Bengkulu is a city on the west coast of Sumatra island in Indonesia.With a population of 340,000 (2007), the city is capital and largest city of the Bengkulu province. Until the 1970s the city was considered was very remote with no roads, and due to thick forest was only accessible through the coastal shipping.
In the seventeenth century, the Lampung region of southern Sumatra was under to the possession of the kingdom of Banten in western Java. It was a major producer of pepper.
In 1682, a troup of the Dutch East India Company attacked Banten. The crown prince, who had headed the government submitted to the Dutch, who recognize him as Sultan. The Dutchman expelled all other Europeans present in Banten. As a result the British withdrew and the British East India Company founded Bengkulu as a commercial establishment (named Bengcoolen) in 1685.
In 1714, the British built Fort Marlborough. However, it was never financially beneficial, because of its remoteness and the difficulty in procuring pepper. Despite these difficulties, the British persisted, maintaining the presence there for 150 years before ceding it to the Dutch as part of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 to focus attention on Malacca. Like the rest of present-day Indonesia, Bengkulu remained a Dutch colony until after World War II.
During Sukarno's imprisonment by the Dutch in the 1930s, the future first president of Indonesia lived briefly in Bengkulu. Here he met his wife, Fatmawati, who gave him several children, the most famous being the first female President of Indonesia, Megawati Sukarnoputri.