Banjar people

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Not to be confused with Banjara.
Banjar people
Urang Banjar
اورڠ بنجر
KITLV 90784 - Isidore van Kinsbergen - Ida Ketoet Anom, Punggawa (imperial noble) of Bandjar with lontar in his hand - 1865.tif
Ida Ketoet Anom, a Punggawa (imperial noble) of Banjar with lontar in his hand, 1865.
Total population
(5.7 million)
Regions with significant populations
 Indonesia 4,127,124[1]
        South Kalimantan 2,686,627
        Central Kalimantan 464,260
        East Kalimantan 440,453
        Riau 227,239
        North Sumatera 125,707
        Jambi 102,237
        West Kalimantan 14,430
        East Java 12,405
        Riau Islands 11,811
        West Java 9,383
        Jakarta 8,572
 Malaysia 1,237,615
 Singapore 8,210
Banjar, Indonesian and Malay
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Malays (Bruneian Malay), Kedayan, Javanese, Kutai, Dayak (Dayak Bukit, Bakumpai, Ngaju, Ma'anyan, Lawangan)

The Banjar or Banjarese (Urang Banjar in Banjarese language; اورڠ بنجر in Jawi script) are a native ethnic group in South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Several centuries ago, some of them had travelled to many places in the Malay archipelago. They set up pockets of settlement there, in Perak (mostly in Bagan Serai, Parit Buntar, Sungai Manik and Teluk Intan), Selangor around (Sabak Bernam, Sekinchan, Sungai Besar and Tanjung Karang), in Johor (Batu Pahat), in Singapore as well as other places.


Banjar language in Jawi script sign of Lok Tamu village office in Mataraman subdistrict, Banjar Regency, South Kalimantan, Indonesia

The Proto-Malay people migrated to Borneo in 2500 BC. They were the ancestors of the Dayak people (Ot Danum people). In 2500 BC, the Deutero Malays migrated to Borneo. The Malay people from Sumatra brought their culture to Borneo in 400 AD. The fusion of the cultures saw the birth of the Upper Banjar language (Bahasa Banjar Hulu). Later, in 520 AD, the Malays formed the Buddhist Kingdom of Tanjungpuri in the present-day region of Tanjung, Tabalong.

In 1200 AD, Empu Jatmika built the Hindu Kingdom of Negara Dipa by the river of Tapin. This was the start of the Javanese-style courts in South Kalimantan. The Hindu era in South Kalimantan remained the most remembered period in South Kalimantan's history. The glory of Negara Dipa was succeeded by the Hindu Kingdom of Negara Daha in 1400 AD.

According to history, Prince Samudera, the rightful heir to the kingdom of Negara Daha, was forced to flee the court of because of his uncle's revolt against him. He was accepted by the people of Bandar Masih (Bandar: port, Masih: Malay people). Supported by the Sultanate of Demak, he formed a new Islamic Banjar Kingdom in 1526 with Bandar Masih as its capital. The name of Bandar Masih was later changed to its present name Banjarmasin.

Since the 19th century, migration of the Banjarese people went as far as the east coast of Sumatra and Malaysia. In Malaysia, Banjarese people are classified as part of the Malay race.


The division of Banjar people into 3 ethnicities is based on the locations of the assimilation between the Malays, the local Dayaks (Dayak Bukit, Dayak Ma'anyan, Dayak Lawangan, Dayak Ngaju, Dayak Barangas, and Bakumpai), and the Javanese people.

  1. The Banjar Pahuluan, who live in the valleys by the upriver of Meratus mountain ranges. They make their living from agriculture.
  2. The Banjar Batang Banyu, who live in the valleys by the river of Negara. They are proud of their position as the people of the ancient capital. They are also prominent merchants.
  3. The Banjar Kuala, who live in Banjarmasin and Martapura. They are the people of the new capital.


Banjar language Arabic script Logo of Banjar Wikipedia

The Banjar language (bjn) reflects the history of people. It is basically the Malay language brought from Sumatra, with some words that are taken from Javanese and the native Dayaks.

Relations with Dayaks[edit]

Sasanggan, a bronze bowl used by the Banjarese during a traditional ceremony.

The relationship between Banjar people and the neighbouring Dayaks have always been good. Some of the Dayaks who had converted to Islam have also assimilated into the Banjar culture and call themselves Banjar. The Dayaks also think of the Banjars as their brothers and sisters. This is further strengthened by the fact there are many inter-marriages between the Banjars and the Dayaks, even among the members of the royalty. For example, Biang Lawai, a wife of a Banjar king was of Dayak Ngaju ethnicity. This means that the Banjarese Kings and Queens have Dayaks lineage in their blood.

This relationship grew strong when both ethnicities faced colonisation by the Dutch in the 18th century. They became comrades in an age of war. Some of the warriors involved in Banjar War are of Dayak ethnicity or have Dayaks lineage in their blood. For example:

  1. Panglima Batur, who was of Dayak Siang Murung ethnicity,
  2. Panglima Wangkang, whose his father was a Dayak Bakumpai and whose mother was a Banjar,
  3. Panglima Batu Balot (Tumenggung Marha Lahew), a female warrior who attacked Fort Muara Teweh in 1864-1865.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  1. de Bruyn, W.K.H.F.; Bijdrage tot de kennis van de Afdeeling Hoeloe Soengai, (Zuider a Ooster Afdeeling van Borneo), 19--.
  2. Broersma, R.;Handel en Bedrijf in Zuiz Oost Borneo, S'Gravenhage, G. Naeff, 1927.
  3. Eisenberger, J.; Kroniek de Zuider en Ooster Afdeeling van Borneo, Bandjermasin, Drukkerij Lim Hwat Sing, 1936.
  4. Bondan, A.H.K.; Suluh Sedjarah Kalimantan, Padjar, Banjarmasin, 1953.
  5. Ras, J.J.; Hikajat Bandjar, A study in Malay Histiography, N.V. de Ned. Boeken, Steen Drukkerij van het H.L. Smits S'Graven hage, 1968.
  6. Heekeren, C. van.; Helen, Hazen en Honden Zuid Borneo 1942, Den Haag, 1969.
  7. Riwut, Tjilik; Kalimantan Memanggil, Penerbit Endang, Djakarta.
  8. Saleh, Idwar; Sejarah Daerah Tematis Zaman Kebangkitan Nasional (1900-1942) di Kalimantan Selatan, Depdikbud, Jakarta, 1986.