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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

More History About Ranau - Wikipedia


The origin of the name "Ranau" comes from the Dusun word "Ranahon" which means paddy fields. Usually the Dusun people who live in the highland grow mountain rice on the hills (called tumo/dumo and the mountain rice is called parai tidong in Dusun), however, for those who live in the lowland of Ranau, they cultivate rice in watery paddy fields. Over time, “Ranahon” is shortened to “Ranau” and since the central district administration is nearer to the lowland, the name “Ranau” is adopted as the official name for the district.

[edit]Early references

Map of northern Borneo from Joachim Ottens's 1710 map.
Mount Kinabalu was called Mont de Ste. Pierre in this 1710 Ottens map.[14]
Allusions to a place in Ranau, the Mount Kinabalu, had appeared in sources from China. Wang Dayuan mentioned about a mountain called Long shan when he described the country of Bo ni (勃泥 bó ní) in his book, Description of the Barbarians of the Isles (島夷誌略 dǎo yí zhì lüè) written between 1330 and 1350.[15] Long shan (龍山 lóng shān) means Dragon Mountain and so it was linked to Mount Kinabalu because there were dragon legends associated with Kinabalu.[16][17] Another Chinese source, a nauticalcompendium called Fair Winds for Escort (順風相送 shùn fēng xiāng sòng) composed circa 1430, described a voyage from Siam to Mindanao via the west coast of Borneo where the Chinese ships passed Sheng shan (聖山 shèng shān).[18]Sheng shan which means Holy Mountain, was identified as Mount Kinabalu.[19]
References to Mount Kinabalu had also appeared in old maps of East Indies made by Europeans cartographers under the names of Mount St. Pedro or Mount St. Pierre.[20] The name Mount St. Pedro was used by map makers such as Gerardus Mercator in his India Orientalis map published around 1595,[21] Nicolaes Visscher II in his Indiae Orientalis map in the early 17th century,[22] and several other cartographers.[23][24][25][26][27] In some maps, for example, the 1710 Ottens's Map of Southeast Asia by Joachim Ottens, the mountain was called as Mount St. Pierre.[14] However, John Pinkerton's East India Isles map from 1818 labeled the mountain as St. Peter's Mountain.[28]
Old geographers believed that there was a great lake at its peak on account of natives's stories.[20] During the Ice age about 100,000 years ago, the mountain was covered with ice sheets and glaciers moved slowly down its slopes and only the summit peaks were very noticeable above the ice.[29] Thus, the native's stories may have its roots from the folk memory of these glistening sheets of ice. Nevertheless, the earliest documented expeditions to ascend Kinabalu in March 1851 and in 1858 led by Sir Hugh Low and Sir Spenser St. John revealed otherwise.[20]
However, in later maps, as evident in the maps by Archibald Fullarton & Co.[30] and J.Rapkin,[31] it was suggested that the lake existed south of the mountain.[20] With further assertions from the Kiau people (of Kota Belud district) that they had done trading business with villagers who lived near the lake shore, St.John viewed that the lake had probably existed southeast below the Kinabalu where the Ranau plain is situated today.[20] The Dusun word Ranahon (Ranau) itself is used to describe a wet field of lowland rice (see Toponymyabove) and so it was plausible that floods had submerged the plain, thus giving a lake-like view when seen from the highlands.[32] Even so, explorers William B. Pryer and Captain Francis Xavier Witti came up with the conclusion that there was no lake in existence near to Mount Kinabalu while exploring the Ranau plain in the early days.[20][33]

[edit]Under British North Borneo Company

During the British North Borneo Company administration, Ranau was governed under the Province Dent[34] and afterwards, as a substation of Tambunan with a Government station under the Interior Residency.[32] Ranau was connected to the West Coast Residency only by a bridle road and by another southerly bridle path 64 km (40 mi) to Tambunan. Telegraph line was also available from Ranau to Tambunan.[35] The Ranau plain and its surrounding hilly areas has been originally inhabited by Dusun farmers who practicedshifting cultivation. Their major staple crops were upland rice and lowland wet rice. Natives from Ranau would go to large tamu (native market) at nearby districts to sell and buy or exchange goods using the barter system.[36] Tobacco, a major export item for the Company,[37] was also successfully cultivated in extensive parts of Ranau district, especially in the highlands[38] and it became an important source of income for Ranau natives. At that time, it was acknowledged that tobacco produced from Ranau and the Interior proper were of high quality compared to those grown down to the coast, even though the plants were similarly obtained from Ranau.[38]
Between 1897 and 1898, Mat Salleh built a fort in Ranau and went there three times during his rebellion against the British North Borneo Company. His fort in Ranau was measured at 109 m (119 yd) long and 55 m (60 yd) wide. There was a three-sided strong-point on one side and a watch-tower in the middle. The fort was surrounded by thick earth wall with high strong fence. Sharp bamboo stakes was thickly sown into the grounds around the fort.[39] His first appearance in Ranau on February 10, 1897 gained many Dusun followers which then increased his influence to as far as Inanam. The Company was aware of this development and launched an attack against his fort in Ranau on February 23 which led to the death of his father.[40] Mat Salleh escaped but retreated back to Ranau in July the same year. After being tracked down by Captain J.M. Reddie and E.H. Barraut, Ranau was attacked again but he managed to escape.[41] Mat Salleh's final movement to Ranau occurred in November 1897. A total of 288 SikhIban and Dayak policemen from Abai Bay and Sandakan led by G. Hewett, George Ormsby, P. Wise, and Adjutant Alfred Jones, were ordered to invade Mat Salleh's fort in Ranau on December 13, 1897.[41]
These stone are witnesses of the oaths of loyalty to Government taken by Ranau natives after the Mat Salleh rebellion had been put down in January 1898
—Ranau Loyalty Oath Stone[42]
The fort was significantly destroyed but Jones and 13 other policemen were killed. On January 9, 1898, Hewett and his troops ambushed the Ranau fort but it was already deserted by Mat Salleh and his followers. The fort was then completely demolished.[41] As a result of this rebellion, the Company built an administration building in the district and erected a loyalty oath stone as a sign that the residents of Ranau swore loyalty to the Government.[42] The loyalty oath stone still exists until today.

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