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South Sulawesi

South Sulawesi (Indonesian: Sulawesi Selatan, abbreviated as Sulsel; Buginese: ᨔᨘᨒᨓᨙᨔᨗ ᨑᨗᨐᨈ) is a province in the southern peninsula of Sulawesi. The Selayar Islands archipelago to the south of Sulawesi is also part of the province. The capital is Makassar. The province is bordered by Central Sulawesi and West Sulawesi to the north, the Gulf of Bone and Southeast Sulawesi to the east, Makassar Strait to the west, and Flores Sea to the south.

The 2010 census estimated the population as 8,032,551 which makes South Sulawesi the most populous province on the island (46% of the population of Sulawesi is in South Sulawesi), and the sixth most populous province in Indonesia. By mid 2019 this was estimated to have risen to 8,819,500.[3] The main ethnic groups in South Sulawesi are the Buginese, Makassarese, Toraja, and Mandar. The economy of the province is based on agriculture, fishing, and mining of gold, magnesium, iron and other metals. The pinisi, a traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship, is still used widely by the Buginese and Makassarese, mostly for inter-insular transportation, cargo, and fishing purposes within the Indonesian archipelago.

During the golden era of the spice trade, from the 15th to 19th centuries, South Sulawesi served as the gateway to the Maluku Islands. There were a number of small kingdoms, including two prominent ones, the Kingdom of Gowa near Makassar and the Bugis kingdom located in Bone. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) began operating in the region in the 17th century. VOC later allied with the Bugis prince, Arung Palakka, and they defeated the kingdom of Gowa. The king of Gowa, Sultan Hasanuddin was forced to sign a treaty which greatly reduced the power of Bungaya Gowa.


A village in South Sulawesi 1929
Celebes Map 1905

Sulawesi was first inhabited by humans about 30,000 years ago. The archaeological remains of the earliest inhabitants were discovered in caves near limestone hills around Maros, about 30 km northeast of Makassar, the capital of the South Sulawesi province. Pebble and flake stone tools have been collected from the river terraces in the valley of Walanae, among Soppeng and Sengkang, including the bones from giant pig and elephant species that are now extinct. Hand print paintings, estimated to be around 35,000 to 40,000 years old, have been found in the Pettakere cave,[4] located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the town of Maros and 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Makassar.[5]

During the golden era of the spice trade, from the 15th to 19th centuries, South Sulawesi served as the gateway to the Maluku Islands.

At around the 14th century in South Sulawesi there were a number of small kingdoms, including two prominent ones, the Kingdom of Gowa near Makassar and the Bugis kingdom located in Bone. In 1530, the kingdom of Gowa began development and in the mid 16th century, Gowa become one of the most important trade centers in eastern Indonesia. In 1605, the King of Gowa embraced Islam and made the kingdom of Gowa Islamist and between the years 1608 and 1611, the Kingdom of Gowa conquered the kingdom of Bugis so that Islam could be spread to the regions of Makassar and Bone.

Regent of Maros, Makassar, Sulawesi

Dutch East India Company began operating in the region in the 17th century and saw the Kingdom of Gowa as an obstacle to its desire for control of the spice trade in this area. VOC later allied with the Bugis prince, Arung Palakka, who was living in exile after the fall of the Bugis. After a year-long battle, they defeated the kingdom of Gowa. And the king of Gowa, Sultan Hasanuddin was forced to sign a treaty which greatly reduced the power of Bungaya Gowa. Furthermore, Palakka became ruler in South Sulawesi.

A Bugis queen later emerged to lead the resistance against the Dutch, who were busy dealing with the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. Yet once past the Napoleonic Wars, the Dutch returned to South Sulawesi and eradicated the queen's rebellion. But resistance of the Bugis people against colonial rule continued until 1905. In 1905, the Dutch also managed to conquer Tana Toraja.

Mangi Mangi Karaeng Bontonompo, king of Gowa, with the public and some dignitaries during the installation of acting governor of Celebes and dependencies, Mr. Bosselaar, 1937

Before the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia, South Sulawesi consisted of a number of independent kingdoms' territory and was inhabited by four ethnic groups namely the Bugis, Makassar, Mandar, and Toraja.


South Sulawesi is located at 4°20'S 120°15'E and covers an area of 45,764.53 square kilometres. The province is bordered by Central Sulawesi and West Sulawesi to the north, the Gulf of Bone and Southeast Sulawesi to the east, Makassar Strait to the west, and Flores Sea to the south.

Administrative divisions

Five years after independence, the government issued Law No. 21 of 1950, which became the basis of the legal establishment for the Sulawesi province. Ten years later, the government passed Law No. 47 of 1960 which endorsed the formation of the South/Southeast Sulawesi province. Four years after that, with Act No. 13 of 1964, the provinces of South Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi were separated.

Forty years later, the South Sulawesi government was split into two, with the regencies of Majene, Mamasa, Mamuju, Pasangkayu, and Polewali Mandar were separated off into a new West Sulawesi province on 5 October 2004 under Act No. 26 of 2004.

The remaining South Sulawesi Province is divided into 21 regencies and three independent cities, listed below with their areas and their populations as of the 2010 Census and according to official statistics for 1 January 2014.[6]

Name Area (km2) Population
Census 2000
Census 2010
Estimate 2014
Capital HDI[7]
2014 Estimates
Makassar (city) 175.77 1,100,019 1,339,374 1,398,804 Makassar 0.793 (High)
Palopo (city) 247.52 # 148,033 154,579 Palopo 0.756 (High)
Parepare (city) 99.33 108,258 129,542 135,069 Parepare 0.756 (High)
Bantaeng Regency 395.83 158,632 176,984 184,637 Bantaeng 0.657 (Medium)
Barru Regency 1,174.71 151,085 165,900 173,440 Barru 0.679 (Medium)
Bone Regency 4,559.00 648,089 717,268 749,925 Watampone 0.620 (Medium)
Bulukumba Regency 1,154.67 352,419 394,757 412,286 Bulukumba 0.652 (Medium)
East Luwu Regency
(Luwu Timur)
6,944.88 *** 242,882 253,989 0.697 (Medium)
Enrekang Regency 1,786.01 166,307 190,175 198,795 Enrekang 0.693 (Medium)
Gowa Regency 1,883.32 512,876 652,329 682,275 0.661 (Medium)
Jeneponto Regency 749.79 317,588 342,222 358,096 0.614 (Medium)
Luwu Regency 3,000.25 398,131 332,863 347,419 0.673 (Medium)
Maros Regency 1,619.12 272,116 318,238 333,334 Maros 0.666 (Medium)
North Luwu Regency
(Luwu Utara)
7,502.58 431,680 287,606 300,387 Masamba 0.669 (Medium)
North Toraja Regency
(Toraja Utara)
1,151.47 * 215,400 226,502 Rantepao 0.661 (Medium)
Pangkajene and Islands Regency
(Pangkajene Dan Kepulauan)
1,236.27 263,565 305,758 319,473 Pangkajene 0.661 (Medium)
Pinrang Regency 1,961.77 310,833 351,161 366,892 0.689 (Medium)
Selayar Islands Regency
(Kepulauan Selayar)
903.69 103,596 121,905 127,538 Benteng 0.636 (Medium)
Sidenreng Rappang Regency 1,883.25 238,419 271,801 284,127 Pangkajene 0.681 (Medium)
Sinjai Regency 819.96 204,385 228,936 239,162 Sinjai 0.638 (Medium)
Soppeng Regency 1,359.44 219,505 223,757 233,882 Watansoppeng 0.647 (Medium)
Takalar Regency 566.51 229,718 269,171 281,715 Pattallassang 0.635 (Medium)
Tana Toraja Regency 2,054.30 392,726 221,795 231,013 Makale 0.650 (Medium)
Wajo Regency 2,056.20 357,720 384,694 402,410 Sengkang 0.664 (Medium)
Province Total 46,717.48 7,159,170 8,032,551 8,395,747 Makassar 0.684 (Medium)
# The 2000 Census population for Palopo city is included in the figure for Luwu Regency.
* The 2000 Census population for North Toraja Regency is included in the figure for Tana Toraja Regency, which was formed in 2008 following the publication of Commission President Yudhoyono, numbered R.68/Pres/12/2007 on 10 December 2007, regarding the expansion of the twelve original districts and cities.
*** The 2000 Census population for East Luwu Regency is included in the figure for North Luwu Regency.


Ethnic groups

Ethnicities of South Sulawesi - 2010 Census[8]

  Buginese (41.9%)
  Makassarese (25.43%)
  Toraja (9.02%)
  Mandarese (6.1%)
  Javanese (3.0%)
  Chinese (1.4%)
  Others (13.15%)

South Sulawesi has a diverse range of ethnic groups. The main three are:

  • The Buginese (Suku Bugis) are the largest ethnic group in South Sulawesi, comprising over 3½ million people. These people inhabit the middle of the southern peninsula of South Sulawesi. Many of these people have migrated to the outer islands around Sulawesi, even as far as Malaysia.
  • The Makassarese (Suku Makassar) are the second largest ethnic group in South Sulawesi. Their language is Makassar. Makassar people inhabit the southern part of the southern peninsula of South Sulawesi including the Jeneponto, Takalar, Bulukumba, Bantaeng, Gowa and Maros Regencies, and Makassar city. The total population is over 2 million people.
  • The Torajan (Suku Toraja) are the indigenous ethnic group which inhabits the mountainous region of South Sulawesi. Their population is approximately 750,000, 70% of which still live in the regencies of Tana Toraja ("Land of Toraja") and North Toraja.


There are various languages and dialects spoken in South Sulawesi. The majority of them belong to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of Austronesian languages. Below is the list of major languages spoken in the province.

  • The Makassarese language is a language spoken in Makassar and surrounding areas. It has a total of 2.1 million speakers.
  • Bugis language is one of the languages spoken in the region up to Pinrang Bone. This language is the predominant language used by many communities in South Sulawesi. It is natively spoken by around 5 million people and plus 500,000 second language speakers. Making it one of the most widely spoken language in both South Sulawesi and the island of Sulawesi.
  • The Tae' language is mostly spoken in Tana Luwu. It has 1 million native speakers.
  • The Toraja language is the native language Tana Toraja. It has a total of 750,000 speakers.
  • The Mandar language is the language of the Mandar people, that lives in the West Sulawesi province, especially in Mamuju, Polewali Mandar, Majene and Pasangkayu Regencies. In addition to the core in the tribal areas, they are also scattered in coastal parts of South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan. It is spoken by around 400,000 people.
  • The Duri language is a language spoken in the north of , Enrekang and into the border of Tana Toraja. There are an estimated around 130,000 native speakers. It is the prestige variety of the Massenrempulu languages.
  • The Konjo language is divided into two groups: the Coastal Konjo language and the Highland Konjo language. The Coastal Konjo live in coastal areas, notably the Bulukumba area, in the southeastern corner of the southern part of the island of Sulawesi. The Mountain Konjo live in the mountains of southeastern Sulawesi, around Bawakaraeng. It has a total of almost 300,000 native speakers.
Historical population
1971 5,180,576—    
1980 6,062,212+17.0%
1990 6,981,646+15.2%
1995 7,558,368+8.3%
2000 7,159,170−5.3%
2010 8,034,776+12.2%
Source: Badan Pusat Statistik 2010

3,921,543 males and 4,111,008 females with 1,848,132 housing units with an average of 4.34 people per unit versus national average of 3.86. Some 13.3 percent of the population was under the national poverty line.[9]

  • The Human Development Index (HDI) for South Sulawesi in 2008 reached 70.22.
  • Life expectancy was 69.60 in 2008.
  • Poor population was at 12.31 percent in 2009, amounting to 963.6 thousand persons.
  • There was an unemployment rate of 8.90 percent in 2009, amounting to 296,559 people.


Religion in South Sulawesi (2010 census)[10]
religion percent
Roman Catholicism
Not Asked
Not Stated

The main religion in South Sulawesi is Islam at 89.62% (7,200,938). Other major religions include Protestantism 7.62% (612,751), Roman Catholicism 1.54% (124,255), Buddhism 0.24% (19,867), Hinduism 0.72% (58,393), and Confucianism 0.004% (367).[11]


The Sulawesi economy grew 7.78 percent in 2008 and grew by 6.20 percent in 2009. Economic Growth in the First Quarter of 2010 reached 7.77 percent. The GDP in 2009 (ADHK) amounted to Rp 47.31 trillion and 99.90 Trillion (ADHB).

Natural resources

Salt evaporation ponds in , South Sulawesi

As one of the national rice granaries, South Sulawesi annually produces 2,305,469 tons of rice. Of that amount, rice designated for local consumption is around 884,375 tons and 1,421,094 tons of reserves remain for distribution to other eastern areas. Rice is even exported to Malaysia, to the Philippines, and to Papua New Guinea. The locations of the largest rice production are in the Bone regency, in Soppeng, in Wajo, in Sidrap, in Pinrang, and in Luwu (Bodowasipilu Area).


In addition to corn, the South Sulawesi region also produces cassavas, sweet potatoes, green beans, peanuts. and soybeans. Some luxuries such as hybrid coconuts, cocoa, coffee, pepper, vanilla, tea, cashews, and cotton are also produced.

Annona squamosa in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi

The Tata Guna Horan Agreement (TGHK) of 2004 protects a lot of the forest in South Sulawesi creating a limited output of timber related products.

Catch of the day, Port of Bira, Bulukumba, South Sulawesi

Tuna and snapper-grouper are caught in large proportions and seaweed is grown to eat. Farms also have all of the typical animals such as chickens, cows, pigs, goats, etc.


One of the factors that contributes to the high GRDP of South Sulawesi is the mining sector. Gold, magnesium, iron, granite, lead, nickel, and stone products are mined.

Mountains in South Sulawesi (Gunung Nona)



Trans-Sulawesi Railway is being constructed. It will connect Makassar and Parepare. 44 km of the railway, connecting Barru to is targeted to operate in the end of 2018.[12] The entire Makassar-Parepare railway, with a length of 150 km, will be completed in 2019.[13]



  • Port of Soekarno Hatta (Makassar)
  • Port of Tanjung Ringgit (Palopo)
  • Port of Nusantara, (Pare Pare)
  • Balantang, (Malili)
  • Biringkassi, (Pangkep)
  • Paotere, (Makassar)
  • Pamatata (Selayar)
  • Bajoe, (Watampone)
  • Garongkong (Barru)
  • Bira, (Bulukumba)
  • Bangsalae, (Siwa, Wajo)
  • Ulo-ulo, (Belopa, Luwu)
  • Lala ria,(sinjai)



Culture Siri 'Na Pacce (ᨔᨗᨑᨗ ᨊ ᨄᨌᨙ) is one cultural philosophy of the Bugis-Makassar Society which must be upheld. If one is a siri 'na pacce (not a person), then that person doesn't exceed the behavior of animals, because it has no sense of shame, self-esteem, and social concerns. The people of Bugis-Makassar, they teach morality in the form of advice about decency, prohibition, and the rights and obligations that dominate human action to preserve and defend himself and his honor. They have a very strong relationship with the view of Islam in terms of spirituality, where the strength of the soul can conquer the body. The core concept of siri 'a pace covers all aspects of community life and is the identity of the Bugis-Makassar.

  • Siri 'Nipakasiri (ᨔᨗᨑᨗ ᨊᨗᨄᨀᨔᨗᨑᨗ)' occurs when someone insulted or treated someone outside the boundaries of reasonableness. Then he or his family had to enforce siri'(ᨔᨗᨑᨗ) to restore the honour that has been deprived of, if not it would be called "mate siri (ᨆᨈᨙ ᨔᨗᨑᨗ)" or dead status and dignity as human beings. The Bugis and Makassar, would rather die than live without siri' (ᨔᨗᨑᨗ).
  • Siri 'Masiri (ᨔᨗᨑᨗ ᨆᨔᨗᨑᨗ)' is a way of life that intends to maintain, improve, or achieve a feat performed by earnest and hard.

Traditional costume

Baju bodo (ᨅᨍᨘ ᨅᨚᨉᨚ) is the traditional costume of the women. Baju bodo is rectangular and is usually short sleeved. According to customs, every color of the clothes worn by women shows the age or the dignity of the wearer. Clothing is often used for ceremonies such as weddings. But now, baju bodo is worn in other events such as dance competitions or to welcome guests.

Traditional ship

The pinisi or phinisi (ᨄᨗᨊᨗᨔᨗ) is a traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship. It was mainly built by the Konjo tribe, a sub-ethnic group but was, and still is used widely by the Buginese and Makassarese, mostly for inter-insular transportation, cargo, and fishing purposes within the Indonesian archipelago.

The hull of the ships looks similar to that of a dhow while the fore-and-aft rigging is similar to that of western schooners, although it might be more correctly termed to resemble a ketch, as the front mast is the larger. The large mainsails differ from western style gaff rigs though, as they often do not have a boom and the sail is not lowered with the gaff. Instead it is reefed towards the mast, much like a curtain, thus allowing the gaff to be used as deck crane in the harbor. The lower part of the mast itself may resemble a tripod or is made of two poles. Pinisi may be 20 to 35 meters long and can weigh up to 350 tons. The masts may be as high as 30 meters above the deck.

Traditional houses

South Sulawesi has three types of traditional houses. The most known are the Rumah Panggung (Balla'/Bola) from Bugis Makassar and the Tongkonan from Toraja.

Tamalate Palace of Gowa Sultanate
  • Rumah Panggung ( Balla' ᨅᨒ / Bola ᨅᨚᨒ ) Some of the considerations for the building of the house are should it face the sunrise, overlook a plateau, or overlook a cardinal direction.
Tongkonan House from Toraja in Ke'te' Kesu', Toraja Regency

Usually a good day or a month to build the house is determined by those who have the skill in that regard. Building the house is preceded by a ritual ceremony.

  • Tongkonan is the traditional ancestral house, or rumah adat of the Torajan people. Tongkonan have a distinguishing boat-shaped and oversized saddleback roof. Like most of Indonesia's Austronesian-based traditional architecture, tongkonan are built on piles. The construction of a tongkonan is laborious work and it is usually built with the help of all of one's family members. In the original Toraja society, only nobles had the right to build tongkonan while commoners lived in smaller and less decorated homes called banua.

Traditional songs

Traditional food

Coto Makassar
Rice and other crops such as bananas are abundant so almost all dishes are, like the Bugis Makassar cake, made from rice and bananas. Coastal areas of South Sulawesi eat Bolu (milkfish), Shrimp, Sunu (grouper), and Crab.

In South Sulawesi, the traditional food is diverse, ranging from soup to traditional cakes. This is a chart with some of the traditional food of South Sulawesi:

Traditional weapons

A badik or badek is a knife or dagger developed by the Bugis and Makassar people of southern Sulawesi, Indonesia.
  • Badik (ᨅᨉᨗ) A badik is a knife with a specific form developed by the Bugis and Makassar. The Badik is sharp, single or double sided, and has a length of about half a meter. Like with a kris, the blade shape is asymmetric and often decorated with prestige. However, different from the kris, the badik never had a ganja (buffer strip). Some versions from Sulawesi are decorated with inlaid gold figure on the blade called jeko. The handle is made of wood, horn or ivory in a shape of a pistol grip at a 45° to 90° angle and is often decorated with carvings. From Sulawesi, the badik soon spread to neighbouring islands like Java, Borneo, Sumatra, and as far as the Malay Peninsula, creating a wide variety of badik according to each region and ethic group.

As with other blades in the Malay Archipelago, traditionally-made badik are believed to be imbued with a supernatural force during the time of their forging. The pamor in particular is said to affect its owner, bringing either well-being and prosperity or misfortune and poverty. Aside from being used as a weapon and hunting tool, the badik is a symbol of cultural identity in Sulawesi. The Bugis and Makassar people still carry badik as part of their daily attire. The badik is worn on the right side, with the butt end of the handle pointing to the rear.

Radio and TV stations


Station Frequency Modulation
Madama Makassar 87.7 FM
Bosowa FM Makassar 88.5 FM
Fajar FM Makassar 89.3 FM
Medika FM Makassar 90.1 FM
Radio Torani 90.5 FM
Radio Suara Celebes FM 90.9 FM
RRI Makassar 94.4 FM
I-Radio Makassar 96.0 FM
RRI Pro 2 FM Makassar 96.8 FM
Delta FM Makassar 99.2 FM
Anak Muda FM Makassar 100.0 FM
Suara Celebes FM Makassar 100.4 FM
Telstar FM Makassar 102.7 FM
Radio SPFM Citra Wanita Makassar 103.5 FM
Merkurius FM Makassar 104.3 FM
Prambors FM Makassar 105.1 FM
Gamasi FM Makassar 105.9 FM
Savana FM Makassar 106.5 FM
Syiar FM Radio 107.1 FM
ACCa FM Palopo 101.2 FM
Radio As' Adiyah Sengkang 103.2 FM
Radio Adiafiry Watansoppeng 100.8 AM

TV stations

Station Frequency Networks District / City
TVRI Sulawesi Selatan 37 UHF TVRI Makassar
Kompas TV Makassar 23 UHF Kompas TV Makassar
Fajar TV 49 UHF JPMC Makassar
SUN TV Makassar 51 UHF SINDOtv Makassar
Celebes TV 31 UHF Bosowa Corporation Makassar
RTV Makassar 55 UHF RTV Makassar
Cakrawala TV(NET) 57 UHF B-Channel Makassar
SaktiTV Makassar 53 UHF SaktiTV Makassar
MCTV PARE 24 UHF Pare-Pare

See also


  1. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2019.
  2. ^ Indonesia Official Census
  3. ^ Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2019.
  4. ^ Domínguez, Gabriel (9 October 2014). "Indonesian cave paintings 'revolutionized our idea of human art'". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  5. ^ Volkman, Toby Alice (1990). Sulawesi: Island crossroads of Indonesia. Passport Books. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  6. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2015.
  7. ^ "Kementerian PPN/Bappenas :: Home".
  8. ^ Indonesia's Population
  10. ^ "Population by Region and Religion in Indonesia". BPS. 2010.
  11. ^ Indonesian Religion
  12. ^ "Menhub: Akhir 2018, Kereta Api Trans Sulawesi Capai 44 KM" (in Indonesian). Ministry of Transportation. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Gubernur Sulsel: 150 Km Rel KA Trans Sulawesi Akan Beroperasi 2019". (in Indonesian). 9 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.