The Info List - Sumatra

--- Advertisement ---

is a large island in western Indonesia
that is part of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island that is located entirely in Indonesia
(after Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia
and other countries) and the sixth-largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 (not including adjacent islands such as the Riau Islands and Bangka Belitung Islands). Sumatra
is an elongated landmass spanning a diagonal northwest-southeast axis. The Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
borders the west, northwest, and southwest coasts of Sumatra
with the island chain of Simeulue, Nias
and Mentawai off the western coast. In the northeast the narrow Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca
separates the island from the Malay Peninsula, which is an extension of the Eurasian continent. In the southeast the narrow Sunda Strait
Sunda Strait
separates Sumatra
from Java. The northern tip of Sumatra
borders the Andaman Islands, while off the southeastern coast lie the islands of Bangka and Belitung, Karimata Strait and the Java
Sea. The Bukit Barisan
Bukit Barisan
mountains, which contain several active volcanoes, form the backbone of the island, while the northeastern area contains large plains and lowlands with swamps, mangrove forest and complex river systems. The equator crosses the island at its center in West Sumatra
West Sumatra
and Riau
provinces. The climate of the island is tropical, hot and humid. Lush tropical rain forest once dominated the landscape. Sumatra
has a wide range of plant and animal species but has lost almost 50% of its tropical rainforest in the last 35 years[clarification needed]. Many species are now critically endangered, such as the Sumatran ground cuckoo, the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran elephant, the Sumatran rhinoceros, and the Sumatran orangutan. Deforestation
on the island has also resulted in serious seasonal smoke haze over neighbouring countries, such as the 2013 Southeast Asian haze causing considerable tensions between Indonesia and affected countries Malaysia
and Singapore.[1]


1 Etymology 2 History 3 Administration 4 Geography 5 Largest cities 6 Flora and fauna 7 Demographics

7.1 Languages 7.2 Religion

8 Rail transport 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

Etymology[edit] Sumatra
was known in ancient times by the Sanskrit
names of Swarnadwīpa ("Island of Gold") and Swarnabhūmi ("Land of Gold"), because of the gold deposits in the island's highlands.[2] The first mention of the name of Sumatra
was in the name of Srivijayan
Haji (king) Sumatrabhumi ("King of the land of Sumatra"),[3] who sent an envoy to China
in 1017. Arab
geographers referred to the island as Lamri (Lamuri, Lambri or Ramni) in the tenth through thirteenth centuries, in reference to a kingdom near modern-day Banda Aceh
which was the first landfall for traders. The island is also known by other names namely, Andalas [4]or Percha Island[5]. Late in the 14th century the name Sumatra
became popular in reference to the kingdom of Samudra
Pasai, a rising power until replaced by the Sultanate of Aceh. Sultan Alauddin Shah of Aceh, in letters addressed to Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I
of England in 1602, referred to himself as "king of Aceh
and Samudra".[6] The word itself is from Sanskrit
"Samudra", (समुद्र), meaning "gathering together of waters, sea or ocean".[7] Marco Polo
Marco Polo
named the kingdom Samara or Samarcha in the late 13th century, while the 14th century traveller Odoric of Pordenone used Sumoltra for Samudra. Subsequent European writers then used similar forms of the name for the entire island.[8][9] European writers in the 19th century found that the indigenous inhabitants did not have a name for the island.[10] History[edit]

Historical population

Year Pop. ±%

1971 20,808,148 —    

1980 28,016,160 +34.6%

1990 36,506,703 +30.3%

1995 40,830,334 +11.8%

2000 42,616,164 +4.4%

2005 45,839,041 +7.6%

2010 50,613,947 +10.4%


The Melayu Kingdom
Melayu Kingdom
was absorbed by Srivijaya.[12]:79–80

Batak warriors, 1870

influence waned in the 11th century after it was defeated by the Chola
Empire of southern India. At the same time, Islam made its way to Sumatra
through Arabs
and Indian traders in the 6th and 7th centuries AD.[13] By the late 13th century, the monarch of the Samudra kingdom had converted to Islam. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
visited the island in 1292, and Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
visited twice during 1345–1346. Samudra
was succeeded by the powerful Aceh
Sultanate, which survived to the 20th century. With the coming of the Dutch, the many Sumatran princely states gradually fell under their control. Aceh, in the north, was the major obstacle, as the Dutch were involved in the long and costly Aceh War (1873–1903). The Free Aceh
Movement fought against Indonesian government forces in the Aceh
Insurgency from 1976 to 2005.[14] Security crackdowns in 2001 and 2002 resulted in several thousand civilian deaths.[15] Administration[edit]

Traditional house in Nias
North Sumatra

Name Area (km2) Population census 2000 Population census 2010 Population estimate 2014 Capital

Aceh 57,956.00 4,073,006 4,486,570 4,731,705 Banda Aceh

North Sumatra (Sumatera Utara) 72,981.23 11,642,488 12,326,678 13,527,937 Medan

West Sumatra (Sumatera Barat) 42,012.89 4,248,515 4,845,998 5,098,790 Padang

Riau 87,023.66 3,907,763 5,543,031 6,359,790 Pekanbaru

Jambi 50,058.16 2,407,166 3,088,618 3,412,459 Jambi

South Sumatra (Sumatera Selatan) 91,592.43 6,210,800 7,446,401 7,996,535 Palembang

Bengkulu 19,919.33 1,455,500 1,713,393 1,828,291 Bengkulu

Lampung 34,623.80 6,730,751 7,596,115 7,972,246 Bandar Lampung

Bangka-Belitung (Kepulauan Bangka Belitung) 16,424.14 899,968 1,223,048 1,380,762 Pangkal Pinang

Islands (Kepulauan Riau) 8,256.10 1,040,207 1,685,698 2,031,895 Tanjung Pinang

Totals 480,847.74 42,616,164 50,613,947 54,339,256


Map of geological formation of Sumatra

The longest axis of the island runs approximately 1,790 km (1,110 mi) northwest–southeast, crossing the equator near the centre. At its widest point, the island spans 435 km (270 mi). The interior of the island is dominated by two geographical regions: the Barisan Mountains
Barisan Mountains
in the west and swampy plains in the east. Sumatra
is the closest Indonesian island to mainland Asia. To the southeast is Java, separated by the Sunda Strait. To the north is the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
(located on the Asian mainland), separated by the Strait of Malacca. To the east is Borneo, across the Karimata Strait. West of the island is the Indian Ocean. The Great Sumatran fault (a strike-slip fault), and the Sunda megathrust (a subduction zone), run the entire length of the island along its west coast. On 26 December 2004, the western coast and islands of Sumatra, particularly Aceh
province, were struck by a tsunami following the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
earthquake. This was the longest earthquake recorded, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds.[16] More than 170,000 Indonesians were killed, primarily in Aceh. Other recent earthquakes to strike Sumatra
include the 2005 Nias–Simeulue earthquake and the 2010 Mentawai earthquake and tsunami.

Mount Sinabung, North Sumatra

To the east, big rivers carry silt from the mountains, forming the vast lowland interspersed by swamps. Even if mostly unsuitable for farming, the area is currently of great economic importance for Indonesia. It produces oil from both above and below the soil – palm oil and petroleum. Sumatra
is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee. Small-holders grow Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) in the highlands, while Robusta (Coffea canephora) is found in the lowlands. Arabica coffee from the regions of Gayo, Lintong and Sidikilang is typically processed using the Giling Basah (wet hulling) technique, which gives it a heavy body and low acidity.[17] Largest cities[edit]

Medan, the largest city in Sumatra

The largest cities in Sumatra
by population, listed by their 2010 census populations,[18] are:

Rank City Province Population 2010 Census City Birthday Area (km2)

1 Medan North Sumatra 2,109,339 1 July 1590 265.10

2 Palembang South Sumatra 1,452,840 17 June 1683 374.03

3 Batam Riau
Islands 1,153,860 18 December 1829 715.0

4 Pekanbaru Riau 903,902 23 June 1784 633.01

5 Bandar Lampung Lampung 879,851 17 June 1682 169.21

6 Padang West Sumatra 833,584 7 August 1669 694.96

7 Jambi Jambi 529,118 17 May 1946 205.00

8 Bengkulu Bengkulu 300,359 18 March 1719 144.52

9 Dumai Riau 254,332 20 April 1999 2,039.35

10 Binjai North Sumatra 246,010


11 Pematang Siantar North Sumatra 234,885 24 April 1871 60.52

12 Banda Aceh Aceh 224,209 22 April 1205 61.36

13 Lubuklinggau South Sumatra 201,217 17 August 2001 419.80

Flora and fauna[edit]

Sumatran tiger

Rafflesia arnoldii

See also: List of national parks of Indonesia Sumatra
supports a wide range of vegetation types which are home to a rich variety of species, including 17 endemic genera of plants.[19] Unique species include the Sumatran pine
Sumatran pine
which dominates the Sumatran tropical pine forests of the higher mountainsides in the north of the island and rainforest plants such as Rafflesia arnoldii
Rafflesia arnoldii
(the world's largest individual flower), and the titan arum (the world's largest unbranched inflorescence). The island is home to 201 mammal species and 580 bird species, such as the Sumatran ground cuckoo. There are 9 endemic mammal species on mainland Sumatra
and 14 more endemic to the nearby Mentawai Islands.[19] There are about 300 freshwater fish species in Sumatra.[20] There are 93 amphibian species in Sumatra, 21 of which are endemic to Sumatra.[21] (See also: List of amphibians of Sumatra) The Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran ground cuckoo, and Sumatran orangutan
Sumatran orangutan
are all critically endangered, indicating the highest level of threat to their survival. In October 2008, the Indonesian government announced a plan to protect Sumatra's remaining forests.[22] The island includes more than 10 national parks, including 3 which are listed as the Tropical
Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra
World Heritage Site – Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park
Kerinci Seblat National Park
and Bukit Barisan
Bukit Barisan
Selatan National Park. The Berbak National Park
Berbak National Park
is one of three national parks in Indonesia
listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Demographics[edit]

Minangkabau women carrying platters of food to a ceremony

is not particularly densely populated, with just over 100 people per km2 – more than 50 million people in total. Because of its great extent, it is nonetheless the fourth[23] most populous island in the world. Languages[edit] There are over 52 languages spoken, all of them (except Chinese and Indians) belong to the Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian sub-branch of Malayo-Polynesian which in turn is a branch of the Austronesian language family. Within Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian, they were divided into several sub-branches that is Chamic (which are represented by Acehnese in which its closest relatives are languages spoken by Ethnic Chams in Cambodia and Vietnam), Malayic (Malay, Minangkabau and other closely related languages), Northwest Sumatran (Batak languages, Gayo and others), Lampungic (includes Proper Lampung
and Komering) and Bornean (represented by Rejang in which its closest linguistic relatives are Bukar Sadong and Land Dayak spoken in West Kalimantan and Sarawak
(Malaysia)). Northwest Sumatran and Lampungic branches are endemic to the island. Like all parts of Indonesia, Indonesian (which was based on Riau
Malay) is the official language and the main Lingua franca. Although Sumatra
has its own local Lingua franca, variants of Malay like Medan
Malay and Palembang
Malay[24] are popular in North and South Sumatra, especially in urban areas. Minangkabau (Padang dialect)[25] is popular in West Sumatra, some parts of North Sumatra, Bengkulu, Jambi
and Riau
(especially in Pekanbaru
and areas bordered with West Sumatra) while Acehnese is also used as an inter-ethnic means of communication in some parts of Aceh
province. Religion[edit]

Baiturrahman Grand Mosque
Baiturrahman Grand Mosque
in Banda Aceh

The majority of people in Sumatra
are Muslims (91%), while 8% are Christians, less than 2% are Buddhist and Hindus .[26] Rail transport[edit] Several unconnected railway networks built during Netherlands East Indies exist in Sumatra, such as the ones connecting Banda Aceh-Lhokseumawe-Besitang-Medan-Tebingtinggi-Pematang Siantar-Rantau Prapat in Northern Sumatra
(the Banda Aceh-Besitang section was closed in 1971, but is currently being rebuilt).[27] Padang-Solok-Bukittinggi in West Sumatra, and Bandar Lampung-Palembang-Lahat-Lubuk Linggau in Southern Sumatra. See also[edit]


Architecture of Sumatra Bukit Seguntang Communism in Sumatra Music of Sumatra


^ CNN, By Peter Shadbolt. " Singapore
shrouded in haze from Sumatran forest fires - CNN.com". CNN.  ^ Drakard, Jane (1999). A Kingdom of Words: Language and Power in Sumatra. Oxford University Press. ISBN 983-56-0035-X.  ^ Munoz. Early Kingdoms. p. 175.  ^ Marsden, William (1783). The history of Sumatra. Dutch: Longman. p. 5.  ^ Cribb, Robert (2013). Historical Atlas of Indonesia. Routledge. p. 249.  ^ Sneddon, James N. (2003). The Indonesian language: its history and role in modern society. UNSW Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780868405988.  ^ Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1924). A practical Sanskrit
dictionary with transliteration, accentuation, and etymological analysis. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 347. ISBN 9788120820005.  ^ Sir Henry Yule (ed.). Cathay and the Way Thither: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Issue 36. pp. 86–87.  ^ William Marsden (1811). History of Sumatra, containing an account of the government (etc.). pp. 4–10.  ^ Reid, Anthony (2005). An Indonesian Frontier: Acehnese and Other Histories of Sumatra. National University of Singapore
Press. ISBN 9971-69-298-8.  ^ http://www.bps.go.id/tab_sub/view.php?kat=1&tabel=1&daftar=1&id_subyek=12&notab=1 ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1.  ^ G.R. Tibbets,Pre-Islamic Arabia and South East Asia, in D.S. Richards (ed.),1970, Islam and The Trade of Asia, Oxford: Bruno Cassirer Pub. Ltd, p. 127 nt. 21; S.Q.Fatimi, In Quest of Kalah, in D.S. Richards (ed.),1970, p.132 n.124; W.P. Groeneveldt, Notes in The Malay Archipelago, in D.S. Richards (ed.),1970, p.129 n.42 ^ " Indonesia
agrees Aceh
peace deal". BBC News. 17 July 2005.  ^ " Aceh
Under Martial Law: Inside the Secret War: Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations". hrw.org.  ^ Glenday, Craig (2013). Guinness Book of World Records 2014. The Jim Pattison Group. p. 015. ISBN 978-1-908843-15-9.  ^ "Daerah Produsen Kopi Arabika di Indonesia". Kopi Distributor 1995. 2015-02-28. Retrieved 2015-02-28.  ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta. ^ a b Whitten, Tony (1999). The Ecology of Sumatra. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 962-593-074-4.  ^ Nguyen, T.T.T., and S. S. De Silva (2006). Freshwater finfish biodiversity and conservation: an asian perspective. Biodiversity & Conservation 15(11): 3543–3568 ^ http://www.rufford.org/rsg/projects/hellen_kurniati ^ staff (2008-10-14). "Forest, Wildlife Protection Pledged at World Conservation Congress". Ens-newswire.com. Retrieved 2012-07-25.  ^ "Population Statistics". GeoHive. Retrieved 2012-07-25.  ^ Wurm, Stephen A.; Mühlhäusler, Peter; Tryon, Darrell T. (1 January 1996). "Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas: Vol I: Maps. Vol II: Texts". Walter de Gruyter – via Google Books.  ^ "gcanthminangkabau - Minangkabau Language". gcanthminangkabau.wikispaces.com.  ^ "Number of Population by Religion Year".  ^ Younger, Scott (6 November 2011). "The Slow Train". Jakarta
Globe. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

Grover, Samantha; Sukamta, Linda; Edis, Robert (August 2017), People, palm oil, pulp and planet: four perspectives on Indonesia’s fire-stricken peatlands, The Conversation  William Marsden, The History of Sumatra, (1783); 3rd ed. (1811) freely available online.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sumatra.

travel guide from Wikivoyage

v t e

Provinces of Indonesia

Capital: Jakarta


Aceh Bangka-Belitung
Islands Bengkulu Jambi Lampung North Sumatra Riau Riau
Islands South Sumatra West Sumatra


Banten Central Java East Java West Java Jakarta Yogyakarta


Central Kalimantan East Kalimantan North Kalimantan South Kalimantan West Kalimantan

Lesser Sunda

Bali East Nusa Tenggara West Nusa Tenggara


Central Sulawesi Gorontalo North Sulawesi Southeast Sulawesi South Sulawesi West Sulawesi


Maluku North Maluku


Papua West Papua


Timor Timur

Lists by

GRP per capita HDI ISO codes

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 316734166 GND: 40585