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MALABARI—MALACCA

Travancore and Cochin, and part of Kanara. In 1901 the total number of persons speaking Malayalam in all India was 6,029,304.

The district of Malabar extends for 145 m. along the coast, running inland to the Ghāts with a breadth varying from 70 to 25 m. The administrative headquarters are at Calicut. Area, 5795 sq. m. Malabar is singularly diversified in its configuration; from the eastward, the great range of the Western Ghāts, only interrupted by the Palghāt gap, looks down on a country broken by long spurs, extensive ravines, dense forests and tangled jungle. To the westward, gentler slopes and downs, and gradually widening valleys closely cultivated, succeed the forest uplands, till, nearer the seaboard, the low laterite table-lands shelve into rice plains and backwaters fringed with coco-nut palms. The coast runs in a south-easterly direction, and forms a few headlands and small bays, with a natural harbour in the south at Cochin. In the south there is considerable extent of table-land. The mountains of the Western Ghāts run almost parallel to the coast, and vary from 3000 to 7000 ft. in height. One of the most characteristic features of Malabar is an all but continuous chain of lagoons or backwaters lying parallel to the coast, which have been formed by the action of the waves and shore currents in obstructing the waters of the rivers. Connected by artificial canals, they form a cheap means of transit; and a large local trade is carried on by inland navigation. Fishing and fishcuring is an important industry. The forests are extensive and of great value, but they are almost entirely private property. The few tracts which are conserved have come into government hands by escheat or by contract. Wild animals include the elephant, tiger, panther, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, Nīlgiri ibex, and bear. The population in 1901 was 2,800,555, showing an increase of 5.6% in the decade.

The staple crop is rice, the next most important product being coco-nuts. Coffee is grown chiefly in the upland tract known as the Wynaad, where there are also a few acres under tea. The Madras railway crosses the district and has been extended from Calicut to Cannanore along the coast. There are eleven seaports, of which the principal are Calicut, Tellicherry, Cannanore and Cochin. The principal exports are coffee, coco-nut products and timber. There are factories for cleaning coffee, pressing coir and making matting, making tiles, sawing timber and weaving cotton.

See Malabar District Gazetteer (Madras, 1908).


MALABARI, BEHRAMJI (1853–  ), Indian journalist and social reformer, was born in 1853 at Baroda, the son of a poor Parsi in the employment of the state, who died shortly after his birth. His mother took him to Surat, where he was educated in a mission school, but he never succeeded in gaining an academical degree. Coming to Bombay, he fell under the influence of Dr John Wilson, principal of the Scottish College. As early as 1875 he published a volume of poems in Gujarati, followed in 1877 by The Indian Muse in English Garb, which attracted attention in England, notably from Tennyson, Max Müller, and Florence Nightingale. His life work began in 1880 when he acquired the Indian Spectator, which he edited for twenty years until it was merged in the Voice of India. In 1901 he became editor of East and West. Always holding aloof from politics, he was an ardent and indefatigable advocate of social reform in India, especially as regards child marriage and the remarriage of widows. It was largely by his efforts, both in the press and in tours through the country, that the Age of Consent Act was passed in 1891. His account of his visits to England, entitled The Indian Eye on English Life (1893), passed through three editions, and an earlier book of a somewhat satirical nature, Gujarat and the Gujaratis (1883), was equally popular.

See R. P. Karkaria, India, Forty Years of Progress and Reform, (London, 1896).


MALABON, a town of the province of Rizal, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 1 m. inland from the shore of Manila Bay and 3 m. N. of the city of Manila, with which it is connected by an electric tramway. Pop. (1903), 20,136. The leading industries are the refining of sugar, fishing, trade, the weaving of jusi cloth, the making of cigars, and the cultivation of ilang-ilang-trees (Cananga odorata) for their flowers, from which a fine perfume is distilled; ilang-ilang is one of the principal exports, mostly to France. Tagalog and Spanish are the principal languages. Malabon was formerly known as Tambóbong.


MALACCA, a town on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, in 2° 14′, N., 102° 12′ E., which, with the territory lying immediately around and behind it forms one of the Straits Settlements, and gives its name to the Straits which divide Sumatra from the Malay Peninsula. Its name, which is more correctly transliterated mĕlāka, is that of a species of jungle fruit, and is also borne by the small river on the right bank of which the old Dutch town stands. The Dutch town is connected by a bridge with the business quarter on the left bank, which is inhabited almost exclusively by Chinese, Eurasians and Malays.

Malacca, now a somnolent little town, a favourite resort of rich Chinese who have retired from business, is visited by few ships and is the least important of the three British settlements on the Straits which give their name to the colony. It has, however, a remarkable history. The precise date of its foundation cannot be ascertained, but there is strong reason to believe that this event took place at the earliest in the 14th century. The Roman youth Ludovigo Barthema is believed to have been the first European to visit it, some time before 1503; and in 1509 Diogo Lopez de Siqueira sailed from Portugal for the express purpose of exploiting Malacca. At first he was hospitably received, but disagreements with the natives ensued and word was brought to Siqueira by Magellan, who was one of his company, that a treacherous attack was about to be made upon his ships. Siqueira then sent a native man and woman ashore “with an arrow passed through their skulls” to the sultan, “who was thus informed,” says de Barros, “through his subjects that unless he kept a good watch the treason which he had perpetrated would be punished with fire and sword.” The sultan retaliated by arresting Ruy de Araujo, the factor, and twenty other men who were ashore with him collecting cargo for the ships. Siqueira immediately burned one of his vessels and sailed direct for Portugal. In 1510 Mendez de Vasconcellos with a fleet of four ships set out from Portugal “to go and conquer Malacca,” but d’Alboquerque detained him at Goa, and it was not until 1511 that d’Alboquerque himself found time to visit Malacca and seek to rescue the Portuguese prisoners who all this time had remained in the hands of the sultan. An attack was delivered by d’Alboquerque on the 25th of July 1511, but it was only partially successful, and it was not until the 4th of August, when the assault was repeated, that the place finally fell. Since that time Malacca has continued to be the possession of one or another of the European Powers. It was a Portuguese possession for 130 years, and was the headquarters of their trade and the base of their commercial explorations in south-eastern Asia while they enjoyed, and later while they sought to hold, their monopoly in the East. It was from Malacca, immediately after its conquest, that d’Alboquerque sent d’Abreu on his voyage of discovery to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, which later were the objective of Magellan’s voyage of circumnavigation. During the Portuguese tenure of Malacca the place was attacked at least twice by the Achinese; its shipping was harried by Lancaster in 1592, when the first British fleet made its way into these seas; it was besieged by the Dutch in 1606, and finally fell to a joint attack of the Dutch and the Achinese in 1641. It was under the Portuguese government that St Francis Xavier started a mission in Malacca, the first Christian mission in Malayan lands.

The Dutch held Malacca till 1795, when it was taken from them by Great Britain, and the Dutch system of monopoly in the straits was forthwith abolished. The colony was restored to the Dutch, however, in 1818, but six years later it came finally into the hands of Great Britain, being exchanged by a treaty with Holland for the East India Company’s settlement of Benkulen and a few other unimportant places on the western