PORTIA, s. In S. India the common name of the Thespesia populnea, Lam. (N.O. Malvaceae), a favourite ornamental tree, thriving best near the sea. The word is a corruption of Tamil Puarassu, ‘Flower-king; [puvarasu, from pu, ‘flower,’ arasu, ‘peepul tree’]. In Ceylon it is called Suria gansuri, and also the Tulip-tree.

1742.—“Le bois sur lequel on les met (les toiles), et celui qu’on employe pour les battre, sont ordinairement de tamarinier, ou d’un autre arbe nommé porchi.”—Lett. Edif. xiv. 122.

1860.—“Another useful tree, very common in Ceylon, is the Suria, with flowers so like those of a tulip that Europeans know it as the tulip tree. It loves the sea air and saline soils. It is planted all along the avenues and streets in the towns near the coast, where it is equally valued for its shade and the beauty of its yellow flowers, whilst its tough wood is used for carriage-shafts and gun-stocks.”—Tennent’s Ceylon, i. 117.

1861.—“It is usual to plant large branches of the portia and banyan trees in such a slovenly manner that there is little probability of the trees thriving or being ornamental.”—Cleghorn, Forests and Gardens of S. India, 197.

PORTO NOVO, n.p. A town on the coast of South Arcot, 32 m. S. of Pondicherry. The first mention of it that we have found is in Bocarro, Decada, page 42 (c. 1613). The name was perhaps intended to mean ‘New Oporto,’ rather than ‘New Haven,’ but we have not found any history of the name. [The Tamil name is Parangipettai, ‘European town,’ and it is called by Mahommedans Mahmudbandar.]

1718.—“At Night we came to a Town called Porta Nova, and in Malabarish Pirenki Potei (Parangipettai).”—Propagation of the Gospel, &c., Pt. ii. 41.

1726.—“The name of this city (Porto Noco) signifies in Portuguese New Haven, but the Moors call it Mohhammed Bendar … and the Gentoos Perringepeente.”—Valentijn, Choromandel, 8.

PORTO PIQUENO, PORTO GRANDE, nn. pp. ‘The Little Haven and the Great Haven’; names by which the Bengal ports of Satigam (q.v.) and Chatigam (see CHITTAGONG) respectively were commonly known to the Portuguese in the 16th century.

1554.—“Porto Pequeno de BemgalaCowries are current in the country; 80 cowries make 1 pone (see PUN); of these pones 48 are equal to 1 larin more or less.”—A. Nunes, 37.

1554.—“Porto Grande de Bemgala. The maund (mão), by which they weigh all goods, contains 40 seers (ceros), each seer 18 2/5 ounces. …”—A. Nunes, 37.

1568.—“Io mi parti d’Orisa per Bengala al Porto Picheno … s’entra nel fiume Ganze, dalla bocca del qual fiume sino a Satagan (see SATIGAM) città, oue si fanno negotij, et oue i mercadanti si riducono, sono centi e venti miglia, che si fanno in diciotto hore a remi, cioè, in tre crescenti d’acqua, che sono di sei hore l’uno.”—Ces. Federici, in Ramusio, iii. 392.

1569.—“Partissemo di Sondiua, et giungessemo in Chitigan il gran porto di Bengala, in tempo che già i Portoghesi haueuano fatto pace o tregua con i Rettori.”—Ibid. 396.

1595.—“Besides, you tell me that the traffic and commerce of the Porto Pequeno of Bemguala being always of great moment, if this goes to ruin through the Mogors, they will be the masters of those tracts.”—Letter of the K. of Portugal, in Archiv. Port. Orient., Fascic. 3, page 481.

1596.—“And so he wrote me that the Commerce of Porto Grande of Bengala is flourishing, and that the King of the Country had remitted to the Portuguese 3 per cent. of the duties that they used to pay.”—Ibid. page 580.

1598.—“When you thinke you are at the point de Gualle, to be assured thereof, make towards the Iland, to know it … where commonlie all the shippes know the land, such I say as we sayle to Bengalen, or to any of the Hauens thereof, as Porto Pequeno or Porto Grande, that is the small, or the great Haven, where the Portingalles doe traffique. …”—Linschoten, Book III. page 324.

[c. 1617.—“Port Grande, Port Pequina,” in Sir T. Roe’s List, Hak. Soc. ii. 538.]

POSTEEN, s. An Afghan leathern pelisse, generally of sheep-skin with the fleece on. Pers. postin, from post, ‘a hide.’

1080.—“Khwája Ahmad came on some Government business to Ghaznín, and it was reported to him that some merchants were going to Turkistán, who were returning to Ghaznín in the beginning of winter. The Khwája remembered that he required a certain number of postins (great coats) every year for himself and sons. …”—Nizám-ul-Mulk, in Elliot, ii. 497.

1442.—“His Majes ty the Fortunate Khakan had sent for the Prince of Kalikut, horses, pelisses (postin) and robes woven of gold. …”—Abdurazzak, in Not. et

  By PanEris using Melati.

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