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Menangkabos

MENANGKABOS, the most civilized of all the true Malays of Sumatra, inhabiting the mountains above Padang. Their district is regarded as the cradle of the Malay race, and thence began, about 1160, those migrations which ended in the true Malays becoming the dominant race throughout the peninsula and the Malay Archipelago. The Menangkabos are said to be the original conquerors of the island, and the real form of the word is Menang-Karbau (" victory of the buffalo "), in reference to a local legend of a fight between a Sumatran and Javanese buffalo, ending in victory for the former. Though converts to Islam, the ancient confederate village communes and the matriarchal system still exist. The people are divided into clans, the chiefs together forming the district council. Early in the 19th century a religious sect was founded among the Manangkabos, known as " Padris " from its zealous proselytism, or Orang puti (white men) from the converts being dressed in white. The tendency was towards asceticism, the chief tenet being the prohibition of opium, the use of which was made a capital offence. The sect brought a large portion of the interior of Sumatra under its rule, but the neighbouring tribes asked the Dutch to protect them, and this led to the Netherlands government acquiring the Menangkabo territory.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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