Maluku Islands

Karta ID Maluku isl.PNG
Location South East Asia
Coordinates 3°9′S 129°23′E / 3.15°S 129.383°E / -3.15; 129.383
Total islands ~1000
Major islands Halmahera, Seram, Buru, Ambon, Ternate, Tidore, Aru Islands, Kai Islands
Area 74,505 km²
Highest point Binaiya (3,027 m)
Provinces Maluku, North Maluku
Population 1,895,000 (as of 2000)
Ethnic groups Nuaulu, Manusela
Map by Willem Blaeu (1630)

The Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas, Moluccan Islands, the Spice Islands) are an archipelago in Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone. Geographically they are located east of Sulawesi (Celebes), west of New Guinea, and north of Timor. The islands were also historically known as the "Spice Islands" by the Chinese and Europeans, but this term has also been applied to other islands.

Most of the islands are mountainous, some with active volcanoes, and enjoy a wet climate. The vegetation of the small and narrow islands, encompassed by the sea, is very luxuriant; including rainforests, sago, rice and the famous spices - nutmeg, cloves and mace, among others. Though originally Melanesian, many island populations, especially in the Banda Islands, were killed in the 17th century. A second influx of Austronesian immigrants began in the early 20th century under the Dutch and continued in the Indonesian era.

Politically, the Maluku Islands formed a single province from 1950 until 1999. In 1999 the North Maluku (Maluku Utara) and Halmahera Tengah (Central Halmahera) regency were split off as a separate province, so the islands are now divided between two provinces, Maluku and North Maluku. Between 1999 and 2002 they were known for religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians but have been peaceful in the past years.

Spice Islands most commonly refer to the Maluku Islands (formerly the Moluccas), which lie on the equator, between Sulawesi (Celebes) and New Guinea in what is now Indonesia, and often specifically to the small volcanic Banda Islands, once the only source of mace and nutmeg.

The term has also been used less commonly in reference to other islands known for their spice production, notably the Zanzibar Archipelago off East Africa consisting of Unguja, Mafia and Pemba. These islands were formerly the independent state of Zanzibar but now form a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania.


The Maluku Islands are often described by tourist literature as having 999 islands; they are 90% sea with 77,990 km2 of land, and 776,500 km2 of sea.

North Maluku Province

Maluku Province


The name Maluku is thought to have been derived from the Arab trader's term for the region, Jazirat al-Muluk ('the island of the kings').


Background: "The Spice Islands"

The native Bandanese people traded spices with other Asian nations, such as China, since at least the time of the Roman Empire. With the rise of Islam, the trade became dominated by Muslim traders. One ancient Arabic source appears to know the location of the islands, describing them as fifteen days' sail East from the 'island of Jaba' - presumably Java[citation needed] — but direct evidence of Islam in the archipelago occurs only in the late 1300s, as China's interest in regional maritime dominance waned. With Arabic traders came not just Islam, but a new technique of social organisation, the sultanate, which replaced local councils of rich men (orang kaya) on the more important islands, and proved more effective in dealing with outsiders. (See Ternate & Tidore).

By trading with Muslim merchants, Venice came to monopolise the spice trade in Europe between 1200 and 1500, through its dominance over Mediterranean seaways to ports such as Alexandria, after traditional overland connections were disrupted by Mongols and Turks. The financial incentive to discover an alternative to Venice's monopoly control of this lucrative business was perhaps the single most important factor precipitating Europe's Age of Exploration. Portugal took an early lead charting the route around the southern tip of Africa, securing various bases en route, even discovering the coast of Brazil in the search for favourable southerly currents. Portugal's eventual success and the establishment of its own empire provoked the other maritime powers in Europe—Spain (see Ferdinand Magellan), France, England and the Netherlands—to challenge and overcome the Portuguese position.

Because of the high value that the spices had in Europe and the large incomes that it produced, the Dutch and British were soon involved in conflicts to try to gain a monopoly over the region. The fighting for control over these small islands became very intense with the Dutch even giving the island of Manhattan to the British in exchange for, among other things, a small island that gave the Dutch full control over the Banda archipelago. The Bandanese people lost the most in the fighting with most of the people being either slaughtered or enslaved by the Dutch. Over 6,000 were killed during the Spice Wars.

The goal of reaching the Spice Islands, eventually to be enveloped by the Dutch East Indies Empire, led to the accidental discovery of the West Indies, and lit the fuse of centuries of rivalry between European maritime powers for control of lucrative global markets and resources. The tattered mystique of the Spice Islands finally died when France and Britain successfully smuggled seeds and plants to their own dominions on Mauritius, Grenada and elsewhere, making spices a more commonplace and affordable commodity.

Early history

The earliest archaeological evidence of human occupation of the region is about thirty-two thousand years old, but evidence of even older settlements in Australia may mean that Maluku had earlier visitors. Evidence of increasingly long-distance trading relationships and of more frequent occupation of many islands, begins about ten to fifteen thousand years later. Onyx beads and segments of silver plate used as currency on the Indian subcontinent around 200BC have been unearthed on some of the islands. In addition, local dialects employ derivations of the Malay word then in use for 'silver', in contrast to the term used in wider Melanesian society, which has etymological roots in Chinese, a consequence of the regional trade with China that developed in the 500s and 600s.

Maluku was a cosmopolitan society where spice traders from across the region took residence in settlements, or in nearby enclaves, including Arab and Chinese traders who visited or lived in the region.

The Portuguese

Apart from some relative inconsequential cultural influences, the most significant lasting effects of the Portuguese presence was the disruption and disorganisation of Asian trade, and in eastern Indonesia—including Maluku—the planting of Christianity. The Portuguese had conquered Malacca in the early sixteenth century and their lasting influence was most strongly felt in Maluku and other parts of eastern Indonesia. Following the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in August 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque learned the route to the Banda Islands and other 'Spice Islands', and sent an exploratory expedition of three vessels under the command of António de Abreu, Simão Afonso Bisigudo and Francisco Serrão. On the way to return, Francisco Serrão was shipwrecked at Hitu island (northern Ambon) in 1512. There he established ties with the local ruler who was impressed with his martial skills. The rulers of the competing island states of Ternate and Tidore also sought Portuguese assistance and the Portuguese were welcomed in the area as buyers of food and spices during a lull in the spice trade due to a temporary disruption to Javanese and Malay sailings to the area following the 1511 conflicts in Malacca. The Asian trade soon revived and the Portuguese were never able to dominate the trade.

Allying himself with Ternate, Serrão constructed a fortress on the island and served as the head of a mercenary band of Portuguese warriors under the service of one of two feuding powerful sultans who controlled the spice trade. Such an outpost far from Europe generally only attracted the most desperate and avaricious, such that the feeble attempts at Christianisation, strained relations with Ternate's Muslim ruler. Serrão urged Ferdinand Magellan to join him in Maluku, and gave the explorer information about the Spice Islands. Both Serrão and Magellan, however, perished before they could meet one another. In 1535 King Tabariji was deposed and sent to Goa by the Portuguese. He converted to Christianity and changed his name to Dom Manuel. After being declared innocent of the charges against him he was sent back to reassume his throne, but he died en route in Malacca in 1545. He had, however, bequeathed the island of Ambon to his Portuguese godfather Jordão de Freitas. Following the murder of Sultan Hairun at the hands of the Portuguese, the Ternateans expelled the Portuguese in 1575 after a five-year siege.

The Portuguese first landed in Ambon in 1513, but it became the new centre for Portuguese activities in Maluku following their expulsion from Ternate. European power in the region was weak and Ternate became an expanding, fiercely Islamic and anti-Portuguese state under the rule of Sultan Baab Ullah (r. 1570 - 1583) and his son Sultan Said. The Portuguese in Ambon, however, were regularly attacked from native Muslims on the island's northern coast, in particular Hitu, which had trading and religious links with major port cities on Java's north coast. Indeed, the Portuguese never managed to control the local trade in spices, and failed in attempts to establish their authority over the Banda Islands, the nearby centre of nutmeg production.

Following Portuguese missionary work, there have been large Christian communities in eastern Indonesia through to contemporary times, which has contributed to a sense of shared interest with Europeans, particularly among the Ambonese. By the 1560s there were 10,000 Catholics in the area, mostly on Ambon, and by the 1590s there were 50,000 to 60,000, although most of the region surrounding Ambon remained Muslim.The Spaniard Francis Xavier also played an important role in Maluku Christianization (see next section).

Other Portuguese influences include a large number of Indonesian words derived from Portuguese which alongside Malay was the lingua franca up until the early nineteenth century. Contemporary Indonesian words such as pesta ('party'), sabun ('soap'), bendera ('flag'), meja ('table'), Minggu ('Sunday'), all derive from Portuguese. Many family names in Maluku are derived from Portuguese including De lima, Waas, da Costa, Dias, de Fretas, Gonsalves, Mendoza, Rodrigues, and da Silva. Also of part-Portuguese origin are the romantic keroncong ballads sung to a guitar.

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Kota Bandung


Nickname(s): Kota Kembang (City of Flowers) and Parijs Van Java
Motto: Bermartabat ('dignified')
Kota Bandung is located in Indonesia
Kota Bandung
Location of Bandung in Indonesia
Coordinates: 6°54′53.08″S 107°36′35.32″E / 6.9147444°S 107.6098111°E / -6.9147444; 107.6098111Coordinates: 6°54′53.08″S 107°36′35.32″E / 6.9147444°S 107.6098111°E / -6.9147444; 107.6098111
Country Indonesia
Province West Java
- Mayor Dada Rosada
- Total 167.67 km2 (64.74 sq mi)
Elevation 768 m (2,520 ft)
Population (2004)
- Total 2,510,982
- Density 14,976/km2 (38,786/sq mi)
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)

Bandung (pronounced [bʌndʊŋ]) Indonesian: Kota Bandung) is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia, and the country's fourth largest city, and 2nd largest metropolitan area, with 7.4 million in 2007. Located 768 m (2,520 ft) above sea level, Bandung has relatively year-around cooler temperature than most other Indonesian cities. The city lies on a river basin and surrounded by volcanic mountains. This topography provides the city with a good natural defense system, which was the primary reason of Dutch East Indies government's plan to move the colony capital from Batavia to Bandung.

It has an area of 167.27 km² and 2,290,464 people in 2005, with a density of 13,693 people/km². For the Hasil Survei Sosial Ekonomi Daerah 2007, 2,364,312 was the population, making it the fourth most populous city in Indonesia, after Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan.

The Dutch colonials first opened tea plantations around the mountains in the eighteenth century, followed by a road construction connecting the plantation area to the capital (180 km or 112 miles to the northwest). The European inhabitants of the city demanded the establishment of a municipality (gemeente), which was granted in 1906 and Bandung gradually developed itself into a resort city for the plantation owners. Luxurious hotels, restaurants, cafes and European boutiques were opened of which the city was dubbed as Parijs van Java (Dutch: "The Paris of Java").

After Indonesian independence on 1945 onwards, the city experienced a rapid development and urbanization that has transformed Bandung from idyllic town into a dense 15,000 people/km² metropolitan area, a living space for over 2 million people. Natural resources have been exploited excessively, particularly in the conversions of protected upland area into highland villa and real estates. Although the city has encountered many problems (ranging from waste disposal, floods to chaotic traffic system, etc), Bandung however still has its charm to attract people flocking into the city, either as weekend travellers or living in.


Mount Tangkuban Perahu

Bandung, the capital of West Java province, located about 180 km (112 miles) southeast of Jakarta, is the fourth largest city in Indonesia. With over 2.9 million population in 2007 and over 7.2 million people on the greater Bandung regency and metropolitan area, it's one of the most densely populated city in Asia. It's rated the fastest-growing major city or urban region in Indonesia. Its elevation is 768 metres (2,520 ft) above sea level and is surrounded by up to 2,400 m (7,874 ft) high Late Tertiary and Quarternary volcanic terrain. The 400 km² flat of central Bandung plain is situated in the middle of 2,340.88 km² wide of the Bandung Basin; the basin comprises Bandung, the Cimahi city, part of Bandung Regency, part of West Bandung Regency, and part of Sumedang Regency.[4] The basin's main river is the Citarum; one of its branches, the Cikapundung, divides Bandung from north to south before it merges with Citarum again in Dayeuhkolot. The Bandung Basin is an important source of water for drinking water, irrigation and fisheries, and its 6,147 million m³ of groundwater is a major reservoir for the city.

The northern part of the city is hillier than the rest; the distinguished truncated flat-peak shape of the Tangkuban Perahu volcano (Tangkuban Perahu literally means 'up-turned boat') can be seen from the city to the north. Long-term volcanic activity has created fertile andisol soil in the north, suitable for intensive rice, fruit, tea, tobacco and coffee plantations. In the south and east, alluvial soils deposited by the Cikapundung river are mostly found.

Geological data shows that the Bandung Basin is located on an ancient volcano, known as Mount Sunda, erected up to 3,000–4,000 metres (9,850–13,100 ft) during the Pleistocene age. Two large scale eruptions took place; the first formed the basin and the other (est. 55,000 Before Present) blocked the Citarum river, turning the basin into a lake known as "the Great Lake of Bandung". The lake drained away; the reason for which is the subject of ongoing debate among geologists.

Due to its elevation, the climate in Bandung is cooler than most Indonesian cities and can be classified as humid; the average temperature is 23.6 °C (74.5 °F) throughout the year. The average annual rainfall ranges from 1,000 millimetres in the central and southeast regions to 3,500 millimetres in the north of the city. The wet season conforms with other Indonesian regions, around November to April.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Temperature (°C)
Precipitation (mm) 72.1 265.6 365.0 136.0 117.7 37.4 40.5 74.7 76.3 314.2 185.9 197.2
Evaporation (mm) 3.7 2.9 3.2 3.0 3.4 3.3 3.7 3.9 3.7 3.2 2.5 2.7
Rel. humidity (%) 75 82 82 78 75 71 67 69 71 77 80 81
Air pressure (mb) 922.5 921.7 922.2 921.9 921.9 922.3 922.8 922.5 923.0 922.6 922.0 922.1
Source: Bandung Dalam Angka (Bandung in Numbers), 2003.[10]


The Dutch-built Gedung Sate
The Historical Asia-Afrika Street, Bandung

The earliest reference to the city dates back to 1488, but archaeological findings suggest a type of Homo erectus species had lived on the banks of the Cikapundung River and around the old lake of Bandung. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) opened plantations in the Bandung area. A supply road connecting Batavia (now Jakarta), Bogor, Cianjur, Bandung, Sumedang and Cirebon was built in 1786. In 1809, Napoleon I, the Emperor of the French and conqueror of much of Europe including the Netherlands and its colonies,(before his ultimate downfall at Waterloo in 1815) ordered the Dutch Indies Governor H.W. Daendels to increase the defensive systems of Java against the British from India. Daendels built a road, stretching approximately 1,000 km (621 miles) from the west to the east coast of Java, and passing through Bandung. In 1810, the road was laid down in Bandung and was named De Groote Postweg (or the 'main post road'), the present-day site of Asia-Afrika Street. Under Daendels' orders, R.A. Wiranatakusumah II, the chief administration of the Bandung regency at that time, moved its office from Krapyak, in the south, to a place near a pair of holy city wells (sumur Bandung), the present-day site of the city square (alun-alun). He built his dalem (palace), masjid agung (the grand mosque) and pendopo (public-official meeting place) in the classical orientation. The pendopo faces Tangkuban Perahu mountain, which was believed to have a mystical ambience.

In 1880, the first major railroad between Batavia and Bandung was built, boosting light industry in Bandung. Chinese workers from outside the city flocked in, to help run facilities, services and selling vendor machines. The old Chinatown district in Bandung is still recognisable in the railroad station vicinity. In 1906, Bandung was given the status of gemeente (municipality) and then later as stadsgemeente (city municipality) in 1926.

In the beginning of the 1920s, the Dutch East Indies government made plans to move the capital of Dutch East Indies from Batavia to Bandung. Accordingly, during this decade, the Dutch colonial government started building military barracks, the central government building (Gouvernments Bedrijven, the present-day Gedung Sate) and other government buildings. This plan, however, was cut short by World War II after which the Dutch were not able to re-established their colony.

The fertile area of the Parahyangan Mountains surrounding Bandung supports productive tea plantations. In the nineteenth century, Franz Junghuhn introduced the cinchona (kina) plant. With its cooler elevated landscape, surrounded by major plantations, Bandung became an exclusive European resort area. Rich plantation owners visited the city on weekends, attracting girls and businessmen from the capital, Batavia. Braga Street grew into a promenade street with cafes, restaurants and boutique shops. Two art-deco style hotels, Savoy Homann and Preanger, were built in the vicinity of the Concordia Society, a club house for the wealthy with a large ballroom and a theatre. The nickname "Parijs van Java" was given to the city.

Gedung Merdeka during the Asian-African Conference in 1955

After the Indonesian Independence in 1945, Bandung was determined as the capital of West Java province. During the 1945–1949 independence struggle against the Dutch when they wanted to reclaim their colonies, Bandung was one of the heaviest battle places. The Dutch military commander set an ultimatum for the Indonesian combatants in Bandung to leave the city. In response, on 24 March 1946, much of the southern part of Bandung was deliberately set alight as the combatants left; an event known as the Bandung Lautan Api or 'Bandung Sea of Flame'.

In 1955, the first Asian-African Conference -- also known as the Bandung Conference -- was held in Bandung, attended by head of states representing twenty-nine countries and colonies from Asia and Africa. The conference venue was at the Gedung Merdeka, the former Concordia Society building. The conference announced 10 points of declaration on world peace promotion and oppositions against colonialism, known as the Declaration of Bandung, which followed by wave of nationalism movements around the globe and remapped the world politics. The conference was also the first international conference of people of color in the history of mankind. Richard Wright in his book, The Color Curtain, captured the epic meanings of the conference for people of color around the world.

In 1987, the city boundary was expanded with the Greater Bandung (Bandung Raya) plan; a relocation of higher concentration development outside the city in an attempt to dilute some of population in the old city. During its development, however, the city core is often uprooted, old faces are torn down, lot sizes regrouped, and what was idyllic residence is bustling chain supermarkets and rich banks.


List of Mayors
Netherlands Dutch-Indies
E.A. Maurenbrecher (exofficio) 1906-1907
R.E. Krijboom (exofficio) 1907-1908
J.A. van Der Ent (exofficio) 1909-1910
J.J. Verwijk (exofficio) 1910-1912
C.C.B. van Vlenier (exofficio) 1912-1913
B. van Bijveld (exofficio) 1913-1917
B. Coops 1917-1920 First Mayor
S.A. Reitsma 1920-1921
B. Coops 1921-1928
Ir. J.E.A. van Volsorgen Kuhr 1929-1935
Mr. J.M. Wesselink 1935-1937
N. Beets 1937-1942
Japan Japanese Occupation
Raden A. Atma dit Nata 1942-1945
Indonesia Indonesia
Ir. Ukar Bratakusumah 1946-1949
R. Enoch 1949-1956
R. Priatna Kusumah 1956-1966
R. Didi Jukardi 1966-1968
Hidayat Sukarmadijaya 1968-1971
R. Otje Djundjunan 1971-1976
Ucu Junaedi 1976-1978
R. Husein Wangsaatmaja 1978-1983
Ateng Wahyudi 1983-1993
Wahyu Hamidjaja 1993-1998
Aa Tarmana 1998-2003
Dada Rosada 2003-...
Source: official website

The city area in 1906 was only 19.22 square kilometres and it has been expanded several times until the 1987 expansion into 167.2965 km².The city administration is divided into 26 subdistricts (kecamatan) and 139 villages (kelurahan). A mayor (walikota) leads the city administration. Since 2008, the city residents directly voted for a mayor, while previously mayors were nominated and selected by the city council members or known as the Regional People's Representative Council (DPRD). As of 2003, the total number of city administration personnel, including the mayor, is 20,163.


Most of Bandung population are of Sundanese descent. Javanese is largest minority, from nearby provinces and eastern part of Java. Notable minorities include Chinese Indonesians, Indian Indonesians, and Korean Indonesians.


Institut Teknologi Bandung. Ceremonial Hall by architect Henri Maclaine-Pont

Bandung is renowned for its large stock of Dutch colonial architecture; most notably the tropical Art Deco architectural style. Henri Maclaine-Pont is among the first Dutch architects who realized how important to combine each architectural style with culture of local people. He stressed that modern architecture should be evolved from local history and native elements. In 1920, Pont planned and designed buildings for the first technical university in the Dutch East Indies, Technische Hogeschool te Bandung (the present-day Institut Teknologi Bandung), after which he was named as a professor in architecture at the university. A striking local Javanese roof style is noticeably seen on top of the campus' ceremonial hall, embedded in his artwork.

In the same year, another Dutch architect, J Gerber, designed Gouverments Bedrijven (Government Companies) in line with the colonial government plan to move the capital from Batavia to Bandung. The building is an example of a harmonious mixture between West and East architectural styles, particularly the Italian Renaissance style of arch structures in the west wing and Thailand's pagoda-like structures in the middle section.[citation needed] The building is known as Gedung Sate, named after the distinguished small satay shaped structure on the roof, and used as the head office of West Java provincial government and West Java's house of representative.

The modern and native architectural blending was followed by several Dutch architects that have shaped the city landmarks. In the 1930s, Bandung was known also as the city of architecture laboratory because of many Dutch architects made some experiments with new architectural designs. Albert Aalbers added the expressionist architecture style to the Art Deco by designing the DENIS bank (1936) and renovated the Savoy Homann Hotel (1939). C.P.W. Schoemaker was one of celebrated architects who strongly added native elements in his artworks, including the Villa Isola (1932), Hotel Preanger (1929), the regional military headquarter (1918), Gedung Merdeka (1921) and ITB Rectorate Building (1925).


Bandung is the capital of West Java, a province of which most of its residents are mainly Sundanese people. Sundanese language is spoken as the first language and is commonly used as informal language for communication in streets and markets, while Indonesian - Indonesia's national language and a lingua franca among its many ethnic units - is used as a second language and the language of government, businesses, and instruction at schools.

A popular traditional musical instrument is angklung, made of parallel bamboo tubes tuned to specific frequencies with a hammer and is shaken to produce certain notes. Music is performed by a choir of angklung players, each of whom are responsible for sounding certain notes. Its melody is only slightly different from that of Central Java's gamelan ensembles.

Tourism industry

Bandung has served for popular weekend-break destination for people living in Jakarta for many reasons. The cooler climate of highland plantation area, the varieties of food, the cheaper fashion shops located in factory outlets and distros, golf courses, and the friendliness of local people have become the main attraction of the city.

Denim store, Cihampelas Street

In the 1990s, local designers opened denim clothing stores along Cihampelas Street which gave Bandung another nickname, the "Tourist Shopping City" (Kota Wisata Belanja). It was a success as the-then residential street had been fully transformed into a "jeans street". The city attracts people from other big cities to buy local fashion wears, as they are cheaper than branded items.

The city gained more shoppers to come when textile factories in the outskirt of Bandung opened a fashion store that sells their products directly from the factory. The products are tagged as sisa export (rejected or over-produced export quality items) and these shops are called factory outlets. The trend was followed by another factory outlets.


Bandung is the home town of the soccer team Persib Bandung. Another soccer team Persikab is based in neighbouring town of Soreang, the capital city of Bandung Regency (Kabupaten Bandung) and Pelita Jaya Jawa Barat (PJJB) who share it's home base stadium with Persikab at Si Jalak Harupat stadium in Soreang and Pro Duta. Persib Bandung's home base stadium is Siliwangi Stadium.

Other popular sports in Bandung include badminton (see Taufik Hidayat, gold medal winner at the 2004 Summer Olympics) and basketball, a well known basketball team which taking part in IBL league is Garuda Flexi (formerly PanAsia). The roads leading up to Lembang and Dago are popular routes for mountain cycling during the weekend. In the hillside around Bandung, there are a couple of golf courses.

Professional hockey player Richie Regehr was born in Bandung. Richie played professional hockey for the Calgary Flames and currently plays for Eisbären Berlin of the DEL. Regehr was born to Canadian parents working as missionaries in Bandung.


Newspapers Several local daily newspaper were operated in Bandung such as Pikiran Rakyat, Galamedia, Tribun Jabar.

Television Several local television station were operated in Bandung such as TVRI Bandung, Space Toon Bandung, Padjadjaran TV, Bandung TV, STV, IMTV Bandung, MQTV.

Radio A Lot of radio stations were operated in Bandung

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Javanese people

Javanese rambutan seller wearing
Batik shirt and peci hat

Total population
approximately 85 million (2004 census)
Regions with significant populations
Indonesia: 83.2 million

Central Java: 30.6 million
East Java: 27.5 million
Lampung: 4.2 million
West Java: 3.9 million
North Sumatra: 3.7 million
Yogyakarta: 3 million
Jakarta: 2.9 million
South Sumatra: 1.9 million
Riau: 1.2 million
Banten: 1.0 million
East Kalimantan: 0.7 million
Malaysia: 1 million

Suriname: 75,000

New Caledonia: 5,000

Netherlands: 150,000-300,000


Javanese, Indonesian, Dutch


Predomatinely Islam. Some adherents of Kejawen Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism

Related ethnic groups

Sundanese, Madurese, Balinese, Sri Lankan Malays, Malays

The Javanese are an ethnic group native to the Indonesian island of Java. They are predominantly located in the central to eastern parts of the island. At approximately 85 million people (as of 2004), it is the largest ethnic group on the island, and also in Indonesia.

Origin and distribution

Like most Indonesian ethnic groups, including the Sundanese of West Java, the Javanese are of Austronesian origins whose ancestors are thought to have originated in Taiwan, and migrated through the Philippines, reaching Java between 1,500BCE and 1,000BCE.

The Javanese were traditionally concentrated in the provinces of East Java, Central Java and Yogyakarta, but due to migration within Indonesia (as part of government transmigration programs or otherwise) there are now high populations of Javanese people in almost all the Indonesian provinces. (The province of West Java is home to the Sundanese, Indonesia's second largest ethnic group who are ethnically distinct from the Javanese).


Javanese people use Javanese language in everyday speech. In a public poll held circa-1990, approximately 12% of Javanese used Indonesian, around 18% used both Javanese and Indonesian, and the rest used Javanese exclusively.


Culturally, Javanese people adopt a paternalistic system that traces the hierarchic lineage of the father. This system is particularly used to determine descendants' right to use royal titles before their names. However, it is not customary for Javanese to have a descended family name.


Most Javanese follow Islam as their religion. Some also follow Christianity (Protestantism and Catholicism), which are rather concentrated in Central Java (particularly Surakarta, Magelang and Yogyakarta for Catholicism). In a much smaller scale, Buddhism and Hinduism also are found in the Javanese community.

Many Javanese follow the ethnic religion Kejawen, which is animistic with strong influences of Hinduism and Buddhism and some rituals in Islam. The Javanese community is also known for syncretism of beliefs. All the outside cultures were absorbed and interpreted according to the Javanese traditional values, creating a new set of religious beliefs unique to local culture.


In Indonesia, Javanese can be found in all professions, especially in the government and the military. Traditionally, most Javanese are farmers. This was especially common because of the fertile volcanic soil in Java.

Social stratification

The famous American anthropologist Clifford Geertz in the 1960s divided the Javanese community into three aliran or "streams": santri, abangan and priyayi. According to him, the Santri followed an orthodox interpretation Islam, the abangan was the followed a syncretic form of Islam that mixed Hindu and animist elements (often termed Kejawen), and the priyayi was the nobility. But today the Geertz opinion is often opposed because he mixed the social groups with belief groups. It was also difficult to apply this social categorisation in classing outsiders, for example other non-indigenous Indonesians such as persons of Arab, Chinese and Indian descent.

Social stratification is much less rigid in northern coast area, which is much more egalitarian.

Map of Javanese language distribution (in white). The homeland of the Javanese people is almost identical to the language distribution.


Javanese refined art of royal court dance.

Javanese origin artforms are among the best known in Indonesia and the whole archipelago. The famous Javanese wayang puppetry culture was influenced by Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The Wayang repertoire stories, lakon, are mostly based on epics from India; Ramayana and Mahabharata. These epics and stories influenced wayang puppetry as well as Javanese classical dances. The influences from Islam and the Western world also can be found. The art of Batik and Keris dagger are among Javanese origin art expressions. Gamelan musical ensembles are found in both Java and Bali. All of these artforms holds important position, and function within Javanese culture and tradition.


Javanese do not usually have family names or surnames. Many have just a single name. For example, Sukarno or Suharto. Javanese names may come from traditional Javanese languages, many of which are derived from Sanskrit. Names with the prefix Su-,which means good, are very popular. After the advent of Islam, many Javanese began to use Arabic names, especially coast populations, where Islamic influences are stronger. Commoners usually only have one-word names, while nobilities use two-or-more-word names, but rarely a surname. Due to the influence of other cultures, many people started using names from other languages, mainly European languages. Christian Javanese usually use Latin baptist names followed by a traditional Javanese name.

Some people use a patronymic. For example, Abdurrahman Wahid's name is derived from his father's name (Wahid Hasyim) who was an independence fighter and minister. In turn, Wahid Hasyim's name was derived from that of his father: Hasyim Asyari, a famous cleric and founder of the Nahdlatul Ulama organization.

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