Celebes, an island of the Malay or East Indian archipelago, under the control of the Dutch, situated E. of Borneo, and like that island crossed by the equator. It lies between lat. 1° 50' N. and 5° 30' S., and lon. 119° and 125° E., and is bounded N. by the Celebes sea, E. by the Molucca passage and Banta sea, S. by the Flores sea, and W. by Macassar strait, which separates it from Borneo by an average distance of 120 m., though the breadth of the strait is only about 60 m. at the narrowest part. The outline of Celebes is exceedingly irregular, and has been compared to the form of a huge grasshopper. The island is perhaps best described as a nucleus with its centre on the 120th meridian, 2° S. of the equator, whence radiate four peninsulas: one northward along the 120th meridian to about lat. 1° N., and. thence easterly and northerly about 380 m. to near lon. 125° E., which is sometimes called the Menado peninsula, and terminates at Cape Polesan in the province of Minahasa; one eastward, known as the Balante peninsula, 182 m. in length, and separated from the preceding by the gulf of Tomini or Gorontalo; one in a southeasterly direction to a distance of 170 m., called the Tabunku peninsula, with the Tolo gulf lying between it and Balante; and one southward, W. of the Boni gulf, which also washes the W. shore of the Tabunku peninsula, to the southernmost extremity of the island, including the Dutch settlement of Macassar. The maximum length of Celebes from N. to S. lies along the 120th meridian, and is nearly 500 m.
The greatest distance from E. to W., measured along the northern peninsula, is not far from 300 m. There are about 2,600 m. of seacoast. Wallace says the size of Celebes is about equal to that of Ireland; by the Dutch and other authorities its area is stated to be upward of 70,000 sq. m., or more than twice as great. The population was formerly estimated at between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000, but probably does not exceed 1,000,000. - The interior of Celebes is elevated and generally mountainous, but nowhere volcanic except near the eastern end of the northern peninsula, in a district which it has been conjectured was once a separate island. Each peninsula is traversed by a range of mountains, the loftiest summit in Celebes being Lompo-Batang, near Macassar, 8,200 ft. high. The prevailing rock in this part of the island is limestone, resting on basalt. A considerable thickness of vegetable mould is found even on the hill tops and steeper mountain slopes. There are 11 volcanoes in Minahasa, and earthquakes are of frequent occurrence there.
The principal volcanic peaks are Mt. Klabat, 6,560 ft.; Mt. Lokon, 5,140 ft.; Mt. Sudara, "the Sisters," consisting of twin cones, of which the highest is 4,390 ft.; and Batu Angus, in Malay "the Hot Rock," which is in fact a volcano with its top blown off, and has an elevation of 2,290 ft. The rocks of this region are trachytic lavas, volcanic sand and ashes, pumice stone, and conglomerates. The decomposition of volcanic products has rendered whole districts prodigiously fertile. Hot springs and miniature volcanoes which emit boiling mud exist in this portion of Celebes. - The largest river of the island is the Chinrana, which flows from Lake Labaya a distance of 53 m. into the Boni gulf. The lake, which is also called Sedenveng, is in the country of the Bughis, whose boats throng its waters. It is 24 m. long, 13 m. wide, and varies in depth, according to the season, from 32 to 60 ft. In Minahasa, the lower part of an elevated plateau is occupied by a beautiful lake called Tondano, at a height of 2,272 ft. above the level of the sea. It extends about 17 m. in a northerly and southerly direction, and is from 2 to 7 m. wide. Its greatest depth is 74 ft.
A stream of considerable size known as the Boli enters the sea on the N. coast, and on the W. coast, S. of Macassar, is the mouth of another river. The island is for the most part well watered by small streams. - The natural history of Celebes presents some striking peculiarities. The island is not only remarkable for the individuality of its animal productions, but also for the absence of groups found elsewhere throughout the region of zoological distribution of which it is the geographical centre. Wallace says that in order to account for the number of animal forms possessed by Celebes which show no relation to those of India or Australia, we must assume that it is one of the oldest parts of the archipelago, and dates from a period when the land that constitutes Borneo, Java, and Sumatra had not risen above the ocean. of the 14 species of terrestrial mammalia, 10 are peculiar to the island, a lemur, a deer resembling a Javan species, and the common Malay civet being met with elsewhere as well.
Among those which are distinctive, the most noteworthy is the sapi-utan or wild cow of the Malays (anoa depressicor-nis), which frequents the mountains only, and is described as a creature resembling the ox-like antelopes of Africa. The other mammalian species peculiar to Celebes are: a black baboonlike monkey (cynopithecus nigrescens), with a tail scarcely long enough to be visible; a peculiar wild hog; five species of squirrels; and two species of eastern opossums. Seven species of bats are known to exist. The island is the chief habitat of the babyroussa. Of birds there are 191 species, 128 of which are land birds, and 80 strictly confined to Celebes. They comprise hawks, crows, parrots, owls, woodpeckers, cuckoos, bee-eaters, hornbills, fly-catchers, starlings, pigeons, and the curious maleo (mega-cephalon rubripes), a gallinaceous bird allied to the Australian brush turkey. Pythons and other serpents are very numerous, the former attaining a length of 15 ft. Insect life is abundant, the number of peculiar species being large.
Millipeds 8 and 10 inches long frequent houses in the rainy season. - The uncultivated portions of Celebes are covered with forest, abounding in the luxurious vegetation of an equatorial climate, such as pandani, tree ferns, the wild jackfruit tree, and palms, including the cocoa-nut, the betelnut, the sago, the sugar palm (arenga sacharifera), and the gomuti palm, the fibres of which are manufactured by the natives into a sort of coarse rope called coir. The fruits of Celebes are bananas, breadfruits, duri-ans, lansiums, limes, mangosteens, oranges, pineapples, pompelmuses or shaddocks, and those already referred to. Rice and coffee are the most important agricultural productions. Cacao, cotton, maize, and tobacco are also raised, the last named only for home consumption. Rice can be profitably cultivated up to an elevation of 4,500 ft., and coffee between that and an altitude of 1,000 ft. above the sea level. The annual yield of the Dutch government coffee plantations on the table lands of Minahasa is about 5,000,000 lbs. The coffee raised here is superior to any from Java, and commands a higher price.
Gold occurs in very considerable quantities, not only throughout the whole northern peninsula, but also near the southern extremity of the island, S. of Macassar. It is sold by the native chiefs to the Bughis, who pay for it more liberally than the Dutch. The iron ore of the island is of a superior quality, and tin and copper are also found. - The native inhabitants of Celebes are in part governed by their own kings, but these are dependent upon the Dutch government. All appear to belong to the Malay race. The Bughis constitute the most numerous and active portion of the population, and are famed as sailors and traders throughout the archipelago, every important island of which is visited by their light vessels known as praus. They occupy that part of the S. W. peninsula lying between lat. 3° 30 and 5° S. They are one of the four true Malay tribes, Mohammedans in religion, and speak the Bughis and Macassar languages, for which they have two different written characters. The Bughis sailors are wild and ferocious in appearance, but of quiet and peaceable disposition. The aborigines of northern Celebes are classed with the savage Malays, although the civilizing influence exerted by the Dutch since the introduction of coffee cultivation in 1822 has greatly promoted their advancement.
They are short in stature, of light-brown complexion, with projecting cheek bones, and have long, straight, black hair. Up to a comparatively recent period they were addicted to head-hunting like the Dyaks of Borneo, and even to cannibalism; but they are obedient servants, gentle and industrious, and readily assume the maimers and habits of civilized life. A people called the Mandhars dwell in the most western part of the island, N. of Macassar. Menado, the Dutch capital of the northern portion of the island, is a free port and town of 2,500 inhabitants, on the Celebes sea. Kema is a place of 2,000 inhabitants on the opposite shore, used as the port of the province during the prevalence of the western monsoon, which renders Menado difficult of access for ships. Macassar or Vlaardingen, the chief Dutch town on the island, in lat. 5° 9' S., lon. 119° 36' E., is a fortified free port, with good anchorage, and carries on a considerable trade with China, especially in tripang or sea slugs, of which the yearly exports are valued at $000,000. Other articles of export from Celebes, in addition to coffee and rice, comprise tortoise shell, which is abundantly obtained on the coasts, Macassar horses, which are sold in Java, and variegated mats. - The first mention of Celebes by any European writer is believed to be in a work by the Portuguese historian De Barros, who lived in the 10th century and wrote an account of the conquests of his countrymen in the East Indies. According to this, the island was discovered in 1525 by Portuguese from the Moluccas, who sought si labih, "still more" gold and spices than they had already found.
Touching at the points of two peninsulas, they believed they had visited two islands, and so described the discovery in their report as as ilhas Cellebes, a designation which has remained substantially unchanged. This name, however, is not known to the natives, who generally call the country Negri Bughis, or Bughis land. The conversion of the more advanced tribes of the island to Mohammedanism was effected a few years after the arrival of the Portuguese, in spite of the efforts of their Christian missionaries. The first intercourse of the Dutch with the island was in 1007. They expelled the Portuguese from the Macassar country in 1660, and establishing themselves on the island maintained their position there until expelled by the British in 1811. Their possessions were restored to them by the treaty of 1815.