The Sea Road to the East, Gibraltar to Wei-hai-wei: Six Lectures Prepared for the Visual Instruction Committee of the Colonial Office


These lectures each had a set of associated slides, a complete list of which can be found on pages 117–124 at the end of the book. These slide sets were sold separately and are not part of the book. Some of the slides (those highlighted in bold in the slide list) were inserted as illustrations in the original book, and these are reproduced in this etext.

The numbers in the right margin of the etext are the numbers of the associated slides. Several of these margin slide numbers are in parentheses ( ) to indicate that this particular slide is being shown for a second time at this point in the lecture. These margin slide numbers, like the page numbers, are only displayed on browsers; they are not displayed on handheld ereader devices.

If the window viewing size is made very wide, some slide numbers might be overlaid on the next one; keeping the text width less than 120 characters should avoid this.

The original book showed all the slide numbers as sidenotes in the outer margin of the text. These are not displayed on ereaders, but can be viewed in the .htm and .txt versions of the etext.

There are no Footnotes in this book.

Some minor changes to the text are noted at the end of the book.





original cover (slightly modified)

[See page 115.

World Routes to the East.


[See page 14.


Gibraltar to Wei-hai-wei


Prepared for
The Visual Instruction Committee of the Colonial Office


GEORGE PHILIP & SON, Ltd., 32, Fleet Street

Liverpool: PHILIP, SON & NEPHEW, Ltd., South Castle Street


(All rights reserved)

[Pg iii]



The Right Honourable the Earl of Meath, K.P., Chairman.

The Right Honourable Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, G.C.M.G.

Sir John Struthers, K.C.B., LL.D., Secretary to the Scotch Education Department.

Sir Charles Holroyd, Director of the National Gallery.

Sir Philip Hutchins, K.C.S.I., late Member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India.

Sir Everard im Thurn, K.C.M.G., C.B., late Governor of Fiji and High Commissioner for the Western Pacific.

Sir Charles Lucas, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.

Dr. H. Frank Heath, C.B., of the Board of Education.

A. Berriedale Keith, D.C.L., of the Colonial Office.

H. J. Mackinder, M.P., lately Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

W. H. Mercer, C.M.G., Crown Agent for the Colonies.

Professor Michael E. Sadler, C.B., LL.D., Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds.


A set of Lantern Slides has been prepared in connection with this book, and is sold on behalf of the Committee by Messrs. Newton & Co., 37, King Street, Covent Garden, W.C. (late of 3, Fleet Street, E.C.), from whom copies of this book can be obtained. The complete set of 369 Slides may be had for £29 10s. The Slides to accompany the several Lectures will be sold at the following prices: First Lecture, £4 17s. 6d.; Second Lecture, £5 5s.; Third Lecture, £4 10s.; Fourth Lecture, £5 7s. 6d.; Fifth Lecture, £5 15s.; Sixth Lecture, £4 15s. The Slides will also be sold in sets in which the maps alone will be coloured. The prices in this case will be—for the complete set of 370 Slides, £20; First Lecture, £3 10s.; Second Lecture, £3 8s.; Third Lecture, £3 6s.; Fourth Lecture, £3 10s.; Fifth Lecture, £3 12s. 6d.; Sixth Lecture, £3 13s. 6d. The Slides sold on behalf of the Committee may now be purchased separately in batches of not less than two dozen.

The Slides of this Series are Copyright.



The plan of these lectures is due to Mr. H. J. Mackinder, who wrote the series of lectures on India. The author of the present series is Mr. A. J. Sargent, and the lectures have been revised on behalf of the Visual Instruction Committee by Sir Everard im Thurn and Sir Charles Lucas. The slides are mainly derived from pictures painted and photographs taken by Mr. A. Hugh Fisher on behalf of the Committee, supplemented by photographs supplied from various sources. The Committee have gratefully to acknowledge the abundant help which they have received in this respect.

The next series to be issued will be on Australasia, and the lectures are already well advanced.


March, 1912.



A. Seven Lectures on the United Kingdom.

By Mr. H. J. Mackinder.

In the following Editions issued on behalf of the Committee by Messrs. Waterlow & Sons, Ltd.:—

1. Eastern Colonies Edition, Sept., 1905.

In use in Ceylon, the Straits Settlements, and Hong Kong.

2. Mauritius Edition, June, 1906.

In use in Mauritius.

3. West African Edition, Sept., 1906.

In use in Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast, and Southern Nigeria.

4. West India Edition, Sept., 1906.

In use in Trinidad, British Guiana, and Jamaica.

5. Indian Edition, March, 1907.

In use in the following Provinces:—Madras, Bombay, Bengal, the United Provinces, the Punjab, Burma, Eastern Bengal and Assam, the Central Provinces, the North West Frontier Province, and British Baluchistan.

6. Indian Edition, for use in the United Kingdom, Jan., 1909.
Price One Shilling net.

B. Eight Lectures on India, October, 1910.

By Mr. H. J. Mackinder.

Published by Messrs. George Philip & Son, Ltd., 32, Fleet Street, London, E.C., price 8d. net in paper covers, or 1s. net in cloth.

[A Lecturer’s Edition has also been issued, price in cloth, 1s. net, and may be had of Messrs. Newton & Co., 3, Fleet Street, E.C.]

Six Lectures on the Sea Road to the East.

By Mr. A. J. Sargent.

Published by Messrs. George Philip & Son, Ltd., price 8d. net in paper covers, 1s. net in cloth.

[In this book the ordinary edition and the lecturer’s edition are combined.]



Gibraltar and Malta1
Malta to Aden20
The Indian Ocean39
The Malay Region75
The Chinese Stations99


NOTE.—The reader is asked to bear in mind the fact that these lectures are illustrated with lantern slides. The numbers in the margin of the text are the numbers of the slides, of which a complete list will be found on pp. 117–124.

[Pg 1]


In the great land mass which is formed by Europe and Asia is included upwards of a third of the land surface of the Globe and about two-thirds of the total population. Grouped at the western end are the three hundred and fifty millions of Europe, while the majority of the seven hundred millions of Asia are crowded into the southeastern corner. Between the two, from the Red Sea coast of Arabia to the western boundary of China, lies a broad band of desert and steppe, mountain and plateau, thinly peopled and difficult to cross. On the north, the sea passage is barred by the ice of the Arctic; while the only land link between west and east is the thin line of the Siberian railway. But on the south, from       1 the Baltic to the Sea of Japan, is a broad highway, free to all and within easy reach of the great trading nations of Europe and Asia. From end to end we see it running along the coasts and through inland seas; so that ships are rarely out of sight of land for many days together. At frequent intervals are straits to be passed and corners to be turned by every ship; and here, where the sea road must touch the land, are the key points for trade in time of peace or strategy in time of war.

Britain is responsible for the government of over three hundred million Asiatics and carries on a great trade with the remainder; in fact, about two-thirds of the merchant shipping passing through the Suez Canal is under the British flag. We have important interests, too, on the eastern side of Africa, while a new Britain, British in race and political organization, is growing up[2] in Australasia. We are the chief users of the main road to this region of the world, and are thus most interested in its condition and control.

For ships sailing from the western coasts of Europe, otherwise than round the Cape of Good Hope, the only gateway to the long passage to the East is the Strait of Gibraltar, at its narrowest a little less than half as broad as the Strait of Dover. Let us look for a   2 moment at the map. We have passed Capes St. Vincent and Trafalgar, and as we turn in from the Atlantic, far away on our right is Cape Spartel, the corner of Africa, and beside it the Moroccan port of Tangier. We had interests on this coast in times past, since Tangier was a British Possession more than two centuries ago. It came to the English Crown not by conquest but as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II; but after twenty years it was abandoned to the Moors as useless. Bombay also was included in the dowry: but how different is its later history!

We are now inside the Strait; on our left, just at the point where the shores of Europe approach most nearly to Africa, stands the Spanish fortress of Tarifa. Here, where it is narrowest, we might expect to find the controlling point of the gateway; but we must look beyond. Further east the Strait begins to broaden out until it loses itself suddenly in the open waters of the Mediterranean, where the coasts of Spain and Africa trend away sharply to north and south. Here, on a narrow spur running southwards, with the open sea to the east and the bay and town of Algeciras to the west, lies the Rock of Gibraltar. Fourteen miles away to the south, on another jutting point, is the town of Ceuta, which belongs to Spain. Five towns keep guard over the gateway to the Mediterranean, but only one holds the key; we may understand this better when we have learnt something of Gibraltar and its history.

We think and speak of the Rock rather than the town[3] or bay; with good reason, since Gibraltar without the Rock would be of small value to us. As we steam in   3 from the west we see it rising from the water like an island block broken off from the mountains of Spain.   4 Now we are drawing nearer and the block begins to take shape. A long ridge, carved out into detached peaks, drops sharply to the north where the low flat isthmus, scarcely visible, links it with the mainland. On our right hand, towards the south, it descends in steps to the narrow point on which we can just see the lighthouse. With a little use of the imagination we may liken the ridge to a crouching beast keeping guard over the waters of the Strait below. Now the houses of the   5 town begin to show against the dark background of hill, and soon we pass a cruiser at anchor and enter the new harbour, with its docks and coaling wharves enclosed in protecting moles.

We have seen Gibraltar on the west from the level of the sea; let us   6 turn to the map for a moment and take a bird’s-eye glance at the whole peninsula with its surroundings.


The Rock is small: its length three miles from north to south, its greatest breadth not more than three-quarters[4] of a mile. Its area is a little less than two square miles, so that it is quite the smallest in the list of our foreign possessions. A high and narrow ridge, rising over a thousand feet, falls steeply to the land on the north and to the sea on the east; towards the south, where the ridge is lower, it ends in cliffs against which the sea beats always and prevents all access. On part of the west side the lower slopes are more gentle, and on these lies the town with the harbour at the foot.

Let us look now at the approach to Gibraltar from   7 the mainland of Spain. Here we see a corner of the northwest face of the rock, where it overlooks the isthmus. Notice how sheer it rises from the plain, with the flooded moat at its foot. The narrow road, on which we are standing, between the Rock and the sea margin, is the sole entry to the fortress, and we may understand how, in a spot such as this, a small force could easily defy an   8 army. Here is another view of the Causeway, from the hill above, which shows us how narrow is the link connecting the Rock with the mainland. Gibraltar is, in effect, an island; the only real approach is on the west, from the sea.

We will now explore further. All round us are guns and fortifications old and new; soldiers are everywhere; we can see little without special permission, and the authorities are very inquisitive as to our business. The main gates are locked and guarded at night, and we take the time and set our watches by gunfire. We soon learn that we are in no ordinary town, but in a fortress prepared for war. Here we see one of the hot   9 and narrow streets. In the foreground is one of the olive-skinned natives of the Mediterranean. We shall find them everywhere about the harbour; in fact they seem far too many for a small confined town. But in the evening we may meet them streaming away by the north gate, bound for the Spanish town of Linea, which is visible in the distance beyond the neutral ground of[5] the isthmus. There is much work to be done in the harbour, but there is no room for the town to expand, so it is not possible to house the workmen on the spot. It is necessary to limit the number of civilians living in the town, for past experience has proved that they are a danger to health in time of peace, through overcrowding, and a source of weakness to the fighting garrison in time of war. Gibraltar must be governed purely as a fortress; its history is a history of war; in time of peace it has little interest.

Thirteen sieges in five centuries are recorded by historians since its capture from the Moors by Ferdinand of Castile in 1309; a relic of the Moorish occupation 10 still survives in the old castle which we see here; of the sieges the last three alone concern us. In the autumn of 1704, only a few months after a British admiral had hoisted the flag and claimed the Rock in the name of Queen Anne, France and Spain with a great fleet and army attempted its recovery. In the spring of the next year the garrison, without food or powder, reduced by disease and fighting to less than 1,500 effective men, and facing the constant attack of a vastly superior force, could scarcely hope to hold out much longer. But relief at last came from the sea. A British squadron broke through the blockading fleets and brought supplies and reinforcements; and though it sailed away again the real siege was over. On the land side the Rock was impregnable; the guns of that day were useless against its defences; Gibraltar was ours to hold so long as we could command the sea.

At the peace of Utrecht, which ended the war of the Spanish Succession, we retained Gibraltar, and the people of England, impressed by the siege and the splendid defence of the Rock, resolved to keep it. It was only natural that Spain should wish to recover a fortress which was geographically part of her territory and of little value to us at the time. For years her diplomatists[6] tried to persuade us to restore it; and when diplomacy failed, force was attempted once more. In 1728, great preparations were made for another siege; even Cadiz was stripped of its guns to provide a siege train, and an army of 20,000 men fronted the little garrison of 1,500. The Government in England set small value on the place, so that the defences had been utterly neglected. The guns were worn out and the fortifications in decay, but the garrison worked day and night in parties of 500 to repair the damage. A heavy bombardment undid much of their work, but it also ruined the large brass guns of the enemy, while month by month we poured in men and supplies from the sea, until the garrison was raised to over 5,000. The siege proved that Gibraltar, properly manned, had nothing to fear from an assault by land, and the people of England were more than ever convinced that it was quite impregnable. The real danger was to come fifty years later, when we lost for a time the command of the sea.

The last and greatest siege began in 1779, when the fortunes of England were at a low ebb in the war of American Independence, and a French and Spanish fleet had sailed with impunity up the English Channel. In spite of despatches from Governors and discussions in Parliament, the defences of Gibraltar were again in a thoroughly neglected state. It is not to the English Ministers or Parliament that we owe our present possession of it, but to the energy and foresight of General Eliott, the Governor at the time. It is true that at the last moment we hurried out more troops and supplies; but when the attack began in June, 1779, the garrison, with no hope of further relief from the sea, was ill fitted to withstand a long siege by the joint forces of France and Spain.

Let us climb up to one of the great galleries begun 11 during the siege and hewn out of the solid limestone rock, with their rows of gun-ports like windows in the[7] face of the precipice. Let us look out through one of 12 these windows and try to imagine the scene in the days of the siege. Here we have a fine view of the country 13 below. The blank space, without houses, which we see is the neutral ground, and beyond it the besiegers’ lines were drawn right across the isthmus. Across this narrow space the guns fired round shot, the enemy attacked and the garrison made sorties. Further away is the town of Linea, and right under our feet is the goal of the attack, the narrow entrance to the fortress itself. But the scenes on the isthmus can never be repeated; long-range artillery has changed the conditions of warfare; the heavy guns on the landward side of the Rock now keep watch and ward over the distant hills.

This was the view of the besieged on the land side; the sea also was closed to them. Our fleets were engaged elsewhere and supplies were cut off by a swarm of hostile cruisers in the Strait. The troops were on half rations from the first, while at the end of a twelvemonth the people were glad to search the Rock for wild roots and weeds. Gibraltar was never nearer to surrender. At the last moment, Rodney, on his way to the West Indies, defeated the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent and brought in a convoy. But he could not stay, and the siege closed in for a second year. Morocco joined Spain, so that the small supplies which had reached the garrison in spite of the blockade were now cut off. To crown all, the food brought from England was mostly salted, and scurvy broke out. To add to the trials of the defence, the enemy now attacked from the sea with small gunboats rowed in close to the shore under cover of darkness. The town was a fair target which they could hardly miss, while they were small and offered no chance in the darkness to the gunners of the garrison. So for the rest of the siege this nightly bombardment went on unchecked, as to reply was mere waste of powder which could ill be spared.


In the spring of 1781, a powerful English fleet again brought relief, and later in the year a brilliant sortie by the garrison ended in the destruction of the besiegers’ lines and delayed the final attack. But early in 1782 Minorca surrendered to the French, who were thus set free to prepare for a great joint effort. For a time there was a lull in the storm, while ships were collected in the bay and men and stores on the mainland. Rewards were offered for the best plan for capturing the fortress, and people came from all over Europe to watch the final act in the great drama. The preparations ended in a grand assault by land and sea in September, 1782. For four days without ceasing thirty thousand men with nearly three hundred guns attacked from the isthmus. In the Bay were fifty warships with the gunboats and the famous floating batteries. To oppose this huge armament with its five hundred guns or more, the defenders had some eight thousand men and less than a hundred guns. It was enough. How the attack failed is told in every history. It is worth remark that the losses of the garrison in the bombardment were very small, not more than might have been expected in a mere skirmish. The guns of those days were of little use against the natural defences of the Rock. Soon after, Lord Howe, in the teeth of the combined fleets, broke the blockade and brought the third relief; and although the fighting continued for a time, the real siege was over as soon as the English fleet had forced the passage of the Strait.

When we think of these sieges, we can perhaps understand better why Gibraltar, rather than any of the other four towns, holds the key to the Strait. When our fleet was away the fortress was powerless and the enemy could close the passage. A fleet alone could keep it open, but a fleet, now as then, must have a harbour close at hand as a base. In the case of Gibraltar only of the five towns do we find both fortress and fleet together.

The history of Gibraltar in the nineteenth century[9] has been mainly concerned with the difficulties of governing its miscellaneous population and the problem of improving the defences and adapting them to the ever-changing conditions of modern warfare. Towards the end of the century the need of further dock accommodation for the fleet became pressing. The new harbour was begun in 1893, but while it was in course of construction the science of artillery was also making great progress, and it has been pointed out that the docks could be assailed by the fire from long-range guns hidden behind the hills on the mainland. So from the purely military point of view the fortress is perhaps less impregnable than in former times.

In the matter of internal administration there has been much improvement. Gibraltar has gained a bad reputation in the past for climate and health. The bare rock adds to the burning heat of the summer sun; the town is shut off from fresh breezes by the hill, and when the Levanter blows from the east, and heavy clouds hang over the summit of the ridge, the clammy air makes the heat still more oppressive. There have been severe epidemics on the Rock, due largely to the bad drainage of the old town and the want of sufficient water. Most of the rain falls in the winter months, and a heavy downpour is soaked up at once by the porous rock. There are no springs, so the water is collected in tanks from the roofs of the houses, while the authorities have built reservoirs and artificial catches on the lower hill slopes and have set up condensing engines as a reserve in time 14 of need. Here is one of these catches on the north peak above Catalan Bay; it is made of sheets of corrugated iron, coated with cement, and lies like a roof over the porous sand beneath. There are wells, too, on the low ground to the north; but the water is brackish and not good for drinking. Better drainage and more water have greatly changed the condition of the town; so that the water famines and epidemics of the past are not likely[10] to recur; but food must always be imported, as there is no room to grow it on the Rock, with its small area and poor soil.

Yet all is not bare and dry, as we shall see if we continue 15 our tour of the peninsula. We drive through the old south gate to the Alameda gardens, the beauty spot of 16 Gibraltar. Here are shaded walks and open spaces as in an English park, though many of the plants are strange to us. But we are even here reminded of the fortress, 17 since on the level parade ground we see the troops of the garrison at drill in the cool of the early morning. Our 18 road runs through a grove of trees; there is the southern suburb in front of us, and below as we turn round is spread 19 out the harbour and dockyard, with the calm bay of Algeciras beyond. We pass more old fortifications spanning 20 the road, and come out above Europa point, the southern outlook of the Rock. Here is the lighthouse, which we 21 saw from the steamer, standing on the low cliffs. We have left the trees behind us and all is bare and windswept; but the fresh breeze brings relief after the stifling heat of the town, and so in this corner the Governor 22 has his summer cottage. Here is a view taken from it. We continue our walk round the eastern side of the point, 23 past the old batteries, only to find that the path ends suddenly, where the hill comes sheer down into the sea. As we have a special permit, let us climb the heights and see what is beyond the corner. The narrow ridge 24 with its sharp peaks stretches away to the north; we are looking along its steep eastern slope. Down below, in a little hollow, hemmed in by the sea and the hill, is 25 the village of Catalan Bay, with its colony of Genoese fishermen, descendants of those who settled on the Rock when the Spanish inhabitants left it two centuries ago. 26 Here are the fishermen and their boats at close quarters. Beyond the bay is a long line of surf beating on the low eastern shore of the isthmus, and in the distance, hidden by the mists, the range of the Sierra Nevada. On the[11] 27 middle peak is the signal station, with the old wall of Charles V. running down the hillside; and behind it the aërial line joining the station to the town. Here ends our journey. The signal station is the eye of Gibraltar, ever watching the sea and the Strait, and ready to give instant warning of an enemy’s coming to the guns and ships below.

We think of Gibraltar to-day as one of the most valuable and necessary links in the chain of communication with the East; yet in the eighteenth century, some of the most patriotic and far-seeing among English statesmen were ready and even eager to restore it to Spain. Over and over again it was offered in exchange for some other place, or as a bribe for the Spanish alliance. In 1728, the Cabinet was prepared to surrender it without any return; Lord Townshend, writing to our ambassador, explains why they hesitated. “I am afraid that the bare mention of a proposal which carried the most distant appearance of laying England under an obligation of ever parting with that place would be sufficient to put the whole nation in a flame.” Even in 1783, after the great siege, we proposed to exchange Gibraltar for Porto Rico. The policy of our ministers was not so unreasonable as it seems at first sight. Our trade with the Near East was not increasing, and we had no special interests in the Mediterranean, so that it seemed a waste of strength to maintain a costly fortress there, when all that we could spare was needed for the defence of our distant dominions. In fact, France seemed to be the Power marked out by her history and geographical position as the natural ruler of the inland sea; and it was the sentiment of the English people rather than any practical justification in the conditions of the time which made us cling obstinately to our conquest.

We may realize more clearly the place of Gibraltar in British policy if we turn for a moment to another outpost in this region, which we held for most of the eighteenth[12] century. Minorca was captured soon after Gibraltar, and the two were commonly associated since they both served a like purpose. Gibraltar divided Carthagena 28 from Cadiz, and Toulon from Brest; it was a bar to the union of the Mediterranean and Atlantic fleets of France or Spain. But in the eighteenth century France was the more dangerous enemy, and from the point of view of our relations with France, Minorca was more valuable than Gibraltar. Minorca had no land attack to fear and was better placed than Gibraltar for keeping guard over Toulon, the great arsenal of the French navy in the Mediterranean. The value of both stations lay in their influence on our fights in the Atlantic and the English Channel, since our road to India was round the Cape and we had no thought of the Mediterranean as an alternative. At the end of the century the eyes of British ministers were opened, when Gibraltar became associated not with Minorca but with Malta. It was Napoleon Bonaparte who first directed our policy towards Egypt and drove us to the occupation of Malta.

In 1797, Minorca was no longer ours; we had retired from Corsica and Elba after a short occupation, and not a single British warship was to be seen east of Gibraltar; the Mediterranean became for a time a French lake. Napoleon had been waiting and planning for this, and at once started on his great expedition to Egypt and the East. The expedition was part of a far-reaching design: Egypt was to be colonized by France, a canal cut through the Isthmus of Suez, and England to be attacked by way of India, while the Dutch and Spanish fleets kept us busy in the North Sea and the Atlantic. The defeat of the Dutch off Camperdown and of the Spanish off Cape St Vincent upset this elaborate plan, and in the spring of 1798 Nelson was in the Mediterranean. The French had a week’s start; their destination was uncertain. They were expected in Ireland, Sicily, Portugal; anywhere but in Egypt. Napoleon had been in[13] Egypt for a month when Nelson’s long search ended in the battle of the Nile and the consequent cutting off of the French from their supports at home.

Malta had been occupied by the French without trouble, as there was treachery within the walls; it needed two years of blockade by the Maltese people, aided by our fleet, to compel the garrison to surrender. Still we did not realize its value. At the peace of Amiens we agreed to give it back under guarantees to the Knights of St. John, in spite of the strong protests of the Maltese. We prepared to withdraw our troops, but changed our plans at the last moment, through suspicion of Napoleon’s design; and the island remained in our possession with the full concurrence and goodwill of its inhabitants. When the war broke out again, the French occupied Italy; but Sicily was guarded by the British fleet and was used by us as a base from which to harry the French on the mainland and cut off their supplies by sea. It was a fine object-lesson in the value of a secure island base in these waters as an aid to the command of the sea.

A glance at the map will make clear the importance 29 of the position of Malta. It lies midway between Gibraltar and Port Said, the entrance and exit of the Mediterranean, where Sicily stretching out towards the projecting corner of Africa divides the long narrow sea into two distinct basins. The entry to the eastern half is either by the broad passage between Cape Bon and Sicily, or by the narrow strait of Messina. Malta blocks the one passage and is within easy reach of the other.

Valetta Harbour.

Gibraltar has been made by the Rock; its harbour is modern and artificial; but the harbour of Valetta is as old as the island and was used long before the town 30 existed. Here is a plan of the harbour: we see that it consists of two deep inlets with a spur between on which stands the main town. The entrance is narrow, and thus easily defended, while the inlets run far into the[14] land and offer safe anchorage for the largest vessels. The southern inlet, partly closed by a long breakwater, forms 31 the Grand Harbour, into which we are steaming. On our right, at the corner above the breakwater, is the castle 32 of St. Elmo: on our left is fort Ricasoli, guarding the entrance. Higher up are fort St. Angelo, on a jutting 33 peninsula, and other forts and bastions on every point of vantage; while the main town and suburbs are encircled on the land side with ramparts and deep 34 trenches. Here is a view towards the harbour mouth[15] which gives a good picture of the old town. The view is from the upper Baracca, where the old knights of 35 Malta used to walk to take the air. Here is another view from the lower Baracca, but looking up the harbour. In the harbour a long line of warships lies at anchor, and from the water’s edge the town rises up in steep streets and terraces. Let us climb up one of the main 36 streets leading from the water front. It is not an ordinary roadway, but a staircase with shallow steps of stone, owing to the steepness of the hill. The tall houses, with their weathered yellow stone, their carved fronts and overhanging balconies, and their heavily barred windows looking out on the street, might well belong to some old Italian city. The whole city has an air of dignity and age which we should hardly expect to find in a small and isolated island. Even the great forts suggest mediæval history and romance, armour and swords, rather than bayonets and quick-firing guns. They are very different from the batteries of Gibraltar. In fact, Valetta is far more than a mere fortress; it has a history, a people and a language all its own. The upper classes have been affected by contact with the Latin races of Southern Europe, while there is a strong Arab strain in the mass of the people; but all alike are Maltese, proud of their country and clinging tenaciously to their old customs and language. Here we see a portrait of a 37 gentleman of pure Maltese descent, and here again a Maltese lady, wearing the faldetta, or hooded cloak, a 38 remnant of national costume. The hood is still worn very generally by ladies in the street, and we may perhaps connect it with the Eastern custom of concealing the face, though it is not always used for this purpose by the Maltese, and their own tradition traces its origin to the insults of the French soldiers at the time of the occupation.

Malta is the meeting-place of East and West, and its position in the Mediterranean has determined its destiny.[16] From the beginning of history every dominant race in the Mediterranean has held it at one time or another. Romans and Carthaginians fought for it: the Arabs occupied it for two centuries and left their mark on the language and the people: then came the Normans in the eleventh century and brought it into close contact with Europe; and finally, in 1530, it was handed over by the Emperor Charles V. to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, better known as the Hospitallers, who had been driven from Rhodes, their earlier home, after a great siege by the Turks. Thus Malta became an outpost of Christendom, barring Mohammedan progress westward, and a safe base for the knights in the perpetual war which they waged against the infidel in the eastern Mediterranean. It is no matter for surprise that three times in the course of twenty years the Turks besieged the knights with powerful armies; though each time they were beaten back with great slaughter. At the date of the third attack, in 1565, La Valette was Grand Master of the Order. On the retreat of the Turks he founded the new town of Valetta, round the harbour and forts which he had so well defended. The Order was wealthy, with vast possessions in Europe; princes and prelates contributed money as a thank-offering for victory over the Turk, and crowds of skilled workmen were brought over from the mainland. So the new city grew, with its fortifications and palaces, a fit home for a knightly aristocracy which was distinguished alike for its prowess in war and for its luxury in time of peace.

The city remains much as it was. The Grand Master’s 39 palace is now the residence of the Governor; here in the armoury we can still see the armour and weapons of its 40 former owners. At Citta Vecchia, the former capital, we find the old Court of Justice converted into a hospital. 41 Here again is the house of one of the knights made useful as a government school, and here the Auberge, 42 or club house, of the knights of Castile in the occupation[17] of the Royal Artillery; while the beautiful cathedral of 43 St. John, built by the knights, still stands to remind us of the combination of religion and fighting which was so characteristic of the mediæval world. We can still 44 see, also, the great aqueduct, built to bring water to the city from the distant springs. Everywhere we have preserved and adapted the work of the knights, so that Malta is a picture of the past for the most part unspoiled.


[See page 3.

Gibraltar from the West.


[See page 7.

The Isthmus and Linea from the Galleries.


[See page 14.

Fort St. Angelo, Valetta.


[See page 18.

Lace Makers, Gozo.

Outside the towns there is little to see in Malta. Here 45 is a view across the country, and here a wider view from the ramparts of Citta Vecchia; it looks dreary enough, with 46 high stone walls crossing it in every direction with a few cypresses showing above them, and here and there a grove of olives. The walls are necessary, as the island is exposed to every wind that blows, and above all to the gregale, the boisterous north-east storm wind. Even more unpleasant is the Sirocco, a warm damp wind which blows in late summer and early autumn from the Sahara. The summer is hot, and usually without a cloud; and though heavy rains fall in the winter, they quickly soak into the porous rock. Though it seems so bare and rocky and the soil is thin, yet Malta is well cultivated and produces splendid crops on its little farms. But there are too many people for its small area, since the whole Maltese group is only about half as large again as the Channel Islands; and as the Maltese are loath to emigrate, much food must be imported, and large quantities 47 of grain are stored for emergency in the old underground granaries which we see here, hewn from the solid rock. 48 Everything is of stone in Malta; the island is one great mass of limestone with the thinnest covering of soil. We may cross the open country by the narrow gauge railway 49 and enter Citta Vecchia by the old gateway. The place seems sleepy and lifeless, since its people have migrated to Valetta. There are relics in it of very early days; 50 a Norman house which we may recognize by the shape of its doors and windows, and even still older, the remains[18] 51 of a Roman villa. But even here, in this quaint old town, we find soldiers of the Maltese regiment at drill, to remind 52 us that a fortress is not far away.

We will now leave Valetta, with its harbour and forts, its close-packed houses and busy streets, to visit another 53 island of the Maltese group, more thinly populated than Malta and more old-fashioned and rural. We sail northward along the coast, past the deep bay which tradition connects with the wreck of St. Paul, past the islet of Comino, with its solitary castle, lying in mid-channel, and reach the landing-place of Gozo. Here, on the side facing Malta, the coast is low; but the rest of the island is bordered by steep limestone cliffs, hollowed out into caves and grottos. One of these our guide will show us as the very cave of Calypso described by Homer. We land and 54 drive towards the old capital, Rabato, re-named Victoria, which lies in the centre of the island, like the old capital of Malta; but there is no deep inlet on the coast to give rise to another Valetta. From the walls of the old castle, close to 55 the cathedral, we can look across the same flat country, cut up into pieces by stone walls, which we saw in Malta. But 56 the countryside is brighter; on our drive to Rabato we pass gardens where vegetables are grown for the Valetta market; thick hedges of scarlet geranium; fields of tall spiked red clover and banks of wild thyme and vetch. Gozo has been noted for its honey from very early times, and there is abundance of food here for the bees. Everywhere are herds of goats tended by half-clad children, and outside the houses we may see whole families of 57 women and girls busy making lace. The Maltese lace which we buy comes mainly from Gozo, where the industry has existed for thousands of years. Here is one of the 58 old houses; notice its curious eastern look; we shall find that even the language seems to differ somewhat from that of the Maltese and to be allied more to Arabic.

We are in an old-fashioned world, with little to remind us of Europe except the churches and the decaying fortifications[19] of Rabato. But before the Arabs, before the Romans, and perhaps even before the Phœnicians, there were people in these islands who have left strange traces of their occupation. In both islands are to be found fragments of very ancient enclosures or temples, built of huge 59 stones piled together without mortar, such as we have in these two pictures. It may be that the race of these old 60 builders still survives to some degree in the Maltese, and they may well be proud to believe that they have been tenants of the islands without a break from before the beginning of the history of the races of modern Europe. Whatever the exact origin of the Maltese may be, in speaking of Malta and Gibraltar together we are certainly linking the very old with the very new. Gibraltar has no real native people and no continuous history; even from the point of view of naval strategy it is essentially modern. Malta was a naval base in the days when trade and civilization were confined to the Mediterranean; the opening of the Suez Canal has merely added to its former importance. Gibraltar only comes into history when western civilization has spread to the outer seas and the broad Atlantic.



On our voyage from the English Channel to Malta we are never out of touch with the countries of Western Europe. Even on the African coast European influence or control is becoming stronger every year. We have seen how our occupation of Gibraltar was incidental to our quarrels with France and Spain, and these same quarrels, in the end, brought Malta into our possession. But Malta is on the edge of the Near East, and in looking at its history in mediæval times we were always concerned with the rivalry of the West with the East, Europe with Asia. So even to-day, though Europe has proved itself the stronger, we shall find that beyond Malta we enter a new world where the relations of West and East are not yet finally settled. This uncertainty is shown alike in our own position and in that of the other great Powers of Europe. The problem of the Near East is still one of the chief worries of diplomats and governments.

From Malta to Aden is perhaps the most important section of the great trade route which we are following; yet right through, from the entrance of the Eastern Mediterranean to the outlet of the Red Sea, in spite of our great commercial and political interests, we shall not find a single acre of British freehold territory. Even as far as Malta we can only claim that part of the road is British, since, in time of peace, the important mail   1 traffic goes through France and Italy, from Calais to Brindisi. In fact, for our complete traffic, in passengers, mails, goods and ships, we might regard Aden as the first British station on the road to India.


So, at the European end of the journey, owing to the modern development of rapid transit, we are more and more dependent on the kindly offices of foreign nations. Beyond Malta conditions are different. Though we have no freehold possessions, the waterway is free to all, and we have agreements and rights of various kinds affecting its use and control. We must learn something of these rights, since Malta and Aden lose half their meaning for us unless we understand the nature of our interests in the intervening links in the long chain of communication.

As we steam eastward from Malta, on our way to Port   2 Said, we may pass within sight of the island of Crete. Here we are entering on the new region, as Crete has relations both with Europe and with Asia, and the ultimate form of these relations is still in doubt. Crete is a debatable ground between Turkey and Greece, and Britain is concerned with three other European Powers in determining its destiny. Further east, in the same latitude as Crete, lies Cyprus, which we must now notice, since its administration is in our hands, although it seems a long way out of our direct course to the East.

The island lies far away from the Greek Archipelago, in the angle formed by the coasts of Syria and Asia Minor, where the Gulf of Antioch runs in between the Taurus mountains of Cilicia and the northern continuation of the coast range of Lebanon. It is a region rich in history. On either side of the Gulf are the ancient sites of Tarsus and Antioch; inland is the commercial city of Aleppo, and beyond it the headwaters of the great river Euphrates. This small corner of the Mediterranean, now comparatively neglected, was of great importance in the ancient world; and some knowledge of its past may help us to appreciate its position at the present day.

The origin of the first inhabitants of Cyprus is doubtful, but we know that in historical times Phœnicians and[22] Greeks were settled here in large numbers. Kitium, near the modern Larnaca, was Phœnician, while Salamis, near Famagusta, was one of the chief centres of Greek influence. These and many other cities, little kingdoms in themselves, were well known to ancient historians; though the whole island is only about twice the size of Lancashire. Cyprus in early times became famous for the worship of the Phœnician goddess Astarte, the Aphrodite   3 of the ancient Greeks. Here we can still see the Phœnician rock tombs, and here are fragments of the   4 marble columns which once supported a great temple of Zeus. Perhaps, too, these vast heaps of slag, relics   5 of the old workings for copper, which took its name from the island, may be due in part to the people who are thought to have reached even our own islands in their search for tin. But for the most part, bombardments, earthquakes, destructive natives and foreign searchers after antiquities have left few remnants of the ancient civilization except such as are buried beneath the earth. The real interest of Cyprus for us lies rather in its political history in mediæval and modern times.

In the ancient world it came under control of one after another of the great Powers ruling the mainland: Egypt, Phœnicia, Assyria, Media; though the control was often nominal, being limited to the levying of tribute, and the little native kingdoms maintained a partial independence. Our own history has shown us the value of a few miles of water as a protection from the great military Powers of the neighbouring continent. As a trading centre and naval base, on a coast where good ports were few, Cyprus was of great value, and we are not surprised to find that sea fights are frequent in its history. The Romans annexed it from Egypt; at the division of the Empire it was attached to Byzantium, and though it was twice conquered by the Arabs it was twice recovered. Here we see it already a bone of contention between East and West. For a few months in the year[23] 1191 Cyprus was even English territory. It was seized by Richard I. on his way to the third Crusade, and in   6 the little town of Limassol which we see here, he was married to Berengaria of Navarre by no less a personage than the Archbishop of York. So we may claim that our connexion with Cyprus is at least seven centuries old. Richard sold his new possession to Guy de Lusignan, a French Crusader, and thus Cyprus like Malta came under the influence of Feudalism and the Latin Church. Its external history, also, like that of Malta, is made up for three centuries of fights and raids of Christian against Mohammedan. Unlike Malta, it was fated in the end to become part and parcel of the East. Towards the end of the fourteenth century the Genoese seized Famagusta, which they retained for many years; and a century later the abdication of its last ruler, a Venetian by birth, gave the whole island to the Republic of Venice. Venice and Genoa were both naval and trading Powers; the island was a good base both for trade in the eastern Mediterranean and for warlike operations against the Turk.

We can still see the lion of Venice and the old inscription   7 on the fortifications of the citadel of Famagusta, and here too is a fragment of the ancient palace of the Lusignan   8 dynasty, which has escaped destruction by the Turk only to be converted into a prosaic police station. Unlike the knights of Malta, the Lusignans made little impression on the natives of the island. They attempted to replace the national Greek Church by the Latin; yet the old Latin cathedral of St. Sophia is now used as a mosque, while, in spite of occasional persecution, the Greek Church still survives as the Church of the majority   9 of the people. Here is the outside of St. Sophia: it is partly ruined, but we can see that it was once a fine building. 10 Inside, it still looks like a church, except for the presence of Mohammedans wearing turbans. Out in the country, near Nicosia, we come on a fine old monastery,[24] 11 still in the possession of the Greek Church. Notice the monks in their curious dress. Not far away is a once-famous 12 abbey, now somewhat decayed, as we may judge from a near view of the cloisters; here again is an ugly 13 modern village church, and here by way of contrast a famous tekkye, or Mohammedan shrine. Everywhere 14 Turk and Cypriote, Mohammedan and Christian, are side by side; and behind all is British power enforcing 15 law and order and compelling the different parties to live at peace with one another.

Cyprus of to-day is what the Turks have made it, since they conquered it from Venice in 1570; we have succeeded to a heritage of mis-government, and the conditions of our tenure hamper us greatly in the task of bringing back prosperity to the people. In 1878, after the treaty of San Stefano had been forced on Turkey by Russia, we agreed to defend the Asiatic dominions of the Sultan against further aggression, on condition first that reforms were introduced for the protection of his Christian subjects, and secondly that Cyprus should be occupied and administered by Great Britain. We added to the agreement an undertaking to pay annually to the Porte the surplus revenue of the Island at the time of the occupation, and to evacuate Cyprus if ever Russia should restore Kars and her other Asiatic conquests to Turkey. This undertaking has retarded the progress of the island under our rule in the past, since this tribute, which now goes to pay the interest on a Turkish loan, represents a steady drain on the revenue, so that it has been found necessary to make an annual grant-in-aid from the British Treasury.


Yet Cyprus is capable of great improvement. It was famous in the ancient world for its beauty and fertility, and at one time supported a much larger population than at present. Let us get a general view with the 16 help of the map. A broad plain, the Messaoria, stretches for seventy miles from one end of the island to the other.[25] In the midst of it is Nicosia, the capital, and at the eastern outlet is the port of Famagusta. On the north a narrow mountain ridge separates the lowland from the sea. Here is a view of Nicosia across the plain, with the mountain 17 ridges sheltering it on the north; and here is Famagusta as it appears from the roof of St. Sophia. It hardly 18 strikes us as a busy seaport. On the south of the plain a broader and more varied highland, rising to six thousand feet in Mount Troodos, fills the whole corner of the 19 island. Here we see Troodos from the south. The slope on our left is terraced for vineyards. Here is a closer view 20 of one of them. The southern slope of the mountain is the home of the vine, for which Cyprus was famous in antiquity, and all along its foot are the sites of ancient cities. The plain is fertilized by the silt brought down from the mountains by the heavy winter rains; but in the spring and summer the rivers dry up and disappear in the porous soil, and irrigation is necessary[26] to retain the water for the growing crops. The inland plain is not only dry but intensely hot in summer, as the mountains cut off the cool breezes from the sea. Even the natives cannot work in the noonday heat, and we may often in our walks come on the harvesters taking 21 their noonday rest in the shade, as in the picture before us. At one time the climate must have been more equable, when the plain was heavily forested; even to-day it could be much improved by replanting the trees. The Government is undertaking the work, but the people and the goats are most destructive, so forest 22 guards have to be employed, such as the two picturesque figures who are posing here to our artist for their portraits. Time and money, especially money, are needed to repair centuries of neglect, and the natives will do nothing without European control. Here the climate intervenes; in spring and autumn it is not unpleasant for Europeans, but in the summer months, as in India, they take refuge in the hills, unless, as commonly happens, their duties tie them to the plains.

The future of Cyprus depends on its agriculture. The locusts, which at one time threatened to eat up everything, have been almost exterminated by special methods of trapping introduced by the Government; the real trouble arises from the recurrence of drought and from the backward condition of the native peasantry. Only a small part of the land is under cultivation, and the methods of the native are such as might be expected after centuries of misgovernment and excessive taxation. He scratches the surface of the soil with a primitive plough, sows the seed broadcast, regardless of weeds, and reaps the grain with sickles. The threshing is 23 equally primitive. Oxen drag about on the threshing floor a board studded with flints, and the grain is then winnowed by throwing it into the air with shovels when the wind happens to be blowing. We can quite understand that the wheat will not be of the finest[27] quality after these operations. The methods of the peasant are those followed by his ancestors thousands of years ago, and he is slow to learn, though the efforts of the Government to teach him are now showing some good results.

To see the life of the real Cypriotes in its most primitive form we must go to the villages and farms; here 24 we see one of these villages, with its orange orchards; and here is a Turkish villager at the well. In the 25 coast towns we find another type, the Levantine Greek, who meets us everywhere on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. He is a trader and shopkeeper—not a cultivator of the soil. The true Cypriotes are not modern Greeks, though they speak the Greek tongue and belong to the Orthodox or Greek Church. There are also many Turks settled in the island, but as the native Cypriotes are rather more industrious as well as more numerous, they are gradually regaining possession of the land, and the Turkish influence is growing weaker. But Turks and Cypriotes are alike in their backward methods and reckless waste of the resources of the country. They will cut down a whole tree for the sake of a single plank, and destroy an ancient building to make a stable. In the towns they have completed the work begun by the 26 great stone balls from the old Turkish cannon. Here is one of these old huge weapons which was fished up in Famagusta bay. It has an interesting history, since it is said to have been given by Henry VIII. to the Knights of St. John, to aid them in the recovery of Rhodes from the Turk. Primitive though it looks, such a gun could do a great deal of damage; and the builders completed what 27 the guns began. The ruins of ancient Salamis supplied stones for old Famagusta; of Salamis nothing but a 28 waste remains. Old Famagusta in its turn was dismantled, as we see it here, for the building of the new modern town, while much of the material was even sent by the Turks to Alexandria. It was easier to collect[28] the stones ready made than to dig them from the quarries. We find fragments of ancient temples and monuments built into walls and farmhouses; and it is necessary to set a guard over some of the most interesting of the old ruins, as over the forests, to preserve them from further destruction, though the natives strongly resent this 29 interference with their usual habits. The Cypriotes have little regard for their own past history and its 30 monuments. Here are some of the famous ruins of St. Hilarion, with their guard: we can see how convenient the 31 native would find these ready-hewn stones for his building.

The importance of Cyprus in ancient and mediæval times was due to its position, with its harbours and shipping, between the great Powers to the north, east and south. It commanded the sea-routes which they used in their expeditions one against another. The old harbours are small and silted up, or mere open roadsteads 32 quite unfitted for modern steamships, like the famous Bay of Salamis which we see here. At Famagusta 33 we find a modern harbour, constructed by the Government, and here too the one little railway of the island starts for the interior and the capital. At one of 34 the stations a Levantine Greek brings us refreshments, while close by we see two Turkish women, closely veiled in yashmaks. Except at Famagusta we shall probably anchor off shore, and if the sea is rough we may find some difficulty in landing. Yet with the aid of really good harbours Cyprus might once again become a collecting centre for the trade of the neighbouring coasts, and so regain some of its lost prosperity. Political conditions have changed; the strong British garrison which formerly occupied the island has been withdrawn; but in the near future some of its past strategic importance 35 may return. The great railway, already in progress, from the Bosporus to the Persian Gulf, must approach the sea at one point only in its course, where it comes down over the Taurus range beyond the head of the Gulf of[29] Antioch. The railway, when completed, will provide a route towards India roughly parallel to that through the Suez Canal, and may lead to a revival of agriculture in the rich valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris. The natural approach to this route from the Mediterranean is not by way of the Sea of Marmora but by the Gulf of Antioch, and there will be a branch from the main line to Alexandretta or some other port near. Cyprus will then once again be on the line of a great trade route and must have a share in its prosperity; at present it is side-tracked, and has suffered like an English town avoided by some great line of railway; its importance has declined as that of Egypt has increased. We may realize how far Cyprus is off the main line of traffic by the difficulty of getting back to our route; as it may take us a week to reach Egypt, travelling by slow steamer and touching at ports on the Syrian coast on our way.

We are bound for the Suez Canal and are approaching Port Said at last. The coast ahead looks flat and desolate: on our right a long line of sand and mud banks separates the shallow lake Menzaleh from the open sea; on our left are more mud banks, and beyond them waste marsh and desert. In front, for over a mile, two long piers jut out through the brown water on the shallows; very different it looks from the deep blue of the open Mediterranean. The piers are needed to protect the channel from the silt which is swept along the coast by the currents; within them, on one of the mud banks, stands the town of Port Said, modern, squalid and not specially interesting. We are in the extreme corner of the delta of the Nile, on the edge of the Arabian desert and far away from Egypt proper, with its picturesque life and people. Only commercial necessity could have planted a town on such a site; it is the gateway to the Canal and nothing more.

Our chief recollection of Port Said is likely to be 36 coal and coal dust. No sooner is the anchor down[30] than barges are drawn by tugs up to the side of our vessel. The barges are sunk to the water’s edge with their load of coal, and on them stand crowds of men in dark robes, natives of Africa of every race. Even here, however, we are reminded of home, for the coal has probably been brought all the way from Cardiff and stored here for the supply of our mail boat and others like it which do not carry enough coal for long voyages at high speed. The barges are made fast to the side; gangways are hoisted into place; and then with much bustle and shouting the coal is shovelled into baskets and carried into the steamer’s bunkers by continuous streams of men. The black grit flies over everything, and we may perhaps avoid it by landing for a short glimpse of the town. We can stroll along the 37 front drive or up the main street and look at the bazaar or stalls, where we may bargain for valueless curios; but there is little to attract us here, and we shall be glad to leave the grimy port and, passing the fine buildings of 38 the Canal offices, enter on our ninety-mile journey through the great waterway.

We move slowly, about five miles an hour, with our electric searchlight throwing its beam ahead if it is 39 night. Sometimes we meet a steamer coming north, and must moor in one of the passing stations, as the Canal is too narrow, except at these points, for large vessels to pass one another. All round us is the desert, though here and there we may see a small Arab village or perhaps a string of slow-moving camels, where the caravan route of the desert touches the line of the Canal. Towards the southern end of the waterway we pass 40 through the Bitter Lakes. At some very remote age there must have been a natural channel between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea; of this the lakes are fragments, partly dried up, and the builders of the Canal have only repaired the original work of Nature. On Lake Timsah, halfway across, stands the town of[31] Ismailiya. Here is the real connexion with Egypt, by the railway from Cairo and the sweet water canal from the Nile.

The sweet water canal represents in part the work of 41 various rulers of Egypt from the earliest recorded times. The plan of connecting the two seas directly is modern; it was natural that the earlier route should be by way of the great river of Egypt and the inhabited part of the country. The restoration and extension of this ancient waterway was essential to the scheme for constructing the Suez Canal. A good supply of water was vitally necessary for the vast army of native labourers engaged in the work; the Canal could also be used for small traffic, and for reclaiming the neighbouring desert by irrigation. So here we have a link with the real Egypt, the waters of the Nile, and the great dam at 42 Assuan, far away up the river, which holds up the water and controls the whole system. At both ends of this long chain of water are vast engineering works of the most modern type, designed by Europeans; between 43 are the Pyramids, the greatest triumphs of the engineers and builders of the past, and the representatives of Egypt with all its ancient civilization. It is a strange contrast of the very old with the very new which meets us in this corner of Africa: the present conditions might have been very different if the great route to India and the East had passed elsewhere.

The Suez Canal, though of vital importance to the whole world and especially to the commercial Powers of Europe, is not a national undertaking but private property, constructed under a lease granted by the Egyptian Government. Our own interests in it are curious. The Canal was built through the energy and initiative of the French; it is largely owned in France and controlled from Paris. But the British people are shareholders, since our Government, in 1875, bought up the private shares of the Khedive, and now draws ordinary[32] commercial dividends which appear in our national accounts. The shares originally cost us four millions sterling. They are now returning us as profit over a million every year. British ships, which are the largest users of the Canal, contribute the greater part of these dividends. But the waterway was too important to be left as a mere private undertaking; so, in 1888, all the great Powers of Europe agreed on a Convention to render it free to the ships of all nations in time of peace or war. By the terms of this agreement the Government of the Khedive is entrusted with the task of enforcing neutrality and protecting and maintaining the free use of the Canal, with the assistance if necessary of the Government of the Sultan of Turkey. In the last resort there is an appeal to the Powers signing the Convention. The Powers also agree to maintain the principle of equality in the use of the Canal, and not to attempt to obtain any special political or commercial privileges in regard to it. Thus, so far as documents and safeguards can avail, the Canal is to be maintained, in the interests of the whole of Europe, as an open sea-road to the East.

We steam through the Bitter Lakes and finally reach 44 the southern end of the Canal. The town of Suez lies away to the right, and beyond it the high coast of Egypt. In the distance we can see the steamers at anchor and 45 the Egyptian bumboats plying busily to and fro. But there is nothing to detain us here, so we steam on again through the warm waters of the Red Sea. On either side, for hundreds of miles, stretch the desert coasts of Egypt and Arabia. On our right the sun seems to sink behind a chain of mountains; these are not real mountains, but only the edge of a plateau, for the land ends in a steep brink overlooking the Red Sea, but slopes gently westward to the valley of the Nile. Thus Egypt proper belongs only to the river and turns its back on the sea.


[See page 25.



[See page 27.

A Turkish Villager.


[See page 34.

Arab Boats, Aden.



[See page 37.

Camel Market, Aden.

We have no ports of call on these desert coasts, so 46 make straight for the exit into the Gulf of Aden and the wide Indian Ocean. As we near the southern end of the Sea, the water grows shallower, its shores approach again, and we can see bare brown rock on either hand, which makes the blazing sun seem even hotter than before. On our left, off a jutting corner of the Arabian coast, lies a low bare island, Perim. It is without vegetation or water, its sole virtue consisting in a deep harbour, commanding the narrowest part of the outlet, where the channel is only about twelve miles across. We occupied it as a precaution, fifty years ago, and it is now a coaling and cable station, with a small military guard. But it is without fortifications, and in spite of its position it is not the real key to the Red Sea; we must look for this in Aden, a hundred miles further east, just as we found in Gibraltar the control of the strait to the westward.


Aden proper is a small peninsula, five miles by three, 47 lying across a narrow isthmus which links it with the[34] mainland. Thus it is not unlike Gibraltar; but one end of the peninsula, instead of jutting into the open sea, stretches westward towards another peninsula, that of Little Aden, which helps to enclose a large bay. Little Aden, the coastline and the mainland for a short distance inland were all obtained by purchase during the latter part of the nineteenth century; and the whole of the country behind, south of a line drawn northeastward from the coast opposite Perim, is a British Sphere of Influence. North of the line is the territory of Turkey. Aden is thus made secure from hostile approach on the land side. If we imagine the area of Gibraltar to be extended all round the bay of Algeciras and inland to the hill country of Spain, the position of the two fortresses would closely correspond.

As we steam towards it, Aden appears as a rugged mass 48 of dark rock, ending in sharp edges and peaks. Along its base runs a narrow strip of level ground, and a row of mean-looking houses faces the bay and shows white against a dark and bare background. There are no trees or vegetation to relieve the gloomy monotony. Here we 49 are at anchor, well out, off Steamer Point, as much of the inner bay is shallow. At once we are surrounded by 50 small boats manned by dark-skinned Somalis from Africa, and bringing a mixed crowd of all races eager to sell us tourists’ souvenirs, skins, horns and feathers, also the product of Africa. Here too are more coaling barges as at Port Said. We land and find that the near view is hardly more attractive than the distant; but this is only an outlying suburb of the real Aden. Let us hire a carriage, as it is far too hot and dusty to walk. Our driver is a Somali, and the animal in the shafts a decayed-looking pony; while the vehicle itself threatens every 51 moment to collapse and leave us in the sandy road. We make our way along the Akaba and through the narrow 52 and rocky Main Pass to the old city. We have passed in our drive through the wall of an old crater and the[35] town lies at the bottom, surrounded on all sides by the broken rim whose jagged edges we noticed from the sea. 53 Here is a general view of Aden from the heights above. The whole peninsula is merely the fragment of an extinct volcano. In the white town, with its straight streets, we meet Arabs, Somalis, Indians, Negroes, Greeks, Jews and British soldiers; their presence here, on a barren rock between the desert and the sea, can be understood only in the light of the past history of Aden.

Here, from the remotest antiquity, was without doubt a great port of exchange for the products of India, Arabia, Africa and the Mediterranean, by way of Egypt and the Nile. In the Middle Ages, when first we hear of it from travellers, Aden was still a strong and important city. The Portuguese, after their discovery of the Cape route to India, saw that the possession of Aden would complete their control of the Indian Ocean; but they failed in their efforts to capture it by open attack. The Turks held it for a time as part of the Yemen, the neighbouring southwest corner of Arabia; then it fell under the rule of various local chiefs or Sultans. So we found it in 1838, when we proposed to buy it from the reigning Sultan. The negotiations failed through treachery and outrages on the part of the natives; so in the following year an expedition from India took forcible possession. As a result of this, Aden is still technically a part of the Presidency of Bombay.

Aden has been occupied continuously for thousands of years, in spite of the fact that it has nothing whatever to recommend it except a harbour and a fine commercial and strategic position. The heat is intense; there is no food produced on the spot for man or beast, and very little water. In some years there is no rain at all; in others a few showers come from the Indian Ocean, with the Southwest Monsoon. The rain falls on the bare rock and runs swiftly away; the lower courses of the streams become rushing torrents for a few hours and then all is[36] parched and dry again. More than a thousand years ago the Persians, who then ruled the city, built a series of huge tanks or reservoirs, often hewn out of the solid rock, to catch the flood-water. We can judge from their size and number that these tanks must have been built 54 to supply a large population. In course of time the tanks were allowed to fall into decay, but some, as we see here, 55 have been restored under British rule; and since the occupation of the district further inland, water has also been brought by aqueduct from the wells at the village of Sheik Othman. Sheik Othman is on the edge of the hills and far more healthy and pleasant than Aden. Here is 56 one of the wells with a camel drawing water, and here we have a typical scene in the village. The trees suggest at 57 once that the climate is different from that of Aden, and this part of the country is likely to be used more and more as a health resort for the troops of the garrison. In building the aqueduct we merely followed the example of earlier rulers, as the ruins of a similar aqueduct, centuries old, are still to be seen. The aqueduct is not enough; water is also brought in skins laden on the backs of camels, and is manufactured in condensers. In fact, water is perhaps the most rare and valuable commodity to be found in Aden. All food, too, must be imported; and here we must look not only to the back country of the Yemen, but across the sea to the neighbouring coast of Africa. Though some supplies are brought in by caravan from the country round, yet Aden could not exist without the regular shipments from Berbera and Zeila on the coast of Somaliland. There is also considerable traffic in coffee, ivory, feathers and skins from this coast, while native Somalis swarm in Aden. So that Aden, by the necessities of its existence, is closely linked with the neighbouring Horn of Africa. With no products of its own, it is a collecting centre for the trade of the coasts of Arabia and the Persian Gulf; while caravans can come in comparative safety from the Yemen country now that the[37] British Sphere of Influence has been extended inland to the line drawn from Perim northeastward. The camel caravan is one of the ordinary sights of the town, and 58 here in the native quarter we see the market for camels, just as our English towns have their markets for horses and cattle. Many of the camels are shipped across to 59 Somaliland, where we shall follow them later; and it is interesting to see them hauled up in slings from barges to the steamer’s deck. The camels, however, do not seem to enjoy the experience.

Aden has had three stages in its history: first, a period of prosperity, in the earliest days of trade between the peoples of the Mediterranean and the East; then a period of partial decay, when the centres of trade were shifted to Western Europe and ships sailed round Africa to India and the East; finally, a revival of its former position as a commercial port of call on the restored Egyptian route, and in addition an ever-growing importance as a coaling point and centre of strategic control for the Indian Ocean. The population is increasing, like that of Gibraltar, beyond the capacity of the little peninsula; this has rendered necessary the expansion of territory inland. Even some of the troops of the garrison are now quartered beyond the isthmus. But expansion of area does not bring a corresponding growth in the supply of food for the cosmopolitan population. A prosperous Aden must in the future depend more and more on imported supplies, and this must involve still closer relations with the nearest source of supplies, the neighbouring coast of Africa.

The resources of Somaliland are not unlimited; while not Aden alone, but the whole Red Sea coast of Arabia is likely in the future to become more dependent on imported food. Let us look back for a moment at these shores, (46) before we leave the Red Sea for the open ocean. We remember that our mail steamer in its voyage found no port of call between Suez and Aden. So we drive along one of our own high roads to-day, with nothing to stop us,[38] through open fields and uninhabited country; yet a few years hence we may find it lined with houses and shops, and with branch roads pouring their traffic into the main stream. It is possible that our sea-road may grow in the same way. Along the eastern shore the Turks are building a railway from Damascus to the sacred cities of Medina and Mecca; it has already reached Medina, and at sometime doubtless it will be continued southward to Hodeida and the towns of the Yemen. For pilgrims, the railway will make easier the journey to Mecca which every good Mohammedan strives to take once in his life. For the Government of Turkey it has another use: it will strengthen their control over the southern corner of Arabia, a control which is never too secure. The result must be more people and more trade on the coast strip of Arabia, and need for supplies of food greater than the neighbouring country can produce. We may see here in the future the problem of Aden on a large scale, and again we must look across the sea.

Jeddah is the port of Mecca; almost opposite Jeddah, on the African coast, is Port Sudan, the gate of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, and the terminus of the Sudan Government railway system, which crosses the desert to the Nile and opens up the country from Wadi Haifa in the north to Sennar in the southeast and El Obeid in the west. This great region, with its centre at Khartum, is entirely dependent for the bulk of its trade on the railway and the seaport. As this country develops, it may find a market for part of its products on the coast of Arabia, while the rest will join the main movement through the Canal to Europe. That portion of our high road which runs through the Mediterranean owes much of its importance to the active life of the neighbouring coasts; the Red Sea, by contrast, is a mere passage through the desert which separates Europe from Asia. But the railway is conquering the desert, and in the future this portion also of the chain between West and East will take some share in the busy traffic of the whole.



We leave Aden, with a mixed cargo of camels and Somalis, and steam southward for a hundred and fifty miles across the Gulf to visit the Horn of Africa, a region less known to Europeans, before the present century, than much of the distant interior of the vast Continent. We land       1 at Berbera on the flat coast: behind the little pier are the white houses of the European town, and in the background a long mountain range. Lying off shore at       2 anchor is a vessel which attracts our attention at once, as it reminds us of England; it is a sailing ship of the old type, far more graceful than our steamer, resembling the hulks which may be seen moored in some of our ports, with their sailing days long past. But here it is still in full use; it has lost its English name and become the Shah Jehan, and trades under the Persian flag, bringing dates once a year from Muscat on the Gulf of Oman. The seasonal visit of this ancient ship may serve to remind us that we are merely newcomers in this quarter of the world, and that it had its own busy life long before our arrival or the age of steamships.

In Berbera we find the Somali in his natural state.   3 The native town is a mere collection of primitive huts, made of mats, rags, mud and sticks; it looks like an encampment rather than a town; but we must not be too ready to judge the native by his house, as we shall see later that he has a good reason for not building a more permanent home.

Somaliland is rather larger than England and Wales together, yet a short excursion inland to the mountains[40] will tell us nearly all that we want to know about the country and its inhabitants. Our way lies southward, across a desolate, stony plain, studded with dry thorn bushes; it does not seem an inviting country. The plain is narrow here, but further west towards Zeila it broadens out to over fifty miles. A few miles out, where we touch the foothills, we may be surprised to find springs of warm water, issuing from the limestone rock. On these Berbera depends for its existence, as there is no rainfall on the plain worth considering. Here we see one of these springs and here is the reservoir. Leaving 4,5 the plain we mount a steep slope and come out on a plateau; it is even more bare and stony than the plain   6 below. In front our track leads towards a long ridge, five thousand feet high, the Gorlis Mountains; on our left is the still higher range of Wagga. We cross the plateau and climb up the pass to Sheikh; here we see   7 our path by a rocky torrent bed. We must carry with us our own camp, as we shall find little shelter in this wild country and few inhabitants; though when we have pitched our tent for the night, we   8 have a visit from a native, armed with spear and shield, and curious to make the acquaintance of the white intruder. We notice that he seems very suspicious of the camera. At Sheikh we are in the heart of the mountains.   9 From the bungalow of the political officer we have a fine view down the long, steep pass, and can form some idea of the nature of the rugged country through which 10 we are travelling. Here is another view across the mountain ridges.

To reach the highest view-point we must ride eastward to Wagga, across another part of the plateau, dry and desolate as before. Dotted here and there are gigantic red pillars; these strange-looking shapes are not rocks 11 but ant hills; they are sometimes large enough to give us a little shade from the burning sun of the desert. We can judge the size of the hill before us by comparison with[41] 12 our camel escort; and here is a closer view of another to help us. Far away in the background we can distinguish 13 the Wagga Mountains. The stony slopes of Wagga are less bare than the plateau, though the vegetation again is mostly thorns and aloes, with here and there a few cedars. After a long scramble we reach the summit, 14 up among the clouds, six thousand feet above the level of the sea. Here are two views from the summit, one 15 towards the east, the other towards the west; and here is our native guide, Giringh by name, pointing northwards 16 to where, over forty miles away, we can just catch a glimpse of the Gulf of Aden.

Let us try to realize where we are standing. If we 17 travel southward from Wagga or from Sheikh, we go downhill, but we find that the dried-up beds of the streams are sloping away from the sea. We have crossed the main water-parting of the country. The mountain ridges which we have scaled are merely the steep broken edges of a great highland block which falls gently southwards to a broad plateau, without hills or streams, a monotony of stones, red earth, dust and dense thorn scrub. In the dry season we may travel for a week or ten days together and find not a drop of water. On the caravan 18 routes are a few wells, such as we see here, but many of these dry up, and we have to dig for a few mouthfuls of warm, dirty water in the liquid mud at the bottom. This is the Haud; it belongs partly to Britain, partly to Italy and partly to Abyssinia, though in such a country boundaries have little or no meaning; they are merely imaginary lines drawn from a few known points through the unexplored area.

On the mountain slopes and on the plains at the foot are the courses of many rivers and streams. These are marked on the map, but few are permanent. In the rains they are rushing torrents, overflowing the channels which are too narrow to contain them and spreading out into wide unhealthy marshes; in the dry season[42] they are mere channels or tugs, with a few stagnant pools in the deepest parts. The rains are of the tropical kind, beginning in April and going on, with one break, through the summer. The winter months are almost rainless, and the smallest annual fall is on the coast.

The peculiarities of the plateau and the seasonal rainfall have been largely responsible for the shaping of the Somali. He is essentially a nomad; all his property is moveable and consists of flocks and herds and camels. It is true that there are remains of stone buildings, and deep wells in the rock, especially further inland; but these are not the work of the present-day Somali; his house is as easily moved as his cattle. In the dry weather 19 we see the herds collected round the permanent wells and on the banks of the few streams where some water and pasture are still to be found. Notice the primitive 20 native method of getting at the water. A man is handing it up in a jar or skin, while another pours it into a trough for the cattle. The summer rains bring vegetation to the dry steppe, and forthwith the people with their animals migrate to the cooler air and fresh pasture of the plateau. Berbera and the coast towns empty themselves in this way in the hot weather, so that there is a great change in the size of the population at different seasons of the year. There is no real agriculture until we reach the borders of Abyssinia and the river valleys in the far south and west.

We can now appreciate the importance of the camel in the life of the Somali. Further inland, towards Harrar, where there is more pasture, the mule is to be found; but for the dry region of the Haud the camel is the only efficient beast of burden. Here we have him carrying 21 all the goods of his owner, fastened not to a saddle but to mats strapped round him. He appears to enjoy feeding on thorns and will travel for days together without water. He is also looked on as a great delicacy to be eaten by those who can afford it.


The natives of Somaliland are very different in race from the African people who live further south. Here 22 is a group of men, posed for the camera, with their little round shields and long, broad-bladed spears; 23 and here are some mounted warriors. The Somali is a born fighter, and his weapons are never very far away from him. The Somalis are an old Hamitic people, akin to the early inhabitants of Egypt and the races of the Mediterranean coasts of Africa. There is also a later admixture of Arab blood, due to the nearness of Arabia and the spread of Arab power in the Middle Ages all along the eastern coast of Africa. They themselves claim Arab descent and show much of the love of independence which is found among the Arabs. In religion, too, they are fanatical Mohammedans, and they have never really been conquered by an invader from without. For a few years the Government of Egypt occupied the coast towns and some posts in the interior in the neighbourhood of Harrar. When the Egyptians retired, in 1884, we at once occupied part of the coast as a dependency of Aden. About the same time the French took the corner opposite Perim, while a long strip of coast on either side fell to Italy. Behind all these is the independent native kingdom of Abyssinia. For a time British Somaliland was governed as a part of Aden; there was good reason for this since the country is of small value except in relation to the control of the Red Sea route, and is also entirely cut off on the land side from the rest of our African territory. It is now under the Colonial Office and is administered by a Commissioner, like so many of our smaller Crown Colonies and Protectorates.

To keep order in the coast towns there is a force of native Civil Police, under a European officer: here are 24 some of the havildars, and here the whole body in review order; but we see that, unlike our own police, they are 25 armed with rifles. Somaliland is not a peaceful country,[44] and police alone are not enough; so a military force is necessary. This consisted formerly of a battalion of the King’s African Rifles, recruited partly from the natives and partly from India. Here are the drummers 26 and buglers, all natives, with a native officer; and here is a whole company of Rifles on parade. They are 27 mounted on mules, and the European officer alone is on horseback. This native force has been disbanded and replaced by a contingent of Indian troops. We have also, in the past, been compelled to employ British and Indian troops for expeditions up country, to deal with the followers of a Mohammedan Mullah who proclaimed a jihad, or holy war, a few years ago, and raided first the Christians of Abyssinia and then the natives in our own territory. The Mullah was only copying on a larger scale the usual methods of the tribes of the interior; since the chief amusement of the Somali consists in annexing the property of his neighbours, whenever and wherever he can find the opportunity. The geography of the country is all in favour of the native raider and against the civilized troops which attempt to catch him. In the dry season, when the Somali is for a time a fixture in the neighbourhood of the wells, it is almost impossible to move a considerable force up country, owing to the want of food and water for men and animals on the march. When the rains come, the whole country is open for the game of hide-and-seek, and in this the white man is no match for the quick-moving native, who is troubled by no problem of transport and is a nomad born and bred. The land itself fights for the Somali; so that effective European control is limited to the coast, except where the French have pushed inland with the railway from Jibouti to the neighbourhood of Harrar. None the less, the occupation of the coast towns, Berbera, Bulhar and Zeila, is not entirely useless, since these are the ends of the caravan routes from Abyssinia and the interior.[45] Here the animals, skins, gums and other wild products of the country are exchanged for the rice of India, the dates of Arabia, and the cottons of Europe and America which form the sole dress of the native. For the rest, the Somali is likely to be left in the undisturbed enjoyment of his native customs; his chief visitor will be the sportsman and the naturalist, as the land abounds in wild game and is the home of many strange plants and animals which are not to be met with elsewhere in Africa.

We have made a brief survey of British Somaliland, and though much is not yet explored, yet it is not likely to differ greatly from the part which we have seen. There will be the same red dust and monotonous stony plain with its thorn bushes and dry stream-beds. In some parts, by way of variety, the thorn will grow so dense as to be impenetrable; in others it will disappear, and we shall find pure desert. Only a Somali or a camel could live and thrive in such a country. So we return to the coast and continue our voyage. Again we must 28 turn aside from the direct road across the ocean to India and follow for a time the long coast of Africa. We round Cape Guardafui, now the extreme tip of the Horn; but the sea here is shallow, and the islands which continue the line of the headland must at some remote time have been joined to the continent. Of these islands, Socotra, long and narrow, about a hundred miles from end to end, alone need be noticed. It is a British Protectorate, controlled from Aden, though nominally dependent on the little Arabian state of Kishin. It is without harbours or trade, and our only interest there is to prevent its occupation by any other Power which might dispute with us the control of the Red Sea entrance. Aden, Somaliland, Perim and Socotra have all the same place in our policy; they have no meaning except in relation to the control of the sea.

We steam onwards, and across the Equator, passing[46] by the coastline of Italian Somaliland and British East Africa, to where, nearly two thousand miles from Aden, and close in to the mainland, are two other islands coloured red on the map, Pemba and Zanzibar. We are a long way off our course to India, yet Zanzibar and the narrow strip of coast behind it belong by history and development to India and Arabia rather than to the neighbouring continent.

The Portuguese, on the way to India, creeping along the coast in their old-fashioned vessels, found here Arab traders and Arab cities with an active intercourse across the Indian Ocean. The periodic Monsoon winds brought the fleets of dhows, with the produce of India and the Persian Gulf, and carried them back with their cargoes of ivory and slaves. The Portuguese occupied the African coast region as part of their Indian Empire; the English and Dutch, at a later time, made straight across the ocean from the Cape or Mauritius and left the Portuguese undisturbed. So, when the rule of Portugal collapsed through its own weakness, the old conditions were restored.

For a long time Zanzibar and the neighbouring coasts were ruled by local chiefs, nominally dependent on the Iman of Muscat in southeastern Arabia; until, early in the nineteenth century, Seyyid Said transferred his court from Muscat to Zanzibar and extended his power over all the neighbouring coast. On his death, in the middle of the century, Zanzibar, largely through the influence of the Viceroy of India, was separated politically from Muscat. It remains to-day in name an independent kingdom, though stripped of its dominions on the mainland and under the Protection of Britain. We became concerned with this region, in the nineteenth century, mainly owing to our efforts to suppress the slave trade of which it was the chief centre. We found it impossible to carry out our policy without some effective control over the native states, and our paramount[47] interests in Zanzibar and the mainland to the north have been recognized in our agreements with France and 29 Germany. To-day the palace of the Sultan still remains, but on the site of the old slave-market stands the Cathedral 30 as a sign of the success of our efforts.

The island of Zanzibar is long and narrow; it measures about fifty miles from north to south, and only twenty-five at its widest in the middle. It is nearly three times the size of the Isle of Man. A long ridge of hills divides it into two distinct parts. The east is largely made up of old coral rock, with a very thin layer of soil; it is not very fertile and is, moreover, exposed to the full force of the Trade winds. Most of the population is on the more sheltered western side, and here are the town and harbour of Zanzibar. The ruling class and original landowners are Arabs; but the mass of the people are Swahili, of mixed African and Asiatic descent, and freed 31 slaves, largely natives of Africa. Here is a typical group of natives. The chief wealth of the island lies in the cultivation of cloves, as a large portion of the world’s crop is grown here; but there are also the coconut palm, the rubber vine and many other tropical plants. A great and interesting change is taking place in the ownership of the plantations: the natives of India, shopkeepers, traders and moneylenders, are steadily ousting the Arabs. The Arab has lost much of his wealth, through the emancipation of his slaves, and is slow to adapt himself to the new conditions; so that the thrifty Indian bids fair to annex the whole island in the near future, and Zanzibar will renew its connexion with the mainland on the other side of the Indian Ocean.

Apart from its agriculture, the chief value of the island is in the sheltered roadstead of the capital, as good harbours 32 are rare in this part of the world. Here we see it from the sea, and here is one of the main streets of the town. In 33 Zanzibar we find all the races of the Indian Ocean represented, and here are collected all the products of the[48] islands and of the coast of Africa, which is only twenty-five miles away. The trade with India still remains, while the steamship has brought also direct intercourse with Europe. In the early days of trade, the security of a position on an island was an important factor in the growth of a seaport; now that Europe is policing both the sea and the mainland, the advantage of the island is less, and Zanzibar has a growing rival a hundred and fifty miles away on the coast of Africa. Mombasa 34 is on a small island, connected with the mainland by a causeway. On the north side is Mombasa harbour, 35 rather shallow and not very convenient for shipping; on the south is the deep Kilindini channel, running for a long distance inland and providing one of the finest harbours on the east coast of Africa. Mombasa is the terminus of the railway which crosses the low coast strip and surmounts the plateau of East Africa. The trade of the port is very old; but only slaves and ivory could be carried in former times over the long and difficult caravan route which ended here. Now, the railway can bring down to the sea all the products of a vast 36 area inland. Here we have a scene on the old road, and here by way of contrast the modern railway. 37 Mombasa, like Port Sudan, will create a new traffic in the future, to join the great stream which moves through the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal; but the subject of British East Africa and its resources must be left for future treatment; here we are concerned only with its relation to our sea route.


[See page 40.

Ant Hills, on the road to Wagga.


[See page 41.

A Somali Guide.


[See page 56.

Reception by the Sultan of the Maldives.

Before we turn towards India we have yet another island to visit, an island connected not with the new, but with the old route to the East. This is Mauritius, lying east of Madagascar and well out in the Indian Ocean, about two thousand four hundred miles from Aden and rather less from Ceylon. We shall find it very different from Zanzibar. A French patois is the language commonly spoken; most of the names on the[49] map are French, and the statue of a great Frenchman 38 is one of the first things which we notice on landing at Port Louis. Mauritius was in effect a purely French colony, when it became ours by conquest just a century ago; but the immigration from India is now modifying rapidly the French character of the island.

Before the French were the Dutch: they settled first in the southeast corner, as Grand Port was the last convenient point of call on the way from the Cape to Ceylon, before the long voyage across the open ocean. After a century of partial occupation, the Dutch retired in 1712, leaving behind them the name Mauritius, taken from that of Count Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder of Holland. The French, who were already in Madagascar and the neighbouring island of Bourbon, promptly occupied Mauritius, re-naming it Île de France. It was controlled by the French East-India Company and became in a few years very prosperous under the administration of Mahé de Labourdonnais. His name still survives in Mahébourg, and we have already seen his statue in Port Louis. During our war with France at the end of the century, Mauritius, owing to its position on the only route to India, was used as a base for attacking our commerce by the French privateers who swarmed in these seas; so that its capture became necessary for the security of our Indian possessions. Both Bourbon and Mauritius were taken, but the former was restored to France by the peace of 1814.

The island as we found it was a true French plantation-colony. The ruling classes were the Creole landowners, French by descent; while the actual work of the plantations was carried on by slaves imported from Africa. It is still thoroughly French, and the plantation system survives in a modified form as the sole support of the people; but the former importance of the island as a commercial and strategic centre has greatly declined with the opening of the Suez Canal. Mauritius is no[50] longer on a great trade route, but it is well worth a visit in itself and is still closely connected with our final destination, India.


We must first make a brief survey with the map. The 39 island is in the form of a rough oval, a little over thirty miles long, less than half the size of the county of Kent. Its coasts are fringed with coral reefs, broken here and there by gaps, especially where the streams of fresh[51] water enter the sea. Behind these gaps are the seaports, of which only two are of any size, Grand Port or Mahébourg at the southeast corner, and Port Louis, the capital, in the northwest. Grand Port was occupied first, but 40 it is open to the Southeast Trades; so that Port Louis, like Zanzibar, on the sheltered side, and with a good harbour, has become the chief port for the whole island. In the north and part of the east and the southeast corner the land lies fairly low; here we find the chief towns, the plantations and most of the population. A great deal of the centre and south is filled up with hills and plateaux; some of the peaks rising to over two 41 thousand feet. Here are the Moka Mountains, behind Port Louis, steep and rugged, crowned by a strange peak, Pieterboth Head, which is a useful landmark for 42 sailors. Notice the Dutch name. In the southwest the hills are very near to the sea; the coast plain is narrow, the slopes are steep and the rivers come down in rapids and falls amidst wild and beautiful scenery. 43 Here is the Chamarel fall and here again are the falls on the Savanne River. The railways are a fair guide to 44 the structure of the country, as they keep for the most part to the lowland or the river valleys, except where the main line from Port Louis to Mahébourg is forced to surmount the middle of the plateau; while the Moka branch crosses a steep ridge on its way to the lower country to the east. Here we see one of the curious 45 trains crossing one of the mountain streams at the foot of the bare hill slopes; the picture gives a good idea of the scenery on the railway.

The rainfall in Mauritius is heavy in the summer months, December to March, especially on the east side of the hills, where the wind comes straight in from the warm ocean; and the temperature is high, at sea level, as Mauritius lies on the edge of the Tropics. Heat and rain, together with a rich volcanic soil, have made Mauritius what it is to-day. Agriculture is the only[52] occupation of the people, and the only important crop is the sugar-cane. This was first introduced from the East India Islands by the Dutch, though little progress was made with its cultivation until the time of the French settlement. The forest which then covered the island was cleared away, and the cultivation of the cane, by means of slave labour on large plantations, became the staple industry of the new colonists. Large fortunes were made in the early part of the nineteenth century, but Mauritius, like the West Indies, has suffered greatly from the competition of beet-sugar, and its trade has declined greatly, though it has still a good market in India. Too much dependence on a single product has brought ruin on many of the planters. Here is a picture 46 of one of these large sugar estates. In front of us we see the cane growing and the planter looking over his crops; the ugly building, with the chimney, which spoils the middle of the picture, is the mill where the cane is crushed to extract the juice.

The cultivation of sugar in Mauritius, like that of tea in Ceylon, has produced remarkable changes in the character of the people. When slavery was abolished, in 1835, new sources of labour for the plantations had to be found, and Indian coolies were imported on a large scale. These usually remained when the term of their contract was over; with the result that at the present time about three-quarters of the total population of the island is of Indian descent, the majority having been born in the island. We find them everywhere in 47 the island, living contentedly in primitive huts and cultivating their small patches of land. They are steadily acquiring the land in small plots and manage to exist comfortably even under present conditions. In short, Mauritius is becoming more and more an offshoot of India, since not only the labour but much of the food supply must come from the rice fields of India, so long as nearly all the land under cultivation is given up to[53] a single crop like sugar. The climate, too, is more suitable to the brown than to the white people; malarial fever is always present, and the general conditions have not been improved by the cutting down of the greater part of the forest. Sometimes the weather brings disaster in a swift and sudden form, as Mauritius lies in the track of the cyclones which whirl in from the northeast, especially in March and April, and travel southwards towards Madagascar. In a few hours one of these terrible storms can destroy houses and plantations and undo the work of years. One of the worst of these, in recent years, struck the island in 1892; and here we see some of the 48 damage done at Port Louis. The planter in this beautiful island has truly many difficulties to contend with. It is possible that the growth of trade in Madagascar and on the neighbouring coasts of Africa may bring back a little of its past prosperity to Port Louis; but Mauritius can never regain the position which it enjoyed before the piercing of the Suez Canal.

If we look at the map showing the depths of the Indian (28) Ocean, we notice that Mauritius, with the sister French island of Réunion, rests on a relatively shallow bank, raised above the ocean floor. Following this bank northwards for nearly a thousand miles, we come to a whole group of little islands which are connected by a similar bank with Madagascar. The most northerly of this group are the Seychelles. Another great bank runs southward from India with scores of islets on it. In the north are the Laccadives, close to the coast of India; in the middle are the Maldives; and in the far south, beyond the Equator, right out in the ocean, is the little Chagos Archipelago, including the coral island of Diego Garcia, where at one time there was a small coaling station used by vessels bound to Australia. All these islands are but the fragments of a sunken land-mass which at a very early period of the worlds history joined South Africa to India. They are widely separated if[54] we look only at the surface of the sea, but really joined together if we look below.

Mahé, the largest of the Seychelles, has an area of rather over fifty square miles, a little more than that of the island of Jersey; we could walk from end to end of it in a few hours. A map, showing Zanzibar, Pemba, 49 Mauritius and the Seychelles on the same scale, may perhaps help us to realize their relative size and shape. There is one good harbour in Mahé, on which stands Victoria, the capital, where steamers sometimes call on the voyage from Aden to Mauritius or from India to 50 Mombasa. Here is a general view of the harbour and here is a street in the little town. The whole group was 51 dependent on Mauritius and was given up to us at the same time as that island. The language of the people is still modified French. The Seychelles are fertile and beautiful and not unhealthy, in spite of their nearness to the Equator. They naturally abound in tropical plants, among which the coconut palm is the most valuable to the natives. Here are some of 52 these palms with the mill where the oil is extracted from the nut. Here also we see a species of fan palm, 53 which has a strange history. Centuries ago, the Portuguese found washed up in the Maldives and on the southwest coasts of India a curious double nut, the coco-de-mer. 54 The tree which produced the nut was unknown and could not be discovered in the neighbouring islands, so the fable was invented that it grew in the depths of the sea. The nut was much valued in India as a medicine, but in spite of careful search not until the end of the eighteenth century was the parent tree found in the Seychelles, where alone it grows. The Southwest Monsoon, blowing for months at a time, carried the nut all the way to India, just as it brought the fleets of Arab dhows from the coast of Africa. So we have in this tale of the nut a useful reminder of the climate of the Indian Ocean. We will now leave the Seychelles after[55] a glance at another strange product of a neighbouring 55 island, Aldabra. This is the giant tortoise. It was at one time very common in this part of the Indian Ocean, as we learn from the accounts of early voyagers, but it is now rare.

Mauritius and the Seychelles, with many of the smaller groups and islands in the Indian Ocean, came into our hands in connexion with the development of the old route to India by way of the Cape. There is one group, among the nearest to India, which through all the changes of Portuguese, Dutch and British occupation has succeeded in maintaining a partial independence. The northernmost of the Maldive islands are only about four hundred miles from the coast of Ceylon, within easy reach not only of the road from Africa and the Seychelles to India, but also of the more important road from Arabia, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf to the Malay Archipelago and the Far East. The language of the people, as we might expect from the near neighbourhood of Ceylon, is closely akin to old-fashioned Sinhalese. We may perhaps regard the people as colonists from Ceylon, with a large mixed element due to the Arab traders who must have visited the islands often in their voyages. The Maldives have always followed the fortunes of Ceylon; they have recognized in turn Portuguese, Dutch and British authority, but have succeeded in avoiding complete annexation. This may be due partly to the fact that there is little in them to attract invaders. The islands which make up the group are mere coral atolls, with no good harbours, a very small supply of good water, and few products for trade. The 56 Maldive trading fleet, which we see here, does not suggest a very heavy traffic. What there is, mostly dried fish, finds its only market in Ceylon, which sends, among 57 other things, fresh drinking water in return. The Sultan is on good terms with our officials: here we see him, 58 with his suite, visiting a British warship, and here he[56] is receiving the return call of the representative of the Governor of Ceylon. The connexion with Ceylon is formally recognized once a year, when a solemn embassy comes from Malé, the chief island of the group, to Colombo, to greet the representative of the Suzerain 59 Power. So we conclude with this embassy, which has finally landed us in Ceylon.

In our voyage from the Gulf of Aden to Colombo we have made a great circuit of the Indian Ocean, yet from beginning to end we have never lost touch with Indian trade and Indian people. The islands and ports which we have visited are only to be understood as parts of a larger whole, united not divided by the sea. We speak rightly of the Indian Ocean, since India is and always has been the central fact in the life of this region, both politically and economically. This was as true in the earliest days of the Arab traders as it is to-day. We have replaced sails by steam, cut the Suez Canal, and changed the direction of the main ocean route; but as soon as we pass the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, we find that our route is only one of many. We are in a network of traffic and intercourse which was in existence centuries ago, long before the first European keel broke into the eastern seas.



Ceylon, which takes the first place among our Crown Colonies, is the halfway house on our long journey. As we steam towards Colombo there is little to suggest that we are nearing one of the chief harbours in the eastern world. We see a long unbroken line of coast, fringed with green coconut palms, with no trace of bay or inlet. In the background rises an irregular hill mass,       1 topped with long ridges and sharp peaks. Presently we can distinguish two great breakwaters, with a wide opening between. The southwest wind is blowing and huge waves are dashing over them, throwing up masses of foam as high as the masts of the vessels which lie inside in a great basin, calm as a lake, a mile and a half long and over half a mile wide. Here is a safe anchorage       2 for a fleet, with coaling jetties and a dry dock which can take the largest vessel afloat.

Colombo Harbour.

Like so many modern seaports Colombo owes everything to engineering. Forty years ago the roadstead was open to the swell from the southwest, except for the shelter of the little headland from which the main breakwater now juts out. In those days our vessel would have called at Galle, a hundred miles away at the southern corner of the island. We can journey to Galle now by   3 railway along the coast, through interminable groves of coconut palms, with glimpses of the sea breaking on the coral reefs on our right and Adam’s peak rising into the clouds on our left. Galle was in early times the chief port of the island, the meeting point of Arab traders from the west and Chinese from the east; it is a picturesque,[58] old-world town, with many relics of the Dutch occupation; but Colombo has now taken its place as the commercial centre. Here is a view of the Galle   4 lighthouse, taken from the walls of the old Dutch fortifications; the building behind the palms is a new Mohammedan mosque. In a quiet corner we see native   5 fishing boats, with more palms in the background. Here again is a Hindu temple, dating from the time of the   6 Dutch occupation; the lions over the gate may perhaps have been copied from some European coat-of-arms, as they look rather different from the usual native devices.

Far away in the northeast is Trincomali, a vast landlocked   7 bay, with unlimited deep and safe anchorage, the only good natural harbour in the island, in fact one of the best natural harbours in the whole world. Here was for many years the headquarters of the Navy in Indian waters; but it is out of the track of steamers and away from the capital, so that it has now been dismantled by the Admiralty. The Navy has followed to Colombo the commerce which depends on it for protection,[59] and Trincomali, in spite of its great natural advantages, has sunk back to the position of a third-rate local port.


Before we start on our tour let us study the map and   8 form some idea of the shape and nature of the land which we are about to visit. Ceylon hangs like a pearl, as the eastern poets say, from the end of India, to which it is nearly joined by the chain of small islands and reefs[60] which lie between the Gulf of Manaar and Palk Strait. So shallow is the passage that large steamers do not venture through, and proposals have already been made for carrying a railway across. Ceylon is almost as large as Ireland; the whole of the north is flat, and a belt of lowland forty to fifty miles wide runs all round the east and south coasts. In the southwest the belt narrows, between the sea and the foothills of the block of highland which fills up much of the interior. This block is an irregular plateau-like country, crossed by ridges from northwest to southeast, cut into by deep gorges and crowned by sharp peaks, many of which rise over six thousand feet. The rivers are short and swift, except where they traverse the broader lowlands of the north and northeast. The southwest corner, with its highlands and coast strip and its entrance at Colombo, is the real Ceylon of to-day; though in former times the coast and the interior had each a distinct and separate life and history.

The whole island is represented in the crowd, bewildering in its variety of face and dress, which greets us on   9 our landing in Colombo. Here is a typical Sinhalese, wearing the comboy, a wide length of cloth, of white or striped cotton, which is wrapped round the lower half of the body; his long hair is done up in a knot behind and ornamented with a tortoiseshell comb, which gives a strange appearance to his head. We see this comb, 10 in its most elaborate form, in the portrait of a high-caste Sinhalese; and we notice that, except for the comb, he 11 wears ordinary European dress. Here again is a native in the street wearing a shawl round his shoulders, and yet another with a neat drill jacket; the latter is probably in the service of Europeans. The building behind them is a native theatre, roofed over with green palm leaves. 12 Finally, we have a picture of a typical Sinhalese girl of the lower class.

Then we come on a group of dark-brown men[61] wearing loincloths and turbans and repairing the 13 roadway with pick and shovel; these are Tamil coolies from Southern India, doing the heavy work of the 14 town. Another trots in the shafts of a ricksha, the carriage of the East, which we shall meet again. As we go further into the town, we meet natives from the country districts on their way to market in two-wheeled 15 carts, thatched with leaves of the coconut palm and drawn by little humped bullocks. They wear the comboy and little else, as they are less influenced by foreign ideas than the people of the town. Let us follow 16 them into the Pettah, or native quarter, with its trams and rickshas and busy shops. Here we see the carts 17 collected in the open market place, and in the streets we notice a new type of men; these are Moormen or Mohammedans, who carry on much of the business of the town. Some of them wear the fez, which we see at times even in our own country; others, more old-fashioned, wear strange-looking hats shaped like a beehive. On 18 our way back we pass a Hindu temple, which reminds us again that India, its people and its creeds are close at hand.

The Europeans are almost as varied as the natives. Some are English, officials or planters; others are Dutch by race; while there are also a great number of half-caste descendants of the original Portuguese settlers. Many of the half-castes bear Portuguese names and imitate European dress and manners.

We can easily see something of the habits of the poorer classes since they live largely in the public view. Their houses are wattled huts of mud and bamboo, thatched with leaves or roofed with red tiles, and open to the street except at night when they are boarded up carefully, as the Sinhalese are not fond of the night air. We may perhaps see a family occupied with the morning toilet, in front of the house; and here in a corner of the lake 19 are the dhobies or native washermen at work. The[62] lake is one of the most beautiful sights of the town; it is really one of the lagoons which we find all round the coast, where the mouth of a stream has silted up. The Dutch, following their home customs, utilized these lagoons and developed a system of canals along the low coastline. Part of the system is still in use, and we can travel by small steamer from Colombo northward to 20 Negombo. Here is a scene on the canal. The Dutch have also left traces of their rule in scattered fortifications and in the Roman-Dutch law which is still the basis of the legal administration in the island. Many of the lawyers in the local courts are of Dutch descent.

The Dutch had ample time to leave their mark on Ceylon, as they held it from the middle of the seventeenth century, when they wrested it from the Portuguese, until the end of the eighteenth, when it was handed over to Great Britain at the time when Holland was subject to France. The Dutch traders were attracted to Colombo and the southwest coast by the cinnamon which grew there; the bark of the cinnamon was the most valuable product of Ceylon and almost the only export, apart from elephants, until well into the nineteenth century. The cinnamon trade was a strict government monopoly, enforced by harsh penal laws, and the monopoly remained, even under English rule, until 1832. One other interesting trace of Dutch rule survives in the many miles of palm groves, planted by forced native labour, which we have already noticed along the coast from Colombo to Galle.

For a century and a half before the Dutch occupation the island was under the power of Portugal. The wars of the Dutch were undertaken to advance their trade; but the Portuguese fought for the idea of Empire, and one of their chief aims was the conversion of the conquered races to Christianity. The effect of Portuguese rule still survives in the coast districts where Portuguese names are common, in the mixed race and the local[63] corrupt Portuguese dialect, and above all in the thousands of natives professing the Roman Catholic religion. The word Don, formerly a Portuguese title, is still in use among the natives as a personal name, and many even of the pure Sinhalese have adopted high-sounding Portuguese names.

Neither the Dutch nor the Portuguese succeeded in subduing the highlands of the interior; their occupation and interests were limited to the coast strip. It was left to England, in the nineteenth century, to penetrate inland and build roads and bring the whole of the island under a single control. We now leave Colombo, and travel by train to visit the highlands and the old capital at Kandy, where we shall learn something of the up-country Sinhalese, who differ considerably from those of the sea-coast. The line is built on a broad gauge and the train has a comfortable restaurant car attached as in England. At the start, we run through mile after mile of padi fields. The native agriculture is simple: first the muddy earth is scratched with a primitive 21 plough, drawn by water buffaloes, which are used in the fields as the wet mud does them no harm; the crop is sown with many strange ceremonies, and a little later the water impounded from the streams is allowed to flow over the young plants; later still the land is again drained dry and the ripened grain is reaped by hand. The Sinhalese are agriculturalists and nothing else; working on their own land is among them the most honourable pursuit, though they are not as ready to work for others. They brought with them from their original home in Bengal their national taste for rice, and kept to their former habits, although much of Ceylon is not well fitted for its cultivation, and great irrigation works were necessary to provide the water. Even on the hillsides we still see the padi grown by means of terraces. On the ridges between the padi fields are groves of coconut palms; and here and there we come[64] 22 on a native village or house, like the one in front of us, always with its little group of palms and other trees, growing without attention and providing for most of the simple wants of the villager. The leaves provide thatch for his hut, unless he is wealthy enough to use red tiles, and are woven into mats or baskets; the stalks make fences, while the trunks give beams and troughs and furniture. From the sap he makes sugar and spirits: the husk of the nut gives fibre for rope: the shell makes drinking bowls and spoons; while the kernel can be eaten, or dried as copra and then pressed for the oil, which is exported to Europe. We have already seen this in the Seychelles. It is hardly surprising that where Nature supplies so much without effort on his part, the Sinhalese is not according to our ideas industrious. To him the coconut palm is a necessary part of his existence, and he well expresses this in the saying that the tree will not grow out of sound of the human voice. But the coconut palm has another aspect in Ceylon. The Sinhalese gentry have discovered its commercial value, and in various parts of the island, especially round Negombo and Batticaloa, there are large estates where the nut is grown on the plantation system for export. There is already a larger area under the coconut palm in this form than under tea, and the coconut as a commercial product increases steadily in importance. It is interesting to note that it is the wealthier natives and not the foreign planters who are mainly responsible for the development of this profitable business. In the northern part of the island we find another species of palm 23 tree, the palmyra. This palm is almost as important to the Tamils who inhabit the district as the coconut is to the Sinhalese further south.


[See page 65.



[See page 74.

Elephants bathing.


[See page 61.

Market in the Pettah.

As we approach Kandy the scenery grows wilder and the hills steeper, and we may perhaps catch sight of a different kind of cultivation. Long rows of low bushy plants are growing in the fields, and scores of dark brown[65] natives, men, women and children, are picking the 24 leaves. We are entering the tea-planting district. In the distance is the planter’s house and near it the sheds 25 where the leaf is dried and packed for the market.

Here and there, in this part of our journey, we may notice stretches of desolate scrub breaking up the forest area. A century ago there was a continuous belt of forest between Kandy and the lowlands, jealously preserved by the native kings as a barrier against the invader; now only patches of this remain. The native has a method of cultivation styled chena: this consists in burning a piece of the forest, cultivating it for a year or two and then moving on to a new patch. The trees do not grow again, but a low scrub springs up, useless for any purpose. When the Government interfered with this wasteful practice the damage was past repair.

We now reach Kandy, a beautiful old-world town, set in the forest high up among the hills, and full of relics 26 of past history. Here we see it, looking across the artificial lake on which it stands; and here is one of its 27 streets. The people in this district are old-fashioned and little touched by foreign influence. They still retain many of the old feudal ideas. Here we have a group of 28 chiefs, in the picturesque native dress, though the effect is rather spoilt by the clothes of the Europeans; and 29 here is a portrait of a chief showing his dress of ceremony with its elaborate ornaments. These dignified chiefs are very different from the native as we saw him at Colombo. All round us are ruins of temples and public buildings, often half buried in the jungle; but 30 we can still see the Audience Hall of the old kings of Kandy, with its carved wooden pillars. It is now used as a modern Court of Justice.

The Kandyans have a long and notable history behind them. Two thousand five hundred years ago, according to native tradition, a prince from the Ganges Valley reached Ceylon and established himself as king. The[66] invaders were tillers of the soil, and their rulers have left monuments of their energy in the many ruins of irrigation tanks dotted about the dry northern part of the island. They were not for long left undisturbed in their conquest. From time to time the land was raided by the people of Southern India, and the history of the kingdoms of Ceylon is largely a series of wars. We can trace the gradual progress of the later invaders in the removal of the Sinhalese capital further and further south; first, from the coast to Anuradhapura, then to Polonnaruwa, and so on to Kandy, and finally to Cotta, now a suburb of Colombo. As the result of this movement, the southwest district is to-day occupied mainly by Sinhalese, who form two-thirds of the native population, while the northern part is peopled by Tamils who belong in language, race and religion to Southern India. The Chinese, who for many centuries traded with Ceylon and at one time conquered it and carried away the reigning king, have left no traces; not so the Arab traders of the West. Their Mohammedan descendants still form a large part of the population on the coast, especially on the east side, and throughout the island they are the shopmen and traders in nearly every village. So we have Tamils in the north. Sinhalese in the south and Moormen everywhere; and all mingled together with Europeans, Burghers and half-castes in the coast ports and Colombo. There is one other race which we must not forget. In the jungle of the wild Eastern Province are to be found the Veddas, the dying remnant of the people who occupied Ceylon before the coming of the Sinhalese. There are less than four thousand of these curious people in the island and their number is dwindling steadily. Not all are equally backward. Some of them practise a rude form of agriculture in the forest clearings 31 and build rough huts such as we see here. Others are still cave-dwellers, living on wild game which they hunt 32 with bows and arrows. Here we have one of their rock[67] shelters and here a group of men with their weapons. 33

There is a variety of religions corresponding to the variety of races. The Sinhalese are Buddhists; they date their conversion from the visit of a disciple of Buddha two thousand two hundred years ago, and the island abounds in proofs of their thorough adoption of the creed. In Kandy 34 itself we have the famous temple of the Tooth. Here is a general view from the outside. We pass through the 35 entrance gate of massive stone, with finely carved doors; but the temple within, of which we see a corner here, is not 36 imposing according to our ideas, in spite of its great sanctity in the Buddhist world; while the tooth is a piece of ivory which never came out of a human jaw. We shall see more of such sacred remains as we journey northwards, to the lower country and the older capitals of the kingdom, and chief among them Anuradhapura. Everywhere are ruins of old monuments half buried in the jungle; a sudden turn may often bring us to a gigantic 37 image of Buddha, carved out of the solid rock, or to one of the curious dagobas,—bell-shaped solid erections of brick or stone, sometimes plastered with lime. Each one of these is supposed to contain some sacred relic of Buddha. Nearly every temple has its dagoba, together with a wihara or image house, a Bo tree surrounded by a platform, and a pansala or house for the priests. 38 In Anuradhapura are to be found some of the most famous of these shrines. Here is the Ruanweli, about two 39 thousand years old, still visited by crowds of devout worshippers; and here is a nearer view. Again we have the 40 Thuparama, shining brightly in its coat of lime plaster; it is the oldest and most sacred of all, and was built by one of the kings to contain the collar bone of Buddha. 41 Not far away is a remarkable rock temple, the Isurumuniya; in the foreground we see the high priest with his long wand of office, and beyond is another dagoba. From the summit of the rock above the temple we can look far and wide over the ancient city, with its ruins[68] of palaces and temples half buried in the trees, and imagine something of the life of its first builders. Here 42 is one of these fragments; notice the finely carved moonstone at the foot of the steps.

But the most remarkable relic of the past is not of brick or stone; it is a tree, the Bo tree, sacred beyond all others, since tradition asserts that it sprang from a branch of the very tree under which, at Gaya in the Ganges Valley, Gautama attained his Buddhahood. If this be really the tree planted in the year 288 B.C., it is one of the oldest in the world with a recorded history. 43 At the entrance to the sacred enclosure we pass the stalls of the sellers of lotos blossoms which the pilgrims buy 44 to offer at the shrine. Inside is the tree with its raised terrace and altars piled with flowers, its priests and 45 groups of worshippers at prayer. It is a very different scene from the Hindu temple or Mohammedan mosque.

In many of the old buildings of the Sinhalese kingdom there are elaborate carvings and paintings; here we 46 have a fine specimen of an interior. Both the buildings and their ornaments prove that the people were well advanced in some of the arts of civilization. But the native arts and crafts are almost dead, killed by foreign trade and cheap goods. We may still see at 47 Kandy the weaving of the native or Dumbara cloths, and the working in silver and brass; but these are 48 barely kept alive by people interested in the past. The Sinhalese generally have no industries apart from agriculture, and even in this they keep to the old and primitive methods and crops, leaving to Europeans, aided by imported Tamil coolies, the real agricultural development of the country. The next generation may see a change, as the Sinhalese of to-day are learning to appreciate the value of education. There are over a quarter of a million children attending the schools provided or supported by the Government, and a beginning has also been made with technical training. Here we[69] 49 have a village school, with the classes being held in the open air, as the building is too small for the crowd of 50 scholars. But it takes many years of education to change the ideas and habits of a conservative people, and it will be long before the familiar figure of the professional 51 letter-writer disappears from the steps of the post office.

We must look for modern progress not in the ruined cities but in the new plantation districts of the hill country. The railway will again carry us in comfort through the slopes of the planting country to Niuwara Eliya, up in the clouds, six thousand feet above the sea, the health resort of the planters and European residents.

The prosperity of Ceylon to-day is largely due to the British planter. The plantation industry started not with tea but with coffee. Though it was grown by the Dutch in the lowlands, coffee was of small importance until its introduction into the hill country, in the first half of the nineteenth century. As the interior was opened up the crop increased rapidly, so that, by 1870, Ceylon was exporting over a million hundredweight, as compared with thirty thousand in 1837. Prices were high, the railway to Kandy had recently been opened, new estates were being planted, and every one thought that the future of coffee-growing was assured. But at the very moment of greatest prosperity came the first sign of the ruin of the industry. A minute fungus appeared on the plants in some districts and began to spread steadily. At first little notice was taken of the disease; but it gradually extended to one estate after another and no remedy could be found; while Brazil, which was free from the pest, poured supplies of coffee into the markets of the world and sent down prices to their old level. A series of very wet seasons completed the work begun by the fungus.

The planters did not despair. They experimented with new products, such as cinchona, until they again[70] produced too much for the market; but it was tea which in the end saved Ceylon. The tea-plant was hardier than coffee and was found to be well suited to the climate of the hill country, with its alternations of rain and sunshine. As soon as the planters were convinced of its value, large areas were planted with tea, so that between 1876 and 1886 the crop rose from eight to eighty million pounds in weight. By the end of the century it had doubled again and entirely displaced coffee as the staple crop of the island. The whole industry has developed independently of the native Sinhalese, by means of foreign capital, foreign direction and foreign labour; even the very food for the coolies must be brought in by sea, since the Sinhalese agriculturalists produce little more than they need for themselves. But the planters are not repeating their former mistake; they are experimenting with other crops besides tea, as cacao and rubber; the latter especially seems to have a good prospect in the future. The Government also is assisting in the work. In the beautiful gardens at 52 Peradeniya, near Kandy, we may see a bewildering variety of plants. Here is the native bamboo and the 53 curious talipot palm, which blooms only once after many years and then dies; here is a specimen in bloom. The 54 leaves of this palm have a special interest, since they are used like parchment for writing on; so that the native book takes the curious form which we see in this 55 picture. Here, too, are all kinds of foreign plants being grown to test their fitness for cultivation in the island. It was in the low-country gardens, connected with Peradeniya, that the Para rubber tree was first introduced from Brazil and many experiments made to discover the best methods of growth and tapping.


The tea plant and rubber tree need plenty of warmth and moisture for their growth, and these conditions are 56 only to be found in part of Ceylon. In Colombo it is hot and wet for the greater part of the year, but in the[71] early spring, though still hot, it is dry. Over all the lowlands there is no winter and summer in our sense of the terms, but only alternations of wet and dry. In the hills it is cooler than on the plains, though there is even more rain; but mainly owing to the structure of Ceylon the wet and dry seasons occur at different times of the year in different districts. The district near Colombo has most of its rain when the Southwest Monsoon blows from the sea in the summer; in the north and east of the island[72] the winter is the wet season, when the northeast wind comes down from the Bay of Bengal. Here the rainy period is shorter than in the southwest, so that the total fall in the year is less, and the whole country is drier. The highland ridges, running from northwest to southeast, at right angles to the course of the winds, form a rough barrier and division between the two kinds of climate. At Niuwara Eliya we are not far from the dividing line. We may drive across a ridge or pass through a tunnel, leaving clouds and heavy rain behind us, and come out into clear skies and bright sunshine. 57 The whole face of the country changes; in place of forest, plantation and waterfalls, such as we see here, we 58 find open moor and grassland, or patana, with cattle grazing as on our own moors. The contrast of seasons 59 is so strong that the flowering periods of many plants on opposite sides of the mountains are six months apart, as they depend on variations of moisture rather than of temperature.

We have been travelling through many miles of cultivated land on a comfortable railway; yet in this same district, in the early nineteenth century, our soldiers on the march to Kandy had to hew a path through the jungle and sling the heavy guns from tree to tree. The railway now extends from one end of the island to the other; off the main routes we find good roads on which 60 coaches run; here is one of them carrying the mails, though its appearance does not suggest very rapid or comfortable travelling. Along many of the chief routes motor-cars now run. Improved means of communication have opened up the interior to the planters and enabled them to reach foreign markets with their products, and have given us that effective control of the whole island which was never attained by the Portuguese or Dutch. The history and progress of Ceylon under British rule is bound up with the making of roads and the building of bridges. With the coming of the road and the railway the elephant[73] has declined in importance, though he is one of the most valuable products of the jungle and one of the oldest articles of export. Elephants still exist in large numbers in the island, but they are for the most part kept by the native chiefs for ornamental and ceremonial purposes, especially in connexion with religious processions. Here 61 is a picture of the last great drive; in the background are the wild elephants just driven into the enclosure, while those in the foreground are tame and trained to assist in reducing the new captures to order.

The wealth and progress of Ceylon depend upon its crops, and the crops can neither be grown nor marketed without means of transport; but the first condition of growth in a tropical region is the supply of water. We have seen how the early kings built great tanks or reservoirs for irrigation in the drier districts of the north, so that the land could support a large population. After the Tamil invasions these great works fell into decay and became choked with jungle; native villages were even built inside the old embankments. The Government is now reviving the policy of the past rulers, and as more and more of the irrigation works are restored the waste land of the north will be reclaimed and the face of the country will change. At present, though Ceylon is purely agricultural, with no manufacturing industries and only a little mining for gems and plumbago, yet the food for the towns and for the coolies on the plantations is brought over the sea. This is an unnatural state of affairs; with proper use of its great resources the island should be able to feed itself.

In the various works of improvement the Government has more often found the natives a hindrance than a help, and the administration is necessarily of the paternal type, though it is modified by the presence of the European planters and the large class of Burghers, or people of Dutch descent, in the population of the towns.

Ceylon may be taken as a good specimen of the most[74] highly developed Crown Colony. It is ruled, under the British Colonial Office, by the Governor and his Executive Council, consisting of a few high officials. There is also a Legislative Council made up partly of officials, partly of representatives of the various races and interests. As the official element is always in a majority, the Council is an advisory rather than a controlling body, and does not in any way compare with our Parliament. The unofficial members of the Legislature were formerly nominated by the Governor, but the principle of election has recently been introduced.

The island is divided into provinces, each under the charge of a Government agent; but the unit of life among the agricultural Sinhalese is still the village community, and the villages are largely controlled on the native system through their own councils and headmen. We have interfered as little as possible with native customs or religion, and in the country districts the people still keep to their old methods of life. In one respect they have changed, and not for the better. Now that there is a settled system of law and justice, they have discovered a great fondness for litigation; and the intricacies of land tenure offer fine opportunities for the display of this trait.

We can make part of our return journey to the coast by boat, though only a short length of the rivers of the southwest is of any use for navigation. Our boat is a 62 curious double canoe with an awning of palm leaves, and our boatmen are Sinhalese and Tamils. We move 63 slowly down the Kalu Ganga, past wooded banks and palm groves, with here and there water buffalo or elephants 64 bathing, or a native asleep in a curious shelter raised on poles above the ground; and so back again to Colombo and its cosmopolitan crowd.



We now leave Ceylon, cross the eastern arm of the Indian Ocean, and turn southward through the Straits of Malacca. We shall find ourselves in a new world, among people very different from those that we have met in the earlier part of our voyage. The key to the understanding of the whole region is Singapore, a century ago an unimportant island, though even then a few far-seeing people realized its magnificent possibilities. The Dutch, at that time the chief commercial Power in the Malay Archipelago, were preparing to seize the island when they were anticipated by Sir Stamford Raffles, the East India Company’s representative at Bencoolen in Sumatra. He was the true founder of the modern city, and it does right to perpetuate his name in its streets and public buildings.

We may consider Singapore, on its little island, to be   1 the capital of the whole region of British Malaya. Of what does British Malaya consist? In the first place, in addition to Singapore, there are the British Possessions on the western side of the Malay Peninsula. In the north we have the island of Penang, with Province Wellesley on the mainland opposite; further south, but grouped with Penang for administrative purposes, are the Dindings and the island of Pangkor; further south still is the territory of Malacca.

Malay Peninsula: Political.

The total area of these small fragments is a little over 1,200 square miles, or less than that of the county of Kent; but outside them the whole of the southern part of the peninsula, a country about the size of England,[76]
is under British Protection. In the extreme south, opposite the island of Singapore, is the Malay state of Johor. In the middle is a group of four states, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, which were federated in 1895 and are now known as the Federated Malay States. On the northern boundary are Kelantan, Trengganu, Kedah and the little state of Perlis; these by agreement with Siam, in 1909, were transferred from Siamese suzerainty to the protection of Britain. The Governor of Singapore is High Commissioner for the protected Malay States, and under him there are British residents, advisers or agents in all the States, supplemented in the Federated Malay States by a large staff of British officers.

In addition to the territory in the Peninsula, the Straits   2 Settlements now include various scattered and distant islands which have been attached at different times to the Colony. These are Labuan, off the coast of Borneo, with the Cocos or Keeling Islands and Christmas Island, both in the Indian Ocean. The Cocos, about 700 miles   3 southwest of Java, are on the route of steamers sailing from Colombo to Western Australia, and possess a submarine telegraph station. They are a mere group of coral atolls, with a population of a few hundreds, engaged chiefly in preparing copra from the coconuts with which these atolls abound. They are still ruled, under the Government of the Straits Settlements, by the head of the Scotch family, Ross by name, by which they were first colonized. Christmas Island, about as large as Jersey, lies some 200 miles south of Java; it was not inhabited until a little over twenty years ago, when it was settled from the Cocos. The attraction here lies in the valuable deposits of phosphate, though there is also some good timber in the dense forest which clothes the slopes of the mountain. The population, of about a thousand, consists mainly of Chinese miners. Here we see the harbour of Flying-Fish   4 Cove, on the north coast, where there is good anchorage[78] and a break in the steep cliffs which form the coastline;   5 and here again is one of the quarries. The island is a great contrast to the low-lying Cocos banks, with their groves of palms.

In Borneo there is no strictly British territory other than the island of Labuan; but the State of Sarawak, whose ruler is an Englishman, and the remains of the old Sultanate of Brunei, are under British protection, while the British North Borneo Company holds its territory under a charter from the Crown.

The political relations of all these islands and territories are in charge of the hard-worked Governor of the   6 Straits Settlements, whose home we see in Singapore.

From the time of its cession to us, in 1824, by the local ruler on the mainland, Singapore rapidly outdistanced the older settlements of Malacca and Penang; until, in 1867, after a period of dependence on India, the whole region started a separate existence as a Crown Colony, under the name of the Straits Settlements, with Singapore as the capital. The reason for the rapid development of this obscure island is evident on the (2) map. It commands the Straits of Malacca and the southern entrance of the China Sea; the only alternative is the Strait of Sunda, beyond the Equator, five hundred miles to the southward. It is the halfway house between India and China, and its position at a corner makes it the junction point of all the routes connecting the Indian Ocean with the Pacific. It is also the natural collecting and distributing centre for much of the local trade of the Malay region. As a consequence, an island less than twice the size of the Isle of Wight, and with no resources of its own worth mentioning, has become the site of one of the greatest seaports in the world.

Singapore is not only a junction of trade routes and a strongly garrisoned naval base, it is also a meeting point of different races. The population is a strange[79] mixture of Chinese, Malays and Indians, with a handful of Europeans controlling the whole mass. The Chinese, in numbers, industry and wealth, have been the most important factor in the growth of the whole region, and their influence increases every year. The Malays approach them in numbers, but lag far behind in intelligence and capacity for work; while the Indian element, mainly Tamil coolies as in Ceylon, is much smaller.

The town of Singapore stands on the south side of the island facing the open sea, and the Old Port is not well adapted to the needs of modern commerce; large   7 vessels, as we see in this picture, must anchor off shore in the roadstead and unload into barges. The coast, where it has not been reclaimed, is low and marshy, and the old wharves bear a look of neglect and decay.   8 But west of the Tanjong Pagar dock, now Government property, is Keppel Harbour, a narrow deep-water channel, protected on the seaward side by two small islands. Large steamers can moor at the Tanjong Pagar wharves to take in coal or merchandise, and here we find the mail boats, British, French, German and others; while the old harbour and the mouth of the little Singapore river are crowded with Chinese boats and boatmen, and with barges bringing goods from the steamers in   9 the roadstead. Here we have a view of a corner of the wharves in the river.

Let us land and make our way towards the town. 10 Commercial Square and Raffles Square, with their shops and business offices, are quite English in appearance, except for the waiting rickshas and the dress of the 11 natives. Then we see the cathedral and the cricket ground, which lies on part of the reclaimed foreshore, with the Raffles monument in the middle. In another direction are Chinese shops and a Chinese open-air theatre with the crowd gathered round it in spite of the rain. They are used to rain in Singapore. We pass a Chinese[80] temple, and more shops, and then on the outskirts of the town we may light on the suburban villa of a wealthy 12 Chinese merchant, standing in its own beautiful grounds. The Chinese are proud of their gardens, and the owner willingly shows us round. Here is a lake in the garden 13 with the magnificent Victoria Regia water-lily growing in it. Everywhere in Singapore the architecture and the people of the East and West are blended in a strange mixture.

In the hilly country, outside the city, there is nothing of very special interest for us. As we are close to the Equator and have heat all the year round, with a heavy rainfall, almost any tropical product can be grown on the island; the Chinese make a speciality of the cultivation of pineapples, which are tinned and exported. 14 Here we have a scene in the factory. We need not explore the country, but a visit to the botanical gardens will not be a waste of time, as it will tell us a great deal about the Malay region in general. In one corner of the 15 gardens is a large collection of palms; we have seen already what an important place the trees of this group have in the life of the tropics, and we shall meet them often again. Of even greater interest, perhaps, from the European point of view, is rubber. Here we find the Government conducting experiments to discover the kind of trees most suited to the various districts, and the best methods of cultivation and preparation; we shall see some of the results of these experiments on the mainland of the Peninsula which we are now going to visit.


[See page 79.

Singapore: The River.


[See page 85.

Malays on Plantation.


[See page 87.

Palace of the Sultan of Kelantan.

We touched at Singapore first as it is by far the most important of the Settlements: the oldest is Malacca, which in the time of the Portuguese and Dutch occupation held the position which Singapore holds to-day. Under modern conditions it has declined in importance and ranks below both Singapore and Penang, though the railway and the rubber industry are now giving new[81] 16 life to this old-world settlement. Here is a glimpse of the river and here a street in the town; it is picturesque 17 enough, but we miss the life and bustle which we have seen at Singapore.

The island of Penang, together with the strip of the mainland opposite, was leased by us from the Sultan of Kedah, over a hundred years ago, at a time when the rest of the coast was more or less under the influence of the Dutch. The rent is still paid regularly to the Sultan for the time being. In 1824, we came to an agreement with the Dutch who withdrew all claim to the Straits, while we left them undisturbed in the island region further south. This withdrawal of the Dutch, and the possession of Singapore, gave us the entire control of the Straits of Malacca. Since that time there have been some small additions to the area of British territory, but our chief work has been to bring the native States within our Sphere of Influence. The result in the last century, as we have already seen, was the formation of the Federated Malay States, governed by their native rulers with the advice and assistance of British officials. A British Civil Service, with native and Indian police, and a regiment of Indian soldiers, under British officers, assist in the work of administering the Federation. It is an interesting experiment, crowned by complete success, in the application of Western ideas and methods of organization to a semi-civilized people; and a similar system is gradually being introduced into the other Protected States. Here is a group of these native 18 rulers and British officials, representing the two sides of the combined administration.

Though we read a great deal about piracy and misrule in the old days, we must not think of the natives of Malaya as wholly given over to barbarism. The States, just as in India, had their own form of government and social organization, long before they came under our influence. They had their courts, palaces and public[82] 19 buildings. The palace of the Sultan of Selangor, which we see here, reminds us strongly of some of the magnificent buildings in India. Side by side with it a British 20 Residency in the neighbouring State of Pahang seems an insignificant hut; but the hut represents efficiency in administration, while the Sikh sentry who guards it stands for the law and order which we have introduced.

Malay Peninsula: Physical.

The past development and future prospects of the 21 Peninsula can only be understood in the light of its geography. It has a great length of coastline, so that[83] no part is very far from the sea, while access to the coast is easy on the west. But a mountain chain, stretching continuously from north to south, though nearer the west coast than the east, forms a difficult barrier between the States on either side, except in Johor, where it spreads out and becomes lower. The rainfall is heavy all the year round and the temperature rather like that of the palm house at Kew Gardens. As a result of these conditions, forty years ago the whole region of the lowland was a great jungle, with the Malay inhabitants living in scattered villages and clearings along the streams which offered the only means of movement. Before we 22 came there were no roads except the forest tracks such as we see here, formed by wild animals and used mainly by hunters. Now there are good roads all over the western side of the Peninsula, with rest-houses at intervals, maintained by Government for the benefit of travellers. These roads connect the towns of the interior with the sea or with the lower reaches of the rivers where they are navigable for large boats; while a trunk road now runs over the mountains, linking the railway in Selangor with Kuala Lipis on the Pahang river. Here 23 we have a scene on this road, with the old native bullock cart and the modern motor-car side by side. We can imagine that travel will be slow in these carts; and so it is; but off the road all movement whatever is impossible. Besides the roads there is now the completed trunk railway, running from Johor Bharu, where it (1) connects by steam ferry with the short line in Singapore island, right along the west of the Peninsula to the coast opposite Penang. The railway, like the roads, has branches connecting with ports on the coast, and on the east side a line is being pushed forward into the State of Pahang; this will ultimately pass through Kelantan and connect with the Siamese system. About half-way along the trunk line, in the State of Selangor, is Kuala Lumpur, the administrative centre of the Federated States.


When road and rail are not available, our sole resource is the water, which has always been a vital element in Malay life. We may travel in canoes of various kinds, and for long journeys we may hire a roomy houseboat, 24 such as we see here on the Pahang river. If no boats are to be had, we may build a raft of bamboo and 25 on it drift down stream. Our journey will not be without excitement, as there may be rapids to be negotiated, and we must be careful where we bathe, as there are 26 crocodiles in plenty. Near the river mouths and along the coast we find sailing boats, often of the junk type, which remind us of China; and the larger ports have their coasting steamers, owned in some cases by Chinese capitalists in Singapore.

Malaya, with its warmth, ample rainfall and many streams, is naturally the land of the rice swamp and coconut palm. As we travel southwards from Penang, the rice fields stretch monotonously mile after mile over the flat lands between the railway and the sea. These 27 great levels do not make good pictures, but here is one of them. The native in the foreground is beckoning eastern fashion, with the hand pointed downwards. The ditch beside him is an irrigation channel. The water is impounded in rough reservoirs on the valley slopes and allowed to flow down to these channels; sometimes, too, it is raised from a lower level by a primitive water wheel, with bamboo tubes fixed on its rim as buckets. Experience has made the native skilful in irrigation work of this kind.

The rice field, the coconut palm and the river provide the Malay with an easy living, supplemented in the past by the proceeds of occasional piracy. He was not likely to be industrious so long as his property was liable to be seized at any moment by his rulers or their deputies. The Malay, as we find him all over the East India Islands, will hunt, fish, sail a boat or fight with considerable energy and skill, but he takes ordinary life in an easy[85] fashion. He has no desire for the business of money-making and prefers to live in his simple fashion in his own homestead or kampong. Let us look at some of 28 these native houses. They are all raised above the ground on piles, and usually have a kind of verandah 29 on one side; the interior is dark, as the native is not fond of windows. We notice the bamboo and the coconut palm near every house and shall probably come on the stream not very far away. This is the real Malaya: the aspect of the towns is very different. Here we find streets of houses and shops, but these are largely given 30 up to the natives of India or China, as we may guess from the signboards in the picture before us. Here, on the 31 other hand, we see the typical Malay, in his national costume, the bright coloured sarong or petticoat which 32 is worn both by men and women, with a light jacket of some kind to complete the dress. The Malays are Mohammedans, though not perhaps of a very rigid type. Here 33 we see the new mosque at Kuala Lumpur, fit to stand side by side with a palace; but the simple thatched or tiled 34 buildings which we find everywhere in the villages seem to agree better with our pictures of ordinary Malay life.

Though the Malay is largely occupied in agriculture, yet he has taken only a small share in the most important of recent movements, the artificial cultivation of rubber. All along the railway, outside the rice swamps, we find our view shut in by the tall trees of the forest. Here 35 is a glimpse where the forest has been thinned out a little, and here again is a corner of the jungle showing 36 the dense growth of fern and creeper. The constant rainfall and high temperature which give us the jungle have been found to be well suited to the growth of the Brazilian rubber tree. So here and there from the train we catch sight of a great clearing, with perhaps the young 37 rubber trees growing amid the roots and fallen trunks of the older forest. Or again we pass a plantation in a 38 more advanced stage; and if we pay the planter a[86] visit we may see the coolies tapping the trees by slicing 39 the bark, and collecting the milky latex which when coagulated and smoked becomes rubber as we know it. The planter is English, perhaps from Ceylon; the coolies 40 who cluster round the bungalow to receive their pay are probably Tamils from India, since the Malay, though useful in the rough work of clearing to which he is accustomed, does not take readily to the steady work of cultivation.

Clearing, planting and growing the trees is a slow process, and the progress of Malaya would have been far from rapid if it had been based on agriculture alone. The money needed for roads and railways came from another source. When we intervened, we found the Chinese coolie already in occupation, and a considerable traffic in Chinese-owned vessels along the coast to Singapore. The cause of this traffic was tin. Tin ore is everywhere in the Peninsula, though it is mined chiefly in the alluvial areas at the foot of the hills. Some of the mining is still very primitive and is carried on by groups of Chinese who work with little capital but manage to make a profit none the less. But in many places modern machinery has been introduced; the steam pump has replaced the chain and bucket of the Chinese, while hydraulic sluicing and other up-to-date methods of 41 mining are becoming common. We often come on a whole valley, looking like a huge quarry, turned upside 42 down and desolated in the search for tin. Everywhere we notice the busy Chinese coolie, in his curious sun hat, and in the distance we may catch sight of the barracks where he lives. The ore is dug out and washed, and then for the most part sent to Singapore to be smelted and reduced to the shape in which it reaches our own country. Nearly half the world’s supply of tin comes from this narrow strip of country; and we may say that Malaya has been built up on tin, though now rubber is rapidly overtaking it in value. The two together[87] constitute over nine-tenths of the total exports of the Federated States and provide a large revenue for the Government to spend on improvements.

The miner and artisan is nearly always a Chinese, so that at the present time the Chinese in the Federated States actually outnumber the natives. If we add the Indian coolies to the Chinese, we find that out of a total population of about a million, three-fifths are of foreign origin. This is how tin and rubber are translated into terms of population. Outside the Federated States we do not find the same proportions in the population, though the geographical conditions are of much the same kind. There is the same rice cultivation in the coast plains; the same plantations of coconuts and rubber, though on a smaller scale.

Trengganu has a considerable textile industry, while Kelantan exports sarongs to the neighbouring states. Tin also is everywhere, and some gold; while Europeans are already mining, prospecting and planting. The population of Kelantan is almost entirely Malay, and the native element is stronger than the Chinese all down the east coast. The whole region is rather more primitive 43 than the west side; the palace of the Sultan of Kelantan, with its curious wooden palisade and guard of spearmen, looks distinctly old-fashioned.

In short, eastern Malaya has been rather out of the world in the past. The coast is difficult of access; the river mouths are blocked with sandbars, and there is a continuous line of surf in the months when the Northeast Monsoon is blowing. It lies, too, out of the main track of shipping; so that we have a great contrast to the sheltered waters of the Straits of Malacca, and it is only natural that the country behind should be slower to develop.

The most backward part is naturally the pathless jungle on the mountains of the interior, which is still 44 given up to wild game and to the Sakai, naked savages[88] living in rough forest-shelters and armed with the blowpipe and poisoned dart. These represent the lowest grade among the people of the Peninsula. But development has begun in the east and the result will be a change in the face of the country such as we have seen in the west, brought about by the Chinese and Indians of the mine and plantation, aided by European and Chinese capital, and working under sound administration.

When we turn northwards from Singapore, on the way (2) to China, we are entering a vast enclosed sea, cut off from the main Pacific by a string of islands almost continuous for fifteen hundred miles. In the northern part of this barrier there are a few narrow passages; in the south the sea is shut in by the unbroken barrier of the coast of Borneo. Some idea of the size of Borneo, which is the largest island in the Malay Archipelago, can be obtained if we compare it with our own islands, mapped 45 on the same scale. We shall find that Borneo can contain not only the lands of the British Islands but a large part of the surrounding seas and channels as well. The south and southeastern part of this great island belongs to Holland, so that our visit will be limited to the northern end; but even in this corner we find a country as large as Ireland.

After a voyage of seven hundred miles across the southern end of this enclosed sea, we are approaching the small island of Labuan, which lies across the mouth of a broad inlet in the larger island. In the latter part of our voyage we have sighted land to the southeast, but this is not our destination, as it is not British territory, though as regards foreign relations under our protection. This land is the native state of Sarawak, which is ruled autocratically by an Englishman, Sir Charles Brooke. The origin of this State is one of the romances of the Pacific. Seventy years ago James Brooke, uncle of the present ruler, made a voyage through the South China[89] Sea. He was specially attracted by Borneo and saw that it might be wealthy and prosperous if only it could be reclaimed from the misgovernment and barbarism of its native rulers. The chance soon came to put his theories to the test. Sarawak, then nominally part of the Sultanate of Brunei, was in a state of rebellion, owing to the misrule of a local chief. Brooke, with the crew of his yacht, helped the Rajah Muda, Hassim, uncle of the Sultan of Brunei, to restore order; and as a reward was made governor of Sarawak, in 1841. Thus the younger son of an Indian Civil Servant became in a moment an Eastern Potentate. Once established, Sir James Brooke, or Rajah Brooke as he is better known to history, not only kept good order in his own district but joined with the British navy in the suppression of piracy in the neighbouring seas. As Brunei decayed, Sarawak grew stronger. Its territory was enlarged from time to time and its prosperity has proved the benefit derived by the native inhabitants from strong and firm control.

An island rather larger than Guernsey, Labuan is the only British territory, as opposed to a Protectorate, which we shall find in this region. Rounding a headland we turn northwards into a broad and deep inlet, and come to anchor opposite a small town of white houses with red roofs and a background of low hills; this is Victoria, the capital and only town. We may have time to travel by the light railway to the coal mines at the other end of the island, but we shall find nothing else to detain us, as the country is mostly occupied by swamps and decayed villages. The harbour and the coal: these two things explain why Labuan is now a British Possession. Though it had been, for a short time in the eighteenth century, a station of the East India Company, it was unoccupied and seemingly of little value when we acquired it from the Sultan of Brunei in 1846; but we looked to its position on the flank of the great route to China, with its[90] excellent harbour and supplies of coal. It was thought by some that the island would become a smaller Singapore, a port of call for shipping and a collecting centre for the whole mainland of Borneo. Labuan started with great expectations; its history has been a series of disappointments. The coal business failed from the first, while the transit trade did not develop, and the reason is not far to seek. In spite of the great natural resources of Borneo, there could be no progress in trade until piracy and head-hunting had been suppressed and some form of settled government introduced. Now that this has been accomplished and the country is prospering and developing, the mainland has its own seaports from which the goods are shipped direct to Singapore or Hongkong, so that Labuan derives no benefit.

Politically Labuan has had a varied career. In 1848, it was made a Crown Colony, Sir James Brooke being the first Governor; later it was handed over to the North Borneo Company to administer for a time; and since 1907 it has been annexed to the Straits Settlements. It has been eclipsed completely by its greater neighbour.

If we cross the wide bay between the island and the mainland, we shall get a glimpse of past history, and better appreciate the reason for the failure of Labuan. At the southeast corner of the bay we enter the Brunei river. The forest comes right down to the river bank, and the trees appear to be growing in the water, with a tangle of interlaced roots showing above the surface; we are passing a swamp of mangroves, or bakau, as the natives call the tree. Then the land begins to rise in low hills covered still with forest, and the mangrove gives way to the coconut palm. We pass native canoes with their double rows of paddles, and here and there on the bank a group of native houses among the palms. Finally we round a sharp bend in the river and come 46 upon the old native town of Brunei. It is a kind of[91] eastern Venice, with its houses built on piles driven into 47 the mud, and its streets all waterways. Here is one of these streets. In Brunei, as all over Borneo, the bamboo, the palm and the creeping rattan provide the builder with material free of charge for posts, flooring, roofs and lashings—for the houses are tied, not nailed together. There is fish in abundance in the river, and we pass a 48 fleet of market boats, with women in large sun hats, bringing the catch for sale in the town; while in the forest all round there is fruit to be had for the picking. Nature has supplied the Malay with most of his necessaries at his very door.

Brunei has distinctly an air of decay. Centuries ago it was a large city, the capital of a kingdom. It gave its name to the whole island and its rulers extended their sway across the neighbouring seas. Early voyagers from Europe seem to have been much impressed by its barbaric magnificence. Now, all that remains of a past empire is a small corner of territory, with little trade or revenue, and ruled in name only by a petty chief. Most of the territory shown on the old maps has been ceded to the British North Borneo Company or to Sarawak. One local industry of some importance Brunei still possesses; this is the working of brass, particularly of brass gongs, which still pass as a kind of currency in the interior. 49 We can visit a whole village of brassworkers, on a creek close by, and see them working in the open air with primitive bellows made of bamboo, and producing castings of old-fashioned design. This is merely a survival; internal decay and attacks from outside have left Brunei only a shadow of its former power. The trade with China and the Malay Archipelago, which contributed to its former power, was destroyed by the attacks of the fierce pirates from the islands to the north; and British influence came too late to save the kingdom from its own internal weakness; though, under the guidance of British officials, and by the help of British capital, the fragment[92] which remains seems likely to recover some of its prosperity.

Let us turn from Borneo of the past to Borneo of the future. We are going to make a voyage round the territory of the British North Borneo Company. Our trip will be limited to the coast districts, as much of the interior is difficult to reach and indeed not yet explored. First let us see what the map can tell us about the country as a whole.

British North Borneo.

The Company’s territory is in the form of a rough 50 quadrilateral, with a coastline irregular and deeply indented by the sea. Inland, but nearer to the west coast than the east, stretches a long backbone of mountains; so that the rivers on the east side are longer and the lowlands broader and flatter than on the west. The Equator[93] cuts Borneo almost in the middle, and the whole island is truly tropical, though there are great differences between the highlands and the lowlands. The lowlands are hot all the year round, though the temperature is modified by the rain and dense vegetation and the nearness of the sea; so that the climate does not show the extremes of heat and the great variation which we find in the dry region of Northwest India, much further away from the Equator. Again, there are not two strongly marked wet and dry seasons; rain falls more or less in every month of the year, though spring and autumn are as a rule the wettest seasons. A total annual fall of from ninety to two hundred inches reminds us of the wetter parts of India and the Malay Peninsula, and combined with unvarying heat does not suggest a climate particularly adapted to occupation by the white man. In spite of this drawback the country is in course of development by British capital and under British direction. As an estate it is increasing in value every year. We will now try to see something of its products and people.

Seventy or eighty miles north of Labuan we enter another great bay, with a small island at the entrance; the bay and island of Gaya. On the south side of this bay is the town of Jesselton, the western capital of the Territory and the terminus of the only existing railway. Behind the town is hilly country, and as we approach we may see in the distance, so far as clouds permit, the great bulk of Mount Kinabalu, the highest part of the long mountain chain of the interior. At Jesselton we find European sports in progress and a mixed crowd is gathered: natives of the coast region, largely of Malay blood, Sikhs and Pathans of the Constabulary, with a few Chinese and the white officials. In the town are the Malay houses built over the water, and near them a row of Chinese 51 shops; on the slopes above we see the barracks, with the Constabulary at drill, and a few European residences, with Government House overlooking all. At Jesselton we[94] have a picture in little of the conditions of the coast districts.

Before exploring inland we will borrow the Government launch for a short trip up the coast to Usikaan Bay. 52 Here is a fine portrait of our skipper. He is a typical coastman; his mother a native of Brunei, his father from Sarawak. He is a Mohammedan, like most of the coastmen, and is full of the lore and legend of the island. We land at a little pier and enter a shed, which is the Custom House. There is no sign of inhabitants, as the building is used only when the local steamer calls to collect the up-country produce. We have come here to look at the scenery, not the people, so we climb the hill above the bay, from which we can look down on the Abai river, flowing out beyond the next headland. It is a typical Borneo river. On both banks is the usual tropical swamp, and all around us is tropical vegetation. Here we can 53 see the wonderful Pitcher Plant of these regions, though the finest specimens are to be found further inland towards Mount Kinabalu. Turning away from the sea we have a 54 view of the long ridge of Kinabalu, with the upper part of the Abai river in the foreground. From this outlook we can gain a very fair idea of the character of tropical Borneo.

So far we have kept to the outer edge of the island; the railway from Jesselton will carry us inland, though not very far, as it runs on the whole parallel to the coast. The inland terminus of the line is at Tenom, east of Brunei Bay and behind the coast range of mountains. Here, too, native sports are in progress, but they are a much more important business than at Jesselton; they are announced months beforehand and provide a common meeting-place for the many native tribes of the interior. The contests are also especially fitted to the tastes and occupations of the natives, so that we may learn much from them. The 55 raft race is one of the most popular, as the rivers are the only means of traffic in the interior and the natives are[95] skilled in handling every form of river craft. Even more 56 interesting to us is the shooting match with the sumpitan, the long blowpipe with poisoned darts which in this region takes the place of the bow and arrow. Here we find this formidable weapon put to a harmless use in shooting at the running deer; it is a kind of native Bisley. The crowds of spectators show us every type of native face 57 and dress. Here is a group of Muruts with sumpitans, and here are some visitors, Sea Dyaks from Sarawak, 58 whose name is associated with piracy and head-hunting. The Muruts seem to be the aborigines of this part of the interior; they are unlike the coast people in appearance and they are pagans, not Mohammedans; but they share with the Sea Dyaks their liking for head-hunting, and would soon revive the practice were British control removed.

In the neighbourhood of the railway we begin to find evidence of the progress of Borneo. One of the most successful crops is tobacco. Before it can be planted there is much work to be done. The jungle must first be attacked and rough roads driven through with ditches at the side for drainage in the heavy rains. Here we see the 59 work of clearing in progress. Then wide spaces must be prepared for planting, and at length we get our crop. 60 The leaves are then picked by coolies and carried in curious baskets to the drying and fermenting sheds for further treatment before they become the tobacco leaf of commerce.

We will now return to Jesselton and resume our voyage. A short way up the coast we leave the steamer and take to a boat; we are going up a small river to attend a tanu or local market, in order to see something more of native life. We call on the District Officer at his house and accompany him in his barge of state to the market. 61 Here a crowd of natives waits for the hoisting of a little flag, the signal that they may begin their bargaining. They have brought down the produce of the interior,[96] resins, gums and tobacco, to sell to the Chinese dealers; in return their favourite purchase is brass. There is also a great buying and selling of fish and fruit. Here 62 we see a native woman of the hill tribes carrying a large crate and wearing great coils of brass wire round her waist. The husband stands by and looks on, as is usual here, where the women do most of the heavy work.

Once more we board the steamer, and after touching at Kudat, a fine harbour in the great bay at the north end of the island, turn southward towards Sandakan, the capital of the Territory, where we shall end our voyage. On the deck of the little vessel is a crowd of Chinese coolies. The Chinese are the real workers on all the coasts of North Borneo, just as we found them in the Malay 63 Peninsula. We reach Sandakan, which stands on a splendid bay running fifteen miles up into the land. The entrance is only two miles wide, so that the bay is almost landlocked. Down at the water’s edge is the native town, with many of the houses built on piles; here too is the Chinese quarter, and scattered about further up a wooded slope are the houses of the Europeans. All round the sides of the harbour are smaller native villages.

Sandakan will probably in the future become an important commercial seaport, especially in view of its position on the route between Australia and China. It already boasts a shipbuilding and engineering yard, and a cutch factory which sends its products for tanning all over the world. Here also we may notice timber being floated down in great rafts for export, especially to China. Not far away up the river is one of the oldest rubber estates on the island. Borneo produces many kinds of plants giving rubber or gutta, but it has been found that the Para rubber tree of Brazil grows well, and there is a great future for its cultivation here as in the Malay Peninsula.


[See page 95.

Sumpitan Match.


[See page 91.

Market Boats, Brunei.


[See page 91.

A Street in Brunei.

The East India Company made many attempts to establish factories in Borneo and the neighbouring islands;[97] but all came to nothing, so that the early history does not concern us here. One trace of former conditions remained in the nineteenth century, in the claims of Holland in the south of the island and of Spain in the north. These claims were revived at the time of our occupation and were not finally settled until the late eighties of the nineteenth century. The modern history of the region begins with the acquisition, by an American syndicate, of certain concessions in the north from the Sultans of Brunei and Sulu. Their rights were taken over ultimately by a British company which obtained a charter from the Crown, in 1881, under the title of the British North Borneo Company. The charter was a revival of the old plan for opening up new countries without the direct intervention or responsibility of the home Government. It was followed by other charters for African companies; but of these only one survives, and the North Borneo Company is at the present day the oldest remaining representative of the system. So we have a large piece of territory under British Protection but controlled by a private company. The Company does not trade, but confines itself to administration, and is supported like any other Government by duties and taxes of various kinds. It is largely independent, though the British Government can interfere if necessary in vital matters.

Malaya and Borneo are tropical estates and can only be developed by special methods. In dealing with these estates we have given considerable space to the subject of administration, since without order and security it is impossible to utilize those natural resources with which our geography is concerned. These resources include the minerals and the whole range of tropical products, together with the available human material, the Chinese or Indian labourer and the native Malay. Foreign capital, British or Chinese, under British direction provides the driving force for progress. In the different parts of the Malay Peninsula and in North Borneo we have various[98] types of administration and various stages of progress; but over the whole area there is a general similarity of conditions which marks it off both from the Indian Ocean and from the Chinese group which is the object of our next visit.



Fifteen hundred miles away from Singapore, guarding the northern outlet of the China Sea as Singapore guards the southern, commanding also the approach to the great commercial city of Canton and to the whole coastline of       1 southeastern China, lies the island harbour of Hongkong, the last fortified outpost of British power in this region of the world. The island is only one of a large group which fringes the coast round the mouth of the Canton river, and its area is less than thirty square miles,       2 or nearly the same as that of Labuan. It consists of a long irregular granite ridge, falling steeply to the sea, with deep-cut inlets on its southern side. To the north is the mainland, with long hill ranges ending in a mass of rocky peninsulas and headlands. Between the island and the mainland lies the narrow roadstead or harbour of Victoria.

As we round the west point of the island, the Peak is on our right, and below it are warehouses, wharves and piers, spread out for three miles along the water front. Behind is the crowded native quarter, and in the background the city rises in tier above tier of terraced houses up the lower slopes of the ridge. On the summit, too, we can see many   3 houses scattered about. Here is a panoramic view of the west end of the city, taken from the harbour. Notice the fine pile of offices and the European Club in the foreground   4 of the picture. Our next view, further east, shows the Admiralty dockyard, which makes an ugly break in the line of the sea front. The white band on the hill behind is the cable railway running up to the Peak. We pass merchant[100] steamers, warships, and crowds of junks at anchor, and all about us the small native boats or sampans are plying busily to and fro. Opposite the middle of the town, where the low peninsula of Kaulun juts out from the mainland, the harbour narrows to rather more than half a mile, and here is the ferry. On our left as we enter is Stonecutter Island, a long bare rock heavily fortified and guarding the passage; beyond it to the north the view is everywhere   5 closed in by the mountain ridges of the mainland. Here are two views from the hill, showing the west end of   6 the harbour, with Stonecutter Island and Kaulun; a third shows the eastern passage, known as the Lai-i-mun, by   7 which we shall leave after our visit.

Hongkong Island.

Seventy years ago Hongkong was a mere rock, inhabited[101] by a few fishermen; its sole value lay in its anchorage beyond the reach of Chinese troops. For two centuries the East India Company had traded on sufferance at Canton, but in 1834 its trade monopoly was abolished and the servants of the Company gave place to a British official. The Chinese failed to understand the change; they wished to treat our representative just as they had treated the merchants. In the end the foreign community was forced to leave Canton, and we despatched an armed expedition to support our claim to trade and to place the interests of British subjects on a secure footing. The war which followed is often styled the opium war; but the opium trade was only one item in the quarrel which involved recognition by the Chinese of international relations.

Our merchants, driven from Canton, and warned off from Macao by the Portuguese, who feared the Chinese and were jealous of our trade, took refuge in the roadstead of Hongkong, though the Chinese placed batteries on Kaulun and threatened to fire on the ships. In this way we first came to the island, which was ceded to us by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. In 1860, at the conclusion of   8 another war, we obtained full possession of the Kaulun peninsula, which we had already leased from the local authorities as being necessary for the security of the harbour. Finally, in 1898, we leased the New Territory at the back of Kaulun, amounting in area to about 370 square miles. This was just as necessary under present conditions as the peninsula of Kaulun had been in the past, since Victoria with its shipping would be at the mercy of long-range artillery mounted on the hills of the mainland. From the first the Chinese people, recognizing the value of the security given by British rule, flocked to the island; so that we now have over 300,000 Chinese residents in the island and peninsula, excluding the leased Territory, and on the native boats and junks, while the European population numbers only a few thousand. The[102] Chinese seem to prefer our system of government to their own. Hongkong is not merely a fortress; it is a free port, except as regards the importation of alcohol, and one of the greatest commercial centres in the world; but without the Chinese its trade could not be carried on for a single day.

Let us now land and learn something of the city and its   9 inhabitants. We stroll along Queen’s Road, the main artery of the town from west to east, with its offices and shops and its general air of prosperity. Then we turn off into a street running upwards from the harbour; it is 10 Pottinger Street, named after Sir Henry Pottinger, the trainer of the treaty of 1842. The tall houses and narrow roadway remind us that there is very little level ground in Victoria and that space is valuable. We could judge this also from the general views of the Peak which we saw as we entered. Trade needs money, and there are various banks in the city; one of the finest buildings is that of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, which is well known in England and has a large branch in London. If we go into one of these banks we find that many of the clerks and cashiers are native Chinese. Here is the entrance to the 11 Hongkong and Shanghai bank and here is the back of the great block of fine buildings. The statue in the corner is that 12 of the late Queen Victoria, and the figures in the foreground are Chinese women carrying pigs in baskets. The whole of this area, with its open spaces, including a cricket ground, and the mass of buildings which we saw from the harbour, has been reclaimed from the sea. In one of the narrow 13 streets we may see something of native customs. It is New Year’s Day, a great festival among the Chinese; all over the ground there is a litter of crackers, and we may perhaps see them solemnly firing a huge cracker in front of some important house as a kind of New Year’s greeting. At a corner we come on a scene which reminds us of 14 London: the road is up and labourers are at work, but here they are Chinese. Down on the water front is[103] another aspect of native life. Here we have a large 15 population living always in covered boats; there are millions of Chinese living in this fashion on the rivers and waterways of the mainland.

To see how the Europeans live we must leave the busier part of the town and climb up the hill. Down below, in the native quarter, the houses are crowded together and the air is close. Higher up are trees and gardens and 16 open spaces. Here is a view from Battery Path, on our way up. We end our walk at Government House, where 17 we see the inevitable Chinese gardener at work.

To get a view of the island we must take the cable railway to the very summit of the Peak. It is much cooler here and there are many European houses. Hongkong is on the edge of the Tropics and is wet and warm in summer, while the town of Victoria is shut off from the sea breezes by the surrounding heights. But the upper part of the ridge is open to the Southeast Monsoon winds blowing in from the sea, and so it is a healthy residence for Europeans not unlike the hill stations of India.

In the matter of health, the island in past years had not a good name. On the southeast coast is Stanley, 18 a primitive little village on a beautiful bay; here is the spot where the British troops first landed in 1840. Further west, behind a sheltering island, is Aberdeen, which was also occupied for a time. But both were found to be unhealthy and so the troops were withdrawn. Stanley is a mere fishing village, though the graves of the soldiers and their wives are there to remind us of the price which we pay for our Empire. Aberdeen is a little more important, as it possesses a dock. But its main industry is fishing; and 19 here we can see the fishermen, watched by an admiring crowd, dragging out a large rock fish, which will be towed alive, behind a launch, to the market at Victoria. The mass of the population of the island is concentrated in Victoria, which is greatly overcrowded. Much has been done for health by improved drainage, and the great[104] reservoir at Taitam, in the southeast corner of the island, with the concrete channels for gathering the heavy rains on the hill slopes, provides an ample supply of good water; but the Chinese have peculiar ideas as to sanitation, and plague and epidemic diseases are frequent, so that Hongkong has drawbacks as a place of residence, especially for European children. Though the hill is cooler than the town, it is damp, so that many prefer the drier Kaulun district on the other side of the water. Here a new Victoria 20 is growing up with busy wharves and docks. Land is being reclaimed from the sea, and in the surrounding 21 hills we find granite quarries with abundant material for the building of docks and sea walls. On a small hill near the landing stands a curious tower, with masts and flag-staffs 22 around it. This is the observatory, which watches the weather and especially gives warning of the approach of the dreaded typhoons of the China seas. These are fierce whirling storms which sweep in, usually in the autumn, from the ocean to the south-east, and then curve northwards along the coast of China towards Japan, carrying ruin in their track. In 1906, the warning failed to come: many large steamers were sunk or driven ashore; trees were rooted up and buildings beaten to the ground, and enormous damage was done to the piers and quays on the 23 water-front. Here is the signal which is hoisted to give notice of the coming of a typhoon.

Behind Kaulun is the New Territory: a land of mountain and torrent, with here and there a broader valley 24 with fields of rice and sugar-cane. Here we see some of these rice fields on the route of the new railway. 25 Notice how the ground is flooded. The population, about 100,000 in all, is not very dense and is grouped in scattered villages. Here is a view of the picturesque country at the 26 back of Kaulun, with a cattle depôt in the foreground to remind us that the city must be fed from the surrounding 27 country. Here again we see a street in Tai-wo-shi and a group of villagers gathered round the village[105] 28 well. Let us pay a short visit to Wun-yin, or “Pottery” village, for a glimpse of a native industry. We see a 29 potter at work, painting the little bowls, but he does not look quite the same as the ordinary Chinese of the 30 south. He is a Hakka, as is also this native woman, who does not seem in the least nervous in front of the camera. Neither is handsome, but they are very useful in Hongkong, since they do much of the hard manual work which is necessary in a great port. The Hakkas are immigrants, of a different race from the natives of the Canton district, and they have different habits. Among other peculiarities they do not bind the feet of their women.

In the New Territory we are already changing the face of the country. Water is being impounded in great 31 reservoirs for the supply of Kaulun, and a railway twists and burrows through the valleys and mountains, and connects at the frontier with the Chinese railway to Canton. So the Territory has a future of its own, but its real importance is as a protecting barrier to the harbour of Hongkong.

Hongkong is an excellent instance of the attraction which a free port, under a Government which gives security for life and property, and deals out even-handed justice, has for an industrious native race. The liberality with which the wealthier Chinese support public objects in Hongkong, such as schools and hospitals, is the best proof that they appreciate the methods and value of British rule.

The close connexion which has always been maintained between Canton and Hongkong, and the fact that the British Concession at Canton is an interesting survival from an earlier stage of our relations with China, justify us in paying a flying visit to that city before continuing our voyage northwards. So we board one of the small local steamers and pass up the broad river, with the old forts on its banks, which more than once have been bombarded by our fleets, until the growing crowd of native shipping[106] tells as that we are approaching the great commercial 32 city. Here are junks and sampans packed together or moving slowly about the river, and huge shallow-draught steamers, resembling pictures of the old boats on the Mississippi, fifty years ago. We land at last on the 33 Shameen, the British settlement outside the walls. It was originally a mere mud bank, facing the main river and protected by a narrow creek at the back. Now it 34 is laid out as a European town, with open spaces, a church, and European houses and gardens. Here is a view of the 35 creek with the English bridge. Across the creek is a Chinese suburb, thickly packed with native houses, 36 and beyond are the high walls of the vast city with its million of turbulent people. We cross the bridge and make our way to the massive gates; if we are wise we shall take a guide with us. From the top of the old wall we look down over a sea of roofs, with here and there a fire lookout or a huge building, a pawnshop, showing above the general level. Hidden below is a mass of narrow and winding streets, and far away, in the very 37 midst of the city, towers the great Flowery Pagoda. Just below it is a building which we must visit, the old British Yamen, at one time the residence of our officials, though they now prefer the greater comfort of the Shameen. Here, in the heart of Canton, in the former palace of a high Chinese official, we established a British representative. It was a great change from the days when British merchants carried subservient messages to the city gates and the Chinese refused to interview or in any way recognize British officials. This interesting building is of great 38 significance in the history of our relations with the great Empire of the East. Here are two views of the Yamen; 39 we seem to be very much in the heart of China.

Canton has, to some extent, lost its former importance for us, and its merchants no longer have the monopoly of the whole external trade of China; so we return to Hongkong without further delay, and rejoining our ship steam[107] out through the narrow eastern passage, the Lai-i-mun, and turn northwards on our voyage.

Our next port of call is Shanghai, a most important (1) centre of British trade and influence and in close connexion with British stations in the East, though not one of them itself. Hongkong is the great exchange station for shipping and trade in the Far East; Shanghai is the market and business centre for the great basin of the Yangtse river and for much of North China as well. Its importance may be measured by the fact that over half the total trade of China passes through the hands of its merchants. There are two Shanghais, and the contrast between them 40 is great; on the one hand we have the old native walled city, dirty and decaying and purely Chinese, and on the 41 other the new Foreign Settlement, where all the business is done. This part has grown steadily in size and prosperity. The French still have entire control of their own section, but in the International Settlement, which was at one time purely British, Germans and Americans have now a considerable share. We have here a very curious system: a foreign municipality established on Chinese soil and governing itself, subject only to the control of the foreign Consuls and the Ministers at Peking. It is responsible for a few thousand Europeans and over half a million Chinese. At Hongkong we are supreme in everything; but at Shanghai, though the citizens of foreign nations are subject to their own laws, the city is still legally part of China, so that the natives are under the jurisdiction of Chinese officials. This has been the cause of great trouble in the past, as Chinese and Western ideas of law are widely different. It is a very strange position. Here is a small body of foreign merchants, practically unprotected, in the midst of a vast native population, yet responsible for the well-being of one of the greatest commercial cities in the world.

Trade is the sole foundation of this new Shanghai, and 42 trade depends on the river Hwangpu; for though Shanghai[108] is the outlet for the Yangtse basin, it stands at some distance from the main river and the sea, at the head of the tideway of a small tributary and in close contact with a great network of canals and rivers in the fertile country to the west. The bank of the river is lined with wharves, warehouses and factories, and the Settlement is spreading steadily down towards Wusung. The flat country round has been built up of silt brought down by the main river; centuries ago Shanghai may have been on the coast. The river is still at work: great banks are formed under water, and in a few generations become dry land thickly populated. In the whole breadth of the Yangtse mouth there are only two channels navigable by large vessels. Everywhere the land is gaining on the sea. Into the broad silt-laden estuary the little Hwangpu empties itself below Wusung; it brings down no silt, but the incoming tide sweeps in the muddy water of the main river. The silt is dropped and the stream is too weak to scour it away. At the mouth of the Hwangpu is a great bar, which is still growing; and so much has the channel changed and shallowed that it is no longer safe for the largest vessels to approach Shanghai. We may see the same process going on in England, in the Humber and the rivers flowing into the Wash. The Chinese are at last beginning to move; a new channel has been cut for traffic on the Hwangpu; the bed of the river has been dredged and its course straightened, and an embankment built to keep out the silt from the main river. But the size of the vessels engaged in trade increases every year and the future of Shanghai is in the balance; it remains to be seen whether modern engineering will win the day against the vast forces wielded by the Yangtse. Any decline in the activity of Shanghai would be likely to result in more business for Hongkong.

We leave Shanghai for the last stage of our long voyage 43 from Europe. As we steam northwards, the coast on our left is low, fringed with banks and without harbours or[109] inlets; it is the edge of the great alluvial plain of China. But on the second day we come in sight of high bare cliffs, backed by dark mountains. We are approaching the promontory of Shantung, an isolated block of highland, cut off sharply by the sea on its eastern edge and sinking on the west to the shifting beds of the Hwang-ho and the maze of waterways which covers the great plain. Towards the southwest corner of the peninsula lies Kiaochau, now a possession of Germany; in the middle of the north side is the old Treaty Port of Chifu; and between Chifu and the extreme eastern point of the promontory is the bay and port of Wei-hai-wei. The map shows us that north of Shantung the coast again becomes low and uniform, difficult of access and without good seaports; but a hundred miles away, across the water, another mountainous peninsula, Liaotung, stretches out to meet Shantung, where a string of little islands partly bridges the broad channel. In Liaotung, as in Shantung, are headlands and deep inlets and harbours; here we have Port Arthur and Talienwan. The two great promontories seem framed by Nature to guard the approach to the Gulf and the capital province of China. On the one, two foreign Powers are established by diplomacy; two more have fought for the control of the other.

We steam round the eastern headland, with its white 44 lighthouse nestling below the gloomy hills, and soon a wide bay begins to open out ahead of us. We have reached the end of our voyage. The bay forms a rough semicircle, about six miles across, ringed in by hills to the south and west, but open to the northeast, except where for two miles across the entrance stretches the island of Liukung, hilly in the west but tapering off to a long low reef in the east. The island and the northeastern bend of the mainland enclose an anchorage sheltered from the northerly gales which sweep in from the sea in winter. This is the harbour of Wei-hai-wei. In the midst of the broad southern channel, a mere dot upon the water, is a rocky islet, I-tao,[110] or Sun Island, crowned with the ruins of strong fortifications. There are other such ruins on the high ground to the north and south, commanding the two entrances to the bay. These relics contain the history of Wei-hai-wei.


It was here that the Chinese fleet, during the war with Japan in 1895, took refuge after the loss of Port Arthur and the defeat off the Yalu. Japanese troops landed further east and captured the forts on the mainland, while their fleet attacked the booms drawn across the wide entrances. The nearness of the mainland was a source of weakness to the island and the Chinese fleet; and Admiral Ting, assailed[111] both from land and sea, was at length compelled to surrender, so that Japan now held the two defences of the passage-way to Peking, and China’s case was hopeless. Early in 1898, Germany obtained a lease of Kiaochau, as compensation for the murder of some missionaries; a few weeks later Russia seized Port Arthur, and in July of the same year Wei-hai-wei was leased to us. It was not merely by chance that the three events followed one another so closely.

Wei-hai-wei was adopted as a naval base and for the protection of our commerce, since Hongkong is over a thousand miles away. The control of a considerable zone on the neighbouring mainland is necessary for the security of the harbour, so that the leased territory covers in all an area of 285 square miles, or about twice the size of the Isle of Wight. The case is like that of Kaulun. 45 We are fortunate in the time of our visit, as the fleet is at anchor in the bay and the crews are practising mining operations; but at another time we might find the place deserted. There is no permanent garrison, as Wei-hai-wei is only to be used as a flying base and practice ground for the fleet. On the island are the marine 46 barracks, which remind us of England, and the naval hospital, which looks quite Chinese, in spite of its English occupants. The hospital is the more important, since our squadrons in the Eastern seas have great need of a sanatorium, and Wei-hai-wei, with its temperate climate, is the most healthy of all our positions in this part of the world. There is a cricket pitch on the parade ground and English sailors are everywhere to be seen in the little town; but we turn a corner and come upon a building which is 47 peculiarly Chinese, an open-air theatre, to remind us that we are merely visitors among a foreign people with customs very different from our own. Let us climb the hill towards the golf links, and crossing over look down on the northern channel. There is no town here, as the shore is rugged and unsheltered and lashed by heavy seas in the[112] winter storms. The island is a natural breakwater and this is the seaward side.


[See page 103.

Victoria: The Water Front.


[See page 105.

A Hakka Woman.


[See page 111.

Naval Hospital, Liukungtao.

We will now cross in the steam launch to the mainland 48 and step ashore at Port Edward. Here is a general view of the new town, with its ugly modern hotel and its European houses scattered about the lower slope of the hill. The territory on the mainland is rather more interesting than (44) the island. It is little more than a strip, ten miles wide, along the coastline of the bay, though we have certain rights over a larger area. Mountain ridges, rising to over a thousand feet, with sharp peaks still higher, cross it from west to east, dark and bare with deep-cut ravines which are torrents in rainy weather. A low isthmus divides the high ground round Port Edward from the main mass of the Territory; through it runs the new road towards Chifu, and at its eastern end, close to the sea, stands the Chinese walled town of Wei-hai-wei, from which the whole district takes its name. Far away in the southwest are the high mountains of Chinese Shantung. The old city, though within sight of Port Edward, is not like the surrounding territory under British control. Let us pay it a short visit to see what a Chinese provincial town is like. We 49 can go in by the eastern gate and look along the street and visit the temple of Confucius, the great Chinese 50 teacher and philosopher, who was a native of the Shantung province. Much of the space within the walls is not built on; the whole town seems sleepy and decaying, and our ideas as to cleanliness and sanitation are quite unknown to the Chinese. In the British area there are no such towns, but hundreds of little agricultural villages scattered about in the low-lying parts of the country. The Chinese peasant here is very different from the coolie or shopkeeper of Hongkong and is governed in a very different way. A Civil Commissioner, assisted by a few Europeans and a small force of police, is responsible for the control of over 150,000 Chinese. At one time there was 51 a regiment of soldiers, recruited from the natives; when[113] this force was disbanded, some of its members became police. Even in the central offices many natives are employed on the staff, while the villages practically rule themselves through the local headmen. Here we 52 have a portrait of a typical headman, and here a group receiving medals as a reward for good service. The 53 Governor of Shantung is the nearest high official representative of China; and we may see him here in his 54 chair of state on his way to pay a formal visit to the Commissioner. Here again is a group of the two high 55 officials and their respective staffs. We are a long way from those early days, in the middle of the nineteenth century, when Chinese officials refused even to write to our representatives on terms of equality.

Let us now see something of the natives and their occupations. It is market day in Port Edward; the streets are alive with crowds, buying, selling and haggling, 56 and crowding round the food stalls with their piles of strange delicacies in bowls and saucers. In one corner they are bargaining for pigs, in another are piled loads of fuel, scrub oak and fir, brought in from the country round on the backs of donkeys and mules. There is no coal, and the peasant has stripped the country of most of its woods, here as in other parts of China. Here again we have a 57 village market and a group of peasants with sacks of grain and bundles of brushwood for sale. Outside the village 58 they are threshing the grain in a primitive way with a roller, and drying peanuts on the threshing floor. Everywhere, on the banks of the streams, we find the village 59 washing-places, where clothes are washed and pounded in the fashion which the Chinese adopt all the world over. 60 Down on the shore we see the fishermen cutting up sharks for the fins, which are greatly prized by the Chinese as a relish. Mat’ou was a fishing village on the site of the present port before the Japanese occupation, and fish of all kinds swarm in the neighbouring seas. Agriculture and fishing are still the main business of the people. It is[114] 61 true that here at Port Edward we see them repairing junks, and a great quantity of timber is lying about; but the timber must all be brought from the Yalu river, 62 and the old iron which is piled near has been salved from the sunken warships at Port Arthur. Notice the pony, with his load of brushwood, in the foreground. There are as yet no materials for local industries, and it does not seem likely that Wei-hai-wei, in its isolated corner, will grow into a great commercial centre. None the less we may see an important European settlement develop on the site of the old native fishing village. It is not too far away from Peking and Shanghai; the rainfall in the year is about the same as in London, though there are far fewer rainy days, as the rain falls more in heavy showers; while the summer is dry, and cooler than in most of China. There is already a school for European boys at Port Edward, and it seems well fitted as a summer watering-place for those whose work takes them to the Far East. In winter it is less pleasant. The northern gales bring 63 snow, as we see in this picture, and the cold is so severe that the thick ice is collected, as in northern Europe, to be stored for use in summer.

We have visited Canton and Shanghai because there we find a few Englishmen, living on Chinese soil, but under their own laws and with certain limited powers of self-government. In Shanghai, even these privileges are not exclusive, as they are shared with other foreigners; and they do not imply any interference with the political sovereignty of China. Wei-hai-wei and the New Territory behind Kaulun we govern, but only on lease; Hongkong and the peninsula of Kaulun alone are ours in full possession. So we return to Hongkong, as the last outpost of British power in the Far East and the real terminus of our voyage.

Let us pause here, on the outer rim of our Eastern 64 Empire, and try to realize its position with reference to the great lines of the world’s traffic. South of us lies[115] the route which we have traced from Singapore and India; while another route, as yet in its infancy, leads past Borneo to Australia. Across the Pacific, from the eastward, come the steamers from British Columbia and San Francisco; and soon, when the Panama Canal is finished, there will be direct communication from the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. So we see a great concentration of routes on our Eastern Empire, in the region where the influences of India and China meet and overlap. The key to this frontier region is in Singapore, but behind Singapore lies India.

We have approached India from the northwest, by the passage of the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal; and we have seen how our interests in the Mediterranean, at first purely European, have become more and more related to the control of the seaway to India. Southwest is the older route, by way of the Atlantic and the Cape, a route still valuable for some purposes. Here the control of the route led us on to the occupation of the neighbouring mainland of Africa. Southeast again we reach Australia, either directly across the ocean or threading the island group of Malaya; while the Indian Ocean has its own system of minor local routes. So we have lines of traffic from every part of the world converging on the Indian region, with its vast trade and swarming population; the natural junction of all these sea roads, great and small, is Colombo, close to the mainland of the Peninsula, yet at the same time well out in the open sea, the centre of control from which India reaches out in every direction and dominates the Indian Ocean.


List of Slides

[The titles printed in heavy type are those of the Maps and Illustrations appearing in the book.]


Slide No
  1. Map of the Roads from Europe to the East.
  2. Map of Strait of Gibraltar.
  3. Distant view of Gibraltar.
  4. Nearer view of Gibraltar.
  5. Gibraltar, Town and Harbour.
  6. Map of Gibraltar.
  7. The Rock from Devil’s Tower Road.
  8. The Causeway and Bay from above.
  9. Southport Street.
10. The Old Moorish Castle.
11. Outside one of the Galleries.
12. View from a Gallery Window.
13. The Isthmus and Linea from the Galleries.
14. Water Catchment on North Peak.
15. The South Gate.
16. In the Alameda Gardens.
17. Troops, on parade.
18. The Southern Suburb, from the Alameda Gardens.
19. The Dockyard, from Europa Main Road.
20. Europa Pass.
21. The Lighthouse, Europa Point.
22. The Rock, from the Governor’s Cottage.
23. The Rock and Europa Advance Battery.
24. The Ridge, looking North.
25. Catalan Bay.
26. Genoese Fishermen, Catalan Bay.
27. The Signal Station, Gibraltar.
28. Map of the Western Mediterranean and the Channel.
29. Map of Malta and the Mediterranean.
30. Plan of Valetta Harbour.
31. Valetta, from the Sea.
32. Fort Ricasoli.
33. Fort St. Angelo.
34. Valetta Harbour, looking towards the Sea.
35. Valetta Harbour, from the Lower Baracca.
36. Sadtar San Giovanni, Valetta.
37. Portrait of a Maltese Gentleman.
[118] 38. Maltese Lady, in faldetta.
39. The Armoury Corridor, Governor’s Palace.
40. Connaught Hospital, Citta Vecchia.
41. House in Balzan Village.
42. Auberge de Castile.
43. The Cathedral of St. John.
44. The Old Aqueduct.
45. View towards Citta Vecchia.
46. View from Ramparts of Citta Vecchia.
47. Underground Granaries, Valetta.
48. Working in the Granaries.
49. Gateway of Citta Vecchia.
50. A Norman House.
51. Roman Villa.
52. Maltese Regiment, at drill.
53. Map of the Maltese Islands.
54. Rabato, from the East.
55. The Cathedral, Rabato.
56. View across Country, from Rabato.
57. Lacemakers, Gozo.
58. Old House, Gozo.
59. Gigantea, Gozo.
60. Hagar Kim, Malta; the North Apse.


  1. Map of Railway from Calais to Brindisi.
  2. Map of the Eastern Mediterranean.
  3. Phœnician Rock Tomb, Cyprus.
  4. Ruins of Temple of Zeus.
  5. Slag Heaps at Scariotissa.
  6. Limassol.
  7. Othello’s Tower, Famagusta.
  8. Old Lusignan Palace, Famagusta.
  9. St. Sophia, exterior.
10. St. Sophia, interior.
11. In the Monastery of Kikko.
12. Abbey of Bella Paise.
13. The Cloisters, Bella Paise.
14. Modern Greek Church.
15. A Tekkye: Shrine of Mohammed’s Aunt.
16. Map of Cyprus.
17. View of Nicosia and the Messaoria.
18. Famagusta, from the roof of St. Sophia.
19. Troodos, from the South.
20. Vineyard near Limassol.
21. Harvesters: Noonday Siesta.
22. Forest Guards.
23. Threshing Floor, with Oxen.
[119] 24. Orange Orchards of Lefca.
25. Turkish Villager, at Well.
26. Bronze Cannon and Stone Cannon Balls.
27. Site of Ancient Salamis.
28. View of Old Famagusta.
29. St. Hilarion.
30. St. Hilarion, the Banqueting Hall.
31. Guard at St Hilarion.
32. Bay of Salamis.
33. The Landing Stage, Famagusta.
34. Railway Station.
35. Map of Euphrates Valley Railway.
36. Coaling at Port Said.
37. Street in Port Said.
38. Suez Canal Offices, Port Said.
39. Steamer in Suez Canal.
40. One of the Bitter Lakes.
41. Map of Lower Egypt.
42. The Dam at Assuan.
43. A Pyramid.
44. Southern end of the Suez Canal.
45. Egyptian Bumboats at Suez.
46. Map of Upper Egypt.
47. Map of Aden.
48. The Signal Station, Aden.
49. Off Steamer Point, Aden.
50. Arab Boats, Aden.
51. The Akaba; Aden.
52. In the Akaba; the Main Pass.
53. Aden, from the top of Shumshun.
54. A Tank, Aden.
55. A Tank, Aden.
56. A Well at Sheik Othman.
57. Scene at Sheik Othman.
58. The Camel Market, Aden.
59. Shipping Camels for Somaliland.


  1. Berbera, from the Sea.
  2. The Shah Jehan.
  3. Part of the Native Town, Berbera.
  4. A Spring at Duba.
  5. Reservoir of hot water Spring.
  6. Plateau, on the Road to Sheikh.
  7. Stream between Lower Sheikh and Sheikh.
  8. A Native Caller, at Sheikh.
  9. View from Bungalow of Political Officer, Sheikh.
10. View from Sheikh, looking towards Berbera.
[120] 11. Ant Hills on the Road to Wagga.
12. Ant Hill and Horseman.
13. Vegetation on the Slopes of Wagga.
14. View from Wagga, looking East.
15. View from Wagga, looking West.
16. Portrait of Somali Guide.
17. Map of Somaliland.
18. Watering Camels.
19. Cattle, round the Wells.
20. Watering Cattle.
21. Loaded Baggage-Camel.
22. Group of Somalis.
23. Mounted Somalis.
24. Havildars of Coast Police.
25. Coast Police, Review Order.
26. Drummers and Buglers, 6th Battalion King’s African Rifles.
27. C. Company: 6th King’s African Rifles.
28. Map of the Indian Ocean.
29. Palace of Sultan, Zanzibar.
30. Cathedral, Zanzibar.
31. Group of Natives, Zanzibar.
32. Zanzibar, from the Sea.
33. A Street in Zanzibar.
34. Mombasa, from the Sea.
35. Plan of Mombasa and Kilindini Harbours.
36. The Old Caravan Route.
37. Uganda Railway.
38. Port Louis, Mauritius.
39. Map of Mauritius.
40. Port Louis, general view.
41. Moka Mountains.
42. Pieterboth Head.
43. Chamarel Waterfall.
44. Savanne River, Falls.
45. Railway Viaduct.
46. Sugar Estate.
47. Indians and Hut.
48. Port Louis after a Cyclone.
49. Map of Mauritius, the Seychelles, Zanzibar and Pemba on the same scale.
50. View of Victoria, Seychelles.
51. Albert Street, Victoria.
52. Oil Mill and Palms, Seychelles.
53. Coco-de-mer palm.
54. Coco-de-mer.
55. Giant Tortoise.
56. Maldive Trading Fleet.
57. Sultan of Maldives, on British Warship.
58. The Sultan, receiving a British Official.
59. Maldive Embassy to Ceylon.



  1. Approaching Colombo.
  2. Plan of Colombo Harbour.
  3. The Coast Railway to Galle.
  4. Galle Lighthouse.
  5. Fishing Boats, Galle.
  6. Hindu Temple, Galle.
  7. View of Trincomali.
  8. Map of Ceylon.
  9. Sinhalese in the Street, Colombo.
10. Portrait of Sinhalese Gentleman.
11. Sinhalese, with Native Theatre.
12. Sinhalese Girl.
13. Coolies road-breaking, Colombo.
14. Tamil Coolie, in Ricksha.
15. Native Bullock Carts.
16. Open-air Market in the Pettah.
17. Main Street in the Pettah.
18. Hindu Temples in the Pettah.
19. Washing-place, on the Lake, Colombo.
20. Canal from Colombo to Negombo.
21. Ploughing Padi-field, with Buffalo.
22. Native House, with Palms.
23. Palmyra Palms.
24. Tea picking.
25. Tea-withering House.
26. View of Kandy and the Lake.
27. Street in Kandy.
28. Group of Kandyan Chiefs.
29. Portrait of a Chief.
30. Audience Hall, Kandy.
31. Vedda Huts, in Forest.
32. Vedda Rock Shelter.
33. Vedda with Bow.
34. Temple of the Tooth, exterior.
35. Entrance to Temple of the Tooth.
36. Temple of the Tooth, interior.
37. A Buddha.
38. The Ruanweli Dagoba.
39. The Ruanweli Dagoba, near view.
40. The Thuparama Dagoba.
41. Isurumuniya Rock Temple.
42. Ruins with Moonstone.
43. Entrance to the Bo Tree, Anuradhapura.
44. The Bo Tree.
45. Buddhist Priests.
46. Interior of Temple.
47. Dumbara cloth-weaving, Kandy.
48. Native Jewellers at work.
[122] 49. Yapahu Native School.
50. Yapahu Native School.
51. Public Letter-writer, Colombo.
52. Bamboos, Peradeniya.
53. Talipot Palm.
54. Talipot Palm, in bloom.
55. Scribe with Palm-leaf Book.
56. Rainfall Map of Ceylon.
57. Forest, Plantation and Waterfalls.
58. Patana Country.
59. Patana Country with Cattle.
60. Mail Coach.
61. An Elephant Drive.
62. Embarking on Canoe.
63. On the Kalu Ganga.
64. Elephants bathing.


  1. Map of Malay Peninsula, political.
  2. Map of Malaya.
  3. An Island in the Cocos.
  4. Flying-fish Cove, Christmas Island.
  5. The Quarries, Christmas Island.
  6. Government House, Singapore.
  7. Singapore Roadstead.
  8. Plan of Singapore.
  9. The River, Singapore.
10. Commercial Square.
11. Cathedral and Cricket Ground.
12. A Chinese Residence.
13. Chinese Garden with Lilies.
14. Pineapple-tinning Factory.
15. Botanical Gardens, Singapore.
16. The River, Malacca.
17. Street in Malacca.
18. Group of Native Rulers and British Officials.
19. Palace of Sultan of Selangor.
20. British Residency, Pahang.
21. Map of Malay Peninsula, physical.
22. A Forest Trail.
23. On the Pahang Road.
24. Malay Houseboats, on the Pahang River.
25. Bamboo Raft.
26. Mouth of Krian River.
27. A Padi Field.
28. Malay House.
29. Malay House.
30. A Street in a Malay Town.
[123] 31. Group of Malays, on Plantation.
32. Group of Malays.
33. New Mosque, Kuala Lumpur.
34. Village Mosque.
35. The Forest, from the Railway.
36. Fern and Creeper in the Jungle.
37. Young Rubber Trees.
38. Rubber Plantation.
39. Collecting Latex.
40. Tamil Coolies, and Planter’s Bungalow.
41. A Tin Mine.
42. A Tin Mine.
43. Palace of Sultan of Kelantan.
44. Sakai.
45. Map of British Isles on Borneo.
46. View of Brunei.
47. A Street in Brunei.
48. Market Boats, Brunei.
49. Village of Brassworkers, Brunei.
50. Map of British North Borneo.
51. Jesselton, British North Borneo.
52. Portrait of Rahman, Captain of the Petrel.
53. Pitcher Plants.
54. Mount Kinabalu and the Abai River.
55. A Raft Race.
56. A Sumpitan Match.
57. Group of Muruts with Sumpitans.
58. Sea Dyaks, from Sarawak.
59. Clearing the Jungle.
60. Picking and carrying Tobacco.
61. The Tanu; before the Signal.
62. Group of Hill Dusuns.
63. Sandakan.


  1. Map of South East China.
  2. Map of Hongkong Island.
  3. Panorama of the Peak, Hongkong.
  4. Panorama of the Peak, further East.
  5. Victoria Harbour and Stonecutter Island.
  6. Victoria Harbour, and Kaulun.
  7. Victoria Harbour, and the Lai-i-mun.
  8. Map of Hongkong and the New Territory.
  9. Queen’s Road, Victoria.
10. Pottinger Street, Victoria.
11. Hongkong and Shanghai Bank.
12. Statue of Queen Victoria.
13. A Chinese Street, on New Year’s Day.
14. Coolies road-mending.
15. Chinese Boats, on the Water-Front.
16. View from Battery Path.
[124] 17. Government House, Victoria.
18. Stanley Village, Hongkong.
19. Fishing at Aberdeen, Hongkong.
20. Reclaiming Land for Docks, Kaulun.
21. Granite Quarries, Kaulun.
22. Kaulun Observatory.
23. The Storm Signal.
24. Rice Fields in the New Territory.
25. Rice Fields in the New Territory.
26. Cattle Depôt, near Kaulun.
27. Market Street, Tai-wo-shi.
28. The Village Well, Tai-wo-shi.
29. Potter at Wun-yin.
30. Portrait of Hakka Woman, Wun-yin.
31. Reservoir in the New Territory.
32. Chinese Boats, on Canton River.
33. View from the Shameen, Canton.
34. The English Church, Canton.
35. The Creek, Canton.
36. The English Bridge, Canton.
37. The Great Flowery Pagoda.
38. Inside the British Yamen.
39. Gardens of the British Yamen.
40. Old Shanghai.
41. On the Bund, Shanghai.
42. Chart of the Hwangpu and Shanghai.
43. Map of North East China.
44. Map of Wei-hai-wei.
45. British Fleet at Wei-hai-wei.
46. Naval Hospital, Liukungtao.
47. Chinese open-air Theatre.
48. Panorama of Port Edward.
49. Interior of Wei-hai-wei City.
50. Temple of Confucius.
51. Chinese Guards.
52. Headman of Feng-lin Village.
53. Headmen receiving Medals.
54. Visit of Governor of Shantung.
55. Governor of Shantung and British Commissioner.
56. A Food Stall on Market Day, Port Edward.
57. Group of Villagers, Feng-lin.
58. Threshing Grain with a Roller.
59. A Village Washing-Place.
60. Shark Fishers.
61. Repairing Junks, Port Edward.
62. Old Iron, Port Edward.
63. Winter Scene.
64. Map of World Routes to the East.

George Philip & Son, Ltd., Printers, London.


Some of the illustrations were printed sideways in the original book. These have been rotated to the horizontal in this etext.

Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within the text and consultation of external sources.

Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text, and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

The original cover image has been slightly modified. It had damage in the top left corner. This section of the cover image has been overlaid with a rotated version of the top right corner section. This modified cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Pg 8: ‘Bu early in’ replaced by ‘But early in’.
Pg 38: ‘or the African’ replaced by ‘on the African’.
Pg 55: ‘peop e as colonists’ replaced by ‘people as colonists’.
Pg 80: ‘be waste of time’ replaced by ‘be a waste of time’.
Pg 95: ‘with the sumptian’ replaced by ‘with the sumpitan’.
Pg 97: ‘direct in ervention’ replaced by ‘direct intervention’.
Pg 117: ‘Maps and Illustration’ replaced by ‘Maps and Illustrations’.
Pg 121: ‘49. apahu Native’ replaced by ‘49. Yapahu Native’.