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Kapit is a town, and the capital of the Kapit District in Kapit Division, Sarawakmarker, east Malaysiamarker on the south bank of the Rajang River. The district comprises 15,595.6 square kilometers and a population, as of 2002, 60,200.

Rajah Charles Brooke founded Fort Kapit in 1880 as a garrison town, primarily to prevent the Iban from migrating up-river and attacking Orang Ulu settlements. The fort was later renamed Fort Sylvia, after the wife of Rajah Vyner Brooke, but the town retained the name of Kapit. Initially settled by Hoklo (Hokkien) Chinese in 1880, additional Ka Chinese immigrants arrived in 1906, and Fuzhoumarker Chinese in 1919. The Chinese grew rubber and pepper and traded treated rubber sheet and forest products. In 1941, at the time of the Japanese occupation, Kapit only had two rows of 37 shophouses. The town was completely destroyed by allied bombing during the war. Kapit today remain as a busy but compact with a few streets running parallel to the river.

Although accessible only by boat (slightly more than 2 hours from Sibumarker by express boat) or light aircraft, it is the vibrant commercial and social center for the middle Rajang River catering to the longhouse communities and timber camps. It is an excellent base for exploring nearby longhouses or for arranging trips to the Upper Rejang and Balleh Rivers.

Fort Sylvia

To prevent further Iban migration upriver in the Rajang River basin, which was creating conflicts with the Orang Ulu, Rajah Charles Brooke built Baleh Fort at Nanga Balleh, the confluence of the Rejang and Baleh rivers between Kanowitmarker and Songmarker in late 1874. Rajah Charles Brooke nearly drowned here in 1877 when his boat capsized in the dangerous currents. He abandoned the fort in 1878, and replaced it with a new fort located lower down the river in 1880. The new Kapit Fort was built entirely of ‘belian’ (ironwood) timber with thick walls to withstand attacks.

On November 16 1924, a peacekeeping ceremony between the  Iban, Kayan, Kenyah and Kajangmarker  was held here in the presence of Rajah Charles Brooke. In 1925, Kapit Fort was renamed Fort Sylvia after Rani Sylvia Brooke. During the 1960s, the fort housed the District Office and the District Court House, and later the Resident’s Office when Kapit Division was formed in 1973.

In May 1997, the fort was declared as historical monument, and is now managed by the Tun Jugah Foundation as a museum. It exhibits a collection of ethnic arts and handicrafts and documents relating to the history of Kapit, heirloom jars, brass cannons, brass plaques and photographs of past community leaders.

Landmarks

  • Fort Sylvia
  • Kapit Museum - houses a fine collection of ethnic arts, handicrafts and sketches and water colors of life along the mighty rivers.
  • Hock Leong Tieng Temple
  • Pasar Teresang – Wet Market
  • Regency Pelagus Resort [173926]


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