SINCE the days when the first European navigators entered the South Sea, the dispute over the source and ethnic affiliations of the inhabitants of that extended and scattered island world has been unsettled. The most superficial glance points out a contrariety in external appearances, which leaves little doubt that here peoples of entirely different blood live near and among one another. And this is so apparent that the pathfinder in this region, Magellan, gave expression to the contrariety in his names for tribes and islands. Since dark complexion was observed on individuals in certain tribes and in defined areas, and light complexion on others, here abundantly, there quite exceptional, writers applied Old World names to the new phenomena without further thought. The Philippines set the decisive example in this. Fernando Magellan first discovered the islands of this great archipelago in 1521, March 16. After his death the Spaniards completed the circle of his discoveries. At this time the name of Negros was fixed, which even now is called Islad de los Pintados. For years the Spaniards called the entire archipelago Islas de Poniente; gradually, after the expedition of Don Fray Garcia Jof re de Loaisa (1526), the new title of the Philippines prevailed, through Salazar. The people were divided into two groups, the Little Negroes or Negritos and the Indies. It is quite conceivable that involuntarily the opinion prevailed that the Negritos had close relationship with the African blacks, and the Indios with the lighter-complexioned inhabitants of India, or at least of Indonesia.
However, it must be said here that the theory of a truly African origin of the Negritos has been advanced but seldom, and then in a very hesitating manner. The idea that with the present configuration
- Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. Berlin, 1897, January-June, 279-289.' Translated with notes by Professor O. T. Mason for the annual report of the Smithsonian Institution, and printed from an advance copy supplied by Professor Samuel P. Langley, secretary of the Institution.
- Note.—The island of Negros received its name because it was peopled chiefly by a dark, woolly-haired race, while in other islands these were confined to the interior. Cf. A. B. Meyer, Negritos, 1899, p. 16.—Translator.
- This word, except in an historical sense, should never be used for non-Negrito Filipinos.