Madura, an island of the Indian archipelago, in the Sunda group, N. E. of Java, from which it is separated by a strait from 1 to 2 m. wide; area, about 1,300 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 662,720. A chain of low calcareous hills runs through it, but there are no high mountains. The geological formation and vegetable products resemble those of Java; the soil is generally poor, and a large part of it is uncultivated. The principal product is salt. The inhabitants are of the same race as the Javanese, and about on a level with them in point of civilization, but they speak a language of their own in two very distinct dialects, using the Javanese however in writing. They have a nominal sovereign who resides at Bangkalan, but the whole island is subject to the Dutch, under the colonial administration of Java. Many Madurese have settled in Java, where it is supposed that they number nearly 1,000,000.
Madura, a city of India, capital of a district of the same name in the province of Madras, on the right bank of the Vygay, 95 m. S. W. of Tanjore; pop. about 30,000. It is surrounded by a high wall of stone, with massive square bastions, but now in a ruinous condition in many parts. The streets are wide and regular, and there are spacious market places, but most of the private buildings are mean. The public buildings, though now falling into decay, present some of the finest specimens of Hindoo architecture in India. Among the most noted are the Pandiyan palace, a vast structure with 100 granite pillars and a dome 90 ft. in diameter, and with a choultry or building for travellers in its front 312 ft. long; and the great temple of Mahadeva, which with its four porticoes, each a pyramid of 10 stories, and its spacious courts and choultries, covers an immense area. - Madura is probably the Modura of Ptolemy, and is supposed to have been founded about the beginning of the Christian era. It was rebuilt in the 9th century by Vansa Sechera, who founded there the college of Madura, long a seat of Brahmanical learning. During the competition for India between the British and French in the 18th century, it sustained many sieges.
In 1606 Roberto de' Nobili, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, came to Madura, and assumed the habit and usages of the Brahmans, but made converts to Christianity. His conformity to heathen customs was denounced to the pope, who suspended him for ten years. He resumed his work in 1623, and under him and his followers the mission flourished till the middle of the 18th century, when, by the wars between the French and English, the natives discovered that the missionaries were Franks. Their converts had been reckoned by tens of thousands, but rapidly fell off upon the discovery. The mission was resumed in 1837, and in 1873 had 78 priests. Madura was made the centre of a Protestant mission, under the care of the American board of foreign missions, in 1834, which in 1873 had in and around the city 30
Pagoda at Madura.
churches with 1,547 members, 149 congregations of natives who have renounced heathenism, and 100 schools, of which 93 are free day schools, and one a training school for teachers. The mission had also a dispensary in Madura which treated 10,000 patients, and another in the district which treated about 15,000. The district, which includes Dindigul, has an area of about 10,700 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 2,259,-263. It is largely composed of marsh and jungle, but in the northwest it is mountainous. Its chief river, the Vygay, falls into Palk strait.