Pontianak, city (1990 pop. 398,357), capital of West Kalimantan prov., W Borneo, Indonesia, at the mouth of a small stream in the Kapuas delta near the west coast. The chief city of W Borneo and an important port, it serves an area producing rubber, palm oil, sugar, pepper, rice, tobacco, and gold. Industries include shipbuilding and the processing of the region's products. In the city are the Univ. of West Kalimantan and a private university.

Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesia province of West Kalimantan. It is a medium-size industrial city located at , on the island of Borneo. It occupies an area of 107.82 km² in the delta of the Kapuas River, at approximately 1143 km, the longest river in Indonesia. It is located precisely on the equator.


The city was formerly the capital of the independent sultanate of Pontianak and was founded in 1772 around an old trading station on the Borneo coast. It is built on swampy ground that is subjected to regular flooding by the river, requiring buildings to be constructed on piles to keep them off the ground.

During the Japanese occupation of 1942 to 1945, more than 21,000 people in Pontianak (including women and children) were kidnapped, tortured and massacred by Japanese troops. Japanese intelligence had become concerned ethnic Chinese were planning to start a rebellion, and were worried that people in the city had received guns and ammunition from the Chinese government.

After the end of war, the Japanese officers in Pontianak were arrested by allied troops and brought in front of an international military tribune. During the trial, it was revealed that the plan to start the rebellion did not exist and instead was only an imaginary plan created by Japanese officers who wanted to get promoted. The massacre occurred from April 23, 1943 to June 28, 1944 and most of the victims were buried in several giant wells in Mandor (88 km from Pontianak). Allied forces occupying the area after the war found several thousand bones, and more than 60 years after the massacre, several secret graves of the victims were found in Mandor and the surrounding areas.

A monument called Makam Juang Mandor was created to commemorate this tragic event.


Pontianak is renowned for its food and regional produce. The main industries are shipbuilding and the production of rubber, palm oil, sugar, pepper, rice and tobacco. It was formerly Borneo's main centre for gold extraction. Pontianak is also recognised for being a trade hub between overseas cities and other cities in West Kalimantan province. It has also strong trade link with the city of Kuching, Malaysia. Trading activities are centered along the Kapuas River, which range from easternmost part of West Kalimantan province to South China Sea.


There are tens of primary schools and high schools operated by both state institutions as well as private and religious institutions. The University of Tanjung Pura, a state university, was established in Pontianak in 1963. In addition to this, there are other universities maintained by private institutions, one of the most notable among them is Christianity-influenced University of Widya Dharma, STMIK (Sekolah tinggi Manajemen Informatika dan Komputer), University of Panca Bhakti, State Islamic collage (STAIN), POLNEP (Politeknik Negeri Pontianak), and Muhammadiyah University.


The 2000 census put Pontianak's population at about 526,600. Pontianak is a multicultural city. It has a large minority population of Chinese alongside the majority native Indonesians. In fact, Chinese form the largest single ethnic group in the city. Most Chinese are of either Teochew or Hakka extraction. Teochew is the main lingua franca used among the Chinese, and Teochew are the dominant ethnic Chinese group in Pontianak. Native Indonesians are mainly Malay and Dayak people. Madurese and Javanese are also significant minorities. Most citizens of Pontianak use Malay accent of Indonesian, which is somewhat similar to that used in Malaysia.


The equatorial line is marked by the Equator monument, which marks the division between the northern and southern hemispheres.

Place to see

Places to eat

Pontianak is renowned for its eating out places with different food available from morning to night. Due to its high number of Chinese, Chinese foods are in every corner of the city and not all are halal for Muslims.

See also

External links

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