Welcome to Banten

Its regional influence peaked during the reign of Sultan Agung (1651–83), and in 1680 he declared war on the Dutch, but conflict within the royal house ultimately led to his downfall. Agung fled Banten and finally surrendered in 1683; his defeat marked the real beginning of Dutch territorial expansion in Java.

On the coast due north of Serang, The chief landmark here is the 16th-century mosque Mesjid Agung, which was once a good example of early Islamic architecture; its great white octagonal minaret was reputedly designed by a Chinese Muslim. The roof has since been repaired, however, and it no longer carries the same historical gravitas.

Banten has once again become a major port of multinational interest, whose fate seems tied to the hands of those who are not of this land. In other words it is a perfect example of warp speed, globalised development, as what's left of this breadbasket gets gobbled up, one shovelful at a time.

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