Bangka or Banka, island (1990 pop. 626,955), c.4,600 sq mi (11,910 sq km), Indonesia, in the Java Sea, SE of Sumatra, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Bangka. Pangkalpinang is the largest town; Muntok is the principal port. Since c.1710, Bangka has been one of the world's principal tin-producing centers. Pepper is also produced on the island. The majority of the inhabitants are Chinese; they are mostly employed as mine laborers. Bangka was ceded to Britain by the sultan of Palembang in 1812, but in 1814 it was exchanged with the Dutch for Cochin in India. The island fell under Japanese control from 1942 to 1945. It became part of independent Indonesia in 1949.
Bangka-Belitung Islands is a province of Indonesia, which includes two main islands, Bangka and Belitung, and several smaller ones that lie from the east of Sumatra to the northeast of South Sumatra province. The Bangka Strait separates Sumatra and Bangka, and the Gaspar Strait separates Bangka and Belitung. The South China Sea is to the north, the Java Sea is to the south, and Borneo to the east is separated from Belitung by the Karimata Strait.

The province was formerly part of South Sumatra, but became a separate province along with Banten and Gorontalo in 2000. In 2004 its population was 1,012,655. The capital is Pangkal Pinang.

These islands have significant mining (the largest producers of tin in Indonesia). They also produce white pepper CPO etc.

Bangka Belitung also has many beaches and smaller islands which have attracted tourists from around the world. The famous beaches are Matras beach, Parai beach, Tanjung Pesona beach, Batu Bedaun beach, Remodong beach, Pasir Padi Beach, Tanjung Kelian Beach, Rebo beach, Telok Uber Beach and many others.

Administrative divisions

Bangka-Belitung is divided into six regencies (kabupaten) and 1 city (kota):

Further reading

  • Somers Heidhues, Mary F.(1992)Bangka tin and Mentok pepper : Chinese settlement on an Indonesian island Singapore : Social Isuues in Southeast Asia, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 9813035994

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