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Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and eBook

James Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 712 pages of information about Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and.

“In the sixth year of his reign (1407), Yung-l[)o], of the Ming dynasty, sent an ambassador extraordinary, Ching-Ho and others, to transmit the Imperial mandate to the King A-l[)e]e-j[)o]-nai-wah, ordering him to present numerous and valuable offerings and banners to the monastery, and to erect a stone tablet, and rewarding him by his appointment as tribute bearer; A-l[)e]e-j[)o]-nai-wurh ungratefully refusing to comply, they seized him, in order to bring him to terms, and chose from among his nearest of kin A-pa-nae-na, and set him on the throne.  For fourteen years, Teen-ching, Kwa-wa (Java), Mwan-che-kea, Soo-mun-ta-che (Sumatra), and other countries, sent tribute in the tenth year of Chin-tung, and the third year of Teen-shun they again sent tribute."[1]

[Footnote 1:  There is here some confusion in the chronology; as Teen-shun reigned before Ching-tung.]

“I have heard from an American, A-pe-le[1], that Se[)i]h-lan was the original country of Teen-chuh (India), and that which is now called Woo-yin-too was Teen-ch[)u]h, but in the course of time the names have become confused.  According to the records of the later Han dynasty, Teen-ch[)u]h was considered the Shin-t[)u]h, and that the name is not that of an island, but of the whole country.  I do not know what proof there is for A-pe-le’s statement.”

[Footnote 1:  Mr. Abeel, an American missionary.]

CHAP.  IV.

CEYLON AS KNOWN TO THE MOORS, GENOESE, AND VENETIANS.

The rapid survey of the commerce of India during the middle ages, which it has been necessary to introduce into the preceding narrative, will also serve to throw light on a subject hitherto but imperfectly investigated.

The most remarkable of the many tribes which inhabit Ceylon are the Mahometans, or, as they are generally called on the island, the “Moor-men,” energetic and industrious communities of whom are found on all parts of the coast, but whose origin, adventures, and arrival are amongst the historical mysteries of Ceylon.

The meaningless designation of “Moors,” applied to them, is the generic term by which it was customary at one time, in Europe, to describe a Mahometan, from whatsoever country he came, as the word Gentoo[1] was formerly applied in England to the inhabitants of Hindustan, without distinction of race.  The practice probably originated from the Spaniards having given that name to the followers of the Prophet, who, traversing Morocco, overran the peninsula in the seventh and eighth centuries.[2] The epithet was borrowed by the Portuguese, who, after their discovery of the passage by the Cape of Good Hope, bestowed it indiscriminately upon the Arabs and their descendants, whom, in the sixteenth century, they found established as traders in every port on the Asian and African coast, and whom they had good reason to regard as their most formidable competitors for the commerce of the East.

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