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Banjarmasin (aka Bandjermasin or Bandjarmasin) is the capital of
South Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is located on a delta island near the
junction of the Barito and Martapura rivers. As a result, Banjarmasin is
sometimes called the “River City”. Its population is about 627,245 (As
Banjarmasin is served by the Syamsudin Noor Airport, located about 25
km outside the town. The town is also served by a port, named Trisakti
Harbour. A fairly important deepwater port, Pelabuhan Trisakti
Banjarmasin is the trade center of the Barito basin; exports include
rubber, pepper, timber, petroleum, coal, gold, and diamonds. Passenger
ships and ferries to and from Java also carry their operation here.
Main economic sectors in order of their contribution to Banjarmasin’s
GDP (2005): transportation and communication (26.1%), processing
industries (24.9%) and trade and commerce (16.5%). Main processing
industries are: plywood, rattan and rubber manufacturing.
The city is laced with flood-prone waterways, and many houses are
built on rafts or stilts over the water. Many of such waterways are also
used for travel, using relatively small rowboats (only major rivers are
accessible by larger speedboats, tugboats, longboats, and barges).
The large majority of the population is Muslim (96%). Other religions
include Protestants, Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists. The city is the
home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Banjarmasin.
Nan Serunai was an ancient kingdom in South Kalimantan, but soon it was
replaced by Buddhist kingdom of Tanjungpuri. In the fourteenth century,
Banjarmasin was part of the Hindu kingdom of Negara Dipa and Negara Daha
respectfully, a vassal of Majapahit. But Pangeran Samudera converted to
become a Muslim in the fifteenth century. Following this Banjarmasin
was founded at the junction of the Barito and Martapura Rivers on
September 24, 1526. The Dutch opened trade there in 1606. The British
controlled the city for several brief periods, and in 1787 it became a
Dutch protectorate. Banjarmasin remained the region’s capital until the
onset of the Banjarmasin War in 1859, when the Dutch headquarters were
moved to Martapura.
The Hikayat Banjar is the chronicle of Banjarmasin. This text, also
called the History of Lambung Mangkurat, contains the history of the
kings of Banjar and of Kota Waringin in South-east and South Borneo
At the beginning of the 20th century Banjarmasin was the largest city
in Borneo. In 1930 its population was 66,000 and grew rapidly reaching
444,000 in 1990.