PALAWAN, pn-lii'whin, or PARAGUA, rafgwn. One of the Philippine Islands, ex treme southwestern of the larger islands of the archipelago (Slap: Philippine Islands, C 10). With its numerous dependent islands it forms a continuous chain extending from Mindoro south westward to the northern extremity of Borneo. The chain runs parallel with the Sulu Archi pelago and separates the Sulu Sea on the smith cast from the China Sea on the northwest. The island of Palawan itself is of very elongated shape, being 27S miles long from northeast to southwest. with an average width of 20 to 25 miles, narrowed into mu isthmus miles wide a little north of the centre. It ranks sixth in size among the Philippine Islands. Its area is 43AS square miles. with its OS politieally de pendent islands 472A, and with the 135 islands forming the group or territorial division 5037 square miles. The island itself is accordingly a little smaller and the group a little larger than the State of Connecticut. The principal dependent islands are the Calamianes (q.v.), lying between Palawan and Mindoro, Dumariin ( I2S square miles), off the extreme eastern point of Palawan, and IlaMac ( AS square miles), between Palawan and Borneo. To Balfibac be long a number of small outlying islands scattered over the Sulu Sea.
The coasts of Palawan are indented with nu merous small bays and sounds, sonic of which form excellent harbors, especially that of Ma lampaya (q.v.). The surface consists of an ele vated tableland falling rapidly toward the coasts on either side, and the latter are in some places 1)01'1 and rugged with limestone cliffs. From the plateau an irregular series of summits and ridges, running generally obliquely across the island, rise to an average height of 2500 feet. The highest point is Mount Mantalingajan. in the southern part, with an altitude of 6S-13 feet. owing to shape and contour of the island. the streams are all very short. The climate is regu lated by the winds to which the island is ex posed, the dry northeast trade winds during summer, and the moist southwest monsoons in winter. These moderate the. temperature, but malarial fevers are common along the coasts. The flora of the island is rich and varied, with many peculiar species, notably among the pitcher plants, the ferns, and the orchids. The moun tains are covered to their summits with immense forests of valuable cabinet. building, and dye woods, including ebony. sandalwood. logwood. and lieu species unknown to the rest of the archi pelago. There are many trees, producing resins, such as dammar, gum mastic. and copal. Among
the animals the birds, monkeys, and reptiles are especially abundant, the pythons reaching an enormous size.
Owing to the sparseness of the population. economic activities are in a very primitive state. Agricultural products are raised only for home consumption, and there are no industries beyond the primitive weaving and other manufactures carried on by each family fur home use. There are no regular roads, the mountain trails and the rivers being the only means of access to the interior. The island is, however, favorably located for future development, lying along the route from India to China and :Manila. Nany sailing vessels on that route pass along, the eastern coast of the island to avoid the violent monsoons in the China Sea. The inhabitants have never been enumerated, but their number is estimated at 50.000. Aboriginal Negritos in habit the mountains of the hiterior; along the coast of the northern half of the island are Ma lays and mixtures of Malays and Negritos, known as Tagbfoulas and Tandulanos. The coasts of the southern half are occupied by Mohammedan 310ros. By the Provincial Government Act of June 23, 1902. the northern half of the island, lying north of parallel of latitude 10°, together with the Calamianes and other adjacent islands, was constituted as the Province of Parrigua, with the seat of government at Cnyo, on the island of that name in the Sulu Sea. The portion of Palawan lying south of parallel 10°, known as Sloro Palawan, was left without civil government, while the island of Balfibass with its dependent islands in the Sulu Sea, forms a distinct political division, the local government of which was es tablished by the treaty with the Sultan of Sulu of August 20, 1899. The chief towns of the mainland are Taytay (q.v.), in l'aragua Province, and Puerto Prince,a (q.v.), in Moro Palawan.
Palawan was a part of the Sultanate of Borneo until the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the Spanish began to found military sta tion, on the island to protect their northern pos session, from the Moro Two attempts by the Spanish authorities to colonize the island, first by importing free immigrants from Luzon, and second by founding convict settlements, were unsuccessful. Palawan was occupied by United States troop; Burin; one of the early campaigns in the southern islands. On the establishment of civil government in Paragtia there were no military stations in that province. Consult Marche, Luton et Paloauan (Paris, 1887).