Malay Archipelago

Malay Archipelago also called the INDIAN or EASTERN ARCHIPELAGO and MALAISIA, by far the largest, if not the most important island group, or rather system of island groups in the world, of which the principal are the Sunda Islands (embracing Sumatra, Java, etc.), the Philippines, and the Moluccas, or Spice Islands. They are treated severally under the respective names of the different islands. SEE JAVA; SEE MACASSAR; SEE MALACCA; SEE MOLUCCAS; SEE PHILIPPINES; SEE SUMATRA, etc. "The whole of these islands together, comprising an area of 170,000 square miles, contain about 20,000,000 of human beings of all grades of color and stature. The most ancient appear to be the Papoos, who are the only inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, but who are found farther eastward as a people driven into the forests, mountains, and defiles, and are not found again as a leading population till we reach New Guinea. They are among the most degenerate of the human race. They were supplanted more immediately by the Malays, who, having many centuries ago emigrated from India beyond the Ganges, have become a mysteriously heterogeneous people by mixture with Papoos, Hindus, Arabs, Chinese, Siamese, and even with Europeans. The shores have of late years been more and more covered with Chinese emigrants, who threaten the same fate to the Malays which they have- inflicted upon the Papoos. The religions are as various as the nations, and tribes, and languages. Here we may still meet with aboriginal sorcery, together with the divine worship paid to mountains, rocks, woods, storms, volcanoes; then with Brahminism and Buddhism, the Chinese worship of ancestors exalted into demigods, the Mohammedan delusions, and the saint worship of the Romish communion. The worship of God in spirit and in truth has hitherto been to those wretched natives a thing unknown, and what has been attempted for these forty or fifty years past by about seventy or eighty missionaries is as yet but little more than a beginning of what remains to be done." See Newcomb, Cyclop. of Missions, p. 479; Grundemann, Missions atlas, No. 17. SEE MALAYS.

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