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Lampongs the

betong, teluk, pepper, palembang and coast

LAMPONGS (THE), a residency in south-east Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, bounded on the north and west by Palembang, on the south by Bencoolen, and on the east by the Straits of Sunda; area 28,268 sq.km. pop. 239,985 (564 Europeans and Eurasians). The south-western part of the residency, right up to the Bencoolen border, is mountainous, with heights of nearly 7,000 ft., and from these highlands several rivers flow eastwards to the sea, the ground about the coast being very flat. In the extreme south the coast is deeply indented, forming two large bays Semangko Bay and Lampong Bay—the latter providing a good harbour. At the head of the bay is Teluk Betong, the capital, and the chief port, pop. 14,980. Other towns are Kotoagung, and Kalianda, on the south coast, and Menggala, Gunungsugih, and Sukodano, riverine towns. The principal rivers are the Sekam rung, Seputi, Terusan, Tulangbawang, and the Mesuji, which divides the Lampongs from Palembang. Rice, tobacco, rubber, pepper and coconuts are the principal crops, and pepper (black) is the chief article of export. Pepper cultivation is in native hands, and proprietors of large gardens are men of wealth, and big employers of labour. Trade returns (1926) : imports, 1,173, 722 guilders; exports, 15,492,378 guilders. A road runs from Kalianda on the coast to Teluk Betong, and on to Gunungsugih, and Menggala, with branches to Koto Bumi and Sukodano, and there is a railway line from Teluk Betong to Blambangan (52 m.), in the interior, which is to be continued across the residency to Muaro Enim, in Palembang, thus ensuring rail communication between Palembang town and Teluk Betong. The Tulangbawang

is navigable for ocean steamers to Menggala, to which there are regular services; there is frequent steamer communication be tween Teluk Betong and Merak in north Java.

The Lampongs (people) form part of the indigenous population of Sumatra, and are probably of Malay-Polynesian origin : their proximity to northern Java has resulted in some admixture of Javanese and Sundanese blood. Their alphabet and stage of civili zation denote Hindu influence ; in religion they are wholly Moham medan, and their language has some affinity with Batak and Sun danese. They are an agricultural folk, marriage among them being a patriarchal institution, with wife purchase, often at a very high figure, the woman becoming the absolute property of the husband, but though this is general among the lower classes, the notables preserve the matriarchal institutions of the Menangkabau Malays. Dress consists of sarong and kabayah, or baju, both sexes file the teeth, and the women are very fond of ornaments. Titles and social distinctions are much sought after, and expensive feasts are customary. The country is thinly peopled and villages are small.

To acquire control of its valuable pepper trade, the Sultan of Bantam established his jurisdiction over the Lampongs, and when his rule succumbed to the Dutch, in 1809, the Lampongs went with it, for the Dutch had traded in Lampong pepper from their earliest days in Malayan waters, and knew its great value.

(E. E. L.)