History of Banten
Banten, quite an interesting area. As a province, if you look at its area, it is not significant. Compared to its parent region, West Java (West Java) is very different. The West Java region covers an area of 44,354.61 km2, consisting of 16 cities and 10 districts. Meanwhile, Banten Province has an area of only 8,651.20 km2, covering four cities and four districts.
The narrowness of the Banten area is not a problem for achieving progress, because it has a lot of potential. Among other things, its strategic location, natural conditions and natural wealth. Apart from that, the historical background of past glories and the existing momentum are important factors for Banten’s progress. Based on calculations of their potential, the people of Banten are determined to separate themselves from West Java and form their own province.
Like the provinces on the island of Java, the formation of Banten Province was inseparable from the influence of historical background. Especially during the heyday which can be classified into two, namely, the glory of the kingdom and the progress or process of struggle during the colonial period.
Many of the glories achieved during the kingdom later inspired and became icons of a region. East Java was influenced by the glory of the Majapahit and Kediri Kingdoms. Central Java was influenced by the Mataram Kingdom which was centered in Surakarta. The Special Region of Yogyakarta cannot be separated from the influence of Mataram Yogyakarta. Likewise, West Java is synonymous with the Pajajaran Kingdom.
Historically, the Banten Sultanate experienced its peak of glory, especially during the reign of Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa (1631-1692). Banten is not only the center of the spread of Islam, but the port of Banten is known as a famous international trade center.
Evidence of the glory of the Banten Sultanate can be traced through several literatures. Meanwhile, the physical evidence that can be seen is the remains of the past, such as the Surosowan palace building site of the Banten Sultanate, heritage objects stored in the Banten Antiquities Museum, and the Banten Grand Mosque. All are in the Old Banten area, Kasemen District, Serang City.
The influence of the colonial period, as is known through the history of several cities in provinces on the island of Java. The cities of Surabaya in East Java, Semarang in Central Java, Bandung in West Java, and Yogyakarta were the centers of colonial occupation as well as the bases for the indigenous people’s struggle for independence.
As an important area, during the Dutch East Indies government, after the VOC was disbanded, under the leadership of Governor General Herman Williem Daendels (1808-1811), in Anyer and Ujung Kulon, a naval base was built. Daendels Anyer was also used as the zero point for the monumental project to build the Trans Java highway to Panarukan, East Java. The legacy in Anyer is a lighthouse, a monitoring tower for ships which still stands strong today.
Banten’s past glory is not just a memory. Physical remains can serve as material for scientific studies and tourist facilities. Heritage in the form of religious and cultural values is the basis for the development of Banten Province.
As reform progresses, it has implications for changes in the political system, one of which is the decentralization of power. The momentum was phenomenal for the formation of Banten Province on October 4 2000. The formation of Banten Province was like a glimpse of Banten’s past glory. With all the potential that Banten has, it is able to show its progress. In 2007 it was ranked fourth in terms of increasing the APBD (Asep Kurnia and Ahmad Siabudin: 2010).
Banten Province has quite high natural potential. Topographically it consists of two large parts, namely, hilly areas in the south (Lebak and Pandeglang Regencies) and lowland areas in the other parts. Consists of four cities (Serang City, Tangerang, Cilegon, and South Tangerang City) and four districts (Serang Regency, Tangerang, Pandeglang, and Lebak Regency).
Tangerang City, Serang City, Cilegon City, Tangerang Regency and Serang Regency are areas with quite high economic activity because they are industrial areas, especially manufacturing industries. Lebak and Pandeglang districts are green areas, there are many forests and plantations there. The city of South Tangerang is a city of services, trade and many prestigious and international standard educational institutions. Understandably, in this city many intellectual figures, national figures and expatriates live.
Regarding international matters, Banten Province has the Ujung Kulon National Park, in Pandeglang Regency where there is still a population of rare animals that only exist in Ujung Kulon in the world. Soekarno-Hatta international airport is Indonesia’s main gateway in Tangerang City. There have even been plans to build an international standard port in Kramatwatu, Serang. These conditions have caused the increase in the Banten Province APBD to increase significantly