Leaving Greenland out of consideration, Borneo is the second largest island on the globe, the greater part of it, southern and eastern, belonging to Holland. In a recent geological period this island as well as Java and Sumatra formed part of Asia. A glance at the map shows that Borneo is drained by rivers which originate in the central region near each other, the greater by far being in Dutch territory, some of them navigable to large steam launches for 500 or 600 kilometres. The principal chain of mountains runs, roughly speaking, from northeast to southwest, the average height being perhaps 1,000-1,500 metres, with higher peaks now and then. There are also ranges from east and west. The remainder is irregular hilly country, with low swampy coasts. The highest mountain is Kinabalu, in the north, about 4,500 metres above the sea and composed of "porphyritic granite and igneous rocks." There are no active volcanoes. The whole island is covered with forest vegetation from the coasts to the tops of the hills and ranges.

The climate is humid and warm and remarkably even, the thermometer in the inland rarely reaching above 85 F. in the shade. Rain is copious most of the year; at night it sometimes rains continuously; but a day of uninterrupted downpour did not occur during my two years of travel. It comes in showers, usually lasting an hour or two, when it clears as suddenly as it began, and within half an hour all is dry again. In the interior, on account of the vast jungles, except in case of thunderstorms, which are rare, there is no wind, but on the coasts one may encounter storms in the time of both the northeast and the southwest monsoons. Though Borneo and the central mountains of New Guinea have the greatest rainfall in the Malay Archipelago, there is a distinct dry season, which is mostly felt during April, May, and June, but is less noticeable in the central parts. As regards the distribution of rain and dry weather, some difference was experienced as between the two years, and a planter of several years' experience in the south told me that one year is not like another. In spite of the general supposition to the contrary the climate of Borneo is quite pleasant, and probably less unhealthful than most equatorial regions, particularly in the central part where malaria is rare and prickly heat does not occur.

Borneo has very many useful trees, notably hard woods. Rubber is still a source of income to the Malays and Dayaks, and the rattan and bamboo, on which the very existence of the natives depends, grow everywhere. The sago-palm and a great number of valuable wild fruits are found, such as the famous durian, mangosteen, lansat, rambutan, and others. The climate seems to be specially suited to fruit, the pineapple and pomelo reaching their highest perfection here. The coconut-palm thrives on the island. Borneo is famous for its orchids and most of the species of pitcher-plants (nepenthes) are found here, the largest of which will hold two "quarts" of water.

The elephant, rhinoceros, tapir, wild cattle, and many other kinds of smaller animals of Asia are found in Borneo. No Indian tigers are in the country, though many varieties of the cat family are there, among them the beautiful large felis nebulosa. Wild pigs of many species roam the jungle in abundance. Several kinds of mammals are peculiar to the island, among which may be mentioned the long-nosed monkey (nasalis larvatus). There are over 550 species of birds, but the individuals of the species are not numerous; the pheasant family is especially gorgeous in form and colour. The rivers and the surrounding sea swarm with fish of many kinds, furnishing an abundance of food, although generally not very palatable. The djelavat, in flavour not unlike salmon, and the salap, both of which I met in the upper courses of the rivers Samba, Barito, and Mahakam, are notable exceptions.

The mineral resources of Borneo are very considerable; coal, gold, iron, diamonds, tin, and antimony are among the most valuable. Anthracite coal is not found in the country, that which is in evidence being from the tertiary period. Gold is everywhere, but thus far is not found in sufficient quantity to pay. Formerly the natives of the upper Kotawaringin district had to pay the Sultan gold as a tax. A mining engineer told me that in Martapura, the principal diamond-field, one may find gold, platinum, and diamonds while washing one pan.

The total population of the island is probably 3,000,000. As regards the South and Eastern Division of Dutch Borneo - roughly half of the island - to which my travels were confined, the census returns of 1914 give in round figures a total of 906,000 people, of whom 800 are Europeans (470 men and 330 women), 86,000 Chinese, 817,000 Dayaks and Malays, and 2,650 Arabs and other aliens. Of these peoples no less than 600,000 live in a comparatively small area of the southeast, the districts of Oeloe Soengei and Bandjermasin. These are nearly all Malays, only 4,000 or 5,000 being Dayaks, who probably do not form the majority of the 217,000 that make up the remainder of the native population of the Division.

On account of the small white population and insufficient means of communication, which is nearly all by river, the natural resources of Dutch Borneo are still in the infancy of development. The petroleum industry has reached important proportions, but development of the mineral wealth has hardly begun. In 1917 a government commission, having the location of iron and gold especially in view, was sent to explore the mineral possibilities of the Schwaner Mountains. In the alluvial country along the rivers are vast future possibilities for rational agriculture, by clearing the jungle where at present the Malays and Dayaks pursue their primitive operations of planting rice in holes made with a pointed stick.

The early history of Borneo is obscure. Nothing in that regard can be learned from its present barbarous natives who have no written records, and few of whom have any conception of the island as a geographical unit. Although the Chinese had early knowledge of, and dealings with, Borneo, there seems little doubt that the country was first colonised by Hindu Javanese from Modjopahit, the most important of the several kingdoms which Hindus began to found in the early centuries after Christ. Modjopahit enclosed the region round the present Soerabaia in East Java, and it was easy to reach Borneo from there, to-day distant only twenty-seven hours by steamer. These first settlers in Borneo professed Hinduism and to some extent Buddhism. They founded several small kingdoms, among them Bandjermasin, Pasir, and Kutei, also Brunei on the north coast. But another race came, the Malays, who with their roving disposition extended their influence in the coast countries and began to form states. Then Islamism appeared in the Orient and changed conditions. Arabs, sword in hand, converted Java, and as far as they could, destroyed temples, monuments, and statues. The Malays, too, became Mohammedans and the sway of Islam spread more or less over the whole Malay Archipelago. With the fall of Modjopahit in 1478 the last vestige of Hindu Javanese influence in Borneo disappeared.

The Malays established sultanates with the same kind of government that is habitual with Mohammedans, based on oppression of the natives by the levying of tribute with the complement of strife, intrigue, and non-progress. In the course of time the Malays have not only absorbed the Hindu Javanese, but also largely the Bugis, who had founded a state on the west coast, and in our time they are gradually pushing back the Dayaks and slowly but surely absorbing them. The Chinese have also played a prominent part in the colonisation of Borneo, having early developed gold and diamond mines and established trade, and though at times they have been unruly, they are today an element much appreciated by the Dutch in the development of the country.

As regards the time when European influence appeared in Borneo, the small sultanate of Brunei in the north was the first to come in contact with Europeans. Pigafetta, with the survivors of Magellan's expedition, arrived here from the Moluccas in 1521, and was the first to give an account of it to the Western world. He calls it "Bornei," which later, with a slight change, became the name of the whole island. The ever-present Portuguese early established trade relations with the sultanate. Since the Napoleonic wars, when the East Indian colonies were returned to Holland, the Dutch have gradually extended their rule in Borneo to include two-thirds of the island. In the remainder the British have consolidated their interests, and in 1906, the European occupation of Borneo was completed. The distribution of territory has roughly been placed thus: Dutch Borneo, seventy per cent; Sarawak and Brunei, twenty per cent; British North Borneo, ten per cent.

To the world at large Borneo is probably best known through the romance surrounding the name of James Brooke, who became Raja of Sarawak, in 1841. His story has often been told, but a brief account may not be out of place. He had been to the Far East and its fascination, together with an impulse to benefit the natives, drew him back again. After resigning his commission in the army of the British East India Company, he built his own yacht of 140 tons, practised his crew in the Mediterranean and then set sail for the Malay Archipelago. In his Proposed Exploring Expedition to the Asiatic Archipelago, 1838, are found these stirring words which strike a responsive chord in the heart of every true explorer:

"Imagination whispers to ambition that there are yet lands unknown which might be discovered. Tell me, would not a man's life be well spent - tell me, would it not be well sacrificed in an endeavour to explore these regions? When I think of dangers and death I think of them only because they would remove me from such a field for ambition, for energy, and for knowledge." [*]

[Footnote *: The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. "Dido" for the Suppression of Piracy, by Captain H. Keppel, p. 374. Harper's, New York, 1846.]

Mr. Brooke arrived at Sarawak where he remained some time, surveying the coast and studying the people. In those days Malay pirates rendered the country dangerous to approach and several ships had been lost and their crews murdered. One of the chronic rebellions against the Sultan of Brunei was raging at the time, and Mr. Brooke was asked to suppress it, was made Raja, and defeated the rebels, cleared the river of pirates and established order.

Though Mohammedan laws were maintained in Sarawak, the worst abuses were purged out, as for instance, the death penalty for conjugal infidelity, and the sufficiency of a fine in extenuation of a murder. As for the Dayaks who formerly were cheated by Malay traders and robbed by Malay chiefs, they were permitted to enjoy absolute safety. Both Raja Brooke and his nephew, who succeeded him in the same spirit, followed the policy of making use of the natives themselves in governing, and Sarawak to-day enjoys the distinction of being a country where the interests of the natives are guarded with greater care than those of "the minority of superior race." Resting on the good-will of the natives and their uplift, the government of the two white Rajas has been remarkably successful.

The Dutch, with their much larger possessions, in a similar way have invoked the co-operation of the native chiefs. Their government is also largely paternal, which is the form best suited to the circumstances. The Malay Sultans maintain power under Dutch control and receive their income from the government, which has abolished many abuses. As for the pagan tribes, they are treated with admirable justice.

Well administered by Europeans as Borneo undoubtedly is, the question may well arise as to whether the natives are not becoming sufficiently civilised to render purposeless expeditions to study them. To this may be answered that in a country so vast, where white men are comparatively few in number, the aborigines in the more remote part are still very little affected by outside influence. The geographical features are an important factor here. In the immense extent of forest vegetation which covers the land from the sea to the tops of the mountains, the rivers are the only highways, and in their upper courses, on account of rapids and waterfalls, travel is difficult and often dangerous. Although in the last quarter of a century much has been accomplished by ethnology, still for years to come Borneo, especially the Dutch part of it, will remain a prolific field for research. The tribes are difficult to classify, and in Dutch Borneo undoubtedly additional groups are to be found. The Muruts in the north, who use irrigation in their rice culture and show physical differences from the others, are still little known. Many tribes in Dutch Borneo have never been studied. So recently as 1913 Mr. Harry C. Raven, an American zoological collector, in crossing the peninsula that springs forth on the east coast about 1 N.L., came across natives, of the Basap tribe, who had not before been in contact with whites. The problem of the Indonesians is far from solved, nor is it known who the original inhabitants of Borneo were, Negritos or others, and what role, if any, the ancestors of the Polynesians played remains to be discovered.

The generally accepted idea has been that the Malays inhabit the coasts and the Dayaks the interior. This is not strictly correct because the racial problems of the island are much more complicated. Doctor A.C. Haddon recognises five principal groups of people in Sarawak, Punan, Kenyah-Kayan, Iban or Sea Dayak, Malay, and the remaining tribes he comprehends under the noncommittal name Klemantan. He distinguishes two main races, a dolichocephalic and a brachycephalic, terming the former Indonesian, the latter Proto-Malay.

Doctor A.W. Nieuwenhuis, who about the end of the last century made important researches in the upper parts of the Kapuas and Mahakam Rivers and at Apo Kayan, found the Ot-Danum, Bahau-Kenyah, and Punan to be three distinct groups of that region. Doctor Kohlbrugge and Doctor Haddon consider the Ot-Danums as Indonesians, to whom the former also consigns the Kayans and the Punans. [*] Doctors Hose and McDougall, who in their Pagan Tribes of Borneo have contributed much to the ethnology of the island, have convincingly shown that the Ibans (Sea Dayaks) are recent immigrants, probably of only two hundred years ago, from Sumatra, and are Proto-Malays. They hold the view that the Kayans have imparted to the Kenyahs and other tribes the "principal elements of the peculiar culture which they now have in common."

[Footnote *: Quoted from Pagan Tribes in Borneo, II, p. 316]

The Malays undoubtedly were the first to employ the word Dayak as a designation for the native tribes except the nomadic, and in this they have been followed by both the Dutch and the British. The word, which makes its appearance in the latter part of the eighteenth century, is derived from a Sarawak word, dayah, man, and is therefore, as Ling Roth says, a generic term for man. The tribes do not call themselves Dayaks, and to use the designation as an anthropological descriptive is an inadmissible generalisation. Nevertheless, in the general conception the word has come to mean all the natives of Borneo except the Malays and the nomadic peoples, in the same way as American Indian stands for the multitude of tribes distributed over a continent. In this sense, for the sake of convenience, I shall myself use the word, but to apply it indiscriminately to anthropological matters is as unsatisfactory as if one should describe a certain tribe in the new world merely as American Indian.