BENUA, n.p. This word, Malay banuwa, [in standard Malay, according to Mr. Skeat, benuwa or benua], properly means ‘land, country,’ and the Malays use orang-banuwa in the sense of aborigines, applying it to the wilder tribes of the Malay Peninsula. Hence “Benuas” has been used by Europeans as a proper name of those tribes.—See Crawfurd, Dict. Ind. Arch. sub voce.

1613.—“The natives of the interior of Viontana (Ujong-tana, q. v.) are properly those Banuas, black anthropophagi, and hairy, like satyrs.”—Godinho de Eredia, 20.

BERBERYN, BARBERYN, n.p. Otherwise called Beruwala, a small port with an anchorage for ships and a considerable coasting trade, in Ceylon, about 35 m. south of Columbo.

c. 1350.—“Thus, led by the Divine mercy, on the morrow of the Invention of the Holy Cross, we found ourselves brought safely into port in a harbour of Seyllan, called Pervilis, over against Paradise.”—Marignolli, in Cathay, ii. 357.

c. 1618.—“At the same time Barreto made an attack on Berbelim, killing the Moorish modeliar [Modelliar] and all his kinsfolk.”—Bocarro, Decada, 713.

1780.—“Barbarien Island.”—Dunn, New Directory, 5th ed. 77.

1836.—“Berberyn Island.…There is said to be an anchorage north of it, in 6 or 7 fathoms, and a small bay further in…where small craft may anchor.”—Horsburgh, 5th ed. 551.

[1859.—Tennent in his map (Ceylon, 3rd ed.) gives Barberyn, Barbery, Barberry.]

BERIBERI, s. An acute disease, obscure in its nature and pathology, generally but not always presenting dropsical symptoms, as well as paralytic weakness and numbness of the lower extremities, with oppressed breathing. In cases where debility, oppression, anxiety and dyspnœa are extremely severe, the patient sometimes dies in 6 to 30 hours. Though recent reports seem to refer to this disease as almost confined to natives, it is on record that in 1795, in Trincomalee, 200 Europeans died of it.

The word has been alleged to be Singhalese beri [the Mad. Admin. Man. Gloss. s. v. gives baribari], ‘debility.’ This kind of reduplication is really a common Singhalese practice. It is also sometimes alleged to be a W. Indian Negro term; and other worthless guesses have been made at its origin. The Singhalese origin is on the whole most probable [and is accepted by the N.E.D.]. In the quotations from Bontius and Bluteau, the disease described seems to be that formerly known as Barbiers. Some authorities have considered these diseases as quite distinct, but Sir Joseph Fayrer, who has paid attention to beriberi and written upon it (see The Practitioner, January 1877), regards Barbiers as “the dry form of beri-beri,” and Dr. Lodewijks, quoted below, says briefly that “the Barbiers of some French writers is incontestably the same disease.” (On this it is necessary to remark that the use of the term Barbiers is by no means confined to French writers, as a glance at the quotations under that word will show). The disease prevails endemically in Ceylon, and in Peninsular India in the coast-tracts, and up to 40 or 60 m. inland; also in Burma and the Malay region, including all the islands, at least so far as New Guinea, and also Japan, where it is known as kakké: [see Chamberlain, Things Japanese, 3rd ed. p. 238 seqq.]. It is very prevalent in certain Madras Jails. The name has become somewhat old-fashioned, but it has recurred of late years, especially in hospital reports from Madras and Burma. It is frequently epidemic, and some of the Dutch physicians regard it as infectious. See a pamphlet, Beri-Beri door J. A. Lodewijks, ond-officier van Gezondheit bij het Ned. Indische Leger, Harderwijk, 1882. In this pamphlet it is stated that in 1879 the total number of beri-beri patients in the military hospitals of Netherlands-India, amounted to 9873, and the deaths among these to 1682. In the great military hospitals at Achin there died of beri-beri between 1st November 1879, and 1st April 1880, 574 persons, of whom the great majority were dwangarbeiders, i.e. ‘forced labourers.’ These statistics show the extraordinary prevalence and fatality of the disease in the Archipelago. Dutch literature on the subject is considerable.

Sir George Birdwood tells us that during the Persian Expedition of 1857 he witnessed beri-beri of extraordinary virulence, especially among the East African stokers on board the steamers. The sufferers became dropsically distended to a vast extent, and died in a few hours.

In the second quotation scurvy is evidently meant. This seems much allied by causes to beriberi though different in character.

[1568.—“Our people sickened of a disease called berbere, the belly and legs swell, and in a few days they die, as there died many, ten or twelve a day.”—Couto, viii. ch. 25.]

c. 1610.—“Ce ne fut pas tout, car i’eus encor ceste fascheuse maladie de louende que les Portugais appellent autrement berber et

  By PanEris using Melati.

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