Sati (also called "suttee") is an ancient Indian Hindu practice, in which a widow sacrifices herself by throwing herself on her husband's funeral pyre. Originating at least as far back as 400 A.D., It was outlawed by the colonial British in 1829, although according to the New Columbia Encyclopedia (1975), "isolated cases of voluntary suttee have occurred into the twentieth century." 
Westerners have long doubted whether the practice was ever actually voluntary (compare honor killing). More recent instances of the practice have found, where investigated, to have been carried out under compulsion.
- The Representation of Sati Bengal Past and Present, 117 (1998):57-80.