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Provinsi Banten
Flag of Banten
Coat of arms of Banten
Tanah Jawara  (Sundanese)
Land of the Champions
Iman Taqwa  (Indonesian)
(Faith and Piety)
Banten in Indonesia.svg
   Banten in    Indonesia
Coordinates: 6°30′S 106°15′E / 6.500°S 106.250°E / -6.500; 106.250Coordinates: 6°30′S 106°15′E / 6.500°S 106.250°E / -6.500; 106.250
Largest cityTangerang
Established4 October 2000
 • BodyBanten Provincial Government
 • Acting GovernorAl Muktabar
 • Total9,662.92 km2 (3,730.87 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,929 m (6,329 ft)
 (mid 2021 estimate)[1]
 • Total12,061,475
 • Rank5th in Indonesia
 • Density1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groups47% Bantenese
23% Sundanese
12% Javanese
10% Betawi
5% Chinese
3% other[2]
 • ReligionIslam (94.62%)
Christianity (3.94%)
Protestant (2.65%)
Catholic (1.29%)
Buddhism (1.30%)
Hindu (0.10%)
Aliran (0.03%)
Konghucu (0.01%)[3]
 • LanguagesIndonesian (official)
Sundanese (lingua franca)
Bantenese (native)
Javanese (minor areas)
Baduy (native)
Time zoneUTC+7 (Indonesia Western Time)
ISO 3166 codeID-BT
HDIIncrease 0.724 (High)
HDI rank8th in Indonesia (2019)
GRP NominalIncrease$47.03 billion[4]
GDP PPP (2019)Increase$153.72 billion[4]
GDP rank7th in Indonesia (2019)
Nominal per capitaUS$ 3,638 (2019)[4]
PPP per capitaUS$ 11,958 (2019)[4]
Per capita rank17th in Indonesia (2019)

Banten (Indonesian: Banten; Sundanese: ᮘᮔ᮪ᮒᮨᮔ᮪, romanized: Banten) is the westernmost province on the island of Java, in Indonesia. Its provincial capital city is Serang. The province borders West Java and the Special Capital Region of Jakarta to the east, the Java Sea to the north, the Indian Ocean to the south, and the Sunda Strait to the west, which separates Java from the neighbouring island of Sumatra. The area of the province is 9,662.82 km2 (3,730.84 sq mi), and it had a population of over 11.9 million at the 2020 Census, up from over 10.6 million during the 2010 census.[5] The official estimate for mid 2021 was 12.06m.[6] Formerly part of the province of West Java, Banten became a separate province in 2000. The province is a transit corridor to the neighbouring Indonesian island of Sumatra. The Banten region is the homeland of the Sundanese Banten people (a subgroup of the Sundanese people) and has historically had a slightly different culture from the Sundanese people in the West Java region. In recent years, the northern half, particularly the areas near Jakarta and the Java Sea coast, have experienced rapid rises in population and urbanization, while the southern half, particularly that facing the Indian Ocean, maintains a more traditional character.

Centuries ago, the area in what is now Banten was ruled by the Sundanese Tarumanagara kingdom. After the fall of the Tarumanegara, Banten was controlled by many Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, such as the Srivijaya Empire and the Sunda Kingdom. The spread of Islam in the region began in the 15th century and by the late 16th century, Islam had replaced Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion in the province, with the establishment of the Banten Sultanate. At that time, however, European traders started arriving in the region. The first of which was the Portuguese, followed by the British and finally the Dutch. In the end, through the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the Dutch controlled the economy in the region, causing a gradual decline of the Banten Sultanate in the region. On 22 November 1808, the Dutch Governor-General Herman Willem Daendels declared that the Sultanate of Banten had been absorbed into the territory of the Dutch East Indies.[7] This marked the beginning of direct Dutch rule in the region for the next 150 years as the Bantam Residency. In March 1942, the Japanese invaded the Indies and occupied the region for 3 years, before they surrendered in August 1945. The area was returned to Dutch control for the next 5 years before they handed the region to the new Indonesian government when the Dutch left in 1950. Banten was then absorbed into the province of West Java. However, through separatist efforts it ultimately led to the creation of the province of Banten in 2000.[8]

A very diverse province, Banten is populated by many ethnic groups, the most dominant being the Bantenese people. The Sundanese language forms the lingua franca of the province, although Indonesian is the main official language. The Javanese language is also spoken by many Javanese migrants from Central and East Java. In the Lebak Regency lives the semi-isolated Baduy people, who speak the Baduy language, an archaic form of the Sundanese language. Nonetheless, most of the people in Banten can speak Indonesian fluently as their second language.


The name "Banten" has several possible origins. The first possible origins come from the Sundanese phrase katiban inten, which means "struck down by diamonds". The phrase comes from the history of the Bantenese people, who were originally animist, then embraced Buddhism or Hinduism. After Islam began to spread in Banten, the community began to recognize and embrace Islam. This spread of Islam in Banten is described as "struck down by diamonds".[9]

Another origin story is that the Hindu God Batara Guru Jampang traveled from east to west, then arrived at a place called Surasowan (present-day Serang). When he arrived in Surasowan, Batara Guru Jampang sat on a rock which is then called watu gilang. The stone glowed, and was presented to King Surasowan. It was told that Surasowan was surrounded by a clear river of water as if this country was surrounded by stars. The place is described as a ring covered with diamonds (Sundanese: ban inten), which then evolved into the name "Banten".[9]

Another possible origin is that "Banten" comes from the Indonesian word bantahan (rebuttal), because the local Bantenese people resisted the Dutch colonial government of the time.[9] The word "Banten" apparently has appeared long before the establishment of the Banten Sultanate. It is the name of a river, the Cibanten River. The higher plains on the banks of Cibanten River were called Cibanten Girang shortened to Banten Girang (Upper Banten). Based on the results of research conducted in Banten Girang, there have been settlements in this area since the 11-12th century.[10] Even in the 16th century, this area developed rapidly. The development of settlements in Banten Girang extended towards Serang and the northern coast. The coastal area later became the Sultanate of Banten, founded by Sunan Gunung Jati. This Sultanate originally controlled almost all of the territory of the former Sunda Kingdom in West Java. But Sunda Kelapa, or Batavia, were captured by the Dutch, while Cirebon and the Parahiyangan region were captured by the Mataram Sultanate. The territory of the former Banten Sultanate was later converted to a residentie (residency) by the Dutch.[9]


Pre-colonial era

Sultan Maulana Hasanuddin of Banten. Together with his father, Sunan Gunungjati, Hasanuddin founded the Sultanate of Banten
Sultan Maulana Hasanuddin of Banten. Together with his father, Sunan Gunungjati, Hasanuddin founded the Sultanate of Banten

In the 5th century, Banten was part of the Kingdom of Tarumanagara. The Lebak relic inscriptions, found in lowland villages on the edge of the Cidanghiyang River in Munjul, Pandeglang [id] were discovered in 1947 and contain two lines of poetry in Pallawa script and Sanskrit language.[11] The inscriptions tell of life in the Tarumanegara kingdom under the reign of Purnawarman.[12] After the Tarumanagara kingdom collapsed due to an attack by Srivijaya, power in western Java fell to the Kingdom of Sunda. In the Chinese source, Chu-fan-chi, written circa 1225, Chou Ju-kua mentioned that in the early 13th century, Srivijaya still ruled Sumatra, the Malay peninsula, and in western Java, (Sunda). The source identifies the port of Sunda as strategic and thriving, pepper from Sunda was among the best in quality. The people worked in agriculture and their houses were built on wooden poles (rumah panggung). However, robbers and thieves plagued the country.[13] It was highly possible that the port of Sunda mentioned by Chou Ju-kua was the port of Banten.

According to the Portuguese explorer, Tome Pires, in the early 16th century the port of Bantam (Banten) was an important port within the Kingdom of Sunda along with the ports of Pontang, Cheguide (Cigede), Tangaram (Tangerang), Calapa (Sunda Kelapa) and Chimanuk (estuary of the Cimanuk river).[14]

In 1527, just as the Portuguese fleet arrived off the coast, newly converted Javanese Muslims under Sunan Gunungjati captured the port of Banten and the surrounding area from the Sundanese leaders and established the Sultanate of Banten. The center of this sultanate, according to the Portuguese historian João de Barros, was Banten, which was a major port in Southeast Asia rivaling Malacca and Makassar. The city of Banten was located in the middle of the bay, which is approximately three miles across. The city was 850 fathoms in length, while the seaside town was 400 fathoms in length. Through the middle of town was a clear river into which ships and gale junks could sail. A small tributary of the river extended to the edge of the town. Today the river is not as large, and only small boats can enter. A fortress close to the town had walls made of brick seven palms wide. Wooden defence buildings consisted of two levels armed with good weapons. The middle of the town square was used for military activities and folk art, and as a market in the morning. The king's palace was located on the south side of the square. Beside the building an elevated and flat-roofed building called Srimanganti, used by the king when meeting the people. To the west of the square was a great mosque, now known as the Great Mosque of Banten.

In the early 17th century, Banten was an important commercial center on international trade routes in Asia. At the time, the administration and governance of the port were very supportive of economic growth. Its territory included the area which is now the province of Lampung in southern Sumatra.

Colonial era

Bird's-eye view of the city of Banten, 1599.
Bird's-eye view of the city of Banten, 1599.

When the Dutch arrived in Indonesia the Portuguese had long been in Banten. The English established a representative site in Banten, a "factory", and were followed by the Dutch. In addition, the French and the Danish also came to trade in Banten. In the ensuring competition between European traders, the Dutch emerged as the winners. The Portuguese fled Banten in 1601 after their fleet was destroyed by the Dutch off the coast of Banten during the Dutch–Portuguese War.

Warriors of Banten, 1596.
Warriors of Banten, 1596.

Although the Dutch won the war, they still allowed the Banten Sultanate to exist. The Sultanate of Banten was a maritime kingdom and relied on trade to support its economy. The monopoly on pepper trade in Lampung placed the Banten authorities as an intermediaries, and the Sultanate of Banten grew rapidly, becoming an important commercial center at that time.[15] As sea trade grew throughout the archipelago, Banten became a multi-ethnic region. Assisted by the British, Danish and Chinese people, Banten traded with Persia, India, Siam, Vietnam, the Philippines, China and Japan.[16] The reign of Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa between 1651 and 1682 was the golden era of the Sultanate.[17] Under his reign, Banten had one of the strongest navies in the region, built to European standards with the aid of European shipbuilders, and also attracted Europeans to work in the Sultanate of Banten.[18] To secure its shipping lanes, Banten also sent its fleet to Sukadana or the Kingdom of Tanjungpura (present-day West Kalimantan) and conquered it in 1661.[19] At that time Banten also tried to get out of the pressure of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which had previously blockaded of merchant ships heading to Banten.[18]

Around 1680, a struggle for power arose between Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa and his son Sultan Abu Nashar Abdul Qahar. This split was exploited by the VOC, who provided support to Sultan Hajj, so that civil war was inevitable. While strengthening his position, Sultan Abu Nashar Abdul Qahar or Sultan Hajj also sent two envoys to meet King Charles II of England in London in 1682 to obtain support and weapons assistance.[20] In the ensuing war, Sultan Ageng was forced to withdraw from his palace to an area called Tirtayasa (present-day Tangerang), but on 28 December 1682 the area was also controlled by Sultan Haji with the Dutch assistance. Sultan Ageng with his other sons Pangeran Purbaya and Syekh Yusuf from Makassar retreated to the south of the Sunda interior. However, on 14 March 1683 Sultan Ageng was caught and then imprisoned in Batavia.

The VOC continued to pursue and suppress the resistance of Sultan Ageng's followers, led by Prince Purbaya and Sheikh Yusuf. On 5 May 1683, the VOC sent Untung Surapati, a lieutenant, with his Balinese troops, joining forces led by the VOC Lieutenant Johannes Maurits van Happel to subdue the Pamotan [id] and DayeuhLuhur areas, where on 14 December 1683 they succeeded in capturing Sheikh Yusuf.[21] Heavily outnumbered, Prince Purbaya surrendered. Untung Surapati was told by Captain Johan Ruisj to pick up Pangeran Purbaya, and on the way to bring Prince Purbaya to Batavia. They met with VOC forces led by Willem Kuffeler, but a dispute between them resulted in Willem Kuffeler's forces being destroyed, and Untung Surapati and his followers became fugitives of the VOC.[22]

François Valentijn painting of Banten, in 1694.
François Valentijn painting of Banten, in 1694.

VOC assistance and support to Sultan Hajj must be compensated. On 12 March 1682, Lampung was handed over to the VOC, as stated in the Sultan Haji's letter to Major Issac de Saint Martin, the VOC admiral in Batavia. The letter was later corroborated by an agreement letter dated 22 August 1682 which gave the VOC the pepper trade monopoly in Lampung.[23] In addition, the Sultanate also had to reimburse VOC losses due to the war.[24] After the death of Sultan Hajj in 1687, the VOC influence in the Sultanate of Banten began to increase, so the appointment of the Sultan of Banten had to get approval from the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in Batavia. Sultan Abu Fadhl Muhammad Yahya was appointed to replace Sultan Haji but only came to power for about three years, and was then replaced by his brother, Pangeran Adipati, with the title Sultan Abul Mahasin Muhammad Zainul Abidin and later also known as Kang Sinuhun ing Nagari Banten. The civil war in Banten left behind instability for the next government, due to dissatisfaction with the VOC's interference in Bantenese affairs.[19] The people's resistance peaked again at the end of the reign of Sultan Abul Fathi Muhammad Syifa Zainul Arifin, including the resistance of Ratu Bagus Buang and Kyai Tapa. As a result of the prolonged conflict the Sultan of Banten again sought the help of the VOC to reduce some of the people's resistance, so that starting in 1752 Banten became a vassal state of the VOC.[25]

In 1808, Dutch Governor-General Herman Williem Daendels ordered the annexation of the Banten Sultanate. This marked the demise of the four-century-old Sultanate and the beginning of direct Dutch rule in the region for the next 150 years
In 1808, Dutch Governor-General Herman Williem Daendels ordered the annexation of the Banten Sultanate. This marked the demise of the four-century-old Sultanate and the beginning of direct Dutch rule in the region for the next 150 years

In 1808, at the peak of the Napoleonic Wars, Herman Willem Daendels, Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, ordered the Great Post Road built to defend Java from British attack.[26] Daendels ordered the Sultan of Banten to move his capital to Anyer and provide labor to build a port in Ujung Kulon. The Sultan rejected Daendels' order, so in answer Daendels ordered an attack on Banten and the destruction of Surosowan Palace. The Sultan and his family were held in Puri Intan (Surosowan Palace) and then imprisoned at Fort Speelwijk. Sultan Abul Nashar Muhammad Ishaq Zainulmutaqin was then exiled to Batavia. On 22 November 1808, Daendels announced from his headquarters in Serang that the territory of the Banten Sultanate had been absorbed into the territory of the Dutch East Indies.[27] The Banten Sultanate was officially abolished in 1813 by the British government after the Invasion of Java.[28] That year, Sultan Muhammad bin Muhammad Muhyiddin Zainussalihin was disarmed and forced to abdicate by Thomas Stamford Raffles. This ended the history of the Banten Sultanate. After the British returned Java to the Dutch in 1814 as part of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, Banten was transformed into a residentie (residency) of the Dutch East Indies.[8]

Japanese occupation and independence

Rōmusha after being freed by the Dutch. Thousands of labores died during the construction of the Saketi-Bayah railway under the Japanese
Rōmusha after being freed by the Dutch. Thousands of labores died during the construction of the Saketi-Bayah railway under the Japanese

In March 1942, the Japanese invaded the Indies, expelled the Dutch and occupied Banten. During the three years of occupation, the Japanese built the Saketi-Bayah railway in southern Lebak, primarily for transporting brown coal from the Bayah mines. The project involves work force of approximately a thousand rōmusha (local forced labourers), a few engineers and technicians (mainly Dutch), headed by a Japanese supervisor.[29] While the rōmusha working in the mines were imported from Central and East Java, the railway rōmusha were mainly locals from Banten. The construction took a total of 12 million person-days in 14 months.[30] Working conditions were harsh due to food shortages, lack of medical care, and the tropical climate.[31] Casualties are estimated to range from 20 to 60 thousand victims, not including mine workers.[29]

After the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, the former Dutch East Indies declared independence as the Republic of Indonesia. However, this was opposed by the returning Dutch, resulting the Indonesian war of independence. Over the course of the war, Banten remained under Republican control. On 26 February 1948, the State of West Java (Indonesian: Negara Jawa Barat, Sundanese: Negara Jawa Kulon) was established and, on 24 April 1948, the state was renamed Pasundan. Pasundan became a federal state of the United States of Indonesia in 1949 but was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia (itself also a constituent of the USI) on 11 March 1950.[32]

After Indonesia became independent, Banten was absorbed into the province of West Java. However, separatist sentiment ultimately led to the creation of the province of Banten in 2000.[33]


Tanjung Lesung beach, Pandegelang Regency
Mangrove forest in Ujung Kulon National Park
Mangrove forest in Ujung Kulon National Park

Banten lies between 5°7'50" and 7°1'11" south latitude and 105°1'11" and 106°7'12" east longitude.[34] The province has an area of 9,662.92 km2 (3,730.87 sq mi).[35]

Banten is located near the Sunda Strait's strategic sea lanes linking Australia and New Zealand with Southeast Asia. In addition, Banten links between Java and Sumatra. Economically, the Banten region area has many industries. Banten also has seaports developed to capture the excess capacity of the seaport in Jakarta,[36] and are also intended to be an alternative to the Port of Singapore.[37]

Its location on the western tip of Java makes Banten the gateway to Java and Sumatra and the adjacent areas of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The geostrategic position puts Banten to at the center of trade lanes between Sumatra and Java, Asian and international trade as well as the location of agglomeration economies and potential settlements. As the province borders the Java Sea to the north, the Sunda Strait to the west, and the Indian Ocean to the south, the province has abundant marine resources.[38]


Sawarna Banten Green View, Lebak Regency
Sawarna Banten Green View, Lebak Regency

The topography of Banten province ranges in altitude from 0–1000 m asl. Banten is mostly lowland, between 0–200 m above sea level, in Cilegon, Tangerang, Pandeglang Regency, and most of the Serang Regency. The central region of the Lebak Regency and Pandeglang Regency has a height ranging from 201 m to 2000 m and the eastern region of the Lebak Regency an altitude of 501–2000 m located at the summit of Mount Sanggabuana and Mount Halimun.

The morphology of Banten is generally divided into lowlands, sloping hills and steep hills.[39]

The lowlands are generally found in the northern and southern portion of the province. The lowlands generally have a height of less than 50 meters.

The sloping hills region have a minimum height of 50 m above sea level. North of Cilegon a hill called Mount Gede has an altitude of 553 m above sea level, while there are hills in Serang Regency, in the south in the Mancak District and the Waringin Kurung District. The southern part of the Pandeglang Regency is also mostly hilly. In eastern Lebak Regency, bordering Bogor Regency and Sukabumi Regency in West Java, most of the area is made up of very steep hills occupied by old sediments intruded by igneous rocks such as granite, granodiorite, diorite and andesite. Usually the area contains tin and copper ore deposits that are economically valuable.[40]

Rawa Danau, Lebak Regency
Rawa Danau, Lebak Regency


The climate in the Banten is strongly influenced by monsoon wind and the La Niña or the El Niño wave . During the rainy season, the weather is dominated by the west wind (of Sumatra, the Indian Ocean south of the Indian Subcontinent) and are joined by winds from Northern Asia passing through the South China Sea. During the dry seasons, the weather is dominated by the east wind which causes Banten harsh drought, especially in the northern part of the coast, especially when there is the El Niño phenomenon. Temperatures in coastal areas and hills ranging between 22 °C and 32 °C, while the temperature in the mountains with an altitude of between 400 –1350 m above sea level ranging between 18 °C and 29 °C.

The highest rainfall is around 2712–3670 mm which happens in the rainy season months of September to May cover 50% area of the western part of the Pandeglang Regency and rainfall 335–453 mm in the month from September to May cover 50% area of the northern part of the Serang Regency, the entire area of the city of Cilegon, 50% area of the Tangerang Regency and the entire area of the city of Tangerang. In the dry season, the highest rainfall of 615–833 mm in April–December cover 50% area of the northern part of the Serang Regency, the whole area of the city of Cilegon, 50% area of the northern part of the Tangerang Regency and the entire area of the city of Tangerang, while the bulk the lowest rainfall in the dry season as much as 360–486 mm in the month of June to September 50% coverage area of southern Tangerang Regency and 15% area of southeastern Serang Regency.

Administrative Map of Banten Province
Administrative Map of Banten Province

Administrative divisions

Cities of Banten
The city of Serang is the capital and administrative center of the province.
Cilegon is the westernmost city in Java. It is also the location of the Port of Merak, which serves as the gateway to Sumatra
Located west of Jakarta, Tangerang is a suburb of the capital city and home to much housing.
Similar to Tangerang, South Tangerang is also a suburb of Jakarta and home to much housing.

Banten Province is subdivided into four regencies (kabupaten) and four autonomous cities (kota), listed below with their populations at the 2010 and 2020 Censuses,[41] and according to the official estimates for mid 2021.[42] The cities and regencies are additionally subdivided into 140 districts, 262 urban villages and 1,242 villages.

City or
Capital Area

Census 2010


Census 2020


mid 2021

HDI[43] 2014
Cilegon City 175.50 374,559 434,896 441,761 0.715 (High)
Serang City 266.71 577,785 692,101 704,618 0.702 (High)
Lebak Regency Rangkasbitung 3,426.56 1,204,095 1,386,793 1,407,857 0.616 (Medium)
Pandeglang Regency Pandeglang 2,746.89 1,149,610 1,272,687 1,288,314 0.620 (Medium)
Serang Regency Ciruas 1,734.28 1,402,818 1,622,630 1,647,790 0.639 (Medium)
Western Banten totals
(outside Jabodetabek)
8,349.94 4,708,867 5,409,107 5,490,340
South Tangerang City 147.19 1,290,322 1,354,350 1,365,688 0.791 (High)
Tangerang City 153.93 1,798,601 1,895,486 1,911,914 0.758 (High)
Tangerang Regency Tigaraksa 1,011.86 2,834,376 3,245,619 3,293,533 0.695 (Medium)
Eastern Banten totals
(within Jabodetabek)
1,312.98 5,923,299 6,495,455 6,571,135
Banten totals 9,662.92 10,632,166 11,904,562 12,061,475 0.698 (Medium)



In 2006, the population of Banten numbered 9,351,470 people, with a ratio of 3,370,182 people (36.04%) children, 240,742 people (2.57%) elderly people, the remaining 5,740,546 people aged between 15 and 64 year. This made Banten the fifth-most populated province in Indonesia, after West Java, East Java, Central Java and North Sumatra. By mid 2021 the total had risen to 12,061,475.[44]

Baduy people in Serang during the Seba Baduy event
Baduy people in Serang during the Seba Baduy event

Ethnic groups

The Bantenese people are the largest group in the province, forming 47% of the total population. The Bantenese are a subgroup of the Sundanese people, with distinct culture from the Sundanese living in West Java. They mostly inhabit the central and southern part of the province. The origins of the Bantenese people; which are closely related to the Banten Sultanate, are different from the Cirebonese people whom are not part of the Sundanese people nor the Javanese people (unless it is from the result of a mixture of two major cultures, namely Sundanese and Javanese). The Bantenese people along with the Baduy people (Kanekes) are essentially sub-ethnics of the Sundanese people that occupies the former region of the Banten Sultanate (region of Bantam Residency after the abolishment and annexation by the Dutch East Indies). After the formation of the Banten Province only did people began to regard the Bantenese as a group of people with a culture and language of their own.[45]

Mass wedding ceremony of Benteng Chinese
Mass wedding ceremony of Benteng Chinese

Most of the people in northern Banten are Javanese. Most of the Javanese are migrants from the central and eastern part of Java. The Betawi people lives in the Greater Jakarta area, such as Tangerang. Chinese Indonesians can also be found in urban areas, also mostly in the Greater Jakarta area. A sub-group of the Chinese Indonesian called the Benteng Chinese lives in Tangerang and the surrounding area. They are somewhat distinct from the normal Chinese-Indonesian.[46][47][48]


The most dominant language is Sundanese.[49][50] The indigenous people living in Banten Province speak a Sundanese dialect derived from an archaic version of Sundanese. The dialect is classified as informal or harsh register in modern Sundanese,[51] having different registers as in Javanese language.[52] Due to the influence of the Javanese culture during the reign of the Islamic Mataram kingdom, the Sundanese language – especially in the Parahyangan area – have different registers starting from the most formal, or "halus/lemes" (smooth) version, to the everyday "loma/lancaran" version and the informal or harsh version.

Languages map of Banten
Languages map of Banten

Mataram Sultanate tried to take control over Java island, including the Banten territory, covering the whole West Java region. However, the Sultanate of Banten was able to defend its territory excluding the Banten area. In the mountainous regions and most of present-day Banten, the "loma" version of Sundanese language is the most dominant. By contrast, this version is considered "harsh" by people from Parahyangan. Bantenese language is commonly used especially in the southern region of Banten such as Pandeglang Regency and Lebak Regency.[53] However, around Serang and Cilegon, Banten Province, a dialect of the Javanese language, Banyumasan, is also spoken by about 500,000 people.[54] In the northern part of Tangerang, Indonesian with the Betawi dialect is also used by Betawi immigrants. Besides Sundanese, Javanese and the Betawi dialect, Indonesian language is also widely spoken especially by other ethnic immigrants from other parts of Indonesia especially in urban centers. The Baduy people speak the Baduy language, also an archaic form of the Sundanese.[55]

Students from a pesantren wearing Islamic dress. Most of the people in Banten are Muslims
Students from a pesantren wearing Islamic dress. Most of the people in Banten are Muslims


Religion in Banten

  Islam (94.62%)
  Protestantism (2.65%)
  Roman Catholic (1.29%)
  Buddhism (1.30%)
  Hinduism (0.10%)
  Confucianism and others (0.04%)

The majority of the people living are generally practicing Muslims, which is due to being inseparable from a strong Islamic cultural background. This case is also closely related to the history of Banten Sultanate as one of the largest Islamic kingdom in the island of Java. Besides that, the artistry in Banten region also portrays Islamic activities of its society, such as the Rampak Bedug performance from Pandeglang Regency. Even so, Banten Province is a multi-ethnic society consisting of various ethnics and religions. Adherents of other faiths from various non-indigenous ethnic groups live alongside each other peacefully in this region, such as the Benteng Chinese community in Tangerang and the Baduy people that practices Sunda Wiwitan in Kanekes, Leuwidamar, Lebak Regency.

Based on archaeological data, the early period of Banten society was influenced by several kingdoms that brought Hindu-Buddhist beliefs, such as Tarumanagara, Sriwijaya and the Sunda Kingdom. According to the Babad Banten, Sunan Gunung Jati and Maulana Hasanuddin carried out the spread of Islam intensively to the authorities of Banten Girang and their inhabitants. Some mystical stories also accompanied the process of Islamization in Banten, including when Maulana Yusuf began to spread da'wah to the inhabitants of the interior, which was marked by the conquest of Pakuan Pajajaran.

Islam became the pillar of the founding of the Banten Sultanate, the Sultan of Banten was referred to as having genealogies to the Prophet Muhammad, and placing the ulamas had a profound influence on the lives of his people, along with the tarekat and tasawuf also developed in Banten, while the culture of society absorbs Islam as an inseparable part. Some existing traditions are influenced by the development of Islam in society, as seen in the Debus martial arts.

Rampak bedug performance at event of Culinary Festival of Serang
Rampak bedug performance at event of Culinary Festival of Serang


The culture is hugely based on Hinduism and Buddhism and, more recently, Islam. The cultural peculiarities of the people of Banten include the Pencak Silat martial arts, Debus, Rudad, Umbruk, Saman Dance, Mask Dance, Cokek Dance, Dog-dog, Palingtung [id] and Lojor. In addition, there are also many religious locations, including Great Mosque of Banten, and the Keramat Panjang Tomb.

In the central and southern part of the province live the Baduy people, which can further be separated into the Outer Baduy tribes and the Inner Baduy tribes. The Inner Baduy tribes are native Sundanese who still maintain the tradition of anti-modernization, in both dress and other life patterns, whereas the Outer Baduy tribes are more open to modernization. The Baduy-Rawayan tribe lives in the Kendeng Cultural Heritage Mountains, an area of 5,101.85 hectares spanning the Kanekes area, Leuwidamar District, Lebak Regency. Baduy villages are generally located in the Ciujung River in the Kendeng Mountains. This area known as the place of inheritance from ancestors, which requires the site be maintained properly and not be damaged.[56]

Selection of Kang Nong Banten in 2017. The finalists wear Bantenese traditional dress.
Selection of Kang Nong Banten in 2017. The finalists wear Bantenese traditional dress.

Traditional weapon

Golok is the traditional weapon of Banten. This type of weapon is very similar to the warrior and champion of Banten[who?]. Formerly, Golok functioned as a self-defense weapon, but is now only a martial arts tool. One of the famous types of Golok is the Ciomas Golok, which is only made in Ciomas at the Serang Regency. Ciomas Golok is famous for its sharpness and mystical value. According to the story of Ciomas Golok, it is only made during the Islamic month of Maulud in a long ritual.

Golok is also inextricable from the culture of both the Bantenese people and the Baduy people. The Baduy people always carry a Golok with them. Golok becomes the main tool when they farm or hunt in the forest. In addition, Banten also has other types of traditional weapons, such as the kujang, kris, spears, sledgehammer, machetes, swords and arrows.

Traditional housing

Traditional housing in Banten is called Rumah Panggung. The roofs are thatched and the floor is made of split and pounded bamboos. The walls were made from the booth (gedek). To buffer stage house is a stone that has been created in such a way that ends shaped beam decreasing as the stone used for pounding rice pedestal.[vague] This type of traditional house is still widely found in areas inhabited by the Kanekes people or the Baduy.

Traditional clothes

Traditional Bantense men tend to wear with koko shirts and closed neck. The bottom clothes are equipped with trousers and tied with batik cloth. Usually, men would wear a belt and tuck a Golok in the front of the belt. As well as on the shoulder, a piece of cloth is attached[where?].

Bantenese women, treated as subordinates, usually wear traditional kebaya clothes and inner fabrics. This garment is also slung over a cloth on the shoulder and decorated with a hand-crafted brooch in front of the belly button. The hair is tied into a bun and is decorated with a golden sway flower.


There are signs that Banten art is a heritage before Islam and combined or colored with Islam. For example, the mosque architecture with three levels as a symbol of faith, Islam, Ihsan, or Shariat, Tariqa, and essence. Such architecture applies in all mosques in Banten. Then there is the tendency to change into a dome shape, and maybe in what form, but what appears to be a tendency to escape from the symbolization of religion but in the art itself.[56]

Martial arts

Pencak Silat

Betawi men performing pencak silat
Betawi men performing pencak silat

The Pencak silat culture is a martial art rooted in the original Indonesian culture. It is alleged that pencak silat had spread to all corners of the archipelago since the 7th century. The development and spread of pencak silat historically began to be recorded when its spread was much influenced by the Ulama, along with the spread of Islam in the 15th century in the archipelago. At that time the martial arts had been taught together with religious studies at the pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) and also the surau-surau. The culture of prayer and martial arts is a close attachment in the spread of pencak silat. Silat then developed from just martial arts and folk dance, becoming part of the country's defense education to confront invaders. Pencak silat is also a part of spiritual practice.

Many of Banten's martial arts were taken from Arabic, as its was tightly linked to Islam. Pencak silat Banten began to be known along with the establishment of the Sultanate of Banten which was founded in the 15th century with its first king Sultan Maulana Hasanuddin. At that time, the development of pencak silat was inseparable from the use of martial arts as a tool for the mobilization of the royal soldiers for provision of state defense dexterity, taught by martial arts teachers who carried out various schools. Silat is also the basis of the defense tools of the kingdom and the general public of Banten in fighting colonisers during the colonialism period.

At this time Banten is still known and widely recognized with its warriors and judges, as people who are proficient in martial arts.[56]

Bantenese men during a debus performance
Bantenese men during a debus performance

Debus (from Arabic: دَبُّوس, romanizeddabbūs) is a martial art from Banten. This art was created in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Maulana Hasanuddin. Debus, an art that demonstrates extraordinary human abilities, immune from sharp weapons, immune from fire, drinking hard water, inserting objects into whole coconuts, frying eggs on the head among others. The name derives from Arabic, which refers to a sharp weapon made of iron with a pointed tip and is slightly round in shape. With this tool, the debus players are injured, and usually cannot be penetrated even though the debus is hit repeatedly by others.[57]


Banten is located in the most western tip of Java island has a very strategic position, and has a huge economic potential either for local, regional, national, and even international scale. Facilitation of the movement of goods and passengers from and to the activity centers of national, regional and local level in the province of Banten became very important in the effort to support economic development in the province of Banten.

Until 2006, the condition of 249.246 km of national roads were in good condition, 214.314 km under moderate conditions, and as long as 26.840 in damaged condition. Provincial road conditions until the end of 2006 with a total length of 889.01 km roads were in good condition at 203.670 km, 380.020 km moderate condition and the damaged condition of 305.320 km. The national roads in Banten currently has a traffic volume average of 0.7 which means that the smooth flow of traffic disturbed by the activities of trade, industry, shopping centres along the way as well as the limited capacity for width of the road an average of 7 metres on the national road in northern Banten (Tangerang-Merak) and the Tangerang-Jakarta segment. Performance of service roads on provincial roads are generally quite well with the ratio of traffic volume per average capacity of 0.4. Traffic congestion is generally localized which occur at the local community center.

To serve the movement of passengers and goods in Banten, there is extensive public transportation between cities, with over a hundred routes and thousands of vehicles providing transportation. Up to 2005, of the total rail line of 305.9 kilometer, only 48% of the rail line in Banten is still in operation with the average amount of movement of passenger trains approximately 22 trains per day, and a freight train as many as 16 trains per day. The decline in the facility services has implications for the declining tendency also on the number of passenger and goods.

The railway network in the province of Banten along 305.90 km majority are 'single track' which consisted of Merak-Tanah Abang, Tangerang-Duri and Cilegon-Cigading with a total of 141.6 km, and disused railways such as Rangkasbitung-Labuan, Saketi-Bayah, and Cigading-Anyer with a total164.3 km. In Banten, there are five ports consisting of two cultivated port that is Port Ciwandan and Port Bojonegara and three ports that are not cultivated comprising Port of Karangantu, Port of Labuan, and Port of Bojonegara.

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport nationally is the main airport in Indonesia as the gateway entrance of goods and passengers from within and outside the country. In addition there are also other airports such as Pondok Cabe airport in South Tangerang, Budiarto Airport in Tangerang and Gorda Airport in Serang. Pondok Cabe Airport is an airport for general aviation activities, Budiarto Airport is the airport used for training flight activity. While Gorda Airport was used as a military airport used by the Indonesian Air Force.


In 2006, the population of Banten totaled 9,351,470 people, with a ratio of 3,370,182 people (36.04%) to children, 240,742 inhabitants (2.57%) elderly, the remaining 5,740,546 persons aged between 15 and 64 year.

Gross Regional Domestic Product (GDP) in 2005 was mostly from manufacturing industry sector (49.75%), followed by trade, hotel and restaurant sector (17.13%), transportation and communication (8.58%), and agriculture which is only 8.53%. However, based on employment, industry absorbed 23.11% of labor, followed by agriculture (21.14%), trade (20.84%) and transportation / communication only 9.50%.

The development of the Banten is based more on output orientation than equity which is reflected in the conditions between northern Banten and southern Banten. Northern Banten has several infrastructures such as Soekarno Hatta International Airport with the largest and busiest airport in Indonesia and the Port of Merak as the largest ferry port in Indonesia. Likewise with shopping centers that are developing in the city of Tangerang, the city of South Tangerang, and the Tangerang Regency. However, this case is very contrary to the conditions in southern Banten that are far behind.

Geographically, Banten has a strategic position which is the link between Java and Sumatra. With a very strategic and economically potential position, Banten is one of the investment destinations in Indonesia. However, the amount of investment in Banten is absorbed more by the Tangerang City and South Tangerang City and mostly in the regencies and cities in northern Banten. The value of investment in the city of Tangerang with the City of South Tangerang because of good infrastructure, the proximity to Jakarta and as a buffer city of Jakarta. Other regencies and cities in northern Banten have high investment values because they have supporting infrastructure such as ports, roads, electricity supply, education and health. This is inversely proportional to the condition of southern Banten, where infrastructure the is still poor.

The availability of infrastructure in increasing economic growth is significant, but it causes output due to its development policies that prioritize growth rather than equity. The existence of development inequality in Banten, it is important to analyze the availability of infrastructure to economic growth in Banten in the period 2009–2012. The growth of the infrastructure sector in Banten has experienced a significant increase and has a substantial contribution to economic growth in several cities and districts in northern Banten. Infrastructure development is experiencing problems in Pandeglang and Lebak regencies. Even in regards to investment, investors will choose areas with complete infrastructure, as adequate infrastructure will increase competitiveness.


The Great Mosque of Banten
The Great Mosque of Banten

Ujung Kulon National Park is one of the national parks and nature conservation sites that are important in Indonesia, and the world. This national park is located in the most western peninsula of the island of Java, plus some smaller islands as well as Peucang, Handeuleum Island, and the island of Panaitan. The highest point is Mount Honje. The distinctive feature of this national park is its role as a natural habitat of wildlife species that are protected, such as the Javan rhino, deer, antelope, buffalo, various species of primates, wild boar, jungle cat, sloth, and various species of birds. This area can be reached via Labuan or via the sea by boat to one of the islands there. Ujung Kulon has been equipped with various means of telecommunications networks, electricity, and clean water. Tourism facilities such as accommodation, information centers, travel guides, and transportation facilities have also been provided. UNESCO has stated that the Ujung Kulon area is a nature reserve world heritage sites.

Pulau Dua which is located near Serang is well known the natural beauty of the ocean in the form of clusters of coral, various types of fish, and of course various types of birds. The area is about 30 ha. Each year between April and August, the island is visited by thousands of birds from 60 species originating from various countries. Approximately forty thousand of these birds fly from the continent of Australia, Asia, and Africa. Two of the islands can be reached by traditional boats or motor boats; or on foot within 15 to 30 minutes through aquaculture area in Sawah Luhur and Kasemen. Due to sedimentation for decades, the island has been united with the mainland Java.

Mount Krakatau actually included the province of Lampung is located in the Sunda Strait. This mountain is one of the most famous mountains in the world, because of the devastating eruption in 1883. The sound of the eruption was heard up to the Australian Continent region, even heat clouds blanketed some areas of Europe during the week. A huge explosion of Krakatoa then formed Anak Krakatau which surfaced in 1928 and still remains active. Although located in the Strait of Sunda and Lampung, nature tourism is more easily accessed in Anyer-Carita Beach, and permission to land on the island volcano Anak Krakatau also be obtained in this area, it takes about an hour by speedboat to reach. Locations: this tour offers natural attractions such as camping, hiking, fishing, and natural scenery of the sea.

Tanjung Lesung Beach is located in the Panimbang district of Pandeglang Regency in the Banten province. The beach is located in the western part of the Pandeglang Regency and has an area of approximately 150 hectares. This area is proposed to Special Economic Zone since 2012 and Tanjung Lesung SEZ been officially in operation since 23 February 2015. Development of the Tanjung Lesung SEZ are mainly focused on the activities of Tourism and Creative Economy.


Jojorong, a food originated from Pandeglang. This food is made from rice flour, brown sugar, coconut milk, and pandan leaves which served into a bowl made from banana leaves.
Jojorong, a food originated from Pandeglang. This food is made from rice flour, brown sugar, coconut milk, and pandan leaves which served into a bowl made from banana leaves.

One of Banten's typical foods is rabeg [id]. Rabeg is a characteristic Bantenese food similar to goat or rawon curry, made from goat meat and offal. This food of the nobility and sultan is only found in Serang Regency and is believed to have originated from the Arabian Peninsula, spread by Arab traders during the spread of Islam in Indonesia.[58]

There are also other typical Bantenese foods, such as Nasi sumsum from Serang Regency, made of white rice and buffalo bone marrow. Other typical foods of Banten are mahbub, broiler, shark fin soup, milkfish satay, duck soup, duck satay, lemong malimping eggplant sapo, laksa tangerang, sticky rice stick, sticky rice cuer, beef jerky and emping.



Persita Tangerang (with home venue at Benteng Taruna Stadium), Cilegon United (with home venue at Krakatau Steel Stadium) and Perserang Serang (with home venue at Maulana Yusuf Stadium) all represent the province in Liga 2.


In 2009, Lippo Village International Formula Circuit was built in a bid to host A1 Grand Prix that year, but was removed from schedule due to construction and certification delays; the track was ultimately used for local motorsport and track day events before being dismantled in favor of expansion of the Lippo Village complex, with the paddock area reclaimed by Pelita Harapan University. A replacement street circuit, BSD City Grand Prix, was built in the Bumi Serpong Damai region to further support local motorsport activities.


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Further reading

Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article "Bantam".