West Kalimantan

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West Kalimantan Province
Provinsi Kalimantan Barat
کاليمانتان بارت
Gunung Palung National Park banner.jpg
Temajuk Beach, Paloh District Sambas Regency, West Borneo - panoramio (3).jpg Danau Teratai - panoramio.jpg
Kelenteng Tua Pek Kong.JPG Pantai Barat Natal.jpg
Pulau-simping.jpg Pantai Pulau Datok.JPG
From top, left to right : Gunung Palung National Park, Temajuk Beach, Lake Teratai in Singkawang, Tua Pek Kong Temple in Ketapang, Barat Natal Beach, Simpang Island, Pulau Datok Beach
Flag of West Kalimantan Province
Official seal of West Kalimantan Province
Nickname(s): Provinsi Seribu Sungai[1]
Province of Thousand Rivers
Motto: Akçaya (Sanskrit)
Location of Province of West Kalimantan in Indonesia
Location of Province of West Kalimantan in Indonesia
Coordinates: 0°0′N 110°30′E / 0.000°N 110.500°E / 0.000; 110.500Coordinates: 0°0′N 110°30′E / 0.000°N 110.500°E / 0.000; 110.500
Country  Indonesia
Established January 1, 1957
Capital Seal of Pontianak.svg Pontianak
 • Body West Kalimantan Regional Government
 • Governor Cornelis (PDI-P & PD)
 • Vice Governor Christiandy Sanjaya
 • Total 147,307 km2 (56,876 sq mi)
Area rank 3rd
Highest elevation 2,278 m (7,474 ft)
Population (2014)[2]
 • Total 4,546,439
 • Rank 15th
 • Density 31/km2 (80/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groups Dayak (32.75%), Malay (29.75%), Chinese (29.21%), Javanese (5.25%), Bugis (0.3%) Others (9.85%)[3]
 • Religion Islam (51.22%), Roman Catholicism (23.94%), Protestantism (12.38%), Buddhism (12.21%), Confucianism (1.68%), Hinduism (0.06%)
 • Languages Indonesian (official), Malay (Pontianak Malay, Sambas Malay), Dayak (Iban, Kendayan, Jangkang, Bukar Sadong etc.), Chinese (Hakka, Teochew)
Time zone Indonesia Western Time (UTC+7)
Postcodes 70xxx, 71xxx, 72xxx
Area codes (62)5xx
ISO 3166 code ID-KB
Vehicle sign KB
HDI Decrease 0.648 (medium)
HDI rank 28th(2014)
Largest city by area Singkawang - 504.00 square kilometres (194.60 sq mi)
Largest city by population Pontianak - (554,764 - 2010)
Largest regency by area Ketapang Regency - 31,240.74 square kilometres (12,062.12 sq mi)
Largest regency by population Kubu Raya Regency - (500,970 - 2010)
Website Government official site

West Kalimantan (Indonesian: Kalimantan Barat, Chinese: 西加里曼丹; Teochew: Sai gia li màn dang) is a province of Indonesia. It is one of five Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its capital city is Pontianak.

The province has an area of 147,307 km² with a recorded 2010 census population of 4,395,983 .[2] Ethnic groups include the Dayak, Malay, Chinese, Javanese, Bugis, and Madurese. The latest official estimate (as at January 2014) is 4,546,439.

The borders of West Kalimantan roughly trace the mountain ranges surrounding the watershed of the Kapuas River, which drains most of the province. The Province also bordered with Sarawak, Malaysia.


The history of West Kalimantan can be traced back to 17th century. Dayaks were the main inhabitants of the province before 17th century. The Malays migrated to West Kalimantan and established their own sultanates. The high Chinese population in this province was due to a republic founded by Chinese miners called Lanfang Republic (蘭芳共和國: Republik Lanfang) after they defeated the local Malay sultans. The government of Lanfang Republic was ended in West Kalimantan after the Dutch occupation in 1884.[citation needed]

West Kalimantan was under Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945, when Indonesia declared its Independence. During the Japanese occupation, more than 21,000 people in Pontianak (including sultans, men, women and children) were kidnapped, tortured and massacred by Japanese troops during the Pontianak incidents. All the Malay Sultans on Kalimantan were executed and the Malay elite was devastated by the Japanese.

The massacre occurred from April 23, 1943 to June 28, 1944 and most of the victims were buried in several giant wells in Mandor (88 km from Pontianak). Allied forces occupying the area after the war found several thousand bones, and more than 60 years after the massacre, several secret graves of the victims were found in Mandor and the surrounding areas.[citation needed]

After the end of war, the Japanese officers in Pontianak were arrested by allied troops and brought in front of an international military tribune. During the trial, it was revealed that the plan to start the rebellion did not exist and instead was only an imaginary plan created by Japanese officers who wanted to get promoted.[citation needed]

A monument called Makam Juang Mandor was created to commemorate this tragic event.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1971 2,019,936 —    
1980 2,486,068 +23.1%
1990 3,229,153 +29.9%
1995 3,635,730 +12.6%
2000 4,034,178 +11.0%
2010 4,395,983 +9.0%
Source: Badan Pusat Statistik 2010

West Kalimantan was the site of substantial fighting during the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation under the Sukarno government in the mid-1960s. After Suharto deposed Sukarno in 1965, the confrontation was quickly resolved. Domestic conflict continued, however, for another ten years between the new military Suharto government and fighters organized during the confrontation and backed by the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).(see Indonesian killings of 1965–66)

During the 1930s the Dutch colonial powers initiated a "transmigration plan" to move people from heavily populated islands such as Java, to the less populated islands of Irian Jaya and Kalimantan. In the 1960s the Indonesian government granted the Madurese rights to clear forests for palm oil cultivation. This conflicted with the local Dayak tribes' traditional way of life. The tensions between the two ethnic groups resulted in major eruptions of violence in 1996, the Sambas riots in 1999 and the Sampit conflict in 2001, resulting in thousands of deaths.[4][5][6]



West Kalimantan Province is located in the western part of the island of Borneo, or in between the lines LU 2o08 and 3005 LS and between 108o0 114o10 BT and BT on a map of the earth. Based on these specific geographical location then, West Kalimantan right traversed by the Equator (latitude 0 °) precisely above the city of Pontianak. Because of the influence of this same location, then the West Kalimantan is one of the tropics, with temperatures high enough and accompanied by high humidity.

Other specific characteristics is that the West Kalimantan region including one of the provinces in Indonesia which is directly adjacent to a foreign country, namely the State of Sarawak, East Malaysia. Even with this position, the West Kalimantan is now the only province in Indonesia that have officially had access road to get in and out of a foreign country. This can happen because between West Kalimantan and Sarawak have open roads between countries Pontianak - Entikong - Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysia) along approximately 400 km and can be reached about six to eight hours of travel. In the northern part of West Kalimantan, there are four districts that directly borders Malaysia, namely; Sambas, Sanggau, Sintang and Kapuas Hulu, which stretched along the Kalingkang Mountains - Kapuas Hulu.

Most areas of West Kalimantan is a low-lying land with an area of 146 807 km2, or 7.53 percent of the total Indonesian or 1.13 times the size of the island of Java. This region stretches straight from north to south along more than 600 km and about 850 km from West to East. Judging from the size of the territory, including the West Kalimantan Province is the fourth largest after the first Papua (421 891 km2), the second namely East Kalimantan (202 440 km2) and the third is Central Kalimantan (152 600 km2). Judging from the area by district / city, then the largest is Ketapang (35 809 km2 ata 24.39 percent) followed Kapuas Hulu (29 842 km2 or peresen 20:33), and Sintang (21 635 km or 14.74 percent), while the rest spread over 9 (nine) districts / cities.


In general, West Kalimantan land is low-lying and has hundreds of rivers are safe when navigable, slightly hilly which extend from west to east along the valley Kapuas and Natuna Sea / Strait Karimata. Most of the land area is swampy mix of peat and mangrove forests. The land area is flanked by two mountain ranges, namely, Kalingkang Mountains in the North and the Schwaner Mountains in the south along the border with the province of Central Kalimantan. Judging from the soil texture, the majority of West Kalimantan area consists of the soil type PMK (podsolet red-yellow), which covers an area of about 10.5 million hectares, or 17.28 percent of the total area of 14.7 million hectares. Next, the ground OGH (orgosol, gley and humus) and the alluvial soil of about 2.0 million hectares, or 10.29 percent sprawled across Dati II, but most likely in the coastal district.

Influenced by the vast lowlands, the heights of the mountains are relatively low as well as non-active. The highest mountain is Mount Baturaya in District Serawai, Sintang which has an altitude of 2,278 meters above sea level, far lower than Mount Semeru (East Java, 3,676 meters) or Mount Kerinci (Jambi, 3,805 meters).

Mount Lawit located in Kapuas Hulu, district. Embaloh Hulu and more formerly known in West Kalimantan, only occupies the third highest because it has a high 1,767 meters, while the second highest is Mount Batusambung (Subdistrict Ambalau) with a height of up to 1,770 meters.

Lakes and Rivers[edit]

West Kalimantan is one area that could be called the Thousand Rivers Province. Nickname is in line with the geographical conditions that have hundreds of large and small rivers, among others, can be and often are navigable. Several major rivers is still the lifeblood and main line to transport the countryside, although the road infrastructure has been able to reach most districts.

The main large rivers are the Kapuas River, which is also the longest river in Indonesia (1,086 km), which along 942 km are navigable. The great rivers are: Melawi river, (navigable 471 km), Pawan River (197 km), Kendawangan river (128 km), Jelai River (135 km), Sekadau river (117 km), Sambas river (233 km ), Landak River (178 km).

If the rivers are very prominent numbers in West Kalimantan, the opposite is happening with the lake. There are only two significant lake in the province. Both lakes are Lake Sentarum and Lake Luar I that are in Kapuas Hulu. Lake Sentarum has an area of 117 500 hectares, which sometimes almost dry in the dry season, and the Outer Lake I, which has an area of approximately 5,400 hectares. Both of these lakes have good potential as a tourist attraction.

Administrative divisions[edit]

West Kalimantan is subdivided into two cities (kota) and twelve regencies (kabupaten). About 29 percent of the province's population lives in the Pontianak area. The capitals and populations of the regencies and cities are:

# Name Capital Area in km2 Population
2000 Census
2010 Census[2]
2014 estimate
2014 Estimates
1 Pontianak City Pontianak 107.80 472,220 554,764 573,751 0.766 (High)
2 Singkawang City Singkawang 504.00 (included) 186,462 192,844 0.698 (Medium)
4 Bengkayang Regency Bengkayang 5,075.48 333,089 215,277 222,645 0.644 (Medium)
10 Kapuas Hulu Regency Putussibau 29,842.00 182,589 222,160 229,764 0.629 (Medium)
12 Ketapang Regency Ketapang 31,240.74 426,285 427,460 442,090 0.632 (Medium)
13 Kubu Raya Regency Sungai Raya 6,958.22 (included) 500,970 518,116 0.645 (Medium)
6 Landak Regency Ngabang 8,915.10 282,026 329,649 340,931 0.635 (Medium)
11 Melawi Regency Nanga Pinoh 10,640.80 (included) 178,645 184,759 0.628 (Medium)
14 North Kayong Regency
(Kayong Utara)
Sukadana 4,568.26 (included) 95,594 98,866 0.585 (Low)
5 Pontianak Regency Mempawah 2,797.88 631,546 234,021 242,031 0.627 (Medium)
3 Sambas Regency Sambas 6,716.52 454,126 496,120 513,100 0.632 (Medium)
7 Sanggau Regency Sanggau 12,857.80 508,320 408,468 422,448 0.620 (Medium)
8 Sekadau Regency Sekadau 5,444.20 (included) 181,634 187,851 0.619 (Medium)
9 Sintang Regency Sintang 21,638.20 460,594 364,759 377,243 0.631 (Medium)
# Totals Pontianak 147,307.00 4,016,353 4,395,983 4,546,439 0.648 (Medium)


  • the use of "included" signifies that the regency was formed after 2000, and its population in 2000 has been included with that of the older regency from which it was taken. In 2003 Sekadau Regency was cut out of Sanggau Regency and Melawi Regency was cut out of Sintang Regency. In 2007 North Kayong Regency was cut out of Ketapang Regency, while Kuba Raya Regency was cut out of Pontianak Regency.
  • above excludes a Special Enclave (Daerah Kantong), with 5,469 population in 2010.

Proposed new province of Kapuas Raya[edit]

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; one of the proposed provinces is Kapuas Raya in West Kalimantan. If the bill is approved, this will make Kapuas Raya the fourth largest province in Indonesia after Papua, East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, as the total area of Kapuas Raya, encompassing five regencies, will measure 80,432 square km, or 54.79 percent of the current size of West Kalimantan. Ever since 2005, the five regencies in the eastern part of West Kalimantan (Sanggau, Sekadau, Sintang, Melawi and Kapuas Hulu) have floated a concept to establish Kapuas Raya due to the distance issues from the respective regencies to the province capital Pontianak. The distance between the farthest regency of Kapuas Hulu and Pontianak is 661 km, followed by Melawi (439 km), Sintang (395 km), Sekadau (315 km) and Sanggau (267 km).[8]


Danau Sentarum National Park is a wetland of international importance located in the north of the province

There are three National Parks in the province: Danau Sentarum, Gunung Palung and Betung Kerihun. Currently, illegal logging for trees such as dipterocarp and plantations of palm oil and pulpwood threaten many rare species in the province due to the effects of habitat destruction.[9] Peat bog fires and droughts or flooding during ENSO episodes also threaten the area and are worsened by ongoing deforestation.

Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu has received the 2011 Whitley Award for her conservation work in West Kalimantan. She has been fighting against illegal logging by trade off with low-cost quality dental and medical treatment to 60,000 villagers on condition they involve in reforestation and conservation work.[10]


Ethnic Group[edit]

The most dominant ethnicity in West Kalimantan, the Dayak (34.93%) and Malays (33.84%). The Dayaks are tribes in the hinterland, while the ethnic Malay majority live in coastal areas. The third largest ethnic group is the Javanese (9.74%), which has a base settlement in transmigration areas. In fourth place are ethnic Chinese (8.17%), which is widely available in urban areas such as Singkawang and Pontianak. Next in fifth place, namely the ethnic Madurese (6.27%), which has a base settlement in Pontianak and Kubu Raya. The largest ethnic sixth to ten namely Bugis (3.13%), Sunda (1.13%), Batak (0.60%), Power (0.52%) and Banjar (0.33%) and other tribes (1.33%)


Indonesian is a language commonly used by people in West Kalimantan. Besides language interface, namely Pontianak Malay, Sambas Malay and Senganan language distribution by region. Likewise, there are various types of Dayak languages, According to the Institute's research Dayakologi 188 dialects are spoken by the Dayak and Chinese languages such as Teochew and Khek/Hakka. Dialects which are intended to Dayak tribe's language is so much resemblance to Malay, only the most different at the end of words such as makan (Malay), makatn (Kanayatn), makai (Iban) and makot (Melahui).

Especially for Ot Danum language, the language may be said to stand alone and is not a dialect of other Dayak groups. Dialect, however, lies in some sub Uut Danum Dayak tribe itself. As the sub-tribe language Dohoi for example, to say eat only consist of a minimum of 16 vocabulary, ranging from the most delicate to the most rugged. For example, ngolasut (was fine), germ (general), dekak (for older or respected), ngonahuk (rough), monirak (the rough) and Macuh (for the spirits of the dead).

Malay in West Kalimantan consists of several types, including Malay Malay Pontianak and Sambas. Malay Pontianak itself has the same dialect with the language Sarawak Malay, Malaysia Malay and Riau Malay.


Religion in West Kalimantan
religion percent

The majority of people embraced Islam in West Kalimantan (59.22%). Muslim majority areas in West Kalimantan is inhabited coastal regions are majority Malays as Sambas, Mempawah, Ketapang, North Kayong, Kubu Raya, Kapuas Hulu and Pontianak. In Melawi and Singkawang approximately 50% of the population are Muslims. Religion Islam are also practiced Javanese, Madurese and Bugis located in West Kalimantan. In rural areas inhabited by the Dayak predominantly Christian (Catholic / Protestant) as in Bengkayang, Landak, Sanggau, Sintang and Sekadau. The Chinese in the West Kalimantan mostly adheres to Buddhism and Christianity (Catholic / Protestant).



  • J. Braithwaite, V. Braithwaite, M. Cookson & L. Dunn, Anomie and Violence: Non-truth and Reconciliation in Indonesian Peacebuilding (ANU E-Press: 2010) [1]
  • Davidson, Jamie S. and Douglas Kammen (2002). Indonesia's unknown war and the lineages of violence in West Kalimantan. Indonesia 73:53.
  • Yuan, Bing Ling (1999). Chinese Democracies - A Study of the Kongsis of West Borneo (1776–1884).

External links[edit]