chapter  1
19 Pages

Pre-colonial tribal system prior to 1793

Salem and Baramahal region lies between northern latitude 11°14ʹ46ʺ and 120°53ʹ30ʺ and between eastern longitude 77°30ʹ52ʺ and 78°53ʹ05ʺ. In 1793, the total geographical area of this region was 4,092,973 acres (78.19 per cent plains and 21.81 per cent hills), of which 1,127,716 acres (27.55 per cent) was arable, 359,279 acres (8.78 per cent) was fallow, 1,559,612 acres (38.1 per cent) was cultivable waste and 1,046,366 acres (25.56 per cent) was uncultivable waste.1 Of 6,041 villages, 435 were classified as hill villages.2 There are 12 minor rivers, mostly originating from the hills and flowing for about 497 miles.3 A number of plant species and fauna were found in abundance in the region, particularly in the hills. Varieties of trees having great value like sandalwood and teak besides several medicinal plants and herbs were in plenty in the hills.4 For instance, in the Kolli hills, 209 species consisting of 54 trees, 34 shrubs, 80 herbs and 41 climbers were enumerated, of which 103 species comprising 36 trees, 18 shrubs, 27 herbs and 21 climbers were classified as medicinal plants.5 Invariably, other hills of the region also had these plants.