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The small island of Bawean lies approximately seventy kilometres off the north coast of East Java and about a hundred and twenty from Gresik, to which administrative district the island belongs
The inhabitants, who live mainly from farming and fishing, number today around sixty six thousand. They have their own language, which is similar to that spoken on nearby Madura, though in one district Javanese is more frequently heard.
The word BAWEAN is said to stem from the sanskrit, meaning 'there is sunlight'. According to legend, a group of Javanese sailors found themselves in danger of drowning in a storm, when the sun rose and lit up the peaks of Bawean Island. Here, they were able to take refuge. The year was 1350 A.D.. A hundred and fifty years later, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the religion of Islam was introduced by one Maulana Umar Mas'ud. His tomb, as well as those of other early Muslim missionaries, are considered sacred and attract pilgrims from all over Indonesia.
Although the distance around this small island is just fifty five kilometres, Bawean has quite a number of attractions, notably beaches. The island is also famous for its unique breed of deer, found nowhere else.