Banten was a kingdom in western Java , Indonesia , known in Europe as Bantam . At its peak, it consisted of the present provinces of Banten and Lampung in South Sumatra .


Archeology has revealed the existence of a kingdom of Sunda , founded in 932 AD. J.-C. and located in the northern part of the province. Its capital was Banten Girang (“Banten upstream”), today an archaeological site located in the southern suburbs of Serang , the capital of the province. This kingdom becomes vassal of Sriwijaya (today Palembang , in the south of Sumatra in 1030.

Around 1400, Sunda is conquered by the Hindu kingdom of Pajajaran , which becomes one of the maritime outlets. Its protected port overlooks the Strait of Sunda , through which passes for centuries a significant traffic with the Indian Ocean . Also located at the mouth of the Cibantam River, the port also provided a waterway for light craft to the interior of Java.

According to tradition, the kingdom of Banten was founded by Sunan Gunung Jati , one of the nine “saints” or Wali Sanga who, according to legend, spread the Muslim faith in Java. Gunung Jati was born in Pasai , a former sultanate in northern Sumatra that Marco Polo visited in 1292 , noting that the ruler of this port was Muslim. When the Portuguese, settled in Malacca that they conquered in 1511, occupy Pasai from 1521 to 1524, Gunung Jati goes to Mecca .

Upon his return, he went to Demak , a principality of the north coast of Java (called Pasisir ) founded at the end of the xv th century by a Chinese Muslim named Cek Ko-po. Gunung Jati marries a sister of Trenggana, the ruler of Demak.

In 1526, at the head of an army, Gunung Jati attacked and conquered Banten, who had freed himself from Pajajaran. Maulana Yusuf, the e sovereign Banten submit Pajajaran in 1579 , ending the last kingdom Sundanese .

In 1638, King Pangeran Ratu took the title of Sultan .

In the xvii th century , Banten is a prosperous state, through the cultivation of pepper, one of those spices so popular that earned the arrival of Europeans in the archipelago of Indonesia . The English established a permanent trading post there in 1603 . Two Banten ambassadors were received at the court of England in 1682. In addition to part of West Java, the sultanate controls what constitutes the present province of Lampung in South Sumatra . The Dutch end up imposing their suzerainty on the sultanate. In 1813 , Banten became part of the Dutch East Indies . His last sultan is sent into exile in Surabayaby the Dutch in 1832 .

The Dutch favor the development of Batavia , which contributes to the decline of Banten. Today, the former capital of Banten is no more than a fishing village , economically supplanted by the nearby port of Merak .


The story of Max Havelaar , a novel published in 1860 as the pen of Multatuli by the Dutch writer Eduard Douwes Dekker to denounce the abuses of the Dutch colonial system, takes place in the province of Banten .