Land utilization and settlement patterns in Upper Mandailing, Sumatra




Tugby, Elise

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This thesis attempts to account for the patterns of land utilization and settlement in Upper Mandailing, Sumatra, an area of 956 sq. km. occupied for several hundred years by rice farmers of Proto-Malayan stock. Upper Mandailing can be described as mountainous, Muslim and patrilineal. These important features also distinguish it from neighbouring areas. It is situated on the mountain backbone between Menangkabau (in the Province of Middle Sumatra) to the south and Lower Mandailing to the north. The political boundary between Upper and Lower Mandailing runs along the sharp crest of the Si Hite-Sordang Cuesta. Prom Upper Mandailing, Lower Mandailing is reached by passing over the extensive rolling lava plain at the foot of the active volcano, Sorik Merapi. Upper Mandailing and Lower Mandailing possess the same adat law, that is, they have the same customs and traditions. The people have been Muslim since the early part of the nineteenth century. In both areas society was formerly differentiated into slaves, commoners of a number of clans, and members of the dominant land-owning clan which supplied the political leaders (radja). In most of Upper Mandailing Lubis was the dominant clan and in Lower Mandailing, Nasution. All clans were exogamous and Nasution and Lubis frequently intermarried. Today society in both areas is nominally egalitarian and anyone can own land; but hereditary titles which imply wealth are important. Clan exogamy is still largely adhered to.



land utilization, Upper Mandailing, Sumatra, rice farmers, Proto-Malayan, Menangkabau, geology of Sumatra, Si Hite-Sordang Cuesta, Sorik Merapi




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