The main aim of this writing is to study the water transportation system of inland navigation in Southeast Kalimantan in the nineteenth century as seen from the historical perspective. It is hoped that the study will be able to reconstruct the process of the past history of Southeast Kalimantan and concomitantly enrich the corpus of literature in Indonesian history in general.
This research concerns with the water transportation system in Southeast Kalimantan and it was conducted through documentary study and library research by collecting data on inland navigation of the region in the nineteenth century. Written sources were mainly obtained from the National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia and from a number of libraries in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. As befitting a historical research, the process of examining the sources becomes an important part and the use of theoretical and conceptual framework is adjusted to the research topic and materials obtained. The main problem to be resolved in this research is, among other things, related to an attempt to account for the interrelationship between the process of transportation development and the sociaI and economic development of the community of the inland navigation areas in Southeast Kalimantan.
One of the important aspects highlighted in this research is the status and the role of trade between the areas around the upper reaches of the river and those at the estuary which are important for the economy of Southeast Kalimantan. Research finding reveals that the water transportation system is the most significant supporting factor in the development of the economy as well as the community in the area. Inland navigation has proved to be the backbone of trading activities, between the hinterland and the areas at the estuary. At the same time it also integrates the community’s sociaI and political life; it also affects the sociocultural aspects and demography in the hinterland of Southeast Kalimantan in the nineteenth century. The research also reveals the importance of water transportation for the traditional community within the process of the social economic history of the region. This also shows that rivers have played an important role in the development of local history in Indonesia in accord with its geographical and ecological conditions such as those of Southeast Kalimantan.
One related aspect that reveals are concerned with technology development of the means for water transportation from the past to the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Besides, the study aims at describing the development of communication and transportation in accordance with the technology prevailing at those times. However due to the limitation of available sources, other aspects concerning explanation of the problems have not been fully presented, so that there is a need for further research. It is hoped that this writing will open up new areas for research on the social and economic history of Southeast Kalimantan in the future.
Keywords: inland navigation – water transportation — trade