MASULIPATAM, or BANDAR, a seaport of British India, administrative headquarters of the Kistna district of Madras, on one of- the mouths of the river Kistna, 215 m. N. of Madras city. Pop. (1901), 39, 507. Masulipatam was the earliest English settlement on the Coromandel coast, its importance being due to the fact that it was the bandar or port of Golconda. An agency was established there in 1611. During the wars of the Carnatic, the English were temporarily expelled the town, which was held by the French for some years. In 1759 the town and fort were carried by storm by Colonel Forde, an achievement followed by the acquisition of the Northern Circars (q.'v.). In 1864 a great storm-wave swept over the entire town and is said to have destroyed 30,000 lives. Weavers form a large portion of the inhabitants, though their trade has greatly declined since the beginning of the 19th century. Their operations, ”besides weaving, include printing, bleaching washing and dressing. In former days the chintzes of Masulipatam had a great reputation abroad for the freshness and permanency of their dyes. Masulipatam is a station of the Church Missionary Society. The port is only a road stead, where vessels anchor 5 m. out. A branch line from Bezwada on the Southern Mahratta railway was opened in 1908. The chief educational institution is the Noble College of the C.M.S.
MAT (O. Eng. meatt, from late Lat. malta, whence Ital. malta, Ger. and Dan. matte, Du. mat, &c.), an article of various sizes and shapes, according to the purpose for which it is intended, and made of plaited or woven materials, such as coir, hemp, coco-nut fibre, straw, rushes, &c., or of rope or coarse twine. The finer fabrics are known as “ matting ” (q.'v.). Mats are mainly used for covering floors, or in horticulture as a prot ection against cold or exposure for plants and trees. When used near the entrance to a house for people to wipe their boots on “ door mats ” are usually made of coarse coco-nut fibre, orindia-rubber, cork, or of, thickly coiled wire. Bags, rolls or sacks made of matting are used to hold coffee, flax, rice and other produce, and the term is often used with reference to the specific quantities of such produce, e.g. so many “ mats ” of coffee, rice, &c. To be distinguished from the above is the term “ mat " in glass painting or gilding, meaning dull, unpolished or unfurnished. This is the same as Ger. malt, dead, dull, cf. matt-blau, Med. Lat. mattus, adapted from Persian mdl, dazed, astonished, at a loss, helpless, and seen in “ mate ” in chess, from Pers. shdh mdt the king is dead.
MATABELE (“ vanishing ” or “hidden ” people, so called from their appearance in battle, hidden behind enormous oxhide shields), a people of Zulu origin who began national life under the chief Mosilikatze. Driven out of the Transvaal by the Boers in 1837, Mosilikatze crossed the Limpopo with a military host which had been recruited from every tribe conquered by him during his ten years' predominance in the Transvaal. In their new territories the Matabele absorbed into their ranks many members of the conquered Mashona tribes and established a military despotism. Their sole occupation was war, for which their laws and organization were designed to fit them. This system of constant warfare is, since the conquest of Matabeleland by the British in 1893, a thing of the past. The Matabcle are now herdsmen and agriculturists. (See RHODESIA.)
MATACHINES (Span. matachin, clown, or masked dancer), bands of mummers or itinerant players in Mexico, especially popular around the Rio Grande, who wander from village to village during Lent, playing in rough-and-ready style a set drama based on the history of Montezuma. Dressed in fantastic Indian costumes and carrying rattles as their orchestra, the chief characters are El Monarca “ the monarch ” (Montezuma); Malinche, or Malintzin, the Indian mistress of Hernando Cortes; El Toro, “ the bull,” the malevolent “ comic man ” of the play, dressed in buffalo skin with the animal's horns on his head; Aguelo, the “ grandfather,” and Aguela, “ grandmother.” With the help of a chorus of dancers they portray the desertion of his people by Montezuma, the luring of him back by the wiles and smiles of Malinche, the final reunion of king and people, and the killing of El Toro, who is supposed to have made all the mischief.
MATADOR, a Spanish word meaning literally “ killer, ” from matar, Lat. mactare, especially applied to the principal performer in a bull-fight, whose function it is to slay the bull (see BULL-FIGHTING). The word is also used of certain important cards in such games as quadrille, ombre, &c., and more particularly of a special form of the game of dominoes.
MATAMOROS, a town and port of the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, on the S. bank of the Rio Grande, 28 m. from its mouth, opposite Brownsville, Texas. Pop. (1900), 8347. Matamoros stands in an open plain, the commercial centre for a large district, but its import trade is prejudiced by the bar at the mouth of the Rio- Grande, which permits the entrance of small vessels only. The exports include hides, wool and live stock. The importance of the town in the foreign trade of northern Mexico, however, has been largely diminished by the great railways. Formerly it was the centre of a large contraband trade with Brownsville, Texas. Matamoroswas founded early in the 19th century, and was named in honour of the Mexican patriot Mariano Matamoros (c. 1770-1814). In the war between the United States and Mexico, Matamoros was easily taken by the Americans on the 18th of May 1846, following General Zachary Taylor's victories at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Matamoros was occupied by the Mexican imperialists under Mejia in 1864, and by the French in 1866.
MATANZAS, an important city of Cuba, capital of Matanzas Province, situated on a large deep bay on the N. coast, about 54 m. (by rail) E. of Havana. Pop. (1907), 36, oo9. There are railway outlets W., S. and E., and Matanzas is served by steamships to New York and by the coast steamers of the Herrera Line. The bay, unlike all the other better harbours of the island, has a broad mouth, 2 m. across, but there is good shelter against all winds except from the N.E. A coral reef lies across the entrance. Three rivers emptying into the bay-the San Juan, Canimar and Yumuri-have deposited much silt, necessitating the use of lighters in loading and unloading large ships. The city is finely placed at the head of the bay, on a low, sloping plain backed by wooded hills, over some of which the city itself has spread. The conical Pan de Matanzas (1277 ft.) is a striking land-mark for sailors. The San juan and Yumuri rivers divide Matanzas into three districts. The Teatro Esteban, Casino Espanol and Government House are noteworthy among the buildings. The broad Paseo de Marti (Alameda de Versalles, Paseo de Santa Cristina) extends along the edge of the harbour, and is perhaps the handsomest parkway and boulevard in Cuba. At one end is a statue of Ferdinand VII., at the other a monument to 63 Cubans executed by the Spanish Government as traitors for bearing arms in the cause of independence. A splendid military road continues the Paseo to the Castillo de San Serverino (built in 1694-1695, reconstructed in 1773 and following years). There are two smaller forts, established in the 18th century. Near Matanzas are two of the most noted natural resorts of Cuba: the valley of the Yumuri, and the caves of Bellamar. Cornmanding the Yumuri Valley is the hill called Cumbre, on which is the Hermitage of Monteserrate (1870), with a famous shrine. Matanzas is the second port of the island in commerce. Sugar and molasses are the chief exports. The city is the chief outlet for the sugar product of the province, which, with the province of Santa Clara, produces two-thirds of the crop of the island. There are many large warehouses, rum distilleries, sugar-mills and railway machine-shops. Matanzas is frequently mentioned in the annals of the 16th and 17th centuries, when its bay was frequented by buccaneers; but the city was not laid out until 1693. In the next year it received an ayuntamiento (council). Its prosperity rapidly increased after the establishment of free commerce early in the 19th century. In 1815 it was made a department capital. The mulatto poet, Gabriel de la Concepcién Valdés, known as Placido (1809-1844), was born in Matanzas, and was executed there for participation in the supposed conspiracy of negroes in 1844, which is one of the most famous episodes in Cuban history. The hurricanes of 1844 and 1846 are the only other prominent local events. American commercial influence has always been particularly strong.