Bantam. I. A Dutch province forming the western end of the island of Java, separated from Sumatra by the strait of Sunda; area, 3,081 sq. m.; pop. in 1857, 577,107. The coasts are level, but the interior districts mountainous, and there are two active volcanoes, one of which, Karang, is 6,069 feet high. The chief productions are coffee, rice, sugar, indigo, tea, cinnamon, and bay salt. All of these, except rice and salt, are exotics. Pepper, which first attracted European adventurers, and made this country one of the most noted commercial points during the 17th century, is no longer cultivated. The wild animals include tigers, rhinoceroses, apes, and pigs. Cattle, buffaloes, and goats are extensively reared, and there are considerable fisheries on the coasts. The mass of the population of Bantam are of the Sunda nation, and speak its peculiar language; but on the coast they are mixed with Malays, Javanese, and others who speak Malay. Bantam was an independent state under a sultan prior to the Dutch dominion. It was first visited by the Portuguese, under Henrique Leme, in 1511. The Dutch, under the two brothers Houtman, came in 1596; and one of the brothers was captured and held prisoner for some time by the sultan.
The English made their first appearance here in 1602, and were engaged in almost constant hostilities with their European rivals, but the English and Portuguese were finally driven out by the Dutch. For a long time the district was held as a sort of dependency by the Dutch East India company until 1843, when the last of its rajahs was banished to Surabaya, at the further end of Java, and the country made a province. There are 41 small islands and islets, chiefly in the strait of Sunda, which belong to the government of this province. II. A town, formerly capital of the above described province, situated at the head of a bay on the N. coast of the island, 15 m. from the strait of Sunda and 61 m. W. of Ba-tavia; lat. 6° 2' S., lon. 106° 9' E. Before the arrival of Europeans it was a prosperous city with a rich trade in pepper. The Portuguese, English, and Dutch each had a factory here. The capital, however, was in 1816 removed to Sirang, some miles inland. The trade has gone to Batavia, the harbor has been obstructed by the increase of coral reefs and deposits from the rivers, and since the destruction of most of the houses by fire in 1817 the town has not been rebuilt.