1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Batu
BATU, or Rock Islands (Dutch Batoe), a group of three greater and forty-eight lesser islands in the Dutch East Indies, W. of Sumatra, between 0° 10′ N. to 0° 45′ S. and 97° 50′–98° 35′ E., belonging to the Ayerbangi district of the lowlands of Padang (Sumatra). They are separated by the strait of Sibirut from the Mentawi group. The three chief islands, from N. to S., are Pini or Mintao, Masa, and Bala. The total land area of the group is 445 sq. m. The islands are generally low, and covered with forest, in which the cocoanut palm is conspicuous. There is trade in cocoanuts, oil, and other forest produce. The natives, about 3000 in number, are of Malayan or pre-Malayan stock, akin to those of the island of Nias to the north-west. Only about twenty of the smaller islands are inhabited.