The Grand Mosque of Bandung, capital of West Java.
|Motto: Gemah ripah repeh rapih (Sundanese)
(The prosper along with its peaceful and harmonic inhabitant)
Location of West Java in Indonesia
|• Governor||Ahmad Heryawan (PKS)|
|• Total||35,377.76 km2 (13,659.43 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)|
|Health Ministry Estimate 2014|
|• Ethnic groups||Sundanese (79%), Javanese (11%), Betawi (5%), Cirebonese (5%)|
|• Religion||Islam (97%), Protestantism (1.81%), Roman Catholicism (0.58%), Buddhism (0.22%), Hinduism (0.05%), Confucianism (0.03%)|
|• Languages||Indonesian (official), Sundanese (regional)|
|Time zone||WIB (UTC+07:00)|
|License plate||B, D, E, F, T, Z|
West Java (Indonesian: Jawa Barat) is a province of Indonesia. It is located in the western part of the island of Java and its capital and largest urban center is Bandung. The province’s population is 46.3 million (in 2014) and it is the most populous and most densely populated of Indonesia’s provinces.
The central areas of Bogor, a city in West Java, has one of the highest population density worldwide, while Bekasi and Depok are respectively the 7th and 10th most populated suburbs in the world (Tangerang in adjacent Banten Province is the 9th); in 2014 Bekasi had 2,510,951 and Depok 1,869,681 inhabitants.
- 1 History
- 2 Administrative divisions
- 3 Geography
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics and language
- 6 Culture
- 7 Human Development Index
- 8 Natural resources
- 9 Toll roads
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The oldest human inhabitant archaeological findings in the region were unearthed in Anyer (the western coast of Java) with evidence of bronze and iron metallurgical culture dating to the first millennium AD. The prehistoric Buni culture (near present-day Bekasi) clay pottery were later developed with evidence found in Anyer to Cirebon. Artefacts (dated from 400 BC — AD 100), such as food and drink containers, were found mostly as burial gifts. There is also archaeological evidence in Batujaya Archaeological Site dating from the 2nd century and, according to Dr Tony Djubiantono, the head of Bandung Archaeology Agency, Jiwa Temple in Batujaya, Karawang, West Java was also built around this time.
One of the earliest known[clarification needed] recorded history in Indonesia is from the former Tarumanagara kingdom, where seven fourth century stones are inscribed in Wengi letters (used in the Indian Pallava period) and in Sanskrit describing the kings of the kingdom Tarumanagara. Records of Tarumanegara's administration lasted until the sixth century, which coincides with the attack of Srivijaya, as stated in the Kota Kapur inscription (AD 686).
An Ulama, Sunan Gunung Jati, settled in Cirebon, with the intention of spreading the world of Islam in the pagan town. In the meantime, the Sultanate of Demak in central Java grew to an immediate threat against the Sunda kingdom. To defend against the threat, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa signed a treaty (known as the Luso Sundanese Treaty) with the Portuguese in 1512. In return, the Portuguese were granted an accession to build fortresses and warehouses in the area, as well as form trading agreements with the kingdom. This first international treaty of West Java with the Europeans was commemorated by the placement of the Padrao stone monument at the bank of the Ciliwung River in 1522.
Although the treaty with the Portuguese had been established, it could not come to realization. Sunda Kalapa harbour fell under the alliance of the Sultanate of Demak and the Sultanate of Cirebon (former vassal state of Sunda kingdom) in 1524, after their troops under Paletehan alias Fadillah Khan had conquered the city. In 1524/1525, their troops under Sunan Gunung Jati also seized the port of Banten and established the Sultanate of Banten which was affiliating with the Sultanate of Demak. The war between the Sunda kingdom with Demak and Cirebon sultanates then continued for five years until a peace treaty were made in 1531 between King Surawisesa and Sunan Gunung Jati. From 1567 to 1579, under the last king Raja Mulya, alias Prabu Surya Kencana, the Sunda kingdom declined, essentially under the pressure from Sultanate of Banten. After 1576, the kingdom could not maintain its capital at Pakuan Pajajaran (the present-day Bogor) and gradually the Sultanate of Banten took over the former Sunda kingdom's region. The Mataram Sultanate from central Java also seized the Priangan region, the southeastern part of the kingdom.
In the sixteenth century, the Dutch and the British trading companies established their trading ships in West Java after the falldown of Sultanate of Banten. For the next three hundred years, West Java fell under the Dutch East Indies' administration. West Java was officially declared as a province of Indonesia in 1950, referring to a statement from Staatblad number 378. On October 17, 2000, as part of nationwide political decentralization, Banten was separated from West Java and made into a new province. There have been recent proposals to rename the province Pasundan ("Province of the Sundanese") after the historical name for West Java.
Since the creation of West Bandung Regency in 2008, the Province of West Java has been subdivided into 9 cities (Indonesian: Kota) and 17 regencies (Indonesian: Kabupaten). These 26 cities and regencies are divided into 620 Districts (Indonesian: Kecamatan), which comprised 1,576 urban villages (Indonesian: Desa) and 4,301 rural villages. A new regency was formed in October 2012 - Pangandaran Regency - from the southern half of Ciamis Regency; and on 25 October 2013 the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) began reviewing draft laws on the establishment of 57 prospective regencies (and 8 new provinces), including a further three regencies in West Java - South Garut (Garut Selatan), North Sukabumi (Sukabumi Utara) and West Bogor (Bogor Barat) - but neither these three new regencies, nor the newly established Pangandaran Regency, are shown separately on the map below or in the following table.
in Square km
2014 estimate 
|West Bandung Regency
|Ciamis Regency #||Ciamis||2,424.71||1,511,942||1,532,504||1,648,075|
Note: * the 2005 population is included in the total for Bandung Regency, of which West Bandung Regency was formerly part.
- the figures for Ciamis Regency include those for the new Pangandaran Regency, created in 2012.
West Java borders Jakarta and Banten Province to the west, and Central Java to the east. To the north is the Java Sea. To the south is the Indian Ocean. Unlike most other provinces in Indonesia which have their capitals in coastal area, the provincial capital, Bandung, is located in the mountainous area in the centre of the province. Banten Province was formerly part of West Java Province but was created a separate province in 2000. West Java, in the densely populated western third of Java, is home to almost 1 out of every 5 Indonesians.
West Java and Banten provinces, as a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, have more mountains and volcanoes than any of the other provinces in Indonesia. The vast volcanic mountainous region of inland West Java is traditionally known as Parahyangan (also known as Priangan or Preanger) which means "The abode of hyangs (gods)". It is considered as the heartland of the Sundanese people. The highest point of West Java is the stratovolcano Mount Cereme (3,078 meters) bordering Kuningan and Majalengka Regencies. West Java has rich and fertile volcanic soil. Agriculture, especially traditional dry rice cultivation (known as ladang), has become the main way of life of traditional Sundanese people. Since the colonial VOC and Dutch East Indies era, West Java has been known as a productive plantation area for coffee, tea, quinine, and many other cash crops. The mountainous region of West Java is also a major producer of vegetables and decorative flowering plants. Sunny tropical sites with a cool atmosphere and beautiful scenery are frequently across almost all of West Java and Banten except in the northern parts ( the Java sea beaches). The landscape of the procine is one of volcanic mountains, steep terrain, forest, mountains rivers, fertile agricultural land, and natural sea harbours.
Initially, the economy of the Sundanese people in West Java relied heavily on rice cultivation. Ancient kingdoms established in West Java such as the Tarumanagara and Sunda Kingdom are known to have relied on rice taxes and agriculture revenues. The cycle of life of the ancient Sundanese people revolved around the rice crop cycle. Traditional rice harvest festivals such as the Seren Taun were important. The ancient goddess of rice, Nyai Pohaci Sanghyang Asri, is revered in Sundanese culture. Traditionally, Sundanese people often used dry rice cultivation (ladang). After the Mataram expanded to the Priangan area in the early 17th century following the Sultan Agung campaign against Dutch Batavia, sawah (wet rice cultivation) began to be adopted in the northern lowlands of West Java. Regencies such as Indramayu, Cirebon, Subang, Karawang and Bekasi are now well known as key rice producing areas. The mountainous region of West Java supplies vegetables, flower and many horticultural produce to Jakarta and Bandung. Animal farms in West Java produce dairy products and meats.
During the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and Dutch East Indies era, West Java fell under Dutch administration centered in Batavia. The Dutch colonial government introduced cash crops such as tea, coffee, and quinine. Since the 18th century, West Java (known as "De Preanger") was known as a productive plantation area, and became integrated with global trade and economy. Services such as transportation and banking were provided to cater for wealthy Dutch plantation owners. West Java is known as one of the earliest developed regions in the Indonesian archipelago. In early 20th century, the Dutch colonial government developed infrastructures for economic purposes, especially to support Dutch plantations in the region. Roads and railways were constructed to connect inland plantations area with urban centers such as Bandung and port of Batavia.
After Indonesian independence in 1945, West Java became a supporting region for Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Jakarta remained as the business and political center of Indonesia. Several regencies and cities in West Java such as Bogor, Bekasi and Depok were developed as supporting areas for Jakarta and came to form the Greater Jakarta area or Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok and Bekasi). The northern area of West Java has become a major industrial area. Areas such as Bekasi, Cikarang and Karawang are sprawling with factories and industries. The area in and around Bandung also developed as industrial area.
Endowed with natural beauty and rich culture, tourism is also an important industry in West Java. The Puncak area and Bandung have long been known as popular weekend destinations for Jakartans. Today Bandung has developed into a chic and fashionable shopping destination, popular not only among local Indonesian especially Jakartans, but also a popular shopping destination for neighboring Malaysian and Singaporeans. The ancient coastal city of Cirebon is also popular as cultural tourism destination since the city has several kratons and many historical sites such as Gua Sunyaragi. Other popular tourism destinations include the Bogor Botanical Garden, Taman Safari Indonesia, Tangkuban Perahu crater, Ciater hot springs, Kawah Putih crater to the south of Bandung, Pangandaran beach, and various mountain resorts in Cianjur, Garut, Tasikmalaya, and Kuningan.
Demographics and language
|2000 Census decline due to Banten split. Source: Statistics Indonesia 2010, Ministry of Health 2014 Estimate|
West Java is the native homeland of Sundanese people which forms the largest ethnic group in West Java, followed by Javanese who migrated to the province centuries ago. Since Jakarta and the surrounding area, including West Java, is the business and political center of Indonesia, the province has attracted various people from throughout Indonesia. Other Native Indonesian ethnic groups such as Minangkabau, Batak, Malay, Madurese, Balinese, Ambonese and many other Indonesians who migrated to and settled in West Java cities can also be easily found. West Java urban areas also have a significant population of Chinese Indonesians.
The population of West Java was put at 43,054,000 in mid-2010 making it the most populous province of Indonesia, home to 18% of the national total on 1.8% of the national land. Aside from the special district of Jakarta, it is the most densely populated province in the country with an average of 1,236 people per km² (2010 data). The population growth rate recorded in the ten years to 2010 was 1.9%,
In addition to Indonesian, the official national language, the other widely spoken language in the province is Sundanese. In some areas near the southern borders with Central Java, Javanese is also spoken. The main language spoken in Cirebon and nearby areas (Majalengka, Indramayu, Sumber) is Cirebonese, a dialect of Javanese with Sundanese influence. Indonesian is widely spoken as a second language.
The Sundanese share Java island with the Javanese people. They primarily live in their home province of West Java. Although Sundanese live in the same island as the Javanese, they consider themselves a distinct cultural area called Pasundan or Tatar Sunda. Someone moving from West Java Province to Central or East Java Provinces, is literally said to be moving from Sunda to Java. Bandung, the capital city of West Java, is considered as the cultural heartland of Sundanese people. Many indigenous Sundanese artforms were developed in this city.
In addition to the Sundanese forms of Gamelan in Parahyangan, the region of Cirebon retains its own distinct musical traditions. Amongst Cirebons' varying Gamelan ensembles the two most frequently heard are Gamelan Pelog (a non-equidistant heptatonic tuning system) and Gamelan Prawa (a semi-equidistant pentatonic tuning system). Gamelan Pelog is traditionally reserved for Tayuban, Wayang Cepak, and for listening and dance music of the Kratons in Cirebon. Whereas Gamelan Prawa is traditionally reserved for Wayang Purwa.
Cirebon also retains specialized Gamelan ensembles including: Sekaten, which is played in the Kratons to mark important times in the Islamic calendar. Denggung, also a Kraton ensemble which is believed to have a number of "supernatural powers". And Renteng, an ensemble found in both Cirebon and Parahyangan that is known for its loud and energetic playing style.
Tembang Sunda is a genre of Sundanese vocal music accompanied by a core ensemble of two kacapi (zither) and a suling (bamboo flute). Tembang means song or poem and Sunda is a geographical, historical, and cultural construct which signifies home for the Sundanese people of Indonesia. The music and poetry of tembang Sunda are closely associated with the Parahyangan (literally the abode of the gods), the highland plateau that transverses the central and southern parts of Sunda. The natural beauty of Priangan, a lush agricultural region surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, politeness and grace of Sundanese is reflected in many songs of the tembang Sunda.
Kacapi suling is tembang Sunda minus vocal.
Tarawangsa is a genuine popular art is performed on ensemble consists of tarawangsa (a violin with an end pin) and the jentreng (a kind of seven-stringed zither). It is accompanied by a secret dance called Jentreng. The dance is a part of a ritual celebrating the goddess of paddy Dewi Sri. Its ceremonial significance is associated with a ritual of thanksgiving associated with the rice harvest. Tarawangsa can also be played for healing or even purely for entertainment.
The three main types of Sundanese bamboo ensembles are angklung, calung, and arumba. The exact features of each ensemble vary according to context, related instruments, and relative popularity.
Angklung is a generic term for sets of tuned, shaken bamboo rattles. Angklung consists of a frame upon which hang several different lengths of hollow bamboo. Angklungs are played like handbells, with each instrument played to a different note. Angklung rattles are played in interlocking patterns, usually with only one or two instruments played per person. The ensemble is used in Sundanese processions, sometimes with trance or acrobatics. Performed at life-cycle rituals and feasts (hajat), angklung is believed to maintain balance and harmony in the village. In its most modern incarnation, angklung is performed in schools as an aid to learning about music.
The Angklung got more international attention when Daeng Soetigna, from Bandung, West Java, expanded the angklung notations not only to play traditional pélog or sléndro scales, but also diatonic scale in 1938. Since then, angklung is often played together with other western music instruments in an orchestra. One of the first well-known performances of angklung in an orchestra was during the Bandung Conference in 1955.
Like those in angklung, the instruments of the calung ensemble are of bamboo, but each consists of several differently tuned tubes fixed onto a piece of bamboo; the player holds the instrument in his left hand and strikes it with a beater held in his right. The highest-pitched calung has the greatest number of tubes and the densest musical activity; the lowest-pitched, with two tubes, has the least. Calung is nearly always associated with earthy humor, and is played by men.
Arumba refers to a set of diatonically tuned bamboo xylophones, often played by women. It is frequently joined by modern instruments, including a drum set, electric guitar, bass, and keyboards.
Wayang golek is a traditional form of puppetry from Sunda. Unlike the better-known leather shadow puppets (wayang kulit) found in the rest of Java and Bali, wayang golek puppets are made from wood and are three-dimensional, rather than two. They use a banana palm in which the puppets stand, behind which one puppeteer (dalang) is accompanied by his gamelan orchestra with up to 20 musicians. The gamelan uses a five-note scale as opposed to the seven-note western scale. The musicians are guided by the drummer, who in turn is guided by signals from the puppet master dalang gives to change the mood or pace required. Wayang golek are used by the Sundanese to tell the epic play "Mahabarata" and various other morality type plays.
Sundanese dance shows the influence of the many groups that have traded and settled in the area over the centuries, but remains uniquely distinctive, with its variation from graceful to dynamic syncopated drumming patterns, quick wrist flicks, sensual hip movements, and fast shoulder and torso isolations. Jaipongan is probably the most popular traditional social dance of Sundanese people. It can performed in solo, in group, or in pair. The Tari Merak (Peafowl Dance) is a female dance inspired by the movements of a peafowl and its feathers blended with the classical movements of Sundanese dance. The Tari Merak symbolises the beauty of nature.
Folktales and legend stories
- Mundinglaya Dikusumah, which tells of Mundinglaya visiting Jabaning Langit to find layang Salaka Domas. It is a symbolic story of Surawisesa visiting Malaka to establish a pace treaty with Portuguese before 1522.
- Lutung Kasarung, tells the life of a beautiful princes, in the era of Pasir Batang kingdom, a vassal of Sunda kingdom. She faces the evil of her older sister willing to seize her right as a queen.
- Ciung Wanara, tells of the fight of two princes of Sunda kingdom and the history of Cipamali river (present-day Brebes river) as a boundary between Sundanese and Javanese territories.
- Sangkuriang, which tells the story of the creation of Mount Tangkuban Parahu and the ancient lake Bandung.
Old Sundanese literature, among others, are:
- Bujangga Manik, which was written on 29 palm leaves and kept in the Bodleian Library in Oxford since 1627, mentioning more than 450 names of places, regions, rivers and mountains situated on Java island, Bali island and Sumatra island.
- Carita Parahyangan, telling Sundanese kings and kingdoms from the pre-Islamic period.
- Siksakandang Karesian, providing the reader with all kinds of religious and moralistic rules, prescriptions and lessons.
Human Development Index
All major cities and all regencies in West Java have Human Development Index (HDI) above average of Indonesian HDI (2012 estimation: 0.629).
|HDI (2009 data)||Comparable Country
(Adjusted to 2010 UNDP Data)
|High human development|
|Medium human development|
|8||Cirebon City||0.720||Equatorial Guinea|
|9||Ciamis Regency||0.720||Equatorial Guinea|
|10||Tasikmalaya Regency||0.719||Equatorial Guinea|
|11||Bandung Regency||0.719||Equatorial Guinea|
|13||Cianjur Regency||0.712||Cape Verde|
|14||Bekasi Regency||0.709||Cape Verde|
|15||Purwakarta Regency||0.709||Cape Verde|
Based on the data from Indonesia State Secretary, the total area of rice fields in West Java Province in 2006 was 9,488,623 km which produced 9,418,882 tons of paddy in 2006, consisting of 9,103,800 tons rice field paddy and 315,082 tons farmland paddy. Palawija (non-rice food) production, reached 2,044,674 tons with productivity 179.28 quintal per ha. Nevertheless, the widest plant’s width is for corn commodity which reaches 148,505 ha, West Java also produce horticulture consists of 2,938,624 tons vegetables, 3,193,744 tons fruits, and 159,871 tons medicines plants/ bio pharmacology.
Forest in West Java reaches 764,387.59 ha or 20.62% from total size of the province. It consists of productive forest 362,980.40 ha (9.79%), protected forest 228,727.11 ha (6.17%), and conservation forest 172,680 ha (4.63%). Mangrove forest reaches 40,129.89 ha, and spread in 10 regencies where coasts are available. Besides, there is also another protected forest of about 32,313.59 ha organized by Perum Perhutani Unit III West Java and Banten.
From the productive forest, in 2006 West Java harvested crop of about 200,675 m³ wood, although the need of wood in this province every year is about 4 million m³. Until 2006, populace forest’s width 214,892 ha with wood production is about 893,851.75 m³. West Java also produce non forest’s crop which is potential enough to be developed as forestry work, such as Sutera alat jamur, pine, gerah dammar, maleleuca, rattan, bamboo, and swallow bird’s net.
In fishery sector, the excellent commodities are goldfish, nila fish, milkfish, freshwater catfish, windu shrimp, green mussel, gouramy, patin, seaweed and vaname shrimp. In 2006, this province harvested 560,000 tons fish from fishery cultivation crop and brackish or 63.63% from fishery production total in West Java.
In the poultry husbandry field, dairy cow, domestic poultry, and ducks are excellent commodities in West Java. 2006’s data stated that there are 96,796 dairy cows (25% of the national population), 4,249,670 sheep, 28,652,493 domestic poultries, and 5,596,882 ducks (16% of the national population). Now there are only 245,994 beef cattle in West Java (3% national population), whereas the need every year is about 300,000 beef cattle.
This province has many plantation crops, such as tea, cloves, coconut, rubber, cacao, tobacco, coffee, sugar, palm and akar wangi. From all those commodities, cloves, coconut, rubber, cacao, tobacco, and coffee are of noted excellent commodities from West Java. From area side, the best productivity, that is plan area’s width equals with plant’s width that produces tobacco and sugar palm commodities. From production side, the highest productivity is oil palm (6.5 tons per ha) and sugar palm (5.5 tons per ha).
West Java also produces excellent mine production. In 2006, it contributes 5,284 tons zeolite, 47,978 tons bentonite, iron sand, pozzolan cement, feldspar, and jewel barn/ gemstone. Precious stone mining potential generally are found in Garut, Tasikmalaya, Kuningan, and Sukabumi Regency areas.
As consequences of has many volcanoes, West Java is potential of Geothermal energy. There are 11 points of geothermal energy and 3 points, i.e. Papandayan, Cermai and Gede Pangrango have conducted pre-exploration.
Raw natural resources include chalk, several offshore oilfields in the Java Sea, and lumber. Most of the province is very fertile, with a mix of small farms and larger plantations. There are several hydropower dams, including Jatiluhur, Saguling, and Cirata.
On 2011, three toll roads are being built, they are Bandung Intra Urban Toll Road, Cileunyi-Sumedang-Dawuan (Cisundawu) and Soreang-Pasirkoja (Soroja) with length 27.3 kilometers, 60.1 kilometers and 10.6 kilometers respectively.
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- "Aher-Demiz Resmi Jadi Gubernur/Wagub Jabar". June 13, 2013.
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- Taylor (2003), p. 123.
- Data is from the 2010 Indonesian national census.
- As between the 2000 and 2010 national censuses.
- Cohen, Matthew Isaac (March 2005). "The Arts of Cirebon". Seleh Notes. 12 #2: 6.
- Zanten, Wim van (1989). Sundanese Music in the Cianjuran Style. KITLV Press.
- Noorduyn, J. (2006). Three Old Sundanese poems. KITLV Press. p. 11.
- Eringa, F. S. (1949). Loetoeng kasaroeng: een mythologisch verhaal uit West-Jawa. Verhanddelingen va heit KITL, Leiden.
- Terada, Alice M. (1994). "The Story of Sangkuriang," The Magic Crocodile and Other Folktales from Indonesia. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 60–64.
- Noorduyn, J. (2006). Three Old Sundanese poems. KITLV Press.
- "Tabel Indeks Pembangunan Manusia Propinsi dan Nasional 1996 - 2009" (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- W Java to explore eleven geothermal spots - ANTARA News
- Three Toll Roads Begin
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for West Java.|