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Borneo

Borneo
Kalimantan
Topography of Borneo
Geography
Location South East Asia
Coordinates
Archipelago Greater Sunda Islands
Area 743,330 km2 (287,000 sq mi)
Area rank 3rd
Highest elevation 4,095 m (13,435 ft)
Highest point Kinabalu
Country
Districts Belait
Brunei and Muara
Temburong
Tutong
Provinces West Kalimantan
Central Kalimantan
South Kalimantan
East Kalimantan
North Kalimantan
States and FT Sabah
Sarawak
Labuan
Demographics
Population 19,804,064 (as of 2010)
Density 21.52 /km2 (55.74 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Kadazan-Dusun, Murut, Rungus-Momogun, Dayak, Bruneian Malay, Chinese, Banjar, Javanese

Borneo (; Indonesian: Kalimantan, Malay: Borneo) is the third-largest island in the world and the largest island in Asia.[1] At the geographic center 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: Malaysia and Brunei in the north, and Indonesia to the south. Approximately 73% of the island is Indonesian territory. In the north, the East 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. Antipodal to an area of Amazon rainforest, Borneo is itself home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world.

Contents

  • Etymology 1
  • Geography 2
  • Ecology 3
  • History 4
    • Early history 4.1
    • Dutch and British control 4.2
    • World War II 4.3
    • Recent history 4.4
  • Demographics 5
  • Largest cities 6
  • Administration 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Etymology

The island is known by many names; internationally it is known as Borneo, after Brunei, derived from European historical contact with the kingdom in the 16th century during the Age of Exploration. The name Brunei possibly was initially derived from the Sanskrit word "varuṇ" (वरुण), meaning either "ocean" or the mythological Varuna, the "god of the ocean." Indonesian natives called it Kalimantan, which was derived from the Sanskrit word Kalamanthana, meaning "burning weather island" (to describe its hot and humid tropical weather).[2]

Prior to that the island was also known by other names. In 977 Chinese records began to use the term Po-ni to refer to Borneo or Bruneian Empire. In 1225 it was also mentioned by the Chinese official Chau Ju-Kua(趙汝适).[3] The Javanese manuscript Nagarakretagama, written by Majapahit court poet Mpu Prapanca in 1365, mentioned the island as Nusa Tanjungnagara, which means the island of the Tanjungpura Kingdom.[4]

Geography

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 Philippine islands.

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).[5]

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 long (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.[6]

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 neighbouring 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

A large log being placed on a railroad car at Batottan, British North Borneo in 1926

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.[7] There are about 440 freshwater fish species in Borneo (about the same as Sumatra and Java combined).[8] 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.[9]

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

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.[10]

History

Early history

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

According to ancient Chinese (977),[11]:129 Indian and Javanese manuscripts, western coastal cities of Borneo had become trading ports by the first millennium.[12] 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.[13] 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 6th century until about 1300.[13]

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 4th century.[14]


By the 14th century, Borneo was under the control of the Majapahit kingdom based in present-day Indonesia.[15] 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

Map of southern Borneo, circa 1702-1907.
Map of the island divided between the Dutch and the British.

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 recognised 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.[16]

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.[17]

The British North Borneo Company controlled the territory of North Borneo (present-day Sabah) from 1882 to 1941.[18]

World War II

During World War II, Japanese forces gained control and occupied Borneo (1941–45). They decimated many local populations and killed Malay intellectuals, executing all the Malay Sultans of Kalimantan in the Pontianak incidents. 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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] In 1945, the Japanese were defeated by the Allies.

Recent history

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 eastern part of 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

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 Dayak ethnic groups, Malay, Banjar, Orang Ulu, Chinese and Kadazan-Dusun. The Chinese, who make up 29% of the population of Sarawak and 17% of total population in West Kalimantan, Indonesia[22] are descendants of immigrants primarily from southeastern China.[23]

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.[24] 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, Dayaks and Malays joined together to massacre thousands of the Madurese migrants. In Kalimantan, thousands were killed in 2001 fighting between Madurese transmigrants and the Dayak people in the Sampit conflict.[25]

Largest cities

The following is a list of 20 largest cities in Borneo by population, based on 2010 census for Indonesia[26][27] and 2010 census for Malaysia.[28] 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.

Rank City/Town Population Density (/km2) Country
1 Samarinda, East Kalimantan 727,500 929 Indonesia
2 Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan 625,481 8,687 Indonesia
3 Kuching, Sarawak 617,886 332 Malaysia
4 Balikpapan, East Kalimantan 557,579 1,058 Indonesia
5 Pontianak, West Kalimantan 554,764 5,146 Indonesia
6 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 462,963 1,319 Malaysia
7 Tawau, Sabah 412,375 67 Malaysia
8 Sandakan, Sabah 409,056 181 Malaysia
9 Miri, Sarawak 300,543 64 Malaysia
10 Bandar Seri Begawan 300,000 490 Brunei
11 Sibu, Sarawak 247,995 111 Malaysia
12 Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan 220,962 92 Indonesia
13 Lahad Datu, Sabah 206,861 28 Malaysia
14 Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan 199,627 538 Indonesia
15 Tarakan, North Kalimantan 193,370 771 Indonesia
16 Bintulu, Sarawak 189,146 26 Malaysia
17 Singkawang, West Kalimantan 186,462 370 Indonesia
18 Keningau, Sabah 177,735 50 Malaysia
19 Bontang, East Kalimantan 143,683 353 Indonesia
20 Victoria, Labuan 85,272 950 Malaysia

Administration

Political divisions of Borneo

The island of Borneo is divided administratively by three countries.

Federal State
or Province
Capital Part of country Area
km2
Area
%
Population
censuses of 2010[29][30] 3
Population
%
Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Independent Sultanate 5,770 0.77 406,200
(2009 est)[31]
2.1
Sarawak Kuching Malaysia 124,450 16.55 2,420,009 12.2
Sabah Kota Kinabalu Malaysia 73,619 9.79 3,120,040 15.7
Labuan Victoria Malaysia
Federal territory
92 0.01 85,272 0.4
East Malaysia Malaysia 198,161 26.4 5,625,321 28.4
West Kalimantan Pontianak Indonesia 146,760 19.5 4,393,239 22.2
Central Kalimantan Palangkaraya Indonesia 152,600 20.3 2,202,599 11.1
South Kalimantan Banjarmasin Indonesia 37,660 5.0 3,626,119 18.3
East Kalimantan Samarinda Indonesia 210,985 28.1 3,550,586 17.9
North Kalimantan Tanjung Selor Indonesia 71,177 9.46 525,000 2.65
Kalimantan Indonesia 548,005 72.9 13,772,543 69.5
Borneo 3 countries 751,936 100.0 19,804,064 100.0

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

References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ History for Brunei 2009, p. 43
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ BBC-TV: "Borneo", Planet Earth
  7. ^
  8. ^ Nguyen, T.T.T., and S. S. De Silva (2006). "Freshwater Finfish Biodiversity and Conservation: An Asian Perspective", Biodiversity & Conservation 15(11): 3543-3568
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ http://pariwisata.kalbar.go.id/index.php?op=deskripsi&u1=1&u2=1&idkt=4
  20. ^ "'Guests' can succeed where occupiers fail", New York Times, 9 November 2007. Archived January 4, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Japanese Prisoners of War. Philip Towle, Margaret Kosuge, Yōichi Kibata (2000). Continuum International Publishing Group. pp.47–48. ISBN 1-85285-192-9.
  22. ^ "Province of West Kalimantan, Indonesia". Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office.
  23. ^ "The world's successful diasporas", Management Today. 3 April 2007.
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^

Further reading

  • Ghazally Ismail et al. (eds.) Scientific Journey Through Borneo Series. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan. 1996–2001. * Gudgeon, L. W. W. British North Borneo. Adam and Charles Black, London, 1913.(An early, well-illustrated book on "British North Borneo", now known as Sabah)
  • Mathai, J., Hon, J., Juat, N., Peter, A., & Gumal, M. 2010. "Small carnivores in a logging concession in the Upper Baram, Sarawak, Borneo," Small Carnivore Conservation 42: 1–9.
  • K M Wong & C L Chan. "Mt Kinabalu: Borneo's Magic Mountain." Natural History Publications, Kota Kinabalu. 1998.
  • Dennis Lau. Borneo: A Photographic Journey.
  • Stephen Holley. "White Headhunter in Borneo", in Robert Young Pelton, Borneo.
  • Mel White: " Borneo's moment of truth", National Geographic Magazine, November 2008.
  • Mathai, J. 2010. "Hose's Civet: Borneo's mysterious carnivore". Nature Watch 18/4: 2–8.
  • Robert Young Pelton. Fielding's Borneo[1]
  • Eric Hansen. Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo.
  • John Wassner. Espresso with the Headhunters: A Journey Through the Jungles of Borneo.
  • Redmond O'Hanlon. Into the Heart of Borneo: An Account of a Journey Made in 1983 to the Mountains of Batu Tiban with James Fenton.
  • Charles M. Francis. A Photographic Guide to Mammals of South-east Asia.
  • Abdullah, MT. "Biogeography and variation of Cynopterus brachyotis in Southeast Asia." PhD thesis. The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia. 2003.
  • Corbet, GB, Hill JE. The mammals of the Indomalayan region: a systematic review. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 1992.
  • G.W.H. Davison, Chew Yen Fook. A Photographic Guide to Birds of Borneo.
  • Hall LS, Gordon G. Grigg, Craig Moritz, Besar Ketol, Isa Sait, Wahab Marni and MT Abdullah. "Biogeography of fruit bats in Southeast Asia." Sarawak Museum Journal LX(81):191–284. 2004.
  • Karim, C., A.A. Tuen and M.T. Abdullah. "Mammals." Sarawak Museum Journal Special Issue No. 6. 80: 221–234. 2004.
  • Garbutt, Nick, and J. Cede Prudente. Wild Borneo: The Wildlife and Scenery of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan. 2007.
  • Mohd. Azlan J., Ibnu Maryanto, Agus P. Kartono, and MT Abdullah. "Diversity, Relative Abundance and Conservation of Chiropterans in Kayan Mentarang National Park, East Kalimantan, Indonesia." Sarawak Museum Journal 79: 251–265. 2003.
  • Hall LS, Richards GC, Abdullah MT. "The bats of Niah National Park, Sarawak." Sarawak Museum Journal. 78: 255–282. 2002.
  • Quer Durch BorneoNieuwenhuis, A.W.

External links

  • Environmental Profile of Borneo – Background on Borneo, including natural and social history, deforestation statistics, and conservation news.
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