I. A Dutch Province In The S. E. Part Of The Island Of Sumatra

A Dutch Province In The S. E. Part Of The Island Of Sumatra, between the strait of Banca and the province of Bencoolen; area, 61,911 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 573,697. It is for the most part a marshy plain, watered by several large rivers, and covered by extensive forests. The W. part is mountainous. The soil is fertile, and the climate hot and moist, but not unhealthy. The cultivated crops are rice, sugar cane, tobacco, gambir, indigo, coffee, and pepper. All the animals of the forests and other parts of Sumatra are found in Palembang; and the chief domesticated ones are buffaloes, goats, sheep, hogs, and poultry. The inhabitants consist of the descendants of Javanese, of Malays, of an aboriginal people called Kumring, and of a wild race known as Kubu, with a few Arabs and Chinese. The former kingdom of Palembang, about one fourth the size of the present province, was ruled by a sultan, with whom the Dutch had a treaty. In 1811, when Java and its dependencies were occupied by the British, the Dutch officials at Banca fell into the hands of the sultan, who put all of them to death, to ingratiate himself with the new rulers. The English sent an expedition which dethroned him, annexed part of his dominions, and placed his younger brother in authority.

When Java was restored to the Dutch, he resumed his rule, and kept them at defiance till 1821, when Palembang was finally subdued.

II. A Town

A Town, capital of the province, on the Musi or Sung-sang, the most important river of Sumatra, about 50 m. from the strait, lat. 2° 45' S., Ion. 105° E.; pop. about 40,000. It lies on both banks of the river, which is here 400 yards broad with a depth of from 8 to 9 fathoms, and sufficient water all the way from the sea for large vessels. The only buildings of stone are the mosque and the tombs of the sultans. Trade is carried on with Java, Banca, Siam, China, and the Straits Settlements.