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Borneo: All About This 3-Country Island

Does the name “Borneo” bring any specific images to mind? Do you picture a luscious rainforest or sunny beaches? Can you imagine what life is like on this island nation? For many people, Borneo is just a foreign name of a faraway foreign place that doesn’t bring anything specific to mind.

Since a lot of our products come from Borneo or originated there, we think that it’s important to learn more about the island itself. What goes on there? What is the weather like? We got curious about it all, and now, we’re going to share our findings with you!

Borneo is a large island that holds land for three separate countries; let’s find out how this happened and what it means for the island today!

Borneo: What’s The Island Like?

The island of Borneo is 287,000 square miles. As this island is ruled by three different countries, this may seem like a pretty small area to divide, but the countries have still managed to do just that! After all, Borneo is the third-largest island on Earth, and it is the largest island in Asia! That is a big part of why so many different countries have been involved in ruling it.

Overall, there are more than 21 million people living on the island. The population density falls in around 29 people per square kilometer on average, but there are more people living in dense city areas than there are in the uninhabitable rainforests and other regions.

Uninhabitable Land

In fact, a large portion of Borneo island is uninhabitable. Between the mountainsides and dense rainforests, people have tended to settle on the coastlines where life is easier. If the mountains and rainforests weren’t enough, there are also a lot of swamps to deal with on the island.

Because of the vast tracks of uninhabitable land, however, wildlife has been able to thrive untouched. Hundreds of varieties of native trees have been identified on the island. For comparison, there are less than 200 native trees in North America. The ecology on Borneo is vast and amazing.

Mountains & Seas

The tallest point on Borneo is Mount Kinabalu, which measures in at about 13,400 feet. The mountainous island has more than a lot of mountains, however. Due to Borneo’s location, it also comes in contact with a lot of different bodies of water!

The island is surrounded by:

  • • South China Sea
  • • Makassar Strait
  • • Celebes Sea
  • • Sulu Sea
  • • Java Sea

All of these bodies of water are part of how so many different empires and colonizers attempted to move into Borneo in order to take advantage of its essential position in Asia.

Borneo: What Are The Three Countries?

The island of Borneo is divided into three separate regions that are each ruled by a different country. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei all lay claim to some part of the island. The island, however, is not divided evenly:

  • • Indonesia rules the southern 70% of Borneo
  • • Malaysia rules about 29% of Borneo
  • • Brunei takes up 1% of the landmass

Throughout the long history of Borneo, the island has been occupied and ruled by various countries and empires. The land’s political connections, as well as cultural majorities, have changed so many times that the variety of ethnicity, culture, and history on the island itself is almost overwhelming.

There have been Spanish, English, Dutch, and Portuguese merchants visiting the island through their times of exploration, and their cultures were thus able to influence what was happening around the island of Borneo.

Why The Division?

Many different groups tried to exert their control over the entire island of Borneo through history, but the geography of the land and internal strife between native tribes made it all but impossible. 

The mountainous ranges made it hard for a single colonizer to take over the whole country, so the separated areas of the island ultimately aligned with different countries. In the time leading up to modern-day, the alliances eventually lead to the current situation that can be seen on Borneo.

Kratom In Borneo

Like us, one of the first times that you probably heard the word “Borneo” was probably in reference to Kratom. Since Borneo is not often referred to by name in our daily lives, we’re more likely to have heard of Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia than we are to have heard of Borneo.

So why is it that Borneo and Kratom are often brought up together?

Dying Industries Turned To Kratom

For many decades, palm oil and rubber were the primary exports of Borneo, and that is where a lot of people made their money. As these industries slowly withered and there was not as much product needed, farmers needed to find something else to grow and export.

With the rise of Kratom culture in the West, farmers turned to Kratom as their new cash crop. The environment on Borneo makes the island a perfect place for the native Kratom tree to thrive, and farmers took advantage of that for the future of their businesses. 

Indonesia Is Key

Most of the Kratom on Borneo is grown in a specific area of Indonesia that is about 12 hours from the nearest large city. In this region, the soil and climate make cultivating Kratom trees very easy.

While a lot of Kratom grows in Indonesia, consumption of Kratom is actually illegal in the country. It is legal to export the product, however, so farmers continue to grow Kratom as a thriving cash crop.

More Than Just Kratom

Though Kratom has been a big part of what brought thoughts about Borneo into our minds today, the island is about far more than just Kratom. Many of the locals on the island do have a history of using Kratom for ceremonial or medicinal reasons, but entire cultural aspects exist outside of Kratom.

The next time that you’re deciding to buy one of your favorite Borneo-based strains, allow an image of the island itself to come to your mind. Think about the mountains, the seas, and the interesting political situation on the island. Learning a little bit more about the world never hurts!

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