Bugis, or Bughis, a people of Malayan stock, originally occupying only the kingdom of Boni in the south-western peninsula of the island of Celebes. From this district they spread over the whole island, and founded settlements throughout the whole Malay Archipelago. They are of middle size and robust, of very active, enterprising nature and of a complexion slightly lighter than the average Malay. In disposition they are brave, haughty and fierce, and are said to be more predisposed towards "running amuck" than any other Malayans. They speak a language allied to that of the Macassars, and write it with similar characters. It has been studied, and its letters reproduced in type by Dr B.F. Mathes of the Netherlands Bible Society. The Bugis are industrious and ingenious; they practise agriculture more than the neighbouring tribes, and manufacture cotton-cloth not only for their own use but for export. They also carry on a considerable trade in the mineral and vegetable products of Boni, such as gold-dust, tortoise-shell, pearls, nut-megs and camphor. Thair love of the sea has given them almost a monopoly of trade around Celebes. Their towns are well built and they have schools of their own.
The king is elected generally for life, and always from their own number, by the chiefs of the eight petty states that compose the confederation of Boni, and he cannot decide on any public measure without their consent. In some of the states the office of chief is hereditary; in others any member of the privileged classes may aspire to the dignity, and it not infrequently happens that the state is governed by a woman. The Bugis have been Mahommedans since the 17th century. Their original form of nature-worship had been much affected by Hindu influences, and even now they retain rites connected with the worship of Siva. See further Boni; Celebes.