History of Naming Sumatra Island, Indonesia

Sumatra Island, Indonesia

INDEPHEDIA.com - Sumatra, also known by other names Percha, Andalas and Suwarnadwipa (Sanskrit, meaning "Golden Island") is the sixth largest island in the world located in Indonesia, with an area of ​​443,065.8 km2.

The Padang Roco inscription in 1286 was carved into swarnnabhūmi (Sanskrit, meaning "Golden Land") and bhūmi mālayu ("Malay Land") to refer to this island. Furthermore, in the 14th century Negarakertagama manuscript also mentions "Bumi Malayu" (Malay) for this island.

The naming of Sumatra is mentioned starting from the existence of the Kingdom of the Ocean (located on the east coast of Aceh). Beginning with the visit of Ibnu Battuta, an adventurer from Morocco to the country in 1345. He pronounced the word Samudera to Samatrah, and then became Sumatra or Sumatra. Furthermore, this name was listed in 16th-century maps made by the Portuguese to be referred to this island so that it was later known to be widespread until now.

The original name of Sumatra, as recorded in historical sources and folklore, is "Golden Island". The term Ameh Island (Minangkabau language, meaning Gold Island) we find in the story of 'Cindua Mato' from Minangkabau. In Lampung's folklore there is the name Tanoh Mas to refer to Sumatra Island. A traveler from China named I-Tsing (634-713) who for years settled in Sriwijaya (Palembang now) in the 7th century, called Sumatra by the name chin-chou which means "land of gold".

In various inscriptions, Sumatra is referred to in Sanskrit by the terms: Suwarnadwipa ("Golden Island") or Suwarnabhumi ("Golden Land"). These names have been used in Indian texts before Christ. The oldest Buddhist text, the Jataka Book, tells of Indian sailors crossing the Bay of Bengal to Suwarnabhumi. In the Ramayana story, the search for Dewi Sinta, Rama's wife abducted by Rahwana, reaches Suwarnadwipa.

Arab travelers call Sumatra the name "Serendib" (precisely: "Suwarandib"), transliteration of the name Suwarnadwipa. Abu Raihan Al-Biruni, a Persian geographer who visited Srivijaya in 1030 said that Srivijaya was located on Suwarandib Island. But there are also people who identify Serendib with Sri Lanka, who were never called Suwarnadwipa.

Among the ancient Greeks, Sumatra was known by the name of Taprobana. The name Taprobana Insula was used by Klaudios Ptolemaios, a Greek geographer of the second century AD, precisely in 165, when he described the Southeast Asian region in his Geographical Hyphegesis. Ptolemy wrote that on the island of Taprobana there was the land of Barousai. It is very likely that the country in question was Barus on the west coast of Sumatra, which was known since ancient times as a producer of camphor.

The Greek text of 70, Periplous test Erythras Thalasses, revealed that Taprobana was also nicknamed Chryse Nesos, which means 'Golden Island'. Since ancient times traders from the area around the Mediterranean have visited the archipelago, especially Sumatra.

In addition to searching for gold, they sought frankincense (Styrax sumatrana) and camphor (Dryobalanops aromatica), which at that time only existed in Sumatra. On the contrary, archipelago traders have already peddled their commodities to West Asia and East Africa, as stated in the manuscripts of Historia Naturalis by Plini in the first century AD.

In the book of the Jews, Melakim (Kings) Chapter 9, it is explained that the Prophet Sulaiman U.S. the king of Israel received 420 golden talents from Hiram, the king of Tire who was his subordinate. The gold was obtained from the land of Ophir. Many historians argue that the country of Ophir is located in Sumatra (Mount Ophir in West Pasaman, West Sumatra, now called Mount Talamau?).

It should be noted, the city of Tire was the center of the marketing of goods from the Far East. Ptolemy wrote a Geographical Hyphegesis based on information from a Tire trader named Marinus. Many European adventurers in the 15th and 16th centuries sought gold in Sumatra on the assumption that there was the land of the Ophthalmic Prophet Sulaiman U.S.

The word that first mentions the name Sumatra is derived from the title of a king Sriwijaya Haji (king) Sumatrabhumi ("King of the land of Sumatra"). Based on Chinese news he sent an envoy to China in 1017. Another opinion said the name Sumatra came from Samudera, the kingdom of Aceh in the 13th and 14th centuries. European travelers since the 15th century used the name of the kingdom to refer to the whole island.

Similarly, the island of Borneo called Borneo, from the name Brunai, the northern part of the island which was originally visited by Europeans. Likewise the island of Lombok was named Selaparang, while Lombok was the name of the area on the east coast of the island of Selaparang which was first visited by Portuguese sailors.

The transition from Samudera (royal name) to Sumatra (island name) is interesting to explore. Odorico da Pordenone in the story of his voyage in 1318 stated that he sailed east from Coromandel, India, for 20 days, then arrived at the Sumoltra kingdom.

Ibn Bathutah told in the book Rihlah ila l-Masyriq (Wandering to the East) that in 1345 he stopped at the Kingdom of Samatrah. In the following century, the name of the country or kingdom in Aceh was taken over by other travelers to name the entire island.

In 1490 Ibn Majid made a map of the area around the Indian Ocean and there was written "Samatrah" Island. This map of Ibn Majid was copied by Roteiro in 1498 and the name "Camatarra" appeared. The map made by Amerigo Vespucci in 1501 included the name "Samatara", while the Masser map in 1506 gave rise to the name "Samatra".

Ruy D'Araujo in 1510 called the island "Camatra", and Alfonso Albuquerque in 1512 wrote it "Camatora". Antonio Pigafetta in 1521 used the rather ‘correct’ name: "Somatra". But there are many other notes that are more 'chaotic' to write: "Samoterra", "Samotra", "Sumotra", even "Zamatra" and "Zamatora".

Dutch and British records, since Jan Huygen van Linschoten and Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century, have always been consistent in Sumatran writing. This form became the standard, and then adapted to the tongue of the Indonesian people, namely Sumatra. (SJ.IN/ENG/*)
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