an Indonesian people living in northern Sumatra and numbering about 2.5 million (1967 estimate).
On the basis of linguistic and ethnographic characteristics, the Bataks can be divided into six groups: the Toba, the Karo, the Timur, the Pakpak, the Ankola, and the Mandai-ling. Their languages are Batak. The Bataks are primarily Muslim, although some of the Toba are Christian and the Karo have preserved their traditional beliefs. Strong tribal elements have survived until the present day. The Bataks are primarily farmers growing rice, corn, sweet potatoes, and other crops, although they also practice the arts of weaving, pottery-making, metalworking, building, and wood carving. Trade and commercial relations have been developing since the beginning of the 20th century, but elements of the natural farm economy have been preserved. From the very beginning of the Dutch colonization of Sumatra (in the 17th century), the Bataks have stubbornly defended their independence.
REFERENCENarody Iugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1966.
M. G. ZHURAVLEVA