North Kalimantan

North Kalimantan (Indonesian: Kalimantan Utara) is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the northernmost of Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. North Kalimantan borders the Malaysian states of Sabah to the north and Sarawak to the west, and by the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan to the south. Tanjung Selor serves as the capital of the province, while Tarakan is the largest city and the financial centre.

North Kalimantan
Kalimantan Utara
Flag of North Kalimantan
Coat of arms of North Kalimantan
Benuanta (Tidung)
Our land that needs to be developed and safeguarded
North Kalimantan in Indonesia
North Kalimantan in Indonesia
Coordinates: 3°00′N 116°20′E / 3.000°N 116.333°E / 3.000; 116.333Coordinates: 3°00′N 116°20′E / 3.000°N 116.333°E / 3.000; 116.333
Established17 November 2012[1]
CapitalTanjung Selor
2°50′45″N 117°22′00″E / 2.84583°N 117.36667°E / 2.84583; 117.36667
Largest cityTarakan
3°19′30″N 117°34′40″E / 3.32500°N 117.57778°E / 3.32500; 117.57778
 • BodyNorth Kalimantan Provincial Government
 • GovernorZainal Arifin Paliwang
 • Vice GovernorYansen Tipa Padan
 • Total71,827.3 km2 (27,732.7 sq mi)
Highest elevation
(Mount Apad Runan)
2,080 m (6,824 ft)
 (2020 Census)[2]
 • Total701,784
 • Density9.8/km2 (25/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groupsBajau, Banjarese, Buginese, Bulungan, Dayak, Kenyah, Lun Bawang, Lundayeh, Murut, Tausūg, Tidung
 • ReligionIslam (70.97%)
Christianity (28.32%)
- Protestant (21.10%)
- Catholic (7.22%)
Buddhism (0.65%)
Hinduism (0.06%)[3]
 • LanguagesIndonesian (official)
Dayak, Tidung (regional)
Time zoneUTC+8 (WITA)
HDIIncrease 0.705 (High)
HDI rank15 (2018)

North Kalimantan covers 71,827.3 square kilometres and consists of four regencies and one city. It had a population of 524,656 at the 2010 Census[4] and 701,784 at the 2020 Census,[5] making it the least populous province in Indonesia.[6] Formed on 25 October 2012, it is the youngest province in Indonesia. North Kalimantan was separated from the province of East Kalimantan to reduce development disparity and Malaysia's influence over the territory.[7]


North Kalimantan used to be a territory of the Bulungan kingdom, which was founded by a group of coastal Kayan. Around 16th century, a Kayan princess called, Asung Luwan, married a visiting nobleman allegedly lost from Brunei, called Datuk Mencang. From this line a princely state was established, centred in Tanjung Selor, which had territory of Bulungan, Tana Tidung, Malinau, Nunukan, Tarakan, and some part of Sabah. Bulungan was a vassal of Berau, which in turn was a vassal of Kingdom of Kutai. During subsequent wars, the territory fell into the hands of Brunei and after agreements were made with the Sultanate of Sulu, the territory officially came under Sulu control. In 1777, the royal family converted to Islam, with the king Wira Amir changing his name to Aji Muhammad, and title to Sultan Amirul Mukminin. In 1853, The Dutch signed a Politiek Contract to impose their sovereignty over the Bulungan kingdom, Sulu did not able to respond as it was also in a war with Spain. Then in 1881, the British North Borneo Chartered Company (BNBC) was formed, placing North Borneo (present-day Sabah) under British jurisdiction, and claim the region of Tawau. While under the Dutch control, the sultan was forced to hand over control of the remoter regions of the Bahau river, Pujungan river, and Apo Kayan. After long negotiation with the British, the Dutch finally recognised the British borders in 1915 which is basically the border between Sabah and North Kalimantan now. During World War 2, the Japanese occupying forces had an agreements with Bulungan in which they shared natural resources and in exchange the region largely escaped Romusha.[8][9]

Bultiken TragedyEdit

In 1963, during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, the sultanate position on the formation of Malaysia was ambiguous. In April 1964, it was reported that a document was found proving the ties between Bulungan aristocracy and Malaysia and in conflict would support the formation of Malaysia and in turn join Malaysia. On 24 April 1964, leader of regional military commands Mulawarman, Brigadier General Soeharjo ordered the capture and killing of Bulungan aristocracy. On 2 July 1964, Letnan B. Simatupang and Captain Buntaran visited the sultanate, and was received cordially by the Sultan. By 3 July 1964, the palace was invaded by Brawijaya 517, in which the palace was burned and looted, and members of the royal family killed. According to Burhan Djabier in 1991 book, East Kalimantan: The Decline of a Commercial Aristocracy, The central TNI leadership did not act or replace him because, Brigadier General Soeharjo was a known leftist and considered politically connected.[10] Most leftist and PKI were hostile to royals which explained the similarity of this incident and East Sumatra revolution. This is also the position of the sultanate, as according to Dato' Seri Pangeran Sanusi Hussin, PKI was responsible in burning of royal palace and ethnic cleansing.[11]

The surviving royal family fled and became citizens of Malaysia. Although in 2017, The royal family announced in the process of becoming Indonesian citizens.[11]


Tarakan Airport also known as Juwata International Airport on the eponymous island serves the province, as well as an international ferry port with services to Malaysia from Tawau. There are no international land crossings – entrance into the mainland of the province is by ferry from Tarakan or by road from the south. Large stretches of the roads in this province are of unpaved muddy ditches.[12]

The airport area and runway is also shared with Suharnoko Harbani Air Force Base, a Type A airbase of the TNI-AU (Indonesian Air Force). The airbase is named after the former Minister of Industry of Indonesia, Suharnoko Harbani, who was also formerly an Air Force officer. Formed in 2006, the establishment of this air base is essentially part of the strategy and efforts to realize the defense of the country from the potential and development of threats that will threaten the Indonesia as well as the organization's demands from the Air Force Operations Command II in Makassar to facilitate control of its duties. Before the formation of the Air Base, there was already an Indonesian Air Force post which was under the Balikpapan Air Force Base but due to the development of situation and tension with Malaysia in Ambalat, the leadership of the Air Force decided to form a new airbase. Due to the airport is used both by military and civil aviation, so the apron is also used together. In July 2014, the airport authority initials to build 183 meters taxiway to the military apron which can accommodate 4 Sukhoi and 2 Hercules together and the project is predicted to be finished in December 2014.[13]

The Trans-Kalimantan Highway (Jalan Trans Kalimantan) was finished at early 2019 under the administration of President Joko Widodo. The route connects Pontianak, West Kalimantan with Tanjung Selor, the capital city of North Kalimantan.[14][15]

Administrative divisionsEdit

North Kalimantan is divided into four regencies (kabupaten) and one city (kota):

Name Area (km2) Population
2010 Census[16]
2020 Census[17]
Capital HDI[18]
2018 Estimates
Tarakan City 250.80 193,370 242,756 Tarakan City 0.756 (High)
Bulungan Regency 13,181.92 112,663 151,844 Tanjung Selor 0.712 (High)
Malinau Regency 40,088.38 62,580 82,510 Malinau 0.717 (High)
Nunukan Regency 14,247.50 140,841 199,090 Nunukan 0.656 (Medium)
Tana Tidung Regency 4,058.70 15,202 25,584 Tideng Pale 0.670 (Medium)
Totals 71,827.30 524,656 701,784 Tarakan 0.705 (High)



Ethnicity in North Kalimantan consists of Dayaks and Javanese (predominantly), with a significant population of the Tidung, Bulungan, Suluk, Banjarese, Murut, Lun Bawang / Lun Dayeh, and the other ethnic groups which exist in the province.


Religion in North Kalimantan (June 2021)[19]

  Muslim (72.54%)
  Protestantism (19.47%)
  Roman Catholic (7.40%)
  Buddhism (0.13%)
  Hinduism (0.06%)
  Confucianism (0.038%)

According to the 2021 census, 507.780 peoples are Muslims, 137.540 are Protestant, 42.260 are Roman Catholic, 4.165 are Buddhism, 344 are Hindus, 151 are Confusianism and 11 are Folk religion.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "J.D.I.H. - Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat".
  2. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.
  3. ^ "Provinsi Kalimantan Utara Dalam Angka 2019". (in Indonesian). BPS Provinsi Kalimantan Utara. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  4. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  5. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Kalimantan Utara Menggeliat" (in Indonesian).
  8. ^ "Kesultanan Bulungan yang Enggan Berperang". (in Indonesian). 22 September 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  9. ^ "The rise and fall of Bulungan sultanate, a Muslim kingdom with Kayan roots • KajoMag". KajoMag. 7 June 2021. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  10. ^ Raditya, Iswara N (23 August 2017). "Tragedi Pembantaian Bulungan di Perbatasan Malaysia". (in Malay). Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  11. ^ a b "50 Tahun Hijrah ke Malaysia, Raja Bulungan Ingin Balik Indonesia". (in Malay). 9 March 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  12. ^ "North Kalimantan: Indonesia's Newest Province and Southeast Asian Geopolitical Tensions".
  13. ^ Fransina (11 October 2014). "Bangun Taxiway 183 Meter dari Apron Lanud Tarakan".
  14. ^ "Foto: Menyusuri Trans Kalimantan, Jokowi Tinjau Program Padat Karya –". 19 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Borneo road, railway projects 'world's scariest environmental threat'".
  16. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  17. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.
  18. ^ "Pembangunan Manusia | Provinsi Kalimantan Utara".
  19. ^ "Mayoritas Penduduk Kalimantan Utara Beragama Islam | Databoks".

External linksEdit