1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Banjermasin

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BANJERMASIN (Dutch Bandjermasin), the chief town in the Dutch portion of the island of Borneo, East Indies, on the river Martapura, near its junction with the Barito, 24 m. from the mouth of the Barito in a bay of the south coast. The town is the seat of the Dutch resident of South and East Borneo. Its buildings stand on either bank of the river, but many of the inhabitants (who number nearly 50,000) occupy houses either floating on, or built on piles in the river. As large vessels can sail up to the town, it is a trade centre for the products of the districts along the banks of the Barito and Martapura, such as benzoin, rattans, wax, gold, diamonds, iron and weapons. In 1700 the East Indian Company established a factory here; but the place was found to be unhealthy, and the Company's servants were finally attacked by the natives, whom they repulsed with great difficulty. The settlement was abandoned. The English again seized Banjermasin in 1811, but restored it in 1817. Of the commercial community the Chinese are a very important portion, and there is also a considerable number of Arabs. The district of Banjermasin was incorporated by the Dutch in consequence of the war of 1860, in regard to the succession in the sultanate, which had been under their protection since 1787. The town of Martapura was the seat of the sultan from 1771. The inland portion of the district is covered with forest, while the flat and swampy seaboard is largely occupied by rice-fields. The inhabitants are mostly Dyaks.