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The Province of North Kalimantan was formed on 25 October 2012 from the norther part of East Kalimantan. It borders the Malaysian states of Sabah to the north and Sarawak to the west, and by the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan to the south.

The territory of former Belungan Sultanate is on the territory of the province.

Belungan Sultanate (also spelled Boeloengan, Bulungan) was founded by a Kayan group, the Uma Apan, who originated from the interior region of Apo Kayan (Kayan Highland Plateau), before settling near the coast in the 17th century. Around 1650, a princess of the group married a man from Brunei. This marriage founded a Hindu lineage who settled in the region of today's Tanjung Selor. Around 1750, this dynasty converted to Islam. Its rulers took the title of Sultan and were recognised as vassals of the sultan of Berau, the latter acknowledging himself a vassal of the kingdom of Kutai.

The Dutch, intervening in the region to combat piracy and the trafficking in slaves, conquered Berau in 1834, imposed their sovereignty upon Kutai in 1848 and signed a Politiek Contract with the Sultan of Bulungan in 1850. Until 1860, Bulungan was a subject of the Tausug of the Sultanate of Sulu [1]. During this period, vessels began travelling to Sulu, Tarakan, and thence into the interior of Bulungan, to trade directly with Tidung. This influence ended in 1878 with the signing of a treaty between the English and Spanish partitioning Sulu.

In 1881, the North Borneo Chartered Company was created, thereby placing northern Borneo under British jurisdiction, despite initial Dutch objections. [2] The Sultanate was finally incorporated into the colonial empire of the Dutch East Indies in the 1880s. The Dutch installed a government post in 1893 in Tanjung Selor. In the 20th century, like many other princely states of the archipelago, the Sultan was forced to sign a Korte verklaring (short statement) in which he sold most of its powers over land upstream.

The Dutch eventually recognised the border between the two jurisdictions in 1915. The Sultanate was granted Zelfbestuur (autonomy) in 1928, like many other princely states of the Netherlands Indies.

In 1950 the territory received the status of Bulungan Wilayah swapraja, (autonomous territory), before receiving the status of  Wilayah istimewa, (special territory), in 1955. The last Sultan, Jalaluddin, died in 1958. The Sultanate was abolished in 1959 and the territory became a simple kabupaten, (department).


Sultans of Belungan

Aji Muhammad bin Muhammad Zainul Abidin


Muhammad Alimuddin Amirul Muminin Kahharuddin I bin Muhammad Zainul Abidin

1st time  -1848

Muhammad Jalaluddin bin Muhammad Kahharuddin

1848 – 1866

Muhammad Alimuddin Amirul Muminin Kahharuddin I bin Muhammad Zainul Abidin

2nd time1866 – 1873

Muhammad Khalifatul Adil

1873 – 1874

Muhammad Kahharuddin II bin Maharaja Lela

1874 –

Maulana Ahmad Sulaimanuddin

– 1930

Maulana Muhammad Djalaluddin

1930 – 1958

Maulana Al Mamun Ibni Maulana Muhammad Djalaluddin

1958 –

Sultanate abolished, 1959


 1 Belungan


Sultan Maulana Muhammad Kasim Djalaluddin, (1930-’58)

Collectie Stichting Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen


The Sultan wears the uniform of the Dutch colonial government. On his cap is the Dutch achievement within a garland


Flag of Belungan Sultanate after 1928


Royal Standard of H.H. The Sultan of Belungan 1931-‘58. [3]



The initials S.M.M.D.X. mean: Sultan Maulana Muhammad Djalaluddin X, the X meaning the tenth sultan of Bulungan,.


Present  Sultans’ Achievement


2 Kalimantan Utara


Arms: Azure, a base wavy of the darker shade of Azure, four barrulets wavy Argent, rising therefrom a split gate in the Indonesian national colours, enclosing a dayak shield and a parang and tombak in saltire Or and Sable, surrounded by a garland of ears of rice and cotton-flowers proper; in chief a listel Argent inscribed KALIMANTAN UTARA Sable and a five-pointed star above Or. In base a listel Or inscribed BENUANTA Sable


The five corners of the shield symbolize the state philosophy Pancasila


The shield itself and the barrulets symbolise the sky, the sea and the rivers Kayan, Sesayap, Sembakung and Sebuku, connecting the settlements of the interior with the coast


The split gate and the weaponry symbolize the peoples of the northern border of the Republic of Indonesia.


The garland of 22 grains of rice, four windings of the ribbon and 13 cotton-flowers symbolize the crops bringing progress and prosperity to the people of North Kalimantan


The five-pointed star symbolizes God Almighty


The colors mean:

White: purity, sincerity, honesty

Blue: beauty, prosperity, peace, dignity

Green: fertility, prosperity, faith, pertembuhan

Black: firmness, protection, personality

Red: courage, strength

Yellow: glory, majesty, success


Ζ See illustration in the head of this essay



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 © Hubert de Vries 2016-06-26




[1] Flags and Symbols of Sulu

[2] http://www.hubert-herald.nl/MalaysiaStatesII.htm#Sabah

[3] http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/id-prb.html


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