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Sara

sarawak brooke miles river territory batang rejang

SARA.WAK, a territory in the north-west of Borneo, which, reclaimed from piracy and barbarism by the energy of Sir James BROOKE (q.v.), was converted into an independent and prosperous state. With an area estimated at from 35,000 to 40,000 square miles, it has a population of about 250,000. The coast extends from Tanjong Datu, a prominent cape in 2° 3' N. lat., northwards to the frontier of Brunei in 3° 10' - a distance in a straight line of about 280 miles, but, following the sinuosities, about 400 miles. Inland the boundaries towards the Dutch territory are hypothetically determined by the line of watershed between the streams, flowing north-west and those flowing east-south-east and south-west, but the frontier districts are to a considerable extent unexplored. Towards the coast there are tracts of low alluvial land ; and some of the rivers reach the sea by deltas out of all proportion to the length of their course. The surface of the country soon, however, begins to rise and to be diversified with irregular hills, sometimes of rounded sandstone, sometimes of picturesque and rugged limestone. The Bongo Hills, in the residency of Sarawak, are about 3000 feet high; and along the frontier, where the Seraung Mountains, the Klinkong Mountains, the Batang Lupar Mountains, dx.c., are supposed to form more or less continuous ranges, there are altitudes of from 4000 to 8000 feet. In some of the limestone mountains there are caves of enormous extent (a detailed account will be found in Boyle, Adventures among the Dyaks of Borneo, 1865). The Rejang is the largest river in Sarawak. Its sources are only 120 or 130 miles directly inland near Mount Lawi, Mount Marud (8000 feet), and Gura Peak ; but it flows obliquely southwest for 350 miles, and the principal branches of its delta (the Eyan river and the Rejang proper) embrace a territory of 1600 square miles with a coast-line of 60 miles. In their upper course the headwaters have a rapid descent, and none of them are navigable above Balleh where the Rejang is deflected westward by the accession of the Balleh river. Left-band tributaries from a low line of hills to the south - the Katibas, Nymab, Kanowit, and Kajulan rivers - continue to swell the main stream ; but there are no tributaries of any importance from the right band, the country in that direction being drained directly seawards by a number of short rivers - the Oya, Mukah, Balinean, Tatau, and Bintulu, - of which the first three rise in the Ulat-Bulu Hills (3600 feet). At the apex of the Rejang delta lies the village and government of Sibu, and at the mouth of the Rejang branch is the important village and shipping-port of Rejang. Passing over the small river basins of the Kalukah and the Saribas we reach the Batang Lupar, which ranks next to the Rejang, and is navigable for large vessels as far as Lingga, about 30 miles from its mouth - the bar having 3i fathoms water at high tide. The value of the navigable portion of the Batang Lupar is, however, greatly lessened by the formidable bores to which it is subject ; they begin about three days before full moon and change, and last about three days, rushing up the river with a crest about 6 feet high for a distance of GO miles. In several of the other rivers a similar phenomenon is observed. The broad mouth of the Batang Lupar opens in the angle where the coast, which has run nearly north and south from the delta of the Rejang, turns abruptly west; and all the rivers which reach the sea between this point and Tanjong Datu - the Sadong, the Samarahan, the Sarawak (with its tributaries the Senna, the Samban, the Peak, &c.), the Lundu, are short.

The mineral wealth of Sarawak is not unimportant. Gold washing has long been carried on in the central residency, though not with more than moderate success ; and more recently a fairly prolific gold-field has been opened in the neighbourhood of Marup, on the Batang Lnpar, where there is a flourishing Chinese settlement. Of much greater value are the antimony ores which occur more especially in the district of the headstreams of the Sarawak, in the most various localities, occasionally as dykes in situ, but more frequently in boulders deep in the clayey soil, or perched on tower-like summits and craggy pinnacles, accessible only by ladders. Those rich deposits have, however, been largely exhausted, and no new ones have been discovered in other parts of the territory, so that the Borneo Company (which has the monopoly of this and other minerals in the country) has been tempted to erect local furnaces to reduce the poorer qualities of ore and the refuse of the mines to regulus on the spot. A deposit of cinnabar was discovered by Mr Helms in 1867, at Tegora, at the foot of the Bongo Mountains, but no other occurrence of this ore of quicksilver in the territory has yet been reported. In 1876 quicksilver was exported to the value of 108,050 dollars, and in 1879 to 76,620. Coal has been worked for many years at the government mines of Simunjun, on the banks of a right-hand affluent of the Sadong ; and there is known to exist at Silantek up the Lingga river (a left-hand affluent of the Batang Lupar) a very extensive coal-field, whose products, still intact, could be brought down for shipment at Lingga by a railway of some 18 miles in length. Diamonds are occasionally found, and copper, manganese, and plumbago have been discovered, but not in paying quantities.

Like tho rest of Borneo, Sarawak is largely covered with forest and jungle. The bilian or ironwood is not only used locally but exported, especially from the Batang Lupar district, to China, where it is highly valued as a house-building and furniture timber. Gutta-percha, india-rubber (gutta-susu), and birds' nests are also exported, but in diminishing quantities ; and their place is being taken by gambier and pepper, the cultivation of which was introduced by the rajah. Gambier figured at 20,461 piculs in the exports of 1881 and at 22,432 in 1884, and pepper at 28,807 pieuls in 1881 and 43,490 in 1884. The territory of Sarawak is said to furnish more than half the sago produce of the world, and most of it is grown on the marshy bunks of the Oya, Mukah, and other rivers of the northern residency of Sarawak to the distance of about 20 miles inland. The total value of the exports of Sarawak in 1884 was 1,145,248 dollars (1,071,528 from Kuching), that of the imports 1,083,255 dollars. Natuna and Dutch vessels are the most numerous in the shipping returns.

The government is an absolute monarchy - the present rajah being the nephew of Sir James Brooke. The rajah is assisted by a supreme council of six, consisting of two chief European residents and four natives, nominated by himself ; there is also a general council of fifty, which meets once every three years or oftener if required. For administrative purposes the country is divided into eight districts corresponding to the number of principal river basins. Three chief districts are presided over by European officers. The military force - some 250 men - is under the control of an English commandant. There is also a small police force, and the Government possesses a few small steam vessels. The civil service is regularly organized, with pensions, &c. The revenue is in a satisfactory state, showing 64,899 dollars to the good in the period between 1875 and 1884. In 1884 the revenue was 276,269 dollars and the expenditure 289,291. Roman Catholics and Protestants both have missions in Sarawak ; and the English bishop of Singapore and Labuan is also styled bishop of Sarawak. The population consists of Malays, Chinese, Land Dyaks, Sea Dyaks, and Milanows. "Without the Chinaman," says the rajah (Pall Hall Gazette, 19th September, 1883) " we can do nothing." When not allowed to form secret societies he is easily governed, and this he is forbidden to do on pain of death. The Dyaks within the territory have given up headhunting. The Milanows, who live in the northern districts, have adopted the Malay dress and in many cases have become Mohammedans; they are a quiet, contented, and laborious people. Slavery still prevails in Sarawak, but arrangements are made for its entire abolition in 1888. Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, on the Sarawak river, is a place of 12,000 inhabitants and is steadily growing.

History. - In 1839-40 Sarawak, the most southern province of the sultanate of Brunei, was in rebellion against the tyranny of the governor, Pangeran Makota, and lluda Hassim had been sent to restore order. The insurgents held out at Balidah or Blidah fort in the Siniawan district, and there James Brooke first took part in the affairs of the territory. By his assistance the insurrection was suppressed, and on September 24th he was appointed chief of Sarawak. In 1843 Captain Keppel and Mr Brooke expelled the pirates from the Saribas river and in 1844 they defeated those on the Batang Lupar, to whom Makota had attached himself. In 1849 another severe blow was struck by the destruction of Sirib Sahib's fort at Patusan. The Chinese, who had begun to settle in the country about 1850 (at Ban, Bidi, &c.), made a violent attempt to massacre the English and seize the government, but they were promptly and severely crushed after they had done havoc at Kuching. During Sir James Brooke's absence in England (18571860) his nephew Captain J. Johnson (who had taken the name Brooke, and is generally called Captain Brooke) was left in authority; but a quarrel afterwards ensued and Sir James Brooke was in 1868 succeeded„by Charles Johnson (or Brooke), a younger nephew. The independence of Sarawak had been recognized after much controversy by England in 1863 and previously by the United States.

See Charles Brooke, Ten Years in Sarawak,lRG6 ; Gertrude L. Jateob, The Raja of Sarawak, 1876; Spenser Si John, Life in the Forests of the Far East, 1869, and Life of Sir James Brooke, 1879 ; Helms, Pioneering in the Far East, 1882; "Notes on Sarawak," in Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc., 1881, by W.11. Cracker.

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