THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

History of the Universe eBook. 398 pages, 300 illustrations only $2.99




ARU ISLANDS (Dutch Aroe), a group in the residency of Amboyna, Dutch East Indies; between 5° 18′ and 7° 5′ S., and 134° and 135° E.; the member nearest to the south-west coast of New Guinea lying about 70 m. from it. The larger islands (Wokan, Kobrur, Maikor and Trangan), and certain of the lesser ones, are regarded by the Malays as one land mass which they call tana besar (“great land”). This is justified inasmuch as its parts are only isolated by narrow creeks of curious form, having the character of rivers. The smaller islands number some eighty; the total land area is 3244 sq. m.; and the population about 22,000. The islands are low, but it is only on the coast that the ground is swampy. The principal formation is coralline limestone; the eastern coast is defended by coral reefs, and the neighbouring sea (extending as far as New Guinea, and thus demonstrating a physical connexion with that land) is shallow, and abounds in coral in full growth. A large part of the surface is covered with virgin forest, consisting of screw-pines, palm trees, tree ferns, canariums, &c. The fauna is altogether Papuan. The natives are also Papuans, but of mixed blood. They are divided into two confederations, the Uli-luna and the Uli-sawa, which are hostile to each other. The houses are remarkable as being built on piles sunk in the solid rock and having two rooms, the one surrounding the other. The people are in manners complete savages. The natives are governed by rajas (orang kajas), the Dutch government being represented by a posthouder. In the interior is said to exist a tribe—the Korongoeis—with white skins and fair hair, but it has never been seen by travellers. A few villages are nominally Christian, and the Malays have introduced Mahommedanism, but most of the natives have no religion. Dobbo, on a small western island, is the chief place; its resident population is reinforced annually, at the time of the west monsoon, by traders from that quarter, who deal in the tripang, pearl shell, tortoise-shell, and other produce of the islands.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

Links to other EB articles: Links to articles residing in other EB volumes will be made available when the respective volumes are introduced online.
   "A well-rounded treatment of a vast body of facts" only $2.99
History of the Universe eBook

GoDaddy - World's #1 Domain Registrar