Bangka or Banka (both: bängˈkä, băngˈkə) [key], island (1990 pop. 626,955), c.4,600 sq mi (11,910 sq km), Indonesia, in the Java Sea, SE of Sumatra, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Bangka. Pangkalpinang is the largest town; Muntok is the principal port. Since c.1710, Bangka has been one of the world's principal tin-producing centers. Pepper is also produced on the island. The majority of the inhabitants are Chinese; they are mostly employed as mine laborers. Bangka was ceded to Britain by the sultan of Palembang in 1812, but in 1814 it was exchanged with the Dutch for Cochin in India. The island fell under Japanese control from 1942 to 1945. It became part of independent Indonesia in 1949.