Borneo

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Borneo
Borneo Topography.png
Topography of Borneo
Geography
LocationSouth East Asia
Coordinates01°N 114°E / 1°N 114°E / 1; 114Coordinates: 01°N 114°E / 1°N 114°E / 1; 114
ArchipelagoGreater Sunda Islands
Area743,330 km2 (287,000 sq mi)
Area rank3rd
Highest elevation4,095 m (13,435 ft)
Highest pointKinabalu
Country
DistrictsBelait
Brunei and Muara
Temburong
Tutong
ProvincesWest Kalimantan
Central Kalimantan
South Kalimantan
East Kalimantan
North Kalimantan
States and FTSabah
Sarawak
Labuan
Demographics
Population19,804,064 (as of 2010)
Density21.52 /km2 (55.74 /sq mi)
Ethnic groupsDayak, Malays, Chinese, Banjar, Bugis, Javanese
 
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Borneo
Borneo Topography.png
Topography of Borneo
Geography
LocationSouth East Asia
Coordinates01°N 114°E / 1°N 114°E / 1; 114Coordinates: 01°N 114°E / 1°N 114°E / 1; 114
ArchipelagoGreater Sunda Islands
Area743,330 km2 (287,000 sq mi)
Area rank3rd
Highest elevation4,095 m (13,435 ft)
Highest pointKinabalu
Country
DistrictsBelait
Brunei and Muara
Temburong
Tutong
ProvincesWest Kalimantan
Central Kalimantan
South Kalimantan
East Kalimantan
North Kalimantan
States and FTSabah
Sarawak
Labuan
Demographics
Population19,804,064 (as of 2010)
Density21.52 /km2 (55.74 /sq mi)
Ethnic groupsDayak, Malays, Chinese, Banjar, Bugis, Javanese

Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and the largest island of Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.

The island is divided among three countries: Brunei and Malaysia on the north, and Indonesia to the south. Approximately 73% of the island is Indonesian territory. In the north, the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, make up about 26% of the island. Additionally, the Malaysian federal territory of Labuan is situated on a small island just off the coast of Borneo. 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.

Geography[edit]

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 and east are islands of Indonesia: Java and Sulawesi, respectively. To the northeast are the Philippines.

With an area of 743,330 square kilometres (287,000 sq mi), it is the third-largest island in the world, and is the largest island of Asia (the largest continent). Its highest point is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, with an elevation of 4,095 m (13,435 ft).[1]

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.[2]

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. 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.

Ecology[edit]

True-color satellite image of the island of Borneo on 14 May 2012, as taken by the Terra satellite

The Borneo rainforest is 140 million years old, making it one of the oldest rainforests 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.[3] There are about 440 freshwater fish species in Borneo (about the same as Sumatra and Java combined).[4] It is the centre of the evolution and distribution of many endemic species of plants and animals. The Borneo rainforest is one of the few 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.

In 2010 the World Wide Fund for Nature stated that 123 species have been discovered in Borneo since the "Heart of Borneo" agreement was signed in 2007.[5]

The WWFN has classified the island into seven distinct ecoregions. Most are lowland regions:

A peat forest in Kalimantan

The island historically had extensive rainforest cover, but the area was reduced due to heavy logging for the Malaysian and Indonesian plywood industry. Half of the annual global tropical timber acquisition comes from Borneo. Palm oil plantations have been widely developed and are rapidly encroaching on the last remnants of primary rainforest. Forest fires of 1997 to 1998, started by the locals to clear the forests for plantations were exacerbated by an exceptionally dry El Niño season, worsening the annual shrinkage of the rainforest. During these fires, hotspots were visible on satellite images and the resulting haze affected four countries: Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

In 2010 Sarawak announced a plan for energy production, the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, to try to establish sustainability.[6]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

According to ancient Chinese, Indian and Javanese manuscripts, western coastal cities of Borneo had become trading ports by the first millennium.[7] 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 described as among the most valuable items from Borneo.[8] 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 a thriving trading centre between India and China from the 500s until about 1300 AD.[8]

Dayaks, the natives of Borneo in their traditional war dress. Headhunting was an important part of Dayak culture.

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.[9]

By the 14th century, Borneo was under the control of the Majapahit kingdom based in present-day Indonesia.[10] Muslims entered the island and converted many of the indigenous peoples to Islam.

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 titled himself as "Paduka Maulana Mahasari Sharif Sultan Hashem Abu Bakr". 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 the eastern part of North Borneo from the Sultan of Brunei, after Sulu sent aid against a rebellion in Brunei.

Dutch and British control[edit]

The Sultanate of Brunei granted large parts of land in Sarawak in 1842 to the English adventurer James Brooke, as reward for his having helped quell a local rebellion. Brooke established the Kingdom of Sarawak and was recognized as its rajah after paying a fee to the Sultanate. He established a monarchy, and the Brooke dynasty (through his nephew and great-nephew) ruled Sarawak for 100 years; the leaders were known as the White Rajahs.[11]

Raden Demang Béhé, head of the Ot-Danom-Dayaks in Ambalu (Upper-Melawi river), Central-Borneo. Photographed between 1890 and 1920.
A large log being placed on a railroad car at Batottan, British North Borneo in 1926

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. This resulted in indirectly establishing British- and Dutch-controlled areas in Borneo, in the north and south, respectively. The Malay and Sea Dayak pirates preyed on maritime shipping in the waters between Singapore and Hong Kong from their haven in Borneo.[12]

The British North Borneo Company controlled the territory of North Borneo (present-day Sabah) from 1882 to 1941.[13]

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Japanese forces gained control and occupied 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.[14][dead link] During the Japanese occupation, the Dayak played a role in guerrilla warfare against the occupying forces, particularly in the Kapit Division. They temporarily revived headhunting of Japanese toward the end of the war.[15] Allied Z Special Unit provided assistance to them. After the fall of Singapore, the Japanese sent several thousand British and Australian prisoners of war to camps in Borneo. At one of the worst sites, around Sandakan in Borneo, only six of some 2,500 prisoners survived.[16] In 1945 the island was liberated by the Allies from the Japanese.

Recent history[edit]

Borneo was the main site of the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia between 1962 and about 1969. The British Army was deployed against the Indonesians and communist revolts to gain control of the whole area. Before the formation of Malaysian Federation, the Philippines claimed that the Malaysian state of Sabah was within their territory. They based this on the history of the Sultanate of Sulu's leasing agreement with the British North Borneo Company.

Demographics[edit]

The demonym for Borneo is Bornean or Bornese.

Borneo has 19.8 million 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 consists mainly of Malay, 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, Indonesia[17] are descendants of immigrants primarily from southeastern China.[18]

The religion of the majority of the population in Kalimantan is Muslim, and some indigenous groups continue to practice animism. But, approximately 91% of the Dayak are Christian, a religion introduced by missionaries in the 19th century. In Central Kalimantan is a small Hindu minority. In the interior of Borneo are the Penan, some of who still live as nomadic hunter-gatherers. Some coastal areas have marginal settlements of the Bajau, who historically lived in a sea-oriented, boat-dwelling, nomadic culture. In the northwest of Borneo, the Dayak ethnic group is represented by the Iban, with about 710,000 members.[citation needed]

In Kalimantan since the 1990s, the Indonesian government has undertaken an intense transmigration program; it financed the relocation to that area of poor, landless families from Java, Madura, and Bali. By 2001, transmigrants made up 21% of the population in Central Kalimantan.[19] Since the 1990s, the indigenous Dayak and Malays have resisted encroachment by these migrants: violent conflict has occurred between some transmigrant and indigenous populations. In the 1999 Sambas riots Muslim Malays and Animist Dayaks joined together to massacre thousands of the Muslim Madurese migrants. In Kalimantan, thousands were killed in 2001 fighting between Madurese transmigrants and the Dayak people in the Sampit conflict.[20]

Largest cities[edit]

The following is a list of 20 largest cities in Borneo by population, based on 2010 census for Indonesia[21][22] and 2010 census for Malaysia.[23] Population data signifies number within official districts and does not include adjoining or nearby conurbation outside defined districts—such as, but not limited to, Kota Kinabalu and Banjarbaru. In other instances, the district area is much larger than the actual city it represents thereby "inflating" the population by including the rural population living further outside the actual city—such as, but not limited to, Tawau and Palangkaraya.

RankCity/TownPopulationDensity (/km2)Country
1Samarinda, East Kalimantan727,500929Indonesia
2Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan625,4818,687Indonesia
3Kuching, Sarawak617,886332Malaysia
4Balikpapan, East Kalimantan557,5791,058Indonesia
5Pontianak, West Kalimantan554,7645,146Indonesia
6Kota Kinabalu, Sabah462,9631,319Malaysia
7Tawau, Sabah412,37567Malaysia
8Sandakan, Sabah409,056181Malaysia
9Miri, Sarawak300,54364Malaysia
10Bandar Seri Begawan276,608490Brunei
11Sibu, Sarawak247,995111Malaysia
12Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan220,96292Indonesia
13Lahad Datu, Sabah206,86128Malaysia
14Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan199,627538Indonesia
15Tarakan, North Kalimantan193,370771Indonesia
16Bintulu, Sarawak189,14626Malaysia
17Singkawang, West Kalimantan186,462370Indonesia
18Keningau, Sabah177,73550Malaysia
19Bontang, East Kalimantan143,683353Indonesia
20Victoria, Labuan85,272950Malaysia

Administration[edit]

Political divisions of Borneo

The island of Borneo is divided administratively by three countries. It is the only island in the world so divided:

Federal State
or Province
CapitalPart of countryArea
km2
Area
%
Population
censuses of 2000 1)
Population
censuses of 2010[24][25] 3)
Population
%
BruneiBandar Seri BegawanIndependent Sultanate5,7700.77320,000406,200
(2009 est)[26]
2.1
SarawakKuchingMalaysia124,45016.552,012,6162,420,00912.2
SabahKota KinabaluMalaysia73,6199.793,449,3893,120,04015.7
LabuanVictoriaMalaysia
Federal territory
920.0170,51785,2720.4
Malaysian BorneoMalaysia198,16126.44,532,5225,625,32128.4
West KalimantanPontianakIndonesia146,76019.54,034,1984,393,23922.2
Central KalimantanPalangkarayaIndonesia152,60020.31,855,4732,202,59911.1
South KalimantanBanjarmasinIndonesia37,6605.02,984,0263,626,11918.3
East KalimantanSamarindaIndonesia210,98528.12,455,1203,550,58617.9
North KalimantanTanjung SelorIndonesia71,1779.46(no data)525,0002.65
KalimantanIndonesia548,00572.911,328,81713,772,54369.5
Borneo3 countries751,936100.016,196,92419,804,064100.0

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[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "An Awesome Island". Borneo: Island in the Clouds. PBS. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  2. ^ BBC-TV: "Borneo", Planet Earth
  3. ^ MacKinnon, K et al. (1998). The Ecology of Kalimantan. London: Oxford University Press. 
  4. ^ Nguyen, T.T.T., and S. S. De Silva (2006). "Freshwater Finfish Biodiversity and Conservation: An Asian Perspective", Biodiversity & Conservation 15(11): 3543-3568
  5. ^ "Scientists discover new species in Heart of Borneo". WWF. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Shayne Heffernan (21 October 2010). "Economy Malaysia, Eyes on Sarawak". Live Trading News. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ a b Jan O. M. Broek (1962). "Place Names in 16th and 17th Century Borneo". Imago Mundi 16: 129–148. doi:10.1080/03085696208592208. JSTOR 1150309. 
  9. ^ "(Chapter 15) The Earliest Indic State: Kutai". The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (E Press, The Australian National University). 2006. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  10. ^ "1350-1400 - Majapahit Empire". Military. GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Part 2 - The Brooke Era". The Borneo Project. Earth Island Institute. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Wanderings Among South Sea Savages And in Borneo and the Philippines by H. Wilfrid Walker". 
  13. ^ "British North Borneo Papers". School of Oriental and African Studies. Archives hub. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  14. ^ http://pariwisata.kalbar.go.id/index.php?op=deskripsi&u1=1&u2=1&idkt=4
  15. ^ "'Guests' can succeed where occupiers fail", New York Times, 9 November 2007.[dead link]
  16. ^ Japanese Prisoners of War. Philip Towle, Margaret Kosuge, Yōichi Kibata (2000). Continuum International Publishing Group. pp.47–48. ISBN 1-85285-192-9
  17. ^ "Province of West Kalimantan, Indonesia". Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office.
  18. ^ "The world's successful diasporas", Management Today. 3 April 2007.
  19. ^ "Indonesia flashpoints:, Kalimantan". BBC. 28 June 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2008. 
  20. ^ "Beheading: A Dayak ritual". BBC. 23 February 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2008. 
  21. ^ "Sensus Penduduk 2010". Badan Pusat Statistik, Indonesia. 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Administrative Division Indonesia: Provinces, Regencies and Cities - Statistics & Maps by »City Population«". citypopulation.de. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "Population Distribution and Basic Demographic Characteristics, 2010". Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  24. ^ "Malaysia: Federal States, Territories, Major Cities & Conurbations – Statistics & Maps on City Population". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  25. ^ "Indonesia (Urban Municipality Population): Provinces, Cities & Municipalities – Statistics & Maps on City Population". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  26. ^ "Brunei: Districts, Major Cities, Towns & Agglomeration – Statistics & Maps on City Population". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]