West Java

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West Java
Jawa Barat
Province of West Java
Coat of arms of West Java
Pasundan (
GDP PPP (2019)
Increase$493.97 billion[5]
GDP rank3rd in Indonesia (2019)
Nominal per capitaUS$ 3,048 (2019)[5]
PPP per capitaUS$ 10,017 (2019)[5]
Per capita rank21st in Indonesia (2019)

West Java (Indonesian: Jawa Barat, Sundanese: ᮏᮝ ᮊᮥᮜᮧᮔ᮪) is a province of Indonesia on the western part of the island of Java, with its provincial capital in Bandung. West Java is bordered by the province of Banten and the country's capital region of Jakarta to the west, the Java Sea to the north, the province of Central Java to the east and the Indian Ocean to the south. With Banten, this province is the native homeland of the Sundanese people, the second-largest ethnic group in Indonesia.

West Java was one of the first eight provinces of Indonesia formed following the country's independence proclamation and was later legally re-established on 14 July 1950. In 1966, the city of Jakarta was split off from West Java as a 'special capital region' (Daerah Khusus Ibukota), with a status equivalent to that of a province,[6] while in 2000 the western parts of the province were in turn split away to form a separate Banten province.

Even following these split-offs, West Java is the most populous province of Indonesia with a population of 48,274,160 as of the 2020 Census,[7] which grew to 48,782,402 at mid 2021 according to the official estimates.[8] The province's largest cities, Bekasi (a satellite city within the Jakarta metropolitan area) and Bandung, are the third and fourth most populous cities in Indonesia respectively. Bandung is also one of the most densely populated cities proper in the world.[9]


Rice fields terrace in Priangan highland, West Java, Dutch East Indies
. In/before 1926.

The oldest human inhabitant archaeological findings in the region were unearthed in

Batujaya Archaeological Site dating from the 2nd century[citation needed] and, according to Dr Tony Djubiantono, the head of Bandung Archaeology Agency, Jiwa Temple in Batujaya, Karawang, West Java was also built around this time.[citation needed

One of the earliest known[

Sanskrit describing the kings of the kingdom Tarumanagara.[10] Records of Tarumanegara's administration lasted until the sixth century, which coincides with the attack of Srivijaya, as stated in the Kota Kapur inscription
(AD 686).

The Sunda Kingdom subsequently became the ruling power of the region, as recorded on the Kebon Kopi II inscription (AD 932).[10]

An Ulama,

Ciliwung River
in 1522.

Although the treaty with the Portuguese had been established, it could not come to realisation.

region, the southeastern part of the kingdom.

In the 16th century, the

Pasundan ("Land of the Sundanese") after the historical name for West Java.[11]

Administrative divisions

Since the creation of

villages (Indonesian: Kelurahan) and 4,301 rural villages (Indonesian: Desa).[12] An 18th regency was formed in October 2012 – Pangandaran Regency – from the southern half of Ciamis Regency. On 25 October 2013, the People's Representative Council (DPR) began reviewing draft laws on the establishment of 57 prospective regencies (and eight new provinces),[13]
including a further three regencies in West Java – South Garut (Garut Selatan), North Sukabumi (Sukabumi Utara) and West Bogor (Bogor Barat) – but none of these three prospective regencies are shown separately on the map below, nor in the following table.

Cities and Regencies of West Java


  1. Bekasi
  2. Depok
  3. Bogor
  4. Sukabumi
  5. Cimahi
  6. Bandung
  7. Tasikmalaya
  8. Banjar
  9. Cirebon
Map of West Java with its cities and regencies names


Logo Name Seat Area
in km2
mid 2021
2021 (/Km²)
Coat of arms of Bekasi.png
Bekasi City 206.61 1,993,478 2,334,871 2,543,680 2,564,941 12,414
Logo Kabupaten Bekasi.jpg
Bekasi Regency Central Cikarang 1,224.88 1,983,815 2,630,401 3,113,017 3,157,962 2,578
Lambang Kota Depok.png
Depok City 200.29 1,374,903 1,738,570 2,056,340 2,085,941 10,415
Emblem of Bogor.svg
Bogor City 118.50 891,467 950,334 1,043,070 1,052,359 8,881
Lambang Kabupaten Bogor.svg
Bogor Regency Cibinong 2,710.62 3,829,053 4,771,932 5,427,070 5,489,536 2,025
Sukabumi coat of arms.png
Sukabumi City 48.25 291,277 298,681 346,330 350,804 7,271
Lambang Kab Sukabumi.svg
Sukabumi Regency Palabuhanratu 4,145.70 2,168,892 2,341,409 2,725,450 2,761,476 666
Lambang Kabupaten Cianjur.svg
Cianjur Regency
3,840.16 2,079,770 2,171,281 2,477,560 2,506,682 653
Kab Bandung Barat.svg
West Bandung Regency
(Bandung Barat)
Ngamprah 1,305.77 (a) 1,510,284 1,788,340 1,814,226 1,389
Kota Cimahi.svg
Cimahi City 39.27 546,879 541,177 568,400 571,632 14,556
Lambang Kota Bandung.svg
Bandung City 167.27 2,288,570 2,394,873 2,444,160 2,452,943 14,665
Lambang Kabupaten Bandung, Jawa Barat, Indonesia.svg
Bandung Regency Soreang 1,767.96 4,037,274 3,178,543 3,623,790 3,666,156 2,074
Lambang Kabupaten Garut.svg
Garut Regency South Tarogong 3,074.07 2,196,422 2,404,121 2,585,610 2,604,787 847
Lambang Kota Tasikmalaya.jpeg
Tasikmalaya City 171.61 582,423 635,464 716,160 723,921 4,218
Tasikmalaya Regency Seal.png
Tasikmalaya Regency Singaparna 2,551.19 1,619,052 1,675,675 1,865,200 1,883,733 738
Lambang Kabupaten Pangandaran.jpg
Pangandaran Regency Parigi 1,010.92 (b) 379,520 423,670 427,614 423
Logo kota banjar.jpg
Banjar City 113.49 162,383 175,157 200,970 203,417 1,792
Ciamis Regency Ciamis 1,597.67 1,511,942 1,152,990 1,229,070 1,237,726 775
Logo Kabupaten kuningan.jpg
Kuningan Regency Kuningan 1,110.56 1,045,691 1,035,589 1,167,690 1,180,391 1,063
Seal of the City of Cirebon.svg
Cirebon City 37.36 308,771 296,389 333,300 336,864 9,017
Lambang Kabupaten Cirebon.gif
Cirebon Regency Sumber 984.52 2,044,257 2,067,196 2,270,620 2,290,967 2,327
Lambang Kabupaten Majalengka.jpeg
Majalengka Regency Majalengka 1,204.24 1,167,566 1,166,473 1,305,480 1,318,965 1,095
Sumedang Regency North Sumedang 1,518.33 1,014,019 1,093,602 1,152,510 1,159,346 764
Indramayu Regency Indramayu 2,040.11 1,689,247 1,663,737 1,834,430 1,851,383 908
Subang Regency
1,893.95 1,380,047 1,465,157 1,595,320 1,608,594 849
Purwakarta Regency Purwakarta 825.74 753,306 852,521 997,870 1,011,466 1,225
Karawang Regency West Karawang 1,652.20 1,926,471 2,127,791 2,439,090 2,468,576 1,494
Totals 35,377.76 38,886,975 43,053,732 48,274,160 48,782,402 1,379

Notes: (a) the 2005 population is included in the total for Bandung Regency, of which West Bandung Regency was formerly part. (b) the 2005 population total for Ciamis Regency include the figure for the new Pangandaran Regency, created in 2012.


View of the mount and the crater of Tangkuban Parahu, Bandung

West Java borders Jakarta and Banten province to the west and Central Java to the east. To the north is the Java Sea. To the south is the Indian Ocean. Unlike most other provinces in Indonesia which have their capitals in coastal areas, the provincial capital, Bandung, is located in the mountainous area in the centre of the province. Banten Province was formerly part of West Java but was created a separate province in 2000. West Java, in the densely populated western third of Java, is home to almost one out of every five Indonesians.

West Java and Banten provinces, as a part of the

Preanger) which means "The abode of hyangs (gods)". It is considered as the heartland of the Sundanese people. The highest point of West Java is the stratovolcano Mount Cereme (3,078 meters) bordering Kuningan and Majalengka Regencies. West Java has rich and fertile volcanic soil. Agriculture, mostly traditional dry rice cultivation (known as ladang or huma), has become the primary way of life of traditional Sundanese people. Since the era of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), West Java has been known as a productive plantation area for coffee, tea, quinine, and many other cash crops. The mountainous region of West Java is also a major producer of vegetables and decorative flowering plants. The landscape of the province is one of volcanic mountains, rugged terrain, forest, mountains, rivers, fertile agricultural land, and natural sea harbours.[14]

Flowing through

Bandung Basin to the northeast is Citarum River, the longest and most important river in the province. This 300-km long river is the site of three dams, namely Cirata Dam, Saguling Dam, and Jatiluhur Dam


Initially, the economy of the

Sultan Agung campaign against Dutch Batavia, sawah (wet rice cultivation) began to be adopted in the northern lowlands of West Java. Regencies such as Indramayu, Cirebon, Subang, Karawang and Bekasi
are now well known as vital rice-producing areas. The mountainous region of West Java supplies vegetables, flower and much horticultural produce to Jakarta and Bandung, while animal farms in West Java produce dairy products and meats.

Colonial period

During the entire Dutch colonial era, West Java fell under Dutch administration centred in

. Since the 18th century, West Java (known as "De Preanger") was known as a productive plantation area and became integrated with global trade and economy. Services such as transportation and banking were provided to cater for wealthy Dutch plantation owners. West Java is known as one of the earliest developed regions in the Indonesian archipelago. In the early 20th century, the Dutch colonial government developed infrastructures for economic purposes, especially to support Dutch plantations in the region. Roads and railways were constructed to connect inland plantations area with urban centres such as Bandung and the port of Batavia.

Post independence

After Indonesian independence in 1945, West Java became a supporting region for

Greater Jakarta area or Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi). The northern area of West Java has become a major industrial area, with areas such as Bekasi, Cikarang and Karawang sprawling with factories and industries. The area in and around Bandung
has also developed as an industrial area.

Natural resources

Based on the data from Indonesia State Secretary, the total area of rice fields in West Java Province in 2006 was 9,488,623 km which produced 9,418,882 tons of paddy in 2006, consisting of 9,103,800 tons rice field paddy and 315,082 tons farmland paddy. Palawija (non-rice food) production, reached 2,044,674 tons with productivity 179.28 quintal per ha. Nevertheless, the widest plant's width is for corn commodity which reaches 148,505 ha. West Java also produces horticulture consists of 2,938,624 tons vegetables, 3,193,744 tons fruits, and 159,871 tons medicines plants/ bio pharmacology.

Forest in West Java covers 764,387.59 ha or 20.62% from the total size of the province. It consists of productive forest 362,980.40 ha (9.79%), protected forest 228,727.11 ha (6.17%), and conservation forest 172,680 ha (4.63%). Mangrove forest reaches 40,129.89 ha, and spread in 10 regencies where coasts are available. Besides, there is also another protected forest of about 32,313.59 ha organised by Perum Perhutani Unit III West Java and Banten.

From the productive forest, in 2006 West Java harvested crop of about 200,675 m³ wood, although the need for wood in this province every year is about 4 million m³. Until 2006, populace forest's width 214,892 ha with wood production is about 893,851.75 m³. West Java also produces non-forest's crop which is potential enough to be developed as forestry work, such as silk, mushroom, pine, dammar, maleleuca, rattan, bamboo, and swallow bird's nest.

In the fishery sector, commodities include goldfish, nila fish, milkfish, freshwater catfish, windu shrimp, green mussel, gouramy, patin, seaweed and vaname shrimp. In 2006, this province harvested 560,000 tons of fish from fishery cultivation crop and brackish or 63.63% from fishery production total in West Java.

In the poultry field, dairy cow, domestic poultry, and ducks are common commodities in West Java. 2006 data stated that there are 96,796 dairy cows (25% of the national population), 4,249,670 sheep, 28,652,493 domestic poultries, and 5,596,882 ducks (16% of the national population). Now there are only 245,994 beef cattle in West Java (3% national population), whereas the need every year is about 300,000 beef cattle.

This province has many plantation crops, such as tea, cloves, coconut, rubber, cacao, tobacco, coffee, sugar, palm and akar wangi (Chrysopogon zizanioides). From all those commodities, cloves, coconut, rubber, cocoa, tobacco, and coffee are common in West Java.[citation needed] From area side, the best productivity, that is plan area's width equals with the plant's width that produces tobacco and sugar palm commodities. From the production side, the highest productivity is oil palm (6.5 tons per ha) and sugar palm (5.5 tons per ha).

West Java also has several mining operations. In 2006, it contributed 5,284 tons zeolite, 47,978 tons bentonite, iron sand, pozzolan cement, feldspar, and jewel barn/ gemstone. Precious stone mining potential generally is found in Garut, Tasikmalaya, Kuningan, and Sukabumi Regency areas.

As consequences of having many volcanoes, West Java has the potential of

Gede Pangrango have conducted pre-exploration.[15]

Raw natural resources include chalk, several offshore oilfields in the Java Sea, and lumber. Most of the province is very fertile, with a mix of small farms and larger plantations. There are several hydropower dams, including Jatiluhur, Saguling, Cirata, and Jatigede.


Tourism is an important industry in West Java, and the

Pelabuhanratu Bay, Ciater hot springs, Kawah Putih crater to the south of Bandung, Pangandaran
beach, and various mountain resorts in Cianjur, Garut, Tasikmalaya, and Kuningan.


Historical population
1971 21,623,529—    
1980 27,453,525+27.0%
1990 35,384,352+28.9%
1995 39,206,787+10.8%
2000 35,729,537−8.9%
2010 43,053,732+20.5%
2020 48,274,160+12.1%
2021 48,782,402+1.1%
2000 Census decline due to the splitting off of Banten as a separate province. Source: Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.

The population of West Java was 43,053,732 at the 2010 Census and 48,274,160 at the 2020 Census, making it the most populous province of Indonesia, home to 18% of the national total on 1.8% of the country's land.[17] Aside from the special district of Jakarta, it is the most densely populated province in the country with an average of 1,364.5 people per km2 (2020 Census). The average annual population growth rate recorded in the ten years to 2010 was 1.9%,[18]

Ethnic and linguistic composition

Ethnic Groups in West Java[3]

Batak (1.09%)
  Minang (0.63%)
  Chinese (0.59%)

West Java is the native homeland of

Chinese Indonesians

In addition to

Cirebonese, a dialect of Javanese with Sundanese influence.[19]

Indonesian is widely spoken as a second language.


Religion in West Java (2020)

Roman Catholic (0.65%)
  Buddhism (0.22%)
  Hinduism (0.04%)
  Confucianism (0.03%)


The Sundanese share the Java island with the Javanese and primarily live in West Java. Although the Sundanese live on the same island as the Javanese, their culture is distinct and likewise consider themselves to live in a separate cultural area called Pasundan or Tatar Sunda. Someone moving from West Java to Central or East Java is literally said to be moving from Sunda to Java worlds. Bandung is considered as the cultural heartland of Sundanese people, and many indigenous Sundanese artforms were developed in this city. The nearby province of Banten is similar in this regard and is also considered to be part of Pasundan as well.


Gamelan orchestra

Gamelan Degung

The musical arts of Sunda, which is an expression of the emotions of Sundanese culture, express politeness and grace of Sundanese.

Degung orchestra consists of Sundanese gamelan

In addition to the Sundanese forms of Gamelan in Parahyangan, the region of Cirebon retains its own distinct musical traditions. Amongst Cirebons' varying Gamelan ensembles the two most frequently heard are Gamelan Pelog (a non-equidistant heptatonic tuning system) and Gamelan Prawa (a semi-equidistant pentatonic tuning system). Gamelan Pelog is traditionally reserved for Tayuban, Wayang Cepak, and listening and dance music of the Kratons in Cirebon, while Gamelan Prawa is traditionally reserved for Wayang Purwa.

Cirebon also retains specialised Gamelan ensembles including Sekaten, which is played in the Kratons to mark important times in the Islamic calendar, Denggung, also a Kraton ensemble, which is believed to have some "supernatural powers", and Renteng, an ensemble found in both Cirebon and Parahyangan known for its loud and energetic playing style.

Zither ensembles

Tembang Sunda is a genre of Sundanese vocal music accompanied by a core ensemble of two Kacapi (zither) and a Suling (bamboo flute). The music and poetry of tembang Sunda are closely associated with the Parahyangan, the highland plateau that transverses the central and southern parts of Sunda. The natural environment of Priangan, an agricultural region surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, is reflected in some songs of the tembang Sunda.[20]

Kacapi suling is tembang Sunda minus vocal.

Tarawangsa is a genuine popular art is performed on ensemble consists of tarawangsa (a violin with an end pin) and the jentreng (a kind of seven-stringed zither). It is accompanied by a secret dance called Jentreng. The dance is a part of a ritual celebrating the goddess of paddy Dewi Sri. Its ceremonial significance is associated with a ritual of thanksgiving associated with the rice harvest. Tarawangsa can also be played for healing or even purely for entertainment.

Bamboo ensembles

The three main types of Sundanese bamboo ensembles are angklung, calung, karinding and arumba. The exact features of each ensemble vary according to context, related instruments, and relative popularity.

Angklung is a generic term for sets of tuned, shaken bamboo rattles. Angklung consists of a frame upon which hang several different lengths of hollow bamboo. Angklungs are played like handbells, with each instrument played to a different note. Angklung rattles are played in interlocking patterns, usually with only one or two instruments played per person. The ensemble is used in Sundanese processions, sometimes with trance or acrobatics. Performed at life-cycle rituals and feasts (hajat), angklung is believed to maintain balance and harmony in the village. In its most modern incarnation, angklung is performed in schools as an aid to learning music.

The Angklung received international attention when Daeng Soetigna, from Bandung, expanded the angklung notations not only to play traditional pélog or sléndro scales but also diatonic scale in 1938. Since then, angklung is often played together with other Western musical instruments in an orchestra. One of the first well-known performances of angklung in an orchestra was during the Bandung Conference in 1955.

Like those in angklung, the instruments of the calung ensemble are of bamboo, but each consists of several differently tuned tubes fixed onto a piece of bamboo; the player holds the instrument in his left hand and strikes it with a beater held in his right. The highest-pitched calung has the highest number of tubes and the densest musical activity; the lowest-pitched, with two tubes, has the least. Calung is nearly always associated with earthy humour, and is played by men.

Arumba refers to a set of diatonically tuned bamboo xylophones, often played by women. It is frequently joined by modern instruments, including a drum set, electric guitar, bass, and keyboards.


Wayang Golek
, a traditional Sundanese puppetry.