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Bintan Island, Kepulauan Riau

Bintan Island or Negeri Segantang Lada is an island of 1,866 square kilometers, and is part of the Riau Islands province of Indonesia. The capital of Bintan is the southwestern city of Tanjung Pinang.

Contents

Geography

Bintan is the largest of 3,200 islands in the Riau Archipelago, and is located less than 40 kilometers from Singapore. The highest hill on the island is Bintan Besar. The hill is the remains of an old volcano. It is almost 400 meters high, the highest point on the Riau Islands province. Despite being larger than Batam, it is less populated.


History

Bintan first became politically important when Sultan Mahmud of the fallen Sultanate of Malacca fled to Bintan and created a resistance base there after Malacca was taken by the Portuguese forces in 1511. The Portuguese eventually destroyed the stronghold in 1526, and after a few years the Sultanate founded a new capital back on the Malay Peninsula and developed from there.

Bintan was also once the capital of the Sultanate of Johor that grew to considerable political and cultural power from the 17th to the 19th century. The island played a central role in Malay culture.

At the beginning of 18th century the Sultanate of Johor entered into political turmoil and the capital moved back to Bintan as the Bugis took control of the sultanate. In the hands of the Bugis, Bintan became a powerful trading port, attracting regional, Western, Indian and Chinese traders as well as migrants including Chinese much in the same way Malacca developed into a regional power three centuries earlier.

The success of the port caught the attention of the European powers. The British, who controlled Penang, were looking for a new settlement further to the south of the Straits of Malacca that would contain the Dutch expansions and considered Bintan as a possible location.

The Dutch, however, no longer accepted the competition from Bintan and attacked and took control of the island at the end of the 18th century, bringing to an end its local trading supremacy and delaying the British arrival in the area for a few years until the internal power struggle within the sultanate of Riau-Johor offered them the opportunity to take control of the island of Singapore.

Bintan agro beach resort

 

Modern development

Bintan's power and central role disappeared with the regional political changes and the island's past fortune is now overshadowed by neighboring Batam and Singapore. Following its founding by the British in 1819, Singapore became a new regional trading center. Due to its limited size, Singapore initiated the Sijori Growth Triangle and signed agreements with the Indonesian governments to invest in Batam and Bintan.

The once wild and deserted Batam island became an industrial "hinterland" for Singapore and a special investment zone for world industrial companies, also attracting thousands of workers from the entire country. Bintan was not transformed into the industrial park like Batam. Instead, Singapore again signed agreement with Indonesia to lease its northern coast and develop it into a resort for Singaporeans ("Bintan Resort").


Transportation

Several daily ferries run between Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore to the capital of the Indonesian province Riau Islands and takes 45 mins.

 

Main road leading to Bintan Resort

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