West Java ( , ), acronym
jabar with population around 41.48 million (2007), is the
most populous province of
Indonesia, located on Java Island. It is slightly larger in area than densely
populated Taiwan, but nearly
double the population. Its capital city is Bandung.
human inhabitant archaeological findings in the region were
unearthed in Anyer (the western
coast of Java) with evidences of bronze and iron metallurgical
culture dated back to the first millennium AD.The prehistoric Buni
(the present-day Bekasi) clay pottery were later
developed with evidences found from Anyer to Cirebon.
artifacts (dated from 400 BC — AD 100) such as food and drink
containers were found mostly as burial gifts. There is also
archeological evidence in Batujaya Archaeological Site dating from the 2nd century, and according to Dr
Tony Djubiantono, the head of Bandung Archeology Agency, Jiwa
Temple in Batujaya, Karawang, West Java was also built around this
Recorded history of West Java administration was started from the
fourth century with the existence of Tarumanagara
kingdom. Seven inscribed stones
written in Wengi letters (used in the Indian
period) and in Sanskrit
describe most of the kings of Tarumanagara. Records of
Tarumanegara's administration lasted until the sixth century, which
coincides with the attack of Srivijaya
stated in the Kota Kapur inscription (AD 686).
The Sunda kingdom
then came into the
ruling power of the region, the reference to which were found in
the Kebon Kopi II inscription (AD 932).
An ulema known today as Sunan Gunung Jati settled in Banten Girang,
with the intention of spreading the world of Islam
in this still pagan town. In the meantime, the
Sultanate of Demak
Java grew into an immediate threat to Sunda kingdom. To defend
against the threat, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa signed a treaty
(known as the Luso Sundanese
) with the Portuguese
1512. In return, the Portuguese was granted an accession to build
and warehouses in the area, as
well as trading agreement with the kingdom. This first
international treaty of West Java with the Europeans was
commemorated by the placement of the Padrao stone monument at the
riverbank of the Ciliwung River
Although the treaty with Portuguese had been established, it could
not come to realization. Sunda Kalapa harbour fell under the
alliance of the Sultanate of Demak and the Sultanate of Cirebon
(former vassal state
of Sunda kingdom)
in 1524 after their troops under Paletehan alias Fadillah Khan had
conquered the city. In 1524/1525, their troops under Sunan Gunung Jati
also seized the port of
Banten and established the
Sultanate of Banten
which was affiliating with the Sultanate of
Demak. The war between the Sunda kingdom with Demak and Cirebon
sultanates then continued for five years until a peace treaty were
made in 1531 between King Surawisesa
Sunan Gunung Jati. From 1567 to 1579, under the last king Raja
Mulya, alias Prabu Surya Kencana, Sunda kingdom declined
essentially under the pressure from the Sultanate of Banten
1576, the kingdom could not maintain its capital at Pakuan
Pajajaran (the present-day Bogor) and
gradually the Sultanate of
Banten took over the former Sunda kingdom's region.
Java also seized the Priangan region, the southeastern part of the
In the sixteenth century, the Dutch
and the British
trading companies established
their trading ships in West Java after the falldown of Sultanate of Banten
. For the next three
hundred years, West Java fell under the Dutch East
West Java was officially
declared as a province of Indonesia in 1950, referring to a
statement from Staatblad number 378. On October 17 2000, as part of
nationwide political decentralization, Banten was
separated from West Java and made into a new province.
borders Jakarta and Banten province to
the west, and Central
Java to the east. To the north is Java Sea. To the south is the Indian Ocean.
Unlike most other provinces in Indonesia
which have their capitals in coastal area, the provincial capital
Bandung is located in a mountainous area. Banten province was
formerly part of West Java province, but was created a separate
province in 2000.
The province's landscape is one of volcanic mountains, steep
terrain, forest, mountains rivers, fertile agricultural land, and
natural sea harbours.
Demographics and language
According to the 2005 Socio-Economic Survey, West Java's population
is 39,960,869, making it the most populous province in Indonesia.
It has an
area of 34,736 km2; aside from the province of
Jakarta, it is the most densely populated province in the
country with an average of 1,150 people per
In addition to Indonesian
official national language, the other widely-spoken language in the
province is Sundanese
areas near the southern borders with Central Java, Javanese is also
spoken. The main language spoken in Cirebon and nearby
areas (Majalengka, Indramayu, Sumber) is Cirebonese, a
dialect of Javanese.
Indonesian is widely spoken as a second
language, except in some remote rural areas.
Sundanese share Java island with other Malayan people: Javanese
people. They primarily live in their home province of West Java.
Although Sundanese live in the same island with Javanese, they
consider themselves a distinct cultural area called Sunda. Someone
moving from West Java Province to Central or East Java Provinces,
is literally said to be moving from Sunda to Java.
The musical arts of Sunda, which is an expression of the emotions
of Sundanese culture, express politeness and grace of Sundanese.
The music some of the most beautiful sounds in the world. Degung
orchestra consists of Sundanese gamelan
In addition to the Sundanese forms of Gamelan in Parahyangan, the
region of Cirebon retains its own distinct musical traditions.
Amongst Cirebons' varying Gamelan ensembles the two most frequently
heard are Gamelan Pelog (a non-equidistant heptatonic tuning
system) and Gamelan Prawa (a semi-equidistant pentatonic tuning
system). Gamelan Pelog is traditionally reserved for Tayuban,
Wayang Cepak, and for listening and dance music of the Kratons in
Cirebon. Whereas Gamelan Prawa is traditionally reserved for Wayang
Cirebon also retains specialized Gamelan ensembles including:
Sekaten, which is played in the Kratons to mark important times in
the Islamic calendar. Denggung, also a Kraton ensemble which is
believed to have a number of "supernatural powers". And Renteng, an
ensemble found in both Cirebon and Parahyangan that is known for
its loud and energetic playing style.
is a genre of Sundanese
vocal music accompanied by a core ensemble of two kacapi (zither)
and a suling (bamboo flute). Tembang means song or poem and Sunda
is a geographical, historical, and cultural construct which
signifies home for the Sundanese people of Indonesia. The music and
poetry of tembang Sunda are closely associated with the Parahyangan
(literally the abode of the gods), the highland plateau that
transverses the central and southern parts of Sunda. The natural
beauty of Priangan, a lush agricultural region surrounded by
mountains and volcanoes, politeness and grace of Sundanese is
reflected in many songs of the tembang Sunda.
Kacapi suling is tembang Sunda minus vocal.
Tarawangsa is a genuine popular art is performed on ensemble
consists of tarawangsa (a violin with an end pin) and the jentreng
(a kind of seven-stringed zither). It is accompanied by a secret
dance called Jentreng. The dance is a part of a ritual celebrating
the goddess of paddy Dewi Sri. Its ceremonial significance is
associated with a ritual of thanksgiving associated with the rice
harvest. Tarawangsa can also be played for healing or even purely
The three main types of Sundanese bamboo ensembles are angklung,
calung, and arumba. The exact features of each ensemble vary
according to context, related instruments, and relative
Angklung with eight pitches
Angklung is a generic term for sets of tuned, shaken bamboo
rattles. Angklung consists of a frame upon which hang several
different lengths of hollow bamboo. Angklungs are played like
handbells, with each instrument played to a different note.
Angklung rattles are played in interlocking patterns, usually with
only one or two instruments played per person. The ensemble is used
in Sundanese processions, sometimes with trance or acrobatics.
Performed at life-cycle rituals and feasts (hajat), angklung is
believed to maintain balance and harmony in the village. In its
most modern incarnation, angklung is performed in schools as an aid
to learning about music.
The Angklung got more international attention when Daeng Soetigna,
from Bandung, West Java, expanded the angklung notations not only
to play traditional pélog or sléndro scales, but also diatonic
scale in 1938. Since then, angklung is often played together with
other western music instruments in an orchestra. One of the first
well-known performances of angklung in an orchestra was during the
Bandung Conference in 1955.
Like those in angklung, the instruments of the calung ensemble are
of bamboo, but each consists of several differently tuned tubes
fixed onto a piece of bamboo; the player holds the instrument in
his left hand and strikes it with a beater held in his right. The
highest-pitched calung has the greatest number of tubes and the
densest musical activity; the lowest-pitched, with two tubes, has
the least. Calung is nearly always associated with earthy humor,
and is played by men.
Arumba refers to a set of diatonically tuned bamboo xylophones,
often played by women. It is frequently joined by modern
instruments, including a drum set, electric guitar, bass, and
is a traditional form of puppetry from Sunda.
Unlike the better-known leather shadow puppets (wayang kulit
) found in the rest of Java
and Bali, wayang golek
puppets are made from wood and are
three-dimensional, rather than two. They use a banana palm in which
the puppets stand, behind which one puppeteer (dalang
accompanied by his gamelan
orchestra with up to 20
musicians. The gamelan
uses a five-note scale as opposed
to the seven-note western scale. The musicians are guided by the
drummer, who in turn is guided by signals from the puppet master
dalang gives to change the mood or pace required. Wayang
are used by the Sundanese to tell the epic play
"Mahabarata" and various other morality type plays.
Sundanese dance shows the influence of the many groups that have
traded and settled in the area over the centuries, but remains
uniquely distinctive, with its variation from graceful to dynamic
syncopated drumming patterns, quick wrist flicks, sensual hip
movements, and fast shoulder and torso isolations.Jaipongan
is probably the most popular
traditional social dance of Sundanese people. It can performed in
solo, in group, or in pair.The Tari Merak
(Dance of the
Peacock) is a female dance inspired by the movements of a peacock
and its feathers blended with the classical movements of Sundanese
dance. The Tari Merak symbolises the beauty of nature.
Folktales and Legend Stories
There are and folktales transcribed from Pantun Sunda
stories).Among the most well known
folktale and stories are:
- Mundinglaya Dikusumah,
which tells of Mundinglaya visiting Jabaning Langit to find layang
Salaka Domas. It is a symbolic story of Surawisesa visiting Malaka
to establish a pace treaty with Portuguese before 1522.
- Lutung Kasarung, tells the life
of a beautiful princes, in the era of Pasir Batang kingdom, a
vassal of Sunda kingdom. She faces the evil of her older sister
willing to seize her right as a queen.
- Ciung Wanara,
tells of the fight of two princes of Sunda kingdom and the history
of Brebes river or
Cipamali river as a boundary between Sunda
and Java territories.
Old Sundanese literature, among others, are:
- Bujangga Manik, which was written
on 29 palm leaves and kept in the Bodleian Library in Oxford since
1627, mentioning more than 450 names of places, regions, rivers and
mountains situated on Java island, Bali island and Sumatra
- Carita Parahyangan, telling
Sundanese kings and kingdoms from the pre-Islamic period.
- Siksakandang Karesian,
providing the reader with all kinds of religious and moralistic
rules, prescriptions and lessons.
West Java is subdivided into regencies
with a local capital:
- Bogor Regency, Cibinong
- Sukabumi Regency, Pelabuhan
- Bandung Regency, Soreang
- West Bandung Regency, Ngamprah
- Garut Regency,
- Tasikmalaya Regency, Singaparna
- Kuningan Regency, Kuningan
- Cirebon Regency, Sumber
- Majalengka Regency, Majalengka
- Karawang Regency, Karawang
- Bekasi Regency, Cikarang
List of cities
in West Java:
Based on the data from Indonesia State Secretary, total rice field
in West Java Province in 2006 was 9,488,623 km which produce
9,418,882 tons paddy in 2006, consisting of 9,103,800 tons rice
field paddy and 315,082 tons farmland paddy. Palawija production,
reached 2,044,674 tons with productivity 179.28 quintal per ha.
Nevertheless, the widest plant’s width is for corn commodity which
reaches 148,505 ha, West Java also produce horticulture consists of
2,938,624 tons vegetables, 3,193,744 tons fruits, and 159,871 tons
medicines plants/ bio pharmacology.
Forest in West Java reaches 764,387.59 ha or 20.62% from total size
of the province. It consists of productive forest 362,980.40 ha
(9.79%), protected forest 228,727.11 ha (6.17%), and conservation
forest 172,680 ha (4.63%). Mangrove forest reaches 40,129.89 ha,
and spread in 10 regencies where coasts are available. Besides,
there is also another protected forest of about 32,313.59 ha
organized by Perum Perhutani Unit III West Java and Banten.
From the productive forest, in 2006 West Java harvested crop of
about 200,675 m3 wood, although the need of wood in this province
every year is about 4 million m3. Until 2006, populace forest’s
width 214,892 ha with wood production is about 893,851.75 m3. West
Java also produce non forest’s crop which is potential enough to be
developed as forestry work, such as Sutera alat jamur, pine, gerah
dammar, maleleuca, rattan, bamboo, and swallow bird’s net.
In fishery sector, the excellent commodities are goldfish, nila
fish, milkfish, freshwater catfish, windu shrimp, green mussel,
gouramy, patin, seaweed and vaname shrimp. In 2006, this province
harvested 560,000 tons fish from fishery cultivation crop and
brackish or 63.63% from fishery production total in West
In poultry husbandry field, dairy cow, domestic poultry, and ducks
are excellent commodity in West Java. 2006’s data stated now there
are 96,796 dairy cows (25% national population), 4,249,670 sheep,
28,652,493 domestic poultries, and 5,596,882 ducks (16% of the
national population). Now there are only 245,994 beef cattle in
West Java (3% national population), whereas the need every year is
about 300,000 beef cattle.
This province has many excellent objects in plantation fields, such
as tea, clove, coconut, rubber, cacao, tobacco, coffee, sugar palm
and akar wangi. From all those commodities, clove, coconut, rubber,
cacao, tobacco, and coffee are of national excellent commodities
from West Java. From area side, the best productivity, that is plan
area’s width equals with plant’s width that produces tobacco and
sugar palm commodities. From production side, the highest
productivity is oil palm (6.5 tons per ha) and sugar palm (5.5 tons
West Java also produces excellent mine production. In 2006, it
contributes 5,284 tons zeolite, 47,978 tons bentonite, iron sand,
pozolan cement, feldspar, and jewel barn/ gemstone. Precious stone
mining potential generally are found in Garut, Tasikmalaya,
Kuningan, and Sukabumi Regency areas.
natural resources include chalk, several
offshore oilfields in the Java Sea, and lumber.
Most of the province is very
fertile, with a mix of small farms and larger plantations. There
are several hydropower
, and Cirata
July 2006 earthquake
On 17 July 2006, the region was shocked by an earthquake
that measured 7.7 on
the Richter scale
was followed by a small-scale tsunami. The earthquake was followed
by 2 big aftershocks which measured up to 5.9 and 6.1 on the
Richter scale respectively.
- Jabar.go.id:Hasil Survei Sosial Ekonomi Daerah
- Taylor (2003), p. 123.