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Land and People of Minangkabau

West Sumatra the land of the Minangkabau (ranah minang) is a ravishing equatorial region
with cool enchanting highlands, rising from dense luxuriant jungles giving the impression of
one Grand Park. A landscape dominated by volcanoes, canyons and sweping forest dotted
with scenic villages, lakes and hot springs so richly bless by nature that its equal is hard to
fingd in any other region.

The probince is 42.297.30 square km. it is bounded in the North by Province of North
Sumatra, in the south by the Province of Bengkulu and Jambi, in the East by the Province of
Riau, while in the West it is bounded by the Indian Ocean.

It has population of approximately 3.800.000 people of which 95% consists of the Minang
Kabau ethnic group. The remaining 5% is of mixed origin. The Cultural sphere of the
MinangKabau ethnic that having its center in West Sumatra is in fact much wider than the
provincial territory. It even expands to a part of south Tapanuli in the North in the Province
of North Sumatra, the upper course of river Kampar Kiri and Kampar Kanan in the
Province of Riau, and river Batanghari in the Province of Jambi.

West Sumatra is the homeland of the MinangKabau people with their unique matrilinial
society, which passes family property and wealth down along the maternal line. A unique
system which has been maintained up to this very days as nowhere else in Indonesia.

The largest matriarchal society in the world thrives in this western region of the island of
Sumatra. The Minangkabaus, ardently Muslim in culture, are ruled exclusively by women.
The government is ruled democratically and the citizens enjoy a very peaceful way of life.

In this matrilineal society, names, titles and property are all handed down through the women
of the tribe. It is also women who initiate the marriage proposals. Though the population is
largely comprised of farmers, Minangkabau artisans produce stunning architecture, detailed
silver filigree and elaborate embroidery.

The culture is framed against the gorgeous backdrop of the Minangkabau Highlands, Lake
Maninjau and the bustling town of Bukittinggi. Once you have finished enjoying the wonders
of this unique region, you can dine on the famous local Padang spicy cuisine.

The Mentawai islands group, though belonging to the Province of West Sumatra, is not
included in the Minangkabau cultural sphere because of its different social, cultural and
linguistic characteristics.



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