1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Negritos

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NEGRITOS (Span. for “little negroes”), the name originally given by the Spaniards to the aborigines of the Philippine Islands. They are physical weaklings, of low, almost dwarf, stature, with very dark skin, closely curling hair, flat noses, thick lips and large clumsy feet. The term has, however, been more generally applied to one of the great ethnic groups into which the population of the East Indies is divided, and to an apparently kindred race in Africa (see Negro). A. de Quatrefages suggests that from the parent negroid stem were thrown off two negrito branches to the west and east, the Indo-Oceanic and African, and that the Akkas, Wochuas, Batwas and Bushmen of the Dark Continent are kinsmen of the Andaman Islanders, the Sakais of the Malay Peninsula and the Aetas of the Philippines. This view has found much acceptance among ethnologists. The result of Quatrefages’s theory would be to place the negrito races closest to the primitive human type, a conclusion apparently justified by their physical characteristics. The true negritos are always of little stature (the majority under 5 ft.), have rounded forms and their skull is brachycephalic or subbrachycephalic, that is to say, it is relatively short and broad and of little height. Their skin is dark brown or black, sometimes somewhat yellowish, their hair woolly (scanty on face and body), and they have the flat nose and thick lips and other physical features of the negro. Among peoples undoubtedly negrito are those of the Andaman Islands (q.v.), the Malay Peninsula (q.v.) and some of the Philippines (q.v.), the best types being the Sakais (q.v.), Mincopies and Aetas. The question of the so-called negrito races of India, the Oraons, Gonds, &c., is in much dispute, Quatrefages believing the Indian aborigines to have been negritos, while other ethnologists find the primitive people of Hindustan in the Dravidian races. Some authorities have placed the Veddahs of Ceylon among the negritos, but their straight hair and dolichocephalic skulls are sufficient arguments against their inclusion. The negrito is often confounded with the Papuan; but the latter, though possessing the same woolly hair and being of the same colour, is a large, often muscular man, with a long, high skull.

See A. de Quatrefages, Les Pygmées (Paris, 1887; Eng. trans. 1895); E. H. Man, The Aborigines of the Andaman Islands (London, 1885); Giglioli, Nuove notizie sui populi negroidi dell' Asia e specialmente sui Negriti (Florence, 1879); Meyer, Album von Philippinen-Typen (Dresden, 1885); Blumentritt, Ethnographie der Philippinen (Gotha, 1892); A. B. Meyer, Die Negritos (Dresden, 1899); A. H. Keane, Ethnology; A. C. Haddon in Nature for September 1899.