Madura is an
Indonesian island off the northeastern coast of Java. The
island comprises an area of approximately 4,078.67 km²
(administratively 5,168 km² including various smaller islands
to the east and north). Madura is administered as part of the East
Java province. It is separated from
Java by the narrow Strait of
Madura. The administered area has a density of 702 people per km²,
while that of the island itself (3,630,000 people in 2012 count) is
higher at 817/km².
3 Administrative divisions
5.2 Music and theater
7 Further reading
8 External links
Sultan Agung of Mataram conquered Madura and the island's
government was brought under the Cakraningrats, a single princely
line. The Cakraningrat family opposed Central Javanese rule and often
conquered large parts of Mataram.
First Javanese War of Succession between Amangkurat III
and his uncle, Pangeran Puger, the Dutch gained control of the eastern
half of Madura in 1705. Dutch recognition of Puger was influenced by
the lord of West Madura, Cakraningrat II who is thought to have
supported Puger's claims in the hope that a new war in central Java
would provide the Madurese with a chance to interfere. However, while
Amangkurat was arrested and exiled to Ceylon, Puger took the title of
Pakubuwono I and signed a treaty with the Dutch that granted them East
The Cakraningrats agreed to help the Dutch quash the 1740 rebellion in
Java after the Chinese massacre in 1740. In a 1743 treaty with
Pakubuwono I ceded full sovereignty of Madura to the Dutch,
which was contested by Cakraningrat IV. Cakraningrat fled to
Banjarmasin, took refuge with the English, was robbed and betrayed by
the sultan, and captured by the Dutch and exiled to the Cape of Good
The Dutch continued Madura's administrative divisions of four states
each with their own regent. The island was initially important as a
source of colonial troops and in the second half of the nineteenth
century it became the main source of salt for Dutch-controlled
territories in the archipelago.
Madura has a population of about 3.65 million, most of whom are
ethnically Madurese. The main language of Madura is Madurese, one of a
family of Austronesian languages, which is also spoken in part of
Java and on many of the 66 outlying islands.
The Madurese are a large ethnic population in Indonesia, numbering
around 7 million inhabitants. They come from the island of Madura as
well as surrounding islands, such as Gili Raja, Sapudi, Raas, and the
Kangean Islands. In addition, many Madurese live in the eastern part
of East Java, commonly called the "Horseshoe", from
Pasuruan to the
north of Banyuwangi. Madurese are found in Situbondo and Bondowoso,
and east of Probolinggo, Jember, and a few at most who speak Javanese,
including North Surabaya, as well as some of Malang.
Madura has a
Muslim majority and a large
Shia minority. However,
since 2012, interfaith discord has escalated into violence, with many
Shia villages around the city of Sampang being attacked and the
population fleeing their homes for government refugee centers. The
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has
provided details of such attacks in 2013.
Madura Island is part of
East Java province and is divided into the
following four regencies, listed from west to east:
Sumenep Regency includes many offshore islands - notably the
Kangean Islands (487 km2) to the east of Madura, the smaller Sapudi
Islands lying between Madura and the Kangean Islands, and the small
Masalembu Islands (40.85 km2) to the north (between Madura and
Kalimantan). The mainland (i.e. the area on
Madura Island itself)
covers 1,146.93 km2 (751,833 inhabitants in 2010) consisting of 17
districts, while the islands are 946.53 km2 (290,479 people in 2010),
comprising 9 districts, of 128 islands, 46 inhabited. Source: 
Salt making in Madura in 1948
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 economic opportunities have led
to chronic unemployment and poverty. These factors have led 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
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 Surabaya-Madura (Suramadu) Bridge, opened 2009, is expected to
further increase the
Bangkalan area's interaction with the regional
Bull racing in Sumenep, Madura
Madura is famous for its bull-racing competition (called karapan sapi)
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
Music and theater
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.
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.
The Madurese are considered to be excellent sailors. Madurese vessels
loaded with cargoes of wood from other islands, like Borneo, used to
ply their trade between Indonesia and Singapore. Traditional vessels
of Madura, include the golekan and the leti-leti (or leteh-leteh).
^ BPS Kabupaten
Sumenep Archived 2013-01-07 at Archive.is
^ 2010 Population Census - Jawa Timur Province
Estimasi Penduduk Menurut Umur Tunggal Dan Jenis Kelamin 2014
^ Clifford W. Hawkins, Praus of Indonesia ISBN 0-333-31810-2 /
Bouvier, Hélène (1994) La matière des émotions. Les arts du temps
et du spectacle dans la société madouraise (Indonésie).
Publications de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient, vol. 172.
Paris : EFEO. ISBN 2-85539-772-3.
Farjon, I.(1980) Madura and surrounding islands : an annotated
bibliography, 1860-1942 The Hague: M. Nijhoff. Bibliographical series
(Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde
(Netherlands)) ; 9.
Kees van Dijk, Huub de Jonge, and Elly Touwen-Bouswsma, eds. (1995).
Across Madura Strait: the dynamics of an insular society. Leiden:
KITLV Press. ISBN 90-6718-091-2.
Smith, Glenn (1995) Time Allocation Among the Madurese of
Gedang-Gedang. Cross-Cultural Studies in Time Allocation, Volume XIII.
New Haven, Connecticut: Human Relations Area Files Press.
Smith, Glenn (2002) Bibliography of Madura (including Bawean, Sapudi
and Kangean). 
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Madura Island.
Madura travel guide from Wikivoyage