Kora Kora

A kora-kora or kora kora or coracora is a traditional canoe from the Maluku (Moluccas) Islands, Indonesia. It was approximately ten metres long and very narrownl|icon [http://www.nationaalarchief.nl/AMH/detail.aspx?page=dafb&lang=nl&id=5968 National archive] ] , quite open, very low, and weighs about four tons [http://www.authorama.com/malay-archipelago-2-4.html Authorama] ] . It had outriggers of bamboo about five feet off each side, which supported a bamboo platform extending the whole length of the vessel. On the extreme outside of this sit the twenty rowers (overall it needs 40 paddlers) [http://www.iol.ie/~spice/mayquest.htm Spice Islands voyage] ] , while within was a convenient passage fore and aft. The middle portion of the boat is covered with a thatch-house, in which baggage and passengers are stowed. The gunwale was not more than a foot above water, and from the great top and side weight. The shape of the boat itself is similar to a Chinese Dragon Boat.

This boat is used for both trade and warfare. Bigger kora-koras were used as war vessels during the war with the Dutch in the Banda Islands during the 17th century. Since ancient times the steerer and paddlers of these traditional Moluccan rowing boats yelled 'Mena Muria', to syncronise their strokes during off shore expeditions. This literally means 'Front - Back', but is also translated to 'I go - We follow' or 'One for all - All for One'.

Some of the bigger rowing boats could have over a 100 rowers and when used on the maritime war path, during for instance a so called 'hongitocht' (war expeditions for the VOC during the 17th century), the approach of the 'kora kora' struck fear in the hearts of the villagers from the attacked coastel village. [http://home.planet.nl/~eljee/H.htm Dutch language list with historical definitions and anecdotes]

References


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