Pariaman is a coastal city in West Sumatra. Pariaman has 72,089 inhabitants (based on 2002) census and has 73.36-km2 areas. According to the limited early sources available, by the sixteenth century Pariaman was an important port city serving the Minangkabau settlements in the interior highlands of central west Sumatra. Traders from western India and later from Europe visited the port, trading in pepper, gold, and other products of the interior. In the early seventeenth century the port came under control of the Sultanate of Aceh, to the north; an Acehnese governor was stationed in the town. The port formally came under Dutch control in 1663 by treaty with Aceh.
By the early twentieth century the port was less prominent on the coast, as Padang, just to the south, was the focus of Dutch activities in western Sumatra and had a railroad link to the interior. The city is administratively divided into three districts: Pariaman Selatan, Pariaman Tengah, and Pariaman Utara.