The first group of settlers were brought to the islands as workers by the merchant Alexander Hare in 1826. They were mostly Malay with a number of people of Chinese, Papuan and Indian descent, and possibly some of African heritage.

The settlers came from such places as Bali, Bima, Celebes, Madura, Sumbawa, Timor, Sumatra, Pasir-Kutai, Malacca, Penang, Batavia and Cerebon.