Sir W. Flower (1372 c.c.), and his Andamanese (1128), the highest hitherto known being 1200 (Virchow).

[297] Through Unknown African Countries, etc., 1897.

[298] Bul. Soc. Géogr. XIX. p. 440.

[299] Through Jungle and Desert, 1896, pp. 358-9.

[300] Travels, III. p. 86.

[301] Im Innern Afrika's, p. 259 sq. As stated in Eth. Ch. XI. Dr Wolf connects all these Negrillo peoples with the Bushmen south of the Zambesi.

[302] One of the Mambute brought to England by Col. Harrison in 1906 measured just over 3½ feet.

[303] See A. C. Haddon, Art. "Negrillos and Negritos," Ency. of Religion and Ethics, 1917.

[304] "It would seem as if the earliest known race of man inhabiting what is now British Central Africa was akin to the Bushman-Hottentot type of Negro. Rounded stones with a hole through the centre, similar to those which are used by the Bushmen in the south for weighting their digging-sticks, have been found at the south end of Lake Tanganyika. I have heard that other examples of these 'Bushman' stones have been found nearer to Lake Nyasa, etc." (British Central Africa, p. 52).

[305] G. Fritsch, Die Ein-geborenen Sud-Afrikas, 1872, "Schilderungen der Hottentotten," Globus, 1875, p. 374 ff.; E. T. Hamy, "Les Races nègres," L'Anthropologie, 1897, p. 257 ff.; F. Shrubsall, "Crania of African Bush Races," Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1897. See also G. McCall Theal, The Yellow and Dark-skinned People South of the Zambesi, 1910.

[306] "I have not been able to trace much affinity in word roots between this language and either Bushman or Hottentot, though it is noteworthy that the word for four ... is almost identical with the word for four in all the Hottentot dialects, while the phonology of the language is reminiscent of Bushmen in its nasals and gutturals" (H. H. Johnston, "Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913, p. 380).

[307] Verhandl. Berliner Gesellsch. f. Anthrop. 1895, p. 59.

[308] Of another skull undoubtedly Hottentot, from a cave on the Transvaal and Orange Free State frontier, Dr Mies remarks that "seine Form ist orthodolichocephal wie bei den Wassandaui," although differing in some other characters (Centralbl. f. Anthr. 1896, p. 50).

[309] From which he adds that the Hottentots "schon lange vor der Portugiesischen Umschiffung Afrika's von Kaffer-Stämmen wieder zurückgedrängt wurden" (Reisen, I. p. 400).

[310] Adelung und Vater, Berlin, 1812, III. p. 290.

[311] Such are, going north from below Walvisch Bay, Chuntop, Kuisip, Swakop, Ugab, Huab, Uniab, Hoanib, Kaurasib, and Khomeb.

[312] The returns for 1904 showed a "Hottentot" population of 85,892, but very few were pure Hottentots. The official estimate of those in which Hottentot blood was strongly marked was 56,000.

[313] M. H. Tongue and E. D. Bleek, Bushman Paintings, 1909. Cf. W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, p. 399, with bibliography.

[314] W. H. I. Bleek and L. C. Lloyd, Bushman Folklore, 1911.

[315] See W. Planert, "Über die Sprache der Hottentotten und Buschmänner," Mitt. d. Seminars f. Oriental. Sprachen z. Berlin, VIII. (1905), Abt. III. 104-176.

[316] "In the Pygmies of the north-eastern corner of the Congo basin and amongst the Bantu tribes of the Equatorial East African coast there is a tendency to faucal gasps or explosive consonants which suggests the vanishing influence of clicks." H. H. Johnston, "A Survey of the Ethnography of Africa," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLIII. 1913.

[317] "The Bushmen and their Language," in Journ. R. Asiatic Soc. XVIII. Part 1.

[318] Ancient Hunters, 1915, p. 425.

[Pg 132]



General Ethnical Relations in Oceania—The terms Papuan, Melanesian and Papuasian defined—The Papuasian Domain, Past and Present—Papuans and Melanesians—Physical Characters: Papuan, Papuo-Melanesian, Melanesian—The New Caledonians—Physical Characters—Food Question—General Survey of Melanesian Ethnology—Cultural Problems—Kava-drinking and Betel-chewing—Stone Monuments—The Dual People—Summary of Culture Strata—Melanesian Culture—Dress—Houses—Weapons—Canoes, etc.—Social Life—Secret Societies—Clubs—Religion—Western Papuasia—Ethnical Elements—Region of Transition by Displacements and Crossings—Papuan and Malay Contrasts—Ethnical and Biological Divides—The Negritoes—The Andamanese—Stone Age—Personal Appearance—Social Life—Religion—Speech—Method of Counting—Grammatical Structure—The Semangs—Physical Appearance—Usages—Speech—Stone Age—The Aetas—Head-Hunters—New Guinea Pygmies—Negrito Culture—The Tasmanians—Tasmanian Culture—Fire Making—Tools and Weapons—Diet—Dwellings—Extinction.


Distribution in Past and Present Times.

Present Range. Papuasian: East Malaysia, New Guinea, Melanesia; Tasmanian: extinct; Negrito: Andamans, Malay Peninsula, Philippines, New Guinea.

Physical Characters.

Hair. Papuasian: black, frizzly, mop-like, beard scanty or absent; Tasmanian: black, shorter and less mop-like than Papuasian; Negrito: short, woolly or frizzly, black, sometimes tinged with brown or red.

Colour. All: very deep shades of chocolate brown, often verging on black, a very constant character, lighter shades showing mixture.

Skull. Papuasian: extremely dolichocephalic (68-73) and high, but very variable in areas of mixture. (70-84); Tasmanian: dolichocephalic or mesaticephalic (75); Negrito: brachycephalic (80-85).

Jaws. Papuasian: moderately or not at all prognathous; Tasmanian and Negrito: generally prognathous.[Pg 133] Cheek-bones. All: slightly prominent or even retreating. Nose. Papuasian: large, straight, generally aquiline in true Papuans; Tasmanian and Negrito: short, flat, broad, wide nostrils (platyrrhine) with large thick cartilage. Eyes. All: moderately large, round and black or very deep brown, with dirty yellowish cornea, generally deep-set with strong overhanging arches.

Stature. Papuasian and Tasmanian: above the average, but variable, with rather wide range from 1.62 m. to 1.77 or 1.82 m. (5 ft. 4 in. to 5 ft. 10 in. or 6 ft.); Negrito: undersized, but taller than African Negrillo, 1.37 m. to 1.52 m. (4. ft. 6 in. to 5 ft.).

Mental Characters.

Temperament. Papuasian: very excitable, voluble and laughter-loving, fairly intelligent and imaginative; Tasmanian: distinctly less excitable and intelligent, but also far less cruel, captives never tortured; Negrito: active, quick-witted or cunning within narrow limits, naturally kind and gentle.

Speech. Papuasian and Tasmanian: agglutinating with postfixes, many stock languages in West Papuasia, apparently one only in East Papuasia (Austronesian); Negrito: scarcely known except in Andamans, where agglutination both by class prefixes and by postfixes has acquired a phenomenal development.

Religion. Papuasian: reverence paid to ancestors, who may become beneficent or malevolent ghosts; general belief in mana or supernatural power; no priests or idols; Negrito: exceedingly primitive; belief in spirits, sometimes vague deities.

Culture. Papuasian: slightly developed; agriculture somewhat advanced (N. Guinea, N. Caledonia); considerable artistic taste and fancy shown in the wood-carving of houses, canoes, ceremonial objects, etc. All others: at the lowest hunting stage, without arts or industries, save the manufacture of weapons, ornaments, baskets, and rarely (Andamanese) pottery.

Main Divisions.

Papuasian: 1. Western Papuasians (true Papuans): nearly all the New Guinea natives; Aru and other insular groups thence westwards to Flores; Torres Straits and Louisiade Islands. 2. Eastern Papuasians: nearly all the natives of Melanesia from Bismarck Archipelago to New Caledonia, with most of Fiji, and part of New Guinea.[Pg 134]

Negritoes: 1. Andamanese Islanders. 2. Semangs, in the Malay Peninsula. 3. Aetas, surviving in most of the Philippine Islands. 4. Pygmies in New Guinea.


General Ethnical Relations in Oceania.

From the data supplied in Ethnology, Chap. XI. a reconstruction may be attempted of the obscure ethnical relations in Australasia on the following broad lines.

1. The two main sections of the Ulotrichous division of mankind, now separated by the intervening waters of the Indian Ocean, are fundamentally one.

2. To the Sudanese and Bantu sub-sections in Africa correspond, mutatis mutandis, the Papuan and Melanesian sub-sections in Oceania, the former being distinguished by great linguistic diversity, the latter by considerable linguistic uniformity, and both by a rather wide range of physical variety within certain well-marked limits.

3. In Africa the physical varieties are due mainly to Semitic and Hamitic grafts on the Negro stock; in Oceania mainly to Mongoloid (Malay) and Caucasian (Indonesian) grafts on the Papuan stock.

4. The Negrillo element in Africa has its counterpart in an analogous Negrito element in Oceania (Andamanese, Semangs, Aetas, etc.).

5. In both regions the linguistic diversity apparently presents similar features—a large number of languages differing profoundly in their grammatical structure and vocabularies, but all belonging to the same agglutinative order of speech, and also more or less to the same phonetic system.

6. In both regions the linguistic uniformity is generally confined to one or two geographical areas, Bantuland in Africa and Melanesia in Oceania.

7. In Bantuland the linguistic system shows but faint if any resemblances to any other known tongues, whereas the Melanesian group is but one branch, though the most archaic, of the vast Austronesian Family, diffused over the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Papuan languages are entirely distinct from the Melanesian. They are in some [Pg 135] respects similar to the Australian, but their exact positions are not yet proved[319].

The terms Papuan, Melanesian and Papuasian defined.

8. Owing to their linguistic, geographical, and to some extent their physical and social differences, it is desirable to treat the Papuans and Melanesians as two distinct though closely related sub-groups, and to restrict the use of the terms Papuan and Melanesian accordingly, while both may be conveniently comprised under the general or collective term Papuasian[320].

9. Here, therefore, by Papuans will be understood the true aborigines of New Guinea with its eastern Louisiade dependency[321], and in the west many of the Malaysian islands as far as Flores inclusive, where the black element and non-Malay speech predominate; by Melanesians, the natives of Melanesia as commonly understood, that is, the Admiralty Isles, New Britain, New Ireland and Duke of York; the Solomon Islands; Santa Cruz; the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Loyalty, and Fiji, where the black element and Austronesian speech prevail almost exclusively. Papuasia will thus comprise the insular world from Flores to New Caledonia.

The Papuasian Domain, Past and Present.

Such appear to be the present limits of the Papuasian domain, which formerly may have included Micronesia also (the Marianne, Pelew, and Caroline groups), and some writers suggest that it possibly extended over the whole of Polynesia as far as Easter Island.

[Pg 136]

Papuans and Melanesians, Physical Characters.

The variation in the inhabitants of New Guinea has often been recognised and is well described by C. G. Seligman who remarks[322] that the contrast between the relatively tall, dark-skinned, frizzly-haired inhabitants of Torres Straits, the Fly River and the neighbouring parts of New Guinea on the one hand, and the smaller lighter coloured peoples to the east, is so striking that the two peoples must be recognised as racially distinct. He restricts the name Papuan to the congeries of frizzly-haired and often mop-headed peoples whose skin colour is some shade of brownish black, and proposes the term Papuo-Melanesian for the generally smaller, lighter coloured, frizzly-haired races of the eastern peninsula and the islands beyond. Besides these conspicuous differences "The Papuan is generally taller and is more consistently dolichocephalic than the Papuo-Melanesian: he is always darker, his usual colour being a dark chocolate or sooty brown; his head is high and his face, is, as a rule, long with prominent brow-ridges, above which his rather flat forehead commonly slopes backwards. The Papuo-Melanesian head is usually less high and the brow ridges less prominent, while the forehead is commonly rounded and not retreating. The skin colour runs through the whole gamut of shades of café-au-lait, from a lightish yellow with only a tinge of brown, to a tolerably dark bronze colour. The lightest shades are everywhere uncommon, and in many localities appear to be limited to the female sex. The Papuan nose is longer and stouter and is often so arched as to present the outline known as 'Jewish.' The character of its bridge varies, typically the nostrils are broad and the tip of the nose is often hooked downwards. In the Papuo-Melanesian the nose is generally smaller: both races have frizzly hair, but while this is universal among Papuans, curly and even wavy hair is common among both [Eastern and Western] divisions of Papuo-Melanesians[323]."


The Melanesians are as variable as the natives of New Guinea; the hair may be curly, or even wavy, showing evidence of racial mixture, and the skin is chocolate or occasionally copper-coloured. The stature of the men ranges from 1.50 m. to 1.78 m. (4 ft. 11 in.[Pg 137] to 5 ft. 10 in.), with an average between 1.56 m. and 1.6 m. (5 ft. 1½ in. to 5 ft. 3 in.). The skull is usually dolichocephalic, but ranges from 67 to 85 and in certain parts brachycephaly is predominant; the nose shows great diversity. This type ranges with local variations from the Admiralty Islands and parts of New Guinea through the Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands, and the New Hebrides and other island groups to Fiji and New Caledonia.

The New Caledonians.
Physical Characters.

The "Kanakas," as the natives of New Caledonia and the Loyalty group are wrongly[324] called by their present rulers, have been described by various French investigators. Among the best accounts of them is that of M. Augustin Bernard[325], based on the observations of de Rochas, Bourgard, Vieillard, Bertillon, Meinicke, and others. Apart from several sporadic Polynesian groups in the Loyalties[326], all are typical Melanesians, long-headed with very broad face at least in the middle, narrow boat-shaped skull (ceph. index 70)[327], large, massive lower jaw, often with two supplementary molars[328], colour a dark chocolate, often with a highly characteristic purple tinge; but de Rochas' statement that for a few days after birth infants are of a light reddish yellow hue lacks confirmation; hair less woolly but much longer than the Negro; beard also longish and frizzly, the peppercorn tufts with simulated bald spaces being an effect[Pg 138] due to the assiduous use of the comb; very prominent superciliary arches and thick eyebrows, whence their somewhat furtive look; mean height 5 ft. 4 in.; speech Melanesian with three marked varieties, that of the south-eastern districts being considered the most rudimentary member of the whole Melanesian group[329].

The Food Question.

From the state of their industries, in some respects the rudest, in others amongst the most advanced in Melanesia, it may be inferred that after their arrival the New Caledonians, like the Tasmanians, the Andamanese, and some other insular groups, remained for long ages almost completely secluded from the rest of the world. Owing to the poverty of the soil the struggle for food must always have been severe. Hence the most jealously guarded privileges of the chiefs were associated with questions of diet, while the paradise of the dead was a region where they had abundance of food and could gorge on yams.

General Survey of Melanesian Ethnology.

The ethnological history of the whole of the Melanesian region is obscure, but as the result of recent investigations certain broad features may be recognised. The earliest inhabitants were probably a black, woolly-haired race, now represented by the pygmies of New Guinea, remnants of a formerly widely extended Negrito population also surviving in the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula (Semang) and the Philippines (Aeta). A taller variety advanced into Tasmania and formed the Tasmanian group, now extinct, others spread over New Guinea and the western Pacific as "Papuans," and formed the basis of the Melanesian populations[330]. The Proto-Polynesians in their migrations from the East Indian Archipelago to Polynesia passed through this region and imposed their speech on the population and otherwise modified it. In later times other migrations have come from the west, and parts of Melanesia have also been directly influenced by movements from Polynesia. The result of these supposed influences has been to form the Melanesian peoples as they exist to-day[331]. G. Friederici[332] has accumulated a vast amount[Pg 139] of evidence based chiefly on linguistics and material culture, to support the theory of Melanesian cultural streams from the west. He regards the Melanesians as having come from that part of Indonesia which extends from the Southern Islands of the Philippine group, through the Minahasa peninsula of Celebes, to the Moluccas in the neighbourhood of Buru and Ceram. From the Moluccan region they passed north of New Guinea to the region about Vitiaz and Dampier Straits, which Friederici regards as the gateway of Melanesia. Here they colonised the northern shores of New Britain, and part of the swarm settled along the eastern and south-eastern shores of New Guinea. Another stream passed to the Northern Louisiades, Southern Solomons, and Northern New Hebrides. The Philippine or sub-Philippine stream took a more northerly route, going by the Admiralty group to New Hanover, East New Ireland and the Solomons.

Cultural Problems.

The first serious attempt to disentangle the complex character of Melanesian ethnography was made by F. Graebner in 1905[333], followed by G. Friederici, the references to whose work are given above. More recently W. H. R. Rivers[334] has attacked the cultural problem by means of the genealogical method and the results of his investigations are here briefly summarised. He has discovered several remarkable forms of marriage in Melanesia and has deduced others which have existed previously. He argues that the anomalous forms of marriage imply a former dual organisation (i.e. a division of the community into two exogamous groups) with matrilineal descent, and he is driven to assume that in early times there was a state of society in which the elders had acquired so predominant a position that they were able to monopolise all the young women. Some of the relationship systems are of great antiquity, and it is evident that changes have taken place due to cultural influences coming in from without.

Kava-drinking and Betel-chewing.

The distribution of kava-drinking and betel-chewing is of great interest. The former occurs all over Polynesia (except Easter Island and New Zealand) and throughout southern Melanesia, including[Pg 140] certain Santa Cruz Islands, where it is limited to religious ceremonial. Betel-chewing begins at these islands and extends northwards through New Guinea and Indonesia to India. Kava and betel were introduced into Melanesia by different cultural migrations.

The introduction of betel-chewing was relatively late and restricted and may have taken place from Indonesia after the invasion by the Hindus. With it were associated strongly established patrilineal institutions, marriage with a wife of a father's brother, the special sanctity of the skull and the plank-built canoe. The use of pile dwellings is a more constant element of the betel-culture than of the kava-culture. The religious ritual centres round the skulls of ancestors and relatives, and the cult of the skull has taken a direction which gives the heads of enemies an importance equal to that of relatives, hence head-hunting has become the chief object of warfare. The skull of a relative is the symbol—if not the actual abiding place—of the dead, to be honoured and propitiated, while the skulls of enemies act as the means whereby this honour and propitiation are effected.

The influence of the kava-using peoples was more extensive in time and space than that of the betel-chewing people. Rivers supposes that they had neither clan organisation nor exogamy. Some of them preserved the body after death and respect was paid to the head or skull. It is possible that the custom of payment for a wife came into existence in Melanesia as the result of the need of the immigrant men for women of the indigenous people owing to their bringing few women with them, and the great development of shell money may be due in part to those payments. Contact with the earlier populations also resulted in the development of secret societies. The immigrants introduced the cult of the dead and the institutions of taboo, totemism and chieftainship. They brought with them the form of outrigger canoe and the knowledge of plank-building for canoes (which however was only partially adopted), the rectangular house, and may have known the art of making pile dwellings. They introduced various forms of currency made of shells, teeth, feathers, mats, etc., the drill, the slit drum, or gong, the conch trumpet, the fowl, pig, dog, and megalithic monuments.

There may have been two immigrations of peoples who made monuments of stone: 1. Those who erected the more[Pg 141] dolmen-like structures, probably had aquatic totems, and interred their dead in the extended position.

Stone Monuments.

2. A later movement of people whose stone structures tended to take the form of pyramids, who had bird totems, practised a cult of the sun and cremated their dead.

The Dual-people.

When the kava-using people came into Melanesia they found it already inhabited. The earliest form of social organisation of which we have evidence was on the dual basis, associated with matrilineal descent, the dominance of the old men (gerontocracy) and certain peculiar forms of marriage. These people interred their dead in the contracted or sitting position, which also was employed in most parts of Polynesia. Evidently they feared the ghosts and removed their dead as completely as possible from the living. These people—whom we may speak of as the "dual-people"—were communistic in property and probably practised sexual communism; the change towards the institution of individual property and individual marriage were assisted by, if not entirely due to, the influence of the kava-people. They practised circumcision. Magic was an indigenous institution. Characteristic is the cult of vui, unnamed local spirits with definite haunts or abiding places whose rites are performed in definite localities. In the Northern New Hebrides the offerings connected with vui are not made to the vui themselves but to the man who owns the place connected with the vui. It would seem as if ownership of a locality carried with it ownership of the vui connected with the locality. Thus vui are local spirits belonging to the indigenous owners of the soil, and there seems no reason to believe that they were ever ghosts of dead men. As totemism occurs among the dual-people of the Bismarck Archipelago (who live in parts of New Britain and New Ireland and Duke of York Island) it is possible that the kava-people were not the sole introducers of totemism into Melanesia. The dual-people were probably acquainted with the bow, which they may have called busur, and the dug-out canoe which was used either lashed together in pairs or singly with an outrigger.

The origin of a dual organisation is generally believed to be due to fission, but it is more reasonable to regard it as due to fusion, as hostility is so frequently manifest between the[Pg 142] two groups despite the fact that spouses are always obtained from the other moiety. In New Ireland (and elsewhere) each moiety is associated with a hero; one acts wisely but unscrupulously, the other is a fool who is always falling an easy victim to the first. Each moiety has a totem bird: one is a fisher, clever and capable, while the second obtains its food by stealing from the other and does not go to sea. One represents the immigrants of superior culture who came by sea, the other the first people, aborigines, of lowly culture who were quite unable to cope with the wiles and stratagems of the people who had settled among them. In the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain, the dual groups are associated with light and dark coconuts; affiliated with the former are male objects and the clever bird, which is universally called taragau, or a variant of that term. The bird of the other moiety is named malaba or manigulai, and is associated with female objects. The dark coconuts, the dark colour and flattened noses of the women who were produced by their transformation, and the projecting eyebrows of the malaba bird and its human adherents seem to be records in the mythology of the Bismarck Archipelago of the negroid (or, Rivers suggests, an Australoid) character of the aboriginal population. The light coconut which was changed into a light-coloured woman seems to have preserved a tradition of the light colour of the immigrants.

Summary of Culture Strata.

The autochthones of Melanesia were a dark-skinned and ulotrichous people, who had neither a fear of the ghosts of their dead nor a manes cult, but had a cult of local spirits. The Baining of the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain may be representatives of a stage of Melanesian history earlier than the dual system; if so, they probably represent in a modified form, the aboriginal element. They are said to be completely devoid of any fear of the dead.

The immigrants whose arrival caused the institution of the dual system were a relatively fair people of superior culture who interred their dead in a sitting position and feared their ghosts. They first introduced the Austronesian language.

All subsequent migrations were of Austronesian-speaking peoples from Indonesia. First came the kava-peoples in various swarms, and more recently the betel-people.

[Pg 143]

Melanesian Culture.

Possibly New Caledonia shows the effects of relative isolation more than other parts of Melanesia, but, except for Polynesian influence (most directly recognisable in Fiji and southern Melanesia), Melanesia may be regarded as possessing a general culture with certain characteristic features which may be thus summarised[335]. The Melanesians are a noisy, excitable, demonstrative, affectionate, cheery, passionate people. They could not be hunters everywhere, as in most of the islands there is no game, nor could they be pastors anywhere, as there are no cattle; the only resources are fishing and agriculture. In the larger islands there is usually a sharp distinction between the coast people, who are mainly fishers, and the inlanders who are agriculturalists; the latter are always by far the more primitive, and in many cases are subservient to the former. Both sexes work in the plantations. In parts of New Guinea and the Western Solomons the sago palm is of great importance; coconut palms grow on the shores of most islands, and bananas, yams, bread-fruit, taro and sweet potatoes supply abundant food. As for dress, the men occasionally wear none, but usually have belts or bands, of bark-cloth, plaits, or strings, and the women almost everywhere have petticoats of finely shredded leaves. The skin is decorated with scars in various patterns, and tattooing is occasionally seen, the former being naturally characteristic of the darker skinned people, and the latter of the lighter. Every portion of the body is decorated in innumerable ways with shells, teeth, feathers, leaves, flowers, and other objects, and plaited bands encircle the neck, body, and limbs. Shell necklaces, which constitute a kind of currency, and artificially deformed boars' tusks are especially characteristic, though each group usually has its peculiar ornaments, distinguishing it from any other group. There is a great variety of houses. The typical Melanesian house has a gable roof, the ridge pole is supported by two main posts, side walls are very low, and the ends are filled in with bamboo screens. Pile dwellings are found in the Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, and some New Guinea villages extend out into the sea.


The weapons typical of Melanesia are the club and the spear (though the latter is not found in the Banks Islands), [Pg 144]each group and often each island possessing its own distinctive pattern. Stone headed clubs are found in New Guinea, New Britain and the New Hebrides. The spears of the Solomon Islands are finely decorated and have bone barbs; those of New Caledonia are pointed with a sting-ray spine; those of the Admiralty Islands have obsidian heads; and those of New Britain have a human armbone at the butt end. The bow, the chief weapon of the Papuans, occurs over the greater part of Melanesia, though it is absent in S.E. New Guinea, and is only used for hunting in the Admiralty Islands.

Canoes etc.

The hollowed out tree trunk with or without a plank gunwale is general, usually with a single outrigger, though plank-built canoes occur in the Solomons, characteristically ornamented with shell inlay. Pottery is an important industry in parts of New Guinea and in Fiji; it occurs also in New Caledonia, Espiritu Santo (New Hebrides) and the Admiralty Islands. Bark-cloth is made in most islands, but a loom for weaving leaf strips is now found only in Santa Cruz.

Social Life.

A division of the community into two exogamous groups is very widely spread, no intermarriage being permitted within the group. Mother-right is prevalent, descent and inheritance being counted on the mother's side, while a man's property descends to his sister's children. At the same time the mother is in no sense the head of the family; the house is the father's, the garden may be his, the rule and government are his, though the maternal uncle sometimes has more authority than the father. The transition to father-right has definitely occurred in various places, and is taking place elsewhere; thus, in some of the New Hebrides, the father has to buy off the rights of his wife's relations or his sister's children.

Secret Societies.

Chiefs exist everywhere, being endowed with religious sanctity in Fiji, where they are regarded as the direct descendants of the tribal ancestors. More often, a chief holds his position solely owing to the fact that he has inherited the cult of some powerful spirit, and his influence is not very extensive. Probably everywhere public affairs are regulated by discussion among the old or important men, and the more primitive the society, the more power they possess. But the most powerful institutions of all are the secret societies, [Pg 145]occurring with certain exceptions throughout Melanesia. These are accessible to men only, and the candidates on initiation have to submit to treatment which is often rough in the extreme. The members of the societies are believed to be in close association with ghosts and spirits, and exhibit themselves in masks and elaborate dresses in which disguise they are believed by the uninitiated to be supernatural beings. These societies do not practise any secret cult, in fact all that the initiate appears to learn is that the "ghosts" are merely his fellows in disguise, and that the mysterious noises which herald their approach are produced by the bull-roarer and other artificial means. These organisations are most powerful agents for the maintenance of social order and inflict punishment for breaches of customary law, but they are often terrorising and blackmailing institutions. Women are rigorously excluded.


Other social factors of importance are the clubs, especially in the New Hebrides and Banks Islands. These are a means of attaining social rank. They are divided into different grades, the members of which eat together at their particular fire-place in the club-house. Each rank has its insignia, sometimes human effigies, usually, but wrongly, called "idols." Promotion from one grade to another is chiefly a matter of payment, and few reach the highest. Those who do so become personages of very great influence, since no candidate can obtain promotion without their permission.


Totemism occurs in parts of New Guinea and elsewhere and has marked socialising effects, as totemic solidarity takes precedence of all other considerations, but it is becoming obsolete. The most important religious factor throughout Melanesia is the belief in a supernatural power or influence, generally called mana. This is what works to effect everything which is beyond the ordinary power of man or outside the common processes of nature; but this power, though in itself impersonal, is always connected with some person who directs it; all spirits have it, ghosts generally, and some men. A more or less developed ancestor cult is also universally distributed. Human beings may become beneficent or malevolent ghosts, but not every ghost becomes an object of regard. The ghost who is worshipped is the spirit of a man who in his lifetime had mana. Good and[Pg 146] evil spirits independent of ancestors are also abundant everywhere. There is no established priesthood, except in Fiji, but as a rule, any man who knows the particular ritual suitable to a definite spirit, acts as intermediary, and a man in communication with a powerful spirit becomes a person of great importance. Life after death is universally believed in, and the soul is commonly pictured as undertaking a journey, beset with various perils, to the abode of departed spirits, which is usually represented as lying towards the west. As a rule only the souls of brave men, or initiates, or men who have died in fight, win through to the most desirable abode. Magical practices occur everywhere for the gaining of benefits, plenteous crops, good fishing, fine weather, rain, children or success in love. Harmful magic for producing sickness or death is equally universal[336].

Western Papuasia.
Ethnical Elements.

Returning to the Papuan lands proper, in the insular groups west of New Guinea we enter one of the most entangled ethnical regions in the world. Here are, no doubt, a few islands such as the Aru group, mainly inhabited by full-blood Papuans, men who furnished Wallace with the models on which he built up his true Papuan type, which has since been vainly assailed by so many later observers. But in others—Ceram, Buru, Timor, and so on to Flores—diverse ethnical and linguistic elements are intermingled in almost hopeless confusion. Discarding the term "Alfuro" as of no ethnical value[337], we find the whole area west to about 120° E. longitude[338] occupied in varying proportions by pure and mixed representatives of three distinct stocks: Negro (Papuans), Mongoloid (Malayans), and Caucasic (Indonesians). From the data supplied by Crawfurd,[Pg 147] Wallace, Forbes, Ten Kate and other trustworthy observers, I have constructed the subjoined table, in which the east Malaysian islands are disposed according to the constituent elements of their inhabitants[339]:

Aru Group—True Papuans dominant; Indonesians (Korongoei) in the interior.

Kei Group—Malayans; Indonesians; Papuan strain everywhere.

Timor; Wetta; Timor Laut—Mixed Papuans, Malayans and Indonesians; no pure type anywhere.

Serwatti Group—Malayans with slight trace of black blood (Papuan or Negrito).

Roti and Sumba—Malayans.


Flores; Solor; Adonera; Lomblen; Pantar; Allor—Papuans pure or mixed dominant; Malayans in the coast towns.

Buru—Malayans on coast; reputed Papuans, but more probably Indonesians in interior.

Ceram—Malayans on coast; mixed Malayo-Papuans inland.

Amboina; Banda—Malayans; Dutch-Malay half-breeds ("Perkeniers").

Goram—Malayans with slight Papuan strain.

Matabello; Tior; Nuso Telo; Tionfoloka—Papuans with Malayan admixture.

Misol—Malayo-Papuans on coast; Papuans inland.

Tidor; Ternate; Sulla; Makian—Malayans.

Batjan—Malayans; Indonesians.

Gilolo—Mixed Papuans; Indonesians in the north.

Waigiu; Salwatti; Batanta—Malayans on the coast; Papuans inland.

A Region of Transition by Displacements and Crossings.

From this apparently chaotic picture, which in some places, such as Timor, presents every gradation from the full-blood Papuan to the typical Malay, Crawfurd concluded that the eastern section of Malaysia constituted a region of transition between the yellowish-brown lank-haired and the dark-brown or black mop-headed stocks. In a sense this is true, but not in the sense intended by Crawfurd, who by "transition" meant the[Pg 148] actual passage by some process of development from type to type independently of interminglings. But such extreme transitions have nowhere taken place spontaneously, so to say, and in any case could never have been brought about in a small zoological area presenting everywhere the same climatic conditions. Biological types may be, and have been, modified in different environments, arctic, temperate, or tropical zones, but not in the same zone, and if two such marked types as the Mongol and the Negro are now found juxtaposed in the Malaysian tropical zone, the fact must be explained by migrations and displacements, while the intermediate forms are to be attributed to secular intermingling of the extremes. Why should a man, passing from one side to another of an island 10 or 20 miles long, be transformed from a sleek-haired brown to a frizzly-haired black, or from a mercurial laughter-loving Papuan to a Malayan "slow in movement and thoroughly phlegmatic in disposition, rarely seen to laugh or become animated in conversation, with expression generally of vague wonder or weary sadness"[340]?

Papuan and Malay Contrasts.

Wallace's classical description of these western Papuans, who are here in the very cradleland of the race, can never lose its charm, and its accuracy has been fully confirmed by all later observers. "The typical Papuan race," he writes, "is in many respects the very opposite of the Malay. The colour of the body is a deep sooty-brown or black, sometimes approaching, but never quite equalling, the jet-black of some negro races. The hair is very peculiar, being harsh, dry, and frizzly, growing in little tufts or curls, which in youth are very short and compact, but afterwards grow out to a considerable length, forming the compact, frizzled mop which is the Papuan's pride and glory.... The moral characteristics of the Papuan appear to me to separate him as distinctly from the Malay as do his form and features. He is impulsive and demonstrative in speech and action. His emotions and passions express themselves in shouts and laughter, in yells and frantic leapings.... The Papuan has a greater feeling for art than the Malay. He decorates his canoe, his house, and almost every domestic utensil with elaborate carving, a habit which is rarely found among tribes of the Malay race. In the[Pg 149] affections and moral sentiments, on the other hand, the Papuans seem very deficient. In the treatment of their children they are often violent and cruel, whereas the Malays are almost invariably kind and gentle."

Ethnical and Biological Divides.

The ethnological parting-line between the Malayan and Papuasian races, as first laid down by Wallace, nearly coincides with his division between the Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan floras and faunas, the chief differences being the positions of Sumbawa and Celebes. Both of these islands are excluded from the Papuasian realm, but included in the Austro-Malayan zoological and botanical regions.

The Oceanic Negritoes.

The Negritoes.

Recent discoveries and investigations of the pygmy populations on the eastern border of the Indian Ocean tend to show that the problem is by no means simple. Already two main stocks are recognised, differentiated by wavy and curly hair and dolichocephaly in the Sakai, and so-called woolly hair in the Andamanese Islanders, Semang (Malay Peninsula) and Aeta (Philippines), combined with mesaticephaly or low brachycephaly. In East Sumatra and Celebes a short, curly-haired dark-skinned people occur, racially akin to the Sakai, and Moszkowski suggests that the same element occupied Geelvink Bay (Netherlands New Guinea). These with the Vedda of Ceylon, and some jungle tribes of the Deccan, represent remnants of a once widely distributed pre-Dravidian race, which is also supposed to form the chief element in the Australians[341].

The Andamanese.
Stone Age.

The "Mincopies," as the Andamanese used to be called, nobody seems to know why, were visited in 1893 by Louis Lapicque, who examined a large kitchen-midden near Port Blair, but some distance from the present coast, hence of great age[342]. Nevertheless he failed to find any worked stone implements, although flint occurs in the island. Indeed, chipped or flaked flints, now replaced by broken glass, were formerly used for shaving and scarification. But, as the present natives use only fishbones, [Pg 150]shells, and wood, Lapicque somewhat hastily concluded that these islanders, like some other primitive groups, have never passed through a Stone Age at all. The shell-mounds have certainly yielded an arrow-head and polished adze "indistinguishable from any of the European or Indian celts of the so-called Neolithic period[343]." But there is no reason to think that the archipelago was ever occupied by a people different from its present inhabitants. Hence we may suppose that their ancestors arrived in their Stone Age, but afterwards ceased to make stone implements, as less handy for their purposes and more difficult to make than the shell or bone-tipped weapons and the nets with which they capture game and fish more readily "than the most skilful fisherman with hook and line[344]." Similarly they would seem to have long lost the art of making fire, having once obtained it from a still active volcano in the neighbouring Barren Island[345].

Personal Appearance.
Social Life.

The inhabitants of the Andaman Islands range in colour from bronze to sooty black. Their hair is extremely frizzly, seeming to grow in spiral tufts and is seldom more than 5 inches long when untwisted. The women usually shave their heads. Their height is about 1.48 m. (4 ft. 10½ in.), with well-proportioned body and small hands. The cephalic index averages 82. The face is broad at the cheek-bones, the eyes are prominent, the nose is much sunken at the root but straight and small; the lips are full but not thick, the chin is small but not retreating, nor do the jaws project. The natives are characterised by honesty, frankness, politeness, modesty, conjugal fidelity, respect for elders and real affection between relatives and friends. The women are on an equal footing with the men and do their full share of work. The food is mainly fish (obtained by netting, spearing or shooting with bow and arrow), wild yams, turtle, pig and honey. They do not till the soil or keep domestic animals. Instead of clothing both sexes wear belts, necklaces, leg-bands, arm-bands etc. made of bones, wood and shell, the women wearing in addition [Pg 151]a rudimentary leaf apron. When fully dressed the men wear bunches of shredded Pandanus leaf at wrists and knees, and a circlet of the same leaf folded on the head. They make canoes, some of which have an outrigger, but never venture far from the shore. They usually live in small encampments round an oval dancing ground, their simple huts are open in front and at the sides, or in a large communal hut in which each family has its own particular space, the bachelors and spinsters having theirs. A family consists of a man and his wife and such of their children, own and adopted, as have not passed the period of the ceremonies of adolescence. Between that period and marriage the boys and girls reside in the bachelors' and spinsters' quarters respectively. A man is not regarded as an independent member of the community till he is married and has a child. There is no organised polity. Generally one man excels the rest in hunting, warfare, wisdom and kindliness, and he is deferred to, and becomes, in a sense, chief. A regular feature of Andamanese social life is the meeting at intervals between two or more communities. A visit of a few days is paid and presents are exchanged between hosts and guests, the time being spent in hunting, feasting and dancing.


No forms of worship have been noticed, but there is a belief in various kinds of spirits, the most important of whom is Biliku, usually regarded as female, who is identified with the north-east monsoon and is paired with Tarai the south-west monsoon. Biliku and Tarai are the producers of rain, storms, thunder and lightning. Fire was stolen from Biliku. There is always great fluidity in native beliefs, so some tribes regard Puluga (Biliku) as a male. Three things make Biliku angry and cause her to send storms; melting or burning of bees-wax, interfering in any way with a certain number of plants, and killing a cicada or making a noise during the time the cicadae are singing. A. R. Brown[346] gives an interesting explanation of this curious belief. Biliku is supposed to have a human form but nobody ever sees her. Her origin is unknown. The idea of her being a creator is local and is probably secondary, she does not concern herself with human actions other than those noted above.

[Pg 152]

Method of Counting.

E. H. Man has carefully studied and reduced to writing the Andamanese language, of which there are at least nine distinct varieties, corresponding to as many tribal groups. It has no clear affinities to any other tongue[347], the supposed resemblances to Dravidian and Australian being extremely slight, if not visionary. Its phonetic system is astonishingly rich (no less than 24 vowels and 17 consonants, but no sibilants), while the arithmetic stops at two. Nobody ever attempts to count in any way beyond ten, which is reached by a singular process. First the nose is tapped with the finger-tips of either hand, beginning with the little finger, and saying úbatúl (one), then íkpór (two) with the next, after which each successive tap makes anká, "and this." When the thumb of the second hand is reached, making ten, both hands are brought together to indicate 5 + 5, and the sum is clenched with the word àrdúru = "all." But this feat is exceptional, and usually after two you get only words answering to several, many, numerous, countless, which flight of imagination is reached at about 6 or 7.

Grammatical Structure.

Yet with their infantile arithmetic these paradoxical islanders have contrived to develop an astonishingly intricate form of speech characterised by an absolutely bewildering superfluity of pronominal and other elements. Thus the possessive pronouns have as many as sixteen possible variants according to the class of noun (human objects, parts of the body, degrees of kinship, etc.) with which they are in agreement. For instance, my is día, dót, dóng, dig, dab, dar, dákà, dóto, dai, dár, ad, ad-en, deb, with man, head, wrist, mouth, father, son, step-son, wife, etc. etc.; and so with thy, his, our, your, their! This grouping of nouns in classes is analogous to the Bantu system, and it is curious to note that the number of classes is about the same. On the other hand there is a wealth of postfixes attached as in normal agglutinating forms of speech, so that "in adding their affixes they follow the principles of the ordinary agglutinative tongues; in adding their prefixes they follow the well-defined principles of the South African tongues. Hitherto, as far as I know, the two principles in full play have never been found together in any other language.... [Pg 153] In Andamanese both are fully developed, so much so as to interfere with each other's grammatical functions[348]." The result often is certain sesquipedalia verba comparable in length to those of the American polysynthetic languages. A savage people, who can hardly count beyond two, possessed of about the most intricate language spoken by man, is a psychological puzzle which I cannot profess to fathom.

The Semangs.

In the Malay Peninsula the indigenous element is certainly the Negrito, who, known by many names—Semang, Udai, Pangan, Hami, Menik or Mandi—forms a single ethnical group presenting some striking analogies with the Andamanese. But, surrounded from time out of mind by Malay peoples, some semi-civilised, some nearly as wild as themselves, but all alike slowly crowding them out of the land, these aborigines have developed defensive qualities unneeded by the more favoured insular Negritoes, while their natural development has been arrested at perhaps a somewhat lower plane of culture. In fact, doomed to extinction before their time came, they never have had a chance in the race, as Hugh Clifford sings in The Song of the Last Semangs:

The paths are rough, the trails are blind
The Jungle People tread;
The yams are scarce and hard to find
With which our folk are fed.
We suffer yet a little space
Until we pass away,
The relics of an ancient race
That ne'er has had its day.
Physical Appearance.

In physical features they in many respects resemble the Andamanese. Their hair is short, universally woolly and black, the skin colour dark chocolate brown approximating to glossy black[349], sometimes with a reddish tinge[350]. There is very little evidence for the stature but the 17 males measured by Annandale and Robinson[351] averaged 1.52 m. (5 ft. 0¼ in.). The average cephalic index is about 78 to 79, extremes ranging from 74 to 84. The face is round, the forehead rounded, narrow and projecting, or as it were "swollen." The nose is short and[Pg 154] flattened, with remarkable breadth and distended nostrils. The nasal index of five adult males was 101.2[352]. The cheekbones are broad and the jaws often protrude slightly; the lips are as a rule thick. Martin remarks that characteristic both of Semang and Sakai[353] is the great thickening of the integumental part of the upper lip, the whole mouth region projecting from the lower edge of the nose. This convexity occurs in 79 per cent., and is well shown in his photographs[354].

Hugh Clifford, who has been intimately associated with the "Orang-utan" (Wild-men) as the Malays often call them, describes those of the Plus River valley as "like African Negroes seen through the reverse end of a field-glass. They are sooty-black in colour; their hair is short and woolly, clinging to the scalp in little crisp curls; their noses are flat, their lips protrude, and their features are those of the pure negroid type. They are sturdily built and well set upon their legs, but in stature little better than dwarfs. They live by hunting, and have no permanent dwellings, camping in little family groups wherever, for the moment, game is most plentiful[355]."


Their shelters—huts they cannot be called—are exactly like the frailest of the Andamanese, mere lean-to's of matted palm-leaves crazily propped on rough uprights; clothes they have next to none, and their food is chiefly yams and other jungle roots, fish from the stream, and sun-dried monkey, venison and other game, this term having an elastic meaning. Salt, being rarely obtainable, is a great luxury, as amongst almost all wild tribes. They are a nomadic people living by collecting and hunting; the wilder ones will often not remain longer than three days in one place. Very few have taken to agriculture. They make use of bamboo rafts for drifting down stream but have no canoes. All men are on an equal footing, but each tribe has a head, who exercises authority. Division of labour is fairly even between men and women. The men hunt, and the women build the shelters and cook the food. They are strictly monogamous and faithful.[Pg 155]

All the faculties are sharpened mainly in the quest of food and of means to elude the enemy now closing round their farthest retreats in the upland forests. When hard pressed and escape seems impossible, they will climb trees and stretch rattan ropes from branch to branch where these are too wide apart to be reached at a bound, and along such frail aërial bridges women and all will pass with their cooking-pots and other effects, with their babies also at the breast, and the little ones clinging to their mother's heels. For like the Andamanese they love their women-folk and children, and in this way rescue them from the Malay raiders and slavers. But unless the British raj soon intervenes their fate is sealed. They may slip from the Malays, but not from their own traitorous kinsmen, who often lead the hunt, and squat all night long on the tree tops, calling one to another and signalling from these look-outs when the leaves rustle and the rattans are heaved across, so that nothing can be done, and another family group is swept away into bondage.

Stone Age.

From their physical resemblance, undoubted common descent, and geographical proximity, one might also expect to find some affinity in the speech of the Andaman and Malay Negritoes. But H. Clifford, who made a special study of the dialects on the mainland, discovered no points of contact between them and any other linguistic group[356]. This, however, need cause no surprise, being in no discordance with recognised principles. As in the Andamans, stone implements have been found in the Peninsula, and specimens are now in the Pitt-Rivers collection at Oxford[357]. But the present aborigines do not make or use such tools, and there is good reason for thinking that they were the work of their ancestors, arriving, as in the Andamans, in the remote past. Hence the two groups have been separated for many thousands of years, and their speech has diverged too widely to be now traced back to a common source.[Pg 156]

The Aetas.

With the Negritoes of the Philippines we enter a region of almost hopeless ethnical complications[358], amid which, however, the dark dwarfish Aeta peoples crop out almost everywhere as the indigenous element. The Aeta live in the mountainous districts of the larger islands, and in some of the smaller islands of the Philippines, and the name is conveniently extended to the various groups of Philippine Negritoes, many of whom show the results of mixture with other peoples. Their hair is universally woolly, usually of a dirty black colour, often sun-burnt on the top to a reddish brown. The skin is dark chocolate brown rather than black, sometimes with a yellowish tinge. The average stature of 48 men was 1.46 m. (4 ft. 9 in.), but showed considerable range. The typical nose is broad, flat, and bridgeless, with prominent arched nostrils, the average nasal index for males being 102, and for females 105[359]. The lips are thick, but not protruding, sometimes showing a pronounced convexity between the upper lip and the nose.

John Foreman[360] noted the curious fact that the Aeta were recognised as the owners of the soil long after the arrival of the Malayan intruders.

"For a long time they were the sole masters of Luzon Island, where they exercised seignorial rights over the Tagalogs and other immigrants, until these arrived in such numbers, that the Negritoes were forced to the highlands.

"The taxes imposed upon the primitive Malay settlers by the Negritoes were levied in kind, and, when payment was refused, they swooped down in a posse, and carried off the head of the defaulter. Since the arrival of the Spaniards terror of the white man has made them take definitely to the mountains, where they appear to be very gradually decreasing[361]."


At first sight it may seem unaccountable that a race of such extremely low intellect should be able to assert their [Pg 157]supremacy in this way over the intruding Malayans, assumed to be so much their superiors in physical and mental qualities. But it has to be considered that the invasions took place in very remote times, ages before the appearance on the scene of the semi-civilised Muhammadan Malays of history. Whether of Indonesian or of what is called "Malay" stock, the intruders were rude Oceanic peoples, who in the prehistoric period, prior to the spread of civilising Hindu or Moslem influences in Malaysia, had scarcely advanced in general culture much beyond the indigenous Papuan and Negrito populations of that region. Even at present the Gaddanes, Itaves, Igorrotes, and others of Luzon are mere savages, at the head-hunting stage, quite as wild as, and perhaps even more ferocious than any of the Aetas. Indeed we are told that in some districts the Negrito and Igorrote tribes keep a regular Debtor and Creditor account of heads. Wherever the vendetta still prevails, all alike live in a chronic state of tribal warfare; periodical head-hunting expeditions are organised by the young men, to present the bride's father with as many grim trophies as possible in proof of their prowess, the victims being usually taken by surprise and stricken down with barbarous weapons, such as a long spear with tridented tips, or darts and arrows carrying at the point two rows of teeth made of flint or sea-shells. To avoid these attacks some, like the Central Sudanese Negroes, live in cabins on high posts or trees 60 to 70 feet from the ground, and defend themselves by showering stones on the marauders.

A physical peculiarity of the full-blood Negritoes, noticed by J. Montano[362], is the large, clumsy foot, turned slightly inwards, a trait characteristic also of the African Negrilloes; but in the Aeta the effect is exaggerated by the abnormal divergence of the great toe, as amongst the Annamese.

New Guinea Pygmies.

The presence of a pygmy element in the population of New Guinea had long been suspected, but the actual existence of a pygmy people was first discovered by the British Ornithologists' Union Expedition, 1910, at the source of the Mimika river in the Nassau range[363].[Pg 158]

The description of these people, the Tapiro, is as follows. Their stature averages 1.449 m. (4 ft. 9 in.) ranging from 1.326 m. (4 ft. 4½ in.) to 1.529 (5 ft. 0¼ in.). The skull is very variable giving indices from 66.9 to 85.1. The skin colour is lighter than that of the neighbouring Papuans, some individuals being almost yellow. The nose is straight, and though described as "very wide at the nostrils," the mean of the indices is only 83, the extremes being 65.5 and 94. The eyes are noticeably larger and rounder than those of Papuans, and the upper lip of many of the men is long and curiously convex. A Negrito element has also been recognised in the Mafulu people investigated by R. W. Williamson in the Mekeo District[364], here mixed with Papuan and Papuo-Melanesian. Their stature ranges from 1.47 m. (4 ft. 10 in.) to 1.63 m. (5 ft. 4 in.). The average cephalic index is 80 ranging from 74.7 to 86.8. The skin colour is dark sooty brown and the hair, though usually brown or black, is often very much lighter, "not what we in Europe should call dark." The average nasal index is 84 with extremes of 71.4 and 100. Also partly of Negrito origin are the Pĕsĕgĕm of the upper waters of the Lorentz river[365].

Negrito Culture.

All these Negrito peoples, as has been pointed out, show considerable diversity in physical characters, none of the existing groups, with the exception of the Andamanese, appearing to be homogeneous as regards cephalic or nasal index, while the stature, though always low, shows considerable range. They have certain cultural features in common[366], and these as a rule differentiate them from their neighbours. They seldom practise any deformation of the person, such as tattooing or scarification, though the Tapiro and Mafulu wear a nose-stick. They are invariably collectors and hunters, never, unless modified by contact with other peoples, undertaking any cultivation of the soil. Their huts are simple, the pile dwellings of the Tapiro being evidently copied from their neighbours. All possess the bow and arrow, though only the Semang and Aeta use poison. The Andamanese appear to be one of the very few peoples who possess fire but do[Pg 159] not know how to make it afresh. There seems a certain amount of evidence that the Negrito method of making fire was that of splitting a dry stick, keeping the ends open by a piece of wood or stone placed in the cleft, stuffing some tinder into the narrow part of the slit and then drawing a strip of rattan to and fro across the spot until a spark sets fire to the tinder[367]. The social structure is everywhere very simple. The social unit appears to be the family and the power of the headman is very limited. Strict monogamy seems to prevail even where, as among the Aeta, polygyny is not prohibited. The dead are buried, but the bodies of those whom it is wished to honour are placed on platforms or on trees.

The Tasmanians.

Related in certain physical characters to the pygmy Negritoes, although not of pygmy proportions[368], were the aborigines of Tasmania, but their racial affinities are much disputed. Huxley thought they showed some resemblance to the inhabitants of New Caledonia and the Andaman Islands, but Flower was disposed to bring them into closer connection with the Papuans or Melanesians. The leading anthropologists in France do not accept either of these views. Topinard states that there is no close alliance between the New Caledonians and the Tasmanians, while Quatrefages and Hamy remark that "from whatever point of view we look at it, the Tasmanian race presents special characters, so that it is quite impossible to discover any well-defined affinities with any other existing race." Sollas, reviewing these conflicting opinions, concludes that "this probably represents the prevailing opinion of the present day[369]."

The Tasmanians were of medium height, the average for the men being 1.661 m. (5 ft. 5½ in.) with a range from 1.548 m. to 1.732 m. (5 ft. 1 in. to 5 ft. 8 in.); the average height for women being 1.503 m. (4 ft. 11 in.) with a range from 1.295 m. to 1.630 m. (4 ft. 3 in. to 5 ft. 4¼ in.). The skin colour was almost black with a brown tinge. The eyes were small and[Pg 160] deep set beneath prominent overhanging brow-ridges. The nose was short and broad, with a deep notch at the root and widely distended nostrils. The skull was dolichocephalic or low mesaticephalic, with an average index of 75, of peculiar outline when viewed from above. Other peculiarities were the possession of the largest teeth, especially noticeable in comparison with the small jaw, and the smallest known cranial capacity (averaging 1199 c.c. for both sexes, falling in the women to 1093 c.c.).

Tasmanian Culture.
Undeveloped Speech.

The aboriginal Tasmanians stood even at a lower level of culture than the Australians. At the occupation the scattered bands, with no hereditary chiefs or social organisation, numbered altogether 2000 souls at most, speaking several distinct dialects, whether of one or more stock languages is uncertain. In the absence of sibilants and some other features they resembled the Australian, but were of ruder or less developed structure, and so imperfect that according to Joseph Milligan, our best authority on the subject, "they observed no settled order or arrangement of words in the construction of their sentences, but conveyed in a supplementary fashion by tone, manner, and gesture those modifications of meaning which we express by mood, tense, number, etc.[370]" Abstract terms were rare, and for every variety of gum-tree or wattle-tree there was a name, but no word for "tree" in general, or for qualities, such as hard, soft, warm, cold, long, short, round, etc. Anything hard was "like a stone," round "like the moon," and so on, "usually suiting the action to the word, and confirming by some sign the meaning to be understood."

Fire-making, Tools and Weapons.

They made fire by the stick and groove method, but their acquaintance with the fire-drill is uncertain[371]. The stone implements are the subject of much discussion. A great number are so rude and uncouth that, taken alone, we should have little reason to suspect that they had been chipped by man: some, on the other hand, show signs of skilful working. They were formerly classed as "eoliths" and compared to the plateau implements of Kent and Sussex, but the comparison cannot be[Pg 161] sustained[372]. Sollas illustrates an implement "delusively similar to the head of an axe" and notes its resemblance to a Levallois flake (Acheulean). J. P. Johnson[373] points out the general likeness to pre-Aurignacian forms and there is a remarkable similarity of certain examples to Mousterian types. Weapons were of wood, and consisted of spears pointed and hardened in the fire, and a club or waddy, about two feet long, sometimes knobbed at one end; the range is said to have been about 40 yards.


In the native diet were included "snakes, lizards, grubs and worms," besides the opossum, wombat, kangaroo, birds and fishes, roots, seeds and fruits, but not human flesh, at least normally. Like the Bushmen, they were gross feeders, consuming enormous quantities of food when they could get it, and the case is mentioned of a woman who was seen to eat from 50 to 60 eggs of the sooty petrel (larger than a duck's), besides a double allowance of bread, at the station on Flinders Island. They had frail bundles of bark made fast with thongs or rushes, half float, half boat, to serve as canoes, but no permanent abodes or huts, beyond branches of trees lashed together, supported by stakes, and disposed crescent-shape with the convex side to windward. On the uplands and along the sea-shore they took refuge in caves, rock-shelters and natural hollows. Usually the men went naked, the women wore a loose covering of skins, and personal ornamentation was limited to cosmetics of red ochre, plumbago, and powdered charcoal, with occasionally a necklace of shells strung on a fibrous twine.


Being merely hunters and collectors, with the arrival of English colonists their doom was sealed. "Only in rare instances can a race of hunters contrive to co-exist with an agricultural people. When the hunting ground of a tribe is restricted owing to its partial occupation by the new arrivals, the tribe affected is compelled to infringe on the boundaries of its neighbours: this is to break the most sacred 'law of the Jungle,' and inevitably leads to war: the pressure on one boundary is propagated to the next, the ancient state of equilibrium is profoundly disturbed, and inter-tribal feuds become increasingly frequent.[Pg 162] A bitter feeling is naturally aroused against the original offenders, the alien colonists; misunderstandings of all kinds inevitably arise, leading too often to bloodshed, and ending in a general conflict between natives and colonists, in which the former, already weakened by disagreements among themselves, must soon succumb. So it was in Tasmania." After the war of 1825 to 1831 the few wretched survivors, numbering about 200, were gathered together into a settlement, and from 1834 onwards every effort was made for their welfare, "but 'the white man's civilisation proved scarcely less fatal than the white man's bullet,' and in 1877, with the death of Truganini, the last survivor, the race became extinct[374]."


[319] Cf. S. H. Ray, Reports Camb. Anthrop. Exp. Torres Sts. Vol. III. 1907, pp. 287, 528. For Melanesian linguistic affinities see also W. Schmidt, Die Mon-Khmer Völker, 1906.

[320] C. G. Seligman limits the use of the term Papuasian to the inhabitants of New Guinea and its islands, and following a suggestion of A. C. Haddon's (Geograph. Journ. XVI. 1900, pp. 265, 414), recognises therein three great divisions, the Papuans, the Western Papuo-Melanesians, and the Eastern Papuo-Melanesians, or Massim. Cf. C. G. Seligman, "A Classification of the Natives of British New Guinea," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. Vol. XXXIX. 1902, and The Melanesians of British New Guinea, 1910.

[321] That is, the indigenous Papuans, who appear to form the great bulk of the New Guinea populations, in contradistinction to the immigrant Melanesians (Motu and others), who are numerous especially along the south-east coast of the mainland and in the neighbouring Louisiade and D'Entrecasteaux Archipelagoes (Eth. Ch. XI.).

[322] The Melanesians of British New Guinea, 1910, pp. 2, 27.

[323] The curly or wavy hair appears more commonly among women than among men.

[324] Kanaka is a Polynesian word meaning "man," and should therefore be restricted to the brown Indonesian group, but it is indiscriminately applied by French writers to all South Sea Islanders, whether black or brown. This misuse of the term has found its way into some English books of travel even in the corrupt French form "canaque."

[325] L'Archipel de la Nouvelle Calédonie, Paris, 1895.

[326] Lifu, Mare, Uvea, and Isle of Pines. These Polynesians appear to have all come originally from Tonga, first to Uvea Island (Wallis), and thence in the eighteenth century to Uvea in the Loyalties, cradle of all the New Caledonian Polynesian settlements. Cf. C. M. Woodford, "On some Little-known Polynesian Settlements in the Neighbourhood of the Solomon Islands," Geog. Journ. XLVIII. 1916.

[327] This low index is characteristic of most Papuasians, and reaches the extreme of dolichocephaly in the extinct Kai-Colos of Fiji (65°), and amongst some coast Papuans of New Guinea measured by Miklukho-Maclay. But this observer found the characters so variable in New Guinea that he was unable to use it as a racial test. In the New Hebrides, Louisiades, and Bismarck group also he found many of the natives to be broad-headed, with indices as high as 80 and 85; and even in the Solomon Islands Guppy records cephalic indices ranging from 69 to 86, but dolichocephaly predominates (The Solomon Islands, 1887, pp. 112, 114). Thus this feature is no more constant amongst the Oceanic than it is amongst the African Negroes. (See also M.-Maclay's paper in Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales, 1882, p. 171 sq.)

[328] Eth. Ch. VIII.

[329] Bernard, p. 262.

[330] A. C. Haddon, The Wanderings of Peoples, 1911, p. 33.

[331] A. C. Haddon, The Races of Man, 1909, p. 21.

[332] Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse einer amtlichen Forschungsreise nach dem Bismarck-Archipel im Jahre 1908; Untersuchungen über eine Melanesische Wanderstrasse, 1913; and Mitt. aus den deutschen Schutzgebieten, Ergänzungsheft, Nr 5, 1912, Nr 7, 1913. See also S. H. Ray, Nature, CLXXII. 1913, and Man, XIV. 34, 1914.

[333] Zeitschr. f. Ethnol. XXXVII. p. 26, 1905. His later writings should also be consulted, Anthropos, IV. 1909, pp. 726, 998; Ethnologie, 1914, p. 13.

[334] The History of Melanesian Society, 1914.

[335] A. C. Haddon, The Races of Man, 1909, pp. 24-8, and Handbook to the Ethnographical Collections British Museum, 1910, pp. 119-139.

[336] Besides the earlier works of H. H. Romilly, The Western Pacific and New Guinea, 1886, From My Verandah in New Guinea, 1889; J. Chalmers, Work and Adventure in New Guinea, 1885; O. Finsch, Samoafahrten: Reisen in Kaiser Wilhelms-Land und Englisch Neu-Guinea, 1888; C. M. Woodford, A Naturalist Among the Head-hunters, 1890; J. P. Thompson, British New Guinea, 1892; and R. H. Codrington, The Melanesians, 1891, the following more recent works may be consulted:—A. C. Haddon, Head-hunters, Black, White, and Brown, 1901, and Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, 1901- ; R. Parkinson, Dreissig Jahre in der Südsee, 1907; G. A. J. van der Sande, Nova Guinea, 1907; B. Thompson, The Fijians, 1908; G. Brown, Melanesians and Polynesians, 1910; F. Speiser, Südsee Urwald Kannibalen, 1913.

[337] Eth. Ch. XII.

[338] But excluding Celebes, where no trace of Papuan elements has been discovered.

[339] For details see F. H. H. Guillemard, Australasia, Vol. II. and Reclus, Vol. XIV.

[340] S. J. Hickson, A Naturalist in North Celebes, 1889, p. 203.

[341] A. C. Haddon, "The Pygmy Question," Appendix B to A. F. R. Wollaston's Pygmies and Papuans, 1912, p. 304.

[342] "A la Recherche des Negritos," etc., in Tour du Monde, New Series, Livr. 35-8. The midden was 150 ft. round, and over 12 ft. high.

[343] E. H. Man, Journ. Anthr. Inst. Vol. XI. 1881, p. 271, and XII. 1883, p. 71.

[344] Ib. p. 272.

[345] Close to Barren is the extinct crater of Narcondam, i.e. Narak-andam (Narak = Hell), from which the Andaman group may have taken its name (Sir H. Yule, Marco Polo). Man notes, however, that the Andamanese were not aware of the existence of Barren Island until taken past in the settlement steamer (p. 368).

[346] Folk-Lore, 1909, p. 257. See also the criticisms of W. Schmidt, "Puluga, the Supreme Being of the Andamanese," Man, 2, 1910, and A. Lang, "Puluga," Man, 30, 1910; A. R. Brown, The Andaman Islands (in the Press).

[347] "The Andaman languages are one group; they have no affinities by which we might infer their connection with any other known group" (R. C. Temple, quoted by Man, Anthrop. Jour. 1882, p. 123).

[348] R. C. Temple, quoted by Man, Anthrop. Jour. 1882, p. 123.

[349] W. W. Skeat and C. D. Blagden, Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula, 1906.

[350] R. Martin, Die Inlandstämme der Malayischen Halbinsel, 1905.

[351] N. Annandale and H. C. Robinson, "Fasciculi Malayensis," Anthropology, 1903.

[352] W. W. Skeat and C. D. Blagden, loc. cit.

[353] The Sakai have often been classed among Negritoes, but, although undoubtedly a mixed people, their affinities appear to be pre-Dravidian.

[354] Cf. A. C. Haddon, "The Pygmy Question," Appendix B to A. F. R. Wollaston's Pygmies and Papuans, 1912, p. 306.

[355] In Court and Kampong, 1897, p. 172.

[356] Senoi grammar and glossary in Jour. Straits Branch R. Asiat. Soc. 1892, No. 24.

[357] See L. Wray's paper "On the Cave Dwellers of Perak," in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. 1897, p. 36 sq. This observer thinks "the earliest cave dwellers were most likely the Negritoes" (p. 47), and the great age of the deposits is shown by the fact that "in some of the caves at least 12 feet of a mixture of shells, bones, and earth has been accumulated and subsequently removed again in the floors of the caves. In places two or three layers of solid stalagmite have been formed and removed, some of these layers having been five feet in thickness" (p. 45).

[358] See on this point Prof. Blumentritt's paper on the Manguians of Mindoro in Globus, LX. No. 14.

[359] One Aeta woman of Zambales had a nasal index of 140.7. W. Allen Reed, "Negritoes of Zambales," Department of the Interior: Ethnological Survey Publications, II. 1904, p. 35. For details of physical features see the following:—D. Folkmar, Album of Philippine Types, 1904; Dean C. Worcester, "The Non-Christian Tribes of Northern Luzon," The Philippine Journal of Science, I. 1906; and A. C. Haddon, "The Pygmy Question," Appendix B to A. F. R. Wollaston's Pygmies and Papuans, 1912.

[360] The Philippine Islands, etc., London and Hongkong, 1890.

[361] Op. cit. p. 210.

[362] Voyage aux Philippines, etc., Paris, 1886.

[363] A. F. R. Wollaston, Pygmies and Papuans, 1912; C. G. Rawling, The Land of the New Guinea Pygmies, 1913.

[364] The Mafulu Mountain People of British New Guinea, 1912.

[365] Nova Guinea, VII. 1913, 1915.

[366] A. C. Haddon, "The Pygmy Question," Appendix B to A. F. R. Wollaston's Pygmies and Papuans, 1912, pp. 314-9.

[367] It is not certain however that this method is known to the Semang, and it occurs among peoples who are not Negrito, such as the Kayan of Sarawak, and in other places where a Negrito element has not yet been recorded.

[368] The term pygmy is usually applied to a people whose stature does not exceed 1.5 m. (4 ft. 11 in.).

[369] W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, and W. Turner, "The Aborigines of Australia," Trans. R. Soc. Edin. 1908, XLVI. 2, and 1910, XLVII. 3.

[370] Paper in Brough Smyth's work, II. p. 413.

[371] H. Ling Roth, The Aborigines of Australia (2nd ed.), 1899, Appendix LXXXVIII., and "Tasmanian Firesticks," Nature, LIX. 1899, p. 606.

[372] W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, pp. 90, 106 ff.

[373] Nature, XCII. 1913, p. 320.

[374] W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters, 1915, pp. 104-5.

[Pg 163]



South Mongol Domain—Tibet, the Mongol Cradle-land—Stone Age in Tibet—The Primitive Mongol Type—The Balti and Ladakhi—Balti Type and Origins—The Tibetans Proper—Type—The Bhotiyas—Prehistoric Expansion of the Tibetan Race—Sub-Himalayan Groups: the Gurkhas—Mental Qualities of the Tibetans—Lamaism—The Horsoks—The Tanguts—Polyandry—The Bonbo Religion—Buddhist and Christian Ritualism—The Prayer-Wheel—Language and Letters—Diverse Linguistic Types—Lepcha—Angami-Naga and Kuki-Lushai Speech—Naga Tribes—General Ethnic Relations in Indo-China—Aboriginal and Cultured Peoples—The Talaings—The Manipuri—Religion—The Game of Polo—The Khel System—The Chins—Mental and Physical Qualities—Gods, Nats, and the After-Life—The Kakhyens—Caucasic Elements—The Karens—Type—Temperament—Christian Missions—The Burmese—Type—Character—Buddhism—Position of Woman—Tattooing—The Tai-Shan Peoples—The Ahom, Khamti and Chinese Shans—Shan Cradle-land and Origins—Caucasic Contacts—Tai-Shan Toned Speech—Shan, Lolo, and Mosso Writing Systems—Mosso Origins—Aborigines of South China and Annam—Man-tse Origins and Affinities—Caucasic Aborigines in South-East Asia—The Siamese Shans—Origins and Early Records—Social System—Buddhism—The Annamese—Origins—Physical and Mental Characters—Language and Letters—Social Institutions—Religious Systems—The Chinese—Origins—The Babylonian Theory—Persistence of Chinese Culture and Social System—Letters and Early Records—Traditions of the Stone and Metal Ages—Chinese Cradle and Early Migrations—Absorption of the Aborigines—Survivals: Hok-lo, Hakka, Pun-ti—Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism—Fung-shui and Ancestry Worship—Islam and Christianity—The Mandarin Class.


Distribution in Past and Present Times.

Present Range. Tibet; S. Himalayan slopes; Indo-China to the Isthmus of Kra; China; Formosa; Parts of Malaysia.

Physical Characters.

Hair, uniformly black, lank, round in transverse section; sparse or no beard, moustache common. Colour, generally a dirty yellowish brown, shading off to olive and coppery brown in the south, and to lemon or whitish in N. China. Skull, normally brachy (80 to 84), but in parts of China sub-dolicho (77) and high. Jaws, slightly prognathous. Cheek-bones, very high and prominent laterally. Nose, very small, and concave, with [Pg 164] widish nostrils (mesorrhine), but often large and straight amongst the upper classes. Eyes, small, black, and oblique (outer angle slightly elevated), vertical fold of skin over inner canthus. Stature, below the average, 1.62 m. (5 ft. 4 in.), but in N. China often tall, 1.77 m. to 1.82 m. (5 ft. 10 in. to 6 ft.). Lips, rather thin, sometimes slightly protruding. Arms, legs, and feet, of normal proportions, calves rather small.

Mental Characters.

Temperament. Somewhat sluggish, with little initiative, but great endurance; cunning rather than intelligent; generally thrifty and industrious, but mostly indolent in Siam and Burma; moral standard low, with slight sense of right and wrong.

Speech. Mainly isolating and monosyllabic, due to phonetic decay; loss of formative elements compensated by tone; some (south Chinese, Annamese) highly tonic, but others (in Himalayas and North Burma) highly agglutinating and consequently toneless.

Religion. Ancestry and spirit-worship, underlying various kinds of Buddhism; religious sentiment weak in Annam, strong in Tibet; thinly diffused in China.

Culture. Ranges from sheer savagery (Indo-Chinese aborigines) to a low phase of civilisation; some mechanical arts (ceramics, metallurgy, weaving), and agriculture well developed; painting, sculpture, and architecture mostly in the barbaric stage; letters widespread, but true literature and science slightly developed; stagnation very general.

Main Divisions.

Bod-pa. Tibetan; Tangut; Horsok; Si-fan; Balti; Ladakhi; Gurkha; Bhotiya; Miri; Mishmi; Abor.

Burmese. Naga; Kuki-Lushai; Chin; Kakhyen; Manipuri; Karen; Talaing; Arakanese; Burmese proper.

Tai-Shan. Ahom; Khamti; Ngiou; Lao; Siamese.

Giao-Shi. Annamese; Cochin-Chinese.

Chinese. Chinese proper; Hakka; Hok-lo; Pun-ti.

South Mongol Domain.

The Mongolian stock may be divided into two main branches[375]: the Mongolo-Tatar, of the western area, and the Tibeto-Indo-Chinese of the eastern area, the latter extending into a secondary branch, Oceanic Mongols. These two, that is, the main and secondary branch, which jointly occupy [Pg 165]the greater part of south-east Asia with most of Malaysia, Madagascar, the Philippines and Formosa, will form the subject of the present and following chapters. Allowing for encroachments and overlappings, especially in Manchuria and North Tibet, the northern "divide" towards the Mongolo-Tatar domain is roughly indicated by the Great Wall and the Kuen-lun range westwards to the Hindu-Kush, and towards the south-west by the Himalayas from the Hindu-Kush eastwards to Assam. The Continental section thus comprises the whole of China proper and Indo-China, together with a great part of Tibet with Little Tibet (Baltistan and Ladakh), and the Himalayan uplands including their southern slopes. This section is again separated from the Oceanic section by the Isthmus of Kra—the Malay Peninsula belonging ethnically to the insular Malay world. "I believe," writes Warington Smyth, "that the Malay never really extended further south than the Kra isthmus[376]."

Tibet, the Mongol Cradle-land.

From the considerations advanced in Ethnology, Chap. XII., it seems a reasonable assumption that the lacustrine Tibetan tableland with its Himalayan escarpments, all standing in pleistocene times at a considerably lower level than at present, was the cradle of the Mongol division of mankind. Here were found all the natural conditions favourable to the development of a new variety of the species moving from the tropics northwards—ample space such as all areas of marked specialisation seem to require; a different and cooler climate than that of the equatorial region, though, thanks to its then lower elevation, warmer than that of the bleak and now barely inhabitable Tibetan plateau; extensive plains, nowhere perhaps too densely wooded, intersected by ridges of moderate height, and diversified by a lacustrine system far more extensive than that revealed by the exploration of modern travellers[377].

Under these circumstances, which are not matter of mere speculation, but to be directly inferred from the observations of intelligent explorers and of trained Anglo-Indian surveyors, it would seem not only probable but inevitable that the[Pg 166] pleistocene Indo-Malayan should become modified and improved in his new and more favourable Central Asiatic environment.

Stone Age in Tibet.

Later, with the gradual upheaval of the land to a mean altitude of some 14,000 feet above sea-level, the climate deteriorated, and the present somewhat rude and rugged inhabitants of Tibet are to be regarded as the outcome of slow adaptation to their slowly changing surroundings since the occupation of the country by the Indo-Malayan pleistocene precursor. To this precursor Tibet was accessible either from India or from Indo-China, and although few of his implements have yet been reported from the plateau, it is certain that Tibet has passed through the Stone as well as the Metal Ages. In Bogle's time "thunder-stones" were still used for tonsuring the lamas, and even now stone cooking-pots are found amongst the shepherds of the uplands, although they are acquainted both with copper and iron. In India also and Indo-China palaeoliths of rude type occur at various points—Arcot, the Narbada gravels, Mirzapur[378], the Irawadi valley and the Shan territory—as if to indicate the routes followed by early man in his migrations from Indo-Malaysia northwards.

Thus, where man is silent the stones speak, and so old are these links of past and present that amongst the Shans, as in ancient Greece, their origin being entirely forgotten, they are often mounted as jewellery and worn as charms against mishaps.

The Primitive Mongol Type.

Usually the Mongols proper, that is, the steppe nomads who have more than once overrun half the eastern hemisphere, are taken as the typical and original stem of the Mongolian stock. But if Ch. de Ujfalvy's views can be accepted this honour will now have to be transferred to the Tibetans, who still occupy the supposed cradle of the race. This veteran student of the Central Asiatic peoples describes two Mongol types, a northern round-headed and a southern long-headed, and thinks that the latter, which includes "the Ladakhi, the Champas and Tibetans proper," was "the primitive Mongol type[379]."[Pg 167]

The Balti and Ladakhi.
Balti Type and Origins.

Owing to the political seclusion of Tibet, the race has hitherto been studied chiefly in outlying provinces beyond the frontiers, such as Ladakh, Baltistan, and Sikkim[380], that is, in districts where mixture with other races may be suspected. Indeed de Ujfalvy, who has made a careful survey of Baltistan and Ladakh, assures us that, while the Ladakhi represent two varieties of Asiatic man with ceph. index 77, the Balti are not Tibetans or Mongols at all, but descendants of the historical Sacae, although now of Tibetan speech and Moslem faith[381]. They are of the mean height or slightly above it, with rather low brow, very prominent superciliary arches, deep depression at nasal root, thick curved eyebrows, long, straight or arched nose, thick lips, oval chin, small cheek-bones, small flat ears, straight eyes, very black and abundant ringletty (bouclé) hair, full beard, usually black and silky, robust hairy body, small hands and feet, and long head (index 72). In such characters it is impossible to recognise the Mongol, and the contrast is most striking with the neighbouring Ladakhi, true Mongols, as shown by their slightly raised superciliary arches, square and scarcely curved eyebrows, slant eyes, large prominent cheek-bones, lank and coarse hair, yellowish and nearly hairless body.

Doubtless there has been a considerable intermingling of Balti and Ladakhi, and in recent times still more of Balti and Dards (Hindu-Kush "Aryans"), whence Leitner's view that the Balti are Dards at a remote period conquered by the Bhóts (Tibetans), losing their speech with their independence. But of all these peoples the Balti were in former times the most civilised, as shown by the remarkable rock-carvings still found in the country, and attributed by the present inhabitants to a long vanished race. Some of these carvings represent warriors mounted and on foot, the resemblance being often very striking between them and the persons figured on the coins of the Sacae kings both in their physical appearance, attitudes, arms, and accoutrements. The Balti are still famous horsemen, and with them is said to have originated[Pg 168] the game of polo, which has thence spread to the surrounding peoples as far as Chitral and Irania.

From all these considerations it is inferred that the Balti are the direct descendants of the Sacae, who invaded India about 90 B.C., not from the west (the Kabul valley) as generally stated, but from the north over the Karakorum Passes leading directly to Baltistan[382]. Thus lives again a name renowned in antiquity, and another of those links is established between the past and the present, which it is the province of the historical ethnologist to rescue from oblivion.

The Tibetans Proper.
Bod-pa, Dru-pa, Tanguts.

In Tibet proper the ethnical relations have been confused by the loose way tribal and even national names are referred to by Prjevalsky and some other modern explorers. It should therefore be explained that three somewhat distinct branches of the race have to be carefully distinguished: 1. The Bod-pa[383], "Bodmen," the settled and more or less civilised section, who occupy most of the southern and more fertile provinces of which Lhasa is the capital, who till the land, live in towns, and have passed from the tribal to the civic state. 2. The Dru-pa[384], peaceful though semi-nomadic pastoral tribes, who live in tents on the northern plateaux, over 15,000 feet above sea-level. 3. The Tanguts[385], restless, predatory tribes, who hover about the north-eastern borderland between Koko-nor and Kansu.[Pg 169]

All these are true Tibetans, speak the Tibetan language, and profess one or other of the two national religions, Bonbo and Lamaism (the Tibetan form of Buddhism). But the original type is best preserved, not amongst the cultured Bod-pa, who in many places betray a considerable admixture both of Chinese and Hindu elements, but amongst the Dru-pa, who on their bleak upland steppes have for ages had little contact with the surrounding Mongolo-Turki populations. They are described by W. W. Rockhill from personal observation as about five feet five inches high, and round-headed, with wavy hair, clear-brown and even hazel eye, cheek-bone less high than the Mongol, thick nose, depressed at the root, but also prominent and even aquiline and narrow but with broad nostrils, large-lobed ears standing out to a less degree than the Mongol, broad mouth, long black hair, thin beard, generally hairless body, broad shoulders, very small calves, large foot, coarse hand, skin coarse and greasy and of light brown colour, though "frequently nearly white, but when exposed to the weather a dark brown, nearly the colour of our American Indians. Rosy cheeks are quite common amongst the younger women[386]."

Some of these characters—wavy hair, aquiline nose, hazel eye, rosy cheeks—are not Mongolic, and despite W. W. Rockhill's certificate of racial purity, one is led to suspect a Caucasic strain, perhaps through the neighbouring Salars. These are no doubt sometimes called Kara-Tangutans, "Black Tangutans," from the colour of their tents, but we learn from Potanin, who visited them in 1885[387], that they are Muhammadans of Turki stock and speech, and we already know[388] that from a remote period the Turki people were in close contact with Caucasians. The Salars pitch their tents on the banks of the Khitai and other Yang-tse-Kiang headstreams.

The Bhotiyas.

That the national name Bod-pa must be of considerable antiquity is evident from the Sanskrit expression Bhotiya, derived from it, and long applied by the Hindus collectively to all southern Tibetans,[Pg 170] but especially to those of the Himalayan slopes, such as the Rongs (Lepchas) of Sikkim and the Lho-pa dominant in Bhutan, properly Bhót-ánt, that is, "Land's End"—the extremity of Tibet. Eastwards also the Tibetan race stretches far beyond the political frontiers into the Koko-nor region (Tanguts), and the Chinese province of Se-chuan, where they are grouped with all the other Si-fan aborigines. Towards the south-east are the kindred Tawangs, Mishmi, Miri, Abor[389], Daflas, and many others about the Assam borderlands, all of whom may be regarded as true Bhotiyas in the wild state.

Prehistoric Expansion of the Tibetan Race.

Through these the primitive Tibetan race extends into Burma, where however it has become greatly modified and again civilised under different climatic and cultural influences. Thus we see how, in the course of ages, the Bod-pa have widened their domain, radiating in all directions from the central cradle-land about the Upper Brahmaputra (San-po) valley westwards into Kashmir, eastwards into China, southwards down the Himalayan slopes to the Gangetic plains, south-eastwards to Indo-China. In some places they have come into contact with other races and disappeared either by total extinction or by absorption (India, Hindu-Kush), or else preserved their type while accepting the speech, religion, and culture of later intruders. Such are the Garhwali, and many groups in Nepal, especially the dominant Gurkhas (Khas[390]), of whom there are twelve branches, all Aryanised and since the twelfth century speaking the Parbattia Bhasha, a Prakrit or vulgar Sanskrit tongue current amongst an extremely mixed population of about 2,000,000.

In other directions the migrations took place in remote prehistoric times, the primitive proto-Tibetan groups becoming[Pg 171] more and more specialised as they receded farther and farther from the cradle-land into Mongolia, Siberia, China, Farther India, and Malaysia. This is at least how I understand the peopling of a great part of the eastern hemisphere by an original nucleus of Mongolic type first differentiated from a pleistocene precursor on the Tibetan tableland.


Strangely contradictory estimates have been formed of the temperament and mental characters of the Bod-pa, some, such as that of Turner[391], no doubt too favourable, while others err perhaps in the opposite direction. Thus Desgodins, who nevertheless knew them well, describes the cultured Tibetan of the south as "a slave towards the great, a despot towards the weak, knavish or treacherous according to circumstances, always on the look-out to defraud, and lying impudently to attain his end," and much more to the same effect[392].

W. W. Rockhill, who is less severe, thinks that "the Tibetan's character is not as black as Horace della Penna and Desgodins have painted it. Intercourse with these people extending over six years leads me to believe that the Tibetan is kindhearted, affectionate, and law-abiding[393]." He concludes, however, with a not very flattering native estimate deduced from the curious national legend that "the earliest inhabitants of Tibet descended from a king of monkeys and a female hobgoblin, and the character of the race perhaps from those of its first parents. From the king of monkeys [he was an incarnate god] they have religious faith and kindheartedness, intelligence and application, devotion to religion and to religious debate; from the hobgoblin they get cruelty, fondness for trade and money-making, great bodily strength, lustfulness, fondness for gossip, and carnivorous instinct[394]."

Effects of Lamaism on the Tibetan Character.

While they are cheerful under a depressing priestly regime, all allow that they are vindictive, superstitious, and cringing in the presence of the lamas, who are at heart more dreaded than revered. In fact the whole religious world is one vast organised system of hypocrisy, and above the old pagan beliefs[Pg 172] common to all primitive peoples there is merely a veneer of Buddhism, above which follows another and most pernicious veneer of lamaism (priestcraft), under the yoke of which the natural development of the people has been almost completely arrested for several centuries. The burden is borne with surprising endurance, and would be intolerable but for the relief found in secret and occasionally even open revolt against the more oppressive ordinances of the ecclesiastical rule. Thus, despite the prescriptions regarding a strict vegetarian diet expressed in the formula "eat animal flesh eat thy brother," not only laymen but most of the lamas themselves supplement their frugal diet of milk, butter, barley-meal, and fruits with game, yak, and mutton—this last pronounced by Turner the best in the world. The public conscience, however, is saved by a few extra turns of the prayer-wheel at such repasts, and by the general contempt in which is held the hereditary caste of butchers, who like the Jews in medieval times are still confined to a "ghetto" of their own in all the large towns.

The Horsoks.
The Tanguts.

These remarks apply more particularly to the settled southern communities living in districts where a little agriculture is possible. Elsewhere the religious cloak is worn very loosely, and the nomad Horsoks of the northern steppes, although all nominal Buddhists, pay but scant respect to the decrees supposed to emanate from the Dalai Lama enshrined in Lhasa. Horsok is an almost unique ethnical term[395], being a curious compound of the two names applied by the Tibetans to the Hor-pa and the Sok-pa who divide the steppe between them. The Hor-pa, who occupy the western parts, are of Turki stock, and are the only group of that race known to me who profess Buddhism[396], all the rest being Muhammadans with some Shamanists (Yakuts) in the Lena basin. The Sok-pa, who roam the eastern plains and valleys, although commonly called Mongols, are true Tibetans or more strictly speaking Tanguts, of whom there are here two branches, the Goliki and the Yegrai, all, like the Hor-pa, of Tibetan speech. The Yegrai, as described by Prjevalsky, closely resemble the other North Tibetan tribes, with their long, matted locks falling on their[Pg 173] shoulders, their scanty whiskers and beard, angular head, dark complexion and dirty garb[397].

Besides stock-breeding and predatory warfare, all these groups follow the hunt, armed with darts, bows, and matchlock guns; the musk-deer is ensnared, and the only animal spared is the stag, "Buddha's horse." The taste of these rude nomads for liquid blood is insatiable, and the surveyor, Nain Singh, often saw them fall prone on the ground to lick up the blood flowing from a wounded beast. As soon as weaned, the very children and even the horses are fed on a diet of cheese, butter, and blood, kneaded together in a horrible mess, which is greedily devoured when the taste is acquired. On the other hand alcoholic drinks are little consumed, the national beverage being coarse Chinese tea imported in the form of bricks and prepared with tsampa (barley-meal) and butter, and thus becoming a food as well as a drink. The lamas have a monopoly of this tea-trade, which could not stand the competition of the Indian growers; hence arises the chief objection to removing the barriers of seclusion.

Tibetan Polyandry.

Tibet is one of the few regions where polyandrous customs, intimately associated with the matriarchal state, still persist almost in their pristine vigour. The husbands are usually but not necessarily all brothers, and the bride is always obtained by purchase. Unless otherwise arranged, the oldest husband is the putative "father," all the others being considered as "uncles." An inevitable result of the institution is to give woman a dominant position in society; hence the "queens" of certain tribes, referred to with so much astonishment by the early Chinese chroniclers. Survivors of this "petticoat government" have been noticed by travellers amongst the Lolos, Mossos, and other indigenous communities about the Indo-Chinese frontiers. But it does not follow that polyandry and a matriarchal state always and necessarily preceded polygyny and a patriarchal state. On the contrary, it would appear that polyandry never could have been universal; possibly it arose from special conditions in particular regions, where the struggle for existence is severe, and the necessity of imposing limits to the increase of population more urgent than elsewhere[398]. Hence[Pg 174] to me it seems as great a mistake to assume a matriarchate as it is to assume promiscuity as the universal antecedent of all later family relations. In Tibet itself polygyny exists side by side with polyandry amongst the wealthy classes, while monogamy is the rule amongst the poor pastoral nomads of the northern steppe.

Burial Customs.

Great ethnical importance has been attached by some distinguished anthropologists to the treatment of the dead. But, as in the New Stone and Metal Ages in Europe cremation and burial were practised side by side[399], so in Tibet the dead are now simultaneously disposed of in diverse ways. It is a question not so much of race as of caste or social classes, or of the lama's pleasure, who, when the head has been shaved to facilitate the transmigration of the soul, may order the body to be burnt, buried, cast into the river, or even thrown to carrion birds or beasts of prey. Strange to say, the last method, carried out with certain formalities, is one of the most honourable, although the lamas are generally buried in a seated posture, and high officials burnt, and (in Ladakh) the ashes, mixed with a little clay, kneaded into much venerated effigies—doubtless a survival of ancestry worship.

The Bonbo Religion.

Reference was above made to the primitive Shamanistic ideas which still survive beneath the Buddhist and the later lamaistic systems. In the central and eastern provinces of Ui and Tsang this pre-Buddhist religion has again struggled to the surface, or rather persisted under the name of Bonbo (Boa-ho) side by side with the national creed, from which it has even borrowed many of its present rites. From the colour of the robes usually worn by its priests, it is known as the sect of the "Blacks," in contradistinction to the orthodox "Yellow" and dissenting "Red" lamaists, and as now constituted, its origin is attributed to Shen-rab (Gsen-rabs), who flourished about the fifth century before the new era, and is venerated as the equal of Buddha himself. His followers, who were powerful enough to drive Buddhism from Tibet in the tenth century, worship 18 chief deities, the best known being the red and[Pg 175] black demons, the snake devil, and especially the fiery tiger-god, father of all the secondary members of this truly "diabolical pantheon." It is curious to note that the sacred symbol of the Bonbo sect is the ubiquitous svastika, only with the hooks of the cross reversed, Swastika 1 instead of Swastika 2. This change, which appears to have escaped the diligent research of Thomas Wilson[400], was caused by the practice of turning the prayer-wheel from right to left as the red lamas do, instead of from left to right as is the orthodox way. The common Buddhist formula of six syllables—om-ma-ni-pad-me-hum—is also replaced by one of seven syllables—ma-tri-mon-tre-sa-ta-dzun[401].

Buddhism and Lamaism.
Buddhist and Christian Ritualism.

Buddhism itself, introduced by Hindu missionaries, is more recent than is commonly supposed. Few conversions were made before the fifth century of our era, and the first temple dates only from the year 698. Reference is often made to the points of contact or "coincidences" which have been observed between this system and that of the Oriental and Latin Christian Churches. There is no question of a common dogma, and the numerous resemblances are concerned only with ritualistic details, such as the cross, the mitre, dalmatica, and other distinctive vestments, choir singing, exorcisms, the thurible, benedictions with outstretched hand, celibacy, the rosary, fasts, processions, litanies, spiritual retreats, holy water, scapulars or other charms, prayer addressed to the saints, relics, pilgrimages, music and bells at the service, monasticism; this last being developed to a far greater extent in Tibet than at any time in any Christian land, Egypt not excepted. The lamas, representing the regular clergy of the Roman Church, hold a monopoly of all "science," letters, and arts. The block printing-presses are all kept in the huge monasteries which cover the land, and from them are consequently issued only orthodox works and treatises on magic. Religion itself is little better than a system of magic, and the sole aim of all worship, reduced to a mere mechanical system of routine, is to baffle the machinations of the demons who at every turn beset the path of the wayfarer through this "vale of tears."[Pg 176]

The Prayer-Wheel.

For this purpose the prayer-wheels—an ingenious contrivance by which innumerable supplications, not less efficacious because vicarious, may be offered up night and day to the powers of darkness—are incessantly kept going all over the land, some being so cleverly arranged that the sacred formula may be repeated as many as 40,000 times at each revolution of the cylinder. These machines, which have also been introduced into Korea and Japan, have been at work for several centuries without any appreciable results, although fitted up in all the houses, by the river banks or on the hill-side, and kept in motion by the hand, wind, and water; while others of huge size, 30 to 40 feet high and 15 to 20 in diameter, stand in the temples, and at each turn repeat the contents of whole volumes of liturgical essays stowed away in their capacious receptacles. But despite all these everlasting revolutions, stagnation reigns supreme throughout the most priest-ridden land under the sun.

Language and Letters.

With its religion Tibet imported also its letters from India by the route of Nepal or Kashmir in the seventh century. Since then the language has undergone great changes, always, like other members of the Indo-Chinese family, in the direction from agglutination towards monosyllabism[402]. But the orthography, apart from a few feeble efforts at reform, has remained stationary, so that words are still written as they were pronounced 1200 years ago. The result is a far greater discrepancy between the spoken and written tongue than in any other language, English not excepted. Thus the province of Ui has been identified by Sir A. Cunningham with Ptolemy's Debasae through its written form Dbus, though now always pronounced U[403]. This bears out de Lacouperie's view that all words were really uttered as originally spelt, although often beginning with as many as three consonants. Thus spra (monkey) is now pronounced deu in the Lhasa dialect, but still streu-go in that of the province of Kham. The phonetic disintegration is still going on, so that, barring reform, the time must come when there will be no correspondence at all between sound and its graphic expression.[Pg 177]

Diverse Linguistic Types.

On the other hand it is a mistake to suppose that all languages in the Indo-Chinese linguistic zone have undergone this enormous extent of phonetic decay. The indefatigable B. H. Hodgson has made us acquainted with several, especially in Nepal, which are of a highly conservative character. Farther east the Lepcha (properly Rong) of Sikkim presents the remarkable peculiarity of distinct agglutination of the Mongolo-Turki, or perhaps I should say of the Kuki-Lushai type, combined with numerous homophones and a total absence of tone. Thus pano-sa, of a king, pano-sang, kings, and pano-sang-sa, of kings, shows pure agglutination, while mát yields no less than twenty-three distinct meanings[404], which should necessitate a series of discriminating tones, as in Chinese or Siamese. Their absence, however, is readily explained by the persistence of the agglutinative principle, which renders them unnecessary.

Angami-Naga Speech.
Kuki-Lushai Language.

A somewhat similar feature is presented by the Angami Naga, the chief language of the Naga Hills, of which R. B. McCabe writes that it is "still in a very primitive stage of the agglutinating class," and "peculiarly rich in intonation," although "for one Naga who clearly marks these tonal distinctions twenty fail to do so[405]." It follows that it is mainly spoken without tones, and although said to be "distinctly monosyllabic" it really abounds in polysyllables, such as merenama, orphan, kehutsaporimo, nowhere, dukriwáché, to kill, etc. There are also numerous verbal formative elements given by McCabe himself, so that Angami must clearly be included in the agglutinating order. To this order also belongs beyond all doubt the Kuki-Lushai of the neighbouring North Kachar Hills and parts of Nagaland itself, the common speech in fact of the Rangkhols,[Pg 178] Jansens, Lushai, Roeys and other hill peoples, collectively called Kuki by the lowlanders, and Dzo by themselves[406]. The highly agglutinating character of this language is evident from the numerous conjugations given by Soppitt[407], for some of which he has no names, but which may be called Acceleratives, Retardatives, Complementatives, and so on. Thus with the root, ahong, come, and infix jám, slow, is formed the retardative náng ahongjámrangmoh, "will-you-come-slowly?" (rang, future, moh, interrogative particle)[408].

Naga Tribes.

The Kuki, the Naga and the Manipuri, none of which claim to be the original occupants of the country, have a tradition of a common ancestor, who had three sons who became the progenitors of the tribes. The Kuki are found almost everywhere throughout Manipur. "We are like the birds of the air," said a Kuki to T. C. Hodson, "we make our nests here this year, and who knows where we shall build next year[409]?" The following description is given of the Naga tribes, Tangkhuls, Mao and Maram Nagas (Angami Nagas), Kolya, or Mayang Khong group, Kabuis, Quoirengs, Chirus and Marrings. "Differences of stature, dress, coiffure and weapons make it easy to distinguish between the members of these tribes. In colour they are all brown with but little variety, though some of the Tangkhuls who earn their living by salt making seem to be darker. Among them all, as among the Manipuris, there are persons who have a tinge of colour in their cheeks when still young. The nose also varies, for there are cases where it is almost straight, while in the majority of individuals it is flattened at the nostril. Here and there one may see noses which in profile are almost Roman. The eyes are usually brown, though black eyes are sometimes found to occur. The jaw is generally clean, not [Pg 179]heavy, and the hair is of some variety, as there are many persons whose hair is decidedly curly, and in most there is a wave. Beards are very uncommon, and hair on the face is very rare, so much so that the few who possess a moustache are known as khoi-hao-bas (Meithei words, meaning moustache grower). I am informed that the ladies do not like hirsute men, and that the men therefore pull out any stray hairs. The cheekbones are often prominent and the slope of the eye is not very marked[410]." The stature is moderate varying from the slender lightly built Marrings to the tall sturdy finely proportioned Maos. The women are all much shorter than the men, but strongly built with a muscular development of which the men would not be ashamed. The land is thickly peopled with local deities and at Maram the case is recorded of a Rain Deity who was once a man of the village specially cunning in rain making. Among the points of special interest in this region are the stone monuments still erected in honour of the dead, and the custom of head-hunting, connected with simple blood feud, with agrarian rites, with funerary rites and eschatological belief, and in some cases no more than a social duty[411].

The general Ethnical Relations in Indo-China.

Through these Naga and Kuki aborigines we pass without any break of continuity from the Bhotiya populations of the Himalayan slopes to those of Indo-China. Here also, as indeed in nearly all semi-civilised lands, peoples at various grades of culture are found dwelling for ages side by side—rude and savage groups on the uplands or in the more dense wooded tracts, settled communities with a large measure of political unity (in fact nations and peoples in the strict sense of those terms) on the lowlands, and especially along the rich alluvial riverine plains of this well watered region. The common theory is that the wild tribes represent the true aborigines driven to the hills and woodlands by civilised invaders from India and other lands, who are now represented by the settled communities.

Aborigines and Cultured Peoples of one Stock.

Whether such movements and dislocations have elsewhere taken place we need not here stop to inquire; indeed their probability, and in some instances their certainty may be frankly [Pg 180]admitted. But I cannot think that the theory expresses the true relations in most parts of Farther India. Here the civilised peoples, and ex hypothesi the intruders, are the Manipuri, Burmese, Arakanese, and the nearly extinct or absorbed Talaings or Mons in the west; the Siamese, Shans or Laos, and Khamti in the centre; the Annamese (Tonkinese and Cochin-Chinese), Cambojans, and the almost extinct Champas in the east. Nearly all of these I hold to be quite as indigenous as the hillmen, the only difference being that, thanks to their more favourable environment, they emerged at an early date from the savage state and thus became more receptive to foreign civilising influences, mostly Hindu, but also Chinese (in Annam). All are either partly or mainly of Mongolic or Indonesian type, and all speak toned Indo-Chinese languages, except the Cambojans and Champas, whose linguistic relations are with the Oceanic peoples, who are not here in question. The cultivated languages are no doubt full of Sanskrit or Prakrit terms in the west and centre, and of Chinese in the east, and all, except Annamese, which uses a Chinese ideographic system, are written with alphabets derived through the square Pali characters from the Devanagari. It is also true that the vast monuments of Burma, Siam, and Camboja all betray Hindu influences, many of the temples being covered with Brahmanical or Buddhist sculptures and inscriptions. But precisely analogous phenomena are reproduced in Java, Sumatra, and other Malaysian lands, as well as in Japan and partly in China itself. Are we then to conclude that there have been Hindu invasions and settlements in all these regions, the most populous on the globe?

The Talaings.

During the historic period a few Hinduized Dravidians, especially Telingas (Telugus) of the Coromandel coast, have from time to time emigrated to Indo-China (Pegu), where the name survives amongst the "Talaings," that is, the Mons, by whom they were absorbed, just as the Mons themselves are now being absorbed by the Burmese. Others of the same connection have gained a footing here and there in Malaysia, especially the Malacca coastlands, where they are called "Klings[412]," i.e. Telings, Telingas.[Pg 181]

But beyond these partial movements, without any kind of influence on the general ethnical relations, I know of no Hindu (some have even used the term "Aryan," and have brought Aryans to Camboja) invasions except those of a moral order—the invasions of the zealous Hindu missionaries, both Brahman and Buddhist, which, however, amply suffice to account for all the above indicated points of contact between the Indian, the Indo-Chinese, and the Malayan populations.

The Manipuri.

That the civilised lowlanders and rude highlanders are generally of the same aboriginal stocks is well seen in the Manipur district with its fertile alluvial plains and encircling Naga and Lushai Hills on the north and south. The Hinduized Manipuri of the plains, that is, the politically dominant Meithis, as they call themselves, are considered by George Watt to be "a mixed race between the Kukies and the Nagas[413]." The Meithis are described as possessing in general the facial characteristics of Mongolian type, but with great diversity of feature. "It is not uncommon to meet with girls with brownish-black hair, brown eyes, fair complexions, straight noses and rosy cheeks[414]." In spite of the veneer of civilisation acquired by the Meithis, the old order of things has by no means passed away. "The maiba, the doctor and priest of the animistic system, still finds a livelihood despite the competition on the one hand of the Brahmin, and on the other of the hospital Assistant. Nevertheless the maibas frequently adapt their methods to the altered circumstances in which they now find themselves, and realize that the combination of croton oil and a charm is more efficacious than the charm alone[415]."


"It is possible to discover at least four definite orders of spiritual beings who have crystallized out from the amorphous mass of animistic Deities. There are the Lam Lai, gods of the country-side who shade off into Nature Gods controlling the rain, the primal necessity of an agricultural community; the Umang Lai or Deities of the Forest Jungle; the Imung Lai, the Household Deities, Lords of the lives, the births and the deaths of individuals, and there are Tribal Ancestors, the ritual of whose worship is a strange[Pg 182] compound of magic and Nature-worship. Beyond these Divine beings, who possess in some sort a majesty of orderly decent behaviour, there are spirits of the mountain passes, spirits of the lakes and rivers, vampires and all the horrid legion of witchcraft.... It is difficult to estimate the precise effect of Hinduism on the civilisation of the people, for to the outward observer they seem to have adopted only the festivals, the outward ritual, the caste marks and the exclusiveness of Hinduism, while all unmindful of its spirit and inward essentials. Colonel McCulloch remarked nearly fifty years ago that 'In fact their observances are only for appearance sake, not the promptings of the heart[416].'"

The Khel System.

It is noteworthy that the Manipuri are also devoted to the game of polo, which R. C. Temple tells us they play much in the same way as do the Balti and Ladakhi at the opposite extremity of the Himalayas. Another remarkable link with the "Far West" is the term Khel, which has travelled all the way from Persia or Parthia through Afghanistan to Nagaland, where it retains the same meaning of clan or section of a village, and produces the same disintegrating effects as amongst the Afghans. In Angamiland each village is split into two or more Khels, and "it is no unusual state of affairs to find Khel A of one village at war with Khel B of another, while not at war with Khel B of its own village. The Khels are often completely separated by great walls, the people on either side living within a few yards of each other, yet having no dealings whatever. Each Khel has its own headman, but little respect is paid to the chief: each Khel maybe described as a small republic[417]." There appears to be no trace even of a jirga, or council of elders, by which some measure of cohesion is imparted to the Afghan Khel system.

The Chins.

From the Kuki-Nagas the transition is unbroken to the large group of Chins of the Chindwin valley, named from them, and thence northwards to the rude Kakhyens (Kachins) about the Irawadi headstreams and southwards to the numerous Karen tribes, who occupy the ethnical parting-line between Burma and Siam all the way down to Tenasserim.

For the first detailed account of the Chins we are indebted[Pg 183] to S. Carey and H. N. Tuck[418], who accept B. Houghton's theory that these tribes, as well as the Kuki-Lushai, "originally lived in what we now know as Tibet, and are of one and the same stock; their form of government, method of cultivation, manners and customs, beliefs and traditions, all point to one origin." The term Chin, said to be a Burmese form of the Chinese jin, "men," is unknown to these aborigines, who call themselves Yo in the north and Lai in the south, while in Lower Burma they are Shu.

Confused Tribal Nomenclature.

In truth there is no recognised collective name, and Shendu (Sindhu) often so applied is proper only to the once formidable Chittagong and Arakan frontier tribes, Klangklangs and Hakas, who with the Sokté, Tashons, Siyirs, and others are now reduced and administered from Falam. Each little group has its own tribal name, and often one or two others, descriptive, abusive and so on, given them by their neighbours. Thus the Nwengals (Nun, river, ngal, across) are only that section of the Soktés now settled on the farther or right bank of the Manipur, while the Soktés themselves (Sok, to go down, , men) are so called because they migrated from Chin Nwe (9 miles from Tiddim), cradle of the Chin race, down to Molbem, their earliest settlement, which is the Mobingyi of the Burmese. So with Siyin, the Burmese form of Sheyanté (she, alkali, yan, side, , men), the group who settled by the alkali springs east of Chin Nwe, who are the Tauté ("stout" or "sturdy" people) of the Lushai and southern Chins. Let these few specimens suffice as a slight object-lesson in the involved tribal nomenclature which prevails, not only amongst the Chins, but everywhere in the Tibeto-Indo-Chinese domain, from the north-western Himalayas to Cape St James at the south-eastern extremity of Farther India. I have myself collected nearly a thousand such names of clans, septs, and fragmentary groups within this domain, and am well aware that the list neither is, nor ever can be, complete, the groups themselves often being unstable quantities in a constant state of fluctuation.

Creation Legends.

Most of the Chin groups have popular legends to explain either their origin or their present reduced state. Thus the Tawyans, a branch of the Tashons, claim to be Torrs, that is, the people of the Rawvan district, who were formerly [Pg 184]very powerful, but were ruined by their insane efforts to capture the sun. Building a sort of Jacob's ladder, they mounted higher and higher; but growing tired, quarrelled among themselves, and one day, while half of them were clambering up the pole, the other half below cut it down just as they were about to seize the sun. So the Whenohs, another Tashon group, said to be Lushais left behind in a district now forming part of Chinland, tell a different tale. They say they came out of the rocks at Sepi, which they think was their original home. They share, however, this legend of their underground origin with the Soktés and several other Chin tribes.

Mental and Physical Qualities.

Amid much diversity of speech and physique the Chins present some common mental qualities, such as "slow speech, serious manner, respect for birth and knowledge of pedigrees, the duty of revenge, the taste for a treacherous method of warfare, the curse of drink, the virtue of hospitality, the clannish feeling, the vice of avarice, the filthy state of the body, mutual distrust, impatience under control, the want of power of combination and of continued effort, arrogance in victory, speedy discouragement and panic in defeat[419]."

Physically they are a fine race, taller and stouter than the surrounding lowlanders, men 5 feet 10 or 11 inches being common enough among the independent southerners. There are some "perfectly proportioned giants with a magnificent development of muscle." Yet dwarfs are met with in some districts, and in others "the inhabitants are a wretched lot, much afflicted with goître, amongst whom may be seen cretins who crawl about on all fours with the pigs in the gutter. At Dimlo, in the Sokté tract, leprosy has a firm hold on the inhabitants."

Gods, Nats, and the After-Life.

Although often described as devil-worshippers, the Chins really worship neither god nor devil. The northerners believe there is no Supreme Being, and although the southerners admit a "Kozin" or head god, to whom they sacrifice, they do not worship him, and never look to him for any grace or mercy, except that of withholding the plagues and misfortunes which he is capable of working on any in this world who offend him. Besides[Pg 185] Kozin, there are nats or spirits of the house, family, clan, fields; and others who dwell in particular places in the air, the streams, the jungle, and the hills. Kindly nats are ignored; all others can and will do harm unless propitiated[420].

The departed go to Mithikwa, "Dead Man's Village," which is divided into Pwethikwa, the pleasant abode, and Sathikwa, the wretched abode of the unavenged. Good or bad deeds do not affect the future of man, who must go to Pwethikwa if he dies a natural or accidental death, and to Sathikwa if killed, and there bide till avenged by blood. Thus the vendetta receives a sort of religious sanction, strengthened by the belief that the slain becomes the slave of the slayer in the next world. "Should the slayer himself be slain, then the first slain is the slave of the second slain, who in turn is the slave of the man who killed him."

Whether a man has been honest or dishonest in this world is of no consequence in the next existence; but, if he has killed many people in this world, he has many slaves to serve him in his future existence; if he has killed many wild animals, then he will start well-supplied with food, for all that he kills on earth are his in the future existence. In the next existence hunting and drinking will certainly be practised, but whether fighting and raiding will be indulged in is unknown.

Cholera and small-pox are spirits, and when cholera broke out among the Chins who visited Rangoon in 1895 they carried their dahs (knives) drawn to scare off the nat, and spent the day hiding under bushes, so that the spirit should not find them. Some even wanted to sacrifice a slave boy, but were talked over to substitute some pariah dogs. They firmly believe in the evil eye, and the Hakas think the Sujins and others are all wizards, whose single glance can bewitch them, and may cause lizards to enter the body and devour the entrails. A Chin once complained to Surgeon-Major Newland that a nat had entered his stomach at the glance of a Yahow, and he went to hospital quite prepared to die. But an emetic brought him round, and he went off happy in the belief that he had vomited the nat.[Pg 186]

The Kakhyens.
Caucasic Elements.

Ethnically connected with the Kuki-Naga groups are the Kakhyens of the Irawadi headstreams, and the Karens, who form numerous village communities about the Burma-Siamese borderland. The Kakhyens, so called abusively by the Burmese, are the Cacobees of the early writers[421], whose proper name is Singpho (Chingpaw), i.e. "Men[422]," and whose curious semi-agglutinating speech, spoken in an ascending tone, each sentence ending in a long-drawn î in a higher key (Bigandet), shows affinities rather with the Mishmi and other North Assamese tongues than with the cultured Burmese. They form a very widespread family, stretching from the Eastern Himalayas right into Yunnan, and presenting two somewhat marked physical types: (1) the true Chingpaws, with short round head, low forehead, prominent cheek-bones, slant eye, broad nose, thick protruding lips, very dark brown hair and eyes, dirty buff colour, mean height (about 5 ft. 5 or 6 in.) with disproportionately short legs; (2) a much finer race, with regular Caucasic features, long oval face, pointed chin, aquiline nose. One Kakhyen belle met with at Bhamo, "with large lustrous eyes and fair skin, might almost have passed for a European[423]."

It is important to note this Caucasic element, which we first meet here going eastwards from the Himalayas, but which is found either separate or interspersed amongst the Mongoloid populations all over the south-east Asiatic uplands from Tibet to Cochin-China, and passing thence into Oceanica[424].

The Karens

The kinship of the Kakhyens with the still more numerous Karens is now generally accepted, and it is no longer found necessary to bring the latter all the way from Turkestan. They form a large section, perhaps one-sixth, of the whole population of Burma,[Pg 187] and overflow into the west Siamese borderlands. Their subdivisions are endless, though all may be reduced to three main branches, Sgaws, Pwos and Bwais, these last including the somewhat distinct group of Karenni, or "Red Karens." Although D. M. Smeaton calls the language "monosyllabic," it is evidently agglutinating, of the normal sub-Himalayan type[425].


The Karens are a short, sturdy race, with straight black and also brownish hair, black, and even hazel eyes, and light or yellowish brown complexion, so that here also a Caucasic strain may be suspected.

Flourishing Christian Missions.

Despite the favourable pictures of the missionaries, whose propaganda has been singularly successful amongst these aborigines, the Karens are not an amiable or particularly friendly people, but rather shy, reticent and even surly, though trustworthy and loyal to those chiefs and guides who have once gained their confidence. In warfare they are treacherous rather than brave, and strangely cruel even to little children. Their belief in a divine Creator who has deserted them resembles that of the Kuki people, and to the nats of the Kuki correspond the la of the Karens, who are even more numerous, every mountain, stream, rapid, crest, peak or other conspicuous object having its proper indwelling la. There are also seven specially baneful spirits, who have to be appeased by family offerings. "On the whole their belief in a personal god, their tradition as to the former possession of a 'law,' and their expectation of a prophet have made them susceptible to Christianity to a degree that is almost unique. Of this splendid opportunity the American mission has taken full advantage, educating, civilising, welding together, and making a people out of the downtrodden Karen tribes, while Christianizing them[426]."

The Burmese.
Perplexing Tribal Nomenclature.

In the Burmese division proper are comprised several groups, presenting all grades of culture, from the sheer savagery of the Mros, Kheongs, and others of the Arakan Yoma range, and the agricultural Mugs of the Arakan plains, to the dominant historical Burmese nation of the Irawadi valley. Here also the terminology is perplexing, and it may be well to explain that [Pg 188]Yoma, applied by Logan collectively to all the Arakan Hill tribes, has no ethnic value at all, simply meaning a mountain range in Burmese[427]. Toung-gnu, one of Mason's divisions of the Burmese family, was merely a petty state founded by a younger branch of the Royal House, and "has no more claim to rank as a separate tribe than any other Burman town[428]. "Tavoyers are merely the people of the Tavoy district, Tenasserim, originally from Arakan, and now speaking a Burmese dialect largely affected by Siamese elements; Tungthas, like Yoma, means "Highlander," and is even of wider application; the Tipperahs, Mrungs, Kumi, Mros, Khemis, and Khyengs are all Tungthas of Burmese stock, and speak rude Burmese dialects.

The correlative of Tungthas is Khyungthas, "River People," that is, the Arakan Lowlanders comprising the more civilised peoples about the middle and lower course of the rivers, who are improperly called Mugs (Maghs) by the Bengali, and whose real name is Rakhaingtha, i.e. people of Rakhaing (Arakan). They are undoubtedly of the same stock as the cultured Burmese, whose traditions point to Arakan as the cradle of the race, and in whose chronicles the Rakhaingtha are called M'ranmákríh, "Great M'ranmas," or "Elder Burmese." Both branches call themselves M'ranma, M'rama (the correct form of Barma, Burma, but now usually pronounced Myamma), probably from a root mro, myo, "man," though connected by Burnouf with Brahma, the Brahmanical having preceded the Buddhist religion in this region. In any case the M'rama may claim a respectable antiquity, being already mentioned in the national records so early as the first century of the new era, when the land "was said to be overrun with fabulous monsters and other terrors, which are called to this day by the superstitious natives, the five enemies. These were a fierce tiger, an enormous boar, a flying dragon, a prodigious man-eating bird, and a huge creeping pumpkin, which threatened to entangle the whole country[429]."


The Burmese type has been not incorrectly described as intermediate between the Chinese and the Malay, more refined, or at least softer than either, of yellowish brown or olive complexion, often showing very[Pg 189] dark shades, full black and lank hair, no beard, small but straight nose, weak extremities, pliant figure, and a mean height[430].

Burmese Buddhism.

Most Europeans speak well of the Burmese people, whose bright genial temperament and extreme friendliness towards strangers more than outweigh a natural indolence which hurts nobody but themselves, and a little arrogance or vanity inspired by the still remembered glories of a nation that once ruled over a great part of Indo-China. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of Burmese society is the almost democratic independence and equality of all classes developed under an exceptionally severe Asiatic autocracy. "They are perfectly republican in the freedom with which all ranks mingle together and talk with one another, without any marked distinction in regard to difference of rank or wealth[431]." Scott attributes this trait, I think rightly, to the great leveller, Buddhism, the true spirit of which has perhaps been better preserved in Burma than in any other land.

The priesthood has not become the privileged and oppressive class that has usurped all spiritual and temporal functions in Tibet, for in Burma everybody is or has been a priest for some period of his life. All enter the monasteries—which are the national schools—not only for general instruction, but actually as members of the sacerdotal order. They submit to the tonsure, take "minor orders," so to say, and wear the yellow robe, if only for a few months or weeks or days. But for the time being they must renounce "the world, the flesh and the devil," and must play the mendicant, make the round of the village at least once with the begging-bowl hung round their neck in company with the regular members of the community. They thus become initiated, and it becomes no longer possible for the confraternity to impose either on the rulers or on the ruled. "Teaching is all that the brethren of the order do for the people. They have no spiritual powers whatever. They simply become members of a holy society that they may observe the precepts of the[Pg 190] Master more perfectly, and all they do for the alms lavished on them by the pious laity is to instruct the children in reading, writing, and the rudiments of religion[432]."

R. Grant Brown denies the common report which "has appeared in almost every work in which religion in Burma is dealt with" that Burman Buddhism is superficial. "The Burman Buddhist is at least as much influenced by his religion as the average Christian. The monks are probably as strict in their religious observances as any large religious body in the world.... Most laymen, too, obey the prohibitions against alcohol and the taking of life, though these run counter both to strong human instincts and to animistic practice[433]."

Position of Woman.

Nor is the personal freedom here spoken of confined to the men. In no other part of the world do the women enjoy a larger measure of independent action than in Burma, with the result that they are acknowledged to be far more virtuous, thrifty, and intelligent than those of all the surrounding lands. Their capacity for business and petty dealings is rivalled only by their Gallic sisters; and H. S. Hallett tells us that in every town and village "you will see damsels squatted on the floor of the verandah with diminutive, or sometimes large, stalls in front of them, covered with vegetables, fruit, betel-nut, cigars and other articles. However numerous they may be, the price of everything is known to them; and such is their idea of probity, that pilfering is quite unknown amongst them. They are entirely trusted by their parents from their earliest years; even when they blossom into young women, chaperons are never a necessity; yet immorality is far less customary amongst them, I am led to believe, than in any country in Europe[434]."

This observer quotes Bishop Bigandet, a forty years' resident amongst the natives, to the effect that "in Burmah and Siam the doctrines of Buddhism have produced a striking, and to the lover of true civilization a most interesting result—the almost complete equality of the condition of the women with that of the men. In these countries women are seen[Pg 191] circulating freely in the streets; they preside at the comptoir, and hold an almost exclusive possession of the bazaars. Their social position is more elevated, in every respect, than in the regions where Buddhism is not the predominating creed. They may be said to be men's companions, and not their slaves."


Burma is one of those regions where tattooing has acquired the rank of a fine art. Indeed the intricate designs and general pictorial effect produced by the Burmese artists on the living body are rivalled only by those of Japan, New Zealand, and some other Polynesian groups. Hallett, who states that "the Burmese, the Shans, and certain Burmanized tribes are the only peoples in the south of Asia who are known to tattoo their body," tells us that the elaborate operation is performed only on the male sex, the whole person from waist to knees, and amongst some Shan tribes from neck to foot, being covered with heraldic figures of animals, with intervening traceries, so that at a little distance the effect is that of a pair of dark-blue breeches[435]. The pigments are lamp-black or vermilion, and the pattern is usually first traced with a fine hair pencil and then worked in by a series of punctures made by a long pointed brass style[436].

The Tai-Shan Peoples.
The Ahom, Khamti, and Chinese Shans.

East of Burma we enter the country of the Shans, one of the most numerous and widespread peoples of Asia, who call themselves Tai (T'hai), "Noble" or "Free," although slavery in various forms has from time immemorial been a social institution amongst all the southern groups. Here again tribal and national terminology is somewhat bewildering; but it will help to notice that Shan, said to be of Chinese origin[437], is the collective Burmese name, and therefore corresponds to Lao, the collective Siamese name. These two terms are therefore rather [Pg 192]political than ethnical, Shan denoting all the Tai peoples formerly subject to Burma and now mostly British subjects, Lao all the Tai peoples formerly subject to Siam, and now (since 1896) mostly French subjects[438]. The Siamese group them all in two divisions, the Lau-pang-dun, "Black-paunch Lao," so called because they clothe themselves as it were in a dark skin-tight garb by the tattooing process; and the Lau-pang-kah, "White-paunch Lao," who do not tattoo. The Burmese groups call themselves collectively Ngiou[439], while the most general Chinese name is Paï (Pa-y). Prince Henri d'Orléans, who is careful to point out that Paï is only another name for Lao[440], constantly met Paï groups all along the route from Tonking to Assam, and the bulk of the lowland population in Assam itself belongs originally[441] to the same family, though now mostly assimilated to the Hindus in speech, religion, and general culture. Assam in fact takes its name from the Ahoms, the "peerless," the title first adopted by the Mau Shan chief, Chukupha, who invaded the country from north-east Burma, and in 1228 A.D. founded the Ahom dynasty, which was overthrown in 1810 by the Burmese, who were ejected in 1827 by the English[442].

These Ahoms came from the Khamti (Kampti) district[Pg 193] about the sources of the Irawadi, where Prince Henri was surprised to find a civilised and lettered Buddhist people of Paï (Shan) speech still enjoying political autonomy in the dangerous proximity of le léopard britannique. They call themselves Padao, and it is curious to note that both Padam and Assami are also tribal names amongst the neighbouring Abor Hillmen. The French traveller was told that the Padao, who claimed to be T'hais (Tai) like the Laotians[443], were indigenous, and he describes the type as also Laotian—straight eyes rather wide apart, nose broad at base, forehead arched, superciliary arches prominent, thick lips, pointed chin, olive colour, slightly bronzed and darker than in the Lao country; the men ill-favoured, the young women with pleasant features, and some with very beautiful eyes.

Shan Cradle-land and Origins.

Passing into China we are still in the midst of Shan peoples, whose range appears formerly to have extended up to the right bank of the Yang-tse-Kiang, and whose cradle has been traced by de Lacouperie to "the Kiu-lung mountains north of Sechuen and south of Shensi in China proper[444]." This authority holds that they constitute a chief element in the Chinese race itself, which, as it spread southwards beyond the Yang-tse-Kiang, amalgamated with the Shan aborigines, and thus became profoundly modified both in type and speech, the present Chinese language comprising over thirty per cent. of Shan ingredients. Colquhoun also, during his explorations in the southern provinces, found that "most of the aborigines, although known to the Chinese by various nicknames, were Shans; and that their propinquity to the Chinese was slowly changing their habits, manners, and dress, and gradually incorporating them with that people[445]."

Shan and Caucasic Contacts.

This process of fusion has been in progress for ages, not only between the southern Chinese and the Shans, but also between the Shans and the Caucasic aborigines, whom we first met amongst the Kakhyens, but who are found scattered mostly in small groups over all the uplands between Tibet and the Cochin-Chinese coast range. The result is that the Shans are generally of finer physique than either the kindred Siamese and Malays[Pg 194] in the south, or the more remotely connected Chinese in the north. The colour, says Bock, "is much lighter than that of the Siamese," and "in facial expression the Laotians are better-looking than the Malays, having good high foreheads, and the men particularly having regular well-shaped noses, with nostrils not so wide as those of their neighbours[446]." Still more emphatic is the testimony of Kreitner of the Szechenyi expedition, who tells us that the Burmese Shans have "a nobler head than the Chinese; the dark eyes are about horizontal, the nose is straight, the whole expression approaches that of the Caucasic race[447]."

Tai-Shan Toned Speech.

Notwithstanding their wide diffusion, interminglings with other races, varied grades of culture, and lack of political cohesion, the Tai-Shan groups acquire a certain ethnical and even national unity from their generally uniform type, social usages, Buddhist religion, and common Indo-Chinese speech. Amidst a chaos of radically distinct idioms current amongst the surrounding indigenous populations, they have everywhere preserved a remarkable degree of linguistic uniformity, all speaking various more or less divergent dialects of the same mother-tongue. Excluding a large percentage of Sanskrit terms introduced into the literary language by their Hindu educators, this radical mother-tongue comprises about 1860 distinct words or rather sounds, which have been reduced by phonetic decay to so many monosyllables, each uttered with five tones, the natural tone, two higher tones, and two lower[448]. Each term thus acquires five distinct meanings, and in fact represents five different words, which were phonetically distinct dissyllables, or even polysyllables in the primitive language.

The same process of disintegration has been at work throughout the whole of the Indo-Chinese linguistic area, where all the leading tongues—Chinese, Annamese, Tai-Shan, Burmese—belong to the same isolating form of speech, which, as explained in Ethnology, Chap. IX., is not a primitive condition, but a later development, the outcome of profound phonetic corruption.[Pg 195]

Shan and other Indo-Chinese Writing Systems.

The remarkable uniformity of the Tai-Shan member of this order of speech may be in part due to the conservative effects of the literary standard. Probably over 2000 years ago most of the Shan groups were brought under Hindu influences by the Brahman, and later by the Buddhist missionaries, who reduced their rude speech to written form, while introducing a large number of Sanskrit terms inseparable from the new religious ideas. The writing systems, all based on the square Pali form of the Devanagari syllabic characters, were adapted to the phonetic requirements of the various dialects, with the result that the Tai-Shan linguistic family is encumbered with four different scripts. "The Western Shans use one very like the Burmese; the Siamese have a character of their own, which is very like Pali; the Shans called Lü have another character of their own; and to the north of Siam the Lao Shans have another[449]."

These Shan alphabets of Hindu origin are supposed by de Lacouperie to be connected with the writing systems which have been credited to the Mossos, Lolos, and some other hill peoples about the Chinese and Indo-Chinese borderlands. At Lan-Chu in the Lolo country Prince Henri found that MSS. were very numerous, and he was shown some very fine specimens "enluminés." Here, he tells us, the script is still in use, being employed jointly with Chinese in drawing up legal documents connected with property. He was informed that this Lolo script comprised 300 characters, read from top to bottom and from left to right[450], although other authorities say from right to left.

Of the Lolo he gives no specimens[451], but reproduces two[Pg 196] or three pages of a Mosso book with transliteration and translation. Other specimens, but without explanation, were already known through Gill and Desgodins, and their decipherment had exercised the ingenuity of several Chinese scholars. Their failure to interpret them is now accounted for by Prince Henri, who declares that, "strictly speaking the Mossos have no writing system. The magicians keep and still make copy-books full of hieroglyphics; each page is divided into little sections (cahiers) following horizontally from left to right, in which are inscribed one or more somewhat rough figures, heads of animals, men, houses, conventional signs representing the sky or lightning, and so on." Some of the magicians expounded two of the books, which contained invocations, beginning with the creation of the world, and winding up with a catalogue of all the evils threatening mortals, but to be averted by being pious, that is, by making gifts to the magicians. The same ideas are always expressed by the same signs; yet the magicians declared that there was no alphabet, the hieroglyphs being handed down bodily from one expert to another. Nevertheless Prince Henri looks on this as one of the first steps in the history of writing; "originally many of the Chinese characters were simply pictorial, and if the Mossos, instead of being hemmed in, had acquired a large expansion, their sacred books might also perhaps have given birth to true characters[452]."

Mosso Origins.

Although now "hemmed in," the Mossos are a historical and somewhat cultured people, belonging to the same group as the Iungs (Njungs), who came from the regions north-east of Tibet, and appeared on the Chinese frontiers about 600 B.C. They are referred to in the Chinese records of 796 A.D., when they were reduced by the king of Nanchao. After various vicissitudes they recognised the Chinese suzerainty in the fourteenth century, and were finally subdued in the eighteenth. De Lacouperie[453] thinks they are probably of the same origin as the Lolos, the two languages having much in common, and the names of both being Chinese, while the Lolos and the Mossos call themselves respectively Nossu (Nesu) and Nashi (Nashri).[Pg 197]

Aborigines of South China and Annam.

Everywhere amongst these border tribes are met groups of aborigines, who present more or less regular features which are described by various travellers as "Caucasic" or "European." Thus the Kiu-tse, who are the Khanungs of the English maps, and are akin to the large Lu-tse family (Melam, Anu, Diasu, etc.), reminded Prince Henri of some Europeans of his acquaintance[454], and he speaks of the light colour, straight nose and eyes, and generally fine type of the Yayo (Yao), as the Chinese call them, but whose real name is Lin-tin-yu.

The same Caucasic element reappears in a pronounced form amongst the indigenous populations of Tonking, to whom A. Billet has devoted an instructive monograph[455]. This observer, who declares that these aborigines are quite distinct both from the Chinese and the Annamese, groups them in three main divisions—Tho, Nong, and Man[456]—all collectively called Moi, Muong, and Myong by the Annamese. The Thos, who are the most numerous, are agriculturists, holding all the upland valleys and thinning off towards the wooded heights. They are tall compared to the Mongols (5 ft. 6 or 7 in.), lighter than the Annamese, round-headed, with oval face, deep-set straight eyes, low cheek-bones, straight and even slightly aquiline nose not depressed at root, and muscular frames. They are a patient, industrious, and frugal people, now mainly subject to Chinese and Annamese influences in their social usages and religion. Very peculiar nevertheless are some of their surviving customs, such as the feast of youth, the pastime of swinging, and especially chess played with living pieces, whose movements are directed by two players. The language appears to be a Shan dialect, and to this family the writer affiliates both the Thos and the[Pg 198] Nongs. The latter are a much more mixed people, now largely assimilated to the Chinese, although the primitive type still persists, especially amongst the women, as is so often the case. A. Billet tells us that he often met Nong women "with light and sometimes even red hair[457]."

Man-tse Origins and Affinities.

It is extremely interesting to learn that the Mans came traditionally "from a far-off western land where their forefathers were said to have lived in contact with peoples of white blood thousands of years ago." This tradition, which would identify them with the above-mentioned Man-tse, is supported by their physical appearance—long head, oval face, small cheek-bones, eyes without the Mongol fold, skin not yellowish but rather "browned by the sun," regular features—in nothing recalling the traits of the yellow races.

Caucasic Aborigines in South-East Asia.

Let us now turn to M. R. Verneau's comments on the rich materials brought together by A. Billet, in whom, "being not only a medical man, but also a graduate in the natural sciences, absolute confidence may be placed[458]."

"The Máns-Tien, the Máns-Coc, the Máns-Meo (Miao, Miao-tse, or Mieu) present a pretty complete identity with the Pan-y and the Pan-yao of South Kwang-si; they are the debris of a very ancient race, which with T. de Lacouperie may be called pre-Chinese. This early race, which bore the name of Pan-hu or Ngao, occupied Central China before the arrival of the Chinese. According to M. d'Hervey de Saint-Denys, the mountains and valleys of Kwei-cháu where these Miao-tse still survive were the cradle of the Pan-hu. In any case it seems certain that the T'hai and the Man race came from Central Asia, and that, from the anthropological standpoint, they differ altogether from the Mongol group represented by the Chinese and the Annamese. The Man especially presents striking affinities with the Aryan type."

Thus is again confirmed by the latest investigations, and by the conclusions of some of the leading members of the French school of anthropology, the view first advanced by me in 1879, that peoples of the Caucasic (here called "Aryan") division had already spread to the utmost confines[Pg 199] of south-east Asia in remote prehistoric times, and had in this region even preceded the first waves of Mongolic migration radiating from their cradle-land on the Tibetan plateau[459].

The Siamese Shans.

Reference was above made to the singular lack of political cohesion at all times betrayed by the Tai-Shan peoples. The only noteworthy exception is the Siamese branch, which forms the bulk of the population in the Menam basin. In this highly favoured region of vast hill-encircled alluvial plains of inexhaustible fertility, traversed by numerous streams navigable for light craft, and giving direct access to the inland waters of Malaysia, the Southern Shans were able at an early date to merge the primitive tribal groups in a great nationality, and found a powerful empire, which at one time dominated most of Indo-China and the Malay Peninsula.

Siam, alone of all the Shan states, even still maintains a precarious independence, although now again reduced by European aggression to little more than the natural limits of the fluvial valley, which is usually regarded by the Southern Shans as the home of their race. Yet they appear to have been here preceded by the Caucasic Khmers (Cambojans), whose advent is referred in the national chronicles to the year 543 B.C. and who, according to the Hindu records, were expelled about 443 A.D. It was through these Khmers, and not directly from India, that the "Sayamas" received their Hindu culture, and the Siamese annals, mingling fact with fiction, refer to the miraculous birth of the national hero, Phra-Ruang, who threw off the foreign yoke, declared the people henceforth T'hai, "Freemen," invented the present Siamese alphabet, and ordered the Khom (Cambojan) to be reserved in future for copying the sacred writings.

The introduction of Buddhism is assigned to the year 638 A.D., one of the first authentic dates in the native records. The ancient city of Labong had already been founded (575), and other settlements now followed rapidly, always in the direction of the south, according as the Shan race steadily advanced towards the seaboard, driving before them or mingling with Khmers, Lawas, Karens, and other aborigines,[Pg 200] some now extinct, some still surviving on the wooded uplands and plateaux encircling the Menam valley. Ayuthia, the great centre of national life in later times, dates only from the year 1350, when the empire had received its greatest expansion, comprising the whole of Camboja, Pegu, Tenasserim, and the Malay Peninsula, and extending its conquering arms across the inland waters as far as Java[460]. Then followed the disastrous wars with Burma, which twice captured and finally destroyed Ayuthia (1767), now a picturesque elephant-park visited by tourists from the present capital, Bangkok, founded in 1772 a little lower down the Menam.

Siamese Social System.

But the elements of decay existed from the first in the institution of slavery or serfdom, which was not restricted to a particular class, as in other lands, but, before the modern reforms, extended in principle to all the kings' subjects in mockery declared "Freemen" by the founders of the monarchy. This, however, may be regarded as perhaps little more than a legal fiction, for at all times class distinctions were really recognised, comprising the members of the royal family—a somewhat numerous group—the nobles named by the king, the leks or vassals, and the people, these latter being again subdivided into three sections, those liable to taxation, those subject to forced labour, and the slaves proper. But so little developed was the sentiment of personal dignity and freedom, that anybody from the highest noble to the humblest citizen might at any moment lapse into the lowest category. Like most Mongoloid peoples, the Siamese are incurable gamblers, and formerly it was an everyday occurrence for a freeman to stake all his goods and chattels, wives, children, and self, on the hazard of the die.

Status of Woman.

Yet the women, like their Burmese sisters, have always held a somewhat honourable social position, being free to walk abroad, go shopping, visit their friends, see the sights, and take part in the frequent public feastings without restriction. Those, however, who brought no dower and had to be purchased,[Pg 201] might again be sold at any time, and many thus constantly fell from the dignity of matrons to the position of the merest drudges without rights or privileges of any kind. These strange relations were endurable, thanks to the genial nature of the national temperament, by which the hard lot of the thralls was softened, and a little light allowed to penetrate into the darkest corners[461] of the social system. The open slave-markets, which in the vassal Lao states fostered systematic raiding-expeditions amongst the unreduced aborigines, were abolished in 1873, and since 1890 all born in slavery are free on reaching their 21st year.


Siamese Buddhism is a slightly modified form of that prevailing in Ceylon, although strictly practised but by few. There are two classes or "sects," the reformers who attach more importance to the observance of the canon law than to meditation, and the old believers, some devoted to a contemplative life, others to the study of the sunless wilderness of Buddhist writings. But, beneath it all, spirit or devil-worship is still rife, and in many districts pure animism is practically the only religion. Even temples and shrines have been raised to the countless gods of land and water, woods, mountains, villages and households. To these gods are credited all sorts of calamities, and to prevent them from getting into the bodies of the dead the latter are brought out, not through door or window, but through a breach in the wall, which is afterwards carefully built up. Similar ideas prevail amongst many other peoples, both at higher and lower levels of culture, for nothing is more ineradicable than such popular beliefs associated with the relations presumed to exist between the present and the after life.

Incredible sums are yearly lavished in offerings to the spirits, which give rise to an endless round of feasts and[Pg 202] revels, and also in support of the numerous Buddhist temples, convents, and their inmates. The treasures accumulated in the "royal cloisters" and other shrines represent a great part of the national savings—investments for the other world, among which are said to be numerous gold statues glittering with rubies, sapphires, and other priceless gems. But in these matters the taste of the talapoins[462], as the priests were formerly called, is somewhat catholic, including pictures of reviews and battle-scenes from the European illustrated papers, and sometimes even statues of Napoleon set up by the side of Buddha.

Monasticism and Pessimism.

So numerous, absurd, and exacting are the rules of the monastic communities that, but for the aid of the temple servants and novices, existence would be impossible. A list of such puerilities occupies several pages in A. R. Colquhoun's work Amongst the Shans (219-231), and from these we learn that the monks must not dig the ground, so that they can neither plant nor sow; must not boil rice, as it would kill the germ; eat corn for the same reason; climb trees lest a branch get broken; kindle a flame, as it destroys the fuel; put out a flame, as that also would extinguish life; forge iron, as sparks would fly out and perish; swing their arms in walking; wink in speaking; buy or sell; stretch the legs when sitting; breed poultry, pigs, or other animals; mount an elephant or palanquin; wear red, black, green, or white garments; mourn for the dead, etc., etc. In a word all might be summed up by a general injunction neither to do anything, nor not to do anything, and then despair of attaining Nirvana; for it would be impossible to conceive of any more pessimistic system in theory[463]. Practically it is otherwise, and in point of fact the utmost religious indifference prevails amongst all classes.

The Annamese.

Within the Mongolic division it would be difficult to imagine any more striking contrast than that presented by the gentle, kindly, and on the whole not ill-favoured Siamese, and their hard-featured, hard-hearted, and grasping Annamese [Pg 203]neighbours. Let anyone, who may fancy there is little or nothing in blood, pass rapidly from the bright, genial—if somewhat listless and corrupt—social life of Bangkok to the dry, uncongenial moral atmosphere of Ha-noi or Saigon, and he will be apt to modify his views on that point. Few observers have a good word to say for the Tonkingese, the Cochin-Chinese, or any other branch of the Annamese family, and some even of the least prejudiced are so outspoken that we must needs infer there is good ground for their severe strictures on these strange, uncouth materialists. Buddhists of course they are nominally; but of the moral sense they have little, unless it be (amongst the lettered classes) a pale reflection of the pale Chinese ethical code. The whole region in fact is a sort of attenuated China, to which it owes its arts and industries, its letters, moral systems, general culture, and even a large part of its inhabitants. Giao-shi (Kiao-shi), the name of the aborigines, said to mean "Bifurcated," or "Cross-toes[464]," in reference to the wide space between the great toe and the next, occurs in the legendary Chinese records so far back as 2285 B.C., since which period the two countries are supposed to have maintained almost uninterrupted relations, whether friendly or hostile, down to the present day. At first the Giao-shi were confined to the northern parts of Lu-kiang, the present Tonking, all the rest of the coastlands being held by the powerful Champa (Tsiampa) people, whose affinities are with the Oceanic populations. But in 218 B.C., Lu-kiang having been reduced and incorporated with China proper, a large number of Chinese emigrants settled in the country, and gradually merged with the Giao-shi in a single nationality, whose twofold descent is still reflected in the Annamese physical and mental characters.

This term Annam[465], however, did not come into use till the seventh century, when it was officially applied to the frontier river between China and Tonking, and afterwards extended to the whole of Tonking and Cochin-China. Tonking itself, meaning the "Eastern Court[466]," was originally the name only[Pg 204] of the city of Ha-noi when it was a royal residence, but was later extended to the whole of the northern kingdom, whose true name is Yüeh-nan. To this corresponded the southern Kwe-Chen-Ching, "Kingdom of Chen-Ching," which was so named in the ninth century from its capital Chen-Ching, and of which our Cochin-China appears to be a corrupt form.

But, amid all this troublesome political nomenclature, the dominant Annamese nation has faithfully preserved its homogeneous character, spreading, like the Siamese Shans, steadily southwards, and gradually absorbing the whole of the Champa domain to the southern extremity of the peninsula, as well as a large part of the ancient kingdom of Camboja about the Mekhong delta. They thus form at present the almost exclusive ethnical element throughout all the lowland and cultivated parts of Tonking, upper and lower Cochin-China and south Camboja, with a total population in 1898 of about twenty millions.

Physical and Mental Characters.

The Annamese are described in a semi-official report[467] as characterised by a high broad forehead, high cheek-bones, small crushed nose, rather thick lips, black hair, scant beard, mean height, coppery complexion, deceitful (rusée) expression, and rude or insolent bearing. The head is round (index 83 to 84) and the features are in general flat and coarse, while to an ungainly exterior corresponds a harsh unsympathetic temperament. The Abbé Gagelin, who lived years in their midst, frankly declares that they are at once arrogant and dishonest, and dead to all the finer feelings of human nature, so that after years of absence the nearest akin will meet without any outward sign of pleasure or affection. Others go further, and J. G. Scott summed it all up by declaring that "the fewer Annamese there are, the less taint there is on the human race." No doubt Lord Curzon gives a more favourable picture, but this traveller spent only a short time in the country, and even he allows that they are "tricky and deceitful, disposed to thieve when they get the chance, mendacious, and incurable gamblers[468]."

Yet they have one redeeming quality, an intense love of personal freedom, strangely contrasting with the almost abject slavish spirit of the Siamese. The feeling extends to all[Pg 205] classes, so that servitude is held in abhorrence, and, as in Burma, a democratic sense of equality permeates the social system[469]. Hence, although the State has always been an absolute monarchy, each separate commune constitutes a veritable little oligarchic commonwealth. This has come as a great surprise to the present French administrators of the country, who frankly declare that they cannot hope to improve the social or political position of the people by substituting European for native laws and usages. The Annamese have in fact little to learn from western social institutions.

Language and Letters.

Their language, spoken everywhere with remarkable uniformity, is of the normal Indo-Chinese isolating type, possessing six tones, three high, and three low, and written in ideographic characters based on the Chinese, but with numerous modifications and additions. But, although these are ill-suited for the purpose, the attempt made by the early Portuguese missionaries to substitute the so-called quôc-ngù, or Roman phonetic system, has been defeated by the conservative spirit of the people. Primary instruction has long been widely diffused, and almost everybody can read and write as many of the numerous hieroglyphs as are needed for the ordinary purpose of daily intercourse. Every village has its free school, and a higher range of studies is encouraged by the public examinations to which, as in China, all candidates for government appointments are subjected. Under such a scheme surprising results might be achieved, were the course of studies not based exclusively on the empty formulas of Chinese classical literature. The subjects taught are for the most part puerile, and true science is replaced by the dry moral precepts of Confucius. One result amongst the educated classes is a scoffing, sceptical spirit, free from all religious prejudice, and unhampered by theological creeds or dogmas, combined with a lofty moral tone, not always however in harmony with daily conduct.

Religious Systems.

Even more than in China, the family is the true base of the social system, the head of the household being not only the high-priest of the ancestral cult, but also a kind of patriarch enjoying almost absolute control over his children. In this respect the[Pg 206] relations are somewhat one-sided, the father having no recognised obligations towards his offspring, while these are expected to show him perfect obedience in life and veneration after death. Besides this worship of ancestry and the Confucian ethical philosophy, a national form of Buddhism is prevalent. Some even profess all three of these so-called "religions," beneath which there still survive many of the primitive superstitions associated with a not yet extinct belief in spirits and the supernatural power of magicians. While the Buddhist temples are neglected and the few bonzes[470] despised, offerings are still made to the genii of agriculture, of the waters, the tiger, the dolphin, peace, war, diseases, and so forth, whose rude statues in the form of dragons or other fabulous monsters are even set up in the pagodas. Since the early part of the seventeenth century Roman Catholic missionaries have laboured with considerable success in this unpromising field, where the congregations were estimated in 1898 at about 900,000.

The Chinese.

From Annam the ethnical transition is easy to China[471] and its teeming multitudes, regarding whose origins, racial and cultural, two opposite views at present hold the field. What may be called the old, but by no means the obsolete school, regards the Chinese populations as the direct descendants of the aborigines who during the Stone Ages entered the Hoang-ho valley probably from the Tibetan plateau, there developed their peculiar culture independently of foreign influences, and thence spread gradually southwards to the whole of China proper, extirpating, absorbing, or driving to the encircling western and southern uplands the ruder aborigines of the Yang-tse-Kiang and Si-Kiang basins.[Pg 207]

The Babylonian Theory.

In direct opposition to this view the new school, championed especially by T. de Lacouperie[472], holds that the present inhabitants of China are late intruders from south-western Asia, and that they arrived not as rude aborigines, but as a cultured people with a considerable knowledge of letters, science, and the arts, all of which they acquired either directly or indirectly from the civilised Akkado-Sumerian inhabitants of Babylonia.

Not merely analogies and resemblances, but what are called actual identities, are pointed out between the two cultures, and even between the two languages, sufficient to establish a common origin of both, Mesopotamia being the fountain-head, whence the stream flowed by channels not clearly defined to the Hoang-ho valley. Thus the Chin. yu, originally go, is equated with Akkad gu, to speak; ye with ge, night, and so on. Then the astronomic and chronologic systems are compared, Berossus and the cuneiform tablets dividing the prehistoric Akkad epoch into 10 periods of 10 kings, lasting 120 Sari, or 432,000 years, while the corresponding Chinese astronomic myth also comprises 10 kings (or dynasties) covering the same period of 432,000 years. The astronomic system credited to the emperor Yao (2000 B.C.) similarly corresponds with the Akkadian, both having the same five planets with names of like meaning, and a year of 12 months and 30 days, with the same cycle of intercalated days, while several of the now obsolete names of the Chinese months answer to those of the Babylonians. Even the name of the first Chinese emperor who built an observatory, Nai-Kwang-ti, somewhat resembles that of the Elamite king, Kuder-na-hangti, who conquered Chaldaea about 2280 B.C.

All this can hardly be explained away as a mere series of coincidences; nevertheless neither Sinologues nor Akkadists are quite convinced, and it is obvious that many of the resemblances may be due to trade or intercourse both by the old overland caravan routes, and by the seaborne traffic from Eridu at the head of the Persian Gulf, which was a flourishing emporium 4000 or 5000 years ago.

But, despite some verbal analogies, an almost insurmountable difficulty is presented by the Akkadian and Chinese[Pg 208] languages, which no philological ingenuity can bring into such relation as is required by the hypothesis. T. G. Pinches has shown that at a very early period, say some 5000 years ago, Akkadian already consisted, "for the greater part, of words of one syllable," and was "greatly affected by phonetic decay, the result being that an enormous number of homophones were developed out of roots originally quite distinct[473]." This Akkadian scholar sends me a number of instances, such as tu for tura, to enter; ti for tila, to live; du for dumu, son; du for dugu, good, as in Eridu, for Gurudugu, "the good city," adding that "the list could be extended indefinitely[474]." But de Lacouperie's Bak tribes, that is, the first immigrants from south-west Asia, are not supposed to have reached North China till about 2500 or 3000 B.C., at which time the Chinese language was still in the untoned agglutinating state, with but few monosyllabic homophones, and consequently quite distinct from the Akkadian, as known to us from the Assyrian syllabaries, bilingual lists, and earlier tablets from Nippur or Lagash.

Hence the linguistic argument seems to fail completely, while the Babylonian origin of the Chinese writing system, or rather, the derivation of Chinese and Sumerian from some common parent in Central Asia, awaits further evidence. Many of the Chinese and Akkadian "line forms" collated by C. J. Ball[475] are so simple and, one might say, obvious, that they seem to prove nothing. They may be compared with such infantile utterances as pa, ma, da, ta, occurring in half the languages of the world, without proving a connection or affinity between any of them. But even were the common origin of the two scripts established, it would prove nothing as to the common origin of the two peoples, but only show cultural influences, which need not be denied.

Chinese Culture and Social System.

But if Chinese origins cannot be clearly traced back to Babylonia, Chinese culture may still, in a sense, claim to be the oldest in the world, inasmuch as it has persisted with little change from its rise some 4500 years ago down to present times. All other early civilisations—Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Assyrian,[Pg 209] Persian, Hellenic—have perished, or live only in their monuments, traditions, oral or written records. But the Chinese, despite repeated political and social convulsions, is still as deeply rooted in the past as ever, showing no break of continuity from the dim echoes of remote prehistoric ages down to the last revolution, and the establishment of the Republic. These things touch the surface only of the great ocean of Chinese humanity, which is held together, not by any general spirit of national sentiment (all sentiment is alien from the Chinese temperament), nor by any community of speech, for many of the provincial dialects differ profoundly from each other, but by a prodigious power of inertia, which has hitherto resisted all attempts at change either by pressure from without, or by spontaneous impulse from within.

Letters and Early Records.

What they were thousands of years ago, the Chinese still are, a frugal, peace-loving, hard-working people, occupied mainly with tillage and trade, cultivating few arts beyond weaving, porcelain and metal work, but with a widely diffused knowledge of letters, and a writing system which still remains at the cumbrous ideographic stage, needing as many different symbols as there are distinct concepts to be expressed. Yet the system has one advantage, enabling those who speak mutually unintelligible idioms to converse together, using the pencil instead of the tongue. For this very reason the attempts made centuries ago by the government to substitute a phonetic script had to be abandoned. It was found that imperial edicts and other documents so written could not be understood by the populations speaking dialects different from the literary standard, whereas the hieroglyphs, like our ciphers 1, 2, 3 ..., could be read by all educated persons of whatever allied form of speech.

Originally the Chinese system, whether developed on the spot or derived from Akkadian or any other foreign source, was of course pictographic or ideographic, and it is commonly supposed to have remained at that stage ever since, the only material changes being of a graphic nature. The pictographs were conventionalised and reduced to their present form, but still remained ideograms supplemented by a limited number of phonetic determinants. But de Lacouperie has shown that this view is a mistake, and that the evolution from the pictograph to the phonetic symbol had been practically completed in China many centuries before the new era. The[Pg 210] Ku-wen style current before the ninth century B.C. "was really the phonetic expression of speech[476]." But for the reason stated it had to be discontinued, and a return made to the earlier ideographic style. The change was effected about 820 B.C. by She Chöu, minister of the Emperor Süen Wang, who introduced the Ta-chuen style in which "he tried to speak to the eye and no longer to the ear," that is, he reverted to the earlier ideographic process, which has since prevailed. It was simplified about 227 B.C. (Siao Chuen style), and after some other modifications the present caligraphic form (Kiai Shu) was introduced by Wang Hi in 350 A.D. Thus one consequence of the "Expansion of China" was a reversion to barbarism, in respect at least of the national graphic system, by which Chinese thought and literature have been hampered for nearly 3000 years.

Written records, though at first mainly of a mythical character, date from about 3000 B.C.[477] Reference is made in the early documents to the rude and savage times, which in China as elsewhere certainly preceded the historic period. Three different prehistoric ages are even discriminated, and tradition relates how Fu-hi introduced wooden, Thin-ming stone, and Shi-yu metal implements[478]. Later, when their origin and use were forgotten, the jade axes, like those from Yunnan, were looked on as bolts hurled to the earth by the god of thunder, while the arrow-heads, supposed to be also of[Pg 211] divine origin, were endowed in the popular fancy with special virtues and even regarded as emblems of sovereignty. Thus may perhaps be explained the curious fact that in early times, before the twelfth century B.C., tribute in flint weapons was paid to the imperial government by some of the reduced wild tribes of the western uplands.

Early Migrations.
Absorption of the Aborigines.

These men of the Stone and Metal Ages are no doubt still largely represented, not only amongst the rude hill tribes of the southern and western borderlands, but also amongst the settled and cultured lowlanders of the great fluvial valleys. The "Hundred Families," as the first immigrants called themselves, came traditionally from the north-western regions beyond the Hoang-ho. According to the Yu-kung their original home lay in the south-western part of Eastern Turkestan, whence they first migrated east to the oases north of the Nan-Shan range, and then, in the fourth millennium before the new era, to the fertile valleys of the Hoang-ho and its Hoeï-ho tributary. Thence they spread slowly along the other great river valleys, partly expelling, partly intermingling with the aborigines, but so late as the seventh century B.C. were still mainly confined to the region between the Peï-ho and the lower Yang-tse-Kiang. Even here several indigenous groups, such as the Hoeï, whose name survives in that of the Hoeï river, and the Laï of the Shantong Peninsula, long held their ground, but all were ultimately absorbed or assimilated throughout the northern lands as far south as the left bank of the Yang-tse-Kiang.

Survivals—Hok-lo; Hakka; Pun-ti.

Beyond this river many were also merged in the dominant people continually advancing southwards; but others, collectively or vaguely known as Si-fans, Mans, Miao-tse, Paï, Tho, Y-jen[479], Lolo, etc., were driven to the south-western highlands which they still occupy. Even some of the populations in the settled districts, such as the Hok-los[480], and Hakkas[481], of Kwang-tung, and the[Pg 212] Pun-ti[482] of the Canton district, are scarcely yet thoroughly assimilated. They differ greatly in temperament, usages, appearance, and speech from the typical Chinese of the Central and Northern provinces, whom in fact they look upon as "foreigners," and with whom they hold intercourse through "Pidgin English[483]," the lingua franca of the Chinese seaboard[484].


Nevertheless a general homogeneous character is imparted to the whole people by their common political, social, and religious institutions, and by that principle of convergence in virtue of which different ethnical groups, thrown together in the same area and brought under a single administration, tend to merge in a uniform new national type. This general uniformity is conspicuous especially in the religious ideas which, except in the sceptical lettered circles, everywhere underlie the three recognised national religions, or "State Churches," as they might almost be called: ju-kiao, Confucianism; tao-kiao, Taoism; and fo-kiao, Buddhism (Fo = Buddha). The first, confined mainly to the educated upper classes, is not so much a religion as a philosophic system, a frigid ethical code based on the moral and matter-of-fact teachings of Confucius[485]. Confucius was essentially a social and political reformer, who taught by example and precept; the main inducement to virtue being, not rewards or penalties in the after-life, but well- or ill-being in the present. His system is summed up in the expression "worldly wisdom," as embodied in such popular sayings as: A friend is hardly made in a year, but unmade in a moment; When safe remember danger, in peace forget not war; Filial father, filial son, unfilial father, unfilial son; In washing up, plates and dishes may get broken; Don't do what you would[Pg 213] not have known; Thatch your roof before the rain, dig the well before you thirst; The gambler's success is his ruin; Money goes to the gambling den as the criminal to execution (never returns); Money hides many faults; Stop the hand, stop the mouth (stop work and starve); To open a shop is easy, to keep it open hard; Win your lawsuit and lose your money.

Although he instituted no religious system, Confucius nevertheless enjoined the observance of the already existing forms of worship, and after death became himself the object of a widespread cult, which still persists. "In every city there is a temple, built at the public expense, containing either a statue of the philosopher, or a tablet inscribed with his titles. Every spring and autumn worship is paid to him in these temples by the chief official personages of the city. In the schools also, on the first and fifteenth of each month, his title being written on red paper and affixed to a tablet, worship is performed in a special room by burning incense and candles, and by prostrations[486]."


Taoism, a sort of pantheistic mysticism, called by its founder, Lao-tse (600 B.C.), the Tao, or "way of salvation," was embodied in the formula "matter and the visible world are merely manifestations of a sublime, eternal, incomprehensible principle." It taught, in anticipation of Sakya-Muni, that by controlling his passions man may escape or cut short an endless series of transmigrations, and thus arrive by the Tao at everlasting bliss—sleep? unconscious rest or absorption in the eternal essence? Nirvana? It is impossible to tell from the lofty but absolutely unintelligible language in which the master's teachings are wrapped.

But it matters little, because his disciples have long forgotten the principles they never understood, and Taoism has almost everywhere been transformed to a system of magic associated with the never-dying primeval superstitions. Originally there was no hierarchy of priests, the only specially religious class being the Ascetics, who passed their lives[Pg 214] absorbed in the contemplation of the eternal verities. But out of this class, drawn together by their common interests, was developed a kind of monasticism, with an organised brotherhood of astrologers, magicians, Shamanists, somnambulists, "mediums," "thought-readers," charlatans and impostors of all sorts, sheltered under a threadbare garb of religion.


Buddhism also, although of foreign origin, has completely conformed to the national spirit, and is now a curious blend of Hindu metaphysics with the primitive Chinese belief in spirits and a deified ancestry. In every district are practised diverse forms of worship between which no clear dividing line can be drawn, and, as in Annam, the same persons may be at once followers of Confucius, Lao-tse, and Buddha. In fact such was the position of the Emperor, who belonged ex officio to all three of these State religions, and scrupulously took part in their various observances. There is even some truth in the Chinese view that "all three make but one religion," the first appealing to man's moral nature, the second to the instinct of self-preservation, the third to the higher sphere of thought and contemplation.

Fung-shui and Ancestry Worship.

But behind, one might say above it all, the old animism still prevails, manifested in a multitude of superstitious practices, whose purport is to appease the evil and secure the favour of the good spirits, the Feng-shui or Fung-shui, "air and water" genii, who have to be reckoned with in all the weightiest as well as the most trivial occurrences of daily life. These with the ghosts of their ancestors, by whom the whole land is haunted, are the bane of the Chinaman's existence. Everything depends on maintaining a perfect balance between the Fung-shui, that is, the two principles represented by the "White Tiger" and the "Azure Dragon," who guard the approaches of every dwelling, and whose opposing influences have to be nicely adjusted by the well-paid professors of the magic arts. At the death of the emperor Tung Chih (1875) a great difficulty was raised by the State astrologers, who found that the realm would be endangered if he were buried, according to rule, in the imperial cemetery 100 miles west of Pekin, as his father reposed in the other imperial cemetery situated the same distance east of the capital. For some subtle reason the balance would have been disturbed between Tiger and Dragon, and it took nine months to settle the point, during which, as[Pg 215] reported by the American Legation, the whole empire was stirred, councils of State agitated, and £50,000 expended to decide where the remains of a worthless and vicious young man should be interred.

Owing to the necessary disturbance of the ancestral burial places, much trouble has been anticipated in the construction of the railways, for which concessions have now been granted to European syndicates. But an Englishman long resident in the country has declared that there will be no resistance on the part of the people. "The dead can be removed with due regard to Fung Shui; a few dollars will make that all right." This is fully in accordance with the thrifty character of the Chinese, which overrides all other considerations, as expressed in the popular saying: "With money you may move the gods; without it you cannot move men." But the gods may even be moved without money, or at least with spurious paper money, for it is a fixed belief of their votaries that, like mortals, they may be outwitted by such devices. When rallied for burning flash notes at a popular shrine, since no spirit-bank would cash them, a Chinaman retorted: "Why me burn good note? Joss no can savvy." In a similar spirit the god of war is hoodwinked by wooden boards hung on the ramparts of Pekin and painted to look like heavy ordnance.

In fact appearance, outward show, observance of the "eleventh commandment," in a word "face" as it is called, is everything in China. "To understand, however imperfectly, what is meant by 'face,' we must take account of the fact that as a race the Chinese have a strong dramatic instinct. Upon very slight provocation any Chinese regards himself in the light of an actor in a drama. A Chinese thinks in theatrical terms. If his troubles are adjusted he speaks of himself as having 'got off the stage' with credit, and if they are not adjusted he finds no way to 'retire from the stage.' The question is never of facts, but always of form. Once rightly apprehended, 'face' will be found to be in itself a key to the combination-lock of many of the most important characteristics of the Chinese[487]."[Pg 216]

Islam and Christianity.

Of foreign religions Islam, next to Buddhism, has made most progress. Introduced by the early Arab and Persian traders, and zealously preached throughout the Jagatai empire in the twelfth century, it has secured a firm footing especially in Kan-su, Shen-si, and Yunnan, and is of course dominant in Eastern (Chinese) Turkestan. Despite the wholesale butcheries that followed the repeated insurrections between 1855 and 1877, the Hoeï-Hoeï, Panthays, or Dungans, as the Muhammadans are variously called, were still estimated, in 1898, at about 22,000,000 in the whole empire.

Islam was preceded by Christianity, which, as attested by the authentic inscription of Si-ngan-fu, penetrated into the western provinces under the form of Nestorianism about the seventh century. The famous Roman Catholic missions with headquarters at Pekin date from the close of the sixteenth century, and despite internal dissensions have had a fair measure of success, the congregations comprising altogether over one million members. Protestant missions date from 1807 (London Missionary Society) and in 1910 claimed over 200,000 church members and baptized Christians, the total having more than doubled since 1900[488].

The above-mentioned dissensions arose out of the practices associated with ancestry worship, offerings of flowers, fruits and so forth, which the Jesuits regarded merely as proofs of filial devotion, but were denounced by the Dominicans as acts of idolatry. After many years of idle controversy, the question was at last decided against the Jesuits by Clement XI in the famous Bull, Ex illa die (1715), and since then, neophytes having to renounce the national cult of their forefathers, conversions have mainly been confined to the lower classes, too humble to boast of any family tree, or too poor to commemorate the dead by ever-recurring costly sepulchral rites.

The Mandarin Class.

In China there are no hereditary nobles, indeed no nobles at all, unless it be the rather numerous descendants of Confucius who dwell together and enjoy certain social privileges, in this somewhat resembling the Shorfa (descendants of the Prophet) in Muhammadan lands. If any titles have to be awarded for [Pg 217]great deeds they fall, not on the hero, but on his forefathers, and thus at a stroke of the vermilion pencil are ennobled countless past generations, while the last of the line remains unhonoured until he goes over to the majority. Between the Emperor, "patriarch of his people," and the people themselves, however, there stood an aristocracy of talent, or at least of Chinese scholarship, the governing Mandarin[489] class, which was open to the highest and the lowest alike. All nominations to office were conferred exclusively on the successful competitors at the public examinations, so that, like the French conscript with the hypothetical Marshal's bâton in his knapsack, every Chinese citizen carried the buttoned cap of official rank in his capacious sleeve. Of these there are nine grades, indicated respectively in descending order by the ruby, red coral, sapphire, opaque blue, crystal, white shell, gold (two), and silver button, or rather little globe, on the cap of office, with which correspond the nine birds—manchu crane, golden pheasant, peacock, wild goose, silver pheasant, egret, mandarin duck, quail, and jay—embroidered on the breast and back of the State robe.

Theoretically the system is admirable, and at all events is better than appointments by Court favour. But in practice it was vitiated, first by the narrow, antiquated course of studies in the dry Chinese classics, calculated to produce pedants rather than statesmen, and secondly by the monopoly of preference which it conferred on a lettered caste to the exclusion of men of action, vigour, and enterprise. Moreover, appointments being made for life, barring crime or blunder, the Mandarins, as long as they approved themselves zealous supporters of the reigning dynasty, enjoyed a free hand in amassing wealth by plunder, and the wealth thus acquired was used to purchase further promotion and advancement, rather than to improve the welfare of the people.

They have the reputation of being a courteous people, as punctilious as the Malays themselves; and they are so amongst each other. But their attitude towards strangers is the embodiment of aggressive self-righteousness, a complacent feeling of superiority which nothing can disturb. Even the upper classes, with all their efforts to be at least polite, often[Pg 218] betray the feeling in a subdued arrogance which is not always to be distinguished from vulgar insolence. "After the courteous, kindly Japanese, the Chinese seem indifferent, rough, and disagreeable, except the well-to-do merchants in the shops, who are bland, complacent, and courteous. Their rude stare, and the way they hustle you in the streets and shout their 'pidjun' English at you is not attractive[490]." But the stare, the hustling and the shouting may not be due to incivility. No doubt the Chinaman regards the foreigner as a "devil" but he has reason, and he never ceases to be astonished at foreign manners and customs "extremely ferocious and almost entirely uncivilised[491]."


[375] Ethnology, p. 300.

[376] Geogr. Journ., May, 1898, p. 491. This statement must of course be taken as having reference only to the historical Malays and their comparatively late migrations.

[377] For the desiccation of Asia see P. Kropotkin, Geogr. Journ. XXIII. 1904; E. Huntington, The Pulse of Asia, 1907.

[378] See J. Cockburn's paper "On Palæolithic Implements," etc., in Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1887, p. 57 sq.

[379] "Le type. primitif des Mongols est pour nous dolichocéphale" (Les Aryens au Nord et au Sud de l'Hindou-Kouch, 1896, p. 50).

[380] Thus Risley's Tibetan measurements were all of subjects from Sikkim and Nepal (Tribes and Castes of Bengal, Calcutta, 1896, passim). In the East, however, Desgodins and other French missionaries have had better opportunities of studying true Tibetans amongst the Si-fan ("Western Strangers"), as the frontier populations are called by the Chinese.

[381] Op. cit. p. 319.

[382] Op. cit. p. 327. Here we are reminded that, though the Sacae are called "Scythians" by Herodotus and other ancient writers, under this vague expression were comprised a multitude of heterogeneous peoples, amongst whom were types corresponding to all the main varieties of Mongolian, western Asiatic, and eastern European peoples. "Aujourd'hui l'ancien type sace, adouci parmi les mélanges, reparaît et constitue le type si caractéristique, si complexe et si différent de ses voisins que nous appelons le type balti" (p. 328).

[383] W. W. Rockhill, our best living authority, accepts none of the current explanations of the widely diffused term bod (bhót, bhot), which appears to form the second element in the word Tibet (Stod-Bod, pronounced Teu-Beu, "Upper Bod," i.e. the central and western parts in contradistinction to Män-Bod, "Lower Bod," the eastern provinces). Notes on the Ethnology of Tibet, Washington, 1895, p. 669. This writer finds the first mention of Tibet in the form Tobbat (there are many variants) in the Arab Istakhri's works, about 590 A.H., while T. de Lacouperie would connect it with the Tatar kingdom of Tu-bat (397-475 A.D.). This name might easily have been extended by the Chinese from the Tatars of Kansu to the neighbouring Tanguts, and thus to all Tibetans.

[384] Hbrog-pa, Drok-pa, pronounced Dru-pa.

[385] The Mongols apply the name Tangut to Tibet and call all Tibetans Tangutu, "which should be discarded as useless and misleading, as the people inhabiting this section of the country are pure Tibetans" (Rockhill, p. 670). It is curious to note that the Mongol Tangutu is balanced by the Tibetan Sok-pa, often applied to all Mongolians.

[386] Notes on the Ethnology of Tibet, 1895, p. 675; see also S. Chandra Das, Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet, 1904; F. Grenard, Tibet: the Country and its Inhabitants, 1904; G. Sandberg, Tibet and the Tibetans, 1906; and L. A. Waddell, Lhasa and its Mysteries, with a record of the Expedition of 1903-1904, 1905.

[387] Isvestia, XXI. 3.

[388] Ethnology, p. 305.

[389] Abor, i.e. "independent," is the name applied by the Assamese to the East Himalayan hill tribes, the Minyong, Padam and Hrasso, who are the Slo of the Tibetans. These are all affiliated by Desgodins to the Lho-pa of Bhutan (Bul. Soc. Géogr., October, 1877, p. 431), and are to be distinguished from the Bori (i.e. "dependent") tribes of the plains, all more or less Hinduized Bhotiyas (Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, p. 22 sq.). See A. Hamilton, In Abor Jungles, 1912.

[390] Not to be confused with the Khas, as the wild tribes of the Lao country (Siam) are collectively called. Capt. Eden Vansittart thinks in Nepal the term is an abbreviation of Kshatriya, or else means "fallen." This authority tells us that, although the Khas are true Gurkhas, it is not the Khas who enlist in our Gurkha regiments, but chiefly the Magars and Gurungs, who are of purer Bhotiya race and less completely Hinduized ("The Tribes, Clans, and Castes of Nepal," in Journ. As. Soc. Bengal; LXIII. I, No. 4).

[391] Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama, p. 350 sq.

[392] "Voilà, je crois, le vrai Tibetain des pays cultivés du sud, qui se regarde comme bien plus civilisé que les pasteurs ou bergers du nord" (Le Thibet, p. 253).

[393] Notes on the Ethnology, etc., p. 677. It may here be remarked that the unfriendliness of which travellers often complain appears mainly inspired by the Buddhist theocracy, who rule the land and are jealous of all "interlopers."

[394] Ibid. p. 678.

[395] With it may be compared the Chinese province of Kan-su, so named from its two chief towns Kan-chau and Su-chau (Yule's Marco Polo, I. p. 222).

[396] "Buddhist Turks," says Sir H. H. Howorth (Geogr. Journ. 1887, p. 230).

[397] E. Delmar Morgan, Geogr. Journ. 1887, p. 226.

[398] "Whatever may have been the origin of polyandry, there can be no doubt that poverty, a desire to keep down population, and to keep property undivided in families, supply sufficient reason to justify its continuance. The same motives explain its existence among the lower castes of Malabar, among the Jat (Sikhs) of the Panjab, among the Todas, and probably in most other countries in which this custom prevails" (Rockhill, p. 726).

[399] T. Rice Holmes, Ancient Britain, 1907, pp. 110 and 465-6.

[400] At least no reference is made to the Bonbo practice in his almost exhaustive monograph on The Swastika, Washington, 1896. The reversed form, however, mentioned by Max Müller and Burnouf, is figured at p. 767 and elsewhere.

[401] Sarat Chandra Das, Journ. As. Soc. Bengal, 1881-2.

[402] This point, so important in the history of linguistic evolution, has I think been fairly established by T. de Lacouperie in a series of papers in the Oriental and Babylonian Record, 1888-90. See G. A. Grierson's Linguistic Survey of India, III. Tibeto-Burman Family, 1906, by Sten Konow.

[403] Ladák, London, 1854.

[404] G. B. Mainwaring, A Grammar of the Rong (Lepcha) Language, etc., Calcutta, 1876, pp. 128-9.

[405] Outline Grammar of the Angámi-Naga Language, Calcutta, 1887, pp. 4, 5. For an indication of the astonishing number of distinct languages in the whole of this region see Gertrude M. Godden's paper "On the Naga and other Frontier Tribes of North-East India," in Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1897, p. 165. Under the heading Tibeto-Burman Languages Sten Konow recognises Tibetan, Himalayan, North Assam, Bodo, Naga, Kuki-Chin, Meitei and Kachin. The Naga group comprises dialects of very different kinds; some approach Tibetan and the North Assam group, others lead over to the Bodo, others connect with Tibeto-Burman. Meitei lies midway between Kuki-Chin and Kachin, and these merge finally in Burmese. Grierson's Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. III. 1903-6.

[406] Almost hopeless confusion continues to prevail in the tribal nomenclature of these multitudinous hill peoples. The official sanction given to the terms Kuki and Lushai as collective names may be regretted, but seems now past remedy. Kuki is unknown to the people themselves, while Lushai is only the name of a single group proud of their head-hunting proclivities, hence they call themselves, or perhaps are called Lu-Shai, "Head-Cutters," from lu head, sha to cut (G. H. Damant). Other explanations suggested by C. A. Soppitt (Kuki-Lushai Tribes, with an Outline Grammar of the Rangkhol-Lushai Language, Shillong, 1887) cannot be accepted.

[407] Op. cit.

[408] See G. A. Grierson and Sten Konow in Grierson's Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. III. Part II. Bodo, Nāgā and Kachin, 1903, Part III. Kuki-Chin and Burma, 1904.

[409] The Nāga Tribes of Manipur, 1911, p. 2. Cf. J. Shakespear, "The Kuki-Lushai Clans," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XXXIX. 1909.

[410] Op. cit. p. 5.

[411] Op. cit. p. 122. A custom of human sacrifice among the Naga is described in the Journal of the Burma Research Society, 1911, "Human Sacrifices near the Upper Chindwin."

[412] It is a curious phonetic phenomenon that the combinations kl and tl are indistinguishable in utterance, so that it is immaterial whether this term be written Kling or Tling, though the latter form would be preferable, as showing its origin from Telinga.

[413] "The Aboriginal Tribes of Manipur," Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1887, p. 350.

[414] R. Brown, Statistical Account of Manipur, 1874.

[415] T. C. Hodson, The Meitheis, 1908, p. 96.

[416] T. C. Hodson, The Meitheis, 1908, pp. 96-7.

[417] G. Watt, loc. cit. p. 362.

[418] The Chin Hills, etc., Vol. I., Rangoon, 1896.

[419] Op. cit. p. 165.

[420] R. C. Temple, Art. "Burma," Hastings, Ency. Religion and Ethics, 1910.

[421] Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, p. 9.

[422] Prince Henri d'Orléans writes "que les Singphos et les Katchins [Kakhyens] ne font qu'un, que le premier mot est thai et le second birman." Du Tonkin aux Indes, 1898, p. 311. This is how the ethnical confusion in these borderlands gets perpetuated. Singpho is not Thai, i.e. Shan or Siamese, but a native word as here explained.

[423] John Anderson, Mandalay to Momein, 1876, p. 131.

[424] Three skulls discovered by M. Mansuy in a cave at Pho-Binh-Gia (Indo-China) associated with Neolithic culture were markedly dolichocephalic, resembling in some respects the Cro-Magnon race of the Reindeer period. Cf. R. Verneau, L'Anthropologie, XX. 1909.

[425] The Loyal Karens of Burma, 1887.

[426] R. C. Temple, Academy, Jan. 29, 1887, p. 72.

[427] Forbes, Languages of Further India, p. 61.

[428] Ibid. p. 55.

[429] G. W. Bird, Wanderings in Burma, 1897, p. 335.

[430] The Burmese is the most mixed race in the province. "Originally Dravidians of some sort, they seem to have received blood from various sources—Hindu, Musalmān, Chinese, Shān, Talaing, European and others." W. Crooke, "The Stability of Caste and Tribal Groups in India," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Soc. XLIV. 1914, p. 279, quoting the Ethnographic Survey of India, 1906.

[431] J. G. Scott, Burma, etc., 1886, p. 115.

[432] Op. cit. p. 118.

[433] "The Taungbyôn Festival, Burma," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Soc. XLV. 1915, p. 355.

[434] Amongst the Shans, etc., 1885, p. 233.

[435] Cf. the Shans of Yunnan, who are nearly all "tatoués, depuis la ceinture jusqu'au genou, de dessins bleus si serrés qu'ils paraissent former une vraie culotte," Pr. Henri d'Orléans, Du Tonkin aux Indes, 1898, p. 83.

[436] For recent literature on Burma and the Burmese consult besides the Ethnographic Survey of India, 1906, and the Census Report of 1911, J. G. Scott, The Burman, 1896, and Burma, 1906; A. Ireland, The Province of Burma, 1907; H. Fielding Hall, The Soul of a People, 1898, and A People at School, 1906.

[437] Probably for Shan-tsĕ, Shan-yen, "highlanders" (Shan, mountain), Shan itself being the same word as Siam, a form which comes to us through the Portuguese Sião.

[438] For the Laos see L. de Reinach, Le Laos, 1902, with bibliography.

[439] Carl Bock, MS. note. This observer notes that many of the Ngiou have been largely assimilated in type to the Burmese and in one place goes so far as to assert that "the Ngiou are decidedly of the same race as the Burmese. I have had opportunities of seeing hundreds of both countries, and of closely watching their features and build. The Ngiou wear the hair in a topknot in the same way as the Burmese, but they are easily distinguished by their tattooing, which is much more elaborate" (Temples and Elephants, 1884, p. 297). Of course all spring from one primeval stock, but they now constitute distinct ethnical groups, and, except about the borderlands, where blends may be suspected, both the physical and mental characters differ considerably. Bock's Ngiou is no doubt the same name as Ngnio, which H. S. Hallett applies in one place to the Mossé Shans north of Zimme, and elsewhere to the Burmese Shans collectively (A Thousand Miles on an Elephant, 1890, pp. 158 and 358).

[440] "Les Paï ne sont autres que des Laotiens" (Prince Henri, p. 42).

[441] One Shan group, the Deodhaings, still persist, and occupy a few villages near Sibsagar (S. E. Peal, Nature, June 19, 1884, p. 169). Dalton also mentions the Kamjangs, a Khamti (Tai) tribe in the Sadiya district, Assam (Ethnology of Bengal, p. 6).

[442] Much unexpected light has been thrown upon the early history of these Ahoms by E. Gait, who has discovered and described in the Journ. As. Soc. Bengal, 1894, a large number of puthis, or MSS. (28 in the Sibsagar district alone), in the now almost extinct Ahom language, some of which give a continuous history of the Ahom rajas from 568 to 1795 A.D. Most of the others appear to be treatises on religious mysticism or divination, such as "a book on the calculation of future events by examining the leg of a fowl" (ib.).

[443] Op. cit. p. 309.

[444] A. R. Colquhoun, Amongst the Shans, 1885, Introduction, p. lv.

[445] Op. cit. p. 328.

[446] Temples and Elephants, p. 320.

[447] "Der Gesichtsausdruck überhaupt nähert sich der kaukasischen Race" (Im fernen Osten, p. 959).

[448] Low's Siamese Grammar, p. 14.

[449] R. G. Woodthorpe, "The Shans and Hill Tribes of the Mekong," in Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1897, p. 16.

[450] Op. cit. p. 55.

[451] This omission, however, is partly supplied by T. de Lacouperie, who gives us an account of a wonderful Lolo MS. on satin, red on one side, blue on the other, containing nearly 5750 words written in black, "apparently with the Chinese brush." The MS. was obtained by E. Colborne Baber from a Lolo chief, forwarded to Europe in 1881, and described by de Lacouperie, Journ. R. As. Soc. Vol. XIV. Part I. "The writing runs in lines from top to bottom and from left to right, as in Chinese" (p. 1), and this authority regards it as the link that was wanting to connect the various members of a widely diffused family radiating from India (Harapa seal, Indo-Pali, Vatteluttu) to Malaysia (Batta, Rejang, Lampong, Bugis, Makassar, Tagal), to Indo-China (Lao, Siamese, Lolo), Korea and Japan, and also including the Siao-chuen Chinese system "in use a few centuries B.C." (p. 5). It would be premature to say that all these connections are established.

[452] Op. cit. p. 193.

[453] Beginnings of Writing in Central and Eastern Asia, passim. For the Lolos see A. F. Legendre, "Les Lolos. Étude ethnologique et anthropologique," T'oung Pao II. Vol. X. 1909.

[454] "Quelques-uns de ces Kiou-tsés me rappellent des Européens que je connais." (Op. cit. p. 252).

[455] Deux Ans dans le Haut-Tonkin, etc., Paris, 1896.

[456] With regard to Man (Man-tse) it should be explained that in Chinese it means "untameable worms," that is, wild or barbarous, and we are warned by Desgodins that "il ne faut pas prendre ces mots comme des noms propres de tribus" (Bul. Soc. Géogr. XII. p. 410). In 1877 Capt. W. Gill visited a large nation of Man-tse with 18 tribal divisions, reaching from West Yunnan to the extreme north of Sechuen, a sort of federacy recognising a king, with Chinese habits and dress, but speaking a language resembling Sanskrit (?). These were the Sumu, or "White Man-tse," apparently the same as those visited in 1896 by Mrs Bishop, and by her described as semi-independent, ruled by their own chiefs, and in appearance "quite Caucasian, both men and women being very handsome," strict Buddhists, friendly and hospitable, and living in large stone houses (Letter to Times, Aug. 18, 1896).

[457] "Des paysannes nóngs dont les cheveux étaient blonds, quelquefois même roux." Op. cit.

[458] L'Anthropologie, 1896, p. 602 sq.

[459] "On the Relations of the Indo-Chinese and Inter-Oceanic Races and Languages." Paper read at the Meeting of the Brit. Association, Sheffield, 1879, and printed in the Journ. Anthr. Inst., February, 1880.

[460] In the Javanese annals the invaders are called "Cambojans," but at this time (about 1340) Camboja had already been reduced, and the Siamese conquerors had brought back from its renowned capital, Angkor Wat, over 90,000 captives. These were largely employed in the wars of the period, which were thus attributed to Camboja instead of to Siam by foreign peoples ignorant of the changed relations in Indo-China.

[461] How very dark some of these corners can be may be seen from the sad picture of maladministration, vice, and corruption still prevalent so late as 1890, given by Hallett in A Thousand Miles on an Elephant, Ch. xxxv.; and even still later by H. Warington Smyth in Five Years in Siam, from 1891 to 1896 (1898). This observer credits the Siamese with an undeveloped sense of right and wrong, so that they are good only by accident. "To do a thing because it is right is beyond them; to abstain from a thing because it is against their good name, or involves serious consequences, is possibly within the power of a few; the question of right and wrong does not enter the calculation." But he thinks they may possess a high degree of intelligence, and mentions the case of a peasant, who from an atlas had taught himself geography and politics. P. A. Thompson, Lotus Land, 1906, gives an account of the country and people of Southern Siam.

[462] Probably a corruption of talapat, the name of the palm-tree which yields the fan-leaf constantly used by the monks.

[463] "In conversation with the monks M'Gilvary was told that it would most likely be countless ages before they would attain the much wished for state of Nirvana, and that one transgression at any time might relegate them to the lowest hell to begin again their melancholy pilgrimage" (Hallett, A Thousand Miles on an Elephant, p. 337).

[464] "Le gros orteil est très développé et écarté des autres doigts du pied. A ce caractère distinctif, que l'on retrouve encore aujourd'hui chez les indigènes de race pure, on peut reconnaître facilement que les Giao-chi sont les ancêtres des Annamites" (La Cochinchine française en 1878, p. 231). See also a note on the subject by C. F. Tremlett in Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1879, p. 460.

[465] Properly An-nan, a modified form of ngan-nan, "Southern Peace."

[466] Cf. Nan-king, Pe-king, "Southern" and "Northern" Courts (Capitals).

[467] La Gazette Géographique, March 12, 1885.

[468] Geogr. Journ., Sept. 1893, p. 194.

[469] "Parmi les citoyens règne la plus parfaite égalité. Point d'esclavage, la servitude est en horreur. Aussi tout homme peut-il aspirer aux emplois, se plaindre aux mêmes tribunaux que son adversaire" (op. cit. p. 6).

[470] From bonzo, a Portuguese corruption of the Japanese busso, a devout person, applied first to the Buddhist priests of Japan, and then extended to those of China and neighbouring lands.

[471] This name, probably the Chinese jin, men, people, already occurs in Sanskrit writings in its present form: , Chína, whence the Hindi , Chín, and the Arabo-Persian , Sín, which gives the classical Sinae. The most common national name is Chûng-kûe, "middle kingdom" (presumably the centre of the universe), whence Chûng-kûe-Jín, the Chinese people. Some have referred China to the Chin (Tsin) dynasty (909 B.C.), while Marco Polo's Kataia (Russian Kitai) is the Khata (North China) of the Mongol period, from the Manchu K'î-tan, founders of the Liâo dynasty, which was overthrown 1115 A.D. by the Nü-Chăn Tatars. Ptolemy's Thinae is rightly regarded by Edkins as the same word as Sinae, the substitution of t for s being normal in Annam, whence this form may have reached the west through the southern seaport of Kattigara.

[472] Western Origin of the Early Chinese Civilization, from 2300 B.C. to 200 A.D., or Chapters on the Elements Derived from the Old Civilizations of West Asia in the Formation of the Ancient Chinese Culture, London, 1894.

[473] "Observations upon the Languages of the Early Inhabitants of Mesopotamia," in Journ. R. As. Soc. XVI. Part 2.

[474] MS. note, May 7, 1896.

[475] C. J. Ball, Chinese and Sumerian, 1913.

[476] History of the Archaic Chinese Writing and Texts, 1882, p. 5.

[477] The first actual date given is that of Tai Hao (Fu-hi), 2953 B.C., but this ruler belongs to the fabulous period, and is stated to have reigned 115 years. The first certain date would appear to be that of Yau, first of the Chinese sages and reformer of the calendar (2357 B.C.). The date 2254 B.C. for Confucius's model king Shun seems also established. But of course all this is modern history compared with the now determined Babylonian and Egyptian records.

[478] Amongst the metals reference is made to iron so early as the time of the Emperor Ta Yü (2200 B.C.), when it is mentioned as an article of tribute in the Shu-King. F. Hirth, who states this fact, adds that during the same period, if not even earlier, iron was already a flourishing industry in the Liang district (Paper on the "History of Chinese Culture," Munich Anthropological Society, April, 1898). At the discussion which followed the reading of this paper Montelius argued that iron was unknown in Western Asia and Egypt before 1500 B.C., although the point was contested by Hommel, who quoted a word for iron in the earliest Egyptian texts. Montelius, however, explained that terms originally meaning "ore" or "metal" were afterwards used for "iron." Such was certainly the case with the Gk. χαλκός, at first "copper," then metal in general, and used still later for σίδηρος, "iron"; hence χαλκεύς = coppersmith, blacksmith, and even goldsmith. So also with the Lat. aes (Sanskrit ayas, akin to aurora, with simple idea of brightness), used first especially for copper (aes cyprium, cuprum), and then for bronze (Lewis and Short). For Hirth's later views see his Ancient History of China, 1908 (from the fabulous ages to 221 B.C.).

[479] This term Y-jen (Yi-jen), meaning much the same as Man, Man-tse, savage, rude, untameable, has acquired a sort of diplomatic distinction. In the treaty of Tien-tsin (1858) it was stipulated that it should no longer, as heretofore, be applied in official documents to the English or to any subjects of the Queen.

[480] See J. Edkins, China's Place in Philology, p. 117. The Hok-los were originally from Fo-kien, whence their alternative name, Fo-lo. The lo appears to be the same word as in the reduplicated Lo-lo, meaning something like the Greek and Latin Bar-bar, stammerers, rude, uncultured.

[481] The Hakkas, i.e. "strangers," speak a well-marked dialect current on the uplands between Kwang-tung, Kiang-si, and Fo-kien. J. Dyer Ball, Easy Lessons in the Hakka Dialect, 1884.

[482] Numerous in the western parts of Kwang-tung and in the Canton district. J. Dyer Ball, Cantonese Made Easy, Hongkong, 1884.

[483] In this expression "Pidgin" appears to be a corruption of the word business taken in a very wide sense, as in such terms as talkee-pidgin = a conversation, discussion; singsong pidgin = a concert, etc. It is no unusual occurrence for persons from widely separated Chinese provinces meeting in England to be obliged to use this common jargon in conversation.

[484] For the aboriginal peoples, with bibliography, see M. Kennelly's translation of L. Richard's Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire and its Dependencies, 1908, pp. 371-3.

[485] Kung-tse, "Teacher Kung," or more fully Kung-fu-tse, "the eminent teacher Kung," which gives the Latinised form Confucius.

[486] Kwong Ki Chiu, 1881, p. 875. Confucius was born in 550 and died in 477 B.C., and to him are at present dedicated as many as 1560 temples, in which are observed real sacrificial rites. For these sacrifices the State yearly supplies 26,606 sheep, pigs, rabbits and other animals, besides 27,000 pieces of silk, most of which things, however, become the "perquisites" of the attendants in the sanctuaries.

[487] Arthur H. Smith, Chinese Characteristics, New York, 1895. The good, or at least the useful, qualities of the Chinese are stated by this shrewd observer to be a love of industry, peace, and social order, a matchless patience and forbearance under wrongs and evils beyond cure, a happy temperament, no nerves, and "a digestion like that of an ostrich." See also H. A. Giles, China and the Chinese, 1902; E. H. Parker, John Chinaman and a Few Others, 1901; J. Dyer Ball, Things Chinese, 1903; and M. Kennelly in Richard's Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire and its Dependencies, 1908.

[488] See Contemporary Review, Feb. 1908, "Report on Christian Missions in China," by Mr F. W. Fox, Professor Macalister and Sir Alexander Simpson.

[489] A happy Portuguese coinage from the Malay mantri, a state minister, which is the Sanskrit mantrin, a counsellor, from mantra, a sacred text, a counsel, from Aryan root man, to think, know, whence also the English mind.

[490] Miss Bird (Mrs Bishop), The Golden Chersonese, 1883, p. 37.

[491] H. A. Giles, The Civilisation of China, 1911, p. 237. See especially Chap. XI., "Chinese and Foreigners," for the etiquette of street regulations and the habit of shouting conversation.

[Pg 219]



Range of the Oceanic Mongols—The terra "Malay"—The Historical Malays—Malay Cradle—Migrations and Present Range—The Malayans—The Javanese—Balinese and Sassaks—Hindu Legends in Bali—The Malayan Seafarers and Rovers—Malaysia and Pelasgia: a Historical Parallel—Malayan Folklore—Borneo—Punan—Klemantan—Bahau-Kenyah-Kayan—Iban (Sea Dayak)—Summary—Religion—Early Man and his Works in Sumatra—The Mentawi Islanders—Javanese and Hindu Influences—The Malaysian Alphabets—The Battas: Cultured Cannibals—Hindu and Primitive Survivals—The Achinese—Early Records—Islam and Hindu Reminiscences—Ethnical Relations in Madagascar—Prehistoric Peoples—Oceanic Immigrants—Negroid Element—Arab Element—Uniformity of Language—Malagasy Gothamites—Partial Fusion of Races—Hova Type—Black Element from Africa—Mental Qualities of the Malagasy—Spread of Christianity—Culture—Malagasy Folklore—The Philippine Natives—Effects of a Christian Theocratic Government on the National Character—Social Groups: the Indios, the Infielos, and the Moros—Malayans and Indonesians in Formosa—The Chinese Settlers—Racial and Linguistic Affinities—Formosa a Connecting Link between the Continental and Oceanic Populations—The Nicobarese.



Present Range. Indonesia, Philippines, Formosa, Nicobar Is., Madagascar.

Physical Characters.

Hair, same as Southern Mongols, scant or no beard. Colour, yellowish or olive brown, yellow tint sometimes very faint or absent, light leathery hue common in Madagascar.

Skull, brachy or sub-brachycephalic (78 to 85). Jaws, slightly projecting. Cheek-bones, prominent, but less so than true Mongol. Nose, rather small, often straight with widish nostrils (mesorrhine). Eyes, black, medium size, horizontal or slightly oblique, often with Mongol fold. Stature, undersized, from 1.52 m. to 1.65 m. (5 ft. to 5 ft. 5 in.). Lips, thickish, slightly protruding, and kept a little apart in repose. Arms and legs, rather small, slender and delicate; feet, small.

Mental Characters.

Temperament. Normally quiet, reserved and taciturn,[Pg 220] but under excitement subject to fits of blind fury; fairly intelligent, polite and ceremonious, but uncertain, untrustworthy, and even treacherous; daring, adventurous and reckless; musical; not distinctly cruel, though indifferent to physical suffering in others.

Speech, various branches of a single stock languagethe Austronesian (Oceanic or Malayo-Polynesian), at different stages of agglutination.

Religion, of the primitive Malayans somewhat undeveloped—a vague dread of ghosts and other spirits, but rites and ceremonies mainly absent although human sacrifices to the departed occurred in Borneo; the cultured Malayans formerly Hindus (Brahman and Buddhist), now mostly Moslem, but in the Philippines and Madagascar Christian; belief in witchcraft, charms, and spells everywhere prevalent.

Culture, of the primitive Malayans very low—head-hunting, mutilation, common in Borneo; hunting, fishing; no agriculture; simple arts and industries; the Moslem and Christian Malayans semi-civilised; the industrial arts—weaving, dyeing, pottery, metal-work, also trade, navigation, house and boat-building—well developed; architecture formerly flourishing in Java under Hindu influences; letters widespread even amongst some of the rude Malayans, but literature and science rudimentary; rich oral folklore.

Main Divisions.

Malayans (Proto-Malays): Lampongs, Rejangs, Battas, Achinese, and Palembangs in Sumatra; Sundanese, Javanese proper, and Madurese in Java; Dayaks in Borneo; Balinese; Sassaks (Lombok); Bugis and Mangkassaras in Celebes; Tagalogs, Visayas, Bicols, Ilocanos and Pangasinanes in Philippines; Aborigines of Formosa; Nicobar Islanders; Hovas, Betsimisarakas, and Sakalavas in Madagascar.

Malays Proper (Historical Malays): Menangkabau (Sumatra); Malay Peninsula; Pinang, Singapore, Lingga, Bangka; Borneo Coastlands; Tidor, Ternate; Amboina; Parts of the Sulu Archipelago.

Range of the Oceanic Mongols.

In the Oceanic domain, which for ethnical purposes begins at the neck of the Malay Peninsula, the Mongol peoples range from Madagascar eastwards to Formosa and Micronesia, but are found in compact masses chiefly on the mainland, in the Sunda Islands[Pg 221] (Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok, Borneo, Celebes) and in the Philippines. Even here they have mingled in many places with other populations, forming fresh ethnical groups, in which the Mongol element is not always conspicuous. Such fusions have taken place with the Negrito aborigines in the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines; with Papuans in Micronesia, Flores, and other islands east of Lombok; with dolichocephalic Indonesians in Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes, Halmahera (Jilolo), parts of the Philippines[492], and perhaps also Timor and Ceram; and with African negroes (Bantu) in Madagascar. To unravel some of these racial entanglements is one of the most difficult tasks in anthropology, and in the absence of detailed information cannot yet be everywhere attempted with any prospect of success.

The term "Malay."

The problem has been greatly, though perhaps inevitably complicated by the indiscriminate extension of the term "Malay" to all these and even to other mixed Oceanic populations farther east, as, for instance, in the expression "Malayo-Polynesian," applied by many writers not only in a linguistic, but also in an ethnical sense, to most of the insular peoples from Madagascar to Easter Island, and from Hawaii to New Zealand. It is now of course too late to hope to remedy this misuse of terms by proposing a fresh nomenclature. But much of the consequent confusion will be avoided by restricting Malayo-Polynesian[493] altogether to linguistic matters, and carefully distinguishing between Indonesian, the pre-Malay dolichocephalic element in Oceania[494], Malayan or Proto-Malayan, collective name of[Pg 222] all the Oceanic Mongols, who are brachycephals, and Malay, a particular branch of the Malayan family, as fully explained in Ethnology, pp. 326-30[495].

The Historical Malays.
Migrations and Present Range.

The essential point to remember is that the true Malays—who call themselves Orang-Maláyu, speak the standard but quite modern Malay language, and are all Muhammadans—are a historical people who appear on the scene in relatively recent times, ages after the insular world had been occupied by the Mongol peoples to whom their name has been extended, but who never call themselves Malays. The Orang-Maláyu, who have acquired such an astonishing predominance in the Eastern Archipelago, were originally an obscure tribe who rose to power in the Menangkabau district, Sumatra, not before the twelfth century, and whose migrations date only from about the year 1160 A.D. At this time, according to the native records[496], was founded the first foreign settlement, Singapore, a pure Sanskrit name meaning the "Lion City," from which it might be inferred that these first settlers were not Muhammadans, as is commonly assumed, but Brahmans or Buddhists, both these forms of Hinduism having been propagated throughout Sumatra and the other Sunda Islands centuries before this time. It is also noteworthy that the early settlers on the mainland are stated to have been pagans, or to have professed some corrupt form of Hindu idolatry, till their conversion to Islam by the renowned Sultan Mahmud Shah about the middle of the thirteenth century. It is therefore probable enough that the earlier movements were carried out under Hindu influences, and may have begun long before the historical date 1160. Menangkabau, however, was the first Mussulman State that acquired political supremacy in Sumatra, and this district thus became the chief centre for the later diffusion of the cultured Malays, their language, usages, and religion, throughout the Peninsula and the Archipelago. Here they are now found in compact masses chiefly in south Sumatra (Menangkabau, Palembang, the Lampongs); in all the insular groups between Sumatra and Borneo; in the Malay Peninsula as far north as[Pg 223] the Kra Isthmus, here intermingling with the Siamese as "Sam-Sams," partly Buddhists, partly Muhammadans; round the coast of Borneo and about the estuaries of that island; in Tidor, Ternate, and the adjacent coast of Jilolo; in the Banda, Sula, and Sulu groups; in Batavia, Singapore, and all the other large seaports of the Archipelago. In all these lands beyond Sumatra the Orang-Maláyu are thus seen to be comparatively recent arrivals[497], and in fact intruders on the other Malayan populations, with whom they collectively constitute the Oceanic branch of the Mongol division. Their diffusion was everywhere brought about much in the same way as in Ternate, where A. R. Wallace tells us that the ruling people "are an intrusive Malay race somewhat allied to the Macassar people, who settled in the country at a very early epoch, drove out the indigenes, who were no doubt the same as those of the adjacent island of Gilolo, and established a monarchy. They perhaps obtained many of their wives from the natives, which will account for the extraordinary language they speak—in some respects closely allied to that of the natives of Gilolo, while it contains much that points to a Malayan [Malay] origin. To most of these people the Malay language is quite unintelligible[498]."

The Malayans—two classes; Rude and Cultured.

The Malayan populations, as distinguished from the Malays proper, form socially two very distinct classes—the Orang Benua, "Men of the Soil," rude aborigines, numerous especially in the interior of the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Celebes, Jilolo, Timor, Ceram, the Philippines, Formosa, and Madagascar; and the cultured peoples, formerly Hindus but now mostly Muhammadans, who have long been constituted in large communities and nationalities with historical records, and flourishing arts and industries. They speak cultivated languages of the Austronesian family, generally much better preserved and of richer grammatical structure than the simplified modern speech of the Orang-Maláyu. Such are the Achinese, Rejangs, and Passumahs of Sumatra; the[Pg 224] Bugis, Mangkassaras and some Minahasans of Celebes[499]; the Tagalogs and Visayas of the Philippines; the Sassaks and Balinese of Lombok and Bali (most of these still Hindus); the Madurese and Javanese proper of Java; and the Hovas of Madagascar. To call any of these "Malays[500]," is like calling the Italians "French," or the Germans "English," because of their respective Romance and Teutonic connections.

The Javanese.

Preëminent in many respects amongst all the Malayan peoples are the JavaneseSundanese in the west, Javanese proper in the centre, Madurese in the east—who were a highly civilised nation while the Sumatran Malays were still savages, perhaps head-hunters and cannibals like the neighbouring Battas. Although now almost exclusively Muhammadans, they had already adopted some form of Hinduism probably over 2000 years ago, and under the guidance of their Indian teachers had rapidly developed a very advanced state of culture. "Under a completely organised although despotic government, the arts of peace and war were brought to considerable perfection, and the natives of Java became famous throughout the East as accomplished musicians and workers in gold, iron and copper, none of which metals were found in the island itself. They possessed a regular calendar with astronomical eras, and a metrical literature, in which, however, history was inextricably blended with romance. Bronze and stone inscriptions in the Kavi, or old Javanese language, still survive from the eleventh or twelfth century, and to the same dates may be referred the vast ruins of Brambanam and the stupendous temple of Boro-budor in the centre of the island. There are few statues of Hindu divinities in this temple, but many are found in its immediate vicinity, and from the various archaeological objects collected in[Pg 225] the district it is evident that both the Buddhist and Brahmanical forms of Hinduism were introduced at an early date.

"But all came to an end by the overthrow of the chief Hindu power in 1478, after which event Islam spread rapidly over the whole of Java and Madura. Brahmanism, however, still holds its ground in Bali and Lombok, the last strongholds of Hinduism in the Eastern Archipelago[501]."

Balinese and Sassaks.
Primitive and later Religions and Cultures.

On the obscure religious and social relations in these Lesser Sundanese Islands much light has been thrown by Capt. W. Cool, an English translation of whose work With the Dutch in the East was issued by E. J. Taylor in 1897. Here it is shown how Hinduism, formerly dominant throughout a great part of Malaysia, gradually yielded in some places to a revival of the never extinct primitive nature-worship, in others to the spread of Islam, which in Bali alone failed to gain a footing. In this island a curious mingling of Buddhist and Brahmanical forms with the primordial heathendom not only persisted, but was strong enough to acquire the political ascendancy over the Mussulman Sassaks of the neighbouring island of Lombok. Thus while Islam reigns exclusively in Java—formerly the chief domain of Hinduism in the Archipelago—Bali, Lombok, and even Sumbawa, present the strange spectacle of large communities professing every form of belief, from the grossest heathendom to pure monotheism.

As I have elsewhere pointed out[502], it is the same with the cultures and general social conditions, which show an almost unbroken transition from the savagery of Sumbawa to the relative degrees of refinement reached by the natives of Lombok and especially of Bali. Here, however, owing to the unfavourable political relations, a retrograde movement is perceptible in the crumbling temples, grass-grown highways, and neglected homesteads. But it is everywhere evident enough that "just as Hinduism has only touched the outer surface of their religion, it has failed to penetrate into their social institutions, which, like their gods, originate from the time when Polynesian heathendom was all powerful[503]."

Hindu Legends in Bali.

A striking illustration of the vitality of the early beliefs is [Pg 226]presented by the local traditions, which relate how these foreign gods installed themselves in the Lesser Sundanese Islands after their expulsion from Java by the Muhammadans in the fifteenth century. Being greatly incensed at the introduction of the Koran, and also anxious to avoid contact with the "foreign devils," the Hindu deities moved eastwards with the intention of setting up their throne in Bali. But Bali already possessed its own gods, the wicked Rakshasas, who fiercely resented the intrusion, but in the struggle that ensued were annihilated, all but the still reigning Mraya Dewana. Then the new thrones had to be erected on heights, as in Java; but at that time there were no mountains in Bali, which was a very flat country. So the difficulty was overcome by bodily transferring the four hills at the eastern extremity of Java to the neighbouring island. Gunong Agong, highest of the four, was set down in the east, and became the Olympus of Bali, while the other three were planted in the west, south, and north, and assigned to the different gods according to their respective ranks. Thus were at once explained the local theogony and the present physical features of the island.

Running Amok.

Despite their generally quiet, taciturn demeanour, all these Sundanese peoples are just as liable as the Orang-Maláyu himself, to those sudden outbursts of demoniacal frenzy and homicidal mania called by them mĕng-ámok, and by us "running amok." Indeed A. R. Wallace tells us that such wild outbreaks occur more frequently (about one or two every month) amongst the civilised Mangkassaras and Bugis of south Celebes than elsewhere in the Archipelago. "It is the national and therefore the honourable mode of committing suicide among the natives of Celebes, and is the fashionable way of escaping from their difficulties. A Roman fell upon his sword, a Japanese rips up his stomach, and an Englishman blows out his brains with a pistol. The Bugis mode has many advantages to one suicidically inclined. A man thinks himself wronged by society—he is in debt and cannot pay—he is taken for a slave or has gambled away his wife or child into slavery—he sees no way of recovering what he has lost, and becomes desperate. He will not put up with such cruel wrongs, but will be revenged on mankind and die like a hero. He grasps his kris-handle, and the next moment draws out the weapon and stabs a man to the heart. He runs[Pg 227] on, with bloody kris in his hand, stabbing at everyone he meets. 'Amok! Amok!' then resounds through the streets. Spears, krisses, knives and guns are brought out against him. He rushes madly forward, kills all he can—men, women, and children—and dies overwhelmed by numbers amid all the excitement of a battle[504]."

The Látah Malady.

Possibly connected with this blind impulse may be the strange nervous affection called látah, which is also prevalent amongst the Malayans, and which was first clearly described by the distinguished Malay scholar, Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham[505]. No attempt has yet been made thoroughly to diagnose this uncanny disorder[506], which would seem so much more characteristic of the high-strung or shattered nervous system of ultra-refined European society, than of that artless unsophisticated child of nature, the Orang-Maláyu. Its effects on the mental state are such as to disturb all normal cerebration, and Swettenham mentions two látah-struck Malays, who would make admirable "subjects" at a séance of theosophic psychists. Any simple device served to attract their attention, when by merely looking them hard in the face they fell helplessly in the hands of the operator, instantly lost all self-control, and went passively through any performance either verbally imposed or even merely suggested by a sign.

The Malayan Seafarers and Rovers.

A peculiar feminine strain has often been imputed to the Malay temperament, yet this same Oceanic people displays in many respects a curiously kindred spirit with the ordinary Englishman, as, for instance, in his love of gambling, boxing, cock-fighting, field sports[507], and adventure. No more fearless explorers of the high seas, formerly rovers and corsairs, at all times enterprising traders, are anywhere to be found than the Menangkabau Malays and their near kinsmen, the renowned Bugis "Merchant Adventurers" of south Celebes. Their clumsy but seaworthy praus are met in every seaport from Sumatra to the Aru Islands, and they have established permanent trading stations and even settlements in Borneo, the Philippines, Timor, and as far east as New Guinea. On one occasion Wallace sailed from Dobbo[Pg 228] in company with fifteen large Makassar praus, each with a cargo worth about £1000, and as many of the Bugis settle amongst the rude aborigines of the eastern isles, they thus cooperate with the Sumatran Malays in extending the area of civilising influences throughout Papuasia.

Formerly they combined piracy with legitimate trade, and long after the suppression of the North Bornean corsairs by Keppel and Brooke, the inland waters continued to be infested especially by the Bajau rovers of Celebes, and by the Balagnini of the Sulu Archipelago, most dreaded of all the Orang-Laut, "Men of the Sea," the "Sea Gypsies" of the English. These were the "Cellates" (Orang-Selat, "Men of the Straits") of the early Portuguese writers, who described them as from time immemorial engaged in fishing and plundering on the high seas[508].

Malaysia and Pelasgia—a Historical Parallel.

In those days, and even in comparatively late times, the relations in the Eastern Archipelago greatly resembled those prevailing in the Aegean Sea at the dawn of Greek history, while the restless seafaring populations were still in a state of flux, passing from island to island in quest of booty or barter before permanently settling down in favourable sites[509]. With the Greek historian's philosophic disquisition on these Pelasgian and proto-Hellenic relations may be compared A. R. Wallace's account of the Batjan coastlands when visited by him in the late fifties. "Opposite us, and all along this coast of Batchian, stretches a row of fine islands completely uninhabited. Whenever I asked the reason why no one goes to live in them, the answer always was 'For fear of the Magindano pirates[510].' Every year these scourges of the Archipelago wander in one direction or another, making their rendezvous on some uninhabited island, and carrying devastation to all the small settlements around; robbing, destroying, killing, or taking[Pg 229] captive all they meet with. Their long, well-manned praus escape from the pursuit of any sailing vessel by pulling away right in the wind's eye, and the warning smoke of a steamer generally enables them to hide in some shallow bay, or narrow river, or forest-covered inlet, till the danger is passed[511]." Thus, like geographical surroundings, with corresponding social conditions, produce like results in all times amongst all peoples.

Malayan Folklore—The Were-tiger.

This fundamental truth receives further illustration from the ideas prevalent amongst the Malayans regarding witchcraft, the magic arts, charms and spells, and especially the belief in the power of certain malevolent human beings to transform themselves into wild beasts and prey upon their fellow-creatures. Such superstitions girdle the globe, taking their local colouring from the fauna of the different regions, so that the were-wolf of medieval Europe finds its counterpart in the human jaguar of South America, the human lion or leopard of Africa[512], and the human tiger of the Malay Peninsula. Hugh Clifford, who relates an occurrence known to himself in connection with a "were-tiger" story of the Perak district, aptly remarks that "the white man and the brown, the yellow and the black, independently, and without receiving the idea from one another, have all found the same explanation for the like phenomena, all apparently recognising the truth of the Malay proverb, that we are like unto the táman fish that preys upon its own kind[513]." The story in question turns upon a young bride, whose husband comes home late three nights following, and the third time, being watched, is discovered by her in the form of a full-grown tiger stretched on the ladder, which, as in all Malay houses, leads from the ground to the threshold of the door. "Patímah gazed at the tiger from a distance of only a foot or two, for she was too paralysed with fear to move or cry out, and as she looked a gradual transformation took place in the creature at her feet. Slowly, as one sees a ripple of wind pass over the surface of still water, the tiger's[Pg 230] features palpitated and were changed, until the horrified girl saw the face of her husband come up through that of the beast, much as the face of a diver comes up to the surface of a pool. In another moment Patímah saw that it was Haji Ali who was ascending the ladder of his house, and the spell that had hitherto bound her was snapped."

These same Malays of Perak, H. H. Rajah Dris tells us, are still specially noted for many strange customs and superstitions "utterly opposed to Muhammadan teaching, and savouring strongly of devil-worship. This enormous belief in the supernatural is possibly a relic of the pre-Islam State[514]."


We do not know who were the primitive inhabitants of Borneo. One would expect to find Negritoes in the interior, but despite the assertion of A. de Quatrefages[515] it is impossible to overlook the conclusions of A. B. Meyer[516] that no authoritative evidence of their occurrence is forthcoming, and A. C. Haddon[517] confidently states that there are none in Sarawak. It might be supposed that the Pre-Dravidian element found in Sumatra and Celebes might occur also in Borneo, but the only indication of such influence is the "black skin" noticed among certain Ulu Ayar of the Upper Kapuas in Western Dutch Borneo[518]. With the exception of certain peoples such as Europeans, Indians, Chinese, and Orang-Maláyu, whose foreign origin is obvious, the population as a whole may be regarded as being composed of two main races, the Indonesian and Proto-Malay. Probably all tribes are of mixed origin, but some, such as the Murut, Dusun, Kalabit, and Land Dayak are more Indonesian while the Iban (Sea Dayak) are distinctly Proto-Malay. The Land Dayak have doubtless been crossed with Indo-Javans.


Scattered over a considerable part of the jungle live the nomad Punan and Ukit. They are a slender pale people with a slightly broad head. They are grouped in small communities and inhabit the dense jungle at the head waters of the principal rivers of Borneo.[Pg 231] They live on whatever they can find in the jungle, and do not cultivate the soil, nor live in permanent houses. Their few wants are supplied by barter from friendly settled peoples, or in return for iron implements, calico, beads, tobacco, etc., they offer jungle produce, mainly gutta, indiarubber, camphor, dammar and ratans. They are very mild savages, not head-hunters, they are generous to one another, moderately truthful, kind to the women and very fond of their children.


Hose and Haddon have introduced the term Klemantan (Kalamantan) for the weak agricultural tribes such as the Murut, Kalabit, Land Dayak, Sebop, Barawan, Milanau, etc.[519] Brook Low[520], who knew the Land Dayak well, gives a very favourable account of the people and this opinion has been confirmed by other travellers. They are described as amiable, honest, grateful, moral and hospitable. Crimes of violence, other than head-hunting, are unknown. The circular panga is a "house set apart for the residence of young unmarried men, in which the trophy-heads are kept, and here also all ceremonial receptions take place[521]." The baloi of the Ot Danom of the Kahajan river is very similar[522]. The very energetic and dominating Bahau-Kenyah-Kayan group are rather short in stature, with slightly broad heads. They occupy the best tracts of land which lie in the undulating hills at the upper reaches of the rivers, between the swampy low country and the mountains. The Kayan more especially have almost exterminated some of the smaller tribes. The Klemantan and Kenyah-Kayan tribes are agriculturalists. They clear the jungle off the low hills that flank the tributaries of the larger rivers, but always leave a few scattered trees standing; irrigation is attempted by the Kalabits only, as padi rice is grown like any other cereals on dry ground; swamp padi is also grown on the low land. In their gardens they grow yams, pumpkins, sugar cane, bananas, and sometimes coconuts and other produce. They hunt all land animals that serve as food, and fish, usually with nets, in the rivers, or spear those[Pg 232] fish that have been stupefied with tuba; river prawns are also a favourite article of diet.

They all live in long communal houses which are situated on the banks of the rivers. Among the Klemantan tribes the headman has not much influence, unless he is a man of exceptional power and energy, but among the larger tribes and especially among the Kayan and Kenyah the headmen are the real chiefs and exercise undisputed sway. The Kenyah are perhaps the most advanced in social evolution, holding their own by superior solidarity and intelligence against the turbulent Kayan.

All the agricultural tribes are artistic, but in varying degrees; they are also musical and sing delightful chorus songs. In some tribes the ends of the beams of the houses are carved to represent various animals, in some the verandah is decorated with boldly carved planks, or with painted boards and doors. The bamboo receptacles carved in low relief, the bone handles of their swords and the minor articles of daily life, are decorated in a way that reveals the true artistic spirit. Both Kenyah and Kayan smelt iron and make spear heads and sword blades, the former being especially noted for their good steel. The forge with two bellows is the form widely spread in Malaysia.

Iban (Sea Dayak).

The truculent Iban (Sea Dayak) have spread from a restricted area in Sarawak[523]. They are short and have broader heads than the other tribes; the colour is on the whole darker than among the cinnamon coloured inland tribes. They have the same long, slightly wavy, black hair showing a reddish tinge in certain lights, that is characteristic of the Borneans generally. Most of the Iban inhabit low lying land; they prefer to live on the low hills, but as this is not always practicable they plant swamp padi; all those who settle at the heads of rivers plant padi on the hills in the same manner as the up-river natives. They also cultivate maize, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, gourds, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, mustard, ginger and other vegetables. Generally groups of relations work together in the fields. Although essentially agricultural, they are warlike and passionately devoted to head-hunting. The Iban of the Batang Lupar and Saribas in the olden days joined the Malays in their large war praus on piratical raids[Pg 233] along the coast and up certain rivers and they owe their name of Sea Dayaks to this practice. The raids were organised by Malays who went for plunder but they could always ensure the aid of Iban by the bribe of the heads of the slain as their share. The Iban women weave beautiful cotton cloths on a very simple loom. Intricate patterns are made by tying several warp strands with leaves at varying intervals, then dipping the whole into the dye which does not penetrate the tied portions. This process is repeated if a three-colour design is desired. The pattern is produced solely in the warp, the woof threads are self-coloured and are not visible in the fabric, which is therefore a cotton rep. Little tattooing is seen among the Iban women though the men have adopted the custom from the Kayan.

It is probable that the Iban belong to the same stock as the original Malay and if so, their migration may be regarded as the first wave of the movement that culminated in the Malay Empire. The Malays must have come to Borneo not later than the early part of the fifteenth century as Brunei was a large and wealthy town in 1521. Probably the Malays came directly from the Malay Peninsula, but they must have mixed largely with the Kadayan, Milanau and other coastal people. The Sarawak and Brunei Malays are probably mainly coastal Borneans with some Malay blood, but they have absorbed the Malay culture, spirit and religion.


From the sociological point of view the Punan, living by the chase and on exploitation of jungle produce, represent the lowest grade of culture in Borneo. Without social organisation they are alike incapable of real endemic improvement or of seriously affecting other peoples. The purely agricultural tribes that cultivate padi on the low hills or in the swamps form the next social stratum. These indigenous tillers of the soil have been hard pressed by various swarms of foreigners.

The Kenyah-Kayan migration was that of a people of a slightly higher grade of culture. They were agriculturalists, but the social organisation was firmer and they were probably superior in physique. If they introduced iron weapons, this would give them an enormous advantage. These immigrant agricultural artisans, directed by powerful chiefs, had no difficulty in taking possession of the most desirable land.

From an opposite point of the compass in early times[Pg 234] came another agricultural people who strangely enough have strong individualistic tendencies, the usually peaceable habits of tillers of the soil having been complicated by a lust for heads and other warlike propensities. But the Iban do not appear to have gained much against the Kenyah and Kayan. Conquest implies a strong leader, obedience to authority and concerted action. The Iban appear to be formidable only when led and organised by Europeans.

The Malay was of a yet higher social type. His political organisation was well established, and he had the advantage of religious enthusiasm, for Islam has no small share in the expansion of the Malay. He is a trader, and still more an exploiter, having a sporting element in his character not altogether compatible with steady trade. Then appeared on the scene the Anglo-Saxon overlord. The quality of firmness combined with justice made itself felt. At times the lower social types hurled themselves, but in vain, against the instrument that had been forged and tempered in a similar turmoil of Iberian, Celt, Angle and Viking in Northern Europe. Now they acknowledge that safety of life and property and almost complete liberty are fully worth the very small price that they have to pay for them[524].


The cult of omen animals, most frequently birds, is indigenous to Borneo. These are possessed with the spirit of certain invisible beings above, and bear their names, and are invoked to secure good crops, freedom from accident, victory in war, profit in exchange, skill in discourse and cleverness in all native craft. The Iban have a belief in Ngarong or spirit-helpers, somewhat resembling that of the Manitu of North America. The Ngarong is the spirit of a dead relative who visits a dreamer, who afterwards searches for the outward and visible sign of his spiritual protector, and finds it in some form, perhaps a natural object, or some one animal, henceforth held in special respect[525].

Early Man and his Works in Sumatra.
The Mentawi Islanders.

In Sumatra there occur some remains of Hindu temples[526], [Pg 235]as well as other mysterious monuments in the Passumah lands inland from Benkulen, relics of a former culture, which goes back to prehistoric times. They take the form of huge monoliths, which are roughly shaped to the likeness of human figures, with strange features very different from the Malay or Hindu types. The present Sarawi natives of the district, who would be quite incapable of executing such works, know nothing of their origin, and attribute them to certain legendary beings who formerly wandered over the land, turning all their enemies into stone. Further research may possibly discover some connection between these relics of a forgotten past and the numerous prehistoric monuments of Easter Island and other places in the Pacific Ocean. Of all the Indonesian peoples still surviving in Malaysia, none present so many points of contact with the Eastern Polynesians, as do the natives of the Mentawi Islands which skirt the south-west coast of Sumatra. "On a closer inspection of the inhabitants the attentive observer at once perceives that the Mentawi natives have but little in common with the peoples and tribes of the neighbouring islands, and that as regards physical appearance, speech, customs, and usages they stand almost entirely apart. They bear such a decided stamp of a Polynesian tribe that one feels far more inclined to compare them with the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands[527]."

Javanese and Hindu Influences.
Indian Origin of the Malaysian Alphabets.

The survival of an Indonesian group on the western verge of Malaysia is all the more remarkable since the Nias islanders, a little farther north, are of Mongol stock, like most if not all of the inhabitants of the Sumatran mainland. Here the typical Malays of the central districts (Menangkabau, Korinchi, and Siak) merge southwards in the mixed Malayo-Javanese peoples of the Rejang, Palembang, and Lampong districts. Although [Pg 236]Muhammadans probably since the thirteenth century, all these peoples had been early brought under Hindu influences by missionaries and even settlers from Java, and these influences are still apparent in many of the customs, popular traditions, languages, and letters of the South Sumatran settled communities. Thus the Lampongs, despite their profession of Islam, employ, not the Arabic characters, like the Malays proper, but a script derived from the peculiar Javanese writing system. This system itself, originally introduced from India probably over 2000 years ago, is based on some early forms of the Devanagari, such as those occurring in the rock inscriptions of the famous Buddhist king As'oka (third century B.C.)[528]. From Java, which is now shown beyond doubt to be the true centre of dispersion[529], the parent alphabet was under Hindu influences diffused in pre-Muhammadan times throughout Malaysia, from Sumatra to the Philippines.

But the thinly-spread Indo-Javanese culture, in few places penetrating much below the surface, received a rude shock from the Muhammadan irruption, its natural development being almost everywhere arrested, or else either effaced or displaced by Islam. No trace can any longer be detected of graphic signs in Borneo, where the aborigines have retained the savage state even in those southern districts where Buddhism or Brahmanism had certainly been propagated long before the arrival of the Muhammadan Malays. But elsewhere the Javanese stock alphabet has shown extraordinary vitality, persisting under diverse forms down to the present day, not only amongst the semi-civilised Mussulman peoples, such as the Sumatran Rejangs[530], Korinchi, and Lampongs, the Bugis and Mangkassaras of Celebes, and the (now Christian)[Pg 237] Tagalogs and Visayas of the Philippines, but even amongst the somewhat rude and pagan Palawan natives, the wild Manguianes of Mindoro, and the cannibal Battas[531] of North Sumatra.

The Battas—Cultured Cannibals.

These Battas, however, despite their undoubted cannibalism[532], cannot be called savages, at least without some reserve. They are skilful stock-breeders and agriculturists, raising fine crops of maize and rice; they dwell together in large, settled communities with an organised government, hereditary chiefs, popular assemblies, and a written civil and penal code. There is even an effective postal system, which utilises for letter-boxes the hollow tree-trunks at all the cross-roads, and is largely patronised by the young men and women, all of whom read and write, and carry on an animated correspondence in their degraded Devanagari script, which is written on palm-leaves in vertical lines running upwards and from right to left. The Battas also excel in several industries, such as pottery, weaving, jewellery, iron work, and house-building, their picturesque dwellings, which resemble Swiss chalets, rising to two stories above the ground-floor reserved for the live stock. For these arts they are no doubt largely indebted to their Hindu teachers, from whom also they have inherited some of their religious ideas, such as the triune deity—Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer—besides other inferior divinities collectively called diebata, a modified form of the Indian devaté[533].[Pg 238]


In the strangest contrast to these survivals of a foreign culture which had probably never struck very deep roots, stand the savage survivals from still more ancient times. Conspicuous amongst these are the cannibal practices, which if not now universal still take some peculiarly revolting forms. Thus captives and criminals are, under certain circumstances, condemned to be eaten alive, and the same fate is or was reserved for those incapacitated for work by age or infirmities. When the time came, we are told by the early European observers and by the reports of the Arabs, the "grandfathers" voluntarily suspended themselves by their arms from an overhanging branch, while friends and neighbours danced round and round, shouting, "when the fruit is ripe it falls." And when it did fall, that is, as soon as it could hold on no longer, the company fell upon it with their krisses, hacking it to pieces, and devouring the remains seasoned with lime-juice, for such feasts were generally held when the limes were ripe[534].

The Achinese.
Early Records.

Grouped chiefly round about Lake Toba, the Battas occupy a very wide domain, stretching south to about the parallel of Mount Ophir, and bordering northwards on the territory of the Achin people. These valiant natives, who have till recently stoutly maintained their political independence against the Dutch, were also at one time Hinduized, as is evident from many of their traditions, their Malayan language largely charged with Sanskrit terms, and even their physical appearance, suggesting a considerable admixture of Hindu as well as of Arab blood. With the Arab traders and settlers came the Koran, and the Achinese people have been not over-zealous followers of the Prophet since the close of the twelfth century. The Muhammadan State, founded in 1205, acquired a dominant position in the Archipelago early in the sixteenth century, when it ruled over about half of Sumatra, exacted tribute from many vassal princes, maintained powerful armaments by land and sea, and entered into political and commercial relations with Egypt, Japan, and several European States.

Islam and Hindu Reminiscences.

There are two somewhat distinct ethnical groups, the Orang-Tunong of the uplands, a comparatively homogeneous Malayan people, and the mixed Orang-Baruh of the lowlands, [Pg 239]who are described by A. Lubbers[535] as taller than the average Malay (5 feet 5 or 6 in.), also less round-headed (index 80.5), with prominent nose, rather regular features, and muscular frames; but the complexion is darker than that of the Orang-Maláyu, a trait which has been attributed to a larger infusion of Dravidian blood (Klings and Tamuls) from southern India. The charge of cruelty and treachery brought against them by the Dutch may be received with some reserve, such terms as "patriot" and "rebel" being interchangeable according to the standpoints from which they are considered. In any case no one denies them the virtues of valour and love of freedom, with which are associated industrious habits and a remarkable aptitude for such handicrafts as metal work, jewellery, weaving, and ship-building. The Achinese do not appear to be very strict Muhammadans; polygamy is little practised, their women are free to go abroad unveiled, nor are they condemned to the seclusion of the harem, and a pleasing survival from Buddhist times is the Kanduri, a solemn feast, in which the poor are permitted to share. Another reminiscence of Hindu philosophy may perhaps have been an outburst of religious fervour, which took the form of a pantheistic creed, and was so zealously preached, that it had to be stamped out with fire and sword by the dominant Moslem monotheists[536].

Ethnical Relations in Madagascar.

Since the French occupation of Madagascar, the Malagasy problem has naturally been revived. But it may be regretted that so much time and talent have been spent on a somewhat thrashed-out question by a number of writers, who did not first take the trouble to read up the literature of the subject.

Prehistoric Peoples.

By what race Madagascar was first peopled it is no longer possible to say. The local reports or traditions of primitive peoples, either extinct or still surviving in the interior, belong rather to the sphere of Malagasy folklore than to that of ethnological research. In these reports mention is frequently made of the Kimos, said to be now or formerly living in the Bara country, and of the Vazimbas, who are by some supposed to have been Gallas (Ba-Simba)—though they had no knowledge of iron—whose graves are supposed to be certain monolithic monuments[Pg 240] which take the form of menhirs disposed in circles, and are believed by the present inhabitants of the land to be still haunted by evil spirits, that is, the ghosts of the long extinct Vazimbas.

Oceanic Immigrants.
Negroid Element.

Much of the confusion prevalent regarding the present ethnical relations may be avoided if certain points (ably summarised by T. A. Joyce[537]) are borne in mind. The greater part of the population is negroid; the language spoken over the whole of the island and many institutions and customs are Malayo-Polynesian. A small section (Antimerina commonly called Hovas)—forming the dominant people in the nineteenth century—is of fairly pure Malay (or Javanese) blood, but is composed of sixteenth-century immigrants, whereas the language belongs to a very early branch of the Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) family. It would be natural to suppose that the negroid element was African[538], for in later times large numbers of Africans have been brought over by Arabs and other slavers; but there are several objections to this view. In the first place, the natives of the neighbouring coast are not seamen, and the voyage to Madagascar offers peculiar difficulties owing to the strong currents. In the second place, it seems impossible that the first inhabitants, supposing them to be African, should have abandoned their own language in favour of one introduced by a small minority of immigrants; the few Bantu words found in Madagascar may well have been adopted from the slaves. In the third place, the culture exhibits no distinctively African features, but is far more akin to that of south-east Asia. There is much to be said, therefore, for the view that the earliest and negroid inhabitants of Madagascar were Oceanic negroids, who have always been known as expert seamen.

Arabic Element.

Since the coming of the negroid population, which probably arrived in very early days, various small bands of immigrants or castaways have landed on the shores of Madagascar and imposed themselves as reigning dynasties on the surrounding villages, each thus forming the nucleus of what now appears as a tribe. Among these were immigrants from Arabia, and [Pg 241]J. T. Last, who identifies Madagascar with the island of Menuthias described by Arrian in the third century A.D.[539], suggests the "possibility that Madagascar may have been reached by Arabs before the Christian era." This "possibility" is converted almost into a certainty by the analysis of the Arabo-Malagasy terms made by Dahle, who clearly shows that such terms "are comparatively very few," and also "very ancient," in fact that, as already suggested by Fleischer of Leipzig, many, perhaps the majority of them, "may be traced back to Himyaritic influence[540]," that is, not merely to pre-Muhammadan, but to pre-Christian times, just like the Sanskritic elements in the Oceanic tongues.

Uniformity of the Language.

The evidence that Malagasy is itself one of these Oceanic tongues, and not an offshoot of the comparatively recent standard Malay is overwhelming, and need not here detain us[541]. The diffusion of this Austronesian language over the whole island—even amongst distinctly Negroid Bantu populations, such as the Betsileos and Tanalas—to the absolute exclusion of all other forms of speech, is an extraordinary linguistic phenomenon more easily proved than explained. There are, of course, provincialisms and even what may be called local dialects, such as that of the Antankarana people at the northern extremity of the island who, although commonly included in the large division of the western Sakalavas, really form a separate ethnical group, speaking a somewhat marked variety of Malagasy. But even this differs much less from the normal form than might be supposed by comparing, for instance, such a term as maso-mahamay, sun, with the Hova maso-andro, where maso in both means "eye," mahamay in[Pg 242] both = "burning," and andro in both = "day." Thus the only difference is that one calls the sun "burning eye," while the Hovas call it the "day's eye," as do so many peoples in Malaysia[542].

Malagasy Gothamites.

So also the fish-eating Anorohoro people, a branch of the Sihanakas in the Alaotra valley, are said to have "quite a different dialect from them[543]." But the statement need not be taken too seriously, because these rustic fisherfolk, who may be called the Gothamites of Madagascar, are supposed, by their scornful neighbours, to do everything "contrariwise." Of them it is told that once when cooking eggs they boiled them for hours to make them soft, and then finding they got harder and harder threw them away as unfit for food. Others having only one slave, who could not paddle the canoe properly, cut him in two, putting one half at the prow, the other at the stern, and were surprised at the result. It was not to be expected that such simpletons should speak Malagasy properly, which nevertheless is spoken with surprising uniformity by all the Malayan and Negro or Negroid peoples alike.

Partial Fusion of the Malayan and Negro Races.

In Madagascar, however, the fusion of the two races is far less complete than is commonly supposed. Various shades of transition between the two extremes are no doubt presented by the Sakalavas of the west, and the Betsimisarakas, Sitanakas, and others of the east coast. But, strange to say, on the central tableland the two seem to stand almost completely apart, so that here the politically dominant Hovas still present all the essential characteristics of the Oceanic Mongol, while their southern neighbours, the Betsileos, as well as the Tanalas and Ibaras, are described as "African pure and simple, allied to the south-eastern tribes of that continent[544]."

Specially remarkable is the account given by a careful observer, G. A. Shaw, of the Betsileos, whose "average height is not less than six feet for the men, and a few inches less for the women. They are large-boned and muscular, and their colour is several degrees darker than that of the Hovas, approaching very close to a black. The forehead is low and[Pg 243] broad, the nose flatter, and the lips thicker than those of their conquerors, whilst their hair is invariably crisp and woolly. No pure Betsileo is to be met with having the smooth long hair of the Hovas. In this, as in other points, there is a very clear departure from the Malayan type, and a close approximation to the Negro races of the adjacent continent[545]."

Hova Type.

Now compare these brawny negroid giants with the wiry undersized Malayan Hovas. As described by A. Vouchereau[546], their type closely resembles that of the Javanese—short stature, yellowish or light leather complexion, long, black, smooth and rather coarse hair, round head (85.25), flat and straight forehead, flat face, prominent cheek-bones, small straight nose, tolerably wide nostrils, small black and slightly oblique eyes, rather thick lips, slim lithesome figure, small extremities, dull restless expression, cranial capacity 1516 c.c., superior to both Negro and Sakalava[547].

The Black Element from Africa.

Except in respect of this high cranial capacity, the measurements of three Malagasy skulls in the Cambridge University Anatomical Museum, studied by W. L. H. Duckworth[548], correspond fairly well with these descriptions. Thus the cephalic index of the reputed Betsimisaraka (Negroid) and that of the Betsileo (Negro) are respectively 71 and 72.4, while that of the Hova is 82.1; the first two, therefore, are long-headed, the third round-headed, as we should expect. But the cubic capacity of the Hova (presumably Mongoloid) is only 1315 as compared with 1450 and 1480 of two others, presumably African Negroes. Duckworth discusses the question whether the black element in Madagascar is of African or Oceanic (Melanesian-Papuan) origin, about which much diversity of opinion still prevails, and on the evidence of the few cranial specimens available he decides in favour of the African.[Pg 244]

Mental Qualities of the Malagasy.
Spread of Christianity.

Despite the low cubic capacity of Duckworth's Hova, the mental powers of these, and indeed of the Malagasy generally, are far from despicable. Before the French occupation the London Missionary Society had succeeded in disseminating Christian principles and even some degree of culture among considerable numbers both in the Hova capital and surrounding districts. The local press had been kept going by native compositors who had issued quite an extensive literature both in Malagasy and English. Agricultural and industrial methods had been improved, some engineering works attempted, and the Hova craftsmen had learnt to build but not to complete houses in the European style, because, although they could master European processes, they could not, Christians though they were, get the better of the old superstitions, one of which is that the owner of a house always dies within a year of its completion. Longevity is therefore ensured by not completing it, with the curious result that the whole city looks unfinished or dilapidated. In the house where Mrs Colvile stayed, "one window was framed and glazed, the other nailed up with rough boards; part of the stair-banister had no top-rail; outside only a portion of the roof had been tiled; and so on throughout[549]."


The culture has been thus summarised by T. A. Joyce[550]. Clothing is entirely vegetable, and the Malay sarong is found throughout the east; bark-cloth in the south-east and west. Hairdressing varies considerably, and among the Bara and Sakalava is often elaborate. Silver ornaments are found amongst the Antimerina and some other eastern tribes, made chiefly from European coins dating from the sixteenth century. Circumcision is universal. In the east the tribes are chiefly agricultural; in the north, west and south, pastoral. Fishing is important among those tribes situated on coast, lake or river. Houses are all rectangular and pile-dwellings are found locally. Rice is the staple crop and the cattle are of the humped variety. The Antimerina excel the rest in all crafts. Weaving, basket-work (woven variety) and iron-working are all good; the use of iron is said to have been unknown to the Bara and Vazimba until comparatively recent times. Pottery is poor. Carvings in the [Pg 245]round (men and animals) are found amongst the Sakalava and Bara, in relief (arabesques, etc.) among the Betsileo and others. Before the introduction of firearms, the spear was the universal weapon; bows are rare and possibly of late introduction; slings and the blowgun are also found. Shields are circular, made of wood covered with hide. The early system of government was patriarchal, and villages were independent; the later immigrants introduced a system of feudal monarchy with themselves as a ruling caste. Thus the Antimerina have three main castes; Andriana or nobles (i.e. pure-blooded descendants of the conquerors), Hova, or freemen (descendants of the incorporated Vazimba more or less mixed with the conquerors), and Andevo or slaves. The king was regarded almost as a god. An institution thoroughly suggestive of Malayo-Polynesian sociology is that of fadi or tabu, which enters into every sphere of human activity. An indefinite creator-god was recognized, but more important were a number of spirits and fetishes, the latter with definite functions. Signs of tree worship and of belief in transmigration are sporadic. At the present time, half the population of the island is, at least nominally, Christian.

Malagasy Folklore.

A good deal of fancy is displayed in the oral literature, comprising histories, or at least legends, fables, songs, riddles, and a great mass of folklore, much of which has already been rescued from oblivion by the "Malagasy Folklore Society." Some of the stories present the usual analogies to others in widely separated lands, stories which seem to be perennial, and to crop up wherever the surface is a little disturbed by investigators. One of those in Dahle's extensive collection, entitled the "History of Andrianarisainaboniamasoboniamanoro" might be described as a variant of our "Beauty and the Beast." Besides this prince with the long name, called Bonia "for short," there is a princess "Golden Beauty," both being of miraculous birth, but the latter a cripple and deformed, until found and wedded by Bonia. Then she is so transfigured that the "Beast" is captivated and contrives to carry her off. Thereupon follows an extraordinary series of adventures, resulting of course in the rescue of Golden Beauty by Bonia, when everything ends happily, not only for the two lovers, but for all other people whose wives had also been abducted. These are now restored to their husbands by the hero, who [Pg 246]vanquishes and slays the monster in a fierce fight, just as in our nursery tales of knights and dragons.

The Philippine Natives.

In the Philippines, where the ethnical confusion is probably greater than in any other part of Malaysia, the great bulk of the inhabitants appear to be of Indonesian and proto-Malayan stocks. Except in the southern island of Mindanao, which is still mainly Muhammadan or heathen, most of the settled populations have long been nominal Roman Catholics under a curious theocratic administration, in which the true rulers are not the civil functionaries, but the priests, and especially the regular clergy[551]. One result has been over three centuries of unstable political and social relations, ending in the occupation of the archipelago by the United States (1898). Another, with which we are here more concerned, has been such a transformation of the subtle Malayan character that those who have lived longest amongst the natives pronounce their temperament unfathomable. Having to comply outwardly with the numerous Christian observances, they seek relief in two ways, first by making the most of the Catholic ceremonial and turning the many feast-days of the calendar into occasions of revelry and dissipation, connived at if not even shared in by the padres[552]; secondly by secretly cherishing the old beliefs and disguising their true feelings, until the opportunity is presented of throwing off the mask and declaring themselves in their true colours. A Franciscan friar, who had spent half his life amongst them, left on record that "the native is an incomprehensible phenomenon, the mainspring of whose line of thought and the guiding motive of whose actions have never yet been, and perhaps never will be, discovered. A native will serve a master satisfactorily for years, and then suddenly abscond, or commit some such hideous crime as conniving with a brigand band to murder the family and pillage the house[553]."

In fact nobody can ever tell what a Tagal, and especially a Visaya, will do at any moment. His character is a succession of surprises; "the experience of each year brings[Pg 247] one to form fresh conclusions, and the most exact definition of such a kaleidoscopic creature is, after all, hypothetical."

After centuries of misrule, it was perhaps not surprising that no kind of sympathy was developed between the natives and the whites. Foreman fells us that everywhere in the archipelago he found mothers teaching their little ones to look on their white rulers as demoniacal beings, evil spirits, or at least something to be dreaded. "If a child cries, it is hushed by the exclamation, Castila! (Spaniard); if a white man approaches a native dwelling, the watchword always is Castila! and the children hasten to retreat from the dreadful object."

Three Social Groups.
The Indios.

For administrative purposes the natives were classed in three social divisions—Indios, Infieles, and Moros—which, as aptly remarked by F. H. H. Guillemard, is "an ecclesiastical rather than a scientific classification[554]." The Indios were the Christianized and more or less cultured populations of all the towns and of the settled agricultural districts, speaking a distinct Malayo-Polynesian language of much more archaic type than the standard Malay. According to the census of 1903 the total population of the islands was 7,635,428, of whom nearly 7,000,000 were classed as civilised, and the rest as wild, including 23,000 Negritoes (Aeta, see p. 156). At the time of the Spanish occupation in the sixteenth century the Visayas of the central islands and part of Mindanao were the most advanced among the native tribes, but this distinction is now claimed for the Tagalogs, who form the bulk of the population in Manila and other parts of Luzon, and also in Mindanao, and whose language is gradually displacing other dialects throughout the archipelago. Other civilised tribes are the Ilocano, Bicol, Pangasinan, Pampangan and Cagayan, all of Luzon. Less civilised tribes are the Manobo, Mandaya, Subano and Bagobo of Mindanao, the Bukidnon of Mindanao and the central islands, the Tagbanua and Batak of Palawan, and the Igorots of Luzon, some of whom are industrious farmers, while among others, head-hunting is still prevalent. These have been described by A. E. Jenks in a monograph[555]. The head form is very[Pg 248] variable. Of 32 men measured by Jenks the extremes of cephalic index were 91.48 and 67.48. The stature is always low, averaging 1.62 m. (5 ft. 4 in.) but with an appearance of greater height. The hair is black, straight, lank, coarse and abundant but "I doubt whether to-day an entire tribe of perfectly straight-haired primitive Malayan people exists in the archipelago[556]."

The Moros.

Under Moros ("Moors") are comprised the Muhammadans exclusively, some of whom are Malayans (chiefly in Mindanao, Basilan, and Palawan), some true Malays (chiefly in the Sulu archipelago). Many of these are still independent, and not a few, if not actually wild, are certainly but little removed from the savage state. Yet, like the Sumatran Battas, they possess a knowledge of letters, the Sulu people using the Arabic script, as do all the Orang-Maláyu, while the Palawan natives employ a variant of the Devanagari prototype derived directly from the Javanese, as above explained. They number nearly 280,000, of whom more than one half are in Mindanao, and they form the bulk of the population in some of the islands of the Sulu archipelago.

Some of these Sulu people, till lately fierce sea-rovers, get baptized now and then; but, says Foreman, "they appeared to be as much Christian as I was Mussulman[557]." They keep their harems all the same, and when asked how many gods there are, answer "four," presumably Allah plus the Athanasian Trinity. So the Ba-Fiots of Angola add crucifying to their "penal code," and so in King M'tesa's time the Baganda scrupulously kept two weekly holidays, the Mussulman Friday, and the Christian Sunday. Lofty creeds superimposed too rapidly on primitive beliefs are apt to get "mixed"; they need time to become assimilated.

Malayans and Indonesians in Formosa.
The Chinese Settlers.

That in the aborigines of Formosa are represented both Mongol (proto-Malayan) and Indonesian elements may now probably be accepted as an established fact. The long-standing reports of Negritoes also, like the Philippine Aeta, have never been confirmed, and may be dismissed from the present consideration. Probably five-sixths of the whole population are [Pg 249]Chinese immigrants, amongst whom are a large number of Hakkas and Hok-los from the provinces of Fo-Kien and Kwang-tung[558]. They occupy all the cultivated western lowlands, which from the ethnological standpoint may be regarded as a seaward outpost of the Chinese mainland. The rest of the island, that is, the central highlands and precipitous eastern slopes, may similarly be looked on as a north-eastern outpost of Malaysia, being almost exclusively held by Indonesian and Malayan aborigines from Malaysia (especially the Philippines), with possibly some early intruders both from Polynesia and from the north (Japan). All are classed by the Chinese settlers after their usual fashion in three social divisions:—

1. The Pepohwans of the plains, who although called "Barbarians," are sedentary agriculturists and quite as civilised as their Chinese neighbours themselves, with whom they are gradually merging in a single ethnical group. The Pepohwans are described by P. Ibis as a fine race, very tall, and "fetishists," though the mysterious rites are left to the women. Their national feasts, dances, and other usages forcibly recall those of the Micronesians and Polynesians. They may therefore, perhaps, be regarded as early immigrants from the South Sea Islands, distinct in every respect from the true aborigines.

2. The Sekhwans, "Tame Savages[559]," who are also settled agriculturists, subject to the Chinese (since 1895 to the Japanese) administration, but physically distinct from all the other Formosans—light complexion, large mouth, thick lips, remarkably long and prominent teeth, weak constitution. P. Ibis suspects a strain of Dutch blood dating from the seventeenth century. This is confirmed by the old books and other curious documents found amongst them, which have given rise to so much speculation, and, it may be added, some mystification, regarding a peculiar writing system and a literature formerly current amongst the Formosan aborigines[560].

[Pg 250]

3. The Chinhwans, "Green Barbarians"—that is, utter savages—the true independent aborigines, of whom there are an unknown number of tribes, but regarding whom the Chinese possess but little definite information. Not so their Japanese successors, one of whom, Kisak Tamai[561], tells us that the Chinhwans show a close resemblance to the Malays of the Malay Peninsula and also to those of the Philippines, and in some respects to the Japanese themselves. When dressed like Japanese and mingling with Japanese women, they can hardly be distinguished from them. The vendetta is still rife amongst many of the ruder tribes, and such is their traditional hatred of the Chinese intruders that no one can either be tattooed or permitted to wear a bracelet until he has carried off a Celestial head or two. In every household there is a frame or bracket on which these heads are mounted, and some of their warriors can proudly point to over seventy of such trophies. It is a relief to hear that with their new Japanese masters they have sworn friendship, these new rulers of the land being their "brothers and sisters." The oath of eternal alliance is taken by digging a hole in the ground, putting a stone in it, throwing earth at each other, then covering the stone with the earth, all of which means that "as the stone in the ground keeps sound, so do we keep our word unbroken."

Racial Affinities.

It is interesting to note that this Japanese ethnologist's remarks on the physical resemblances of the aborigines are fully in accord with those of European observers. Thus to Hamy "they recalled the Igorrotes of North Luzon, as well as the Malays of Singapore[562]." G. Taylor also, who has visited several of the wildest groups in the southern and eastern districts[563] (Tipuns, Paiwans, Diaramocks, Nickas, Amias and many others), traces some "probably" to Japan (Tipuns); others to Malaysia (the cruel, predatory Paiwan head-hunters); and others to the Liu-Kiu archipelago (the Pepohwans now of Chinese speech). He describes the Diaramocks as the most dreaded of all the[Pg 251] southern groups, but doubts whether the charge of cannibalism brought against them by their neighbours is quite justified.

Whether the historical Malays from Singapore or elsewhere, as above suggested, are really represented in Formosa may be doubted, since no survivals either of Hindu or Muhammadan rites appear to have been detected amongst the aborigines. It is of course possible that they may have reached the island at some remote time, and since relapsed into savagery, from which the Orang-laut were never very far removed. But in the absence of proof, it will be safer to regard all the wild tribes as partly of Indonesian, partly of proto-Malayan origin.

Linguistic Affinities.

This view is also in conformity with the character of the numerous Formosan dialects, whose affinities are either with the Gyarung and others of the Asiatic Indonesian tongues, or else with the Austronesian organic speech generally, but not specially with any particular member of that family, least of all with the comparatively recent standard Malay. Thus Arnold Schetelig points out that only about a sixth part of the Formosan vocabulary taken generally corresponds with modern Malay[564]. The analogies of all the rest must be sought in the various branches of the Oceanic stock language, and in the Gyarung and the non-Chinese tongues of Eastern China[565]. Formosa thus presents a curious ethnical and linguistic connecting link between the Continental and Oceanic populations.

The Nicobarese.

In the Nicobar archipelago are distinguished two ethnical groups, the coast people, i.e. the Nicobarese[566] proper, and the Shom Pen, aborigines of the less accessible inland districts in Great Nicobar. But the distinction appears to be rather social than racial, and we may now conclude with E. H. Man that all the islanders belong essentially to the Mongolic division, the inlanders representing the pure type, the others being "descended from[Pg 252] a mongrel Malay stock, the crosses being probably in the majority of cases with Burmese and occasionally with natives of the opposite coast of Siam, and perchance also in remote times with such of the Shom Pen as may have settled in their midst[567]."

Among the numerous usages which point to an Indo-Chinese and Oceanic connection are pile-dwellings; the chewing of betel, which appears to be here mixed with some earthy substance causing a dental incrustation so thick as even to prevent the closing of the lips; distention of the ear-lobe by wooden cylinders; aversion from the use of milk; and the couvade, as amongst some Bornean Dayaks. The language, which has an extraordinarily rich phonetic system (as many as 25 consonantal and 35 vowel sounds), is polysyllabic and untoned, like the Austronesian, and the type also seems to resemble the Oceanic more than the Continental Mongol subdivision. Mean height 5 ft. 3 in. (Shom Pen one inch less); nose wide and flat; eyes rather obliquely set; cheekbones prominent; features flat, though less so than in the normal Malayan; complexion mostly a yellowish or reddish brown (Shom Pen dull brown); hair a dark rusty brown, rarely quite black, straight, though not seldom wavy and even ringletty, but Shom Pen generally quite straight.

On the other hand they approach nearer to the Burmese in their mental characters; in their frank, independent spirit, inquisitiveness, and kindness towards their women, who enjoy complete social equality, as in Burma; and lastly in their universal belief in spirits called iwi or síya, who, like the nats of Indo-China, cause sickness and death unless scared away or appeased by offerings. Like the Burmese, also, they place a piece of money in the mouth or against the cheek of a corpse before burial, to help in the other world.

One of the few industries is the manufacture of a peculiar kind of rough painted pottery, which is absolutely confined to the islet of Chowra, 5 miles north of Teressa. The reason of this restriction is explained by a popular legend, according to which in remote ages the Great Unknown decreed that, on pain of sudden death, an earthquake, or some such calamity, the making of earthenware was to be carried on only in Chowra, and all the work of preparing the clay, moulding[Pg 253] and firing the pots, was to devolve on the women. Once, a long time ago, one of these women, when on a visit in another island, began, heedless of the divine injunction, to make a vessel, and fell dead on the spot. Thus was confirmed the tradition, and no attempt has since been made to infringe the "Chowra monopoly[568]."

All things considered, it may be inferred that the archipelago was originally occupied by primitive peoples of Malayan stock now represented by the Shom Pen of Great Nicobar, and was afterwards re-settled on the coastlands by Indo-Chinese and Malayan intruders, who intermingled, and either extirpated or absorbed, or else drove to the interior the first occupants. Nicobar thus resembles Formosa in its intermediate position between the continental and Oceanic Mongol populations. Another point of analogy is the absence of Negritoes from both of these insular areas, where anthropologists had confidently anticipated the presence of a dark element like that of the Andamanese and Philippine Aeta.


[492] Here E. T. Hamy finds connecting links between the true Malays and the Indonesians in the Bicols of Albay and the Bisayas of Panay ("Les Races Malaïques et Américaines," in L'Anthropologie, 1896, p. 136). Used in this extended sense, Hamy's Malaïque corresponds generally to our Malayan as defined presently.

[493] Ethnically Malayo-Polynesian is an impossible expression, because it links together the Malays, who belong to the Mongol, and the Polynesians, who belong to the Caucasic division. But as both undoubtedly speak languages of the same linguistic stock the expression is permitted in philology, although, as P. W. Schmidt points out, "Malay" and "Polynesian" are not of equal rank: and the combination is as unbalanced as "Indo-Bavarian" for "Indo-Germanic"; it is best therefore to adopt Schmidt's term Austronesian for this family of languages (Die Mon-Khmer Völker, 1906, p. 69).

[494] Indonesian type: undulating black hair, often tinged with red; tawny skin, often rather light; low stature, 1.54 m.-1.57 m. (5 ft. 0½ in.-5 ft. 1¾ in.); mesaticephalic head (76-78) probably originally dolichocephalic; cheek-bones sometimes projecting; nose often flattened, sometimes concave. It is difficult to isolate this type as it has almost everywhere been mixed with a brachycephalic Proto-Malay stock, but the Muruts of Borneo (cranial index 73) are probably typical (A. C. Haddon, The Races of Man, 1909, p. 14).

[495] Recent literature on this area includes F. A. Swettenham, The Real Malay, 1900, British Malaya, 1906; W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic, 1900; N. Annandale and H. C. Robinson, Fasciculi Malayenses, 1903; W. W. Skeat and C. O. Blagden, Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula, 1903.

[496] J. Leyden, Malay Annals, 1821, p. 44.

[497] In some places quite recent, as in Rembau, Malay Peninsula, whose inhabitants are mainly immigrants from Sumatra in the seventeenth century; and in the neighbouring group of petty Negri Sembilan States, where the very tribal names, such as Anak Acheh, and Sri Lemak Menangkabau, betray their late arrival from the Sumatran districts of Achin and Menangkabau.

[498] The Malay Archipelago, p. 310.

[499] For Celebes see Von Paul und Fritz Sarasin, Reisen in Celebes ausgeführt in den Jahren 1893-6 und 1902-3, 1905, and Versuch einer Anthropologie der Insel Celebes, 1905.

[500] In 1898 a troop of Javanese minstrels visited London, and one of them, whom I addressed in a few broken Malay sentences, resented in his sleepy way the imputation that he was an Orang-Maláyu, explaining that he was Orang Java, a Javanese, and (when further questioned) Orang Solo, a native of the Solo district, East Java. It was interesting to notice the very marked Mongolic features of these natives, vividly recalling the remark of A. R. Wallace, on the difficulty of distinguishing between a Javanese and a Chinaman when both are dressed alike. The resemblance may to a small extent be due to "mixture with Chinese blood" (B. Hagen, Jour. Anthrop. Soc. Vienna, 1889); but occurs over such a wide area that it must mainly be attributed to the common origin of the Chinese and Javanese peoples.

[501] A. H. Keane, Eastern Geography, 2nd ed. 1892, p. 121.

[502] Academy, May 1, 1897, p. 469.

[503] Cool, p. 139.

[504] The Malay Archipelago, p. 175.

[505] In Malay Sketches, 1895.

[506] Cf. M. A. Czaplicka on Arctic Hysteria in Aboriginal Siberia, 1914, p. 307.

[507] On these national pastimes see Sir Hugh Clifford, In Court and Kampong, 1897, p. 46 sq.

[508] Cujo officio he rubar e pescar, "whose business it is to rob and fish" (Barros). Many of the Bajaus lived entirely afloat, passing their lives in boats from the cradle to the grave, and praying Allah that they might die at sea.

[509] Thucydides, Pel. War, I. 1-16.

[510] These are the noted Illanuns, who occupy the south side of the large Philippine island of Mindanao, but many of whom, like the Bajaus of Celebes and the Sulu Islanders, have formed settlements on the north-east coast of Borneo. "Long ago their warfare against the Spaniards degenerated into general piracy. Their usual practice was not to take captives, but to murder all on board any boat they took. Those with us [British North Borneo] have all settled down to a more orderly way of life" (W. B. Pryer, Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1886, p. 231).

[511] The Malay Archipelago, p. 341.

[512] In Central Africa "the belief in 'were' animals, that is to say in human beings who have changed themselves into lions or leopards or some such harmful beasts, is nearly universal. Moreover there are individuals who imagine they possess this power of assuming the form of an animal and killing human beings in that shape." Sir H. H. Johnston, British Central Africa, p. 439.

[513] In Court and Kampong, p. 63.

[514] Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1886, p. 227. The Rajah gives the leading features of the character of his countrymen as "pride of race and birth, extraordinary observance of punctilio, and a bigoted adherence to ancient custom and tradition."

[515] The Pygmies (Translation), 1895, p. 26, fig. 15.

[516] The Distribution of the Negritos, 1899, p. 50.

[517] In the Appendix to C. Hose and W. McDougall, The Pagan Tribes of Borneo, 1912, p. 311.

[518] J. H. Kohlbrugge, L'Anthropologie, IX. 1898.

[519] A. C. Haddon, "A Sketch of the Ethnography of Sarawak," Archivio per l'Antropologia e l'Etnologia, XXXI. 1901; C. Hose and W. McDougall, The Pagan Tribes of Borneo, 1912, Appendix, p. 314.

[520] H. Ling Roth, The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, 1896.

[521] O. Beccari, Wanderings in the Great Forests of Borneo, 1904, p. 54.

[522] Schwaner, in H. Ling Roth, The Natives of Sarawak, etc., 1896.

[523] A. C. Haddon, Head-Hunters, Black, White and Brown, 1901, p. 324.

[524] A. C. Haddon, Head-Hunters, Black, White and Brown, 1901, pp. 327-8.

[525] For further literature on Borneo see W. H. Furness, The Home-life of the Borneo Head-Hunters, 1902; A. W. Nieuwenhuis, Quer durch Borneo, 1904; E. H. Gomes, Seventeen Years among the Sea-Dyaks of Borneo, 1911; C. Hose and W. McDougall, Journ. Anthr. Inst., XXXI. 1901, and The Pagan Tribes of Borneo, 1912.

[526] Not only in the southern districts for centuries subject to Javanese influences, but also in Battaland, where they were first discovered by H. von Rosenberg in 1853, and figured and described in Der Malayische Archipel, Leipzig, 1878, Vol. I. p. 27 sq. "Nach ihrer Form und ihren Bildwerken zu urtheilen, waren die Gebäude Tempel, worin der Buddha-Kultus gefeiert wurde" (p. 28). These are all the more interesting since Hindu ruins are otherwise rare in Sumatra, where there is nothing comparable to the stupendous monuments of Central and East Java.

[527] Von Rosenberg, op. cit. Vol. I. p. 189. Amongst the points of close resemblance may be mentioned the outriggers, for which Mentawi has the same word (abak) as the Samoan (va'r = vaka); the funeral rites; taboo; the facial expression; and the language, in which the numerical systems are identical; cf. Ment. limongapula with Sam. limagafulu, the Malay being limapulah (fifty), where the Sam. infix ga (absent in Malay) is pronounced gna, exactly as in Ment.

[528] See Fr. Müller, Ueber den Ursprung der Schrift der Malaiischen Völker, Vienna, 1865; and my Appendix to Stanford's Australasia, First Series, 1879, p. 624.

[529] Die Mangianenschrift von Mindoro, herausgegeben von A. B. Meyer u. A. Schadenberg, speciell bearbeitet von W. Foy, Dresden, 1895; see also my remarks in Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1896, p. 277 sq.

[530] The Rejang, which certainly belongs to the same Indo-Javanese system as all the other Malaysian alphabets, has been regarded by Sayce and Renan as "pure Phoenician," while Neubauer has compared it with that current in the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. The suggestion that it may have been introduced by the Phoenician crews of Alexander's admiral, Nearchus (Archaeol. Oxon. 1895, No. 6), could not have been made by anyone aware of its close connection with the Lampong of South, and the Batta of North Sumatra (see also Prof. Kern, Globus, 70, p. 116).

[531] Sing. Batta, pl. Battak, hence the current form Battaks is a solecism, and we should write either Battas or Battak. Lassen derives the word from the Sanskrit b'háta, "savage."

[532] Again confirmed by Volz and H. von Autenrieth, who explored Battaland early in 1898, and penetrated to the territory of the "Cannibal Pakpaks" (Geogr. Journ., June, 1898, p. 672); not however "for the first time," as here stated. The Pakpaks had already been visited in 1853 by Von Rosenberg, who found cannibalism so prevalent that "Niemand Anstand nimmt das essen von Menschenfleisch einzugestehen" (op. cit. 1. p. 56).

[533] It is interesting to note that by the aid of the Lampong alphabet, South Sumatra, John Mathew reads the word Daibattah in the legend on the head-dress of a gigantic figure seen by Sir George Grey on the roof of a cave on the Glenelg river, North-west Australia ("The Cave Paintings of Australia," etc., in Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1894, p. 44 sq.). He quotes from Coleman's Mythology of the Hindus the statement that "the Battas of Sumatra believe in the existence of one supreme being, whom they name Debati Hasi Asi. Since completing the work of creation they suppose him to have remained perfectly quiescent, having wholly committed the government to his three sons, who do not govern in person, but by vakeels or proxies." Here is possibly another confirmation of the view that early Malayan migrations or expeditions, some even to Australia, took place in pre-Muhammadan times, long before the rise and diffusion of the Orang-Maláyu in the Archipelago.

[534] Memoir of the Life etc. of Sir T. S. Raffles, by his widow, 1830.

[535] "Anthropologie des Atjehs," in Rev. Med., Batavia, XXX. 6, 1890.

[536] See C. Snouck Hurgronje, The Achenese, 1906.

[537] Handbook to the Ethnographical Collections, British Museum, 1910, p. 245.

[538] This opinion is still held by many competent authorities. Cf. J. Deniker, The Races of Man, 1900, p. 469 ff.

[539] "His remarks would scarcely apply to any other island off the East African coast, his descriptions of the rivers, crocodiles, land-tortoises, canoes, sea-turtles, and wicker-work weirs for catching fish, apply exactly to Madagascar of the present day, but to none of the other islands" (Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1896, p. 47).

[540] Loc. cit. p. 77. Thus, to take the days of the week, we have:—Malagasy alahady, alatsinainy; old Arab. (Himyar.) al-áhadu, al-itsnáni; modern Arab. el-áhad, el-etnén (Sunday, Monday), where the Mal. forms are obviously derived not from the present, but from the ancient Arabic. From all this it seems reasonable to infer that the early Semitic influences in Madagascar may be due to the same Sabaean or Minaean peoples of South Arabia, to whom the Zimbabwe monuments in the auriferous region south of the Zambesi were accredited by Theodore Bent.

[541] Those who may still doubt should consult M. Aristide Marre, Les Affinités de la Langue Malgache, Leyden, 1884; Last's above quoted Paper in the Journ. Anthr. Inst. and R. H. Codrington's Melanesian Languages, Oxford, 1885.

[542] Malay mata-ari; Bajau mata-lon; Menado mata-roū; Salayer mato-allo, all meaning literally "day's eye" (mata, mato = Malagasy maso = eye; ari, allo, etc. = day, with normal interchange of r and l).

[543] J. Sibree, Antananarivo Annual, 1877, p. 62.

[544] W. D. Cowan, The Bara Land, Antananarivo, 1881, p. 67.

[545] "The Betsileo, Country and People," in Antananarivo Annual, 1877, p. 79.

[546] "Note sur l'Anthropologie de Madagascar," etc., in L'Anthropologie, 1897, p. 149 sq.

[547] The contrast between the two elements is drawn in a few bold strokes by Mrs Z. Colvile, who found that in the east coast districts the natives (Betsimisarakas chiefly) were black "with short, curly hair and negro type of feature, and showed every sign of being of African origin. The Hovas, on the contrary, had complexions little darker than those of the peasantry of Southern Europe, straight black hair, rather sharp features, slim figures, and were unmistakably of the Asiatic type" (Round the Black Man's Garden, 1893, p. 143). But even amongst the Hovas a strain of black blood is betrayed in the generally rather thick lips, and among the lower classes in the wavy hair and dark skin.

[548] Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1897, p. 285 sq.

[549] Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1897, p. 153.

[550] Handbook to the Ethnological Collection, British Museum, 1910, pp. 246-7.

[551] Augustinians, Dominicans, Recollects (Friars Minor of the Strict Observance), and Jesuits.

[552] In fact there is no great parade of morality on either side, nor is it any reflection on a woman to have children by the priest.

[553] J. Foreman, The Philippine Islands, 1899, p. 181.

[554] Australasia, 1894, II. p. 49.

[555] The Bontoc Igorot, Eth. Survey Pub. Vol. I. 1904. Further information concerning the Philippines is published in the Census Report in 1903, 1905; Ethnological Survey Publications, 1904- ; C. A. Koeze, Crania Ethnica Philippinica, ein Beitrag zur Anthropologie der Philippinen, 1901- ; Henry Gannett, People of the Philippines, 1904; R. B. Bean, The Racial Anatomy of the Philippine Islanders, 1910; Fay-Cooper Cole, Wild Tribes of Davao District, Mindanao, 1913.

[556] A. E. Jenks, The Bontoc Igorot, 1904, p. 41.

[557] Op. cit. p. 247.

[558] Girard de Rialle, Rev. d'Anthrop., Jan. and April, 1885. These studies are based largely on the data supplied by M. Paul Ibis and earlier travellers in the island. Nothing better has since appeared except G. Taylor's valuable contributions to the China Review (see below). The census of 1904 gave 2,860,574 Chinese, 51,770 Japanese and 104,334 aborigines.

[559] Lit. "ripe barbarians" (barbares mûrs, Ibis).

[560] See facsimiles of bilingual and other MSS. from Formosa in T. de Lacouperie's Formosa Notes on MSS., Languages, and Races, Hertford, 1887. The whole question is here fully discussed, though the author seems unable to arrive at any definite conclusion even as to the bona or mala fides of the noted impostor George Psalmanazar.

[561] Globus, 70, p. 93 sq.

[562] "Les Races Malaïques," etc., in L'Anthropologie, 1896.

[563] "The Aborigines of Formosa," in China Review, XIV. p. 198 sq., also xvi. No. 3 ("A Ramble through Southern Formosa"). The services rendered by this intelligent observer to Formosan ethnology deserve more general recognition than they have hitherto received. See also the Report on the control of the Aborigines of Formosa, Bureau of Aboriginal Affairs, Formosa, 1911.

[564] "Sprachen der Ureinwohner Formosa's," in Zeitschr. f. Völkerpsychologie, etc., v. p. 437 sq. This anthropologist found to his great surprise that the Polynesian and Maori skulls in the London College of Surgeons presented striking analogies with those collected by himself in Formosa. Here at least is a remarkable harmony between speech and physical characters.

[565] De Lacouperie, op. cit. p. 73.

[566] The natives of course know nothing of this word, and speak of their island homes as Mattai, a vague term applied equally to land, country, village, and even the whole world.

[567] "The Nicobar Islanders," in Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1889, p. 354 sq. Cf. C. B. Kloss, In the Andamans and Nicobars, 1903.

[568] E. H. Man, Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1894, p. 21.

[Pg 254]



Domain of the Mongolo-Turki Section—Early Contact with Caucasic Peoples—Primitive Man in Siberia—and Mongolia—Early Man in Korea and Japan—in Finland and East Europe—Early Man in Babylonia—The Sumerians—The Akkadians—Babylonian Chronology—Elamite Origins—Historical Records—Babylonian Religion—Social System—General Culture—The Mongols Proper—Physical Type—Ethnical and Administrative Divisions—Buddhism—The Tunguses—Cradle and Type—Mental Characters—Shamanism—The Manchus—Origins and Early Records—Type—The Dauri—Mongolo-Turki Speech—Language and Racial Characters—Mongol and Manchu Script—The Yukaghirs—A Primitive Writing System—Chukchis and Koryaks—Chukchi and Eskimo Relations—Type and Social State—Koryaks and Kamchadales—The Gilyaks—The Koreans—Ethnical Elements—Korean Origins and Records—Religion—The Korean Script—The Japanese—Origins—Constituent Elements—The Japanese Type—Japanese and Liu-Kiu Islanders—Their Languages and Religions—Cult of the Dead—Shintoism and Buddhism.



Present Range. The Northern Hemisphere from Japan to Lapland, and from the Arctic Ocean to the Great Wall and Tibet; Aralo-Caspian Basin; Parts of Irania; Asia Minor; Parts of East Russia, Balkan Peninsula, and Lower Danube.

Physical Characters.

Hair, generally the same as South Mongol, but in Mongolo-Caucasic transitional groups brown, chestnut, and even towy or light flaxen, also wavy and ringletty; beard mostly absent except amongst the Western Turks and some Koreans.

Colour, light or dirty yellowish amongst all true Mongols and Siberians; very variable (white, sallow, swarthy) in the transitional groups (Finns, Lapps, Magyars, Bulgars, Western Turks), and many Manchus and Koreans; in Japan the unexposed parts of the body also white.

Skull, highly brachycephalic in the true Mongol(80 to 85); variable (sub-brachy and sub-dolicho) in most transitional groups and even some Siberians (Ostyaks and Voguls 77). Jaws, cheek-bones, nose, and eyes much the same as in South[Pg 255] Mongols; but nose often large and straight, and eyes straight, greyish, or even blue in Finns, Manchus, Koreans, and some other Mongolo-Caucasians.

Stature, usually short (below 1.68 m., 5 ft. 6 in.), but many Manchus and Koreans tall, 1.728 m. to 1.778 m. (5 ft. 8 or 10 in.). Lips, arms, legs, and feet, usually the same as South Mongols; but Japanese legs disproportionately short.

Mental Characters.

Temperament, of all true Mongols and many Mongoloids, dull, reserved, somewhat sullen and apathetic; but in some groups (Finns, Japanese) active and energetic; nearly all brave, warlike, even fierce, and capable of great atrocities, though not normally cruel; within the historic period the character has almost everywhere undergone a marked change from a rude and ferocious to a milder and more humane disposition; ethical tone higher than South Mongol, with more developed sense of right and wrong.

Speech, very uniform; apparently only one stock language (Finno-Tatar or Ural-Altaic Family), a highly typical agglutinating form with no prefixes, but numerous postfixes attached loosely to an unchangeable root, by which their vowels are modified in accordance with subtle laws of vocalic harmony; the chief members of the family (Finnish, Magyar, Turkish, Mongol, and especially Korean and Japanese) diverge greatly from the common prototype.

Religion, originally spirit-worship through a mediator (Shaman), perhaps everywhere, and still exclusively prevalent amongst Siberian and all other uncivilised groups; all Mongols proper, Manchus, and Koreans nominal Buddhists; all Turki peoples Moslem; Japanese Buddhists and Shintoists; Finns, Lapps, Bulgars, Magyars, and some Siberians real or nominal Christians.

Culture, rude and barbaric rather than savage amongst the Siberian aborigines, who are nearly all nomadic hunters and fishers with half-wild reindeer herds but scarcely any industries; the Mongols proper, Kirghiz, Uzbegs and Turkomans semi-nomadic pastors; the Anatolian and Balkan Turks, Manchus, and Koreans settled agriculturists, with scarcely any arts or letters and no science; Japanese, Finns, Bulgars and Magyars civilised up to, and in some respects beyond the European average (Magyar and Finnish literature, Japanese art).

Main Divisions.

Mongol Proper. Sharra (Eastern), Kalmak (Western), Buryat (Siberian) Mongol.[Pg 256]

Tungus. Tungus proper, Manchu, Gold, Oroch, Lamut.

Korean; Japanese and Liu-Kiu.

Turki. Yakut; Kirghiz; Uzbeg; Taranchi; Kara-Kalpak; Nogai; Turkoman; Anatolian; Osmanli.

Finno-Ugrian. Baltic Finn; Lapp; Samoyed; Cheremiss; Votyak; Vogul; Ostyak; Bulgar; Magyar.

East Siberian. Yukaghir; Chukchi; Koryak; Kamchadale; Gilyak.

Domain of the Northern Mongols.

By "Northern Mongols" are here to be understood all those branches of the Mongol Division of mankind which are usually comprised under the collective geographical expression Ural-Altaic, to which corresponds the ethnical designation Mongolo-Tatar, or more properly Mongolo-Turki[569]. Their domain is roughly separated from that of the Southern Mongols (Chap. VI.) by the Great Wall and the Kuen-lun range, beyond which it spreads out westwards over most of Western Asia, and a considerable part of North Europe, with many scattered groups in Central and South Russia, the Balkan Peninsula, and the Middle Danube basin. In the extreme north their territory stretches from the shores of the Pacific with Japan and parts of Sakhalin continually westwards across Korea, Siberia, Central and North Russia to Finland and Lapland. But its southern limits can be indicated only approximately by a line drawn from the Kuen-lun range westwards along the northern escarpments of the Iranian plateau, and round the southern shores of the Caspian to the Mediterranean. This line, however, must be drawn in such a way as to include Afghan Turkestan, much of the North Persian and Caucasian steppes, and nearly the whole of Asia Minor, while excluding Armenia, Kurdestan, and Syria.

Early Contact with Caucasic Peoples.

Nor is it to be supposed that even within these limits the North Mongol territory is everywhere continuous. In East Europe especially, where they are for the most part comparatively recent intruders, the Mongols are found only in isolated and vanishing groups in the Lower and Middle Volga basin, the Crimea, and the North Caucasian steppe, and in more compact bodies in Rumelia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Throughout all these districts, however, the process of absorption or assimilation to[Pg 257] the normal European physical type is so far completed that many of the Nogai and other Russian "Tartars," as they are called, the Volga and Baltic Finns, the Magyars, and Osmanli Turks, would scarcely be recognised as members of the North Mongol family but for their common Finno-Turki speech, and the historic evidence by which their original connection with this division is established beyond all question.

In Central Asia also (North Irania, the Aralo-Caspian and Tarim basins) the Mongols have been in close contact with Caucasic peoples probably since the New Stone Age, and here intermediate types have been developed, by which an almost unbroken transition has been brought about between the yellow and the white races.

Primitive Man in Siberia and Mongolia.

During recent years much light has been shed on the physiographical conditions of Central Asia in early times. Stein's[570] explorations in 1900-1 and 1906-8 in Chinese Turkestan, the Pumpelly Expeditions[571] in 1903 and 1904 in Russian Turkestan, the travels of Sven Hedin[572] in 1899-1902, and 1906-8, of Carruthers[573] in N.W. Mongolia, and the researches of Ellsworth Huntington[574] (a member of the first Pumpelly Expedition) in 1905-7 all bear testimony to the variation in climate which the districts of Central Asia have undergone since glacial times. There has been a general trend towards arid conditions, alternating with periods of greater humidity, when tracts, now deserted, were capable of maintaining a dense population. Abundant evidence of man's occupation has been found in delta oases formed by snow-fed mountain streams, or on the banks of vanished rivers, where now-a-days all is desolation, though, as T. Peisker[575] points out, climate was not the sole or even the main factor in many areas. In some places, as at Merv, the earliest occupation was only a few centuries before the Christian era, but at Anau near Askhabad some 300 miles east of the Caspian, explored by the Pumpelly Expedition, the earliest strata contained remains of Stone Age culture. The North[Pg 258] Kurgan or tumulus, rising some 40 or 50 feet above the plain, showed a definite stratification of structures in sun-dried bricks, raised by successive generations of occupants. H. Schmidt, who was in charge of the excavations, was able to collect a valuable series of potsherds, showing a gradual evolution in form, technique and ornamentation, from the earliest to the latest periods. One point of great significance for establishing cultural if not physical relationships in this obscure region is the resemblance between the geometrical designs on pots of the early period and similar pottery found by MM. Gautier and Lampre[576] at Mussian, and by M. J. de Morgan[576] at Susa, while clay figurines from the South Kurgan (copper culture) are clearly of Babylonian type, the influence of which is seen much later in terra-cotta figurines discovered by Stein[577] at Yotkan.

With the progress of archaeological research, it becomes daily more evident that the whole of the North Mongol domain, from Finland to Japan, has passed through the Stone and Metal Ages, like most other habitable parts of the globe. During his wanderings in Siberia and Mongolia in the early nineties, Hans Leder[578] came upon countless prehistoric stations, kurgans (barrows), stone circles, and many megalithic monuments of various types. In West Siberia the barrows, which consist solely of earth without any stone-work, are by the present inhabitants called Chudskiye Kurgani, "Chudish Graves," and, as in North Russia, this term "Chude" is ascribed to a now vanished unknown race which formerly inhabited the land. To them, as to the "Toltecs" in Central America, all ancient monuments are credited, and while some regard them as prehistoric Finns, others identify them with the historic Scythians, the Scythians of Herodotus.

There are reasons, however, for thinking that the Chudes may represent an earlier race, the men of the Stone Age, who, migrating from north Europe eastwards, had reached the Tom valley (which drains to the Obi) before the extinction of the mammoth, and later spread over the whole of northern Asia, leaving everywhere evidence of their presence in the megalithic monuments now being daily brought to light in East Siberia,[Pg 259] Mongolia, Korea, and Japan. This view receives support from the characters of two skulls found in 1895 by A. P. Mostitz in one of the five prehistoric stations on the left bank of the Sava affluent of the Selenga river, near Ust-Kiakta in Trans-Baikalia. They differ markedly from the normal Buryat (Siberian Mongol) type, recalling rather the long-shaped skulls of the South Russian kurgans, with cephalic indices 73.2 and 73.5, as measured by M. J. D. Talko-Hryncewicz[579]. Thus, in the very heart of the Mongol domain, the characteristically round-headed race would appear to have been preceded, as in Europe, by a long-headed type.

In East Siberia, and especially in the Lake Baikal region, Leder found extensive tracts strewn with kurgans, many of which have already been explored, and their contents deposited in the Irkutsk museum. Amongst these are great numbers of stone implements, and objects made of bone and mammoth tusks, besides carefully worked copper ware, betraying technical skill and some artistic taste in the designs. In Trans-Baikalia, still farther east, with the kurgans are associated the so-called Kameni Babi, "Stone Women," monoliths rough-hewn in the form of human figures. Many of these monoliths bear inscriptions, which, however, appear to be of recent date (mostly Buddhist prayers and formularies), and are not to be confounded with the much older rock inscriptions deciphered by W. Thomsen through the Turki language.

Continuing his investigations in Mongolia proper, Leder here also discovered earthen kurgans, which, however, differed from those of Siberia by being for the most part surmounted either with circular or rectangular stone structures, or else with monoliths. They are called Kürüktsúr by the present inhabitants, who hold them in great awe, and never venture to touch them. Unfortunately strangers also are unable to examine their contents, all disturbance of the ground with spade or shovel being forbidden under pain of death by the Chinese officials, for fear of awakening the evil spirits, now slumbering peacefully below the surface. The Siberian burial mounds have yielded no bronze, a fact which indicates considerable antiquity, although no date can be set for its introduction into these regions. Better evidence of antiquity is found in the climatic changes resulting in recent desiccation,[Pg 260] which must have taken place here as elsewhere, for the burials bear witness to the existence of a denser population than could be supported at the present time[580].

Early Man in Korea and Japan.

Such an antiquity is indeed required to explain the spread of neolithic remains to the Pacific seaboard, and especially to Korea and Japan. In Korea W. Gowland examined a dolmen 30 miles from Seul, which he describes and figures[581], and which is remarkable especially for the disproportionate size of the capstone, a huge undressed megalith 14½ by over 13 feet. He refers to four or five others, all in the northern part of the peninsula, and regards them as "intermediate in form between a cist and a dolmen." But he thinks it probable that they were never covered by mounds, but always stood as monuments above ground, in this respect differing from the Japanese, the majority of which are all buried in tumuli. In some of their features these present a curious resemblance to the Brittany structures, but no stone implements appear to have been found in any of the burial mounds, and the Japanese chambered tombs, according to Hamada, Professor of Archaeology in Kyoto University, are usually attributed to the Iron Age (fifth to seventh centuries A.D.[582]).

In many districts Japan contains memorials of a remote past—shell mounds, cave-dwellings, and in Yezo certain pits, which are not occupied by the present Ainu population, but are by them attributed to the Koro-pok-guru, "People of the Hollows," who occupied the land before their arrival, and lived in huts built over these pits. Similar remains on an islet near Nemuro on the north-east coast of Yezo are said by the Japanese to have belonged to the Kobito, a dwarfish race exterminated by the Ainu, hence apparently identical with the Koro-pok-guru. They are associated by John Milne with some primitive peoples of the Kurile Islands, Sakhalin, and Kamchatka, who, like the Eskimo of the American coast, had extended formerly much farther south than at present.[Pg 261]

In a kitchen-midden, 330 by 200 feet, near Shiidzuka in the province of Ibaraki, the Japanese antiquaries S. Yagi and M. Shinomura[583] have found numerous objects belonging to the Stone Age of Japan. Amongst them were flint implements, worked bones, ashes, pottery, and a whole series of clay figures of human beings. The finders suggest that these remains may have belonged to a homogeneous race of the Stone Period, who, however, were not the ancestors of the Ainu—hitherto generally regarded as the first inhabitants of Japan. In the national records vague reference is made to other aborigines, such as the "Long Legs," and the "Eight Wild Tribes," described as the enemies of the first Japanese settlers in Kiu-shiu, and reduced by Jimmu Tenno, the semi-mythical founder of the present dynasty; the Ebisu, who are probably to be identified with the Ainu; and the Seki-Manzi, "Stone-Men," also located in the southern island of Kiu-shiu. The last-mentioned, of whom, however, little further is known, seem to have some claim to be associated with the above described remains of early man in Japan[584].

Early Man in Finland and East Europe.

In the extreme west the present Mongol peoples, being quite recent intruders, can in no way be connected with the abundant prehistoric relics daily brought to light in that region (South Russia, the Balkan Peninsula, Hungary). The same remark applies even to Finland itself, which was at one time supposed to be the cradle of the Finnish people, but is now shown to have been first occupied by Germanic tribes. From an exhaustive study of the bronze-yielding tumuli A. Hackman[585] concludes that the population of the Bronze Period was Teutonic, and in this he agrees both with Montelius and with W. Thomsen. The latter holds on linguistic grounds that at the beginning of the new era the Finns still dwelt east of the Gulf of Finland, whence they moved west in later times.

Early Man in Babylonia.

It is unfortunate that, owing probably to the character of the country, remains of the Stone Age in Babylonia are wanting so that no comparison can yet be made with the neolithic cultures of Egypt and the Aegean. The constant floods to which Babylonia was ever subject swept away all traces of early occupations until the advent of the Sumerians, who built [Pg 262]their cities on artificial mounds. The question of Akkado-Sumerian[586] origins is by no means clear, for many important cities are unexplored and even unidentified, but the general trend of recent opinion may be noted. The linguistic problem is peculiarly complicated by the fact that almost all the Sumerian texts show evidence of Semitic influence, and consist to a great extent of religious hymns and incantations which often appear to be merely translations of Semitic ideas turned by Semitic priests into the formal religious Sumerian language. J. Halévy, indeed, followed by others, regarded Sumerian as no true language, but merely a priestly system of cryptography[587], based on Semitic. As regards linguistic affinities, K. A. Hermann[588] endeavoured to establish a connection between the early texts and Ural-Altaic, more especially with Ugro-Finnish. A more recent suggestion that the language is of Indo-European origin and structure rests on equally slight resemblances. The comparison with Chinese has already been noticed. J. D. Prince[589] utters a word of caution against comparing ancient texts with idioms of more recent peoples of Western Asia, in spite of many tempting resemblances, and claims that until further light has been shed on the problem Sumerian should be regarded as standing quite alone, "a prehistoric philological remnant."

The Sumerians.

E. Meyer[590] claims for the Sumerians not only linguistic but also physical isolation. The Sumerian type as represented on the monuments shows a narrow pointed nose, with straight bridge and small nostrils, cheeks and lips not fleshy, like the Semites, with prominent cheek-bones, small mouth, narrow lips finely curved, the lower jaw very short, with angular sharply projecting chin, oblique Mongolian eyes, low forehead, usually sloping away directly from the root of the nose. In fact the nose has almost the appearance of a bird's beak, projecting far in advance of mouth and chin, while the forehead almost disappears. The hair[Pg 263] and beard are closely shaven. The Sumerians were undoubtedly a warlike people, fighting not like the Semites in loosely extended battle array, but in close phalanx, their large shields protecting their bodies from neck to feet, forming a rampart beyond which projected the inclined spears of the foremost rank. Battle axe and javelin were also used. Helmets protected head and neck. Besides lance or spear the royal leaders carried a curved throwing weapon, formed of three strands bound together at intervals with thongs of leather or bands of metal; this seems to have developed later into a sign of authority and hence into a sceptre. The bow, the typical weapon of the Semites and the mountainous people to the east, was unrepresented. The gods carried clubs with stone heads. It is important to notice that, in direct contrast to the Sumerians themselves, their gods had abundant hair on their heads, carefully curled and dressed, and a long curly beard on the chin, though cheeks and lips were closely shaven; these fashions recall those of the Semites. Thus, although the general view is to regard the Sumerians as the autochthones and the Semites as the later intruders in Babylonia, the Semitic character of the Sumerian gods points to an opposite conclusion. But the time has not yet come for any definite conclusion to be reached. All that can be said is that according to our present knowledge the assumption that the earliest population was Sumerian and that the Semites were the conquering intruders is only slightly more probable than the reverse[591].

Recent archaeological discoveries make Sumerian origins a little clearer. Explorations in Central Asia (as mentioned above p. 257) show that districts once well watered, and capable of supporting a large population, have been subject to periods of excessive drought, and this no doubt is the prime cause of the racial unrest which has ever been characteristic of the dwellers in these regions. A cycle of drought may well have prompted the Sumerian migration of the fourth millennium B.C., as it is shown to have prompted the later invasions of the last two thousand years[592]. Although there is no evidence to connect the original home of the Sumerians with any of the[Pg 264] oases yet excavated in Central Asia, yet signs of cultural contact are not wanting, and it may safely be inferred that their civilisation was evolved in some region to the east of the Euphrates valley before their entrance into Babylonia[593].

The Akkadians.

Since Semitic influence was first felt in the north of Babylonia, at Akkad, it is assumed that the immigration was from the north-west from Arabia by way of the Syrian coastlands, and in this case also the impulse may have been the occurrence of an arid period in the centre of the Arabian continent. The Semites are found not as barbarian invaders, but as a highly cultivated people. They absorbed several cultural elements of the Sumerians, notably their script, and were profoundly influenced by Sumerian religion. The Akkadians are represented with elaborately curled hair and beard, and hence, in contradistinction to the shaven Sumerians, are referred to as "the black-headed ones." Their chief weapon was the bow, but they had also lances and battle axes. As among the Sumerians the sign of kingship was a boomerang-like sceptre[594]. Except for Babylon and Sippar, which throw little light on the early periods, no systematic excavation has been undertaken in northern Babylonia, and the site of Akkad is still unidentified.

Babylonian Chronology.

The chronology of this early age of Babylonia is much disputed. The very high dates of 5000 or 6000 B.C. formerly assigned by many writers to the earliest remains of the Sumerians and the Babylonian Semites, depended to a great extent on the statement of Nabonidus (556 B.C.) that 3200 years separated his own age from that of Naram-Sin, the son of Sargon of Agade; for to Sargon, on this statement alone, a date of 3800 has usually been assigned[595]. This date presents many difficulties, leaving many centuries unrepresented by any royal names or records. Even the suggested emendation of the text reducing the estimate by a thousand years is not generally acceptable. Most authorities hesitate to date any Babylonian records before 3000 B.C.[596] and agree that the time has not arrived for fixing any definite dates for the early period.[Pg 265]

Despite the legendary matter associated with his memory, Shar-Gani-sharri, commonly called Sargon of Akkad, about 2500 B.C. (Meyer), 2650 B.C. (King), was beyond question a historical person though it seems that there has been some confusion with Sharru-gi, or Sharrukin, also called Sargon, earliest king of Kish[597]. Tradition records how his mother, a royal princess, concealed his birth by placing him in a rush basket closed with bitumen and sending him adrift on the stream, from which he was rescued by Akki the water-carrier, who brought him up as his own child. The incident, about which there is nothing miraculous, presents a curious parallel to, if it be not the source of, similar tales related of Moses, Cyrus, and other ancient leaders of men. Sargon also tells us that he ruled from his capital, Agade, for 45 years over Upper and Lower Mesopotamia, governed the black-headed ones, as the Akkads are constantly called, rode in bronze chariots over rugged lands, and made expeditions thrice to the sea-coast. The expeditions are confirmed by inscriptions from Syria, though the cylinder of his son, Naram-Sin, found by Cesnola in Cyprus, is now regarded as of later date[598]. As they also penetrated to Sinai their influence appears to have extended over the whole of Syria and North Arabia. They erected great structures at Nippur, which was at that time so ancient that Naram-Sin's huge brick platform stood on a mass 30 feet thick of the accumulated debris of earlier buildings. Among the most interesting of recent discoveries at Nippur are pre-Semitic tablets containing accounts similar to those recorded in the book of Genesis, from which in some cases the latter have clearly been derived. The "Deluge Fragment" published in 1910 relates the warning given by the god Ea to Utnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah, and the directions for building a ship by means of which he and his family may escape, together with the beasts of the field and the birds of heaven[599]. A still later discovery agrees more closely with the Bible version, giving the name of the one pious man as Tagtog, Semitic Nûhu, and assigning nine months as the period of the duration of the flood. The same tablet also contains an account of the[Pg 266] Fall of Man; but it is Noah, not Adam, who is tempted and falls, and the forbidden fruit is cassia[600].

Elamite Origins.

Sennacherib's grandson, Ashurbanipal, who belongs to the late Assyrian empire when the centre of power had been shifted from Babylonia to Nineveh, has left recorded on his brick tablets how he overran Elam and destroyed its capital, Susa (645 B.C.). He states that from this place he brought back the effigy of the goddess, Nana, which had been carried away from her temple at Erech by an Elamite king by whom Akkad had been conquered 1635 years before, i.e. 2280 B.C. Over Akkad Elam ruled 300 years, and it was a king of this dynasty, Khudur-Lagamar, who has been identified by T. G. Pinches with the "Chedorlaomer, king of Elam" routed by Abraham (Gen. xiv. 14-17)[601]. Thus is explained the presence of Elamites at this time so far west as Syria, their own seat being amid the Kurdish mountains in the Upper Tigris basin.

Historical Records.

The Elamites do not appear to have been of the same stock as the Sumerians. They are described as peaceful, industrious, and skilful husbandmen, with a surprising knowledge of irrigating processes. The non-Semitic language shows possible connections with Mitanni[602]. Yet the type would appear to be on the whole rather Semitic, judging at least from the large arched nose and thick beard of the Susian god, Ramman, brought by Ashurbanipal out of Elam, and figured in Layard's Monuments of Nineveh, 1st Series, Plate 65. This, however, may be explained by the fact that the Elamites were subdued at an early date by intruding Semites, although they afterwards shook off the yoke and became strong enough to conquer Mesopotamia and extend their expeditions to Syria and the Jordan. The capital of Elam was the renowned city of Susa (Shushan, whence Susiana, the modern Khuzistan). Recent[Pg 267] excavations show that the settlement dates from neolithic times[603].

Even after the capture of Susa by Ashurbanipal, Elam again rose to great power under Cyrus the Great, who, however, was no Persian adventurer, as stated by Herodotus, but the legitimate Elamite ruler, as inscribed on his cylinder and tablet now in the British Museum:—"Cyrus, the great king, the king of Babylon, the king of Sumir and Akkad, the king of the four zones, the son of Kambyses, the great king, the king of Elam, the grandson of Cyrus the great king," who by the favour of Merodach has overcome the black-headed people (i.e. the Akkads) and at last entered Babylon in peace. On an earlier cylinder Nabonidus, last king of Babylon, tells us how this same Cyrus subdued the Medes—here called Mandas, "Barbarians"—and captured their king Astyages and his capital Ekbatana. But although Cyrus, hitherto supposed to be a Persian and a Zoroastrian monotheist, here appears as an Elamite and a polytheist, "it is pretty certain that although descended from Elamite kings, these were [at that time] kings of Persian race, who, after the destruction of the old [Elamite] monarchy by Ashurbanipal, had established a new dynasty at the city of Susa. Cyrus always traces his descent from Achæmenes, the chief of the leading Persian clan of Pasargadæ[604]." Hence although wrong in speaking of Cyrus as an adventurer, Herodotus rightly calls him a Persian, and at this late date Elam itself may well have been already Aryanised in speech[605], while still retaining its old Sumerian religion. The[Pg 268] Babylonian pantheon survived, in fact, till the time of Darius Hystaspes, who introduced Zoroastrianism with its supreme gods, Ahura-Mazda, creator of all good, and Ahriman, author of all evil.

Babylonian Religion.

It is now possible to gain some idea of the gradual growth of the city states of Babylonia. Beginning with a mere collection of rude reed huts, these were succeeded by structures of sun-dried bricks, built in a group for mutual protection, probably around a centre of a local god, and surrounded by a wall. The land around the settlement was irrigated by canals, and here the corn and vegetables were grown and the flocks and herds were tended for the maintenance of the population. The central figure was always the god, who occasionally gave his name to the site, and who was the owner of all the land, the inhabitants being merely his tenants who owed him rent for their estates. It was the god who waged wars with the neighbours, and with whom treaties were made. The treaty between Lagash and Umma fixing the limitations of their boundaries, a constant matter of dispute, was made by Ningirsu, god of Lagash, and the city god of Umma, under the arbitration of Enlil, the chief of the gods, whose central shrine was at Nippur.

With the growth of the cities disputes of territory were sure to arise, and either by conquest or amalgamation, cities became absorbed into states. The problem then was the adjustment of the various city gods, each reigning supreme in his own city, but taking a higher or lower place in the Babylonian pantheon. When one city gained a supremacy over all its neighbours, its governor might assume the title of king. But the king was merely the patesi, the steward of the city god. Even when the supremacy was sufficiently permanent for the establishment of a dynasty, this was a dynasty of the city rather than of a family, for the successive kings were not necessarily of the same family[606].

Among the city gods who developed into powerful deities were Anu of Uruk (Erech), Enlil of Nippur and Ea of Eridu (originally a sea-port). These became the supreme triad, Anu ruling over the heavens, enthroned on the northern pole, as[Pg 269] king and father of the gods; Enlil, the Semitic Bel, god of earth, lord of the lands, formerly chief of all the gods; and Ea, god of the water-depths, whose son was ultimately to eclipse his father as Marduk of Babylon. A second triad is composed of the local deities who developed into Sin, the moon-god of Ur, Shamash the sun-god of Larsa, and the famous Ishtar, the great mother, goddess of love and queen of heaven. The realm of the dead was a dark place under the earth, where the dead lived as shadows, eating the dust of the earth. Their lot depended partly on their earlier lives, and partly on the devotion of their surviving relatives. Although their dead kings were deified there seems to be no evidence for a belief in a general resurrection or in the transmigration of souls. The hymns and prayers to the gods however show a very high religious level in spite of the important part played by soothsaying and exorcism, relics of earlier culture. The permanence of these may be partly ascribed to the essentially theocratic character of Babylonian government. The king was merely the agent of the god, whose desires were interpreted by the priestly soothsayers and exorcists, and no action could be undertaken in worldly or in religious concerns without their superintendence. The kings occasionally attempted to free themselves from the power of the priests, but the attempt was always vain. The power of the priests had often a sound economic basis, for the temples of the great cities were centres of vast wealth and of far-reaching trade, as is proved by the discovery of the commercial contracts stored in the temple archives[607].

Social System.

How the family expands through the clan and tribe into the nation, is clearly seen in the Babylonian social system, in which the inhabitants of each city were still "divided into clans, all of whose members claimed to be descended from a common ancestor who had flourished at a more or less remote period. The members of each clan were by no means all in the same social position, some having gone down in the world, others having raised themselves; and amongst them we find many different callings—from agricultural labourers to scribes, and from merchants to artisans. No natural tie existed among the majority of these members except the remembrance of their common origin, perhaps also[Pg 270] a common religion, and eventual rights of succession or claims upon what belonged to each one individually[608]." The god or goddess, it is suggested, who watched over each man, and of whom each was the son, was originally the god or goddess of the clan (its totem). So also in Egypt, the members of the community were all supposed to come of the same stock (páit), and to belong to the same family (páitu), whose chiefs (ropáitu) were the guardians of the family, several groups of such families being under a ropáitú-há, or head chief[609].

Amongst the local institutions, it is startling to find a fully developed ground-landlord system, though not quite so bad as that still patiently endured in England, already flourishing ages ago in Babylonia. "The cost of repairs fell usually on the lessee, who was also allowed to build on the land he had leased, in which case it was declared free of all charges for a period of about ten years; but the house and, as a rule, all he had built, then reverted to the landlord[610]."

General Culture.

In many other respects great progress had been made, and it is the belief of von Ihring[611], Hommel[612] and others that from Babylonia was first diffused a knowledge of letters, astronomy, agriculture, navigation, architecture, and other arts, to the Nile valley, and mainly through Egypt to the Western World, and through Irania to China and India. In this generalisation there is probably a large measure of truth, although it will be seen farther on that the Asiatic origin of Egyptian culture is still far from being proved[613].

One element the two peoples certainly had in common—a highly developed agricultural system, which formed the foundation of their greatness, and was maintained in a rainless climate by a stupendous system of irrigation works. Such works were carried out on a prodigious scale by the ancient Babylonians six or eight thousand years ago. The plains of the Lower Euphrates and Tigris, since rendered desolate under Turkish misrule, are intersected by the remains of an intricate network of canalisation covering all the space between the two rivers, and are strewn with the ruins of many great cities, whose inhabitants, numbering scores of thousands, were[Pg 271] supported by the produce of a highly cultivated region, which is now an arid waste varied only by crumbling mounds, stagnant waters, and the camping-grounds of a few Arab tent-dwellers.

The Mongols Proper.

Those who attach weight to distinctive racial qualities have always found a difficulty in attributing this wonderful civilisation to the same Mongolic people, who in their own homes have scarcely anywhere advanced beyond the hunting, fishing, or pastoral states. But it has always to be remembered that man, like all other zoological forms, necessarily reflects the character of his environment. The Mongols might in time become agriculturalists in the alluvial Mesopotamian lands, though the kindred people who give their name to the whole ethnical division and present its physical characters in an exaggerated form, ever remain tented nomads on the dry Central Asiatic steppe, which yields little but herbage, and is suitable for tillage only in a few more favoured districts. Here the typical Mongols, cut off from the arable lands of South Siberia by the Tian-shan and Altai ranges, and to some extent denied access to the rich fluvial valleys of the Middle Kingdom by the barrier of the Great Wall, have for ages led a pastoral life in the inhabitable tracts and oases of the Gobi wilderness and the Ordos region within the great bend of the Hoang-ho. During the historic period these natural and artificial ramparts have been several times surmounted by fierce Mongol hordes, pouring like irresistible flood-waters over the whole of China and many parts of Siberia, and extending their predatory or conquering expeditions across the more open northern plains westwards nearly to the shores of the Atlantic. But such devastating torrents, which at intervals convulsed and caused dislocations amongst half the settled populations of the globe, had little effect on the tribal groups that remained behind. These continued and continue to occupy the original camping-grounds, as changeless and uniform in their physical appearance, mental characters, and social usages as the Arab bedouins and all other inhabitants of monotonous undiversified steppe lands.

Physical Type.

De Ujfalvy's suggestion that the typical Mongols of the plains, with whom we are now dealing, were originally a long-headed race, can scarcely be taken seriously. At present and, in fact, throughout historic times, all [Pg 272] true Mongol peoples are and have been distinguished by a high degree of brachycephaly, with cephalic index generally from 87 upwards, and it may be remembered that the highest known index of any undeformed skull was that of Huxley's Mongol (98.21). But, as already noticed, those recovered from prehistoric, or neolithic kurgans, are found to be dolichocephalous like those of palaeolithic and early neolithic man in Europe.

Taken in connection with the numerous prehistoric remains above recorded from all parts of Central Asia and Siberia, this fact may perhaps help to bring de Ujfalvy's view into harmony with the actual conditions. Everything will be explained by assuming that the proto-Mongolic tribes, spreading from the Tibetan plateau over the plains now bearing their name, found that region already occupied by the long-headed Caucasic peoples of the Stone Ages, whom they either exterminated or drove north to the Altai uplands, and east to Manchuria and Korea, where a strong Caucasic strain still persists. De Ujfalvy's long-heads would thus be, not the proto-Mongols who were always round-headed, but the long-headed neolithic pre-Mongol race expelled by them from Mongolia who may provisionally be termed proto-Nordics.

Ethnical and Administrative Divisions.

That this region has been their true home since the first migrations from the south there can be no doubt. Here land and people stand in the closest relation one to the other; here every conspicuous physical feature recalls some popular memory; every rugged crest is associated with the name of some national hero, every lake or stream is still worshipped or held in awe as a local deity, or else the abode of the ancestral shades. Here also the Mongols proper form two main divisions, Sharra in the east and Kalmúk in the west, while a third group, the somewhat mixed Buryats, have long been settled in the Siberian provinces of Irkutsk and Trans-Baikalia. Under the Chinese semi-military administration all except the Buryats, who are Russian subjects, are constituted since the seventeenth century in 41 Aimaks (large tribal groups or principalities with hereditary khans) and 226 Koshungs, "Banners," that is, smaller groups whose chiefs are dependent on the khans of their respective Aimaks, who are themselves directly responsible to the imperial government. Subjoined is a table of these administrative divisions, which present a curious[Pg 273] but effective combination of the tribal and political systems, analogous to the arrangement in Pondoland and some other districts in Cape Colony, where the hereditary tribal chief assumes the functions of a responsible British magistrate.

Tribal or Territorial
Inner Mongolia with Ordos2551
Koko-nor and Tsaidam529


Since their organisation in Aimaks and Koshungs, the Mongols have ceased to be a terror to the surrounding peoples. The incessant struggles between these tented warriors and the peaceful Chinese populations, which began long before the dawn of history, were brought to a close with the overthrow of the Sungarian power in the eighteenth century, when their political cohesion was broken, and the whole nation reduced to a state of abject helplessness, from which they cannot now hope to recover. The arm of Chinese rule could be replaced only by the firmer grip of the northern autocrat, whose shadow already lies athwart the Gobi wilderness.


Thus the only escape from the crushing monotony of a purely pastoral life, no longer relieved by intervals of warlike or predatory expeditions, lies in a survival of the old Shamanist superstitions, or a further development of the degrading Tibetan lamaism represented at Urga by the Kutukhtu, an incarnation of the Buddha only less revered than the Dalai Lama himself[614]. Besides this High Priest at Urga, there are over a hundred smaller incarnations—Gigens, as they are called—and these saintly beings possess unlimited means of plundering their votaries. The smallest favour, the touch of their garments, a pious ejaculation or blessing, is[Pg 274] regarded as a priceless spiritual gift, and must be paid for with costly offerings. Even the dead do not escape these exactions. However disposed of, whether buried or cremated, like the khans and lamas, or exposed to beasts and birds of prey, as is the fate of the common folk, "masses," which also command a high price, have to be said for forty days to relieve their souls from the torments of the Buddhist purgatory.

It is a singular fact, which, however, may perhaps admit of explanation, that nearly all the true Mongol peoples have been Buddhists since the spread of Sakya-Muni's teachings throughout Central Asia, while their Turki kinsmen are zealous followers of the Prophet. Thus is seen, for instance, the strange spectacle of two Mongolic groups, the Kirghiz of the Turki branch and the Kalmuks of the West Mongol branch, encamped side by side on the Lower Volga plains, the former all under the banner of the Crescent, the latter devout worshippers of all the incarnations of Buddha. But analogous phenomena occur amongst the European peoples, the Teutons being mainly Protestants, those of neo-Latin speech mainly Roman Catholics, and the Easterns Orthodox. From all this, however, nothing more can be inferred than that the religions are partly a question of geography, partly determined by racial temperament and political conditions; while the religious sentiment, being universal, is above all local or ethnical considerations.

Under the first term of the expression Mongolo-Turki (p. 256) are comprised, besides the Mongols proper, nearly all those branches of the division which lie to the east and north-east of Mongolia, and are in most respects more closely allied with the Mongol than with the Turki section. Such are the Tunguses, with the kindred Manchus, Golds, Orochons, Lamuts, and others of the Amur basin, the Upper Lena head-streams, the eastern affluents of the Yenisei, and the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk; the Gilyaks about the Amur estuary and in the northern parts of Sakhalin; the Kamchadales in South Kamchatka; in the extreme north-east the Koryaks, Chukchis, and Yukaghirs; lastly the Koreans, Japanese, and Liu-Kiu (Lu-Chu) Islanders. To the Mongol section thus belong nearly all the peoples lying between the Yenisei and the Pacific (including most of the adjacent archipelagos), and between the Great Wall and the Arctic Ocean. The only two exceptions are the Yakuts of the middle and Lower Lena and[Pg 275] neighbouring Arctic rivers, who are of Turki stock; and the Ainus of Yezo, South Sakhalin, and some of the Kurile Islands, who belong to the Caucasic division.

M. A. Czaplicka proposes a useful classification of the various peoples of Siberia, usually grouped on account of linguistic affinities as Ural-Altaians, and as "no other part of the world presents a racial problem of such complexity and in regard to no other part of the world's inhabitants have ethnologists of the last hundred years put forward such widely differing hypotheses of their origin[615]," her tabulation may serve to clear the way. She divides the whole area[616] into Palaeo-Siberians, representing the most ancient stock of dwellers in Siberia, and Neo-Siberians, comprising the various tribes of Central Asiatic origin who are sufficiently differentiated from the kindred peoples of their earlier homes as to deserve a generic name of their own. The Palaeo-Siberians thus include the Chukchi, Koryak, Kamchadale, Ainu, Gilyak, Eskimo, Aleut, Yukaghir, Chuvanzy and Ostyak of Yenisei. The Neo-Siberians include the Finnic Tribes (Ugrian Ostyak, and Vogul), Samoyedic Tribes, Turkic Tribes (Yakut and Turko-Tatars of Tobolsk and Tomsk Governments), Mongolic Tribes (Western Mongols or Kalmuk, Eastern Mongols, and Buryat), and Tungusic Tribes (Tungus, Chapogir, Gold, Lamut, Manchu, Manyarg, Oroch, Orochon ("Reindeer Tungus"), Oroke).

The Tunguses.
Cradle and Type.

A striking illustration of the general statement that the various cultural states are a question not of race, but of environment, is afforded by the varying social conditions of the widespread Tungus family, who are fishers on the Arctic coast, hunters in the East Siberian woodlands, and for the most part sedentary tillers of the soil and townspeople in the rich alluvial valleys of the Amur and its southern affluents. The Russians, from whom we get the term Tungus[617], recognise these various pursuits, and speak of [Pg 276]Horse, Cattle, Reindeer, Dog, Steppe, and Forest Tunguses, besides the settled farmers and stock-breeders of the Amur. Their original home appears to have been the Shan-alin uplands, where they dwelt with the kindred Niu-chi (Manchus) till the thirteenth century, when the disturbances brought about by the wars and conquests of Jenghiz-Khan drove them to their present seat in East Siberia. The type, although essentially Mongolic in the somewhat flat features, very prominent cheek-bones, slant eyes, long lank hair, yellowish brown colour and low stature, seems to show admixture with a higher race in the shapely frame, the nimble, active figure, and quick, intelligent expression, and especially in the variable skull. While generally round (indices 80° to 84°), the head is sometimes flat on the top, like that of the true Mongol, sometimes high and short, which, as Hamy tells us, is specially characteristic of the Turki race[618].

Mental Characters.

All observers speak in enthusiastic language of the temperament and moral qualities of the Tunguses, and particularly of those groups that roam the forests about the Tunguska tributaries of the Yenisei, which take their name from these daring hunters and trappers. "Full of animation and natural impulse, always cheerful even in the deepest misery, holding themselves and others in like respect, of gentle manners and poetic speech, obliging without servility, unaffectedly proud, scorning falsehood, and indifferent to suffering and death, the Tunguses are unquestionably an heroic people[619]."


A few have been brought within the pale of the Orthodox Church, and in the extreme south some are classed as Buddhists. But the great bulk of the Tungus nation are still Shamanists. Indeed the very word Shaman is of Tungus origin, though current also amongst the Buryats and Yakuts. It is often taken to be the equivalent of priest; but in point of fact it represents a stage in the development of natural religion which has scarcely yet reached the sacerdotal [Pg 277]state. "Although in many cases the shamans act as priests, and take part in popular and family festivals, prayers, and sacrifices, their chief importance is based on the performance of duties which distinguish them sharply from ordinary priests[620]." Their functions are threefold, those of the medicine-man (the leech, or healer by supernatural means); of the soothsayer (the prophet through communion with the invisible world); and of the priest, especially in his capacity as exorcist, and in his general power to influence, control, or even coerce the good and evil spirits on behalf of their votaries. But as all spirits are, or were originally, identified with the souls of the departed, it follows that in its ultimate analysis Shamanism resolves itself into a form of ancestry-worship.

The system, of which there are many phases reflecting the different cultural states of its adherents, still prevails amongst all the Siberian aborigines[621], and generally amongst all the uncivilised Ural-Altaic populations, so that here again the religions strictly reflect the social condition of the peoples. Thus the somewhat cultured Finns, Turks, Mongols, and Manchus are all either Christians, Muhammadans, or Buddhists; while the uncultured but closely related Samoyeds, Ostyaks, Orochons, Tunguses, Golds, Gilyaks, Koryaks, and Chukchi, are almost without exception Shamanists.

The shamans do not appear to constitute a special caste or sacerdotal order, like the hierarchies of the Christian Churches. Some are hereditary, some elected by popular vote, so to say. They may be either men, or women (shamanka), married or single; and if "rank" is spoken of, it simply means greater or less proficiency in the performance of the duties imposed on them. Everything thus depends on their personal merits, which naturally gives rise to much jealousy between the members of the craft. Thus amongst the "whites" and the "blacks," that is, those whose dealings are with the good and the bad spirits respectively, there is in some districts a standing feud, often resulting in fierce encounters and bloodshed. The Buryats tell how the two factions throw axes at each other at great distances, the struggle usually ending in the death of one of the combatants. The blacks, who serve the evil spirits,[Pg 278] bringing only disease, death, or ill-luck, and even killing people by eating up their souls, are of course the least popular, but also the most dreaded. Many are credited with extraordinary and even miraculous powers, and there can be no doubt that they often act up to their reputation by performing almost incredible conjuring tricks in order to impose on the credulity of the ignorant, or outbid their rivals for the public favour. Old Richard Johnson of Chancelour's expedition to Muscovy records how he saw a Samoyed shaman stab himself with a sword, then make the sword red hot and thrust it through his body, so that the point protruded at the back, and Johnson was able to touch it with his finger. They then bound the wizard tight with a reindeer-rope, and went through some performances curiously like those of the Davenport brothers and other modern conjurers[622].

To the much-discussed question whether the shamans are impostors, the best answer has perhaps been given by Castrèn, who, speaking of the same Samoyed magicians, remarks that if they were merely cheats, we should have to suppose that they did not share the religious beliefs of their fellow-tribesmen, but were a sort of rationalists far in advance of the times. Hence it would seem much more probable that they deceived both themselves and others[623], while no doubt many bolster up a waning reputation by playing the mountebank where there is no danger of detection.

"Shamanism amongst the Siberian peoples," concludes our Russian authority, "is at the present time in a moribund condition; it must die out with those beliefs among which alone such phenomena can arise and flourish. Buddhism on the one hand, and Muhammadanism on the other, not to mention Christianity, are rapidly destroying the old ideas of the tribes among whom the shamans performed. Especially has the more ancient Black Faith suffered from the Yellow Faith preached by the lamas. But the shamans, with their dark mysterious rites, have made a good struggle for life, and are still frequently found among the native Christians and Muhammadans. The mullahs and lamas have even been obliged to become shamans to a great extent, and many Siberian tribes, who are nominally Christians, believe in shamans, and have recourse to them."[Pg 279]

The Manchus.
Origins and Early Records.

Of all members of the Tungusic family the Manchus alone can be called a historical people. If they were really descended from the Khitans of the Sungari valley, then their authentic records will date from the tenth century A.D., when these renowned warriors, after overthrowing the Pu-haï (925), founded the Liao dynasty and reduced a great part of North China and surrounding lands. The Khitans, from whom China was known to Marco Polo as Khitai (Cathay), as it still is to the Russians, were conquered in 1125 by the Niu-chi (Yu-chi, Nu-chin) of the Shan-alin uplands, reputed cradle of the Manchu race. These Niu-chi, direct ancestors of the Manchus, founded (1115) the State known as that of the "Golden Tartars," from Kin, "gold," the title adopted by their chief Aguta, "because iron (in reference to the Liao, 'Iron' dynasty) may rust, but gold remains ever pure and bright." The Kins, however, retained their brightness only a little over a century, having been eclipsed by Jenghiz-Khan in 1234. But about the middle of the fourteenth century the Niu-chi again rose to power under Aishiu-Gioro, who, although of miraculous birth and surrounded by other legendary matter, appears to have been a historical person. He may be regarded as the true founder of the Manchu dynasty, for it was in his time that this name came into general use. Sing-tsu, one of his descendants, constructed the palisade, a feeble imitation of the Great Wall, sections of which still exist. Thai-tsu, a still more famous member of the family, greatly extended the Manchu Kingdom (1580-1626), and it was his son Tai-dsung who first assumed the imperial dignity under the title of Tai-Tsing. After his death, the Ming dynasty having been overthrown by a rebel chief, the Manchus were invited by the imperialists to aid in restoring order, entered Peking in triumph, and, finding that the last of the Mings had committed suicide, placed Tai-dsung's nephew on the throne, thus founding the Manchu dynasty (1644) which lasted down to 1912.

Such has been the contribution of the Manchu people to history; their contributions to arts, letters, science, in a word, to the general progress of mankind, have been nil. They found the Middle Kingdom, after ages of a sluggish growth, in a state of absolute stagnation, and there they have left it. On the other hand their assumption of the imperial administration brought about their own ruin, their effacement, and almost their[Pg 280] very extinction as a separate nationality[624]. Manchuria, like Mongolia, is organised in a number of half military, half civil divisions, the so-called Paki, or "Eight Banners," and the constant demand made on these reserves, to support the dynasty and supply trustworthy garrisons for all the strongholds of the empire, has drawn off the best blood of the people, in fact sapped its vitality at the fountain-head. Then the rich arable tracts thus depleted were gradually occupied by agricultural settlers from the south, with the result that the Manchu race has nearly disappeared. From the ethnical standpoint the whole region beyond the Great Wall as far north as the Amur has practically become an integral part of China, and from the political standpoint since 1898 an integral part of the Russian empire. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century the Eight Banners numbered scarcely more than a quarter of a million, and about that time the Abbé Huc declared that "the Manchu nationality is destroyed beyond recovery. At present we shall look in vain for a single town or a single village throughout Manchuria which is not exclusively inhabited by Chinese. The local colour has been completely effaced, and except a few nomad groups nobody speaks Manchu[625]."

Similar testimony is afforded by later observers, and Henry Lansdell, amongst others, remarks that "the Manchu, during the two centuries they have reigned in China, may be said to have been working out their own annihilation. Their manners, language, their very country has become Chinese, and some maintain that the Manchu proper are now extinct[626]."


But the type, so far from being extinct, may be said to have received a considerable expansion, especially amongst the populations of north-east China. The taller stature and greatly superior physical appearance of the inhabitants of Tien-tsin and surrounding districts[627] over those of the southern provinces (Fokien, Kwang-tung), who are the[Pg 281] chief representatives of the Chinese race abroad, seem best explained by continual crossings with the neighbouring Manchu people, at least since the twelfth century, if not earlier.

The Dauri.

Closely related to the Manchus (of the same stock says Sir H. H. Howorth, the distinction being purely political) are the Dauri, who give their name to the extensive Daur plateau, and formerly occupied both sides of the Upper Amur. Daur is, in fact, the name applied by the Buryats to all the Tungus peoples of the Amur basin. The Dauri proper, who are now perhaps the best representatives of the original Manchu type, would seem to have intermingled at a remote time with the long-headed pre-Mongol populations of Central Asia. They are "taller and stronger than the Oronchons [Tungus groups lower down the Amur]; the countenance is oval and more intellectual, and the cheeks are less broad. The nose is rather prominent, and the eyebrows straight. The skin is tawny, and the hair brown[628]." Most of these characters are such as we should expect to find in a people of mixed Mongolo-Caucasic descent, the latter element being derived from the long-headed race who had already reached the present Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea, and the adjacent islands during neolithic times. Thus may be explained the tall stature, somewhat regular features, brown hair, light eyes, and even florid complexion so often observed amongst the present inhabitants of Manchuria, Korea, and parts of North China.

Mongolo-Turki Speech.

But no admixture, except of Chinese literary terms, is seen in the Manchu language, which, like Mongolic, is a typical member of the agglutinating Ural-Altaic family. Despite great differences, lexical, phonetic, and even structural, all the members of this widespread order of speech have in common a number of fundamental features, which justify the assumption that all spring from an original stock language, which has long been extinct, and the germs of which were perhaps first developed on the Tibetan plateau. The essential characters of the system are:—(1) a "root" or notional term, generally a closed syllable, nominal or verbal, with a vowel or diphthong, strong or weak (hard or soft) according to the meaning of the term, hence incapable of change; (2) a number of particles or relational terms somewhat loosely postfixed to the root, but incorporated with it by the[Pg 282] principle of (3) vowel harmony, a kind of vocal concordance, in virtue of which the vowels of all the postfixes must harmonise with the unchangeable vowel of the root. If this is strong all the following vowels of the combination, no matter what its length, must be strong; if weak they must conform in the same way. With nominal roots the postfixes are necessarily limited to the expression of a few simple relations; but with verbal roots they are in principle unlimited, so that the multifarious relations of the verb to its subject and object are all incorporated in the verbal compound itself, which may thus run at times to inordinate lengths. Hence we have the expression "incorporating," commonly applied to this agglutinating system, which sometimes goes so far as to embody the notions of causality, possibility, passivity, negation, intensity, condition, and so on, besides the direct pronominal objects, in one interminable conglomerate, which is then treated as a simple verb, and run through all the secondary changes of number, person, tense, and mood. The result is an endless number of theoretically possible verbal forms, which, although in practice naturally limited to the ordinary requirements of speech, are far too numerous to allow of a complete verbal paradigm being constructed of any fully developed member of the Ural-Altaic group, such, for instance, as Yakut, Tungus, Turki, Mordvinian, Finnish, or Magyar.

In this system the vowels are classed as strong or hard (a, o, u), weak or soft (the same umlauted: ä, ö, ü), and neutral (generally e, i), these last being so called because they occur indifferently with the two other classes. Thus, if the determining root vowel is a (strong), that of the postfixes may be either a (strong), e or i (neutral); if ä (weak), that of the postfixes may be either ä (weak), or e or i as before. The postfixes themselves no doubt were originally notional terms worn down in form and meaning, so as to express mere abstract relation, as in the Magyar vel = with, from veli = companion. Tacked on to the root fa = tree, this will give the ablative case, first unharmonised, fa-vel, then harmonised, fa-val = tree-with, with a tree. In the early Magyar texts of the twelfth century inharmonic compounds, such as halál-nek, later halák-nak = at death, are numerous, from which it has been inferred that the principle of vowel harmony is not an original feature of the Ural-Altaic languages, but a later development, due in fact to phonetic decay, and still scarcely known in some members of[Pg 283] the group, such as Votyak and Highland Cheremissian (Volga Finn). But M. Lucien Adam holds that these idioms have lost the principle through foreign (Russian) influence, and that the few traces still perceptible are survivals from a time when all the Ural-Altaic tongues were subject to progressive vowel harmony[629].

Language and Racial Characters.

But however this be, Dean Byrne is disposed to regard the alternating energetic utterance of the hard, and indolent utterance of the soft vowel series, as an expression of the alternating active and lethargic temperament of the race, such alternations being themselves due to the climatic conditions of their environment. "Certainly the life of the great nomadic races involves a twofold experience of this kind, as they must during their abundant summer provide for their rigorous winter, when little can be done. Their character, too, involves a striking combination of intermittent indolence and energy; and it is very remarkable that this distinction of roots is peculiar to the languages spoken originally where this great distinction of seasons exists. The fact that the distinction [between hard and soft] is imparted to all the suffixes of a root proves that the radical characteristic which it expresses is thought with these; and consequently that the radical idea is retained in the consciousness while these are added to it[630]."

This is a highly characteristic instance of the methods followed by Dean Byrne in his ingenious but hopeless attempt to explain the subtle structure of speech by the still more subtle temperament of the speaker, taken in connection with the alternating nature of the climate. The feature in question cannot be due to such alternation of mood and climate, because it is persistent throughout all seasons, while the hard and soft elements occur simultaneously, one might say, promiscuously, in conversation under all mental states of those conversing.

The true explanation is given by Schleicher, who points out that progressive vocal assimilation is the necessary result of agglutination, which by this means binds together the idea and its relations in their outward expression, just as they are already[Pg 284] inseparately associated in the mind of the speaker. Hence it is that such assonance is not confined to the Ural-Altaic group, analogous processes occurring at certain stages of their growth in all forms of speech, as in Wolof, Zulu-Xosa, Celtic (expressed by the formula of Irish grammarians: "broad to broad, slender to slender"), and even in Latin, as in such vocalic concordance as: annus, perennis; ars, iners; lego, diligo. In these examples the root vowel is influenced by that of the prefix, while in the Mongolo-Turki family the root vowel, coming first, is unchangeable, but, as explained, influences the vowels of the postfixes, the phonetic principle being the same in both systems.

Mongol and Manchu Script.

Both Mongol and Manchu are cultivated languages employing modified forms of the Uiguric (Turki) script, which is based on the Syriac introduced by the Christian (Nestorian) missionaries in the seventh century. It was first adopted by the Mongols about 1280, and perfected by the scribe Tsorji Osir under Jenezek Khan (1307-1311). The letters, connected together by continuous strokes, and slightly modified, as in Syriac, according to their position at the beginning, middle, or end of the word, are disposed in vertical columns from left to right, an arrangement due no doubt to Chinese influence. This is the more probable since the Manchus, before the introduction of the Mongol system in the sixteenth century, employed the Chinese characters ever since the time of the Kin dynasty.

The Yukaghirs.

None of the other Tungusic or north-east Siberian peoples possess any writing system except the Yukaghirs of the Yasachnaya affluent of the Kolymariver, who were visited in 1892 by the Russian traveller, S. Shargorodsky. From his report[631], it appears that this symbolic writing is carved with a sharp knife out of soft fresh birch-bark, these simple materials sufficing to describe the tracks followed on hunting and fishing expeditions, as well as the sentiments of the young women in their correspondence with their sweethearts. Specimens are given of these curious documents, some of which are touching and even pathetic. "Thou goest hence, and I bide alone, for thy sake still to weep and moan," writes one disconsolate maid to her parting lover. Another with a touch of jealousy: "Thou goest forth thy Russian flame to seek, who stands 'twixt thee and me, thy heart from me apart to keep. In a new home joy wilt thou find, while I must ever[Pg 285] grieve, as thee I bear in mind, though another yet there be who loveth me." Or again: "Each youth his mate doth find; my fate alone it is of him to dream, who to another wedded is, and I must fain contented be, if only he forget not me." And with a note of wail: "Thou hast gone hence, and of late it seems this place for me is desolate; and I too forth must fare, that so the memories old I may forget, and from the pangs thus flee of those bright days, which here I once enjoyed with thee."

Details of domestic life may even be given, and one accomplished maiden is able to make a record in her note-book of the combs, shawls, needles, thimble, cake of soap, lollipops, skeins of wool, and other sundries, which she has received from a Yakut packman, in exchange for some clothes she has made him. Without illustrations no description of the process would be intelligible. Indeed it would seem these primitive documents are not always understood by the young folks themselves. They gather at times in groups to watch the process of composition by some expert damsel, the village "notary," and much merriment, we are told, is caused by the blunders of those who fail to read the text aright.

It is not stated whether the system is current amongst the other Yukaghir tribes, who dwell on the banks of the Indigirka, Yana, Kerkodona, and neighbouring districts. They thus skirt the Frozen Ocean from near the Lena delta to and beyond the Kolyma, and are conterminous landwards with the Yakuts on the south-west and the Chukchi on the north-east. With the Chukchi, the Koryaks, the Kamchadales, and the Gilyaks they form a separate branch of the Mongolic division sometimes grouped together as "Hyperboreans," but distinguished from other Ural-Altaic peoples perhaps strictly on linguistic grounds. Although now reduced to scarcely 1500, the Yukaghirs were formerly a numerous people, and the popular saying that their hearths on the banks of the Kolyma at one time outnumbered the stars in the sky seems a reminiscence of more prosperous days. But great inroads have been made by epidemics, tribal wars, the excessive use of coarse Ukraine tobacco and of bad spirits, indulged in even by the women and children. "A Yukaghir, it is said, never intoxicates himself alone, but calls upon his family to share the drink, even children in arms being supplied with a portion[632]." Their language, which[Pg 286] A. Schiefner regards as radically distinct from all others[633], is disappearing even more rapidly than the people themselves, if it be not already quite extinct. In the eighties it was spoken only by about a dozen old persons, its place being taken almost everywhere by the Turki dialect of the Yakuts[634].

Chukchi and Koryaks.

There appears to be a curious interchange of tribal names between the Chukchi and their Koryak neighbours, the term Koryak being the Chukchi Khorana, "Reindeer," while the Koryaks are said to call themselves Chauchau, whence some derive the word Chukchi. Hooper, however, tells us that the proper form of Chukchi is Tuski, "Brothers," or "Confederates[635]," and in any case the point is of little consequence, as Dittmar is probably right in regarding both groups as closely related, and sprung originally from one stock[636]. Jointly they occupy the north-east extremity of the continent between the Kolyma and Bering Strait, together with the northern parts of Kamchatka; the Chukchi lying to the north, the Koryaks to the south, mainly round about the north-eastern inlets of the Sea of Okhotsk. Reasons have already been advanced for supposing that the Chukchi were a Tungus people who came originally from the Amur basin. In their arctic homes they appear to have waged long wars with the Onkilon (Ang-kali) aborigines, gradually merging with the survivors and also mingling both with the Koryaks and Chuklukmiut Eskimo settled on the Asiatic side of Bering Strait.

Chukchi and Eskimo Relations.
Type and Social State.

But their relations to all these peoples are involved in great obscurity, and while some connect them with the Itelmes of Kamchatka[637], by others they have been affiliated to the Eskimo, owing to the Eskimo dialect said to be spoken by them. But this "dialect" is only a trading jargon, a sort of "pidgin Eskimo" current all round the coast, and consisting of Chukchi, Innuit, Koryak, English, [Pg 287]and even Hawaii elements, mingled together in varying proportions. The true Chukchi language, of which Nordenskiöld collected 1000 words, is quite distinct from Eskimo, and probably akin to Koryak[638], and the Swedish explorer aptly remarks that "this race, settled on the primeval route between the Old and New World, bears an unmistakable stamp of the Mongols of Asia and the Eskimo and Indians of America." He was much struck by the great resemblance of the Chukchi weapons and household utensils to those of the Greenland Eskimo, while Signe Rink shows that even popular legends have been diffused amongst the populations on both sides of Bering Strait[639]. Such common elements, however, prove little for racial affinity, which seems excluded by the extremely round shape of the Chukchi skull, as compared with the long-headed Eskimo. But the type varies considerably both amongst the so-called "Fishing Chukchi," who occupy permanent stations along the seaboard, and the "Reindeer Chukchi," who roam the inland districts, shifting their camping-grounds with the seasons. There are no hereditary chiefs, and little deference is paid to the authority even of the owner of the largest reindeer herds, on whom the Russians have conferred the title of Jerema, regarding him as the head of the Chukchi nation, and holding him responsible for the good conduct of his rude subjects. Although nominal Christians, they continue to sacrifice animals to the spirits of the rivers and mountains, and also to practise Shamanist rites. They believe in an after-life, but only for those who die a violent death. Hence the resignation and even alacrity with which the hopelessly infirm and the aged submit, when the time comes, to be dispatched by their kinsfolk, in accordance with the tribal custom of kamitok, which still survives in full vigour amongst the Chukchi, as amongst the Sumatran Battas, and may be traced in many other parts of the world.

"The doomed one," writes Harry de Windt, "takes a lively interest in the proceedings, and often assists in the preparation for his own death. The execution is always preceded by a feast, where seal and walrus meat are greedily devoured, and whisky consumed till all are intoxicated. A spontaneous burst of singing and the muffled roll of walrus-hide drums then herald[Pg 288] the fatal moment. At a given signal a ring is formed by the relations and friends, the entire settlement looking on from the background. The executioner (usually the victim's son or brother) then steps forward, and placing his right foot behind the back of the condemned, slowly strangles him to death with a walrus-thong. A kamitok took place during the latter part of our stay[640]."

This custom of "voluntary death" is sometimes due to sorrow at the death of a near relative, a quarrel at home, or merely weariness of life, and Bogoras thinks that the custom of killing old people does not exist as such, but is voluntarily chosen in preference to the hard life of an invalid[641].

Koryaks and Kamchadales.

Most recent observers have come to look upon the Chukchi and Koryaks as essentially one and the same people, the chief difference being that the latter are if possible even more degraded than their northern neighbours[642]. Like them they are classed as sedentary fisherfolk or nomad reindeer-owners, the latter, who call themselves Tumugulu, "Wanderers," roaming chiefly between Ghiyiginsk Bay and the Anadyr river. Through them the Chukchi merge gradually in the Itelmes, who are better known as Kamchadales, from the Kamchatka river, where they are now chiefly concentrated. Most of the Itelmes are already Russified in speech and—outwardly at least—in religion; but they still secretly immolate a dog now and then, to propitiate the malevolent beings who throw obstacles in the way of their hunting and fishing expeditions. Yet their very existence depends on their canine associates, who are of a stout, almost wolfish breed, inured to hunger and hardships, and excellent for sledge work.

The Gilyaks.

Somewhat distinct both from all these Hyperboreans and from their neighbours, the Orochons, Golds, Manegrs and other Tungus peoples, are the Gilyaks, formerly widespread, but now confined to the Amur delta and the northern parts of Sakhalin[643]. Some observers have[Pg 289] connected them with the Ainu and the Korean aborigines, while A. Anuchin detects two types—a Mongoloid with sparse beard, high cheek-bones, and flat face, and a Caucasic with bushy beard and more regular features[644]. The latter traits have been attributed to Russian mixture, but, as conjectured by H. von Siebold, are more probably due to a fundamental connection with their Ainu neighbours[645].

Mentally the Gilyaks take a low position—H. Lansdell thought the lowest of any people he had met in Siberia[646]. Despite the zeal of the Russian missionaries, and the inducements to join the fold, they remain obdurate Shamanists, and even fatalists, so that "if one falls into the water the others will not help him out, on the plea that they would thus be opposing a higher power, who wills that he should perish.... The soul of the Gilyak is supposed to pass at death into his favourite dog, which is accordingly fed with choice food; and when the spirit has been prayed by the shamans out of the dog, the animal is sacrificed on his master's grave. The soul is then represented as passing underground, lighted and guided by its own sun and moon, and continuing to lead there, in its spiritual abode, the same manner of life and pursuits as in the flesh[647]."

A speciality of the Gilyaks, as well as of their Gold neighbours, is the fish-skin costume, made from the skins of two kinds of salmon, and from this all these aborigines are known to the Chinese as Yupitatse, "Fish-skin-clad-People." "They strip it off with great dexterity, and by beating with a mallet remove the scales, and so render it supple. Clothes thus made are waterproof. I saw a travelling-bag, and even the sail of a boat, made of this material[648]."

Like the Ainu, the Gilyaks may be called bear-worshippers. At least this animal is supposed to be one of their chief gods, although they ensnare him in winter, keep him in confinement, and when well fattened tear him to pieces, devouring his mangled remains with much feasting and jubilation.

The Koreans.
Ethical Elements.

Since the opening up of Korea, some fresh light has been thrown upon the origins and ethnical relations of its present inhabitants. In his monograph on the Yellow Races[649] Hamy [Pg 290]had included them in the Mongol division, but not without reserve, adding that "while some might be taken for Tibetans, others look like an Oceanic cross; hence the contradictory reports and theories of modern travellers." Since then the study of some skulls forwarded to Paris has enabled him to clear up some of the confusion, which is obviously due to interminglings of different elements dating from remote (neolithic) times. On the data supplied by these skulls Hamy classes the Koreans in three groups:—1. The natives of the northern provinces (Ping-ngan-tao and Hienking-tao), strikingly like their Mongol [Tungus] neighbours; 2. Those of the southern provinces (Klingchang-tao and Thsiusan-lo-tao), descendants of the ancient Chinhans and Pien-hans, showing Japanese affinities; 3. Those of the inner provinces (Hoanghae-tao and Ching-tsing-tao), who present a transitional form between the northerns and southerns, both in their physical type and geographical position[650].

Caucasic features—light eyes, large nose, hair often brown, full beard, fair and even white skin, tall stature—are conspicuous, especially amongst the upper classes and many of the southern Koreans[651]. They are thus shown to be a mixed race, the Mongol element dominating in the north, as might be expected, and the Caucasic in the south.

Korean Origins and Records.

These conclusions seem to be confirmed by what is known of the early movements, migrations, and displacements of the populations in north-east Asia about the dawn of history. In these vicissitudes the Koreans, as they are now called[652], appear to have first taken part in the twelfth century B.C., when the peninsula was already occupied, as it still is, by Mongols, the Sien-pi, in the north,[Pg 291] and in the south by several branches of the Hans (San-San), of whom it is recorded that they spoke a language unintelligible to the Sien-pi, and resembled the Japanese in appearance, manners, and customs. From this it may be inferred that the Hans were the true aborigines, probably direct descendants of the Caucasic peoples of the New Stone Age, while the Sien-pi were Mongolic (Tungusic) intruders from the present Manchuria. For some time these Sien-pi played a leading part in the political convulsions prior and subsequent to the erection of the Great Wall by Shih Hwang Ti, founder of the Tsin dynasty (221-209 B.C.)[653]. Soon after the completion of this barrier, the Hiung-nu, no longer able to scour the fertile plains of the Middle Kingdom, turned their arms against the neighbouring Yué-chi, whom they drove westwards to the Sungarian valleys. Here they were soon displaced by the Usuns (Wusun), a fair, blue-eyed people of unknown origin, who have been called "Aryans," and even "Teutons," and whom Ch. de Ujfalvy identifies with the tall long-headed western blonds (de Lapouge's Homo Europaeus), mixed with brown round-headed hordes of white complexion[654]. Accepting this view, we may go further, and identify the Usuns, as well as the other white peoples of the early Chinese records, with the already described Central Asiatic Caucasians of the Stone Ages, whose osseous remains we now possess, and who come to the surface in the very first Chinese documents dealing with the turbulent populations beyond the Great Wall. The white element, with all the correlated characters, existed beyond all question, for it is continuously referred to in those documents. How is its presence in East Central Asia, including Manchuria and Korea,[Pg 292] to be explained? Only on two assumptions—proto-historic migrations from the Far West, barred by the proto-historic migrations from the Far East, as largely determined by the erection of the Great Wall; or pre-historic (neolithic) migrations, also from the Far West, but barred by no serious obstacle, because antecedent to the arrival of the proto-Mongolic tribes from the Tibetan plateau. The true solution of the endless ethnical complications in the extreme East, as in the Oceanic world, will still be found in the now-demonstrated presence of a Caucasic element antecedent to the Mongol in those regions.

When the Hiung-nu[655] power was weakened by their westerly migrations to Sungaria and south-west Siberia (Upper Irtysh and Lake Balkash depression), and broken into two sections during their wars with the two Han dynasties (201 B.C.-220 A.D.), the Korean Sien-pi became the dominant nation north of the Great Wall. After destroying the last vestiges of the unstable Hiung-nu empire, and driving the Mongolo-Turki hordes still westwards, the Yuan-yuans, most powerful of all the Sien-pi tribes, remained masters of East Central Asia for about 400 years and then disappeared from history[656]. At least after the sixth century A.D. no further mention is made of the Sien-pi principalities either in Manchuria or in Korea. Here, however, they appear still to form a dominant element in the northern (Mongol) provinces, calling themselves Ghirin (Khirin), from the Khirin (Sungari) valley of the Amur, where they once held sway.[Pg 293]

Since those days Korea has been alternately a vassal State and a province of the Middle Kingdom, with interludes of Japanese ascendancy, interrupted only by the four centuries of Koraï ascendancy (934-1368). This was the most brilliant epoch in the national records, when Korea was rather the ally than the vassal of China, and when trade, industry, and the arts, especially porcelain and bronze work, flourished in the land. But by centuries of subsequent misrule, a people endowed with excellent natural qualities have been reduced to the lowest state of degradation. Before the reforms introduced by the political events of 1895-96, "the country was eaten up by officialism. It is not only that abuses without number prevailed, but the whole system of government was an abuse, a sea of corruption, without a bottom or a shore, an engine of robbery, crushing the life out of all industry[657]." But an improvement was speedily remarked. "The air of the men has undergone a subtle and real change, and the women, though they nominally keep up their habits by seclusion, have lost the hang-dog air which distinguished them at home. The alacrity of movement is a change also, and has replaced the conceited swing of the yang-ban [nobles] and the heartless lounge of the peasant." This improvement was merely temporary. The last years of the century were marked by the waning of Japanese influence, due to Russian intrigues, the restoration of absolute monarchy together with its worst abuses, the abandonment of reforms and a retrograde movement throughout the kingdom. The successes of Japan in 1904-5 resulted in the restoration of her ascendancy, culminating in 1910 in the cession of sovereignty by the emperor of Korea to the emperor of Japan.


The religious sentiment is perhaps less developed than among any other Asiatic people. Buddhism, introduced about 380 A.D., never took root, and while the literati are satisfied with the moral precepts of Confucius, the rest have not progressed beyond the nature-worship which was the ancient religion of the land. Every mountain, pass, ford or even eddy of a river has a spirit to whom offerings are made. Honour is also paid to ancestors, both royal and domestic, at their temples or altars, and chapels are built and dedicated to men who have specially distinguished themselves in loyalty, virtue or lofty teaching.

The Korean Script.

Philologists now recognise some affinity between the Korean [Pg 294]and Japanese languages, both of which appear to be remotely connected with the Ural-Altaic family. The Koreans possess a true alphabet of 28 letters, which, however, is not a local invention, as is sometimes asserted. It appears to have been introduced by the Buddhist monks about or before the tenth century, and to be based on some cursive form of the Indian (Devanagari) system[658], although scarcely any resemblance can now be traced between the two alphabets. This script is little used except by the lower classes and the women, the literati preferring to write either in Chinese, or else in the so-called nido, that is, an adaptation of the Chinese symbols to the phonetic expression of the Korean syllables. The nido is exactly analogous to the Japanese Katakana script, in which modified forms of Chinese ideographs are used phonetically to express 47 syllables (the so-called I-ro-fa syllabary), raised to 73 by the nigori and maru diacritical marks.

The Japanese.

The present population of Japan, according to E. Baelz, shows the following types. The first and most important is the Manchu-Korean type, characteristic of North China and Korea, and most frequent among the upper classes in Japan. The stature is conspicuously tall, the effect being heightened by slender and elegant figure. The face is long, with more or less oblique eyes but no marked prominence of the cheek-bones. The nose is aquiline, the chin slightly receding. With this type is associated a narrow chest, giving an air of elegance rather than of muscularity, an effect which is enhanced by the extremely delicate hands with long slender fingers. The second type is the Mongol, and presents a distinct contrast, with strong and squarely built figure, broad face, prominent cheek-bones, oblique eyes, flat nose and wide mouth. This type is not common in the Japanese Islands. The third type, more conspicuous than either of the preceding, is the Malay. The stature is small, with well-knit frame, and broad, well-developed chest. The face is generally round, the nose short, jaws and chin frequently projecting. None of these three types represents the aboriginal race of Japan, for there seems to be no doubt that the Ainu, who now survive in parts[Pg 295] of the northern island of Yezo, occupied a greater area in earlier times and to them the prehistoric shell-mounds and other remains are usually attributed[659]. The Ainu are thickly and strongly built, but differ from all other Oriental types in the hairiness of face and body. The head is long, with a cephalic index of 77.8. Face and nose are broad, and the eyes are horizontal, not oblique, lacking the Mongolian fold.

Origins—Constituent Elements.

It is generally assumed that this population represents the easterly migration of that long-headed type which can be traced across the continents of Europe and Asia in the Stone Age, and that their entrance into the islands was effected at a time when the channel separating them from the mainland was neither so wide nor so deep as at the present time. Later Manchu-Korean invaders from the West, Mongols from the South, and Malays from the East pressed the aborigines further and further north, to Yezo, Sakhalin and the Kuriles. But it is possible that the Ainu were not the earliest inhabitants of Japan, for they themselves bear witness to predecessors, the Koro-pok-guru, mentioned above (p. 260). Neither is the assumption of kinship between the Ainu and prehistoric populations of Western Europe accepted without demur. Deniker, while acknowledging the resemblance to certain European types, classes the Ainu as a separate race, the Palaeasiatics. For while in head-length, prominent superciliary ridges, hairiness and the form of the nose they may be compared to Russians, Todas, and Australians, their skin colour, prominent cheek-bones, and other somatic features make any close affinity impossible[660].

Japanese Type.

In spite of these various ingredients the Japanese people may be regarded as fairly homogeneous. Apart from some tall and robust persons amongst the upper classes, and athletes, acrobats, and wrestlers, the general impression that the Japanese are a short finely moulded race is fully borne out by the now regularly recorded military measurements of recruits, showing for height an average of 1.585 m. (5 ft. 2½ in.) to 1.639 m. (5 ft. 4½ in.), for chest 33 in., and disproportionately short legs. Other distinctive characters, all tending to stamp a certain individuality on the people, taken as a whole and[Pg 296] irrespective of local peculiarities, are a flat forehead, great distance between the eyebrows, a very small nose with raised nostrils, no glabella, no perceptible nasal root[661]; an active, wiry figure; the exposed skin less yellow than the Chinese, and rather inclining to a light fawn, but the covered parts very light, some say even white; the eyes also less oblique, and all other characteristically Mongol features generally softened, except the black lank hair, which in transverse section is perhaps even rounder than that of most other Mongol peoples[662].

Japanese and Liu-Kiu Islanders.

With this it will be instructive to compare F. H. H. Guillemard's graphic account of the Liu-Kiu islanders, whose Koreo-Japanese affinities are now placed beyond all doubt: "They are a short race, probably even shorter than the Japanese, but much better proportioned, being without the long bodies and short legs of the latter people, and having as a rule extremely well-developed chests. The colour of the skin varies of course with the social position of the individual. Those who work in the fields, clad only in a waist-cloth, are nearly as dark as a Malay, but the upper classes are much fairer, and are at the same time devoid of any of the yellow tint of the Chinaman. To the latter race indeed they cannot be said to bear any resemblance, and though the type is much closer to the Japanese, it is nevertheless very distinct.... In Liu-Kiu the Japanese and natives were easily recognised by us from the first, and must therefore be possessed of very considerable differences. The Liu-Kiuan has the face less flattened, the eyes are more deeply set, and the nose more prominent at its origin. The forehead is high and the cheek-bones somewhat less marked than in the Japanese; the eyebrows are arched and thick, and the eyelashes long. The expression is gentle and pleasing, though somewhat sad, and is apparently a true index of their character[663]."

This description is not accepted without some reserve by Chamberlain, who in fact holds that "the physical type of the Luchuans resembles that of the Japanese almost to identity[664]." In explanation however of the singularly mild, inoffensive, and "even timid disposition" of the Liu-Kiuans, this observer suggests "the probable absence of any admixture of Malay[Pg 297] blood in the race[665]." But everybody admits a Malay element in Japan. It would therefore appear that Guillemard must be right, and that, as even shown by all good photographs, differences do exist, due in fact to the presence of this very Malay strain in the Japanese race.

The Languages and Religions.

Elsewhere[666] Chamberlain has given us a scholarly account of the Liu-Kiu language, which is not merely a "sister," as he says, but obviously an elder sister, more archaic in structure and partly in its phonetics, than the oldest known form of Japanese. In the verb, for instance, Japanese retains only one past tense of the indicative, with but one grammatical form, whereas Liu-Kiuan preserves the three original past tenses, each of which possesses a five-fold inflection. All these racial, linguistic, and even mental resemblances, such as the fundamental similarity of many of their customs and ways of thought, he would explain with much probability by the routes followed by the first emigrants from the mainland. While the great bulk spread east and north over the great archipelago, everywhere "driving the aborigines before them," a smaller stream may have trended southward to the little southern group, whose islets stretch like stepping-stones the whole way from Japan to Great Liu-Kiu[667].

Cult of the Dead.

Amongst the common mental traits, mention is made of the Shinto religion, "the simplest and most rustic form" of which still survives in Liu-Kiu. Here, as in Japan, it was originally a rude system of nature-worship, the normal development of which was arrested by Chinese and Buddhist influences. Later it became associated with spirit-worship, the spirits being at first the souls of the dead, and although there is at present no cult of the dead, in the strict sense of the expression, the Liu-Kiu islanders probably pay more respect to the departed than any other people in the world.


In Japan, Shintoism, as reformed in recent times, has become much more a political institution than a religious system. The Kami-no-michi, that is, the Japanese form of the Chinese Shin-to, "way of the Gods," or "spirits," is not merely the national faith, but is inseparably bound up with the interests of the reigning dynasty, holding the Mikado to be the direct descendant of the Sun-goddess[Pg 298] Hence its three cardinal precepts now are:—1. Honour the Kami (spirits), of whom the emperor is the chief representative on earth; 2. Revere him as thy sovereign; 3. Obey the will of his Court, and that is the whole duty of man. There is no moral code, and loyal expositors have declared that the Mikado's will is the only test of right and wrong.

But apart from this political exegesis, Shintoism in its higher form may be called a cultured deism, in its lower a "blind obedience to governmental and priestly dictates[668]." There are dim notions about a supreme creator, immortality, and even rewards and penalties in the after-life. Some also talk vaguely, as a pantheist might, of a sublime being or essence pervading all nature, too vast and ethereal to be personified or addressed in prayer, identified with the tenka, "heavens," from which all things emanate, to which all return. Yet, although a personal deity seems thus excluded, there are Shinto temples, apparently for the worship of the heavenly bodies and powers of nature, conceived as self-existing personalities—the so-called Kami, "spirits," "gods," of which there are "eight millions," that is, they are countless.


One cannot but suspect that some of these notions have been grafted on the old national faith by Buddhism, which was introduced about 550 A.D. and for a time had great vogue. It was encouraged especially by the Shoguns, or military usurpers of the Mikado's[669] functions, obviously as a set-off against the Shinto theocracy. During their tenure of power (1192-1868 A.D.) the land was covered with Buddhist shrines and temples, some of vast size and quaint design, filled with hideous idols, huge bells, and colossal statues of Buddha.

But with the fall of the Shogun the little prestige still enjoyed by Buddhism came to an end, and the temples, spoiled of their treasures, have more than ever become the resort of pleasure-seekers rather than of pious worshippers. "To all the larger temples are attached regular spectacles, playhouses, panoramas, besides lotteries, games of various sorts, including the famous 'fan-throwing,' and shooting-galleries, where the bow and arrow and the blow-pipe take the place of the rifle.[Pg 299] The accumulated treasures of the priests have been confiscated, the monks driven from their monasteries, and many of these buildings converted into profane uses. Countless temple bells have already found their way to America, or have been sold for old metal[670]."

Besides these forms of belief, there is a third religious, or rather philosophic system, the so-called Siza, based on the ethical teachings of Confucius, a sort of refined materialism, such as underlies the whole religious thought of the nation. Siza, always confined to the literati, has in recent years found a formidable rival in the "English Philosophy," represented by such writers as Buckle, Mill, Herbert Spencer, Darwin, and Huxley, most of whose works have already been translated into Japanese.

Thus this highly gifted people are being assimilated to the western world in their social and religious, as well as their political institutions. Their intellectual powers, already tested in the fields of war, science, diplomacy, and self-government, are certainly superior to those of all other Asiatic peoples, and this is perhaps the best guarantee for the stability of the stupendous transformation that a single generation has witnessed from an exaggerated form of medieval feudalism to a political and social system in harmony with the most advanced phases of modern thought. The system has doubtless not yet penetrated to the lower strata, especially amongst the rural populations. But their natural receptivity, combined with a singular freedom from "insular prejudice," must ensure the ultimate acceptance of the new order by all classes of the community.


[569] As fully explained in Eth. p. 303.

[570] Mark Aurel Stein, Sand-buried Cities of Khotan, 1903, and Geog. Journ., July, Sept. 1909.

[571] R. Pumpelly, Explorations in Turkestan, 1905, and Explorations in Turkestan; Expedition of 1904, 1908.

[572] Sven Hedin, Scientific Results of a Journey in Central Asia, 1899-1902, 1906, and Geog. Journ., April, 1909.

[573] Douglas Carruthers, Unknown Mongolia, 1913 (with bibliography).

[574] Ellsworth Huntington, The Pulse of Asia, 1910.

[575] "The Asiatic Background," Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. I. 1911.

[576] Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse; Recherches archéologiques (from 1899).

[577] Sand-buried Cities of Khotan, 1903.

[578] "Ueber Alte Grabstätten in Sibirien und der Mongolei," in Mitt. d. Anthrop. Ges., Vienna, 1895, xxv. 9.

[579] Th. Volkov, in L'Anthropologie, 1896, p. 82.

[580] Too much stress must not, however, be laid upon the theory of gradual desiccation as a factor in depopulation. There are many causes such as earthquake, water-spouts, shifting of currents, neglect of irrigation and, above all, the work of enemies to account for the sand-buried ruins of populous cities in Central Asia. See T. Peisker, "The Asiatic Background," Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. I. 1911, p. 326.

[581] Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1895, p. 318 sq.

[582] Cf. Archæologia Cambrensis, 6th Ser. XIV. Part 1, 1914, p. 131, and Zeitschr. f. Ethnol. 1910, p. 601.

[583] "Zur Prähistorik Japans," Globus, 1896, No. 10.

[584] The best account of the archaeology of Japan will be found in Prehistoric Japan, by N. G. Munro, 1912.

[585] Die Bronzezeit Finnlands, Helsingfors, 1897.

[586] "Akkadian," first applied by Rawlinson to the non-Semitic texts found at Nineveh, is still often used by English writers in place of the more correct Sumerian, the Akkadians being now shown to be Semitic immigrants into Northern Babylonia (p. 264).

[587] Cf. L. W. King, History of Sumer and Akkad, 1910, pp. 5, 6.

[588] Ueber die Summerische Sprache, Paper read at the Russian Archaeological Congress, Riga, 1896.

[589] "Sumer and Sumerian," Ency. Brit. 1911, with references.

[590] Geschichte des Altertums, I. 2, 2nd ed. 1909, p. 404.

[591] E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, I. 2, 2nd ed. 1909, p. 406. L. W. King (History of Sumer and Akkad, 1910) discusses Meyer's arguments and points out that the earliest Sumerian gods appear to be free from Semitic influence (p. 51). He is inclined, however, to regard the Sumerians as displacing an earlier Semitic people (Hutchinson's History of the Nations, 1914, pp. 221 and 229).

[592] Ellsworth Huntington, The Pulse of Asia, 1910, p. 382.

[593] L. W. King, History of Sumer and Akkad, 1910, p. 357.

[594] E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, I. 2, 2nd ed. 1909, p. 463.

[595] L. W. King, History of Sumer and Akkad, 1910, p. 61, and the article, "Chronology. Babylonia and Assyria," Ency. Brit. 1911. Cf. also E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, I. 2, 2nd ed. 1909, §§ 329 and 383.

[596] The cylinder-seals and tablets of Fara, excavated by Koldewey, Andrae and Noeldeke in 1902-3 may go back to 3400 B.C. Cf. L. W. King, loc. cit. p. 65.

[597] C. H. W. Johns, Ancient Babylonia, 1913, regards Sharrukin as "Sargon of Akkad," p. 39.

[598] L. W. King, History of Sumer and Akkad, 1910, pp. 234, 343, where the seal is referred to a period not much earlier than the First Dynasty of Babylon.

[599] H. V. Hilprecht, The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Series D, Vol. v. 1. 1910.

[600] See The Times, June 24, 1914.

[601] "Babylonia and Elam Four Thousand Years Ago," in Knowledge, May 1, 1896, p. 116 sq. and elsewhere.

[602] The term "Elam" is said to have the same meaning as "Akkad" (i.e. Highland) in contradistinction to "Sumer" (Lowland). It should be noted that neither Akkad nor Sumer occurs in the oldest texts, where Akkad is called Kish from the name of its capital, and Sumer Kiengi (Kengi), probably a general name meaning "the land." Kish has been identified with the Kush of Gen. x., one of the best abused words in Palethnology. For this identification, however, there is some ground, seeing that Kush is mentioned in the closest connection with "Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar" (Mesopotamia) v. 10.

[603] J. de Morgan, Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse, 1899-1906.

[604] S. Laing, Human Origins, p. 74.

[605] And it has remained so ever since, the present Lur and Bakhtiari inhabitants of Susiana speaking, not the standard Neo-Persian, but dialects of the ruder Kurdish branch of the Iranian family, as if they had been Aryanised from Media, the capital of which was Ekbatana. We have here, perhaps, a clue to the origin of the Medes themselves, who were certainly the above-mentioned Mandas of Nabonidus, their capital being also the same Ekbatana. Now Sayce (Academy, Sept. 7, 1895, p. 189) identified the Kimmerians with these Manda nomads, whose king Tukdammé (Tugdammé) was the Lygdanis of Strabo (I. 3, 16), who led a horde of Kimmerians into Lydia and captured Sardis. We know from Esarhaddon's inscriptions that by the Assyrians these Kimmerians were called Manda, their prince Teupsa (Teispe) being described as "of the people of the Manda." An oracle given to Esar-haddon begins: "The Kimmerian in the mountains has set fire in the land of Ellip," i.e. the land where Ekbatana was afterwards founded, which is now shown to have already been occupied by the Kimmerian or Manda hordes. It follows that Kimmerians, Mandas, Medes with their modern Kurd and Bakhtiari representatives, were all one people, who were almost certainly of Aryan speech, if not actually of proto-Aryan stock. "The Kurds are the descendants of Aryan invaders and have maintained their type and their language for more than 3300 years," F. v. Luschan, "The Early Inhabitants of Western Asia," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XLI. 1911, p. 230. For a classification of Kurds see Mark Sykes, "The Kurdish Tribes of the Ottoman Empire," Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. XXXVIII. 1908, p. 451. Cf. also D. G. Hogarth, The Nearer East, 1902.

[606] C. H. W. Johns, Ancient Babylonia, 1913, p. 27.

[607] Cf. H. Zimmern, article "Babylonians and Assyrians," Ency. Religion and Ethics, 1909.

[608] G. Maspero, Dawn of Civilisation, p. 733.

[609] Ibid. p. 71.

[610] Ibid. p. 752.

[611] Vorgeschichte, etc., Book II. passim.

[612] Geschichte Babyloniens u. Assyriens.

[613] G. Maspero, The Struggle of the Nations, Egypt, Syria and Assyria, 1910.

[614] It is noteworthy that Dalai, "Ocean," is itself a Mongol word, though Lama, "Priest," is Tibetan. The explanation is that in the thirteenth century a local incarnation of Buddha was raised by the then dominant Mongols to the first rank, and this title of Dalai Lama, the "Ocean Priest," i.e. the Priest of fathomless wisdom, was bestowed on one of his successors in the sixteenth century, and still retained by the High Pontiff at Lhasa.

[615] Aboriginal Siberia, 1914, p. 13.

[616] Loc. cit. pp. 18-21.

[617] Either from the Chinese Tunghu, "Eastern Barbarians," or from the Turki Tinghiz, as in Isaac Massa: per interpretes se Tingoesi vocari dixerunt (Descriptio, etc., Amsterdam, 1612). But there is no collective national name, and at present they call themselves Don-ki, Boía, Boíe, etc., terms all meaning "Men," "People." In the Chinese records they are referred to under the name of I-lu so early as 263 A.D., when they dwelt in the forest region between the Upper Temen and Yalu rivers on the one hand and the Pacific Ocean on the other, and paid tribute in kind—sable furs, bows, and stone arrow-heads. Arrows and stone arrow-heads were also the tribute paid to the emperors of the Shang dynasty (1766-1154 B.C.) by the Su-shen, who dwelt north of the Liao-tung peninsula, so that we have here official proof of a Stone Age of long duration in Manchuria. Later, the Chinese chronicles mention the U-ki or Mo-ho, a warlike people of the Sungari valley and surrounding uplands, who in the 7th century founded the kingdom of Pu-haī, overthrown in 925 by the Khitans of the Lower Sungari below its Noni confluence, who were themselves Tunguses and according to some Chinese authorities the direct ancestors of the Manchus.

[618] "C'est la tendance de la tête à se développer en hauteur, juste en sens inverse de l'aplatissement vertical du Mongol. La tête du Turc est donc à la fois plus haute et plus courte" (L'Anthropologie, VI. 3, p. 8).

[619] Reclus, VI.; Eng. ed. p. 360.

[620] V. M. Mikhailovskii, Shamanism in Siberia and European Russia, translated by Oliver Wardrop, Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1895, p. 91.

[621] M. A. Czaplicka, Aboriginal Siberia, 1914. Part III. discusses Shamanism, pp. 166-255.

[622] Hakluyt, 1809 ed., I. p. 317 sq.

[623] Quoted by Mikhailovskii, p. 144.

[624] Cf. H. A. Giles, China and the Manchus, 1912.

[625] Souvenirs d'un voyage dans la Tartarie, 1853, I. 162.

[626] Through Siberia, 1882, Vol. II. p. 172.

[627] European visitors often notice with surprise the fine physique of these natives, many of whom average nearly six feet in height. But there is an extraordinary disparity between the two sexes, perhaps greater than in any other country. The much smaller stature and feebler constitution of the women is no doubt due to the detestable custom of crippling the feet in childhood, thereby depriving them of natural exercise during the period of growth. It may be noted that the anti-foot-bandaging movement is making progress throughout China, the object being to abolish the cruel practice by making the kin lien ("golden lilies") unfashionable, and the ti mien, the "heavenly feet,"—i.e. the natural—popular in their stead.

[628] H. Lansdell, Through Siberia, 1882, II. p. 172.

[629] De l'Harmonie des Voyelles dans les Langues Uralo-Altaïques, 1874, p. 67 sq.

[630] General Principles of the Structure of Language, 1885, Vol. I. p. 357. The evidence here chiefly relied upon is that afforded by the Yakutic, a pure Turki idiom, which is spoken in the region of extremest heat and cold (Middle and Lower Lena basin), and in which the principle of progressive assonance attains its greatest development.

[631] Explained and illustrated by General Krahmer in Globus, 1896, p. 208 sq.

[632] H. Lansdell, Through Siberia, 1882, I. p. 299.

[633] "Ueber die Sprache der Jukagiren," in Mélanges Asiatiques, 1859, III. p. 595 sq.

[634] W. I. Jochelson recently discovered two independent Yukaghir dialects. "Essay on the Grammar of the Yukaghir Language," Annals N. Y. Ac. Sc. 1905; The Yukaghir and the Yukaghirized Tungus. Memoir of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. IX. 1910. For the Koryak see his monograph in the same series, Vol. VI. 1905-8.

[635] Ten Months among the Tents of the Tuski.

[636] "Ueber die Koriaken u. ihnen nahe verwandten Tchouktchen," in Bul. Acad. Sc., St Petersburg, XII. p. 99.

[637] Peschel, Races of Man, p. 391, who says the Chukchi are "as closely related to the Itelmes in speech as are Spaniards to Portuguese."

[638] Petermann's Mitt. Vol. 25, 1879, p. 138.

[639] "The Girl and the Dogs, an Eskimo Folk-tale," Amer. Anthropologist, June 1898, p. 181 sq.

[640] Through the Gold Fields of Alaska to Bering Strait, 1898.

[641] Cf. W. Bogoras, The Chukchee, Memoir of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. VII. 1904-10

[642] This, however, applies only to the fishing Koryaks, for G. Kennan speaks highly of the domestic virtues, hospitality, and other good qualities of the nomad groups (Tent Life in Siberia, 1871).

[643] See L. Sternberg, The Tribes of the Amur River, Memoirs of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. IV. 1900.

[644] Mem. Imp. Soc. Nat. Sc. XX. Supplement, Moscow, 1877.

[645] "Scheinen grosse Aenlichkeit in Sprache, Gesichtsbildung und Sitten mit den Aino zu haben" (Ueber die Aino, Berlin, 1881, p. 12).

[646] Through Siberia, 1882, II. p. 227.

[647] Ibid. p. 235.

[648] Ibid. p. 221.

[649] L'Anthropologie, VI. No. 3.

[650] Bul. du Muséum d'Hist. Nat. 1896, No. 4. All the skulls were brachy or sub-brachy, varying from 81 to 83.8 and 84.8. The author remarks generally that "photographes et crânes diffèrent, du tout au tout, des choses similaires venues jusqu'à présent de Mongolie et de Chine, et font plutôt penser au Japon, à Formose, et d'une manière plus générale à ce vaste ensemble de peuples maritimes que Lesson désignait jadis sous le nom de 'Mongols-pélasgiens,'" p. 3.

[651] On this juxtaposition of the yellow and blond types in Korea V. de Saint-Martin's language is highly significative: "Cette dualité de type, un type tout à fait caucasique à côté du type mongol, est un fait commun à toute la ceinture d'îles qui couvre les côtes orientales de l'Asie, depuis les Kouriles jusqu'à Formose, et même jusqu'à la zone orientale de l'Indo-Chine" (Art. Corée, p. 800).

[652] From Koraï, in Japanese Kome (Chinese Kaoli), name of a petty state, which enjoyed political predominance in the peninsula for about 500 years (tenth to fourteenth century A.D.). An older designation still in official use is Tsio-sien, that is, the Chinese Chao-sien, "Bright Dawn" (Klaproth, Asia Polyglotta, p. 334 sq.).

[653] This stupendous work, on which about 1,000,000 hands are said to have been engaged for five years, possesses great ethnical as well as political importance. Running for over 1500 miles across hills, valleys, and rivers along the northern frontier of China proper, it long arrested the southern movements of the restless Mongolo-Turki hordes, and thus gave a westerly direction to their incursions many centuries before the great invasions of Jenghiz-Khan and his successors. It is strange to reflect that the ethnological relations were thus profoundly disturbed throughout the eastern hemisphere by the work of a ruthless despot who reigned only twelve years, and in that time waged war against all the best traditions of the empire, destroying the books of Confucius and the other sages, and burying alive 460 men of letters for their efforts to rescue those writings from total extinction.

[654] Les Aryens au Nord et au Sud de l'Hindou-Kouch, 1896, p. 25. This writer does not think that the Usuns should be identified with the tall race of horse-like face, large nose, and deep-set eyes mentioned in the early Chinese records, because no reference is made to "blue eyes," which would not have been omitted had they existed. But, if I remember, "green eyes" are spoken of, and we know that none of the early writers use colour terms with strict accuracy.

[655] I have not thought it desirable to touch on the interminable controversy respecting the ethnical relations of the Hiung-nu, regarding them, not as a distinct ethnical group, but like the Huns, their later western representatives, as a heterogeneous collection of Mongol, Tungus, Turki, and perhaps even Finnish hordes under a Mongol military caste. At the same time I have little doubt that Mongolo-Tungus elements greatly predominated in the eastern regions (Mongolia proper, Manchuria) both amongst the Hiung-nu and their Yuan-yuan (Sien-pi) successors, and that all the founders of the first great empires prior to that of the Turki Assena in the Altai region (sixth century A.D.) were full-blood Mongols, as indeed recognised by Jenghiz-Khan himself. For the migrations of these and neighbouring peoples, consult A. C. Haddon, The Wanderings of Peoples, 1911, pp. 16 and 28.

[656] On the authority of the Wei-Shu documents contained in the Wei-Chī, E. H. Parker gives (in the China Review and A Thousand Years of the Tartars, Shanghai, 1895) the dates 386-556 A.D. as the period covered by the "Sien-pi Tartar dynasty of Wei." This is not to be confused with the Chinese dynasty of Wei (224-264, or according to Kwong Ki-Chiu 234-274 A.D.). The term "Tartar" (Ta-Ta), it may be explained, is used by Parker, as well as by the Chinese historians generally, in a somewhat wide sense, so as to include all the nomad populations north of the Great Wall, whether of Tungus (Manchu), Mongol, or even Turki stock. The original tribes bearing the name were Mongols, and Jenghiz-Khan himself was a Tata on his mother's side.

[657] Mrs Bishop, Korea and Her Neighbours, 1898.

[658] T. de Lacouperie says on "a Tibeto-Indian base" (Beginnings of Writing in Central and Eastern Asia, 1894, p. 148); and E. H. Parker: "It is demonstrable that the Korean letters are an adaptation from the Sanskrit," i.e. the Devanagari (Academy, Dec. 21, 1895, p. 550).

[659] See p. 261. Also Koganei, "Ueber die Urbewohner von Japan," Mitt. d. Deutsch. Gesell. f. Natur- u. Völkerkunde Ostasiens, IX. 3, 1903, containing an exhaustive review of recent literature, and N. G. Munro, Prehistoric Japan, 1912.

[660] J. Deniker, Races of Man, 1900, pp. 371-2. See also J. Batchelor, The Ainu of Japan, 1892, and the article "Ainus" in Ency. of Religion and Ethics, 1908.

[661] G. Baudens, Bul. Soc. Geogr. X. p. 419.

[662] See especially E. Baelz, "Die körperlichen Eigenschaften der Japaner," in Mitt. der Deutsch. Gesell. f. Natur- u. Völkerkunde Ostasiens, 28 and 32.

[663] Cruise of the Marchesa, 1886, I. p. 36.

[664] Geogr. Journ. 1895, II. p. 318.

[665] Geogr. Journ. 1895, II. p. 460.

[666] Journ. Anthrop. Soc. 1897, p. 47 sq.

[667] Ibid. p. 58.

[668] Ripley and Dana, Amer. Cyc. IX. 538.

[669] Shogun from Sho = general, and gún = army, hence Commander-in-chief; Mikado from mi = sublime, and kado = gate, with which cf. the "Sublime Porte" (J. J. Rein, Japan nach Reisen u. Studien, 1881, I. p. 245). But Mikado has become somewhat antiquated, being now generally replaced by the title Kotei, "Emperor."

[670] Keane's Asia, I. p. 487.

[Pg 300]



The Finno-Turki Peoples—Assimilation to the Caucasic Type—Turki Cradle—Ural-Altaian Invasions—The Scythians—Parthians and Turkomans—Massagetae and Yué-chi—Indo-Scythians and Graeco-Baktrians—Dahae, Ját, and Rájput Origins—The "White Huns"—The Uigurs—Orkhon Inscriptions—The Assena Turki Dynasty—Toghuz-Uigur Empire—Kashgarian and Sungarian Populations—The Oghuz Turks and their Migrations—Seljuks and Osmanli—The Yakuts—The Kirghiz—Kazák and Kossack—The Kara-Kirghiz—The Finnish Peoples—Former and Present Domain—Late Westward Spread of the Finns—The Bronze and Iron Ages in the Finnish Lands—The Baltic Finns—Relations to Goths, Letts, and Slavs—Finno-Russ Origins—Tavastian and Karelian Finns—The Kwæns—The Lapps—Samoyeds and Permian Finns—Lapp Origins and Migrations—Temperament—Religion—The Volga Finns—The Votyak Pagans—Human Sacrifices—The Bulgars—Origins and Migrations—An Ethnical Transformation—Great and Little Bulgaria—Avars and Magyars—Magyar Origins and early Records—Present Position of the Magyars—Ethnical and Linguistic Relations in Eastern Europe.

The Finno-Turki Peoples.
Assimilation to the Caucasic Type.

In a very broad way all the western branches of the North Mongol division may be comprised under the collective designation of Finno-Turki Mongols. Jointly they constitute a well-marked section of the family, being distinguished from the eastern section by several features which they have in common, and the most important of which is unquestionably a much larger infusion of Caucasic blood than is seen in any of the Mongolo-Tungusic groups. So pronounced is this feature amongst many Finnish as well as Turkish peoples, that some anthropologists have felt inclined to deny any direct connection between the eastern and western divisions of Mongolian man and to regard the Baltic Finns, for instance, rather as "Allophylian Whites" than as original members of the yellow race. Prichard, to whom we owe this now nearly obsolete term "Allophylian," held this view[671], and even Sayce is "more than doubtful whether we can class the Mongols physiologically with the Turkish-Tatars [the Turki peoples], or the Ugro-Finns[672]."[Pg 301]

It may, indeed, be allowed that at present the great majority of the Finno-Turki populations occupy a position amongst the varieties of mankind which is extremely perplexing for the strict systematist. When the whole division is brought under survey, every shade of transition is observed between the Siberian Samoyeds of the Finnic branch and the steppe Kirghiz of the Turki branch on the one hand, both of whom show Mongol characters in an exaggerated form, and on the other the Osmanli Turks and Hungarian Magyars, most of whom may be regarded as typical Caucasians. Moreover, the difficulty is increased by the fact, already pointed out, that these mixed Mongolo-Caucasic characters occur not only amongst the late historic groups, but also amongst the earliest known groups—"Chudes," Usuns, Uigurs and others—who may be called Proto-Finnish and Proto-Turki peoples. But precisely herein lies the solution of the problem. Most of the region now held by Turki and Finnish nations was originally occupied by long-headed Caucasic men of the late Stone Ages (see above). Then followed the Proto-Mongol intruders from the Tibetan table-land, who partly submerged, partly intermingled with their neolithic neighbours, many thus acquiring those mixed characters by which they have been distinguished from the earliest historic times. Later, further interminglings took place according as the Finno-Turki hordes, leaving their original seats in the Altai and surrounding regions, advanced westwards and came more and more into contact with the European populations of Caucasic type.

We may therefore conclude that the majority of the Finno-Turki were almost from the first a somewhat mixed race, and that during historic times the original Mongol element has gradually yielded to the Caucasic in the direction from east to west. Such is the picture now presented by these heterogeneous populations, who in their primeval eastern seats are still mostly typical Mongols, but have been more and more assimilated to the European type in their new Anatolian, Baltic, Danubian, and Balkan homes.

Observant travellers have often been impressed by this progressive conformity of the Mongolo-Turki to Europeans. During his westward journey through Central Asia Younghusband, on passing from Mongolia to Eastern Turkestan, found that the people, though tall and fine-looking, had at first more of the Mongol cast of feature than he had expected.[Pg 302] "Their faces, however, though somewhat round, were slightly more elongated than the Mongol, and there was considerably more intelligence about them. But there was more roundness, less intelligence, less sharpness in the outlines than is seen in the inhabitants of Kashgar and Yarkand." Then he adds: "As I proceeded westwards I noticed a gradual, scarcely perceptible, change from the round of a Mongolian type to a sharper and yet more sharp type of feature.... As we get farther away from Mongolia, we notice that the faces become gradually longer and narrower; and farther west still, among some of the inhabitants of Afghan Turkestan, we see that the Tartar or Mongol type of feature is almost entirely lost[673]." To complete the picture it need only be added that still further west, in Asia Minor, the Balkan Peninsula, Hungary, and Finland, the Mongol features are often entirely lost. "The Turks of the west have so much Aryan and Semitic blood in them, that the last vestiges of their original physical characters have been lost, and their language alone indicates their previous descent[674]."

Turki Cradle.

Before they were broken up and dispersed over half the northern hemisphere by Mongol pressure from the east, the primitive Turki tribes dwelt, according to Howorth, mainly between the Ulugh-dagh mountains and the Orkhon river in Mongolia, that is, along the southern slopes and spurs of the Altai-Sayan system from the head waters of the Irtysh to the valleys draining north to Lake Baikal. But the Turki cradle is shifted farther east by Richthofen, who thinks that their true home lay between the Amur, the Lena, and the Selenga, where at one time they had their camping-grounds in close proximity to their Mongol and Tungus kinsmen. There is nothing to show that the Yakuts, who are admittedly of Turki stock, ever migrated to their present northern homes in the Lena basin, which has more probably always been their native land[675].

But when they come within the horizon of history the Turki are already a numerous nation, with a north-western and south-eastern[Pg 303] division[676], which may well have jointly occupied the whole region from the Irtysh to the Lena, and both views may thus be reconciled. In any case the Turki domain lay west of the Mongol, and the Altai uplands, taken in the widest sense, may still be regarded as the most probable zone of specialisation for the Turki physical type. The typical characteristics are a yellowish white complexion, a high brachycephalic head, often almost cuboid, due to parieto-occipital flattening (especially noticeable among the Yakuts), an elongated oval face, with straight, somewhat prominent nose, and non-Mongolian eyes. The stature is moderate, with an average of 1.675 m. (5 ft. 6 in.), and a tendency to stoutness.

Intermediate between the typical Turki and the Mongols Hamy places the Uzbegs, Kirghiz, Bashkirs, and Nogais; and between the Turks and Finns those extremely mixed groups of East Russia commonly but wrongly called "Tartars," as well as other transitions between Turk, Slav, Greek, Arab, Osmanli of Constantinople, Kurugli of Algeria and others, whose study shows the extreme difficulty of accurately determining the limits of the Yellow and the White races[677].

Analogous difficulties recur in the study of the Northern (Siberian) groups—Samoyeds, Ostyaks, Voguls and other Ugrians—who present great individual variations, leading almost without a break from the Mongol to the Lapp, from the Lapp to the Finn, from Finn to Slav and Teuton. Thus may be shown a series of observations continuous between the most typical Mongol, and those aberrant Mongolo-Caucasic groups which answer to Prichard's "Allophylian races." Thus also is confirmed by a study of details the above broad generalisation in which I have endeavoured to determine the relation of the Finno-Turki peoples to the primary Mongol and Caucasic divisions.

Ural-Altaian Invasions.
The Scythians.

Peisker's description of the Scythian invasions of Irania[678] may be taken as typical of the whole area, and explains the complexity of the ethnological problems. The steppes and deserts of Central Asia are an impassable barrier for the South Asiatics, the Aryans, but not for the North Asiatic, the Altaian; for him they are an open country, providing him with the indispensable winter [Pg 304]pastures. On the other hand, for the South Asiatic Aryan these deserts are an object of terror, and besides he is not impelled towards them as he has winter pastures near at hand. It is this difference in the distance of summer and winter pastures that makes the North Asiatic Altaian an ever-wandering herdsman, and the grazing part of the Indo-European race cattle-rearers settled in limited districts. Thus, while the native Iranian must halt before the trackless region of steppes and deserts and cannot follow the well-mounted robber-nomad thither, Iran itself is the object of greatest longing to the nomadic Altaian. Here he can plunder and enslave to his heart's delight, and if he succeeds in maintaining himself for a considerable time among the Aryans, he learns the language of the subjugated people and, by mingling with them, loses his Mongol characteristics more and more. If the Iranian is now fortunate enough to shake off the yoke, the dispossessed iranised Altaian intruder inflicts himself upon other lands. So it was with the Scythians. Leaving their families behind in the South Russian steppes, the Scythians invaded Media c. B.C. 630, and advanced into Mesopotamia as far as Egypt.

In Media they took Median wives and learned the Median language. After being driven out by Cyaxares, on their return, some 28 years later, they met with a new generation, the offspring of the wives and daughters whom they had left behind, and slaves of an alien race. A hundred and fifty years later Hippocrates remarked their yellowish red complexion, corpulence, smooth skins, and their consequent eunuch-like appearance—all typically Mongol characteristics. Hippocrates was the most celebrated physician and natural philosopher of the ancient world. His evidence is unshakeable and cannot be invalidated by the Aryan speech of the Scythians. Their Mongol type was innate in them, whereas their Iranian speech was acquired and is no refutation of Hippocrates' testimony. On the later Greek vases from South Russian excavations they already appear strongly demongolised and the Altaian is only suggested by their hair, which is as stiff as a horse's mane—hence Aristotle's epithet εὐθύτριχες—the characteristic that survives longest among all Ural-Altaian hybrid peoples.

Parthians and Turkomans.

E. H. Parker unfortunately lent the weight of his authority to the statement that the word "Türkö" [Turki] "goes no farther back than the fifth century of our era," and that "so far as recorded history is concerned the name of Turk dates from [Pg 305]this time[679]." But Turki tribes bearing this national name had penetrated into East Europe hundreds of years before that time, and were already seated on the Tanais (Don) about the new era. They are mentioned by name both by Pomponius Mela[680] and by Pliny[681], and to the same connection belonged, beyond all doubt, the warlike Parthians, who 300 years earlier were already seated on the confines of Iran and Turan, routed the legions of Crassus and Antony, and for five centuries (250 B.C.-229 A.D.) usurped the throne of the "King of Kings," holding sway from the Euphrates to the Ganges, and from the Caspian to the Indian Ocean. Direct descendants of the Parthians are the fierce Turkoman nomads, who for ages terrorised over all the settled populations encircling the Aralo-Caspian depression. Their power has at last been broken by the Russians, but they are still politically dominant in Persia[682]. They have thus been for many ages in the closest contact with Caucasic Iranians, with the result that the present Turkoman type is shown by J. L. Yavorsky's observations to be extremely variable[683].

Massagetae and Yué-chi.
Indo-Scythians and Graeco-Baktrians.
Dahae, Ját, and Rájput Origins.

Both the Parthians and the Massagetae have been identified with the Yué-chi, who figured so largely in the annals of the Han dynasties, and are above mentioned as having been driven west to Sungaria by the Hiung-nu after the erection of the Great Wall. It has been said that, could we follow the peregrinations of the Yué-chi bands from their early seats at the foot of the Kinghan mountains to their disappearance amid the snows of the Western Himalayas, we should hold the key to the solution of the [Pg 306]obscure problems associated with the migrations of the Mongolo-Turki hordes since the torrent of invasion was diverted westwards by Shih Hwang Ti's mighty barrier. One point, however, seems clear enough, that the Yué-chi were a different people both from the Parthians who had already occupied Hyrcania (Khorasan) at least in the third century B.C., if not earlier, and from the Massagetae. For the latter were seated on the Yaxartes (Sir-darya) in the time of Cyrus (sixth century B.C.), whereas the Yué-chi still dwelt east of Lake Lob (Tarim basin) in the third century. After their defeat by the Hiung-nu and the Usuns (201 and 165 B.C.), they withdrew to Sogdiana (Transoxiana), reduced the Ta-Hia of Baktria, and in 126 B.C. overthrew the Graeco-Baktrian kingdom, which had been founded after the death of Alexander towards the close of the fourth century. But in the Kabul valley, south of the Hindu-Kush, the Greeks still held their ground for over 100 years, until Kadphises I., king of the Kushans—a branch of the Yué-chi—after uniting the whole nation in a single Indo-Scythian state, extended his conquests to Kabul and succeeded Hermaeus, last of the Greek dynasty (40-20 B.C.?). Kadphises' son Kadaphes (10 A.D.) added to his empire a great part of North India, where his successors of the Yué-chi dynasty reigned from the middle of the first to the end of the fourth century A.D. Here they are supposed by some authorities to be still represented by the Játs and Rájputs, and even Prichard allows that the supposition "does not appear altogether preposterous," although "the physical characters of the Játs are very different from those attributed to the Yuetschi [Yué-chi] and the kindred tribes [Suns, Kushans, etc.] by the writers cited by Klaproth and Abel Remusat, who say that they are of sanguine complexion with blue eyes[684]."

We now know that these characters present little difficulty when the composite origin of the Turki people is borne in mind. On the other hand it is interesting to note that the above-mentioned Ta-Hia have by some been identified with the warlike Scythian Dahae[685], and these with the Dehiya or Dhé one of[Pg 307] the great divisions of the Indian Játs. But if Rawlinson[686] is right, the term Dahae was not racial but social, meaning rustici,—the peasantry as opposed to the nomads; hence the Dahae are heard of everywhere throughout Irania, just as Dehwar[687] is still the common designation of the Tajik (Persian) peasantry in Afghanistan and Baluchistan. This is also the view taken by de Ujfalvy, who identifies the Ta-Hia, not with the Scythian Dahae, or with any other particular tribe, but with the peaceful rural population of Baktriana[688], whose reduction by the Yué-chi, possibly Strabo's Tokhari, was followed by the overthrow of the Graeco-Baktrians. The solution of the puzzling Yué-chi-Ját problem would therefore seem to be that the Dehiya and other Játs, always an agricultural people, are descended from the old Iranian peasantry of Baktriana, some of whom followed the fortunes of their Greek rulers into Kabul valley, while others accompanied the conquering Yué-chi founders of the Indo-Scythian empire into northern India.

The "White Huns."

Then followed the overthrow of the Yué-chi themselves by the Yé-tha (Ye-tha-i-li-to) of the Chinese records, that is, the Ephthalites, or so-called "White Huns," of the Greek and Arab writers, who about 425 A.D. overran Transoxiana, and soon afterwards penetrated through the mountain passes into the Kabul and Indus valleys. Although confused by some contemporary writers (Zosimus, Am. Marcellinus) with Attila's Huns, M. Drouin has made it clear that the Yé-tha were not Huns (Mongols) at all, but, like the Yué-chi, a Turki people, who were driven westwards about the same time as the Hiung-nu by the Yuan-yuans (see above). Of Hun they had little but the name, and the more accurate Procopius was aware that they differed entirely from "the Huns known to us, not being nomads, but settled for a long time in a fertile region." He speaks also of their white colour and regular features, and their sedentary life[689] as in the Chinese accounts, where they are described as warlike conquerors of twenty kingdoms, as far as that of the A-si (Arsacides, Parthians), and in their customs resembling the Tu-Kiu (Turks), being in fact "of the same race." On the ruins of the Indo-Scythian (Yué-chi) empire, the White Huns ruled in India[Pg 308] and the surrounding lands from 425 to the middle of the sixth century. A little later came the Arabs, who in 706 captured Samarkand, and under the Abassides were supreme in Central Asia till scattered to the winds by the Oghuz Turki hordes.

From all this it has been suggested that—while the Baktrian peasants entered India as settlers, and are now represented by the agricultural Játs—the Yué-chi and Yé-tha, both of fair Turki stock, came as conquerors, and are now represented by the Rájputs, "Sons of Kings," the warrior and land-owning race of northern India. It is significant that these Thákur, "feudal lords," mostly trace their genealogies from about the beginning of the seventh century, as if they had become Hinduized soon after the fall of the foreign Yé-tha dynasty, while on the other hand "the country legends abound with instances of the conflict between the Rájput and the Bráhman in prehistoric times[690]." This supports the conjecture that the Rájputs entered India, not as "Aryans" of the Kshatriya or military caste, as is commonly assumed, but as aliens (Turki), the avowed foes of the true Aryans, that is, the Bráhman or theocratic (priestly) caste. Thus also is explained the intimate association of the Rájputs and the Játs from the first—the Rájputs being the Turki leaders of the invasions; and the Játs their peaceful Baktrian subjects following in their wake.

The theory that the haughty Rájputs are of unsullied "Aryan blood" is scarcely any longer held even by the Rájputs themselves; they are undoubtedly of mixed origin. But the definite physical type which H. H. Risley[691] describes as characteristic of Rájputs and Játs in the Kashmir Valley, Punjab and Rajputana, shows them to be wavy-haired dark-skinned dolichocephals, linked rather with the "Caucasic" than the "Mongolian" division.

The Uigurs.

Nearly related to the White Huns were the Uigurs, the Kao-che of the Chinese annals, who may claim to be the first Turki nation that founded a relatively civilised State in Central Asia. Before the general commotion caused by the westward pressure of the Hiung-nu, they appear to have dwelt in eastern Turkestan (Kashgaria) between the Usuns and the Sacae, and here they had already made considerable progress under Buddhist influences about the fourth or fifth century of the new era. Later, the Buddhist[Pg 309] missionaries from Tibet were replaced by Christian (Nestorian) evangelists from western Asia, who in the seventh century reduced the Uigur language to written form, adapting for the purpose the Syriac alphabet, which was afterwards borrowed by the Mongols and the Manchus.

The Orkhon Inscriptions.

This Syriac script—which, as shown by the authentic inscription of Si-ngan-fu, was introduced into China in 635 A.D.—is not to be confused with that of the Orkhon inscriptions[692] dating from 732 A.D., and bearing a certain resemblance to some of the Runic characters, as also to the Korean, at least in form, but never in sound. Yet although differing from the Uiguric, Prof. Thomsen, who has successfully deciphered the Orkhon text, thinks that this script may also be derived, at least indirectly through some of the Iranian varieties, from the same Aramean (Syriac) form of the Semitic alphabet that gave birth to the Uiguric[693].

It is more important to note that all the non-Chinese inscriptions are in the Turki language, while the Chinese text refers by name to the father, the grandfather, and the great-grandfather of the reigning Khan Bilga, which takes us back nearly to the time when Sinjibu (Dizabul), Great Khan of the Altai Turks, was visited by the Byzantine envoy, Zimarchus, in 569 A.D. In the still extant report of this embassy[694] the Turks (Τοῦρκοι) are mentioned by name, and are described as nomads who dwelt in tents mounted on wagons, burnt the dead, and raised to their memory monuments, statues, and cairns with as many stones as the foes slain by the deceased in battle. It is also stated that they had a peculiar writing system, which must have been that of these Orkhon inscriptions, the Uiguric having apparently been introduced somewhat later.[Pg 310]

Originally the Uigurs comprised nineteen clans, which at a remote period already formed two great sections:—the On-Uigur ("Ten Uigurs") in the south, and the Toghuz-Uigur ("Nine Uigurs") in the north. The former had penetrated westwards to the Aral Sea[695] as early as the second century A.D., and many of them undoubtedly took part in Attila's invasion of Europe.

The Assena Turki Dynasty.
Toghuz-Uigur Empire.

Later, all these Western Uigurs, mentioned amongst the hordes that harassed the Eastern Empire in the fifth and sixth centuries, in association especially with the Turki Avars, disappear from history, being merged in the Ugrian and other Finnish peoples of the Volga basin. The Toghuz section also, after throwing off the yoke of the Mongol or Tungus Geugen (Jeu-Jen) in the fifth century, were for a time submerged in the vast empire of the Altai Turks, founded in 552 by Tumen of the House of Assena (A-shi-na), who was the first to assume the title of Kha-Khan, "Great Khan," and whose dynasty ruled over the united Turki and Mongol peoples from the Pacific to the Caspian, and from the Frozen Ocean to the confines of China and Tibet. Both the above-mentioned Sinjibu, who received the Byzantine envoy, and the Bilga Khan of the Orkhon stele, belonged to this dynasty, which was replaced in 774 by Pei-lo (Huei-hu), chief of the Toghuz-Uigurs. This is how we are to understand the statement that all the Turki peoples who during the somewhat unstable rule of the Assena dynasty from 552 to 774 had undergone many vicissitudes, and about 580 were even broken into two great sections (Eastern Turks of the Karakoram region and Western Turks of the Tarim basin), were again united in one vast political system under the Toghuz-Uigurs. These are henceforth known in history simply as Uigurs, the On branch having, as stated, long disappeared in the West. The centre of their power seems to have oscillated between Karakoram and Turfan in Eastern Turkestan, the extensive ruins of which have been explored by D. A. Klements, Sven Hedin and M. A. Stein. Their vast dominions were gradually dismembered, first by the Hakas, or Ki-li-Kissé, precursors of the present Kirghiz, who overran the eastern (Orkhon) districts about 840, and then by the Muhammadans of Máwar-en-Nahar (Transoxiana), who overthrew[Pg 311] the "Lion Kings," as the Uigur Khans of Turfan were called, and set up several petty Mussulman states in Eastern Turkestan. Later they fell under the yoke of the Kara-Khitais, and were amongst the first to join the devastating hordes of Jenghiz-Khan; their name, which henceforth vanishes from history[696], has been popularly recognised under the form of "Ogres," in fable and nursery tales, but the derivation lacks historical foundation.

At present the heterogeneous populations of the Tarim basin (Kashgaria, Eastern Turkestan), where the various elements have been intermingled, offer a striking contrast to those of the Ili valley (Sungaria), where one invading horde has succeeded and been superimposed on another. Hence the complexity of the Kashgarian type, in which the original "horse-like face" everywhere crops out, absorbing the later Mongolo-Turki arrivals. But in Sungaria the Kalmuk, Chinese, Dungan, Taranchi, and Kirghiz groups are all still sharply distinguished and perceptible at a glance. "Amongst the Kashgarians—a term as vague ethnically as 'Aryan'—Richthofen has determined the successive presence of the Su, Yué-chi, and Usun hordes, as described in the early Chinese chronicles[697]."

The recent explorations of M. A. Stein have thrown some light on the ethnology of this region, and a preliminary survey of results was prepared and published by T. A. Joyce. He concludes that the original inhabitants were of Alpine type, with, in the west, traces of the Indo-Afghan, and that the Mongolian has had very little influence upon the population[698].

The Oghuz Turks and their Migrations.

In close proximity to the Toghuz-Uigurs dwelt the Oghuz (Ghuz, Uz), for whom eponymous heroes have been provided in the legendary records of the Eastern Turks, although all these terms would appear to be merely shortened forms of Toghuz[699]. But whether true Uigurs, or a distinct branch of [Pg 312]the Turki people, the Ghuz, as they are commonly called by the Arab writers, began their westward migrations about the year 780. After occupying Transoxiana, where they are now represented by the Uzbegs[700] of Bokhara and surrounding lands, they gradually spread as conquerors over all the northern parts of Irania, Asia Minor, Syria, the Russian and Caucasian steppes, Ukrainia, Dacia, and the Balkan Peninsula. In most of these lands they formed fresh ethnical combinations both with the Caucasic aborigines, and with many kindred Turki as well as Mongol peoples, some of whom were settled in these regions since neolithic times, while others had either accompanied Attila's expeditions, or followed in his wake (Pechenegs, Komans, Alans, Kipchaks, Kara-Kalpaks), or else arrived later in company with Jenghiz-Khan and his successors (Kazan and Nogai "Tatars"[701]).

In Russia, Rumania (Dacia), and most of the Balkan Peninsula these Mongolo-Turki blends have been again submerged by the dominant Slav and Rumanian peoples (Great and Little Russians, Servo-Croatians, Montenegrini, Moldavians, and Walachians). But in south-western Asia they still constitute perhaps the majority of the population between the Indus and Constantinople, in many places forming numerous compact communities, in which the Mongolo-Turki physical and mental characters are conspicuous. Such, besides the already mentioned Turkomans of Parthian lineage, are all the nomad and many of the settled inhabitants of Khiva, Ferghana, Karategin, Bokhara, generally comprised under the name of Uzbegs and "Sartes." Such also are the Turki peoples of Afghan Turkestan, and of the neighbouring uplands (Hazaras and Aimaks who claim Mongol descent, though now of Persian speech); the Aderbaijani and many other more scattered groups in Persia; the Nogai and Kumuk tribes of Caucasia, and especially most of the nomad and settled agricultural populations of Asia Minor. The Anatolian peasantry form, in fact, the most numerous and compact division of the Turki family still surviving in any part of their vast domain between the Bosporus and the Lena.[Pg 313]

Seljuks and Osmanli.

Out of this prolific Oghuz stock arose many renowned chiefs, founders of vast but somewhat unstable empires, such as those of the Gasnevides, who ruled from Persia to the Indus; the Seljuks, who first wrested the Asiatic provinces from Byzantium; the Osmanli, so named from Othman, the Arabised form of Athman, who prepared the way for Orkhan (1326-60), true builder of the Ottoman power, which has alone survived the shipwreck of all the historical Turki states. The vicissitudes of these monarchies, looked on perhaps with too kindly an eye by Gibbon, belong to the domain of history, and it will suffice here to state that from the ethnical standpoint the chief interest centres in that of the Seljukides, covering the period from about the middle of the eleventh to the middle of the thirteenth century. It was under Togrul-beg of this dynasty (1038-63) that "the whole body of the Turkish nation embraced with fervour and sincerity the religion of Mahomet[702]." A little later began the permanent Turki occupation of Asia Minor, where, after the conquest of Armenia (1065-68) and the overthrow of the Byzantine emperor Romanus Diogenes (1071), numerous military settlements, followed by nomad Turkoman encampments, were established by the great Seljuk rulers, Alp Arslan and Malek Shah (1063-92), at all the strategical points. These first arrivals were joined later by others fleeing before the Mongol hosts led by Jenghiz-Khan's successors down to the time of Timur-beg. But the Christians (Greeks and earlier aborigines) were not exterminated, and we read that, while great numbers apostatised, "many thousand children were marked by the knife of circumcision; and many thousand captives were devoted to the service or the pleasures of their masters" (ib.). In other words, the already mixed Turki intruders were yet more modified by further interminglings with the earlier inhabitants of Asia Minor. Those who, following the fortunes of the Othman dynasty, crossed the Bosporus and settled in Rumelia and some other parts of the Balkan Peninsula, now prefer to call themselves Osmanli, even repudiating the national name "Turk" still retained with pride by the ruder peasant[Pg 314] classes of Asia Minor. The latter are often spoken of as "Seljuk Turks," as if there were some racial difference between them and the European Osmanli, and for the distinction there is some foundation. As pointed out by Arminius Vambéry[703], the Osmanli have been influenced and modified by their closer association with the Christian populations of the Balkan lands, while in Anatolia the Seljuks have been able better to preserve the national type and temperament. The true Turki spirit ("das Türkentum") survives especially in the provinces of Lykaonia and Kappadokia, where the few surviving natives were not only Islamised but ethnically fused, whereas in Europe most of them (Bosnians, Albanians) were only Islamised, and here the Turki element has always been slight.

The Yakuts.

At present the original Turki type and temperament are perhaps best preserved amongst the remote Yakuts of the Lena, and the Kirghiz groups (Kirghiz Kazaks and Kara Kirghiz) of the West Siberian steppe and the Pamir uplands. The Turki connection of the Yakuts, about which some unnecessary doubts had been raised, has been set at rest by V. A. Sierochevsky[704], who, however, describes them as now a very mixed people, owing to alliances with the Tunguses and Russians. They are of short stature, averaging scarcely 5 ft. 4 in., and this observer thought their dark but not brilliant black eyes, deeply sunk in narrow orbits, gave them more of a Red Indian than of a Mongol cast. They are almost the only progressive aboriginal people in Siberia, although numbering not more than 200,000 souls, concentrated chiefly along the river banks on the plateau between the Lena and the Aldan.

In the Yakuts we have an extreme instance of the capacity of man to adapt himself to the milieu. They not merely exist, but thrive and display a considerable degree of energy and enterprise in the coldest region on the globe. Within the isothermal of -72° Fahr., Verkhoyansk, in the heart of their territory, is alone included, for the period from November to February, and in this temperature, at which the quicksilver freezes, the Yakut children may be seen gambolling naked in the snow. In midwinter R. Kennan met some of these "men[Pg 315] of iron," as Wrangel calls them, airily arrayed in nothing but a shirt and a sheepskin, lounging about as if in the enjoyment of the balmy zephyrs of some genial sub-tropical zone.

Although nearly all are Orthodox Christians, or at least baptized as such, they are mere Shamanists at heart, still conjuring the powers of nature, but offering no worship to a supreme deity, of whom they have a vague notion, though he is too far off to hear, or too good to need their supplications. The world of good and evil spirits, however, has been enriched by accessions from the Russian calendar and pandemonium. Thanks to their commercial spirit, the Yakut language, a very pure Turki idiom, is even more widespread than the race, having become a general medium of intercourse for Tungus, Russian, Mongol and other traders throughout East Siberia, from Irkutsk to the Sea of Okhotsk, and from the Chinese frontier to the Arctic Ocean[705].

The Kirghiz.

To some extent W. Radloff is right in describing the great Kirghiz Turki family as "of all Turks most nearly allied to the Mongols in their physical characters, and by their family names such as Kyptshak [Kipchak], Argyn, Naiman, giving evidence of Mongolian descent, or at least of intermixture with Mongols[706]." But we have already been warned against the danger of attaching too much importance to these tribal designations, many of which seem, after acquiring renown on the battle-field, to have passed readily from one ethnic group to another. There are certain Hindu-Kush and Afghan tribes who think themselves Greeks or Arabs, because of the supposed descent of their chiefs from Alexander the Great or the Prophet's family, and genealogical trees spring up like the conjurer's mango plant in support of such illustrious lineage. The Chagatai (Jagatai) tribes, of Turki stock and speech, take their name from a full-blood Mongol, Chagatai, second son of Jenghiz-Khan, to whom fell Eastern Turkestan in the partition of the empire.

In the same way many Uzbeg and Kirghiz Turki tribes are named from famous Mongol chiefs, although no one will deny a strain of true Mongol blood in all these heterogeneous groups. This is evident enough from the square and somewhat flat Mongol features, prominent cheek-bones, oblique eyes, large mouth, feet and hands, yellowish brown complexion, ungainly obese figures and short stature, all of which are characteristic[Pg 316] of both sections, the Kara-Kirghiz highlanders, and the Kazaks of the lowlands. Some ethnologists regard these Kirghiz groups, not as a distinct branch of the Mongolo-Turki race, but rather as a confederation of several nomad tribes stretching from the Gobi to the Lower Volga, and mingled together by Jenghiz-Khan and his successors[707].

Kazák and Kossack.
The Kara-Kirghiz.

The true national name is Kazák, "Riders," and as they were originally for the most part mounted marauders, or free lances of the steppe, the term came to be gradually applied to all nomad and other horsemen engaged in predatory warfare. It thus at an early date reached the South Russian steppe, where it was adopted in the form of Kossack by the Russians themselves. It should be noted that the compound term Kirghiz-Kazak, introduced by the Russians to distinguish these nomads from their own Cossacks, is really a misnomer. The word "Kirghiz," whatever its origin, is never used by the Kazaks in reference to themselves, but only to their near relations, the Kirghiz, or Kara-Kirghiz[708], of the uplands.

These highlanders, who roam the Tian-Shan and Pamir valleys, form two sections:—On, "Right," or East, and Sol, "Left," or West. They are the Diko Kamennyi, that is, "Wild Rock People," of the Russians, whence the expression "Block Kirghiz" still found in some English books of travel. But they call themselves simply Kirghiz, claiming descent from an original tribe of that name, itself sprung from a legendary Kirghiz-beg, from whom are also descended the Chiliks, Kitars and others, all now reunited with the Ons and the Sols.

The Kazaks also are grouped in long-established and still jealously maintained sections—the Great, Middle, Little, and Inner Horde—whose joint domain extends from Lake Balkash round the north side of the Caspian down to the Lower Volga[709]. All accepted the teachings of Islam many centuries ago, but their Muhammadanism