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Old 13th June 2019, 08:55 AM   #1
A. G. Maisey
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Default Lelas

A word encountered in a report of a pirate attack near Sumbawa in +/- 1850:-

"--- she carried eight lillas as well as one large caliber gun---"

Does anybody know what a lillas is?

I've looked at Portuguese, Dutch, Javanese, Malay, Classical Malay, Oxford on Historical Principles.

Cannot find the word anywhere.
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Old 13th June 2019, 12:03 PM   #2
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Default Attention Moderators.

The spelling is wrong.

It should be "lela", in use it would be "meriam lela".

It was a type of Malay lantaka, a light swivel gun. Some say double barrelled and longer than a normal lantaka, others say single barrel, just another name for a lantaka.

Mods, could you shift this to the Ethno Forum?

Thanks.
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Old 16th June 2019, 03:28 AM   #3
M ELEY
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Thank you, Alan, for providing me with this interesting tidbit. As a collector of 'all things pirate', I was unaware of the name of the small, double barreled lantaka that almost looks like a pistol for use. Per haps this female of which you mention carried them in a bandolier, Blackbeard-style? Or just in a basket or bag (that was a lot of armament to go running around with!!)
Mark
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Old 16th June 2019, 03:59 AM   #4
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Mark, "meriam" means "cannon" in Malay, some definitions of a lela give it as longer than a normal lantaka, some give it as doubled barrelled as well, so by either definition it was bigger than a normal lantaka, and a lantaka was a swivel gun used by boats, ships, canoes. It was not a pistol style weapon, but some of the smaller lantakas could be picked up by one man and carried.
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Old 16th June 2019, 06:29 AM   #5
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Hi Alan and thanks for the clarification. I am actually mortified by the fact that I took your quote of the 'she' to be an actual female!!! Now, in reference to the size of these larger lantaka, the 'she' obviously refers to a ship! Thus, a Malay vessel well-armed with these amazing cannons-
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Old 16th June 2019, 07:08 AM   #6
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Moved ... and title edited, as i though you wished, Alan .
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Old 16th June 2019, 12:47 PM   #7
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Please see https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Lantaka where a good description and notes also about bamboo cannon are placed as well as this Miriam Lela weapon which as previously noted can be a double barrel affair...


A quotation from the reference states Quote "Typically the earliest cannon with beautiful ornaments from this region are from foundries in the Malacca and Pahang,[1] with later models from foundries in the Netherlands and Portugal, next from their respective settlements, and finally from Brunei and other local craftsmen. However, there were also double-barreled variants that were used extensively in the Philippines. In Malaysia, these double-barreled variants are called Meriam Lela (Malay for 'Lela Cannon') and appears to be longer than a typical Lantaka." Unquote.

Intriguing that this weapon had a number of roles including honouring dignitaries with gun salutes, protecting from pirates and as a barter system and gifted for safe passage.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 16th June 2019, 12:53 PM   #8
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