Sumatra - Etymology

Etymology

The name Sumatra was arrived from Tamil called as semmadhurai(செம்மதுரை) in prehistoric period. It can be written as semmai+madhurai=semmadhrai due to that land has red sand.the name madhurai was found in sangam literature situated in lemuria continent.the pronunciation semmadhurai had been changed as semmadhura, summathra and sumatra

Sumatra was known in ancient times by the Sanskrit names of Swarnadwīpa ("Island of Gold") and Swarnabhūmi ("Land of Gold"), because of the gold deposits of the island's highland. The first word mentioning the name of Sumatra was the name of Srivijayan Haji (king) Sumatrabhumi ("King of the land of Sumatra"), who sent an envoy to China in 1017. Arab geographers referred to the island as Lamri (Lamuri, Lambri or Ramni) in the tenth through thirteenth centuries, in reference to a kingdom near modern day Banda Aceh which was the first landfall for traders.

Late in the 14th century the name Sumatra became popular in reference to the kingdom of Samudra Pasai, which was a rising power until it was replaced by Sultanate of Aceh. Sultan Alauddin Shah of Aceh, on letters written in 1602 addressed to Queen Elizabeth I of England, referred to himself as "king of Aceh and Samudra". The word itself is from Sanskrit "Samudra", (समुद्र), meaning "gathering together of waters, sea or ocean".

After the introduction of Islam to the archipelago in 13th century, the island was also called Andalas by Muslim travellers . Sumatra was the farthest east in the Muslim world so its position was in some way similar to Al-Andalus which was the farthest west, hence the name. European writers in the 19th century found that the indigenous inhabitants did not have a name for the island.

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