Riau Islands Province (Indonesian: Provinsi
Kepulauan Riau (Kepri or Riau Kepulauan) consists of the
Riau Archipelago, Natuna Islands, Anambas, and Lingga Islands.
After the fall of
Melaka in 1511, the Riau islands became the center of political power of the
mighty Sultanate of Johor or Johor-Riau, based on Bintan island,
and were for long considered the center of Malay culture.
changed the fate of Riau as a political, cultural or economic center when
European powers struggled to control the regional trade routes and took
advantage of political weaknesses within the sultanate. Singapore island,
that had been for centuries part of the same greater Malay kingdoms and
sultanates, and under direct control of the Sultan of Johor, came under
control of the British.
The creation of
a European-controlled territory in the heart of the Johor-Riau natural
boundaries broke the sultanate into two parts, destroying the cultural and
political unity that had existed for centuries. The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of
1824 consolidated this separation, with the British controlling all
territories north of the Singapore strait and the Dutch controlling
territories from Riau to Java.
As a result of the
Anglo-Dutch treaty the Sultan of
Riau-Lingga settled on Lingga and his Viceroy at his stronghold in
Riau. The State of Riau-Lingga however was extinguished in 1911 and Lingga
became a district of the Residence of Riau and Dependencies (Riouw en
Onderhoorigheden) under direct Dutch Rule and its successor the Indonesian
Islands were split off from Riau Province as a separate province in July 2004
with Tanjung Pinang as its capital, located at south of Bintan island.
As the last sultan
has destroyed his palace before he took refuge to Singapore, little is known
about its early national and royal emblems. According to muslim tradition
however, these could have been a sun (the empire), a crescent (the state) and
a star (the ruler). The flag of the sultan was white, the emblem of the last
sultan, worn on his headdress as a kind of sarpech, consisted of a
crescent and five-pointed star (head of state).
Flag of the Sultan 
ğ See also: Provinsi Riau
In the time of
Dutch Rule the achievement of the Kingdom of
the Netherlands was used and later the achievement of the Indonesian Republic.
This was succeeded by the arms of Riau Province. The present emblem of
Kepulauan Riau is:
Emblem: A sailing vessel Or, its sail Argent,
carrying a keris per pale Or, its hilt Sable, surrounded by a garland of rice
and cotton issuing from a sirih dish Gules, on a base wavy Argent and Azure;
in chief the name of the province PROVINSI KEPALAUAN RIAU in white lettering
Backshield: Azure, a bordure Vert, charged with a
chain of 32 shakles Sable
Motto: BERPANCANG AMANAH BERSAUH
MARWAH (With Trust as
Foundation and Dignity as the Anchor) in black lettering on a scroll Or.
ğ See illustration in the head of this
Today Kepalauan Riau is controlled by
Kodam I/Bukit Barisan
The arms show, on
a disk on the usual shield per bend sinister Or and Sable, a sailing vessel
on five waves of the sea before Barelang bridge, a
sirih dish and two fruited mango leaves.
Fisabilillah bridge connects Batam and Tonton island. It stretches for
642 meters and is the most popular bridge of all, being a cable-stayed bridge
with two 199 m high pylons and a main span of 350 m.
© Hubert de Vries
 ) Rühl, Dirk: Vlaggen van
den Oost-Indischen Archipel (1600-1942). In: Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau
voor Genealogie. Dl. VI, 1952. pp. 136-148.