A Descriptive Dictionary of the Indian Islands and Adjacent Countries
Orientalist and colonial administrator John Crawfurd (1783–1868) published this work in 1856. He went to Calcutta as an assistant surgeon in the East India Company, then moved into administration, accompanying political missions to Java, Bali and Celebes, and heading missions to Siam, Vietnam and Burma. Retiring to England in 1828, Crawfurd became a Fellow of the Royal Society and President of the Ethnological Society. Having studied ancient Kawi, contemporary Javanese and the Malay language, he published extensively on Asia in his lifetime, including his History of the Indian Archipelago, a Malay-language dictionary, and accounts of missions to the courts of Siam, Cochin-China and Ava. This work focuses primarily on Java, Malay, Siam and the Philippines. A monumental account of the culture, politics, language and geography of the region, organised as encyclopedic entries, it remains an invaluable source of information on the Victorian presentation and understanding of South-East Asia.