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Riau is a province of Indonesia. It is located in the central eastern coast of Sumatra along the Strait of Malacca. Until 2004 the province included the offshore Riau Islands, a large group of small islands (of which the principal islands are Batam and Bintan) located east of Sumatra Island and south of Singapore, before these islands were split off as a province in July 2004. The provincial capital and the largest city of Riau is Pekanbaru. The province shares land borders with North Sumatra to the northwest, West Sumatra to the west, and Jambi to the south. The total area for Riau province is 87,023.66 square kilometres (33,600.02 sq mi), which stretches from the slopes of the Bukit Barisan to the Strait of Malacca. Riau has a wet tropical climate with average rainfall ranging between 2000 and 3000 millimeters per year, and the average rainfall per year is about 160 days. Riau is currently one of the richest provinces in Indonesia and is rich in natural resources, particularly petroleum, natural gas, rubber, palm oil and fibre plantations. Extensive logging and plantation development in has led to a massive decline in forest cover Riau, and associated fires have contributed to haze across the larger region. Riau is considered part of the Malay world. It is currently considered as the cultural center of the Malays in Indonesia. Nevertheless, Riau is considered a very diverse province, as it is inhabited by many ethnic groups, such as Malay, Minangkabau, Chinese and Batak. The local Riau dialect of Malay is considered as the lingua franca in the province, but Indonesian, the standardized form of Malay is used as the official language and also as the second language of many people. Other than that, different languages such as Minangkabau, Hokkien and varieties of Batak languages are also spoken. Riau allegedly has been inhabited since the period between 10,000–40.000 BC. Between 5th to 12th century AD, traders and merchants from the Indian subcontinent visited the region to trade with the local people, spreading Hinduism and Buddhism in the process. Therefore, Riau was under the control of several Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms such as the Melayu Kingdom and the Srivijaya empire. In the 14th century, Muslim traders from India and the Arabian Peninsula visited the region, beginning the spread of Islam in the region. By the end of the 14th century, Hindu and Buddhist influence are waning, while Islam influence are growing, leading to the dissolution of many Hindu-Buddhist Kingdoms in Riau. Those kingdoms who still existed transformed itself into an Islamic Sultanates. By the 16th century, there are three great Malay sultanates in the region, namely the Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate, Indragiri Sultanates and the Johor Sultanate, the latter which would split in the 19th century into the modern Johor Sultanate in the Malay peninsula and the Riau-Lingga Sultanate in the Riau Archipelago. However, by that time Europeans began frequenting the region. first the Portuguese, then the Dutch and the British. In 1824, the Dutch and British agreed to divide the sphere of influence in the region, with the Malay peninsula falling under the British and Sumatra falling under the Dutch. Soon afterwards, the power of the sultanates in the region began to wane. The sultanates soon became protectorate of the Dutch and was reduced to nothing but a puppet states of the Dutch East Indies, with the Dutch having the authority to intervene in the everydays affair. This happens until 1942, when the Japanese invaded and occupied Riau during the Pacific theater of World War II. After three years of occupation which was marked by atrocities and war crimes, the Japanese surrendered in 1945. The Dutch soon returned to assume control of the region, but left in 1949 after the Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference, in which the Dutch agreed to transfer sovereignty of the Dutch East Indies to the Republic of Indonesia. Since then, Riau has been part of the unitary state of Indonesia. Since the 1970s, much of Indonesia has experienced a decline in population growth rates. Riau has been a significant exception, with increasing rates every decade since 1970 to a 4.35 percent annual rise for the 1990s; however, this rate slowed significantly during the subsequent decade. The provincial population was 5,538,367 at the 2010 census, and 6,330,941 at the 2015 Census; according to the estimate for mid 2019 this had risen to 6,835,098. Wikipedia ->
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