11 November 2010

Central Borneo

Central Kalimantan (Indonesian: Kalimantan Tengah often abbreviated to Kalteng) is a province of Indonesia, one of four in Kalimantan - the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its provincial capital is Palangkaraya.
The province has a population of 1.80 million (2000 census). The population grew 2.7% annually between 1990 and 2000, one of the highest provincial growth rates in Indonesia during that time. Far more than other province in the region, Central Kalimantan is dominated by the Dayaks, the indigenous inhabitants of Borneo. The province was created in the late 1950s by subdividing South Kalimantan, in part to give the Dayak population greater autonomy from the Muslim population in the rest of that province.
For centuries, big parts of Central Kalimantan were ruled by Banjarmasin. When the Banjarese elite converted to the islam in the early 17th century, soon the principalties along the coast followed, and the Dayak in the region also followed. Around 1830, the colonial rule and the first protestant missionaries slowed down the islamization among the Dayak.
The Dutch geologist and explorer Schwaner mapped Central Kalimantan for the first time. Between 1841 and 1848 he travelled over the big cities (Barito, Kahayan, Kapuas and Katingan), and mapped the villages on the riverbanks. The mountain range between Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan was later named after him. Between 1880 and 1890, the Dutch dewatered the southeastern part of Central Kalimantan by digging five canals between the Kaupas, Barito and Kahayan.
After the proclamation of the Indonesian independence in 1949, the area still was Banjarmasin under control . Conflicts rose between the traditional Dayak and the islamic Banjarese and at the end of the 1950 the Dayak demanded autonomy. A combination of small guerrilla warfare and political support from Jakarta lead to the formation of a separate province, Central Kalimantan was born.

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