The History of Sumatra
William Marsden (1754-1836) spent his youth working for the East India Company in Sumatra, arriving at sixteen and returning to seek new opportunities in England at twenty-five. Through his acquaintance with Sir Joseph Banks, and his interest in oriental studies, which later led to his admittance to the Royal Society, Marsden was inspired to write an account of the island. His history was first published in 1783. Throughout his subsequent life he combined research and writing, especially on oriental languages and numismatics, and he was also First Secretary to the Admiralty at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar. Displaying a profound understanding of the local flora, fauna, history and people, Marsden provides an important account of a little-known part of Indonesia. Illustrated with botanical drawings, maps and local scenes, the third edition of 1811 is reissued here.