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VEGETABLE AND ANIMAL KINGDOM.
The soil of Borneo is very fertile, producing all that has made Sumatra and Java so famous. The flora is extensive and varied, the forests abounding in all the valuable woods and plants of the tropics, while the cultivation of the rattan, bamboo, banana, betel nut, cocoanut, bread-fruit, sugar-cane, tobacco, cotton, lemon, orange, clove, rice, nutmeg, ginger and opium poppy are but a portion of the valuable products. The sago and date-palm, the ebony, gutta percha, toa, tomano, prima vera, sandal, camphor and cinnamon trees adorn the forests.
The animal and mineral kingdoms are well represented; the former embracing the elephant and hippopotami, the rhinoceros, tiger and panther, the ourangutan and the different species of the monkey tribe, roam through the vast forests or prowl among the jungles. In the latter kingdom we find gold, silver, lead, antimony, tin, iron and coal. The beds of many of the streams teem with that valuable gem, the diamond, mining for which has formed one of the industries on this island for ages.
Nor are the reptilian, finny or feathered species
without an extensive representation. The swamps, morasses and forests are the homes of the great python, descending the scale through numerous species to the little coralilla, whose bite is certain death. The seas, rivers and bays teem with fish of all the species known in the tropics. Birds of the most beautiful and valuable plumage abound in the forest, while an endless variety of the aquatic kind frequent the pools, lakes and rivers.
One of the most valuable industries on the island of Borneo is diamond mining—a business followed in some countries for ages past. Borneo is not alone in her diamond-fields, as Sumatra, Australia and Tasmania have furnished some valuable gems. One sound in the southwestern portion of Borneo, in the district of Mattan, and now in possession of the rajah of that region, weighs 367 carats, and is valued at something over $1,000,000. Golconda, a district between Cape Cormorin and the Bay of Bengal, has been a celebrated diamondfield for ages past. Tavenier described a gem found in this region and taken possession of by the Great Mogul, as weighing 900 carats. The diamond-fields of Brazil, located in the Sierra de Frio, in the province of Minas Geraes, were discovered in 1728. A gem found here, and now belonging to the king of Portugal, weighs 1,680 carats, valued by some experts at the modest sum of $28,oooooo. As a carat in diamond weight is equal to the 150th part of an ounce Troy, and nearly the 137th part of an averdupois ounce, we have in this diamond a gem weighing nearly a pound Troy, and about fourfifths of a pound averdupois. Brazil was for many years the principal diamond mining country, furnishing stones of great beauty and in great numbers to the world. In 1868 they were discovered in South Africa, where the district as far as known contains an area of 17,000 square miles. Many of the diamonds from this locality are of a yellowish cast, and not near so valuable as those found in other countries. The largest stone found
A fleet descry’d
XTENDING in an oblique direction, to the northwest, lying almost immediately under the equator, running from latitude 6 deg. Io min., south to 5 deg. 40 min. north, and between longitudes 95 deg. Io min. and 107 deg. IO min. east, is located the island of Sumatra. Twenty to thirty islands along the greater one's shores could be enumerated, but are of no special importance at present. Next to Borneo in size, having an area of about 160,000 square miles, with 4,500,000 people, Sumatra is a garden-spot, unsurpassed in valuable productions, except perhaps by Java. Its position is easily remembered. Its northern portion is separated from the Malayan peninsula on the east by the Strait of Mallaca; on the west it is bounded by the Indian Ocean; on the south it is