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Bojonegoro (older spelling Bodjanegara) is a town and a regency in East Java, Indonesia, about 110 km west of Surabaya. Bojonegoro is located in the inland part of northern Java plain, in the banks of the Bengawan Solo river, the largest river in Java.
Previously known as a major producer of teak and tobacco, Bojonegoro is currently becoming the focus of attention in Indonesia as a new petroleum has been found in this area. This oil find in Bojonegoro is the biggest oil discovery in Indonesia in three decades and one of the biggest reserve in Indonesia.
Across the eastern border of Bojonegoro is the Lamongan Regency, to the north is Tuban while to the south is Ngawi, Madiun, Nganjuk and Jombang. Blora is located to the west, in Central Java.
Bojonegoro occupies an area of 934 km▓. Much of it consists of low plains along the river Bengawan Solo, with hilly areas in sothern part of the Regency. As with most of Java, the Bojonegoro landscape is dominated with rice paddy fields. In the Bojonegoro area, the Bengawan Solo river changes its course from northward to eastward.
Climate in Bojonegoro is tropical with six months of rainy and dry seasons. Seasonal conditions are often very contrasting. In the rainy season, rain will fall almost daily while in dry season, rain will not come for months, causing widespread drought and water shortages. This problems have been compounded with the lost of forest and other green areas. Teak forest was once covering much of Bojonegoro but has since considerably reduced due to over exploitation.
The history of Bojonegoro is unseparated with the history of Java itself. The area near the Solo River is very fertile and has been settled since early history by the Javanese. However, these settlements never developed into a major urban center, except for several coastal cities. Rather, villages are dependent on a weekly market which rotates among them and bakul (traveling pedlers) who collect and distribute agricultural and manufactured products among the villages.
The Bengawan Solo river played a major role in the development of these settlement. It acted as source of water and fertile soil, and a means of transportation. A set of copper plates of the Ferry Charter (1358 C.E.) lists over twenty ferry crossing on the lower stretch of the Bengawan Solo river, downstream from Bojonegoro. Inland settlement like this would trade agricultural products via trading centre in coastal cities, like neighbouring Tuban, for spices from Spice Islands, ceramics from China and other commodities.
The authority over these settlements, including the territory of modern-day Bojonegoro, was held by the dominant power in central Java, and later east Java, the kingdoms of Mataram, Kediri, Singhasari and Majapahit.
As a territory in northern Java, the area of modern-day Bojonegoro was one of the first to accept Islam. The Bengawan Solo river area and most of Java would became part of the Sultanate of Demak and its successor the Sultanate of Mataram.
The modern regency (kabupaten) was founded on October 20, 1677 with Mas Toemapel as the first Regent (Bupati), with capital in Jipang village (currently around Padangan subdistrict in the western most part of Bojonegoro). It was founded as a response to the loss of Mataram's coastal area to the Dutch East India Company. Bojonegoro than became important border town. In 1725 the capital was moved to its current location.
After Dutch complete takeover of Java in the 18th and 19th centuries, Bojonegoro and the neighbouring regencies of Tuban and Lamongan were administered under Bojonegoro Residency, with a Dutch Resident in Bojonegoro town. The resident acted as an advisor and supervisor to the regents, positions which were held by native Javanese nobility (priyayi).
During Dutch rule, tobacco and maize was introduced from the Americas, which would later became major commodiries in Bojonegoro.
In 1894, the trans-Java railroad, which linked Batavia and Surabaya and passed through Bojonegoro, was finished, increasing transportation and improving the teak industry. Urbanisation also progressed under Dutch rule.
Since the Indonesian National Revolution, Bojonegoro regency is administered as part of East Java province, with RMT Suryo, the grandson of the former Bojonegoro regent as its first governor. in 1968 the first non-nobility Regent was elected. The current regent is Santoso, a former army officer. In 2008, Bojonegoro people will elect its first directly-elected Regent, following an amendment in the constitution.
Bojonegoro regency has a population of 1,156,652 people (2000 census). Most are ethnic Javanese, with sizable minority of etnic Chinese, Balinese and other Indonesian ethnic gropus. Most Javanese are Muslim, with small number belonging to various sects of Christianity. Ethnic Chinese follow various religions, often with an aspect of syncretism with traditional Chinese culture.
Most of the population work as farmers or foresters. Many still live in poverty, especially in southern part of the regency, where the soil is less fertile.
The major population centre is Bojonegoro town, located on the southern bank of Bengawan Solo river.