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West Kalimantan

The vast province of West-Kalimantan is mainly shaped by the catchment area of the Kapuas, the longest river of Indonesia. West Kalimantan (Kalimantan Barat) has a surface of 146.807 sq.km. and counts only a few million inhabitants. Traveling in this area is demanding, adaption to local problems and delays is required. Tourism in this province, almost unknown to the main public, is not encouraged as well.


History of West Kalimantan
West Kalimantan as important historical region

The history of West Kalimantan can be dated back to 17th century. Dayaks was the main inhabitants of the province before 17th century. The Malay migrated to West Kalimantan and built their own sultanates. The facts that there are many Chinese population in this province was there used to be a republic built by Chinese miners called Lanfang Republic after defeated the local Malay sultans. The government of Lanfang Republic was ended in West Kalimantan after the Dutch occupation in 1884.

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, nobleman, women and children) were kidnapped, tortured and massacred by Japanese troops. Japanese intelligence had become concerned ethnic Chinese were planning to start a rebellion, and were worried that people in the city had received guns and ammunition from the Chinese government.

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.

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

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).


All text in this article is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
Last revised on December 02, 2009
    
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