An Orang Laut family living in a boat, circa 1914–1921.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Loncong, Orang Seletar,|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Orang Kuala, Orang Seletar, Sama-Bajau, Moken, Urak Lawoi’ people|
The Orang Laut are several seafaring ethnic groups and tribes living around Singapore, peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian Riau Islands. The Orang Laut are commonly identified as the Orang Seletar from the Straits of Johor, but the term may also refer to any Malay origin people living on coastal islands, including those of Andaman Sea islands of India and those in Thailand and Burma, commonly known as Moken.
The Malay term orang laut literally means "sea peoples". The Orang Laut live and travel in their boats on the sea. They made their living from fishing and collecting sea products. Another Malay term for them, Orang Selat (literally "Straits people" ), was brought into European languages as Celates.
Broadly speaking, the term encompasses the numerous tribes and groups inhabiting the islands and estuaries in the Riau-Lingga archipelagos, the Pulau Tujuh Islands, the Batam Archipelago, and the coasts and offshore islands of eastern Sumatra, southern Malaysia Peninsula and Singapore.
Historically, the Orang Laut played major roles in Srivijaya, the Sultanate of Malacca, and the Sultanate of Johor. They patrolled the adjacent sea areas, repelling real pirates, directing traders to their employers' ports and maintaining those ports' dominance in the area In return, the ruler gave Orang Laut leaders prestigious titles and gifts. The earliest description of the Orang Laut may have been by the 14th century Chinese traveller Wang Dayuan who described the inhabitants of Temasek (present day Singapore) in his work Daoyi Zhilüe.
In the story The Disturber of Traffic by Rudyard Kipling, a character called Fenwick misrenders the Orang Laut as "Orange-Lord" and the narrator character corrects him that they are the "Orang-Laut".
- Piracy in the Strait of Malacca
- Orang Laut in Singapore
- Urak Lawoi’ people
- Sampan panjang, Orang Laut racing boat
- Adriaan J. Barnouw (February 1946). "Cross Currents of Culture in Indonesia". The Far Eastern Quarterly. The Far Eastern Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 2. 5 (2): 143–151. doi:10.2307/2049739. JSTOR 2049739.
- Barbara Watson Andaya. Report of Three Residents of Jambi about the Threat of Johorese War Vessels in the Batang Hari River, 11 September 1714. Jakarta : Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia. 2013 https://sejarah-nusantara.anri.go.id/media/dasadefined/HartaKarunArticles/HK010/Doc_10_Eng.pdf
- David E. Sopher (1965). "The Sea Nomads: A Study Based on the Literature of the Maritime Boat People of Southeast Asia". Memoirs of the National Museum. 5: 389–403. doi:10.2307/2051635.
- "The Malay Peninsula and Archipelago 1511–1722" The Encyclopedia of World History 2001;
- Mary Somers Heidhues. Southeast Asia: A Concise History. London: Hudson and Thames, 2000. Page 27
- Paul Wheatley (1961). The Golden Khersonese: Studies in the Historical Geography of the Malay Peninsula before A.D. 1500. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. pp. 82–83. OCLC 504030596.
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