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Province of Indonesia
Bengkulu Governor Office.jpg
Enggano Island.jpg
Curup Public Square.jpg Grand Mosque of Curup.jpg
Bengkulu montage:
Bengkulu Governor Office at Bengkulu City
Enggano Island
Curup Public Square & Grand Mosque of Curup
Tes Lake Lebong Regency, Bengkulu
Flag of Bengkulu
Seal of Bengkulu
Nickname(s): Bumi Rafflesia
Location of Bengkulu (marked in light green) in Indonesia
Location of Bengkulu (marked in light green) in Indonesia
Map of Bengkulu
Map of Bengkulu
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Country  Indonesia
Capital and Largest City Kota Bengkulu.png Bengkulu
 • Governor Dr. H. Ridwan Mukti, M.H
 • Vice Governor Dr. H. Rohidin Mersyah, M.M
 • Total 19,919.33 km2 (7,690.90 sq mi)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 1,715,518
 • Density 86/km2 (220/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 95,27 %, Christianity 3,59 %, Hindu 0,73%, Buddhism 0,41 %
 • Languages Indonesian (official language), Rejangese, Javanese language, Serawai, Lembak language, etc.
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)
Area code(s) 0732 (Kepahiang, Curup or Rejang Lebong), 0736 (Bengkulu, Central Bengkulu, Seluma), 0737 (Muko-Muko, North Bengkulu), 0738 (Lebong), 0739 (Kaur, South Bengkulu)
Vehicle registration BD
HDI Increase 0.744 (medium)[2]
HDI rank 11th (2013)[3]

Bengkulu, historically known as Bencoolen or British Bencoolen,[4][5] is one of the 34 province of Indonesia which located in the southwest coast of Sumatra. It was formed on 18 november 1968 by separating ex-Bengkulu recidency area from South Sumatra (Sumatra Selatan) province under Law No. 9 of 1967 and was realized by Government Regulation No. 20 of 1968. Spread over 19.813 km2 , it is bordered by West Sumatra (Sumatra Barat) to the north, Jambi to the northeast, Lampung to the southeast, South Sumatra (Sumatra Selatan) to the east, and the India Ocean to the northwest, south, southwest, and west.

Bengkulu is the 25th largest province by area, divided into 9 regencies and 1 city with the capital and largest city being Bengkulu city. Bengkulu is also 26th largest province by population in Indonesia. According to Human Development Indeces by Province release by Badan Pusat Statistik, it is eleventh highest HDI with score about 0.744 in 2013. By 2014, the province positions 28th highest in gross domestic product and 20th highest in life expectancy, 70.35 years.

Bengkulu comprises not only a small piece land on southwest Sumatra, this province also includes Mega Island and Enggano Island in the Indian Ocean. Bengkulu has 525 kilometres of coastline along the Indian Ocean on its western side, from Dusun Baru Pelokan in Muko-Muko Regency to Tebing Nasal in Kaur Regency. Bengkulu is home to many natural resources such as coal, gold, big and potential geothermal source etc. In addition, tts less developed than other provinces in Sumatra.


Geographically, Bengkulu is located between 2o and 5o South Latitude and between 101o and 104o Eastern Longitude. The north–south-trending Bengkulu Mountains, which are surmounted by both active and extinct volcanoes, run parallel to the coast and traverse the length of the province. Bukit Barisan mountain range constitutes its northeastern border, beyond which laid of South Sumatra province and Jambi province. The province protected by a stretch of mountains, which soon flow into the mighty Bukit Barisan. Tigers and elephants wander through the remains of the original rainforest, where exotic rafflesia's and orchids grow.

Mount Seblat rises to an elevation of 7,818 feet (2,383 metres), and Mount Kaba reaches 6,358 feet (1,938 metres). The mountains are flanked by a strip of fertile coastal plain that is enriched from time to time by fresh deposits of ash and lava. Rivers and streams, including the Selagan and Seblat rivers, flow southwestward into the Indian Ocean.


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

The region formed part of the Buddhist Srivijaya empire in the 8th century, but this south-west Sumatran part was never under any big local patronage as of neighboring Palembang or Jambi Sultanates. There were only few smalls ‘kedatuan’ based on ethnicity such as in Sungai Serut, Selebar, Pat Petulai, Balai Buntar, Sungai Lemau, Sekiris, Gedung Agung and Marau Riang. It was then once a vassal region of Banten Sultanate (from Western Java) and since 17th century was ruled by Minangkabau’s Inderapura Sultanate (today’s in Pesisir Selatan, West Sumatra Province).

The first European visitors to the area were the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch in 1596. 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.

If anything the rest of Sumatra and for the most part of Indonesia was under Dutch East Indies, then Bengkulu was the lone exception that it belonged to British (English East India) until Anglo-Dutch Treaty in 1824 . So Raffles was here and did other British governors as well as monuments, forts and etc. 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 Malacca.[6] 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.

In the early Independence, Bengkulu was included in the Older ‘South Sumatera’ Province with Lampung, Bangka-Belitung Archipelago and rest of South Sumatera itself, as a Residency). It finally gained its provincial status in 1968 as the 26th province (prior to the last province: East Timor). ’27’ was the famous number of provinces (27 provinces) during New Order Regime which would last for the next thirty years until 1998, as of today the number of administrative region has expanded rapidly (34 provinces, with East Timor eventually gains its independence).

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"[7] A series of earthquakes struck Bengkulu during September 2007, killing 13 people.[8]


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%
2014 1,828,291 +6.6%
Source: Badan Pusat Statistik 2010

The 2010 census reported a population of 1,715,568[9] including 875,663 males and 837,730.;[10] by January 2014 this had risen to 1,828,291.

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 populations at the 2010 Census and at the latest (January 2014) estimates.

Name Area (km2) Population
Census 2010
Estimate 2014
Bengkulu City 144.52 308,756 328,827 Bengkulu
South Bengkulu Regency
(Bengkulu Selatan)
1,179.65 142,722 152,336 Manna
Central Bengkulu Regency
(Bengkulu Tengah)
* 98,570 104,797 Karang Tinggi
Kaur Regency 2,369.05 107,627 114,992 Bintuhan
Kepahiang Regency 704.57 125,011 133,073 Kepahiang
Lebong Regency 1,929.24 97,091 105,737 Tubei
Mukomuko Regency 4,036.70 156,312 165,992 Mukomuko
North Bengkulu Regency
(Bengkulu Utara)
5,548.54 256,358 274,614 Arga Makmur
Rejang Lebong Regency 1,475.99 246,378 263,010 Curup
Seluma Regency 2,400.44 172,801 184,913 Pasar Tais
Totals 19,919.33 1,715,568 1,828,291
  • * The area of Central Bengkulu Regency is included in the figure for North Bengkulu Regency, of which it was formerly part.
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. External link in |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Indeks Pembangunan Manusia Metode Baru 2010-2014". Retrieved 13 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. May 2016 "Indeks Pembangunan Manusia Menurut Provinsi, 1996–2013" Check |url= value (help).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 10 2016 "A History on the Honourable East India Company's Garrison on the West Coast of Sumatra 1685-1825" Check |url= value (help).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 10 2016 "Bencoolen (Bengkulen)" Check |url= value (help).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 34.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Andrew C. Revkin (2006-12-05). "Indonesian Cities Lie in Shadow Of Cyclical Tsunami". New York Times (Late Edition (East Coast)) p. A.5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. New York Times
  9. Badan Pusat Statistik : Population of Indonesia by Province 1971, 1980, 1990, 1995 and 2000 Retrieved 5 April 2010
  10. Jumlah Penduduk Bengkulu 1,7 Juta Jiwa | Harian Berita Sore


  • 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