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And the smallest islands of the Riau archipelago are no more than rocky reefs about one hectare (2,5 acres) large.
The biggest, Bintan Lingga and Singkep, are about 1,000 hectares in size.
Since then, it was a period of wars and intrigues for the Malay states around the Straits, further aggravated by the arrival of the Dutch and the British in the early 17th century.
To make a long and complicated story short, peace was restored only after the signing of the Treaty of London in 1824, giving the Dutch control of all the European territories south of Singapore, and the British of all the colonies towards its north. With the subjugation and dissolution of the recalcitrant Riau sultanate in 1911, the Dutch effectively established their power over the islands. The smallest islands of the Riau archipelago are no more than rocky reefs, about one hectare (2.5 acres).
Riau, although comparatively small in both size and population (about 2.5 million), is the heartland of the Malays and the cradle of Indonesia's Malay-based national language and culture.
To support the development of Batam, in 1983, the government of Indonesia established the Administrative City of Batam directly under the jurisdiction of the governor.
The centre of his government in evacuated to the Sawar Stone.
In 1602, Netherlands dating to Riau to trade was led by Heemskerok.
The territory covered by this rich province, includes a sizable slice of the eastern Sumatera’s coast and more than 3,000 islands of all sizes, only 743 of which are named.
Sitting astride one of the world’s oldest and busiest trade routes, the Strait of Malacca, the Riau Islands have for many centuries provided safe haven to ships playing the sea lanes between India, Europe and China.