Kalimantan (/ˈbɔːrnioʊ/; Malay: Pulau Borneo, Indonesian: Kalimantan) is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.
The island is politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north, and Indonesia to the south. Approximately 73% of the island is Indonesian territory. In the north, the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak make up about 26% of the island. Additionally, the Malaysian federal territory of Labuan is situated on a small island just off the coast of Borneo. The sovereign state of Brunei, located on the north coast, comprises about 1% of Borneo’s land area. A little more than half of the island is in the Northern Hemisphere including Brunei and the Malaysian portion, while the Indonesian portion spans both the Northern and Southernhemispheres.
Antipodal to an area of Amazon rainforest, Borneo is itself home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
Borneo is surrounded by the South China Sea to the north and northwest, the Sulu Sea to the northeast, the Celebes Sea and the Makassar Strait to the east, and the Java Sea and Karimata Strait to the south. To the west of Borneo are the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. To the south and east are islands of Indonesia: Java and Sulawesi, respectively. To the northeast are the Philippine Islands. With an area of 743,330 square kilometres (287,000 sq mi), it is the third-largest island in the world, and is the largest island of Asia (the largest continent). Its highest point is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, with an elevation of 4,095 m (13,435 ft). Before sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age, Borneo was part of the mainland of Asia, forming, with Java and Sumatra, the upland regions of a peninsula that extended east from present day Indochina. The South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand now submerge the former low-lying areas of the peninsula. Deeper waters separating Borneo from neighbouring Sulawesi prevented a land connection to that island, creating the divide known as Wallace’s Line between Asian and Australia-New Guinea biological regions.
The largest river system is the Kapuas in West Kalimantan, with a length of 1,000 km (620 mi). Other major rivers include the Mahakam in East Kalimantan (920 km long (570 mi)), the Barito in South Kalimantan (900 km long (560 mi)), Rajang in Sarawak (565 km long (351 mi)) and Kinabatangan in Sabah (560 km long (350 mi)). Borneo has significant cave systems. In Sarawak, the Clearwater Cave has one of the world’s longest underground rivers while Deer Cave is home to over three million bats, with guano accumulated to over 100 metres (330 ft) deep. The Gomantong Caves in Sabah has been dubbed as the “Cockroach Cave” due to the presence of million of cockroaches inside the cave. The Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak and Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst in East Kalimantan which particularly a karst areas contains thousands of smaller caves.
According to ancient Chinese (977), Indian and Japanese manuscripts, western coastal cities of Borneo had become trading ports by the first millennium AD. In Chinese manuscripts, gold, camphor, tortoise shells, hornbill ivory, rhinoceros horn, crane crest, beeswax, lakawood (a scented heartwood and root wood of a thick liana, Dalbergia parviflora), dragon’s blood, rattan, edible bird’s nests and various spices were described as among the most valuable items from Borneo. The Indians named Borneo Suvarnabhumi (the land of gold) and also Karpuradvipa (Camphor Island). The Javanese named Borneo Puradvipa, or Diamond Island. Archaeological findings in the Sarawak river delta reveal that the area was a thriving centre of trade between India and China from the 6th century until about 1300.
Stone pillars bearing inscriptions in the Pallava script, found in Kutai along the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan and dating to around the second half of the 4th century, constitute some of the oldest evidence of Hindu influence in Southeast Asia. By the 14th century, Borneo became a vassal state of Majapahit (in present-day Indonesia), later changing its allegiance to the Ming dynasty of China. The religion of Islam entered the island in the 10th century, following the arrival of Muslim traders who later converted many indigenous peoples in the coastal areas.
The Sultanate of Brunei declared independence from Majapahit following the death of Majapahit Emperor in mid-14th century. During its golden age under Bolkiah from the 15th century to the 17th century, the Bruneian Empire ruled almost the entire coastal area of Borneo (lending its name to the island due to its influence in the region) and several islands in the Philippines. During the 1450s, Shari’ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, an Arab born in Johor, arrived in Sulu from Malacca. In 1457, he founded the Sultanate of Sulu; he titled himself as “Paduka Maulana Mahasari Sharif Sultan Hashem Abu Bakr”. Following their independence in 1578 from Brunei’s influence, the Sulu’s began to expand their thalassocracy to parts of the northern Borneo. Both the sultanates who ruled northern Borneo had traditionally engaged in trade with China by means of the frequently-arriving Chinese junks. Despite the thalassocracy of the sultanates, Borneo’s interior region remained free from the rule of any kingdoms.
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Culture of Kalimantan
There are 5 basic cultures of indigenous communities of Austronesian clans in Kalimantan or Ethnic Orang Kalimantan ie Malay, Dayak, Banjar, Kutai and Paser. While the BPS census in 2010, tribes in Kalimantan Indonesia are grouped into three parts Banjar, Dayak Indonesia (268 ethnic groups) and ethnic origin other Kalimantan (non Dayak and non Banjar). The Malays occupy Karimata island and coastal regions of West Kalimantan, Sarawak, Brunei to the shores of Sabah. Banjar tribe occupies most of Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan and East Kalimantan. Kutai and Paser tribe occupies the area of East Kalimantan. While the Dayak tribe occupies the hinterland of Borneo. The existence of many Chinese people in Singkawang and Pontianak city can be likened to Chinese Benteng community who live in Tangerang City near Jakarta. Indeed some cities on the island of Kalimantan are politically occupied by the majority of immigrant tribes such as Hakka (Singkawang), Javanese (Balikpapan, Samarinda), Bugis (Balikpapan, Samarinda, Pagatan, Nunukan, Tarakan, Tawau) and so on. Bugis is the first homesteader who settled tribes, mingle and have a historical relationship with the Malay kingdoms in Borneo.
Rindang Kemantis dance is a combination of dance that takes the element of some ethnic art in Balikpapan such as Banjar, Dayak, Bugis, Java, Padang and Sunda is considered less reflect the local culture, causing protests of customary institutions of local tribes. In Balikpapan the establishment of the Lagaligo Brigade, a civil society organization of the villagers from South Sulawesi was considered a provocation and opposed by local tribal organizations. Sampit City was once considered as 2nd Sampang. Singkawang Mayor who comes from the Tionghoa tribe built in the center of Singkawang a statue of liong is a typical dragon of Chinese culture that is commonly placed or worshiped in the temple. The construction of this dragon statue is considered to be a symbol of the ethnic Chinese ECI hegemony of Indonesian ethnicity by ignoring the existence of indigenous ethnic in Singkawang causing protests by some groups. The strengthening of political dominance of the ECI is claimed to be a revitalization effort of Lan Fang state that is rejected by FPI, but on the other hand, Dayak tribe supports the existence of the dragon statue.
In the culture of Borneo, dragon character is usually paired with ivory hornbill character, which symbolizes the harmony of the universe duumvirate that the world above and the underworld. An immigrant tribe has made a writing offensive to ethnic Malays. However most of the cultural tribes of Borneo is the result of adaptation, acculturation, assimilation, amalgamation, and incorporation of cultural elements from outside, for example gloves Samarinda, gloves Pagatan, wayang kulit Banjar, yarn spots (Batik Dayak Ngaju), ampik (Batik Dayak Kenyah ), zafin dance and so on.