Topography of Borneo
|Location||South East Asia|
|Archipelago||Greater Sunda Islands|
|Area||743,330 km2 (287,001 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||4,095 m (13,435 ft)|
Brunei and Muara
|Population||18,590,000 (as of 2009)|
|Density||21.52 /km2 (55.74 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Dayak, Malays, Chinese, Banjar, Bugis, Javanese|
Borneo (Indonesian: Kalimantan) is the third largest island in the world and the largest island of Asia. It is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia.
The island is divided among three countries: Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Approximately 73% of the island is Indonesian territory. The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in the north occupy about 26% of the island. The sovereign state of Brunei, located on the north coast, comprises about 1% of Borneo's land area. Borneo is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
Borneo is surrounded by the South China Sea to the north and northwest, the Sulu Sea to the northeast, the Celebes Sea and the Makassar Strait to the east, and the Java Sea and Karimata Strait to the south. To the west of Borneo are the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. To the south is Java. To the east is Sulawesi, and to the northeast, the Philippines.
With an area of 743,330 square kilometres (287,000 sq mi), it is the third-largest island in the world, which is also the largest island of the largest continent in the world (Asia). Its highest point is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, with an elevation of 4,095 m (13,435 ft).
The largest river system is the Kapuas in West Kalimantan with a length of 1,143 km (710 mi). Other major rivers include the Mahakam in East Kalimantan (980 km long (610 mi)), the Barito in South Kalimantan (880 km long (550 mi)), and Rajang in Sarawak (562.5 km (349.5 mi)).
Borneo has significant cave systems. Clearwater Cave, for example, has one of the world's longest underground rivers. Deer Cave is home to over three million bats, with guano accumulated to over 100 metres (330 ft) deep.
Before sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age, Borneo was part of the mainland of Asia, forming, with Java and Sumatra, the upland regions of a peninsula that extended east from present day Indochina and Thailand. The South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand now submerge the former low-lying areas of the peninsula. Deeper waters separating Borneo from neighboring Sulawesi prevented a land connection to that island, creating the divide between Asian and Australia-New Guinea biological regions known as Wallace's Line.
The Borneo rainforest is 130 million years old, making it the oldest rainforest in the world. There are about 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of trees (267 species are dipterocarps), 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of resident birds in Borneo. There are about 440 freshwater fish species in Borneo (about the same as Sumatra and Java combined). It is the centre of evolution and radiation of many endemic species of plants and animals. The Borneo rainforest is one of the only remaining natural habitats for the endangered Bornean orangutan. It is an important refuge for many endemic forest species, including the Asian elephant, the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Bornean clouded leopard, the Hose's civet and the dayak fruit bat.
The World Wide Fund for Nature divides the island into seven distinct ecoregions. The Borneo lowland rain forests cover most of the island, with an area of 427,500 square kilometres (165,100 sq mi). Other lowland ecoregions are the Borneo peat swamp forests, the Kerangas or Sundaland heath forests, the Southwest Borneo freshwater swamp forests, and the Sunda Shelf mangroves. The Borneo montane rain forests lie in the central highlands of the island, above the 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) elevation. The highest elevations of Mount Kinabalu are home to the Kinabalu mountain alpine meadow, an alpine shrubland notable for its numerous endemic species, including many orchids.
The island historically had extensive rainforest cover, but the area shrank due to heavy logging for the Malaysian and Indonesian plywood industry. Half of the annual global tropical timber acquisition comes from Borneo. Furthermore, palm oil plantations are rapidly encroaching on the last remnants of primary rainforest. The rainforest was also greatly destroyed from the forest fires of 1997 to 1998, which were started by the locals to clear the forests for crops and perpetuated by an exceptionally dry El Niño season during that period. During the great fire, hotspots could be seen on satellite images and the haze thus created affected the surrounding countries of Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Early history 
According to ancient Chinese, Indian and Japanese manuscripts, western coastal cities of Borneo had become trading ports by the first millennium. In Chinese manuscripts, gold, camphor, tortoise shells, hornbill ivory, rhinoceros horn, crane crest, beeswax, lakawood (a scented heartwood and root wood of a thick liana, Dalbergia parviflora), dragon's blood, rattan, edible bird's nests and various spices were among the most valuable items from Borneo. The Indians named Borneo Suvarnabhumi (the land of gold) and also Karpuradvipa (Camphor Island). The Javanese named Borneo Puradvipa, or Diamond Island. Archaeological findings in the Sarawak river delta reveal that the area was once a thriving trading centre between India and China from the 500's until about 1300 AD.
One of the earliest evidence of Hindu influence in Southeast Asia were stone pillars which bear inscriptions in the Pallava script found in Kutai along the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan, dating to around the second half of the 300s AD.
The Sultanate of Brunei, during its golden age from the 15th century to the 17th century, ruled a large part of northern Borneo. In 1703 (other sources say 1658), the Sultanate of Sulu received North Borneo from the Sultan of Brunei, after Sulu sent aid against a rebellion in Brunei. During the 1450s, Shari'ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, an Arab born in Johor, arrived in Sulu from Malacca. In 1457, he founded the Sultanate of Sulu; he then renamed himself "Paduka Maulana Mahasari Sharif Sultan Hashem Abu Bakr".
Dutch and British control 
In 1842 James Brooke was granted large parts of Sarawak, as a result of helping the governor quell a local rebellion. The Brooke dynasty were to end up ruling Sarawak for a hundred years and became famous as the White Rajahs.
In the early 19th century, British and Dutch governments signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 to exchange trading ports under their controls and assert spheres of influence, which indirectly set apart the two parts of Borneo into British and Dutch controlled areas. China has had historical trading links with the inhabitants of the island. Some of the Chinese beads and wares found their way deep into the interior of Borneo. The Malay and Sea Dayak pirates preyed on maritime shipping in the waters between Singapore and Hong Kong from their haven in Borneo.
World War II 
During World War II, Japanese forces gained control of Borneo (1941–45). They decimated many local populations and killed Malay intellectuals. Sultan Muhammad Ibrahim Shafi ud-din II of Sambas in Kalimantan was executed in 1944. The Sultanate was thereafter suspended and replaced by a Japanese council. During the Japanese occupation, the Dayaks played a role in guerilla warfare against the occupying forces, particularly in the Kapit Division, where headhunting was temporarily revived towards the end of the war. Allied Z Special Unit provided assistance to them. After the fall of Singapore, several thousand British and Australian prisoners of war were sent to camps in Borneo. At one of the very worst sites, around Sandakan in Borneo, only six of some 2,500 prisoners survived. In 1945 the island was liberated from the Japanese.
Recent history 
Borneo was the main site of the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia between 1962 and about 1969 in which the British Army was deployed against the Indonesians and against communist revolts to gain control of the whole area. Before the formation of Malaysian Federation, the Philippines claimed that the Malaysian state of Sabah is within their territorial rights based on historical facts of the Sultanate of Sulu's leasing agreement with the North Borneo Company.
Borneo has 19,800,000 inhabitants (in mid 2010), a population density of 26 inhabitants per square km. Most of the population lives in coastal cities, although the hinterland has small towns and villages along the rivers. The population mainly consists of Malays, Banjar, Chinese and Dayak ethnic groups. The Chinese, who make up 29% of the population of Sarawak and 17% of total population in West Kalimantan, originally migrated from southeastern China. The majority of the population in Kalimantan is either Muslim or practice animism. Approximately 91% of the Dayaks are Christian, a religion introduced by missionaries in the 19th century. In Central Kalimantan there is also a small Hindu minority. In the interior of Borneo are also the Penan, some of who still practice a nomadic hunter-gatherer existence. In some coastal areas of marginal settlements are also found Bajau, who were historically associated with a sea-oriented, boat-dwelling, nomadic existence. In the northwest of Borneo, the Dayak ethnic group is represented by the Iban with about 710,000 members.
Kalimantan was the focus for an intense transmigration program that financed the relocation of poor landless families from Java, Madura, and Bali. In 2001, transmigrants made up 21% of the population in Central Kalimantan. Since the 1990s, violent conflict has occurred between some transmigrant and indigenous populations; in Kalimantan, thousands were killed in fighting between Madurese transmigrants and the indigenous Dayak people.
Largest cities 
The following is a list of top 20 urban areas in Borneo by population based on 2010  statistic calculations.
|2||Kota Kinabalu, Sabah||651,658||Malaysia|
|3||Balikpapan, East Kalimantan||639,031||Indonesia|
|4||Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan||625,395||Indonesia|
|5||Samarinda, East Kalimantan||726,223||Indonesia|
|6||Pontianak, West Kalimantan||509,804||Indonesia|
|10||Bandar Seri Begawan||276,608||Brunei|
|12||Tenggarong, East Kalimantan||238,437||Indonesia|
|13||Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan||213,590||Indonesia|
|15||Tarakan, North Kalimantan||193,069||Indonesia|
|16||Singkawang, West Kalimantan||186,306||Indonesia|
|17||Lahad Datu, Sabah||156,059||Malaysia|
|18||Bontang, East Kalimantan||140,787||Indonesia|
The island of Borneo is divided administratively by three countries. It is the only island in the world so divided:
- The Indonesian provinces of East, South, West, North and Central Kalimantan
- The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak (the Federal Territory of Labuan is located on nearshore islands of Borneo, but not on the island of Borneo itself)
- The independent country of Brunei (main part and eastern exclave of Temburong)
|Capital||Part of country||Area
Censuses of 2000 1)
Censuses of 2010 3)
|Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan||Independent Sultanate||5,770||0.77||320,000||406,200 (2009 est)||2.1|
|North Kalimantan||Tarakan||Indonesia||71,177||9.46||(no data)||525,000||2.65|
1) Brunei: Census of Population 2001
2) islands administered as Borneo, geologically part of Borneo, on nearshore islands (2.5 km off the main island of Borneo)
3) Citypopulation.de reports on Official Decennial Censuses in 2010 for both Indonesia and Malaysia, independent estimate for Brunei.
See also 
- "An Awesome Island". Borneo: Island in the Clouds. PBS. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- BBC-TV: Planet Earth
- MacKinnon, K et al (1998). The ecology of Kalimantan. London: Oxford University Press.
- Nguyen, T.T.T., and S. S. De Silva (2006). Freshwater finfish biodiversity and conservation: an asian perspective. Biodiversity & Conservation 15(11): 3543-3568
- "Scientists discover new species in Heart of Borneo". WWF. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- Shayne Heffernan (21 October 2010). "Economy Malaysia, Eyes on Sarawak". Live Trading News. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- Derek Heng Thiam Soon (June 2001). "The Trade in Lakawood Products Between South China and the Malay World from the Twelfth to Fifteenth Centuries AD". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 32 (2): 133–149. doi:10.1017/S0022463401000066.
- Jan O. M. Broek (1962). "Place Names in 16th and 17th Century Borneo". Imago Mundi 16: 129–148. doi:10.1080/03085696208592208. JSTOR 1150309.
- "(Chapter 15) The Earliest Indic State: Kutai". The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (E Press, The Australian National University). 2006. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
- "1350-1400 - Majapahit Empire". Military. GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- "Part 2 - The Brooke Era". The Borneo Project. Earth Island Institute. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- "Wanderings Among South Sea Savages And in Borneo and the Philippines by H. Wilfrid Walker".
- "British North Borneo Papers". School of Oriental and African Studies. Archives hub. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- "'Guests' can succeed where occupiers fail". The New York Times. 9 November 2007.[dead link]
- "Japanese prisoners of war". Philip Towle, Margaret Kosuge, Yōichi Kibata (2000). Continuum International Publishing Group. pp.47–48. ISBN 1-85285-192-9
- "Province of West Kalimantan, Indonesia". Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office.
- "The world's successful diasporas". Management Today. 3 April 2007.
- "Indonesia flashpoints:, Kalimantan". BBC. 28 June 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- "Beheading: A Dayak ritual". BBC. 23 February 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- "Indonesia Statistic on 2010: Provinces, Cities & Municipalities – Statistics on City Population". Bps.go.id. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Malaysia: Federal States, Territories, Major Cities & Conurbations – Statistics & Maps on City Population". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "Indonesia (Urban Municipality Population): Provinces, Cities & Municipalities – Statistics & Maps on City Population". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "Brunei: Districts, Major Cities, Towns & Agglomeration – Statistics & Maps on City Population". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
Further reading 
- Bowen, M. R., and T. V. Eusebio. 1982. Acacia mangium: updated information on seed collection and handling and germination testing. Seed Series No. 5. FAO/UNDP-MAL/78/009. Forest Research Centre, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.
- Bowen, M.R. and Eusebio, T.V. (1982): Seed handling practices: four fast-growing hardwoods for humid tropical plantations in the eighties. Malaysian Forester Vol. 45, No. 4: 534–547
- Ghazally Ismail et al. (eds.) Scientific Journey Through Borneo Series. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan. 1996–2001. * Gudgeon, L. W. W. British North Borneo. Adam and Charles Black, London (an early well-illustrated book on "British North Borneo", now known as Sabah), 1913.
- Mathai, J., Hon, J., Juat, N., Peter, A., & Gumal, M. 2010. "Small carnivores in a logging concession in the Upper Baram, Sarawak, Borneo". Small Carnivore Conservation 42: 1–9.
- K M Wong & C L Chan. "Mt Kinabalu: Borneo's Magic Mountain." Natural History Publications, Kota Kinabalu. 1998.
- Dennis Lau. Borneo: A Photographic Journey.
- Stephen Holley. White Headhunter in Borneo. * Robert Young Pelton Borneo.
- Mel White: " Borneo's moment of truth", National Geographic Magazine, November 2008.
- Mathai, J. 2010. "Hose's Civet: Borneo's mysterious carnivore". Nature Watch 18/4: 2–8.
- Robert Young Pelton. Fielding's Borneo
- Eric Hansen. Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo.
- John Wassner. Espresso with the Headhunters: A Journey Through the Jungles of Borneo.
- Redmond O'Hanlon. Into the Heart of Borneo: An Account of a Journey Made in 1983 to the Mountains of Batu Tiban with James Fenton.
- Charles M. Francis. A Photographic Guide to Mammals of South-east Asia.
- Abdullah, MT. "Biogeography and variation of Cynopterus brachyotis in Southeast Asia." PhD thesis. The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia. 2003.
- Corbet, GB, Hill JE. The mammals of the Indomalayan region: a systematic review. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 1992.
- G.W.H. Davison, Chew Yen Fook. A Photographic Guide to Birds of Borneo.
- Hall LS, Gordon G. Grigg, Craig Moritz, Besar Ketol, Isa Sait, Wahab Marni and MT Abdullah. "Biogeography of fruit bats in Southeast Asia." Sarawak Museum Journal LX(81):191–284. 2004.
- Karim, C., A.A. Tuen and M.T. Abdullah. "Mammals." Sarawak Museum Journal Special Issue No. 6. 80: 221–234. 2004.
- Garbutt, Nick, and J. Cede Prudente. Wild Borneo: The Wildlife and Scenery of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan. 2007.
- Mohd. Azlan J., Ibnu Maryanto, Agus P. Kartono, and MT Abdullah. "Diversity, Relative Abundance and Conservation of Chiropterans in Kayan Mentarang National Park, East Kalimantan, Indonesia." Sarawak Museum Journal 79: 251–265. 2003.
- Hall LS, Richards GC, Abdullah MT. "The bats of Niah National Park, Sarawak." Sarawak Museum Journal. 78: 255–282. 2002.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Borneo|
- Environmental Profile of Borneo – Background on Borneo, including natural and social history, deforestation statistics, and conservation news.