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(so͞o'läwā`sē), formerly


(sĕl`əbēz), island (1990 pop. 12,511,163), c.73,000 sq mi (189,070 sq km), largest island in E Indonesia, E of Borneo, from which it is separated by the Makasar Strait. Extremely irregular in shape, it comprises four large peninsulas separated by three gulfs—Tomini on the northeast, Tolo on the southeast, and Bone on the south. Ujung PandangUjung Pandang
, formerly Makasar
, city (1990 pop. 944,685), SW Sulawesi, capital of Sulawesi Selatan prov., Indonesia. The largest city in Sulawesi, it is one of Indonesia's important seaports, a distribution and transshipment point for goods from Europe and Asia.
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 (Makasar) is its chief city and port; other important towns are ManadoManado
or Menado
, town (1990 pop. 318,406), capital of Sulawesi Utara prov., on the northeast coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is a trade center and seaport on an inlet of the Celebes Sea; exports include copra, coffee, spices, sugarcane, and lumber.
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, Gorontalo, and Palopo.

The terrain is almost wholly mountainous, with a number of active volcanoes on northern peninsula, including Mt. Soputan, Mt. Lokon, and Mt. Mahawu. Mt. Rantemario or Latimojong (11,286 ft/3,440 m) and Mt. Rantekombola (11,335 ft/3,455 m), located on the southwest peninsula, are the highest peaks. There are numerous lakes; Towuti is the largest and Tondano, with its waterfall, the most beautiful. Asian and Australian elements are comingled in the fauna, which includes the babirusa (resembling swine), the anoa, a small wild ox found only in Sulawesi, the baboon, some rare species of parrot, and many crocodiles.

Valuable stands of timber cover much of the island; many forest products are exported. Mineral resources include nickel, gold, diamonds, sulfur, and low-grade iron ore. The mountainous terrain, with only a few narrow coastal plains, limits agriculture; many inhabitants seek their livelihood from the sea, and there are trepang (sea cucumber) and mother-of-pearl industries. Sulawesi is, however, a major source of copra, and corn, rice, cassava, yams, tobacco, and spices are grown. Tourism was developed in the 1990s, and Sulawesi has become especially attractive to divers.

The inhabitants of Sulawesi are Malayan, except for some indigenous ethnic groups in the interior. The largest ethnic group is the Makasarese-Bugis, who are renowned as seafaring traders; they are Muslim. In the north are the Minahassa, who are Christian. The Univ. of North and Central Sulawesi is in Manado, and private universities are in Manado, Gorontalo, and Ujung Pandang.

Human settlement of the island is ancient. Paleolithic artPaleolithic art
, art produced during the Paleolithic period. Study and knowledge of this art largely have been confined to works discovered at many sites in W Europe, where the most magnificent surviving examples are paintings in a number of caves in N Spain and S France, but
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 found in Sulawesi caves has been dated to at least 40,000 years ago. The Portuguese first visited the island in 1512. The Dutch expelled the Portuguese in the 1600s and conquered the natives in the Makasar War (1666–69). In 1950, it became one of 10 provinces of newly created Indonesia; it has since been divided into 4 provinces. Since 1998 the island has been the site of violence between Muslims and Christians. An earthquake and tsunami in 2018 killed more than 2,000 in W Sulawesi. The Sulawesi Sea or Celebes Sea is north of the island, between it and the Philippines.



(also Celebes), an island in the Malay Archipelago; part of Indonesia. Area, approximately 170,000 sq km (including nearby islands, approximately 190,000 sq km). Population, 8.5 million (1971).

The island is composed of ancient granites and gneisses, Mesozoic limestones, and sedimentary and volcanic rocks of recent origin. Its configuration stems from a combination of horsts, faults, and folded mountain chains of varying extent. Four peninsulas extend outward from the island’s center; no place on the island is more than 150 km from the coast. The coasts are for the most part precipitous, and the total coastline is approximately 6,000 km long. Coral reefs fringe parts of the coast. Lowlands are few, covering no more than one-fifth of the surface area. Mountains predominate, with Mount Rantekombola, at 3,455 m, the highest peak on the island. The mountains are typically steep, with flat summits. Active volcanoes, including Mount Soputan, dot the Minahasa Peninsula. Earthquakes often occur there.

The climate is subequatorial and monsoonal on most of the island and equatorial in the north. On the coast, the average temperature is 25°-27°C throughout the year. The annual precipitation ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 mm. The dry season lasts from July through October. The rivers are short and turbulent. Lakes are numerous; Towuti and Poso are among the largest.

Dense equatorial forests cover much of the island. They are rich in species, including palms, dipterocarps, conifers, panda-nuses, sandalwood, ebony, ironwood, teak, lianas, and bamboo. In the south and in the closed basins of the mountains are savanna and thickets of shrubs, with the occurrence of Australian species.

The fauna of Sulawesi represent a complex mixture of Indo-Malayan and Australian species, with an admixture of endemic species, such as the babirusa, anoa, crested macaque, two-horned rhinoceros, and elephant. The birdlife is varied, with such notable species as cockatoos and birds of paradise. The flora and fauna of Sulawesi are officially protected in the Tangkoku-Batuangus Nature Park, the site of the volcanic Mount Klabat.

Sulawesi has deposits of nickel at Kolaka, iron ore in latentes at Larona, and precious metals. Rice and sweet potatoes are among the principal crops, and there are plantations of coconut palm, coffee, spices, and rubber plants. Fishing is a major local industry. The principal cities are Ujung Pandang (Makasar) and Wenang (Manado).


At the end of the first millennium and beginning of the second millennium A.D., a series of feudal states, including those of Bone, Gowa, and Luwu, emerged on Sulawesi. In the late 13th and 14th centuries, the states of Sulawesi were vassal states of the Majapahit Empire, which spread over all of what is now Indonesia. From the 17th to early 20th centuries, Sulawesi was ruled by the Dutch.

In 1946, during the Netherlands’ colonial war against the Republic of Indonesia, which had been proclaimed on Aug. 17, 1945, the Dutch colonialists founded the puppet state of East Indonesia, with its capital at Makasar. In December 1946, Dutch authorities killed 40,000 patriots in southern Sulawesi. In 1949, Sulawesi joined the United States of Indonesia, which in 1950 was transformed into the unitary Republic of Indonesia.


Antipov, V. I. Indoneziia. Moscow, 1967.


an island in E Indonesia: mountainous and forested, with volcanoes and hot springs. Pop.: 14 768 400 (1999 est.). Area (including adjacent islands): 229 108 sq. km (88 440 sq. miles)
References in periodicals archive ?
It said residents in North Sulawesi and North Maluku should return to their homes.
Sellers from West Nusa Tenggara also afforded them to lure back tourists to the province after the recent earthquake in Palu, Sulawesi.
'On behalf of the World Bank Group, I would like to offer our deepest condolences to you and your fellow Indonesians for the great loss you have suffered following the devastating events in Lombok and Sulawesi. Our thoughts are with those who lost their lives, the survivors, and the families and loved ones of all those affected.'
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Chen said in his speech that the earthquake that hit Central Sulawesi has caused a huge loss of life as well as property loss, thus the Taiwanese government and citizens have felt a deep sense of grief over this disaster.
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Jakarta [Indonesia], Oct 08 ( ANI ): Indonesia's military and disaster agency officials confirmed that the death toll in the earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi has mounted to 1,944 on Sunday.
Until yesterday, at least 1,200 people were reportedly killed in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi after a mega earthquake and tsunami struck its capital, Palu, and surrounding towns.
Authorities scrambled to get food, aid and equipment into Sulawesi on Monday as the death toll appeared certain to rise, three days after the 7.5 magnitude quake and tsunami hit the island.
EDITORIAL - Death in Indonesia !-- -- (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2018 - 12:00am The death toll from the 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia's Sulawesi island soared to 832 as of midday yesterday, with officials seeing the figure rising to over a thousand.
Makassar -- A powerful earthquake hit central Indonesia on Friday, causing a tsunami that slammed into a city on Sulawesi island with officials saying the tremor had levelled 'many' buildings.