Click on the picture to enlarge.
The geological history is of course long. The island split from the other tectonic plates 60-80 million years ago and that is why the flora and fauna is so unik. For instance no poisonous snakes, only one rather small predator. 80% of flora and fauna is endemic.
The first people came from Borneo, South-East Asia around 6-800AD, then came Arab traders around 800 and Bantus from Africa around 1000AD. They spread and mixed and made up 26 tribes. We saw people that definitely looked like a Malay.
The Europeans used the island as trading post and pirates haven.
In 1783 a king of a rather small tribe felt that an island should be one country and he did two things. He created an army, but never used it, and he negotiated with the 12 largest tribes to unite. He succeeded and married one woman from each tribe (12 wives!), not bad for a man that was only 145 cm high. He was succeeded a few generations, but the dynasty ended with three succesive queens that all were married to the same prime minister who was the real ruler. Then the country was swallowed by the French colonial rule.
We visited the house (definitely not a castle) to the first king where he lived with his favorite wife. It was on top of a hill with no water, so the king employed 70 virgins to carry water.
The courtyard in front of the king’s house. His twelve wives had each a seat around this tree.
Sculls of zebus sacrificed to the king. The dynasty. Note the costumes.
A heart-shaped rock in the courtyard was still considered magical. The queen’s tower
The kitchen and dining room One of seven gates to get to the king.