BENCOOLEN, the chief town of it Dutch residency in the S.W. of Sumatra. It is situated on the coast at the mouth of a river of the same name, in 3° 50' S. lat, and 102' 3'. E. long. The locality is low and swampy, and most of the houses are raised on bamboo piles. The bay is a mere open roadstead fringed with coral reefs, and landing-is difficult on account of the surf. A lighthouse has been recently erected by the Dutch authorities. At one time there was a very extensive trade carried on with Bengal, the Coromandel coast, and Java, but it has greatly declined. The principal exports are pepper and camphor. The town, which was formerly 6 miles to the north, was removed to its present site in 1714. It is defended by a fort ; and possesses an old and a new government-house, a council chamber and treasury, a hospital, &c. The church was destroyed by an earthquake in 1833. Bencoolen was formerly the chief establishment possessed by the English East India Company in the island, and for a few years constituted a distinct presidency. In 1719 the settlers were expelled by the natives, but were soon permitted to return. In 1760 all the English settlements on the coast of Sumatra were destroyed by a French fleet under Comte d'Estaing. They were afterwards re-established and secured to the British ; but in 1825 they were finally ceded to the Netherlands in exchange for the Dutch settlements on the continent of India. Population of the district in 1871, 160 Europeans and 128,343 natives.