King's College London
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Voyage to Madagascar: Thomas Locke Lewis and the Anglo-Merina Treaty of 1817

Social and historical antecedents

Contemporary map showing interpretation of how the Banjar people may have come to colonise Madagascar from BorneoContemporary map showing interpretation of how the Banjar people may have come to colonise Madagascar from BorneoLewis takes a distinct interest in the social behaviour and appearance of the island inhabitants he meets.

From these observations he sometimes draws religious and historical comparisons. The purpose of drawing these parallels appears to have been to determine where the island people may have come from, and what cultures and social practices had historically influenced them.

For example, when describing the hair of the native inhabitants, Lewis makes comparison to the Nazarites and the biblical Samson, noting that Nazarites allowed their hair to grow without cutting it.

A headdress that Lewis likens to a turban was also worn by some, as well as silver accessories (pp 9-10, 25, 31).

The map reproduced here shows a contemporary interpretation of how the Banjar people may have come to colonise Madagascar from Borneo. It is used in line with a Creative Commons Licence and was originally used in the article: The Conversation, ‘How the Banjar people of Borneo became ancestors of the Malagasy and Comorian people’ (2018).

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