Department of Railways,
Text on page 393
26. Route. 393
fortress and the church are to be seen) and Merak. A branch line starts from Tjilegon and runs to Anjerkidoel, an old port W. of Anjer, with a lighthouse.
Laboean (137 km. from Batavia) is a city, but this region is still primitive and covered largely with forests, some of which have never been trodden by the foot of man, and are haunted by such wild animals as tigers and Javanese rhinoceroses. Its inhabitants are Mohammedans and very idle and stare at visitors almost defiantly. There is no hotel worthy of the name.
Karakatau. This is a volcano rising W. of Laboean. Malay natives call it Rakata. It is noted for its history of the terrible eruption that once destroyed the city of Laboean in a few minutes. For several weeks before the event it had been roaring fearfully, and then, as sea water gushed into the crater filled with molten lava, it burst out all at once, sending forth a terrible noise heard throughout the archipelago, and shaking all the surrounding regions as far as Batavia, where all gas lights were put out, window panes were broken, and ashes continued to fall for several days. Throughout the surrounding regions hungry animals left their usual haunts and attacked men and women. But this was not all, for, as a result of the eruption, half of the mountain fell into the sea, causing thereby a great tidal wave as high as 24 metres, that washed over not only the small islands near by, but also the southern coast of Sumatra and the western coast of Java, where it penetrated inland to a distance of 5,000 metres, killing 36,000 people.
One Dutch warship was carried far up on to the land. Only a few of the crew were saved by clinging to bamboos. For several months after the disaster, those left alive on the smaller islands continued to die of hunger, for the pumice that filled the sea and blocked communication set at naught all charitable intentions of other more fortunate inhabitants of the islands. Even now these pumice-stones are found on the northern coast of Java. It is estimated that the total quantity of earth and rocks blown out of the interior of the earth by this eruption was 18 cubic km., and the column of fire and smoke rose as high as 27,000 metres, which is about five times the height of Mont Blanc. The roaring sound was heard for a distance about as great as that from Amsterdam to Constantinople. Another amazing thing is that the ashes that had been floating in the air fell several years after the event on various countries situated in about the same latitude as Europe.
Natives Washing by the River.