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Coordinates: 3.8127211°S 102.24979°E
Present Day Details
Place Name: Benkulu City
State/Province: Benkulu, Southwest Sumatra
Country: Indonesia
Transport links

A settlement originally established in 1685 by the East India Company on the south side of the island of Sumatra, following the expulsion of the EIC from Bantam by the Dutch. In 1714, the EIC built Fort Marlborough to protect its interests.

In 1825, the EIC exchanged Benkulen with the Dutch for Malacca which was more strategically useful to the British. Benkulen remained a Dutch possession until after World War 2.

Spelling Variants

Modern name: Bengkulu
Variants: Benkulen, Bencoolen


Held at British Library

  • Deaths at Benkulen 1691 IOR/E/3/48 f.252
  • Baptisms, Marriages and Burials at Benkulen 1740-1742, IOR/G/35/9
  • Ecclesiastical Returns: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. Fort Marlborough [Bencoolen, Sumatra] 1759-1825, reference IOR N/7. The LDS film of this data is 498606. Data for the baptisms and marriages has been transcribed on the LDS website Family Search. Enter batch number C310011 for the baptisms and batch number M310011 for the marriages, and baptismal and marriage records for Bencoolen on film 498606 will be shown. It is not known whether the data is a complete transcription or not. These records are in the World category (All Records Collections) in a group of records called World Miscellaneous.

Additional LDS films:

  • 883691 Indonesian parish register printouts, christenings for Bengkulu, 1754-1825 with some missing years, extracted from filmed copies of Bishop's Transcripts
  • 883737 Indonesian parish register printouts, marriages for Bengkulu, 1754-1824, extracted from filmed copies of Bishop's transcripts. Years covered: 1754; 1759; 1779-1780; 1792-1798; 1802-1824.

These two films may possibly be extracted from film 498606. Please consult the LDS Catalogue and/or a LDS Family History Centre Librarian.

Refer also Dutch Indies Genealogical Association.


  • Bencoolen: The Christian Cemetery and the Fort Marlborough Monuments by Alan Harfield 1985. A BACSA publication.
  • Bencoolen: A History on the Honourable East India Company's Garrison on the West Coast of Sumatra 1685-1825 by Alan Harfield 1995 is available at the British Library. Read about the book here.

External links

Historical books online

  • Article in the Asiatic Journal, Volume 13, January-June 1822. A Succinct Historical Narrative of the East India Company’s Endeavours to Form Settlements and to Extend and Encourage Trade in the East and of the Causes by which those Endeavours have been Frustrated. Section 1 Sumatra, Borneo, Java, the Eastern Islands, etc . pages 1-11. Other Sections page 11, page 105, page 209 Google Books
  • Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles,F.R.S., &c. &c., particularly in the government of Java, 1811-1816, Bencoolen and its dependencies, 1817-1824: with details of the commerce and resources of the Eastern Archipelago, and selections from his correspondence by Sophia Raffles 1835 Volume 1, Volume 2 Google Books