History of Bengkulu

Bengkulu is a province in Sumatra which is located at coordinates 5°40′ – 2° 0′ South Latitude 40′ – 104° 0′ East Longitude with an area of 19,788.70 km2 (7,640.46 ) which borders:

North: West Sumatra
South: Lampung
West: Indian Ocean
East : Jambi and South Sumatra

In the Bengkulu region, ethnically based kingdoms once existed, such as the Sungai Serut kingdom, the Selebar kingdom, the Patpetulai kingdom, the Balai Buntar kingdom, the Sungai Lemau kingdom, the Sekiris kingdom, the Gedung Agung kingdom and the Marau Riang kingdom under the Sultanate of Banten, they became vassals. Parts of Bengkulu region have also been under the rule of Indera Pura since the XVII century. Berithis East India Company (EIC) since 1685 established a trading center for bengcoolen/coolen pepper which comes from the English Cut Land which means Broken Land. This area is the most active earthquake fault area in the world and then a storage warehouse in what is now Bengkulu City. At that time, the EIC expedition was led by Ralph Ord and William Cowley to find a replacement center for the pepper trade after the port of Banten fell into the hands of the VOC, and the EIC was prohibited from trading there. The treaty with the Selebar kingdom on the 12th of 1685 allowed the British to build a fort and various trading buildings. Fort York was founded in 1685 around the mouth of the Serut River.

Since 1713, Marlboro Fort was built, completed in 1719, which is still standing today. However, the company gradually realized that the site was unprofitable because it could not produce enough pepper.

Since the implementation of the London agreement in 1824, Bengkulu was handed over to the Dutch, in return for Malacca as well as confirmation of ownership of Tumasik/Singapore and Belitung Island. Since the agreement Bengkulu became part of the Dutch East Indies.

The discovery of gold deposits in the Rejang Lebong area in the second half of the 19th century made the place a gold mining center until the 20th century. At present, commercial mining activities have been stopped since the deposit was exhausted.

In the 1930s Bengkulu became the exile place for a number of pro-independence activists including Soekarno. It was during this time that Soekarno became acquainted with Fatmawati who later became his wife.

After Indonesian independence, Bengkulu became a residency within the Province of South Sumatra. It was only since November 18, 1968 that its status was upgraded to become the 26th youngest Province after East Timor.

The Bengkulu Province area which was formed based on Law no. 9 of 1967 covers the former Bengkulu Residency area with an area of 19,813 km2, consisting of four Level II Regions, namely Bengkulu Municipality which consists of two sub-districts, North Bengkulu Regency (the capital of Argamakmur) which consists of 13 sub-districts, South Bengkulu Regency (the capital of Manna ) which consists of 11 sub-districts, and Rejang Lebong Regency (the capital city of Curup) which consists of 10 sub-districts.

Currently the Bengkulu Province Region includes:

Bengkulu City
Central Bengkulu Regency
South Bengkulu Regency
North Bengkulu Regency
Kaur District
Kepahiang Regency
Lebong Regency
Rejang Lebong Regency
Muko Muko Regency
Seluma Regency
Art and culture

Bengkulu has the art of besurek batik, namely batik cloth decorated with bald Arabic letters and is recognized by the Indonesian government as one of Indonesia’s cultural heritage and contributes to enriching the cultural treasures of Indonesia. Bengkulu culture has several different characteristics because it is influenced by different tribes, namely the South Bengkulu culture of the Serawai tribe, the Rejang culture and the Coastal culture. Tabot culture is a unique culture that combines local traditions with Islamic Sharia culturally.

Traditional dance

Traditional dances from Bengkulu, among others; the Buffalo Spear dance, the Putri Gading Cempaka dance, the Pukek dance, the Andun dance, the Kejei dance, the Welcome dance, the Angel Menimang Anak dance and the Mask dance.

Music Art

Dol Music
Geritan, namely telling a story while singing a song
Serambeak in the form of petatah – petitih
Andei-andei is literary art in the form of advice
Sambei is a typical vocal art of the Rejang tribe, usually for weddings

Natural tourism

Long Beach, White Sand Beach, Tapak Paderi Beach and Zakat Beach (Bengkulu City)
Tikus Island (Bengkulu City)
Lake Dendam Tak Lagi (Bengkulu City)
Linau Beach, Way Hawang Beach, Laguna Beach (Kaur District)
Ketahun River Rafting (Lebong Regency)
Tropical Rainforest Park (Kepahiang)
Sebelat Elephant Training Center (North Bengkulu)
Mas Harum Bastari Lake & Suban Hot Spring (Rejang Lebong)
Climbing Kaba Hill (Rejang Lebong)
Suci River Beach (Central Bengkulu)

Cultural and Historical Heritage Tourism

Fort Marlboro
Bung Karno’s House of Exile
Fatmawati’s house
Parr and Hamilton Monument
Bengkulu Provincial Museum
Sentot Alibasyah’s grave

Forest Wealth

Various kinds of forest riches can be found in Bengkulu such as Rafflesia Arnoldi, Vanda Hookeriana Water Orchid, Kayu Medang, Meranti, Ratan and Damar. Other plants highly cultivated by the community are Palm Oil, Rubber Latex, Coffee, Durian, Oranges, Vegetables and others.


Several kinds of animals such as Sumatran tigers, elephants, Burgo chickens and hornbills are animals that inhabit forests in Bengkulu Province.