A peninsula of Asia; the southernmost point of the continent.

Area about 70,000 square miles. Estimated population, 650,000. Less known of the interior than of any other point in Asia. Surface very uneven. Climate is moist and hot: temperature on the Makran coast and in Persian Gulf, 110°; and at times, 125°. Out of 365 days, 190 are rainy; rainfall from 100 to 130 inches.

Politically, Malay consists of the Straits Settlements of Great Britain, 6 Provinces of Siam, and a number of small Malay States, either tributary to or in treaty with the above powers. The Straits Settlements comprise the Islands of Singapore and Penang and the territories of Malacca and Province of Wellesley. Area, 1,445 square miles; pop., 423,384.


The Malay  family are a coast-dwelling people, delighting in the water, and never found very far removed from it; they inhabit the southernmost coast of China, from Siam southwards, and all the adjacent islands. They are of a dark rich brown colour, with straight, coarse, black hair and scanty beard, which in some is quite wanting. Some of the members of this family are above the usual standard of height, such as the Polynesians and Tahitians. The moral character of the Malays, generally speaking, is of an inferior order. They are a race differing much, in some respects, from the Negro and Red Indian, being of peculiarly active temperaments; they exhibit considerable intellectual capacity, and are an ingenious people. It is extremely probable, from the fact of their being found in islands surrounded by others in the hands of the Ethiopic race, that they have pushed out the less active variety, and, in short, annihilated them; and it is likely that they will in turn suffer extinction at the hands of a superior variety, or a variety rendered superior by civilisation.