Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bengkulu is one of the provinces of Indonesia. It is on the southwest coast of the island of Sumatra, and borders the provinces of West Sumatra, Jambi, South Sumatra and Lampung. The capital and largest city of the province is also called Bengkulu. It was formerly the site of a British garrison, which they called Bencoolen.
The province has a population of 1,405,060 (2000 census).
The British East India Company established a long-running pepper-trading center and garrison at Bengkulu (Bencoolen) in 1685. In 1714 the British built Fort Marlborough in the city; the fort still stands. The trading post was never financially profitable for the British, hampered by a location Europeans found unpleasant, and, more importantly, an inability to find sufficient pepper to buy. Despite these difficulties, the British persisted, maintaining the presence there for 150 years before ceding it to the Dutch as part of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 to focus attention on Malacca. Like the rest of present-day Indonesia, Bengkulu remained a Dutch colony until after World War II.
During Sukarno's imprisonment by the Dutch in the early 1930s, the future first president of Indonesia lived briefly in Bengkulu.
- Reid, Anthony (ed.). 1995. Witnesses to Sumatra: A traveller's anthology. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. pp. 125-133.
- Reprints of British-era primary source material
- Wilkinson, R.J. 1938. Bencoolen. Journal of the Malayan Branch Royal Asiatic Society. 16(1): 127-133.
- Excellent overview of the British experience in Bencoolen
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