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(bôr`nēō'), island (1990 pop. 9,102,906), c.287,000 sq mi (743,330 sq km), largest of the Malay Archipelago and third largest island in the world, SW of the Philippines and N of Java. Indonesian Borneo (called Kalimantan by the Indonesians and divided into several provinces) covers over 70% of the total area, and the Malaysian states of SabahSabah
, state (1991 pop. 1,736,902), 28,417 sq mi (73,600 sq km), Malaysia, N Borneo, on the South China and Sulu seas. It is bordered on the south by Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). The capital is Kota Kinabalu; other significant towns are Sandakan and Victoria.
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 and SarawakSarawak
, state (1991 pop. 1,648,217), 48,342 sq mi (125,206 sq km), Malaysia, in NW Borneo and on the South China Sea. It is bordered on the NE by the states of Brunei and Sabah and on the S and W by Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).
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 and the sultanate of BruneiBrunei
or Brunei Darussalam
, officially State of Brunei Darussalam, sultanate (2005 est. pop. 372,400), 2,226 sq mi (5,765 sq km), NW Borneo, on the South China Sea. Its two sections, separated by Brunei Bay, are surrounded by Sarawak, Malaysia.
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 stretch across the north coast.

Land and People

The island largely consists of dense jungle and mountains, reaching its highest point at Mt. Kinabalu (13,455 ft/4,101 m) in Sabah. Much of the terrain is virtually impassable, and large areas are unexplored. Many of the rivers are navigable to small craft, however, and provide access into the interior. The largest rivers are the Kapuas in the west and the Barito in the south. The coastal area is generally swampy and fringed with mangrove forests. Banjarmasin, Pontianak, Balikpapan, Tarakan, Kuching, Bandar Seri Begawan, and Sandakan are leading ports. The climate is tropical, i.e., hot and humid; annual rainfall averages more than 100 in. (254 cm), and there is a prolonged monsoon (generally from November to May). The fauna is roughly similar to that of Sumatra and includes the elephant, deer, orangutan, gibbon, Malay bear, and crocodile, and many varieties of snakes. Rhinoceroses, once numerous, have been extensively hunted and are now almost extinct.

The island is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world. The two major ethnic groups are the DyaksDyak
or Dayak
, name applied to one of the groups of indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, numbering about 2 million. The Dyaks have maintained their customs and mode of life largely uninfluenced by modern civilization.
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 and the coastal Malays. Kalimantan was also a center for Chinese settlement and has a number of immigrants resettled during the second half of the 20th cent. from overcrowded areas of Indonesia, particularly Madura.


Kalimantan contains Indonesia's greatest expanse of tropical rain forests, including valuable stands of camphor, sandalwood, and ironwood, and many palms. The thick jungle and myriad insects tend to discourage large-scale agriculture, but rice, sago, tobacco, millet, coconuts, pepper, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coffee, and rubber are grown. In 1983, over 13,000 sq mi (20,917 sq km) of rain forest were destroyed by fire, causing enormous damage to the ecosystem, and immigration from other, heavily populated parts of Indonesia, combined with illegal logging, has resulted in increasing deforestation, threatening the orangutan, the pygmy elephant, and other species. Kalimantan contains some of Indonesia's most productive oil fields (discovered in 1888). Coal has been mined there for more than a century, and gold since earliest times. In 1995 one of the richest gold deposits in the world was discovered in NE Kalimantan. Other mineral resources include industrial diamonds, bauxite, and extensive reserves of low-grade iron ore, which are, however, little exploited.


Borneo was visited by the Portuguese in 1521, and shortly thereafter by the Spanish, who established trade relations with the island. The Dutch arrived in the early 1600s, and the English c.1665. Dutch influence was established on the west coast in the early 1800s and was gradually extended to the south and east. The British adventurer James BrookeBrooke, Sir James,
1803–68, rajah of Sarawak on Borneo, b. India, of English parents. After active service in Burma (1825–26), he retired (1830) from the army of the East India Company.
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 took the north edge of the island in the 1840s, and what is now Sabah was declared a British protectorate in 1882, Sarawak and Brunei in 1888. The final boundaries were defined in 1905. In World War II the island was held by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945. Dutch Borneo became part of the republic of Indonesia in 1950. The union of Sabah and Sarawak with Malaya in the Federation of MalaysiaMalaysia
, independent federation (2005 est. pop. 23,953,000), 128,430 sq mi (332,633 sq km), Southeast Asia. The official capital and by far the largest city is Kuala Lumpur; Putrajaya is the adminstrative capital.
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 in 1963 was resented by Indonesians. Indonesian guerrilla raids against both areas, begun in 1964, continued sporadically until Aug., 1966. The sultanate of Brunei became fully independent in 1984. The resettlement of non-Dyak Indonesians in Kalimantan has led to recurrent violence against the settlers by Dyaks.


an island in the W Pacific, between the Sulu and Java Seas, part of the Malay Archipelago: divided into Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, and the sultanate of Brunei; mountainous and densely forested. Area: about 750 000 sq. km (290 000 sq. miles)
References in periodicals archive ?
The point of this exemption is to allow for legitimate debate and freedom of expression, and thereby enable organisations to educate consumers about the environmental impacts of products, like that of palm oil consumption on the critically endangered Bornean Sun Bear.
This suggests that terrestrial locomotion is a greater part of the Bornean orangutan's natural behavioural repertoire than previously understood and is only modified by habitat disturbance," he said.
Borneo is famous as the home of one of our closest relatives, the Bornean Orangutan, and to encounter one of these charismatic and intelligent Apes in its wild environment is truly an emotional experience that will stay with you long after the journey itself.
Hong Kong, Rabi'I 18, 1433, Feb 10, 2012, SPA -- Two baby Bornean orangutan twins, the first to be bred in Hong Kong, made their public debut at the city's Zoological and Botanical Gardens Friday, according to dpa.
Significant populations of Chinese, Indian and indigenous Bornean people add to the nation's unique culture.
There is such a large obesity epidemic today and yet we don't really understand the basis of the obesity condition or how these high-protein or low-protein diets work," said Vogel, whose research, Bornean orangutans on the brink of protein bankruptcy, represents the first time scientists have looked at how these long-haired, orange-colored apes -- that depend on low-protein fruit to survive -- endure protein cycling, or period bouts of protein deprivation.
Academics from Cardiff University's School of Biosciences are monitoring the rare Bornean slow loris on the Malaysian island, in an effort to learn more about the elusive creature.
On the contrary, it has a complete set of outstanding plates of the 664 Bornean species, and it also has range maps for all non-migratory (and most migratory) birds on the island.
Today, only about 50,000 Bornean and 7,000 Sumatran orang-utans remain in the wild.
The number of BORNEAN ORANGUTANS - native to the Asian island - has dwindled to 50,000.
Some, including the Bornean and Sumatran orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and P.
Greenpeace also estimates that recently there are between 45,000 and 69,000 Bornean and no more 7,300 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild.