Land & Society

The province of West Sumatra covers an area of 42.229 square kilometers with Padang as its capital. The most recent census indicated that its population amounts to 4.5 millions, more or less the same with the number of Minangkabau living in the other parts of the country. The population comprises 85% Minangkabaus, and the rest are Indonesians of Arab, Indian, Chinese descents as well as Javanese transmigrants. Approximately 85% of the West Sumatrans reside in the rural areas living on traditional agricultural produce. The Minangkabaus are matrilineal. Land and wealth of the clan are handed down to the daughters. The Mentawai archipelago is part of West Sumatra, but their culture and language are entirely different from the Minangkabau’s.

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