Almost all of the world’s numerous societies are patrilineal (i.e a practice of inheriting or determining descent through the male line), with men playing a dominant role in all aspects of the society’s units. Surprisingly however, there are quite a few number of existing matrilineal societies in some parts of the world that most people do not know of.
Here the following list identifies top 10 of such existing matrilineal societies in the World:
1. The Lao of Thailand
This is an ethnic group located in northeastern Thailand. Here after marriage, the man is required by law to move into his wife’s family home as its new member. Also, the youngest daughter of a family has the exclusive right to inherit the family’s real property. Thus, this is one of the few remaining societies in the world in which matrilocal kinship and matrilineal inheritance still exist.
2. The Amis of Taiwan
Taiwan falls in the second place as the matrilineal heredity is a core practice of the Amis who is part of Taiwan, in which family property is normally given to the eldest daughter of every household. The Amis community is also led by an Empress. Customarily, women owns property, while men participate in military routines as mandated by the tribe’s native law.
3. The Owambos of Namibia
The Owambo tribe is the largest ethnic group in Namibia. Also, its people are spread across eight of the country’s regions. Traditionally, the Owambos practice a matrilineal system of succession and inheritance. And, although in recent times, western influence has caused a shift towards patrilineal inheritance by the people. This custom of matrilineal inheritance is still effective in the tribe’s rural communities.
4. The Bijagos of Guinea Bissau
The Bijagos consist of four matrilineal sets present on the Island of Orango Grande, Guinea Bissau. The usual law of the people recognizes its matrilineal system as a necessity for integrating the entire Bijago community. The empress is the final authority of every household.
5. The Khasi of India
The Khasi tribe is one of the few matrilineal socities that still exist in India. And it’s located in the Meghalaye province of the country. The tribe consists of clans which are determined by the mother’s family lineage. And children are generally regarded as offspring’s of the mother’s family lineage or clan, rather than the offsprings of the father’s family lineage. Customarily, the female children inherit real property such as land in the community.
6. The Minangkabau of Indonesia
This is un-doubtfully the prime matrilineal society in the world and is located in western Sumatra of Indonesia. Even in this society female owns land; while customary law require relationship or family property to be transferred from mother to daughter. The people of Minangkabau in Indonesia treat mothers as the most important person in the society.
7. The Balue of Cameroon
The Balue tribe is an ethnic group which is located in the South-West region of Cameroon.The Balues’ rich culture is matrilineal, whereby children belong to the mother’s family clan; and not the father’s. Thus, the native law of the people vests on the first son of a family’s eldest sister the right to inherit all property belonging to the mother’s brother; and the sister’s son shall use it as he deems fit.
8. The Garo of India
India holds many tribal families to its proper landscape. The Garo tribe is one among them and Garo tribe has been a matrilineal society for centuries. The civilization of Garo people lies in the female heir as the Garo people recognizes the wife as the head of a household and upon the death of the family’s matriarch. Even Garo makes its commandment strict towards the land which is being registered should be on female name.
9. The Akans of Ghana
The Akan tribes of Ghana consist of the Asantes, the Fantis, the Akims, etc.. They are the majority ethnic group in Ghana and presently the most popular matrilineal society in Africa. With an inheritance system in which a man’s direct heirs are his sister’s children, and not his children. However at the moment, this matrilineal system of inheritance among the Akan tribes only applies to customary marriages.
10. The Mosuo of China
The Mosuo tribe is located in western china and it is one of the world’s oldest matrilineal societies. These people are core attached to pure love from mother and has complete trust in humanity. Hence there is a transparency towards why there is matrilineal system.