Bengkulu, historically known as Bencoolen or British Bencoolen, is one of the Provinces of Indonesia and is located in the southwest coast of Sumatra. It was formed on 18 November 1968 by separating out the former Bengkulu Residency area from South Sumatra (Sumatra Selatan). Spread over 19,813 km2, it is bordered by the provinces of West Sumatra (Sumatra Barat) to the north, Jambi to the northeast, Lampung to the southeast, South Sumatra (Sumatra Selatan) to the east, and the India Ocean to the northwest, south, southwest, and west.
Bengkulu is the 25th largest province by area; it is divided into nine regencies and the separate city of Bengkulu, the capital and largest city. Bengkulu is also the 26th largest province by population in Indonesia. Bengkulu Province comprises not only land on southwest Sumatra, but also includes Mega Island and Enggano Island in the Indian Ocean. Bengkulu has 525 kilometres of coastline along the Indian Ocean on its western side, from Dusun Baru Pelokan in Muko-Muko Regency to Tebing Nasal in Kaur Regency. Bengkulu is home to many natural resources such as coal and gold, and has big and potential geothermal resources. In addition, it is less developed than other provinces in Sumatra.
As with other parts of Indonesia, Indonesian language is the official language in all formal occasions, institutions, and government affairs. However, local languages are still widely used in daily life. Most indigenous languages in Bengkulu belong to Malayan group of Austronesian languages such as Bengkulu Malay, Lembak, Pekal and Minangkabau varieties. The most widely spoken language in the province, Rejang, is unusual as it is the only Bornean language to be spoken in Sumatra (and one of three outside of Borneo other than Malagasy in Madagascar and Yakan in Basilan). Enggano’s linguistic classification is still a debatable subject but currently it is classified as a highly divergent branch of Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian. Besides Enggano, there is also one less-studied language that is Nasal language, it maybe related to Rejang or forms its own branch of Malayo-Polynesian. Non-indigenous ethnic groups also speak their own language/dialects.