Central Sulawesi

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Central Sulawesi

Sulawesi Tengah
Central Sulawesi banner.jpg
City View Luwuk, Banggai Regency - panoramio (1).jpg
Lake Poso Festival.png
Teluk Palu, Sulawesi Tengah.jpg
Pantai Desa Sabo Ampana Tete - panoramio.jpg
Kadidiri, morning view (6972093459).jpg
Kawasan Cagar Budaya Lembah Behoa.jpg
From top, left to right : Madale Beach is located in Poso, City View of Luwuk, Lake Poso festival, Gulf of Palu, Sabo Beach in Ampana, Kadidiri Island in Kepulauan Togean National Park, Behoa Valley
Flag of Central Sulawesi
Official seal of Central Sulawesi
Maliu Ntinuvu (Palu)
(Unites All The Elements and The Potential that Exists)
Location of Central Sulawesi in Indonesia
Location of Central Sulawesi in Indonesia
Coordinates: 1°00′S 121°00′E / 1.000°S 121.000°E / -1.000; 121.000Coordinates: 1°00′S 121°00′E / 1.000°S 121.000°E / -1.000; 121.000
Country Indonesia
Founded13 April 1964
CapitalLambang Kota Palu.png Palu
 • GovernorDrs. H. Longki Djanggola, M.Si (Gerindra)
 • Vice GovernorVacant
 • Total61,841.29 km2 (23,877.06 sq mi)
 • Total2,839,290
 • Density46/km2 (120/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groupsButon (23%)
Kaili (20%)
Bugis (19%)
Tolaki (16%)
Muna (15%)
Gorontaloan (7%)
 • ReligionIslam (76.6%)
Protestantism (17.3%)
Roman Catholicism (3.2%)
Hinduism (2.7%)
Buddhism (0.16%)
 • LanguagesIndonesian (official)
Time zoneUTC+08 (Indonesia Central Time)
90xxx, 91xxx, 92xxx
Area codes(+62) 4xx
ISO 3166 codeID-ST
Vehicle registrationDN
HDIIncrease 0.681 (Medium)
HDI rank26th (2017)
Largest city by areaPalu – 395 square kilometres (153 sq mi)
Largest city by populationPalu – (335,297 – 2010)
Largest regency by areaMorowali Regency – 9,584 square kilometres (3,700 sq mi)
Largest regency by populationParigi Moutong Regency – (413,645 – 2010)

Central Sulawesi (Indonesian: Sulawesi Tengah) is a province of Indonesia located at the centre of the island of Sulawesi. The administrative capital and largest city is located in Palu. The 2010 census recorded a population of 2,633,420 for the province, while the latest official estimate (for January 2014) is 2,839,290. Central Sulawesi has an area of 61,841.29 km2 (23,877 sq mi)[1], the largest area among all provinces on Sulawesi Island, and has the second-largest population on Sulawesi Island after the province of South Sulawesi. It is bordered by the provinces of Gorontalo to the north, West Sulawesi, South Sulawesi and South East Sulawesi to the south, by Maluku to the east, and by the Makassar Strait to the west. The province is inhabited by many ethnic groups, such as the Kaili, Tolitoli, etc. The official language of the province is Indonesian, which is used for official purposes and inter-ethnic communication, while there are several indigenous language spoken by the Indigenous peoples of Central Sulawesi. Islam is the dominant religion in the province, followed by Christianity which are mostly adhered by the people in the eastern part of the province.[2]

In the 13th century, several kingdoms had been established in Central Sulawesi such as the Kingdom of Banawa, the Kingdom of Tawaeli, the Kingdom of Sigi, the Kingdom of Bangga, and the Kingdom of Banggai. The influence of Islam on the kingdoms in Central Sulawesi began to be felt in the 16th century.The spread of Islam in Central Sulawesi was a result of the expansion of kingdoms in South Sulawesi.[3][4] The influence that first came was from the Kingdom of Bone and the Kingdom of Wajo. Dutch traders began arriving in the beginning of the 17th century. The Dutch built several fortifications in present-day Parigi to combat piracy in the region. After before annexing the region as part of the Dutch East Indies. The province was part of the Indies for the next three century, before the Dutch were ousted by the Japanese during World War II. After the Japanese surrenders, the area was incorporated into the new Republic of Indonesia. Initially, the area was part of North Sulawesi before being separated on 13 April 1964.

According to UNICEF, Central Sulawesi is a province with a significant number of young people. As many as 1 million people or 35 percent of the total population in this province are children. More than three out of four children live in rural areas.[5] More than 185,000 children (18.2 percent) live below the provincial poverty line in 2015 (Rp. 11,127 per person per day). However, more households are in a vulnerable position and live with income that is slightly above the poverty line. In addition, three-quarters of children experience deprivation in two dimensions non-income poverty or more, with that inequality striking between urban and rural areas.


Pre-colonial period[edit]

Megalithic stone in Central Sulawesi

There are over 400 granite megaliths in the area of the Lore Lindu National Park, of which around 30 represent human forms. They vary in size from a few centimetres to approximately 4.5 metres (15 ft). The original purpose of the megaliths is unknown.[6] Other megaliths in the area are large stone pots (Kalamba) accompanied by stone lids (Tutu'na). Various archaeological studies have dated the carvings from between 3000 BC to 1300 AD.[7]

Central Sulawesi Province has many caves, seven of which have ancient pictures and, based on 2011 research by a joint Indonesian and Australian team, the pictures are known to have been drawn at least 40,000 years ago (about the same age as pictures found in the Caves of Monte Castillo, Spain which are known as the oldest ancient pictures in Europe).[8]

Some of the oldest bronze objects are discovered in Central Sulawesi. The Makassar Axe is a 1st-century AD bronze axes probably used as a valuable object in a ceremony. The Kulawi tribe of Central Sulawesi still practice the exchange of heirloom bronze object e.g. the taiganja, whose basic form has been discovered throughout the eastern part of Indonesia.

Islam reached the region in the 17th century, shortly after the Islamic avowal of Gowa, the powerful kingdom at the south part of the Sulawesi island. Areas along the western coast of Central Sulawesi, from Kaili to Tolitoli, were conquered by the Sultanaete of Gowa around the middle of the 16th century under the leadership of King Tunipalangga.[9] The area around the Gulf of Palu is an important center and trade route, coconut oil producer, and "entrance" to the interior of Central Sulawesi.[10] On the other hand, the Gulf of Tomini area is largely under the control of the Kingdom of Parigi.[11]

With the widespread influence of South Sulawesi, Islam spread to the region Islam first spread to the coastal area of Central Sulawesi.. In the middle of the 16th century, two kingdoms, namely Buol and Luwuk, accepted Islamic teachings. Since 1540, Buol has been in the form of an sultanate and led by a sultan named Eato Mohammad Tahir.[12][13]

Colonial era[edit]

In the beginning of the 17th century, the Dutch started arriving in Central Sulawesi. Under the pretext of securing his fleet from pirate attacks, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) built fortresses in Parigi and Lambunu. Soon afterwards, the region began to fall into the Dutch sphere of influence. In the 18th century, the Dutch forced the kings of Central Sulawesi to come to Manado and Gorontalo to take an oath of loyalty to the VOC. This would mark the beginning of the Dutch colonial rule in the region for the next three century.

Initially, the colonial government paid little attention to the region. In 1824, representatives of the Kingdom of Banawa and the Kingdom of Palu signed the Korte Verklaring (Short Agreement) with the colonial government.[14] Dutch ships began to sail frequently in the southern part of the Gulf of Tomini after 1830.[15]

By the 19th century, most of the interior part of Cental Sulawesi still remained unexplored. In 1860, a government official named Johannes Cornelis Wilhelmus Diedericus Adrianus van der Wyck, managed to visit Lake Poso in 1865 – becoming the first European and Dutch to do so. This step was followed by another government official, Willem Jan Maria Michielsen, in 1869.[15] The proposal to occupy the Poso region was rejected – referring to the anti-expansion policies issued by the colonial government at that time.[16] It was not until 1888 that locals of the region began to establish relations with the government in Batavia through a short agreement signed by kings and local authorities, as an anticipatory measure against the possibility of the spread of British political and economic influence in the region.[16]

During this period, Central Sulawesi was under the jurisdiction of Gorontalo Afdeling, based in Gorontalo. G. W. W. C. Baron van Höevell, Gorontalo Resident Assistant, worried that the strong influence of Islam in Gorontalo would extend to the Central Sulawesi – which at that time the population was mostly are adheres to Animism or other Folk religion. He contacted the Dutch missionary institution, the Nederlandsch Zendeling Genootschap (NZG), and asked them to place a missionary in this area. In 1892, the NZG then sent a missionary named Albertus Christiaan Kruyt, who was stationed in Poso. This step was continued in 1894, when the government appointed Eduard van Duyvenbode Varkevisser, as Controller or government official who would become a supervisor and regional leader in Poso.[17]

In 1905, parts of Poso were involved in guerrilla rebellions against Dutch forces, as part of a coordinated Dutch military campaign to annex entire Sulawesi mainland. One of the famous military campaigns was the "pacification" of the Kingdom of Mori in the Wulanderi War that took place in 1907.[18] At the beginning of the 20th century, movements resisting the Dutch colonial rule started appearing. In addition to local movements, movements also based in Java entered. The first organization to establish a branch in Central Sulawesi was the Sarekat Islam (SI), established in Buol Toli-Toli in 1916. Another organization that developed in this area was the Indonesian National Party (PNI) whose branch was established in Buol in 1928. Other organizations opened branches in Central Sulawesi are Muhammadiyah and Islamic Association Party of Indonesia.[19]

The resistance reached its peak on 25 January 1942. A group of resistance fighters led by I.D. Awuy captured government officials such as Controleur Toli-Toli De Hoof, Bestuur Assistant Resident Matata Daeng Masese, and Controleur Buol de Vries. On 1 February 1942, the Indonesian flag was raised for the first time in Toli-Toli. But this situation did not last long because a week later the Dutch troops staged a counter-attack and recaptured Tolitoli.[20]

Contemporary era[edit]

Japanese forces landed in Luwuk on 15 May 1942.[21] The Japanese succeeded in expelling the Dutch and taking control of the Central Sulawesi in just a short time. During the Japanese occupation, people's lives were increasingly depressed and the misery of all people's activities was only intended to support Japanese warfare. This situation lasted until Japan surrendered to the Allies and was followed by the proclamation of the independence of the Republic of Indonesia. At the beginning of independence, Central Sulawesi was part of the Sulawesi province.[22] The Dutch attempted to return to the region, resulting in a bloody war between the Dutch and the Indonesian. After the Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference, the Dutch recognize Indonesia and withdrew from the region.

Central Sulawesi was initially part of North Sulawesi with the capital in Manado, but was separated on 13 April 1964.[23]

The former palace of the Kingdom of Palu. Before the Europeans arrived, Central Sulawesi was the seat of several independent kingdoms.
Dutch missionary in Poso, Central Sulawesi. Poso and the surrounding area has a significant Christians population

Between 1999 and 2001 the region has been plagued by inter-religious violence between Muslims and Christians, where over 1,000 people were killed.[24] The Malino II Accord was thus made in 2001. However, riots erupted again in September 2006 on the Christian dominated areas of Central Sulawesi, after the execution by firing squad of three Roman Catholics convicted of leading Christian militants during the violence of the early first decade of the 21st century.[25] The riots appeared to be aimed at government authorities, not Muslims.[25]

In 2010, Abu Wardah, also known as Santoso, declared the formation of the East Indonesia Mujahideen (Indonesian: Mujahidin Indonesia Timur - MIT) in the jungles of Poso. He aimed to topple the Indonesian government and create an Islamic State. The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Initially, MIT scores victory against the Indonesian government, killing many police and army personnel. In response, the government launched Operation Tinombala, a joint police-armed force operation to destroy the group. Many insurgents were killed or captured during the ensuing operation. Santoso was killed on 18 July 2016 by the Indonesian police after two years of hiding in the jungles near Poso, Sulawesi.[26]

On 28 September 2018, a shallow, large earthquake struck in the neck of the Minahasa Peninsula, with its epicentre located in the mountainous Donggala Regency. The magnitude 7.5 quake was located 77 km (48 mi) away from the provincial capital Palu and was felt as far away as Samarinda on East Kalimantan and also in Tawau, Malaysia.[27] he 6.1 magnitude foreshock occurred at 15:00 local time while the 7.5 magnitude earthquake on the evening caused severe destruction in Palu, Donggala and Sigi, destroying hundreds of structures.[28] At least 2,256 people are confirmed dead after the disaster[29] and more than 10,000 others injured, of which 4,612 were seriously injured.[30] More than 70,000 houses are reported to be damaged, forcing tens of thousands of people to live in shelters and tents.[31]



The northern part of Central Sulawesi borders the Sulawesi Sea and Gorontalo, the eastern part is bordered by Maluku, the southern part is bordered by West Sulawesi and South Sulawesi, the southeastern part is bordered by Southeast Sulawesi, and the western part is bordered by the Makassar Strait.

The equator that crosses the northern peninsula in Central Sulawesi makes the climate of this region tropical. However, it is different from Java and Bali and parts of Sumatra, the rainy season in Central Sulawesi between April and September while the dry season between October and March. The average rainfall ranges from 800 to 3,000 millimeters per year which includes the lowest rainfall in Indonesia.

Temperatures range from 25 to 31 ° Celsius for terrain and beaches with a humidity level of 71 to 76%. In mountainous regions temperatures can reach 16 to 22 'Celsius.

Central Sulawesi also has several rivers, including the famous Lariang River as a rafting arena, Gumbasa river and Palu river. There is also a lake that is a famous tourist attraction namely Lake Poso and Lake Lindu. Central Sulawesi has several conservation areas such as nature reserves, wildlife reserves and protected forests that have unique flora and fauna which are also objects of research for scientists and naturalists.

The Hyorhinomys stuempkei is a species of rodent that can be found in Tolitoli Regency, Central Sulawesi

Flora and Fauna[edit]

Sulawesi is a unique border zone in the Asia Oceania region, where the flora and fauna differ greatly from the Asian flora and fauna that stretches across Asia with the Borneo border, also different from the Oceania flora and fauna in Australia to New Guinea and Timor. The virtual line that limits this zone is called the Wallace Line, while the peculiarities of flora and fauna are called Wallacea, because this theory was put forward by Alfred Wallace, a British researcher who helped find the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin.[32]

Sulawesi has its own flora and fauna. The island's unique animals are buffalo-like anoa, babirusa which are slightly hairy and have fangs in their mouths, tertiary, tonkena monkeys Sulawesi, colorful Sulawesi marsupial cuscus which are varieties of marsupials and maleo birds that lay eggs on hot sand.

Sulawesi's forest also has its own characteristics, dominated by agatis wood which is different from the Great Sunda which is dominated by areca nut (rhododenron species). The variety of flora and fauna is the object of scientific research and study. To protect flora and fauna, national parks and nature reserves have been established such as Lore Lindu National Park, Morowali Nature Reserve, Tanjung Api Nature Reserve and finally the Bangkiriang Wildlife Reserve.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Central Sulawesi is divided into twelve regencies (kabupaten) and one city (kota), which are listed below with their populations at the 2010 Census and according to the latest (for January 2014) estimates.

Name Area (km2) Population
Census 2000
Census 2010
Estimate 2014
Capital HDI[33]
2014 Estimates
Palu (city) 395 269,083 335,297 362,621 Palu 0.791 (High)
Banggai Regency 9,573 271,725 323,872 348,715 Luwuk 0.671 (Medium)
Banggai Islands Regency 2,615 141,175 171,685 184,933 Salakan 0.623 (Medium)
Banggai Laut Regency 599 included in
Banggai Islands
included in
Banggai Islands
included in
Banggai Islands
Banggai 0.621 (Medium)
Buol Regency 4,044 98,005 132,381 142,589 Buol 0.654 (Medium)
Donggala Regency 4,275 732,126 277,236 299,143 Banawa 0.635 (Medium)
Morowali Regency 9,584 160,797 102,095 222,317 Bungku 0.679 (Medium)
North Morowali Regency 3,457 included in
104,094 included in
Kolonodale 0.658 (Medium)
Parigi Moutong Regency 5,090 * 413,645 445,652 Parigi 0.622 (Medium)
Poso Regency 7,112 232,765 209,252 225,449 Poso 0.676 (Medium)
Sigi Regency 5,196 * 214,700 231,700 Sigi Biromaru 0.646 (Medium)
Tojo Una-Una Regency 5,721 # 137,880 148,494 Ampana 0.611 (Medium)
Toli-Toli Regency 4,080 173,525 211,283 227,677 Toli-Toli 0.619 (Medium)
Total Province 61,841 2,175,993 2,633,420 2,839,290 Palu 0.664 (Medium)
* The 2000 Census populations for Parigi Moutong Regency and Sigi Regency are included in the figure for Donggala Regency.
# The 2000 Census population for Tojo Una-Una Regency is included in the figure for Poso Regency.

Palu is the provincial capital and the province's largest city. Other towns include Ampana, Banggai, Bungku, Buol, Donggala, Kolonodale, Luwuk, Parigi, Poso, and Toli-toli.



Average annual population growth between 1990 and 2000 was 2.57% and 1.96% from 2000 to 2010.

Historical population
1971 913,662—    
1980 1,289,635+41.2%
1990 1,711,327+32.7%
1995 1,938,071+13.2%
2000 2,218,435+14.5%
2010 2,635,009+18.8%
2014 2,839,290+7.8%
Source: Badan Pusat Statistik 2010 and 2014

Ethnic Groups[edit]

The indigenous population of Central Sulawesi consists of 15 ethnic or tribal groups, namely:

  1. Kaili in Donggala Regency, Parigi Moutong Regency, Sigi Regency and Palu
  2. Kulawi in Sigi Regency
  3. Lore in Poso Regency
  4. Pamona in Poso Regency
  5. Mori in Morowali Regency
  6. Bungku in Morowali Regency
  7. Saluan or Loinang in Banggai Regency
  8. Balantak in Banggai Regency
  9. Mamasa in Banggai Regency
  10. Taa in Banggai Regency
  11. Bare'e in Poso Regency, Tojo Una-Una Regency
  12. Banggai in Banggai Islands
  13. Buol in Buol Regency
  14. Tolitoli in Tolitoli Regency
  15. Tomini in Parigi Moutong Regency
  16. Dampal in Dampal, Tolitoli Regency
  17. Dondo in Dondo, Tolitoli Regency
  18. Pendau in Tolitoli Regency
  19. Dampelas in Donggala Regency

In addition to the 13 ethnic groups, there are several tribes living in mountainous areas such as the Da'a tribe in Donggala and Sigi, the Wana tribe in Morowali, the Seasea tribe and the Taa tribe in Banggai and the Daya tribe in Buol Tolitoli. Although the people of Central Sulawesi have around 22 languages that differ from one tribe to another, people can communicate with each other using Indonesian Language as a national language and the language of instruction everyday.[34]

Besides native people, Central Sulawesi is also inhabited by transmigrants such as Bali, Java, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara. The immigrant tribes who also inhabit the area of Central Sulawesi are Mandar, Bugis, Makassar and Toraja and other ethnic groups in Indonesia since the early 19th century and have blended in.


Religion in Central Sulawesi (2010 census)[35]
religion percent
Roman Catholicism
Not Asked
Not Stated

Most of the inhabitants of Central Sulawesi embrace Islam. Recorded in the 2015 census, 76.37% of the population embraced Islam, 16.58% embraced Protestantism , 4.45% embraced Hinduism, Roman Catholicism as much as 1.85%, and Buddhism as much as 0.74%.[36]

Islam was spread in Central Sulawesi by Datuk Karama and Datuk Mangaji, scholars of West Sumatra; which was then forwarded by Al Alimul Allamah Al-Habib As Sayyed Idrus bin Salim Al Djufri, a teacher at the Alkhairaat school and also proposed as a national Hero.[37][38] One of his grandchildren named Salim Assegaf Al Jufri was a former Indonesian Minister of Social Affairs.

Christianity was first spread in Poso district and the southern part of Donggala by Dutch missionaries such as Albertus Christiaan Kruyt. Although the majority of the people of Central Sulawesi are Muslim, the level of religious tolerance is very high and a strong spirit of mutual cooperation is part of people's lives.[39]

A Central Sulawesi traditional house in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta.


Central Sulawesi is rich in culture inherited from generation to generation. Traditions concerning aspects of life are preserved in people's daily lives. Old beliefs are cultural heritage that are maintained and carried out in several forms with various modern influences and religious influences.

Because many ethnic groups inhabit Central Sulawesi, there are also many differences between these ethnic groups which are harmonious peculiarities in society. Those who live on the western coast of Donggala Regency have mixed with Bugis people from South Sulawesi and the people of Gorontalo. In the eastern part of Sulawesi, there are also strong influences from Gorontalo and Manado, seen from the Luwuk regional dialect and the distribution of the Gorontaloan people in Bualemo sub-district which is quite dominant.

There are also influences from West Sumatra as seen in the wedding ceremony decorations. Donggala Regency has a tradition of weaving fabrics inherited from Hindu times. Weaving centers are in Donggala Kodi, Watusampu, Palu, Tawaeli and Banawa. Double tie weaving systems, which are special techniques patterned in Bali, India and Japan, can still be found.

Barkcloth dress of Lore Bada people in Lore Valley, Poso Regency

While the mountain tribes has its own culture that is much influenced by the Toraja people in South Sulawesi. However, tradition, customs, clothing models and house architecture are different from Toraja, as an example is that they use banyan skin as a body warmer clothes. The traditional Central Sulawesi house is made of poles and wooden walls that have thatched roofs and only have one large space. Lobo or duhunga is a shared space or hall that is used for festivals or ceremonies, while Tambi is a residence. Apart from the house, there is also a rice barn called Gampiri.

Buya or sarong like a European model, up to the waist and keraba, a kind of blouse equipped with gold thread. The rope or crown on the head is thought to be the influence of the European empire. The banjara shirt embroidered with gold thread is a men's shirt that is up to knee length. Silk dressers or sarongs stretching along the chest to shoulders, colorful crowns of heads and machetes slipped around the waist complement traditional clothing.[40]


Music and dance in Central Sulawesi varies between regions. Traditional music has instruments such as Gongs, kakula, lalove and jimbe. This musical instrument functions more as entertainment and not as part of religious rituals. In the Kaili ethnic area around the west coast – Waino – traditional music – is displayed when there is a death ceremony. This art has been developed in a more popular form for young people as a means of finding partners in a crowd. Many dances come from religious beliefs and are displayed during festivals.[citation needed]

The famous community dance is Dero from the Pamona people, Poso Regency and then followed by the Kulawi people , Donggala Regency.[41] Special dero dances are displayed during the harvest season, guest welcoming ceremonies, thanksgiving and certain holidays. Dero is a dance where men and women hold hands and form a circle. This dance is not an ancestral inheritance but was a habit during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia during World War II. This dance is a traditional dance from Central Sulawesi.


Seaweed production[edit]

Morowali Regency, Central Sulawesi, is projected to be the biggest seaweed producer in Indonesia for the near future. The seaweed farming types are glaciria.[42] In 2010, Central Sulawesi produced nearly 800,000 tons of seaweed.[43]

See also[edit]

  • Lindu, a group of four indigenous communities


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