Topography of Bangka island
|Location||South East Asia|
|Area||11,910 km2 (4,598 sq mi)|
|Largest city||Pangkalpinang (pop. 134,082)|
|Population||626,955 (as of 1990)|
|Density||52.64 /km2 (136.34 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Malay Indonesians and Chinese, mostly Hakkas|
Bangka is an island province together with Belitung Island. Bangka lies just east of Sumatra, separated by the Bangka Strait; to the north lies the South China Sea, to the east, across the Gaspar Strait, is the island of Belitung, and to the south is the Java Sea. The size is about 12,000 km². Most of the geographical faces of the island consists of lower plains, swamps, small hills, beautiful beaches, white pepper fields and tin minings.
The largest town is Pangkalpinang which also serves as the capital of Bangka-Belitung province. Sungailiat is the second largest city in Bangka island. Muntok (Mentok) is the principal port in the west. The other important town are Toboali in the southern region, Koba an important tin mining town, also located on the southern part of the island, and Belinyu a town famous for its seafood products. There are 4 sea ports in Bangka; Muntok on the far west, Belinyu on the far north, Sadai on the far south, and Pangkal Balam are the closest one to Pangkalpinang. It is intended, that a nuclear power station is going to be built there. 
Since c. 1710, Bangka has been one of the world's principal tin-producing centers. Tin production is an Indonesian government monopoly, and there is the biggest tin smelter at Muntok. White pepper is also produced on the island. Tin mining is environmentally damaging. 
The majority of the inhabitants are Malays and Chinese, mostly Hakkas. The population is split between those work on the tin mines, palm oil plantations, rubber plantations, fisherman and those who work on pepper farms.
Bangka was ceded to Britain by the sultan of Palembang in 1812, but in 1814 it was exchanged with the Dutch for Cochin in India. The island was occupied by the Japanese from February 1942 to August 1945. It became part of independent Indonesia in 1949. The island, together with neighboring Belitung, was formerly part of South Sumatra (Sumatera Selatan) province, but in 2000 the two islands became the new province of Bangka-Belitung.
Bangka is famous for two other events: the Banka Island massacre during World War II, perpetrated by the Japanese against Australian nurses and British and Australian servicemen and civilians, and for reputedly being the setting for the book Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.
In 1930 Bangka had a population of 205,363.
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- Columbia-Lippincott Gazetter