Butonese people

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Butonese people
Orang Buton / Butuni /
Butung / Wolio
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Groepsportret met de gezant van Buton Sulawesi TMnr 10020643.jpg
Portrait of an embassy of Buton, Residency of Celebes and Dependencies, Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia), circa 1900.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Tukangbesi Islands, Southeast Sulawesi (215,000)[1]
Maluku (province)
West Papua (province)
 Malaysia (18,000)[2]
Muna–Buton languages (Cia-Cia language, Lasalimu language, Kumbewaha language), Wolio language, Indonesian language
Islam (predominantly), Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Bonerate people, Muna people

The Butonese (sometimes Butuni, Butung or Wolio) people is a generic term that embraces a number of sub-ethnic groups from Buton and its neighbouring islands in Southeast Sulawesi. Often at times the Bajau people are mislabeled as Butonese people.[3] Just like most tribes in Sulawesi, the Butonese people are also seafarers and traders.[4] The Butonese people have long since migrated to all corners of the Malay archipelago using smaller vessels ranging from those that can only accommodate five people to large boats that can hold up to about 150 tons of goods. In general, the Butonese is a community that inhabits the region of the Buton Sultanate. When the swapraja (self-governance, created by the Dutch colonial government) domain was abolished, so did the Buton Sultanate also ended in 1951.[5] Those regions have now changed to several regencies and cities in Southeast Sulawesi. Among them are Baubau, Buton Regency, South Buton Regency, Central Buton Regency, North Buton Regency, Wakatobi Regency and Bombana Regency.

Apart from being a community of seafarers, the Butonese people are also familiar with agriculture in earlier times. Commodities that are planted include paddy, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, cotton, coconut, betel, pineapple, banana, and all other common needs of their everyday lives. Butonese people are well known for their culture and until today it can still be seen in regions of the Buton Sultanate. Such as the fortress of the Butonese palace which is the largest fortress in the world, the Malige Palace which is a traditional Butonese house that stands firmly as high as four stories without using a single nail,[6] the currency of the Buton Sultanate called kampua or bida,[7] and many more.


  1. ^ "Wolio of Indonesia". PeopleGroup. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
  2. ^ "Butonese of Malaysia". PeopleGroup. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
  3. ^ Natasha Stacey (2007). Boats to Burn: Bajo Fishing Activity in the Australian Fishing Zone. ANU E Press. ISBN 1-920942-95-5.
  4. ^ Aris Ananta (2002). The Indonesian Crisis: A Human Development Perspective. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 981-230-171-2.
  5. ^ Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin (2013). Adat and Indigeneity in Indonesia: Culture and Entitlements between Heteronomy and Self-Ascription Göttingen Studies in Cultural. Universitätsverlag Göttingen. ISBN 3-86395-132-8.
  6. ^ "Malige palace". Wisata Melayu. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
  7. ^ Museum Nasional (Indonesia) (1995). Perjalanan Sejarah Dan Budaya Bangsa Indonesia: Koleksi Pilihan Museum Nasional. Proyek Pembinaan Museum Nasional. OCLC 34973488.