Bangka Belitung Islands, especially Bangka Island alternated into the kingdom of Sriwijaya and Majapahit Kingdom. After the fall of Majapahit, this province was occupied by the Sultanate of Palembang before it was colonized by the Dutch. After that, Bangka Belitung became a British colony and then handed over to the Dutch government held at Muntok on 17 March 1824 after the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. During the Dutch colonial period, there was a continuous resistance made by the local people, especially Depati Barin then followed by his son named Depati Amir. The resistance was crushed after Depati Amir was captured and ended in exile to Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara by the Dutch Government. The province remain peaceful until the Japanese captured the area on the eve of World War II. After the Japanese surrendered, the territory was handed to the Indonesian government. The territory was governed under the province of South Sumatra before being separated in 2000 as the 31st province of Indonesia. The province is governed under a governor, like other province of Indonesia. The province is separated into administrative divisions, and regency, each governed by a regent. This is closely modeled after the Residencies during the Dutch colonial era, which is again separated into smaller districts (afdeeling).
The province is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse; major ethnic groups including Malay, Chinese and Javanese. Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of the province, while the local Malay dialect and Hakka serves as the lingua franca of the province
The name "Bangka" is derived from the word wangka (vanca) meaning "tin" in Sanskrit, because this region is indeed rich in tin mining. The name "Wangka" first appeared along with the name "Swarnabhumi" in the Indian literary book Milindrapantha from the 1st Century BC. Swarnabhumi is identified as the island of Sumatra, the strong allegation that the so-called "Wangka" is the island of Bangka.
Loius-Charles Damais, in his book Epigraphy and History of the Nusantara, affirms that Bangka comes from the word vowel (vanca).
The name "Belitung" is derived from Batu Satam, or the Black Meteorite, which is commonly found in the island of Belitung. The Dutch named this meteorite as Billitonite. This stone itself was discovered at the time of tin mining in Belitung. Now, Batu Satam also known as Billitonite, is souvernir from Belitung Island.