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Lake Tes, Lebong, Bengkulu Province
Lake Tes, Lebong, Bengkulu Province
Flag of Bengkulu
Official seal of Bengkulu
Location of Bengkulu in Indonesia
Location of Bengkulu in Indonesia
Coordinates: 3°48′S 102°15′E / 3.800°S 102.250°E / -3.800; 102.250Coordinates: 3°48′S 102°15′E / 3.800°S 102.250°E / -3.800; 102.250
Country Indonesia
Capital Bengkulu
 • Governor Junaidi Hamsyah, S.Ag., M.Pd
 • Total 19,919.33 km2 (7,690.90 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,813,393
 • Density 91/km2 (240/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groups Rejang (60,4%), Javanese (22,3%), Serawai (17,9%), Lembak (4,9%), Pasemah (4,4%), Minangkabau (4,3%), Malay (3,6%), Sundanese (3%), Batak (2%) 1
 • Religion Islam
 • Languages Rejang, Bengkulu, Indonesian
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)

Bengkulu (also known as Southwest Sumatra) is a province of Indonesia. It is on the southwest coast of the island of Sumatra, and borders the provinces of West Sumatra, Jambi, South Sumatra and Lampung. The province also includes Enggano Island. The capital and largest city is Bengkulu city.

It was formerly the site of a British garrison, which they called Bencoolen.


European women dressed in sarongs in front of Fort Marlborough (early 20th century)

The English East India Company established a pepper-trading center and garrison at Bengkulu (Bencoolen) in 1685.citation needed In 1714 the British built Fort Marlborough, which still stands. The trading post was never profitable for the British, being hampered by a location which Europeans found unpleasant, and by an inability to find sufficient pepper to buy.citation needed It became an occasional port of call for the EIC's East Indiamen.

Despite these difficulties, the British persisted, maintaining their presence for roughly 140 years before ceding it to the Dutch as part of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 in exchange for Singapore.2 Bengkulu remained part of the Dutch East Indies until the Japanese occupation in World War 2.

During Sukarno's imprisonment by the Dutch in the early 1930s, the future first president of Indonesia lived briefly in Bengkulu.citation needed Here he met his wife, Fatmawati, who bore him several children, one of whom, Megawati Sukarnoputri, became Indonesia's first female President.

Bengkulu lies near the Sunda Fault and is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. In June 2000, an earthquake killed at least 100 people. A recent report predicts that Bengkulu is "at risk of inundation over the next few decades from undersea earthquakes predicted along the coast of Sumatra"3 A series of earthquakes struck Bengkulu during September 2007, killing 13 people.4


Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1971 519,316 —    
1980 768,064 +47.9%
1990 1,179,122 +53.5%
1995 1,409,117 +19.5%
2000 1,567,436 +11.2%
2010 1,715,568 +9.5%
Source: Badan Pusat Statistik 2010

The 2010 census reported a population of 1,800,500.5 including 875,663 males and 837,730.6

Administrative divisions

Bengkulu Province is subdivided into nine regencies and the independent city of Bengkulu, which lies outside any regency. The regencies and city are listed below with their (provisional) populations at the 2010 Census.

Name Area (km2) Population
Estimate 2005
Census 2010
Bengkulu (city) 144.52 257,763 308,756 Bengkulu
South Bengkulu Regency (Bengkulu Selatan) 1,179.65 129,878 142,722 Manna
Rejang Lebong Regency 1,475.99 237,459 246,378 Curup
North Bengkulu Regency (Bengkulu Utara) 5,548.54 328,620 256,358 Argamakmur
Kaur Regency 2,369.05 106,184 107,627 Bintuhan
Seluma Regency 2,400.44 156,814 172,801 Pasar Tais
Mukomuko Regency 4,036.70 130,401 156,312 Mukomuko
Lebong Regency 1,929.24 85,850 97,091 Tubei
Kepahiang Regency 704.57 113,317 125,011 Kepahiang
Central Bengkulu Regency (Bengkulu Tengah) * * 98,570 Karang Tinggi

The area and 2005 estimated population of Central Bengkulu Regency are included in the figures for North Bengkulu Regency.

Bengkulu warriors.


Three active coal mining companies produce between 200,000 and 400,000 tons of coal per year, which is exported to Malaysia, Singapore, South Asia, and East Asia.citation needed Fishing, particularly tuna and mackerel, is an important activity.citation needed Agricultural products exported by the province include ginger, bamboo shoots, and rubber.citation needed


  1. ^ Bengkulu Lumbung Nasionalis yang Cair. February 11, 2009. 
  2. ^ Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 34. 
  3. ^ Andrew C. Revkin (2006-12-05). "Indonesian Cities Lie in Shadow Of Cyclical Tsunami". New York Times (Late Edition (East Coast)) p. A.5. 
  4. ^ New York Times
  5. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik : Population of Indonesia by Province 1971, 1980, 1990, 1995 and 2000 Retrieved 5 April 2010
  6. ^


  • Reid, Anthony (ed.). 1995. Witnesses to Sumatra: A traveller's anthology. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. pp. 125–133.
  • Wilkinson, R.J. 1938. Bencoolen. Journal of the Malayan Branch Royal Asiatic Society. 16(1): 127-133.
    • Overview of the British experience in Bencoolen

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