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Madura is an Indonesian island off the northeastern coast of Java, near the port of Surabaya.
It has an area of approximately 4,250 km▓ and a population of about four million, most of whom are ethnically Madurese. The main language of Madura is Madurese, which is also spoken on many of the 66 outlying islands. Madura is administered as part of the East Java province.
Madura Island is part of East Java provinces and is divided into four regencies:
Bangkalan, Sampang, Pamekasan, Sumenep
On the whole, Madura is one of the poorest regions of the East Java province. Unlike Java, the soil is not fertile enough to make it a major agricultural producer. Limited other economic opportunities has lead to chronic unemployment and poverty. These factors have lead to long-term emigration from the island, such that most ethnically Madurese people do not now live on Madura. People from Madura were some of the most numerous participants in government transmigration programs, moving to other parts of Indonesia.
Subsistence agriculture is a mainstay of the economy. Maize is a key subsistence crop, on island's many small landholdings. Cattle-raising is also a critical part of the agricultural economy, providing extra income to peasant farmer families, in addition to being the basis for Madura's famous bull-racing competitions. Small-scale fishing is also important to the subsistence economy.
Among export industries, tobacco farming is a major contributor to the island's economy. Madura's soil, while unable to support many food crops, helps make the island an important producer of tobacco and cloves for the domestic kretek (clove cigarette) industry. Since the Dutch era, the island has also been a major producer and exporter of salt.
Bangkalan, on the western end of the island, has industrialized substantially since the 1980s. This region is within a short ferry ride of Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, and hence has gained a role as a suburb for commuters to Surabaya, and as a location for industry and services that need to be near the city. The long-planned Surabaya-Madura (Suramadu) Bridge, now under construction, is expected to further increase the Bangkalan area's interaction with the regional economy.
Madura is famous for is bull-racing competitions, where a jockey, usually a young boy, rides a simple wooden sled pulled by a pair of bulls over a course of about 100 meters in ten to fifteen seconds. Several towns on the island hold races in August and September of each year, with a large final for the Presidential Trophy held in Pamekasan in late September or October.
Several forms of music and theater are popular on Madura, particularly among poorer people for whom they provide an inexpensive form of entertainment and community-building. The topeng theater, which involves masked performances of classical stories such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, is the Madurese performance art best known outside the island, due to its role as a representative Madurese art form at exhibitions of regional cultures from all over Indonesia. However, performances of it are rare on Madura, and are generally restricted to entertainment at large official functions. The less formal loddrok theater, where performers do not wear masks and perform a wider range of themes, is more popular on the island. Similar is the drama theater set to modern Malay music, and where women perform alongside men.
The gamelan orchestra, best known as a classical Javanese instrument, is also played on Madura, where several of the former royal courts, such as at Bangkalan and Sumenep, possess elaborate gamelans. Tongtong music, more exclusive to Madura, is played on several wooden or bamboo drums, and often accompanies bull-racing competitions.