Jambi Province

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Jambi Province geographically, is located between 00 451 to 20 451 south latitude and 1010 101 to 1040 551 east longitude. The borders of Jambi Province are Riau Province and Kepulauan Riau Province in the north, South Chinese Sea in the east, Sumatera Selatan Province in the south and Sumatra Barat Province. The area of Jambi Province is 53.435 Km2 that consists of :

  • Kerinci Regency : 4.200 Km2 (7,86%)
  • Merangin Regency : 6.380 Km2 (11,94%)
  • Sarolangun Regency : 7.820 Km 2 (14,63%)
  • Batanghari Regency : 4.983 Km2 (9,33%)
  • Muaro Jambi Regency : 6.147 Km2 (11,50%)
  • Tanjung Jabung Timur Regency : 5.330 Km2 (9,97%)
  • Tanjung Jabung Barat Regency : 4.870 Km2 (9,11%)
  • Tebo Regency 6.340 Km2 (11,86%)
  • Bungo Regency 7.160 Km2 (13,40%)


Ethnic Groups

Jambi’s largest ethnic group is the Malays. Except for recent divergences through colonization and other types of cultural drifting, Malays and Jambinese are generally the same people, both racially, culturally, and linguistically. However, there are some differences religiously, as Malays in Malaya tend to mostly be Hindu, while Jambi Malays tend to be split between three religions (see “Religions” section below).

71% Jambinese (Jambi Malay)

06% Javanese

05% Sundanese

04% Kerinci

03% Chinese

03% Komering

02% Indian

02% Minangkabau

02% Banyuasin

02% others (Banjarese, Buginese, etc)



The river port of Jambi, the capital of the province of that name, is situated in the central region of Sumatra on the river Batanghari which flows east into the Berhala Straits. Jambi is positioned on the busy sea route between China and India , and the region played a major part in early maritime trade. The Tang Annals record that as early as the seventh century A.D. and again in the ninth century Jambi sent ambassadors to the court of Chinese emperor ( Wang Gungwu 1958;74). These earliest records of Jambi show it to have been the original capital of Melayu ( Malaya Kingdom ) The ancient Hindu – Buddhist Kingdom of Sriwijaya also had its capital in Jambi at about this time.


Pict: Muaro Jambi Temple, the most believed capital of the ancient Malay Kingdom

Muaro jambi, a large temple complex several kilometers downstream from the present capital may well have been the center of Buddhist learning referred to by the Chinese monk I-Tsing, who traveled from to India in 671. He studied in Sriwijaya for four years, then returned in 689 with four collaborators, to write two books in the Buddhist pilgrims and Buddhism of his time. It is during they stay that he noted that Malayu ” is now the country of Sriwijaya”.


Pict: A 1915 founded Holy Quran reading-school located on the site of old Jambi village.

Scholars have differed in their interpretations of this remark ; certainly the relationship between Melayu and Sriwijaya was a very close one, although there were some clearly period of Malay independence when Sriwijaya was based in nearby Palembang. By the eleventh century the capital had certainly moved to Jambi ( Wolters 1970:2 ). As well as functioning as an entreport, Jambi also produced its own exports including a variety of tree resins for use as incense, as well as cloves, tortoise-shell, gardenia flowers and cardamom. From Arab traders it imported cotton, fabrics and sword blades ; from China silk gauzes and thread, the latter possibly used in the manufacturer of silk brocades decorated in gold supplementary weft, the “songket” for which the Malay world later became famous