In 1683 the Dutch reduced the sultan to vassalage, built the fort of Speelwijk and monopolized the port, which had previously been free to all comers; and for more than a century afterwards Bantam was one of the most important seats of commerce in the East Indies.
Before the Dutch conquest Bantam was a powerful Mahommedan state, whose sovereign extended his conquests in the neighbouring islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
In 1811 after Batavia had surrendered to the British, Bantam soon followed; but it was restored to the Dutch in 1814.
From Bantam Bay on the high road from Batavia.
The first Dutchman to double the Cape of Good Hope was Cornelius Houtman, who reached Sumatra and Bantam in 1596.
The port of Serang is Karangantu, on Bantam Bay, and close by is the old ruined town of Bantam, once the capital of the kingdom of Bantam, and before the foundation of Batavia the principal commercial port of the Dutch East India Company.
The Portuguese, however, did little towards the introduction of it into Europe, and it was not till the Dutch established themselves at Bantam early in the 17th century that these adventurers learned from the Chinese the habit of tea drinking and brought it into Europe.
Inland, and in 1817 the ruin of Bantam was hastened by a fire.
On the southern border of the borough is Lake Bantam (about 900 acres, the largest lake in the state) whose falls, at its outlet, provide water power for factories of carriages and electrical appliances.
The ruins include the remains of the former pepper warehouses, the old factory, called Fort Speelwijk, belonging to the company, the fortified palace of the former sultans and a well-preserved mosque thought to have been built by the third Mahommedan ruler of Bantam about 1562-1576, and containing the tombs of various princes of Bantam.