The Rejang Tribe Is Known to the World for the First Time

The Rejang Tribe Is Known to the World for the First Time
William Marsden and map of Sumatra

The History of Sumatra, written by William Marsden in 1783, has the earliest history of the Tubei sub-tribe. He recounts the existence of four sub-tribes within the Rejang tribe, including the Toobye. Marsden refers to these four sub-tribes as being from the territory that is now the Lebong region.

Name usage and inheritance patterns through time

The "Tubei City," which serves as the administrative hub for the Lebong district, is located in the Tubei subdistrict. From one of these Rejang petulai, he gets his name. The Tubei District Court, which replaces the Curup District Court's authority over the Lebong region, a component of the Rejang Lebong Regency, is similarly located in the heart of government.

A name used to describe the home and distribution region of the Rejang tribe as well as its territorial and cultural effects, such as badgers and Ulau Bioa, is "Tanah Rejang" (Rejang language: Tanêak Jang, Tanêah Hêjang). Currently, South Sumatra Province and Bengkulu Province share administrative control of the Tanah Rejang region. Due to this, the Rejang land in Bengkulu Province's administrative region is wider than it is in South Sumatra Province's administrative area.

According to William Marsden, a secretary to the president of Fort Marlborough, who wrote The History of Sumatra, Tanah Rejang is referred to as Redjang Country, which is another name for Rejang Country. The Rikung text researcher MA Jaspan uses the same phrase. According to Marsden, the Redjang tribe lives in a region known as the Redjang Country (Negeri Rejang).


The land of Rejang includes the lowlands, Bukit Barisan, and the coastal regions in North and Central Bengkulu. While in Bukit Barisan, two badgers—Luak Lêbong and Luak Uleu Musei—respectively serve as the foundation of Rejang culture. The region is well-known for its vegetable cultivation, coffee plantations, and rice fields. The three principal rivers that pass through this region are the Musi, Rawas, and Ketahun rivers. The Musei (Musi) dialect of Rejang is typically spoken by the Rejang people who reside along the Musi River. Those who reside at the mouth of the Rawas River then speak Rejang in either the Awês dialect or Abês (Rawas). The Rejang people, who speak a dialect of Lêbong, can be found living near the upper reaches of Ketahun. They are referred to as Ai people or upstream people as long as their sadêi (village) is upstream. And as they moved downstream, they were classified as Lot's people.

Is there a clan within the Rejang Tribe?

Several clans that live in Bengkulu and South Sumatra are divided among the residents of Tanah Rejang. Based on blood links, the clan in this instance is not recognized as a clan or an indigenous people (genealogical). Although they still have blood links, the group is more of an indigenous one centered on territory. As a result, Tanah Rejang and the clans that make up its region are larger than the actual Rejang language speakers.

Tanah Rejang's clans are not the region's earliest form of civilization. This is due to the fact that the residents of Rejang were not familiar with the idea of a clan. J.'s efforts were what led to the development and continued presence of clans in this region. Walland, a Dutch resident assistant who had been working in the Palembang Residency, was sent to Bengkulu in 1861. There were territorial clans that had developed during the Sultanate era in the Palembang Residency region at the time. Coincidentally, Palembang is still being protected by the Colonial Government. As soon as J. Walland assumed government, he started creating territorial clans to govern Bengkulu, including the Rejang region and its surrounding regions. This is due to the formal requirement of appointing a clan leader with the title of Pasirah.

Of fact, the clan system was not acknowledged by the Bengkulu Residency prior to 1861. Historical evidence that supports this is demonstrated by the facts that are outlined below.

  • John Marsden, British Resident in Lais, North Bengkulu, never used the term clan between 1775 and 1779. The term is also absent from William Marsden's major work on Sumatra's history, The History of Sumatra, published in 1783.
  • Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the Deputy Governor-General in Bengkulu from 1818 to 1824, never used the term clan. The term is also absent from His Widow's Memoir of Sir Th. St. Raffles' Life and Public Services, published in 1820.
  • JH Knoerle, Assistant Resident of the Netherlands in Bengkulu from 1831 to 1833, never used the term clan. The term is also absent from his note Aanteekeningen gehouden op een reis in de binnenlands van Sumatra enz. 1832, De Oosterling.
  • In his Memorie van Ovsgrave', LO Westenenk, Dutch Resident in Bengkulu, 1915-1919, also stated that the names of the clans in Bengkulu and Rejang did not exist before the mid-nineteenth century AD.