Proclamation of Indonesian Independence

Proclamation of Indonesian Independence

The Proclamation of Indonesian Independence (Indonesian: Proklamasi Kemerdekaan Indonesia, or simply Proklamasi) was read at 10.00 a.m. on Friday, August 17, 1945. The declaration marked the start of the diplomatic and armed-resistance of the Indonesian National Revolution, fighting against the forces of the Netherlands until the latter officially acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1949. In 2005, the Netherlands declared that they had decided to accept 17 August 1945 as Indonesia’s independence date[1]

Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, who were appointed President and Vice-president, respectively, were the documents signatories.

Declaration event

Sukarno, accompanied by Mohammad Hatta (right), proclaiming the independence of Indonesia.

The draft was prepared only a few hours earlier, on the night of August 16, by Sukarno, Hatta, and Soebardjo, at Rear-Admiral Maeda (Minoru) Tadashi’s house, Miyako-Doori 1, Jakarta (now the “Museum of the Declaration of Independence“, JL. Imam Bonjol I, Jakarta). The original Indonesian Declaration of Independence was typed by Sayuti Melik.[2][3] Maeda himself was sleeping in his room upstairs. He was agreeable to the idea of Indonesia‘s independence, and had lent his house for the drafting of the declaration. Marshal Terauchi, the highest-ranking Japanese leader in South East Asia and son of Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake, was however against Indonesia’s independence, scheduled for August 24.

While the formal preparation of the declaration, and the official independence itself for that matter, had been carefully planned a few months earlier, the actual declaration date was brought forward almost inadvertently as a consequence of the Japanese unconditional surrender to the Allies on August 15 following the Nagasaki atomic bombing. The historic event was triggered by a plot, led by a few more radical youth activists such as Adam Malik and Chairul Saleh, that put pressure on Soekarno and Hatta to proclaim independence immediately. The declaration was to be signed by the 27 members of the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence (PPKI) symbolically representing the new nation’s diversity. The particular act was apparently inspired by a similar spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence. However, the idea was heavily turned down by the radical activists mentioned earlier, arguing that the committee was too closely associated with then soon to be defunct Japanese occupation rule, thus creating a potential credibility issue. Instead, the radical activists demanded that the signatures of six of them were to be put on the document. All parties involved in the historical moment finally agreed on a compromise solution which only included Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta as the co-signers ‘in the name of the nation of Indonesia’

Soekarno had initially wanted the declaration to be read at Ikada Plain, the large open field in the centre of Jakarta, but due to unfounded widespread apprehension over the possibility of Japanese sabotage, the venue was changed to Soekarno’s house at Pegangsaan Timur 56. In fact there was no concrete evidence for the growing suspicions, as the Japanese had already surrendered to the Allies, and the Japanese high command in Indonesia had given their permission for the nation’s independence. The declaration of independence passed without a hitch.




Kami, bangsa Indonesia, dengan ini menjatakan kemerdekaan Indonesia.

Hal-hal jang mengenai pemindahan kekoeasaan,d.l.l., diselenggarakan dengan tjara saksama dan dalam tempoh yang sesingkat-singkatnja

Djakarta (Jakarta), 17-8-45

Wakil-Wakil Bangsa Indonesia


Three amendments were made to the draft, as follows:

  • tempoh“: changed to “tempo“, both meaning “time period”.
  • 17-8-45: changed to “hari 17, boelan 8, tahoen 05″ (“day 17, month 8, year 05” of the Japanese sumera calendar); the number “05” is the short form for 2605.
  • Wakil-Wakil Bangsa Indonesia” (Representatives of the people of Indonesian nation): changed to “Atas nama bangsa Indonesia” (“in the name of the nation of Indonesia”).

Final text

The original Indonesian Declaration of Independence


Kami, bangsa Indonesia, dengan ini menjatakan kemerdekaan Indonesia.

Hal-hal jang mengenai pemindahan kekoeasaan d.l.l., diselenggarakan dengan tjara saksama dan dalam tempo jang sesingkat-singkatnja.

Djakarta, hari 17 boelan 8 tahoen 05

Atas nama bangsa Indonesia

<<tanda tangan Soekarno/Hatta>>

Soekarno – Hatta

English translation

An English translation published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of October 1948 included the entire speech as read by Sukarno. It incorporated remarks made immediately prior to and after the actual proclamation. George McTurnan Kahin, a historian on Indonesia, believed that they were omitted from publication in Indonesia either due to Japanese control of media outlets or fear of provoking a harsh Japanese response.[4]







  1. ^ “Dutch govt expresses regrets over killings in RI”. Jakarta Post. 2005-08-18. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  2. ^ “Former governor Ali Sadikin, freedom fighter SK Trimurti die”. Jakarta Post. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  3. ^ Yuliastuti, Dian (2008-05-21). “Freedom Fighter SK Trimurti Dies”. Tempo Interactive.,20080521-123376,uk.html. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  4. ^ Kahin, George McT. (April 2000). “Sukarno’s Proclamation of Indonesian Independence”. Indonesia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Modern Indonesia Project) 69: 1–4. doi:10.2307/3351273. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 


Indonesian National Revolution

See also: Timeline of the Indonesian National Revolution

The Indonesian National Revolution or Indonesian War of Independence was an armed conflict and diplomatic struggle between Indonesia and the Dutch Empire, and an internal social revolution. It took place between Indonesia’s declaration of independence in 1945 and the Netherlands‘ recognition of Indonesia’s independence in 1949.

One of the largest revolutions of the twentieth century, the struggle lasted for over four years and involved sporadic but bloody armed conflict, internal Indonesian political and communal upheavals, and two major international diplomatic interventions. Dutch forces were not able to prevail over the Indonesians, but were strong enough to resist being expelled.[1] Although Dutch forces could control the towns and cities in Republican heartlands on Java and Sumatra, they could not control villages and the countryside. Thus, the Republic of Indonesia ultimately prevailed as much through international diplomacy as it did through Indonesian determination in the armed conflicts on Java and other islands, exhausting the Dutch economy.[1]

The Revolution destroyed a colonial administration which had ruled from the other side of the world. It also significantly changed racial castes, as well as reducing the power of many of the local rulers (raja). It did not significantly improve the economic or political fortune of the majority of the population, though a few Indonesians were able to gain a larger role in commerce.


See also: Indonesian National Awakening and Japanese occupation of Indonesia

Indonesian nationalism and movements supporting independence from Dutch colonialism, such as Budi Utomo, the Indonesian National Party (PNI), Sarekat Islam, and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), grew rapidly in the first half of the twentieth century. Budi Utomo, Sarekat Islam and others pursued strategies of co-operation by joining the Dutch initiated Volksraad (“People’s Council”) in the hope that Indonesia would be granted self-rule.[2] Others chose a non-cooperative strategy demanding the freedom of self-government from the Dutch East Indies colony.[3] The most notable of these leaders were Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, two students and nationalist leaders who had benefited from the educational reforms of the Dutch Ethical Policy.

Japan’s three and a half year World War II occupation of Indonesia was a crucial factor in the subsequent Revolution. Under German occupation itself, the Netherlands had little ability to defend its colony against the Japanese army, and within only three months of their initial attacks, the Japanese had occupied the Dutch East Indies. In Java, and to a lesser extent in Sumatra (Indonesia’s two dominant islands), the Japanese spread and encouraged nationalist sentiment. Although this was done more for Japanese political advantage than from altruistic support of Indonesian independence, this support created new Indonesian institutions (including local neighbourhood organisations) and elevated political leaders like Sukarno. Just as significantly for the subsequent Revolution, the Japanese destroyed and replaced much of the Dutch-created economic, administrative, and political infrastructure.[4]

With the Japanese on the brink of losing the war, the Dutch sought to re-establish their authority in Indonesia, and requested the Japanese army “preserve law and order” in Indonesia.[5] The Japanese, however, were in favour of helping Indonesian nationalists prepare for self-government. On 7 September 1944, with the war going badly for the Japanese, Prime Minister Koiso promised independence for Indonesia, although no date was set.[6] For supporters of Sukarno, this announcement was seen as vindication for his apparent collaboration with the Japanese.[7]

Independence declared

Under pressure from radical and politicised pemuda (‘youth’) groups, Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed Indonesian independence, on 17 August 1945, two days after the Japanese Emperor’s surrender in the Pacific. The following day, the Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP) elected Sukarno as President, and Hatta as Vice President.[8]

Euphoria of revolution


We, the people of Indonesia, hereby declare the independence of Indonesia.

Matters which concern the transfer of power and other things will be executed by careful means and in the shortest possible time.

Djakarta, 17 August 1945

In the name of the people of Indonesia,

[signed] Soekarno—Hatta

(Translation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 1948)[9]

Indonesian flag raised on 17 August 1945.

It was mid-September before news of the declaration of independence spread to the outer islands, and many Indonesians far from the capital Jakarta did not believe it. As the news spread, most Indonesians came to regard themselves as pro-Republican, and a mood of revolution swept across the country.[10] External power had shifted; it would be weeks before Allied Forces entered Indonesia, and the Dutch were too weakened by World War Two. The Japanese, on the other hand, were required by the terms of the surrender to both lay down their arms and maintain order; a contradiction that some resolved by handing weapons to Japanese-trained Indonesians.[11]

The resulting power vacuums in the weeks following the Japanese surrender, created an atmosphere of uncertainty, but also one of opportunity for the Republicans.[12] Many pemuda joined pro-Republic struggle groups (badan perjuangan). The most disciplined were soldiers from the Japanese-formed but disbanded Giyugun (PETA) and Heiho groups. Many groups were undisciplined, due to both the circumstances of their formation and what they perceived as revolutionary spirit. In the first weeks, Japanese troops often withdrew from urban areas to avoid confrontations.[13]

By September 1945, control of major infrastructure installations, including railway stations and trams in Java’s largest cities, had been taken over by Republican pemuda who encountered little Japanese resistance.[13] To spread the Revolution message, pemuda set up their own radio stations and newspapers, and graffiti proclaimed the nationalist sentiment. On most islands, struggle committees and militia were set up.[14] Republican newspapers and journals were common in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Surakarta, which fostered a generation of writers known as angkatan 45 (‘generation of 45’) many of whom believed their work could be part of the Revolution.[13]

Republican leaders struggled to come to terms with popular sentiment; some wanted passionate armed struggle; others a more reasoned approach. Some leaders, such as the leftist Tan Malaka, spread the idea that this was a revolutionary struggle to be led and won by the Indonesian pemuda. Sukarno and Hatta, in contrast, were more interested in planning out a government and institutions to achieve independence through diplomacy.[14] Pro-Revolution demonstrations took place in large cities, including one led by Tan Malaka in Jakarta with over 200,000 people, which Sukarno and Hatta, fearing violence, successfully quelled.

By September 1945, many of the self-proclaimed pemuda, who were ready to die for ‘100% freedom’, were getting impatient. It was common for ethnic ‘out-groups’ – Dutch internees, Eurasian, Ambonese and Chinese – and anyone considered to be a spy, to be subjected to intimidation, kidnap, robbery, and sometimes murder, even organised massacres. Such attacks would continue to some extent for the course of the Revolution.[15] As the level of violence increased across the country, the Sukarno- and Hatta-led Republican government in Jakarta urged calm. However, pemuda in favour of armed struggle saw the older leadership as dithering and betraying the Revolution, which often led to conflict amongst Indonesians.

Formation of the Republican government

By the end of August, a central Republican government had been established in Jakarta. It adopted a constitution drafted during the Japanese occupation by the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence. With general elections yet to be held, a Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP) was appointed to assist the President. Similar committees were established at provincial and regency levels.

Questions of allegiance immediately arose amongst indigenous rulers. Central Javanese principalities, for example, immediately declared themselves Republican, while many raja (‘rulers’) of the outer islands, who had been enriched from their support of the Dutch, were less enthusiastic. Such reluctance among many outer islands was sharpened by the radical, non-aristocratic, and sometimes Islamic nature of the Java-centric Republican leadership. Support did, however, come from South Sulawesi (including the King of Bone, who still recalled battles against the Dutch from early in the century), and from Makassarese and Bugis raja, who supported the Republican Governor of Jakarta, a Menadonese Christian. Many Balinese raja accepted Republican authority.[16]

Fearing the Dutch would attempt to re-establish their authority over Indonesia, the new Republican Government and its leaders moved quickly to strengthen the fledgling administration. Within Indonesia, the newly formed government, although enthusiastic, was fragile and focused in Java (where focused at all). It was rarely and loosely in contact with the outer islands,[17] which had more Japanese troops (particularly in Japanese navy areas), less sympathetic Japanese commanders, and fewer Republican leaders and activists.[18] In November 1945, a parliamentary form of government was established and Sjahrir was appointed Prime Minister.

In the week following the Japanese surrender, the Giyugun (PETA) and Heiho groups were disbanded by the Japanese.[19] Command structures and membership vital for a national army were consequently dismantled. Thus, rather than being formed from a trained, armed, and organised army, the Republican armed forces began to grow in September from usually younger, less trained groups built around charismatic leaders.[16] Creating a rational military structure that was obedient to central authority from such disorganisation, was one of the major problems of the revolution, a problem that remains through to contemporary times.[1] In the self-created Indonesian army, Japanese-trained Indonesian officers prevailed over those trained by the Dutch[citation needed]. A thirty year-old former school teacher, Sudirman, was elected ‘commander-in-chief’ at the first meeting of Division Commanders in Yogyakarta on 12 November 1945.[20]

Allied counter revolution

The Dutch accused Sukarno and Hatta of collaborating with the Japanese, and denounced the Republic as a creation of Japanese fascism.[7] The Dutch East Indies administration had just received a ten million dollar loan from the United States to finance its return to Indonesia.[5]

Allied occupation

A soldier of an Indian armoured regiment examines a light tank used by Indonesian nationalists and captured by British forces during the fighting in Surabaya.

The Netherlands, however, was critically weakened from World War II in Europe and did not return as a significant military force until early 1946. The Japanese and members of the Allied forces reluctantly agreed to act as caretakers.[14] As US forces were focusing on the Japanese home islands, the archipelago was put under the jurisdiction of British Admiral Earl Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command. Allied enclaves already existed in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Morotai (Maluku) and parts of Irian Jaya; Dutch administrators had already returned to these areas.[18] In the Japanese navy areas, the arrival of Allied troops quickly prevented revolutionary activities where Australian troops, followed by Dutch troops and administrators, took the Japanese surrender (except for Bali and Lombok).[21]

The British were charged with restoring order and civilian government in Java. The Dutch took this to mean pre-war colonial administration and continued to claim sovereignty over Indonesia.[14] British Commonwealth troops did not, however, land on Java to accept the Japanese surrender until late September 1945. Lord Mountbatten’s immediate tasks included the repatriation of some 300,000 Japanese, and freeing prisoners of war. He did not want, nor did he have the resources, to commit his troops to a long struggle to regain Indonesia for the Dutch.[22] The first British troops reached Jakarta in late September 1945, and arrived in the cities of Medan (North Sumatra), Padang (West Sumatra), Palembang (South Sumatra), Semarang (Central Java) and Surabaya (East Java) in October. In an attempt to avoid clashes with Indonesians, the British commander Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison, diverted soldiers of the former Dutch colonial army to eastern Indonesia, where Dutch reoccupation was proceeding smoothly.[21] Tensions mounted as Allied troops entered Java and Sumatra; clashes broke out between Republicans and their perceived enemies, namely Dutch prisoners, Dutch colonial troops (KNIL), Chinese, Indo-Europeans and Japanese.[21]

The first stages of warfare were initiated in October 1945 when, in accordance with the terms of their surrender, the Japanese tried to re-establish the authority they relinquished to Indonesians in the towns and cities. Japanese military police killed Republican pemuda in Pekalongan (Central Java) on 3 October, and Japanese troops drove Republican pemuda out of Bandung in West Java and handed the city to the British, but the fiercest fighting involving the Japanese was in Semarang. On 14 October, British forces began to occupy the city. Retreating Republican forces retaliated by killing between 130 and 300 Japanese prisoners they were holding. Five hundred Japanese and 2,000 Indonesians had been killed and the Japanese had almost captured the city six days later when British forces arrived.[21]

The British subsequently decided to evacuate the 10,000 Indo-Europeans and European internees in the volatile Central Java interior. British detachments sent to the towns of Ambarawa and Magelang encountered strong Republican resistance and used air attacks against the Indonesians. Sukarno arranged a ceasefire on 2 November, but by late November fighting had resumed and the British withdrew to the coast.[23] Republican attacks against Allied and alleged pro-Dutch civilians reached a peak in November and December, with 1,200 killed in Bandung as the pemuda returned to the offensive.[24] In March 1946, departing Republicans responded to a British ultimatum for them to leave the city of Bandung by deliberately burning down much of the southern half of the city in what is popularly known in Indonesia as the “Bandung Sea of Fire“. The last British troops left Indonesia in November 1946, but by this time 55,000 Dutch troops had landed in Java.

Battle of Surabaya

Main article: Battle of Surabaya

A defiant Bung Tomo, one of the most revered revolutionary leaders. This famous photo represents for many who took part, both Dutch and Indonesian, the very soul of the revolutionary struggle.[25]

The Battle of Surabaya was the heaviest single battle of the Revolution and became a national symbol of Indonesian resistance.[26] Pemuda groups in Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia, seized arms and ammunition from the Japanese and set up two new organisations; the Indonesia National Committee (KNI) and the People’s Security Council (BKR). By the time the Allied forces arrived at the end of October 1945, the pemuda foothold in Surabaya city was described as “a strong unified fortress”.[27]

The city itself was in pandemonium. There was bloody hand-to-hand fighting on every street corner. Bodies were strewn everywhere. Decapitated, dismembered trunks lay piled one on top of the other…Indonesians were shooting and stabbing and murdering wildly


In September and October 1945 Europeans and pro-Dutch Eurasians were attacked and killed by Indonesian mobs.[29] Ferocious fighting erupted when 6,000 British Indian troops landed in the city. Sukarno and Hatta negotiated a ceasefire between the Republicans and the British forces led by Brigadier Mallaby. Following the killing of Mallaby on 30 October,[27] the British sent more troops into the city from 10 November under the cover of air attacks. Although the European forces largely captured the city in three days, the poorly armed Republicans fought on for three weeks and thousands died as the population fled to the countryside.

Despite the military defeat suffered by the Republicans and a loss of manpower and weaponry that would severely hamper Republican forces for the rest of the Revolution, the battle and defence mounted by the Indonesians galvanised the nation in support of independence and helped garner international attention. For the Dutch, it removed any doubt that the Republic was not simply a gang of collaborators without popular support.[26] It also convinced Britain to lie on the side of neutrality in the Revolution;[26] and within a few years, Britain would support the Republican cause in the United Nations.

The Dutch return

Javanese revolutionaries armed with bamboo spears and a few Japanese rifles. 1946.

With British assistance, the Dutch landed their Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) forces in Jakarta and other key centres. Republican sources reported 8,000 deaths up to January 1946 in the defence of Jakarta, but they could not hold the city.[22] The Republican leadership thus established themselves in the city of Yogyakarta with the crucial support of the new sultan, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX. Yogyakarta went on to play a leading role in the Revolution, which would result in the city being granted its own Special Territory status.[30] In Bogor, near Jakarta, and in Balikpapan in Kalimantan, Republican officials were imprisoned. In preparation for Dutch occupation of Sumatra, its largest cities, Palembang and Medan, were bombed. In December 1946, Dutch Special Troops (KST), led by commando and counter-insurgency expert Captain Raymond ‘Turk’ Westerling, were accused of trying to pacify the southern Sulawesi region using arbitrary terror techniques, which were copied by other anti-Republicans. As many as 3,000 Republican militia and their supporters were killed in a few weeks.[31]

On Java and Sumatra, the Dutch found military success in cities and major towns, but they were unable to subdue the villages and countryside. On the outer islands (including Bali), Republican sentiment was not as strong, at least among the elite. They were consequently occupied by the Dutch with comparative ease, and autonomous states were set up by the Dutch. The largest, the State of East Indonesia (NIT), encompassed most of eastern Indonesia, and was established in December 1946, with its administrative capital in Makassar.

Diplomacy and military offensives

Linggadjati Agreement

The Linggadjati Agreement, brokered by the British and concluded in November 1946, saw the Netherlands recognise the Republic as the de-facto authority over Java, Madura, and Sumatra. Both parties agreed to the formation of the ‘United States of Indonesia‘ by 1 January 1949, a semi-autonomous federal state with the Monarchy of the Netherlands at its head. The Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra would be one of its states, alongside areas that were generally under stronger Dutch influence, including southern Kalimantan, and the ‘Great East‘, which consisted of Sulawesi, Maluku, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Western New Guinea. The Central National Committee of Indonesia (KNIP) did not ratify the agreement until February 1947, and neither the Republic nor the Dutch were satisfied with it.[1] On 25 March 1947 the Lower House of the Dutch parliament ratified a ‘stripped down’ version of the treaty, which was not accepted by the Republic.[32] Both sides soon accused the other of violating the agreement.

…[the Republic] became increasingly disorganised internally; party leaders fought with party leaders; governments were over thrown and replaced by others; armed groups acted on their own in local conflicts; certain parts of the Republic never had contact with the centre-they just drifted along in their own way.
The whole situation deteriorated to such an extent that the Dutch Government was obliged to decide that no progress could be made before law and order were restored sufficiently to make intercourse between the different parts of Indonesia possible, and to guarantee the safety of people of different political opinions.

—former East Indies Governor H. J. van Mook‘s justification for the first Dutch “police action”.[33]

Operation Product

Main article: Operatie Product

At midnight on 20 July 1947, the Dutch launched a major military offensive it called Operatie Product with the intent of conquering the Republic. Claiming violations of the Linggajati Agreement, the Dutch described the campaign as Politionele acties (‘police actions’) to restore law and order. This used to be the task of the KNIL. However, at the time the majority of the Dutch troops in Indonesia belonged to the Royal Netherlands Army. Soon after the end of WWII, 25,000 volunteers (among them 5,000 marines) had been sent overseas. They were later followed by larger numbers of conscripts from the Netherlands. In the offensive, Dutch forces drove Republican troops out of parts of Sumatra, and East and West Java. The Republicans were confined to the Yogyakarta region of Java. To maintain their force in Java, now numbering 100,000 troops, the Dutch gained control of lucrative Sumatran plantations, and oil and coal installations, and in Java, control of all deep water ports.

International reaction to the Dutch actions was negative. Neighbouring Australia and newly independent India were particularly active in supporting the Republic’s cause in the UN, as was the Soviet Union and, most significantly, the United States. Dutch ships continued to be boycotted from loading and unloading by Australian waterside workers, a blockade that began in September 1945. The United Nations Security Council became directly involved in the conflict, establishing a Good Offices Committee to sponsor further negotiations, making the Dutch diplomatic position particularly difficult. A ceasefire, called for by UN resolution, was ordered by the Dutch and Sukarno on 4 August 1947.[34]

[edit] Renville Agreement

The Van Mook line in Java. Areas in red were under Republican control.[35]

Main article: Renville Agreement

The United Nations Security Council brokered the Renville Agreement in an attempt to rectify the collapsed Linggarjati Agreement. The agreement was ratified in January 1948 and recognised a cease-fire along the so-called ‘van Mook line’; an artificial line which connected up the most advanced Dutch positions. Many Republican positions, however, were still held behind the Dutch lines. The agreement also required referenda to be held on the political future of the Dutch held areas. The apparent reasonableness of Republicans garnered much important American goodwill.[34]

Diplomatic efforts between the Netherlands and the Republic continued throughout 1948 and 1949. Political pressures, both domestic and international, hindered Dutch attempts at goal formulation. Similarly Republican leaders faced great difficulty in persuading their people to accept diplomatic concessions. By July 1948 negotiations were in deadlock and the Netherlands pushed unilaterally towards Van Mook’s federal Indonesia concept. The new federal states of South Sumatra and East Java were created, although neither had a viable support base.[36] The Netherlands set up the Bijeenkomst voor Federaal Overleg (BFO) (or ‘Federal Consultative Assembly’), a body comprising the leadership of the federal states, and charged with the formation of a United States of Indonesia and an interim government by the end of 1948. The Dutch plans, however, had no place for the Republic unless it accepted a minor role already defined for it. Later plans included Java and Sumatra but dropped all mention of the Republic. The main sticking point in the negotiations was the balance of power between the Netherlands High Representative and the Republican forces.[37]

Mutual distrust between the Netherlands and the Republic hindered negotiations. The Republic feared a second major Dutch offensive, while the Dutch objected to continued Republican activity on the Dutch side of the Renville line. In February 1948 the Siliwangi Battalion of the Republican Army, led by Nasution, marched from West Java to Central Java; the relocation was intended to ease internal Republican tensions involving the Battalion in the Surakarta area. The Battalion, however, clashed with Dutch troops while crossing Mount Slamet, and the Dutch believed it was part of a systematic troop movement across the Renville Line. The fear of such incursions actually succeeding, along with apparent Republican undermining of the Dutch-established Pasudan state and negative reports, lead to the Dutch leadership increasingly seeing itself as losing control.[38]

Operation Crow and Serangan Umum

We have been attacked….The Dutch government have betrayed the cease-fire agreement. All the Armed Forces will carry out the plans which have been decided on to confront the Dutch attack

General Sudirman, broadcast from his sickbed.[39]

Main article: Operatie Kraai

Frustrated at negotiations with the Republic and believing it weakened by both the Darul Islam and Madiun insurgencies, the Dutch launched a military offensive on 19 December 1948 which it termed ‘Operatie Kraai‘ (Operation Crow). By the following day it had conquered the city of Yogyakarta, the location of the temporary Republican capital. By the end of December, all major Republican held cities in Java and Sumatra were in Dutch hands.[40] The Republican President, Vice President, and all but six Republic of Indonesia ministers were captured by Dutch troops and exiled on Bangka Island off the east coast of Sumatra. In areas surrounding Yogyakarta and Surakarta, Republican forces refused to surrender and continued to wage a guerrilla war under the leadership of Republican military chief of staff General Sudirman who had escaped the Dutch offensives. An emergency Republican government, the Pemerintahan Darurat Republik Indonesia (PDRI), was established in West Sumatra.

Although Dutch forces conquered the towns and cities in Republican heartlands on Java and Sumatra, they could not control villages and the countryside.[40] Republican troops and militia led by Lt. Colonel (later President) Suharto attacked Dutch positions in Yogyakarta at dawn on 1 March 1949. The Dutch were expelled from the city for six hours but reinforcements were brought in from the nearby cities of Ambarawa and Semarang that afternoon.[41] Indonesian fighters retreated at 12:00 pm and the Dutch re-entered the city. The Indonesian attack, later known in Indonesia as Serangan Umum (‘1 March General Offensive’), is commemorated by a large monument in Yogyakarta. A similar attack against Dutch troops in Surakarta was led by Lt. Col. Slamet Riyadi on 7 August the same year.[41]

Once again, international opinion of the Dutch military campaigns was one of outrage, significantly in both the United Nations and the United States. In January 1949, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding the reinstatement of the Republican government.[7] United States aid specifically earmarked for the Netherlands’ Indonesia efforts was immediately cancelled and pressure mounted within the American Congress for all United States aid to be cut off. This included Marshall Plan funds vital for Dutch post-World War II rebuilding that had so far totalled $US 1 billion.[42] The Netherlands Government had spent an amount equivalent to almost half of this funding their campaigns in Indonesia. That United States aid could be used to fund “a senile and ineffectual imperialism” encouraged many key voices in the United States – including those amongst the US Republican Party – and from within American churches and NGOs to speak out in support of Indonesian independence.[43]

Internal turmoil

Social revolutions

The so-called ‘social revolutions’ following the independence proclamation were challenges to the Dutch-established Indonesian social order, and to some extent a result of the resentment against Japanese-imposed policies. Across the country, people rose up against traditional aristocrats and village heads and attempted to exert popular ownership of land and other resources.[44] The majority of the social revolutions ended quickly; in most cases the challenges to the social order were quashed.[45]

A culture of violence rooted in the deep conflicts that split the countryside under Dutch rule would repeatedly erupt throughout the whole second half of the twentieth century.[45] The term ‘social revolution’ has been applied to a range of mostly violent activities of the left that included both altruistic attempts to organise real revolution and simple expressions of revenge, resentment and assertions of power. Violence was one of the many lessons learned during the Japanese occupation, and figures identified as ‘feudal‘, including kings, regents, or simply the wealthy, were often attacked, sometimes beheaded, and rape became a weapon against ‘feudal’ women.[44] In the coastal sultanates of Sumatra and Kalimantan, for example, sultans and others whose authority had been shored-up by the Dutch, were attacked as soon as Japanese authority left. The secular local lords of Aceh, who had been the foundation of Dutch rule, were executed, although most of Indonesia’s sultanates fell back into Dutch hands.

Most Indonesians lived in fear and uncertainty, particularly a significant proportion of the population who supported the Dutch or who remained under Dutch control. The popular revolutionary cry ‘Freedom or Death’ was often interpreted to justify killings under claimed Republican authority. Traders were often in particularly difficult positions. On the one hand, they were pressured by Republicans to boycott all sales to the Dutch; on the other hand, Dutch police could be merciless in their efforts to stamp out smugglers on which the Republican economy depended. In some areas, the term kedaulatan rakyat (‘exercising the sovereignty of the people’) – which is mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution and used by pemuda to demand pro-active policies from leaders – came to be used not only in the demanding of free goods, but also to justify extortion and robbery. Chinese merchants, in particular, were often forced to keep their goods at artificially low prices under threat of death.[44][46]

Communist and Islamist insurgencies

Main articles: Madiun Affair and Darul Islam

On 18 September 1948 an ‘Indonesian Soviet Republic’ was declared in Madiun, east of Yogyakarta, by members of the PKI and the Indonesian Socialist Party (PSI). Judging the times as right for a proletarian uprising, they intended it to be a rallying centre for revolt against “Sukarno-Hatta, the slaves of the Japanese and America”.[12] Madiun however was won back by Republican forces within a few weeks and the insurgency leader, Musso, killed. RM Suryo, the governor of East Java, several police officers and religious leaders were killed by the rebels. This ended a distraction for the Revolution,[12] and it turned vague American sympathies based on anti-colonial sentiments into diplomatic support. Internationally, the Republic was now seen as being staunchly anti-communist and a potential ally in the emergin global Cold War between the American-led ‘free world’ and the Soviet-led bloc.[47]

Members of the Republican Army who had come from Indonesian Hizbullah felt betrayed by Indonesian Government. In May 1948, they declared a break-away regime, the Negara Islam Indonesia (Indonesian Islamic State), better known as Darul Islam. Led by an Islamic mystic, Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosuwirjo, Darul Islam sought to establish Indonesia as an Islamic theocracy. At the time, the Republican Government did not respond as they were focused on the threat from the Dutch. Some leaders of Masjumi sympathised with the rebellion. After the Republic regained all territories in 1950, the government took the Darul Islam threat seriously, especially after some provinces declared their joining of Darul Islam. The rebellion was put down in 1962.

Transfer of sovereignty

Millions upon millions flooded the sidewalks, the roads. They were crying, cheering, screaming “…Long live Bung Karno…” They clung to the sides of the car, the hood, the running boards. They grabbed at me to kiss my fingers. Soldiers beat a path for me to the topmost step of the big white palace. There I raised both hands high. A stillness swept over the millions. “Alhamdulillah – Thank God,” I cried. “We are free”

Sukarno‘s recollections of independence achieved.[48]

The resilience of Indonesian Republican resistance and active international diplomacy set world opinion against the Dutch efforts to re-establish their colony.[43] The second ‘police action’ was a diplomatic disaster for the Dutch cause. The newly appointed United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson pushed the Netherlands government into negotiations earlier recommended by the United Nations but until then defied by the Netherlands. The Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference was held in The Hague from 23 August 1949 to 2 November 1949 between the Republic, the Netherlands, and the Dutch-created federal states. The Netherlands agreed to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over a new federal state known as the ‘United States of Indonesia‘ (RUSI). It would include all the territory of the former Dutch East Indies with the exception of Netherlands New Guinea; sovereignty over which it was agreed would be retained by the Netherlands until further negotiations with Indonesia. The other difficult issue to which Indonesia gave concessions was Netherlands East Indies debt. Indonesia agreed to responsibility for this sum of £4.3 billion, much of which was directly attributable to Dutch attempts to crush the Revolution. Sovereignty was formally transferred on 27 December 1949, and the new state was immediately recognised by the United States of America.

The United States of Indonesia, December 1949 – the Republic of Indonesia is shown in red

Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra together formed a single state in the sixteen-state RUSI federation, but accounted for almost half its population. The other fifteen ‘federal’ states had been created by the Netherlands since 1945. These states were dissolved into the Republic over the first half of 1950. An abortive anti-Republic coup in Bandung led by the infamous Westerling on 23 January 1950 resulted in the dissolution of the populous Pasudan state in West Java, thus quickening the dissolution of the federal structure. Colonial soldiers, who were largely Ambonese, clashed with Republican troops in Makassar in April 1950. The predominantly Christian Ambonese were from one of the few regions with pro-Dutch sentiments and they were suspicious of the Javanese Muslim-dominated Republic, whom they unfavourably regarded as leftists. On 25 April 1950, an independent Republic of South Maluku (RMS) was proclaimed in Ambon but this was suppressed by Republican troops during a campaign from July to November. With the state of East Sumatra now being the only federal state remaining, it too folded and fell in line with the unitary Republic. On 17 August 1950, the fifth anniversary of his declaration of Indonesian independence, Sukarno proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia as a unitary state.[49]


Indonesian Vice-president Hatta and Dutch Queen Juliana at the signing ceremony in The Hague at which the Dutch recognized Indonesian sovereignty

Although there is no accurate account of how many Indonesians died, they died in far greater numbers than their enemies, and many died at the hands of other Indonesians. Estimates of Indonesian deaths in fighting range from 45,000 to 100,000 and civilian casualties exceeded 25,000 and may have been as high as 100,000.[50] A total of 1,200 British soldiers were killed or went missing in Java and Sumatra in 1945 and 1946, most of them Indian soldiers.[51] More than 5,000 Dutch soldiers lost their lives in Indonesia between 1945 and 1949. Many more Japanese died; in Bandung alone, 1,057 died, only half of whom died in actual combat, the rest killed in rampages by Indonesians. Tens of thousands of Chinese and Eurasians were killed or left homeless, despite the fact that many Chinese supported the Revolution. 7 million people were displaced on Java and Sumatra.[50]

The Revolution had direct effects on economic conditions; shortages were common, particularly food, clothing and fuel. There were in effect two economies – the Dutch and the Republican – both of which had to simultaneously rebuild after World War II and survive the disruptions of the Revolution. The Republic had to set up all necessities of life, ranging from ‘postage stamps, army badges, and train tickets’ whilst subject to Dutch trade blockades. Confusion and ruinous inflationary surges resulted from competing currencies; Japanese, new Dutch money, and Republican currencies were all used, often concurrently.[52]

Indonesian independence was secured through a blend of both diplomacy and force. Despite their ill-discpline raising the prospect of anarchy, without pemuda confronting foreign and Indonesian colonial forces, Republican diplomatic efforts would have been futile. The Revolution is the turning point of modern Indonesian history, and it has provided the reference point and validation for the country’s major political trends that continue to the present day. It gave impetus to communism in the country, to militant nationalism, to Sukarno’s ‘guided democracy‘, to political Islam, the origins of the Indonesian army and its role in Indonesian power, the country’s constitutional arrangements, and the centralism of power in Indonesia.[53]

The revolution destroyed a colonial administration ruled from the other side of the world, and dismantled with it the raja, by many seen as obsolete and powerless. Also, it relaxed the rigid racial and social categorisations of colonial Indonesia. Tremendous energies and aspirations were created amongst Indonesians; a new creative surge was seen in writing and art, as was a great demand for education and modernisation. It did not, however, significantly improve the economic or political fortune of the population’s poverty-stricken peasant majority; only a few Indonesians were able to gain a larger role in commerce, and hopes for democracy were dashed within a decade.[53]


  1. ^ a b c d Friend (2003), page 35
  2. ^ Amry Vandenbosch (1931). “Nationalism in Netherlands East India”. Pacific Affairs (Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia) 4 (12): 1051–1069. doi:10.2307/2750579.
  3. ^ George Mc.T Kahin (1980). “In Memoriam: Mohammad Hatta (1902-1980)” (fee required). Indonesia (Southeast Asia Program Publications at Cornell University) 20: 113–120. doi:10.2307/3350997.
  4. ^ Vickers (2005), page 85
  5. ^ a b Charles Bidien (5 December 1945). “Independence the Issue”. Far Eastern Survey 14 (24): 345–348. doi:10.1525/as.1945.14.24.01p17062.
  6. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 207
  7. ^ a b c “The National Revolution, 1945-50”. Country Studies, Indonesia. U.S. Library of Congress.
  8. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 213; *Taylor, Jean Gelman (2003). Indonesia: Peoples and History. Yale University Press. p. 325. ISBN 0-300-10518-5. ; Reid (1973), page 30
  9. ^ Kahin, George McT. (April 2000). “Sukarno’s Proclamation of Indonesian Independence”. Indonesia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Modern Indonesia Project) 69: 1–4. doi:10.2307/3351273. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 
  10. ^ Ricklefs (1991), pages 214 – 215
  11. ^ Friend (2003), page 32; Robert Cribb, ‘A revolution delayed: the Indonesian Republic and the Netherlands Indies, August-November 1945’, Australian Journal of Politics and History 32 no. 1 (1986), pp. 72-85.
  12. ^ a b c Friend (2003), page 32
  13. ^ a b c Ricklefs (1991), pages 215 – 216
  14. ^ a b c d Vickers (2005), page 97
  15. ^ Reid (1974), page 49; Mochtar Lubis, Jalan Tak Ada (Jakarta: Yayasan Obot Indonesia, 2002) [originally published 1952]), p.78; Anthony Reid, Indonesian National Revolution (Hawthorn, Vic.: Longman, 1974), chs. 2 and 3; Shirley Fenton-Huie, The Forgotten Ones: Women and Children Under Nippon (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1992); Anthony Reid, ‘Indonesia: revolution without socialism’, in Robin Jeffrey (ed.), Asia: the Winning of Independence (London: MacMillan, 1981), pp. 107-57.
  16. ^ a b Ricklefs (1991), page 214
  17. ^ Friend (2003), page 33
  18. ^ a b Ricklefs (1991), page 215
  19. ^ Most PETA and Heiho members did not yet know about the declaration of independence.
  20. ^ Reid (1974), page 78
  21. ^ a b c d Ricklefs (1991), page 216
  22. ^ a b Vickers (2005), page 99
  23. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 216; McMillan, Richard (2005). The British Occupation of Indonesia 1945-1946. Melbourne: Routledge. pp. 306–307. ISBN 0-415-35551-6
  24. ^ Reid (1973), page 54
  25. ^ Frederick, William H. (April 1982). “In Memoriam: Sutomo” (PDF). Indonesia (Cornell Modern Indonesia Project) 33: 127–128. seap.indo/1107016901.
  26. ^ a b c Ricklefs (1991), page 217
  27. ^ a b J. G. A. Parrott (October 1975). “Who Killed Brigadier Mallaby?” (PDF). Indonesia (Cornell Modern Indonesia Project) 20: 87–111. doi:10.2307/3350997. Retrieved 27 November 2006. 
  28. ^ Sukarno (1965). Sukarno: An Autobiography. Bobbs-Merrill. p. 228. 
  29. ^ Frederick, Willam H. (1989). Visions and Heat: The Making of the Indonesian Revolution. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. pp. 237–243. ISBN 0-8214-0906-9
  30. ^ Indonesia Law No. 5/1974 Concerning Basic Principles on Administration in the Region (translated version). The President of Republic of Indonesia (1974). Chapter VII Transitional Provisions, Art. 91.
  31. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 224
  32. ^ Kahin, George McTurnan (1952). Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9108-8
  33. ^ van Mook, H. J. (July 1949). “Indonesia”. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs) 25 (3): 278.
  34. ^ a b Ricklefs (1991), page 226
  35. ^ Kahin (1952), p. 233
  36. ^ Reid (1974), page 149
  37. ^ Reid (1974), page 150
  38. ^ Reid (1974), pages 149 – 151
  39. ^ originally cited in Siliwangi dari masa kemasa, p. 279, taken from Reid (1974), page 152
  40. ^ a b Reid (1973), page 153
  41. ^ a b Reid (1974)
  42. ^ Friend (2003), page 37
  43. ^ a b Friend (2003), page 38
  44. ^ a b c Vickers (2005), pages 101 – 104
  45. ^ a b by Freek Colombijn, J. Thomas Linblad (Eds) (2002). Roots of Violence in Indonesia: Contemporary Violence in Historical Perspective. Koninklijk Instituut Voor de Tropen. pp. 143–173. ISBN 9067181889
  46. ^ Reid (1974), page 60
  47. ^ Ricklefs (1991), page 230
  48. ^ Sukarno (1965). Sukarno: An Autobiography. Bobbs-Merrill. pp. 262–263. 
  49. ^ Reid (1974), pages 170-172; Ricklefs (1991), pages 232-233; “The National Revolution, 1945-50”. U.S. Library of Congress.
  50. ^ a b Friend, Bill personal comment 22/04/04; Friend, Theodore (1988). Blue Eyed Enemy. Princeton University Press. pp. 228 & 237. ISBN 978-0691055244. ; Nyoman S. Pendit, Bali Berjuang (2nd edn Jakarta:Gunung Agung, 1979 [original edn 1954]); Reid (1973), page 58,n.25, page 119,n.7, page 120,n.17, page 148,n.25 and n.37; Pramoedya Anwar Toer, Koesalah Soebagyo Toer and Ediati Kamil Kronik Revolusi Indonesia [Jakarta: Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, vol. I (1945); vol. II (1946) 1999; vol. III (1947); vol. IV (1948) 2003]; Ann Stoler, Capitalism and Confrontation in Sumatra’s Plantation Belt, 1870-1979 (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1985), p103.; all cited in Vickers (2005), page 100
  51. ^ Kirby, Woodburn S (1969). War Against Japan, Volume 5: The Surrender of Japan. HMSO. p. 258. 
  52. ^ Vickers (2005), page 101
  53. ^ a b Reid (1974), pages 170 – 171


  • Friend, Theodore (2003). Indonesian Destinies. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01834-6
  • Kahin, George McTurnan (1952) Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-8014-9108-8
  • Reid, Anthony (1974). The Indonesian National Revolution 1945-1950. Melbourne: Longman Pty Ltd. ISBN 0-582-71046-4
  • Ricklefs, M.C. A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1300. Second Edition. MacMillan, 1991.
  • Vickers, Adrian (2005). A History of Modern Indonesia. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 85–112. ISBN 0-521-54262-2

Japanese Occupation of Indonesia

Japanese occupation of Indonesia

The Japanese Empire occupied Indonesia during World War II from March 1942 until after the end of War in 1945. The period was one of the most critical in Indonesian history.

The occupation was the first serious challenge to the Dutch in Indonesia—it ended the Dutch colonial rule—and, by its end, changes were so numerous and extraordinary that the subsequent watershed, the Indonesia Revolution, was possible in a manner unfeasible just three years earlier.[1] Under German occupation itself, the Netherlands had little ability to defend its colony against the Japanese army, and less than three months after the first attacks on Kalimantan the Japanese navy and army overran Dutch and allied forces, ending over 300 years of Dutch colonial presence in Indonesia. In 1944–45, Allied troops largely by-passed Indonesia and did not fight their way into the most populous parts such as Java and Sumatra. As such, most of Indonesia was still under Japanese occupation at the time of their surrender in August 1945.

The most lasting and profound effects of the occupation were, however, on the Indonesian people. Initially, most had optimistically and even joyfully welcomed the Japanese as liberators from their Dutch colonial masters. This sentiment quickly changed as the occupation turned out to be the most oppressive and ruinous colonial regime in Indonesian history. As a consequence, Indonesians were for the first time politicised down to the village level. But this political wakening was also partly due to Japanese design; particularly in Java and to a lesser extent Sumatra, the Japanese educated, trained and armed many young Indonesians and gave their nationalist leaders a political voice. Thus through both the destruction of the Dutch colonial regime and the facilitation of Indonesian nationalism, the Japanese occupation created the conditions for a claim of Indonesian independence. Following World War II, Indonesians pursued a bitter five-year diplomatic, military and social struggle before securing that independence


Until 1942, Indonesia was colonised by the Netherlands and was known as the Netherlands East Indies. In 1929, during the Indonesian National Awakening, Indonesian nationalists leaders Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta (later founding President and Vice President), foresaw a Pacific War and that a Japanese advance on Indonesia might be advantageous for the independence cause.[2]

The Japanese spread the word that they were the ‘Light of Asia’. Japan was the only Asian nation that had successfully transformed itself into a modern technological society at the end of the nineteenth century and it remained independent when most Asian countries had been under European or American power, and had beaten a European power, Russia, in war.[3] Following its military campaign in China Japan turned its attention to Southeast Asia advocating to other Asians a ‘Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere‘, which they described as a type of trade zone under Japanese leadership. The Japanese had gradually spread their influence through Asia in the first half of the twentieth century and during the 1920s and 1930s had established business links in the Indies. These ranged from small town barbers, photographic studios and salesmen, to large department stores and firms such as Suzuki and Mitsubishi becoming involved in the sugar trade.[4] The Japanese population peaked in 1931, with 6,949 residents before starting a gradual decrease, largely due to economic tensions between Japan and the Netherlands Indies government.[5] Japanese aggression in Manchuria and China in the late 1930s caused anxiety amongst the Chinese in Indonesia who set up funds to support the anti-Japanese effort. Dutch intelligence services also monitored Japanese living in Indonesia.[6] A number of Japanese had been sent by their government to establish links with Indonesian nationalists, particularly with Muslim parties, while Indonesian nationalists were sponsored to visit Japan. Such encouragement of Indonesian nationalism was part of a broader Japanese plan for an ‘Asia for the Asians’.[7]

In November 1941, Madjlis Rakjat Indonesia, an Indonesian organization of religious, political and trade union groups, submitted a memorandum to the Dutch East Indies Government requesting the mobilization of the Indonesian people in the face of the war threat.[8] The memorandum was refused because the Government did not consider the Madjlis Rakyat Indonesia to be representative of the people. Within only four months, the Japanese had occupied the archipelago.

The Invasion Main article: Netherlands East Indies campaign

Japanese advance through Indonesia, 1942

On December 8, 1941, Netherlands declared war on Japan.[9] In January the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM) was formed to co-ordinate Allied forces in South East Asia. On the night of January 10–11, 1942, the Japanese attacked Menado in Celebes. At about the same moment they attacked Tarakan, a major oil extraction centre and port in the north east of Borneo. On February 27, the Allied fleet was defeated in the Battle of the Java Sea. From February 28 to March 1, 1942, Japanese troops landed on four places along the northern coast of Java almost undisturbed. On March 8, the Allied forces in Indonesia surrendered. The colonial army was consigned to detention camps and Indonesian soldiers were released. European civilians were interned once Japanese or Indonesian replacements could be found for senior and technical positions.[10]

Outline of the Japanese entry in Batavia, as imagined by the Japanese

Liberation from the Dutch was initially greeted with optimistic enthusiasm by Indonesians who came to meet the Japanese army waving flags and shouting support such as “Japan is our older brother” and “banzai Dai Nippon“.

The Indonesians abandoned their colonial masters in droves and openly welcomed the Japanese as liberators. As the Japanese advanced, rebellious Indonesians in virtually every part of the archipelago killed small groups of Europeans (particularly the Dutch) and informed the Japanese reliably on the whereabouts of larger groups[11]

In Aceh the local population rebelled against the Dutch colonial authorities, even before the arrival of the Japanese. As renowned Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer noted:

With the arrival of the Japanese just about everyone was full of hope, except for those who had worked in the service of the Dutch.[12]

The occupation

Indonesia under the Japanese occupation [13]

Initially Japanese occupation was welcomed by the Indonesians as liberators.[14] During the occupation, the Indonesian nationalist movement increased in popularity. In July 1942, leading nationalists like Sukarno accepted Japan’s offer to rally the public in support of the Japanese war effort. Both Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta were decorated by the Emperor of Japan in 1943.

Japanese rulers divided Indonesia into three regions; Sumatra was placed under the 25th Army, Java and Madura were under the 16th Army, while Borneo and eastern Indonesia were controlled by the Navy 2nd South Fleet. The 16th and 25th Army were headquartered in Singapore[1] and also controlled Malaya until April 1943, when its command was narrowed to just Sumatra and the headquarters moved to Bukittinggi. The 16th Army was headquartered in Jakarta, while the 2nd South Fleet was headquartered in Makassar.

Internment camp in Jakarta, c. 1945

Experience of the Japanese occupation of Indonesia varied considerably, depending upon where one lived and one’s social position. Many who lived in areas considered important to the war effort experienced torture, sex slavery, arbitrary arrest and execution, and other war crimes. Many thousands of people were taken away from Indonesia as unfree labour (romusha) for Japanese military projects, including the Burma-Siam Railway, and suffered or died as a result of ill-treatment and starvation. People of Dutch and mixed Dutch-Indonesian descent were particular targets of the Japanese occupation and were interned.

During the World War II occupation, tens of thousands of Indonesians were to starve, work as slave labourers, or be forced from their homes. In the National Revolution that followed, tens, even hundreds, of thousands (including civilians), would die in fighting against the Japanese, Allied forces, and other Indonesians, before Independence was achieved.[15] A later United Nations report stated that four million people died in Indonesia as a result of famine and forced labor during the Japanese occupation, including 30,000 European civilian internee deaths.[16]

Netherlands Indian roepiah – the Japanese occupation currency

Materially, whole railway lines, railway rolling stock, and industrial plants in Java were appropriated and shipped back to Japan and Manchuria. British intelligence reports during the occupation noted significant removals of any materials that could be used in the war effort.

The only prominent opposition politician was leftist Amir Sjarifuddin who was given 25,000 guilders by the Dutch in early 1942 to organise an underground resistance through his Marxist and nationalist connections. The Japanese arrested Amir in 1943, and he only escaped execution following intervention from Sukarno, whose popularity in Indonesia and hence importance to the war effort was recognised by the Japanese. Apart from Amir’s Surabaya-based group, the most active pro-Allied activities were among the Chinese, Ambonese, and Menadonese.[17]

Indonesian nationalism

Young Indonesian boys being trained by the Japanese Army

During the occupation, the Japanese encouraged and backed Indonesian nationalistic feeling, created new Indonesian institutions, and promoted nationalist leaders such as Sukarno. In the decades before the war, the Dutch had been overwhelmingly successful in suppressing the small nationalist movement in Indonesia such that the Japanese proved fundamental for coming Indonesian independence.[15]

The Japanese regime perceived Java as the most politically sophisticated but economically the least important area; its people were Japan’s main resource. As such—and in contrast to Dutch suppression—the Japanese encouraged Indonesian nationalism in Java and thus increased its political sophistication (similar encouragement of nationalism in strategic resource-rich Sumatra came later, but only after it was clear the Japanese would lose the war). The outer islands under naval control, however, were regarded as politically backward but economically vital for the Japanese war effort, and these regions were governed the most oppressively of all. These experiences and subsequent differences in nationalistic politicisation would have profound impacts on the course of the Indonesian Revolution in the years immediately following independence (1945–1950).

In addition to new-found Indonesian nationalism, equally important for the coming independence struggle and internal revolution was the Japanese orchestrated economic, political and social dismantling and destruction of the Dutch colonial state.[15]

End of the occupation

Japanese commanders listening to the terms of surrender

General MacArthur had wanted to fight his way with Allied troops to liberate Java in 1944-45 but was ordered not to by the joint chiefs and President Roosevelt. The Japanese occupation thus officially ended with Japanese surrender in the Pacific and two days later Sukarno declared Indonesian Independence. However Indonesian forces would have to spend the next four years fighting the Dutch for its independence. American restraint from fighting their way into Java certainly saved many Japanese, Javanese, Dutch and American lives. On the other hand, Indonesian independence would have likely been achieved more swiftly and smoothly had MacArthur had his way and American troops occupied Java.[18]

Liberation of the internment camps holding western prisoners was not swift. Sukarno, who had Japanese political sponsorship starting in 1929 and continuing into Japanese occupation, convinced his countrymen that these prisoners were a threat to Indonesia’s independence movement. Largely because they were political bargaining chips with which to deal with the colonizer, but also largely to humiliate them; Sukarno forced Westerners back into Japanese concentration camps, still run by armed Japanese soldiers. While there certainly was enough labor to garrison these camps with Indonesian soldiers, Sukarno chose to allow his former ally to maintain authority. Condition’s were better during post war internment than under previous internment, this time Red Cross supplies were made available and the Allies made the Japanese order the most heinous and cruel occupiers home. After four months of post war internment Western internees were released on the condition they leave Indonesia.

Most of the Japanese military personnel and civilian colonial administrators were repatriated to Japan following the war, except for several hundred who were detained for investigations into war crimes, for which some were later put on trial. About 1,000 Japanese soldiers deserted from their units and assimilated into local communities. Many of these soldiers provided assistance to rebel forces during the Indonesian National Revolution.[19]

Japanese soldiers on trial.

The first stages of warfare were initiated in October 1945 when, in accordance with the terms of their surrender, the Japanese tried to re-establish the authority they relinquished to Indonesians in the towns and cities. Japanese military police killed Republican pemuda in Pekalongan (Central Java) on 3 October, and Japanese troops drove Republican pemuda out of Bandung in West Java and handed the city to the British, but the fiercest fighting involving the Japanese was in Semarang. On 14 October, British forces began to occupy the city. Retreating Republican forces retaliated by killing between 130 and 300 Japanese prisoners they were holding. Five hundred Japanese and 2000 Indonesians had been killed and the Japanese had almost captured the city six days later when British forces arrived.[20]

I of course knew that we had been forced to keep Japanese troops under arms to protect our lines of communication and vital areas…but it was nevertheless a great shock to me to find over a thousand Japanese troops guarding the nine miles of road from the airport to the town.[21]

Lord Mountbatten of Burma in April 1946 after visiting Sumatra, referring to the use of Japanese Surrendered Personnel.

Until 1949 the returning Dutch authorities held 448 war crimes trials against 1038 suspects. 969 of those were condemned (93,4%) with 236 (24,4%) receiving a death sentence.[22]

Indonesian National Awakening

Indonesian National Awakening

The Indonesian National Awakening (Indonesian: Kebangkitan Nasional Indonesia) is a term for the period in the first half of the twentieth century, during which people from many parts of the archipelago first began to develop a national consciousness as “Indonesians”.

In the pursuit of profits and administrative control, the Dutch imposed an authority of the Dutch East Indies on an array of peoples who had not previously shared a unified political identity. By the start of the twentieth century, the Dutch had formed the territorial boundaries of a colonial state that became the precursor to modern Indonesia.

In the first half of the twentieth century, new organizations and leadership developed. Under its Ethical Policy, the Netherlands helped create an educated Indonesian elite. These profound changes amongst the indigenous Indonesian population are often referred to as the “Indonesian National Revival”. They were accompanied by increased political activism and culminated in Indonesian nationalists’ proclaiming independence on 17 August 1945.


In some places, anti-colonial struggles were assembled upon a longstanding and widespread sense of indigenous unity. In the Indies, however, nationalists had to help incubate a national consciousness

For Vickers, several factors gave rise to a nationalist consciousness: the indigenous print media, urbanization, communism, Islam, education, mass entertainment (such as film, stambul theater, and kroncong music), and suffering under Dutch apartheid. Leading intellectuals such as Kartini, Tirto, and Semaun gave voice and sentiment to the idea of a unified archipelago. These leaders, along with many others, sought to embrace “modernity” and nation, “freedom” (merdeka) and independence. Indigenous voices were suppressed by the Dutch, who disallowed freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and who extensively spied on dissident organizations. Indeed, only a small number raised their voices against colonialism, with most people avoided the Dutch as best they could and with the aristocracy “content to collaborate. “The modern movement against colonial rule was maintained by the passion and commitment of a few remarkable men and women. It can not be understated the impact that certain individuals had on the ultimate success of the Indonesian Nationalist Movement. The movement had its beginnings in the late 19th century which was indeed a period of Dutch Indies government consolidation having significantly reinforced their governance over much of the area that is now in the 21st century the national Indonesian territorial boundaries. Kartini was one such individual who provided the impetus and ideology which inspired successive patriotic nationalists to pursue their ideals despite the adversity. Kartini’s intuitive intellect was awakened by quality Dutch classical education and her inherent traditional Islamic beliefs and education, often arguing for a less prominent religious influence which contributed to the corruption of peace and peaceful endeavour. Kartini was supported by an enlightened and intellectually endowed family and firm foreign friends in Europe and Indonesia. Education, in the classic European sense provided Kartini with the intellectual tools to explore the most recent social and commercial developments in Europe through her focus on Dutch society. Kartini maintained her inquisitiveness and incorporated much of what she witnessed as ideology e.g., feminist principles, community welfare and education in her pursuit of the national Indonesian identity and her quest to modernise her traditional society, advocating changes in gender status and principles of individual and national self determination to realise the Indonesian universal dream of independence and self governance.


At the start of the twentieth century, the number of secondary educated Indonesians was almost negligible and from this time on, the Ethical Period saw the colonial government expand secondary educational opportunities to indigenous Indonesians. In 1925, the government’s focus shifted to the provision of a widespread three-year elementary vocational education. In 1940, over 2 million students were attending such schools which is thought to have improved the 6.3 per cent literacy rate recorded in the 1930 census. Dutch medium education opened new horizons and opportunities, and was in strong demand by Indonesians. In 1940, 65,000 to 80,000 Indonesian students were in Dutch and Dutch-supported primary schools, equivalent to 1 per cent of the relevant age group. Around the same time, there were 7,000 Indonesian students in Dutch medium secondary schools. The vast majority of students attended intermediate MULO schools.

Although the numbers of enrolled students were small compared to the relevant age, the Dutch medium educated was of high quality and from the 1920s began to produce a new educated Indonesian elite.

Indonesian nationalism

The Ethical Period‘s emphasis on education did not deliver widespread educational opportunities, however, it did provide a Dutch education for the children of the indigenous Indonesian elite. Largely intended to provide clerical labour for the growing colonial bureaucracy, the Western education brought with it Western political ideas of freedom and democracy. During the 1920s and 30s, this small elite began to articulate a rising anti-colonialism and a national consciousness.

During this period the first Indonesian political parties began to emerge; the youth group, Budi Utomo was established in 1908, and the Indische Partij in 1912. The same year, Sarekat Islam was founded; inspired more by Islamic and Javanese mysticism than notions of independence and self-rule. It brought Indonesians together, using the banner of Islam in opposition to Dutch rule, however, it had not nationalist agenda, and was often more anti-Chinese than anti-Dutch. In contrast, the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), formed in 1920, was a fully-fledged independence party inspired by European politics. In 1926, it attempted a revolution throughout Indonesia through isolated insurrections across Java that panicked the Dutch, who arrested and exiled thousands of communists, effectively neutralising the PKI for the remainder of the Dutch occupation.

Muhammadiyah was established by KH Ahmad Dahlan in Yogyakarta, and Dwijo Sewoyo and some associates formed the Peasant’s Insurance Cooperative (Asuransi Jiwa Bersama Bumi Putera) in Magelang.

On 20 July 1913, Suwardi Suryaningrat, who had connections with the Bumi Putera Committee wrote Als ik eens Nederlander was (What if I were a Dutchman?) a striking protest against the plans of the Dutch Colonial Government to celebrate 100 years of Dutch Independence. As a result of this article, Dr Tjipto Mangunkusumo and Suwardi Suryoningrat were tried and sentenced to exile in the Banda Islands. However, they were given the alternative choice of transportation to the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, Suwardi pursued studies in field of Education, while Dr Tjipto fell ill and returned home to Indonesia.

In 1918 a proto-parliament, the Volksraad, met for the first time, after being established two years before. It consisted of 39 members, where 15 were native Indonesians. During this year, the Dutch government agreed that at some, unspecified point in the future, Indonesians would be granted self-rule, but in subsequent years did nothing to follow up this aim.

In approximately 1920 that the word “Indonesia” came into its modern usage. Created by an English naturalist to classify the ethnic and geographic area, “Indonesia” was seized upon by nationalists as a word to imagine a unity of peoples. “Previously the Youth Alliances had talked about a separate Balinese nation, Javanese nation, Sumatran nation, and so on, now ‘Indonesia’ spoke of a single people.

In 1927, Sukarno founded the Indonesian National Party (PNI) in Bandung. It was the first all-Indonesia secular party devoted primarily to independence.[9]

On 28 October, 1928, the All Indonesian Youth Congress proclaimed the Youth Pledge (Indonesian: Sumpah Pemuda), establishing the nationalist goals of: “one country – Indonesia, one people – Indonesian, and one language – Indonesian.”

Repression of Indonesian nationalism

Political freedoms under the Dutch were limited at best. While Dutch aims to “civilize” and “modernize” the peoples of the Indies sometimes led to tolerance for native publications and organizations, the Dutch also strictly limited the content of these activities.

Like many leaders before him, the Dutch government arrested Sukarno in 1929 and placed a virtual ban on PNI. Indeed, the Dutch colonial government repressed many nationalist organisations and jailed a variety of political leaders. Although the Dutch were unable to completely stifle local voices for change, they did successfully thwart widespread agitation. Although nationalist sentiment remained high in the 1930s, real moves towards independence remained stifled. With the dramatic changes of the Second World War, however, political power was recast forever.

End of the colonial state

See also: Japanese occupation of Indonesia and Indonesian National Revolution

With the coming of World War II, the political fate of the Indies was suddenly obscure. The islands’ Dutch rulers found themselves occupied by Germany in May 1940. Themselves occupied by foreign rulers, the Dutch were in a weak position to guarantee their rule in the Indies. Yet, the colonial government in exile was determined to continue its rule over the archipelago.

In early 1942, Imperial Japan invaded the Dutch East Indies. The Netherlands had little ability to defend its colony against the Japanese army and Dutch forces were over run in little more than a month—a blow that was to end 300 years of Dutch colonial presence in Indonesia. The changes under the subsequent three year occupation were so numerous and extraordinary that the subsequent watershed, the Indonesia Revolution, was possible in a manner unfeasible just three years earlier.

After the Japanese surrendered to the Allies in 1945, the Dutch sought to resume colonial control over the Indies. In these aims, the Dutch obtained the military backing of the British who fought bloody battles on Java to restore Dutch rule. The Indonesian nationalists, despite heavy losses, were not to be deterred. By 1945, an idea of “Indonesia” was seemingly irresistible.


  • Ricklefs, M.C. (1991). A Modern History of Indonesia, 2nd edition. MacMillan. chapters 14–15. ISBN 0-333-57690-X.
  • Vickers, Adrian (2005). A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-54262-6.
  • Witton, Patrick (2003). Indonesia. Melbourne: Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-154-2.
  • Steinberg (1971)In Search of South East Asia : Praeger Publishers New York USA


The Spread Of Islam in Indonesia 1200 – 1600

The spread of Islam in Indonesia

This article is part of the
History of Indonesia series
See also:

Timeline of Indonesian History

Early kingdoms
Tarumanagara (358-669)
Srivijaya (7th to 13th centuries)
Sailendra (8th to 9th centuries)
Sunda Kingdom (669-1579)
Medang Kingdom (752–1045)
Kediri (1045–1221)
Singhasari (1222–1292)
Majapahit (1293–1500)
The rise of Muslim states
The spread of Islam (1200–1600)
Sultanate of Ternate (1257–….)
Malacca Sultanate (1400–1511)
Sultanate of Demak (1475–1548)
Aceh Sultanate (1496–1903)
Sultanate of Banten (1526–1813)
Mataram Sultanate (1500s to 1700s)
European colonialism
The Portuguese (1512–1850)
Dutch East India Co. (1602–1800)
Dutch East Indies (1800–1942)
The emergence of Indonesia
National awakening (1899–1942)
Japanese occupation (1942–1945)
Declaration of independence (1945)
National revolution (1945–1950)
Independent Indonesia
Liberal democracy (1950–1957)
“Guided Democracy” (1957–1965)
Start of the “New Order” (1965–1966)
The “New Order” (1966–1998)
Reformasi” era (1998–present)
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Islam is thought to have first been adopted by peoples of the Indonesian archipelago during the eleventh century, although Muslims had visited the archipelago early in the Muslim era. By the end of the 16th century, Islam, through conversion, had surpassed Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion of the peoples of Java and Sumatra. At this time, only Bali retained a Hindu-practising majority, and the eastern islands remained largely animist but would adopt Islam and Christianity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The spread of Islam was driven by increasing trade links outside of the archipelago; in general, traders and the royalty of major kingdoms were the first to adopt the new religion. Dominant kingdoms included Mataram in Central Java, and the sultanates of Ternate and Tidore in the Maluku Islands to the east. By the end of the thirteenth century, Islam had been established in North Sumatra; by the fourteenth in northeast Malaya, Brunei, the southern Philippines and among some courtiers of East Java; and the fifteenth in Malacca and other areas of the Malay Peninsula. Although it is known that the spread of Islam began in the west of the archipelago, the fragmentary evidence does not suggest a rolling wave of conversion through adjacent areas; rather, it suggests the process was complicated and slow.

Despite being one of the most significant developments in Indonesian history, historical evidence is fragmentary and generally uninformative such that understandings of the coming of Islam to Indonesia are limited; there is considerable debate amongst scholars about what conclusions can be drawn about the conversion of Indonesian peoples.[1] The primary evidence, at least of the earlier stages of the process, are gravestones and a few travellers accounts, but these can only show that indigenous Muslims were in a certain place at a certain time. This evidence cannot explain more complicated matters such as how lifestyles were affected by the new religion or how deeply it affected societies. It cannot be assumed, for example, that because a ruler was known to be a Muslim, that that the process of Islamisation of that area was complete; rather the process was, and remains to this day, a continuous process in Indonesia.

Early history

Samudra Pasai Sultanate map

Historical evidence is fragmentary and generally uninformative such that understandings of the coming of Islam to Indonesia are limited; there is considerable debate amongst scholars about what conclusions can be drawn about the conversion of Indonesian peoples.[1] The primary evidence, at least of the earlier stages of the process, are gravestones and a few travellers accounts, but these can only show that indigenous Muslims were in a certain place at a certain time. Both Indonesia’s colonial and republican governments have favoured Hindu and Buddhist sites in Java in their allocation of resources for excavation and preservation, with less emphasis on the early history of Islam in Indonesia. Funds, both public and private, are spent on the construction of new mosques, rather than the exploration of old ones.[2]

Even before Islam was established amongst Indonesian communities, Muslim traders had been present for several centuries. Ricklefs (1991) identifies two overlapping processes by which the Islamisation of Indonesia occurred: Indonesians either came into contact with Islam and converted, and/or foreign Muslim Asians (Indians, Chinese, Arabs, etc.) settled in Indonesia and mixed with local communities. Islam is thought to have been present in South East Asia from early in the Islamic era. From the time of the third caliph of Islam, ‘Uthman‘ (644-656) Muslim emissaries and merchants were arriving in China who must have passed Indonesia sea routes through Indonesia from the Islamic world. It would have been through this contact that Arabic emissaries between 904 and the mid-twelfth century are thought to have become involved in the Sumatran trading state of Srivijaya.

The presence of foreign Muslims in Indonesia does not, however, demonstrate a significant level of local conversion or the establishment of local Islamic states.[1] The most reliable evidence of the early spread of Islam in Indonesia comes from inscriptions on tombstones and a limited number of travellers’ accounts. The earliest legibly inscribed tombstone is dated AH 475 (AD 1082) although as it belongs to a non-Indonesian Muslim, there is doubt as to whether it was not transported to Java at a later time. The first evidence of Indonesian Muslims come from northern Sumatra; Marco Polo, on his way home from China in 1292, reported at least one Muslim town;[3] and the first evidence of a Muslim dynasty is the gravestone, dated AH 696 (AD 1297), of Sultan Malik al Saleh, the first Muslim ruler of Samudra, with further gravestones indicating continued Islamic rule. The presence of the Shafi’i school of thought, which was to later dominate Indonesia was reported by Ibn Battutah, a Moroccan traveller, in 1346. In his travel log, Ibn Battutah wrote that the ruler of Samudera Pasai was a muslim, who performs his religious duties in his utmost zeal. The madh’hab he used was Imam Shafi’i with the similar customs he had seen in India.[3]

By region

Islam penetrated Indonesian society in a largely peaceful way, and from the 14th century to the end of the 19th century the archipelago saw almost no organised Muslim missionary activity.[4]


Founded around the beginning of the fifteenth century, the great Malay trading state The Sultanate of Malacca, was, as the most important trading centre of the western archipelago, a centre of foreign Muslims, and it thus appears a supporter of the spread of Islam. From Malacca and elsewhere gravestones survive showing not only its spread in the Malay archipelago, but as the religion of a number of cultures and their rulers in the late fifteenth century.

Northern Sumatra

Mosque in West Sumatra with traditional Minangkabau architecture.

Firmer evidence documenting continued cultural transitions comes from two late-fourteenth century gravestones from Minye Tujoh in North Sumatra, each with Islamic inscriptions but in Indian-type characters and the other Arabic. Dating from the fourteenth century, tombstones in Brunei, Trengganu (northeast Malaysia) and East Java are evidence of Islam’s spread. The Trengganu stone has a predominance of Sanskrit over Arabic words, suggesting the representation of the introduction of Islamic law. Ma Huan’s Ying-yai Sheng-lan: The overall survey of the ocean’s shores’ (1433), reports that the main states of the northern part of Sumatra were already Islamic. In 1414, he visited the King of Malacca, who was Muslim and also his people, and they were very strict believers. The establishment of further Islamic states in North Sumatra is documented by late fifteenth- and sixteenth-century graves including those of the first and second Sultans of Pedir; Muzaffar Syah, buried AH 902 (AD 1497) and Ma’ruf Syah, buried AH 917 (AD 1511). Aceh was founded in the early sixteenth century and would later become the most powerful North Sumatran state and one of the most powerful in the whole Malay archipelago. The Aceh Empire’s first sultan was Ali Mughayat Syah whose tombstone is dated AH 936 (AD 1530).

The book of Portuguese apothecary Tomé Pires that documents his observations of Java and Sumatra from his 1512 to 1515 visits, is considered one of the most important sources on the spread of Islam in Indonesia. At this time, according to Piers, most Sumatran kings were Muslim; from Aceh and south along the east coast to Palembang the rulers were Muslim, while south of Palembang and around the southern tip of Sumatra and up the west coast, most were not. In other Sumatran kingdoms, such as Pasai and Minangkabau the rulers were Muslim although at that stage their subjects and people’s of neighbouring areas were not, however, it was reported that the religion was continually gaining new adherents.

Central and eastern Java

Inscriptions in Old Javanese rather than Arabic on a significant series of gravestones dating back to AD 1369 in East Java, indicate that these are almost certainly Javanese, rather than foreign Muslims. Due to their elaborate decorations and proximity to the site of the former Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit capital, Damais concludes that these are the graves of very distinguished Javanese, perhaps even royalty.[5] This suggests that some of the Javanese elite adopted Islam at a time when the Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit was at the height of its glory.

Ricklefs (1991) argues that these east Javan gravestones, sited and dated at the non-coastal Majapahit, cast doubt on the long held view that Islam in Java originated on the coast and represented political and religious opposition to the kingdom. As a kingdom with far-reaching political and trading contacts, Majapahit would have almost certainly been in contact with Muslim traders, however there is conjecture over the likelihood of its sophisticated courtiers being attracted to a religion of merchants. Rather, it mystical Sufi-influence Islamic teachers, possibly claiming supernatural powers, who are thought to be a more probable agent of religious conversion of Javanese court elites who had long been familiar with aspects of Hindu and Buddhist mysticism.[6]

Grand Mosque of Demak, the first Muslim state in Java.

When the peoples of the north coast of Java adopted Islam is unclear. Chinese Muslim, Ma Huan and envoy of Chinese Emperor Yongle,[3] visited the Java coast in 1416 and reported in his book, Ying-yai Sheng-lan: The overall survey of the ocean’s shores’ (1433), that there were only three types of people in Java: Muslims from the west, Chinese (some Muslim) and the heathen Javanese.[7] Since the east Javan gravestones were those of Javanese Muslims fifty years before, Ma Huan’s report indicates that Islam may have indeed been adopted by Javanese courtiers before the coastal Javanese.

An early Muslim gravestone date AH 822 (AD 1419) has been found at Gresik an East Javanese port and marks the burial of Maulana Malik Ibrahim . As it appears, however, that he was non-Javanese foreigner, the gravestone does not provide evidence of coastal Javanese conversion. Malik Ibrahim was, however, according to Javanese tradition one of the first nine apostles of Islam in Java (the Wali Sanga) although no documentary evidence exists for this tradition. In the late fifteenth century, the powerful Majapahit Empire in Java was at its decline. After had been defeated in several battles, the last Hindu kingdom in Java fell under the rising power of Islamised state Sultanate of Demak in 1520.

Western Java

PiresSuma Oriental reports that Sundanese-speaking West Java was not Muslim in his day. A Muslim conquest of the area occurred later in the sixteenth century. In the early sixteenth century the Central and East Java (home of the Javanese) were still claimed by the Hindu-Buddhist king living in the interior of East Java at Daha (Kediri). The north coast was, however, Muslim as far as Surabaya and were often at war with the interior. Of these coastal Muslim lords, some were Javanese who had adopted Islam, and others were not originally Javanese but Muslim traders settling along established trading routes including Chinese, Indians, Arabs and Malays. According to Piers, these settlers and their descendants so admired Javanese Hindu-Buddhist culture that they emulate its style and were thus themselves becoming Javanese.

In his study of the Banten Sultanate, Martin van Bruinessen focuses on the link between mystics and royalty, contrasting that Islamization process with the one which prevailed elsewhere in Java: “In the case of Banten, the indigenous sources associate the tarekats not with trade and traders but with kings, magical power and political legitimation.”[8] He presents evidence that Sunan Gunungjati was initiated into the Kubra, Shattari, and Naqshbandi orders of sufism.

Other areas

There is no evidence of the adoption of Islam by Indonesians before the sixteenth century in areas outside of Java, Sumatra, the sultanates of Ternate and Tidore in Maluku, and Brunei and the Malay Peninsula.

Indonesian and Malay legends

Although time frames for the establishment of Islam in Indonesian regions can be broadly determined, the historical primary sources cannot answer many specific questions, and considerable controversy surrounds the topic. Such sources don’t explain why significant conversions of Indonesians to Islam did not begin until after several centuries of foreign Muslims visiting and living in Indonesia, nor do they adequately explain the origin and development of Indonesia’s idiosyncratic strains of Islam, or how Islam came to be the dominant religion in Indonesia.[9] To fill these gaps, many scholars turn to Malay and Indonesian legends surrounding Indonesian conversion to Islam. Ricklefs argues that although they are not reliable historical accounts of actual events, they are valuable in illuminating some of the events is through their shared insights into the nature of learning and magical powers, foreign origins and trade connections of the early teachers, and the conversion process that moved from the elite downwards. These also provide insight into how later generations of Indonesians view Islamisation.[10] These sources include:

  • Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai (“The Story of the kings of Pasai”) – an Old Malay text that tells how Islam came to “Samudra” (Pasai, northern Sumatra) where the first Indonesian Islamic state was founded.
  • Sejarah Melayu (“Malay History”) – an Old Malay text, which like Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai tells the story of the conversion of Samudra, but also tells of the conversion of the King of Malacca.
  • Babad Tanah Jawi (“History of the land of Java”) – a generic name for a large number of manuscripts, in which the first Javanese conversions are attributed to the Wali Sanga (“nine saints”).
  • Sejarah Banten (“History of Banten“) – A Javanese text containing stories of conversion.

Of the texts mentioned here, the Malay texts describe the conversion process as a significant watershed, signified by formal and tangible signs of conversion such as circumcision, the Confession of Faith, and the adoption of an Arabic name. On the other hand, while magical events still play a prominent role in the Javanese accounts of Islamisation, such turning points of conversion as in the Malay texts are otherwise not as evident. This suggests a more adsorptive process for the Javanese,[11] that is consistent with the significantly larger syncretic element in contemporary Javanese Islam in comparison to the relatively orthodox Islam of Sumatra and Malaysia

Sultanate of Ternate

Sultanate of Ternate was originally named as Kingdom of Gapi, but later change the name base of its capital, Ternate. The sultanate is one of the oldest muslim kingdoms in Indonesia, established by Baab Mashur Malamo in 1257. It reach its Golden Age during the reign of Sultan Baabullah (1570 – 1583) and encompassed what most of the eastern part Indonesia and a part of southern Philippines. Ternate was a world producer of cloves and a major power in the region between 15th – 17th century.


Pre-colonial history

Ternate and neighbouring Tidore were the world’s single major producer of cloves upon which their rulers became among the wealthiest and most powerful sultans in the Indonesian region. Much of their wealth, however, was wasted fighting each other. Up until the Dutch completed the colonization of Maluku in the 19th century, the sultans of Ternate ruled empires that claimed at least nominal influence as far as Ambon, Sulawesi and Papua.[1]

In part as a result of its trade-dependent culture, Ternate was one of the earliest places in the region to which Islam spread, probably coming from Java in the late 15th century. Initially, the faith was restricted to Ternate’s small ruling family, and spread only slowly to the rest of the population.

The royal family of Ternate converted to Islam during the reign of King Marhum (1465-1486), his son and successor, Zainal Abidin (1486-1500) enacted Islamic Law and transformed the kingdom into Islamic base Sultanate, the title Kolano (king) was then replaced with Sultan.

The peak of Ternate’s power came near the end of the sixteenth century, under Sultan Baabullah (1570-1583), when it had influence over most of the eastern part of Sulawesi, the Ambon and Seram area, Timor island, parts of southern Mindanao and as well as parts of Papua. It frequently engaged in fierce competition for control of its periphery with the nearby sultanate of Tidore. According to historian Leonard Andaya, Ternate’s “dualistic” rivalry with Tidore is a dominant theme in the early history of the Maluku Islands.


The first Europeans to stay on Ternate were part of the Portuguese expedition of Francisco Serrão out of Malacca, which was shipwrecked near Seram and rescued by local residents. Sultan Bayanullah of Ternate (1500-1522) heard of their stranding, and, seeing a chance to ally himself with a powerful foreign nation, he brought them to Ternate in 1512. The Portuguese were permitted to build a fort on the island, construction of which began in 1522, but relations between the Ternateans and Portuguese were strained from the start.

An outpost far from Europe generally only attracted the most desperate and avaricious, such that the generally poor behaviour of the Portuguese combined with feeble attempts at Christianisation, strained relations with Ternate’s Muslim ruler.[2] In 1535 Sultan Tabariji was deposed and sent to Goa by the Portuguese. He converted to Christianity and changed his name to Dom Manuel. After being declared innocent of the charges against him he was sent back to reassume his throne however he died en route in Malacca in 1545. He had though bequeathed the island of Ambon to his Portuguese godfather Jordão de Freitas. Following the murder of Sultan Hairun at the hands of the Portuguese, the Ternateans expelled the Portuguese in 1575 after a five-year siege. Ambon became the new centre for Portuguese activities in Maluku. European power in the region was weak and Ternate became an expanding, fiercely Islamic and anti-Portuguese state under the rule of Sultan Baab Ullah (r. 1570 – 1583) and his son Sultan Said.[3]

Spanish forces captured the former Portuguese fort from the Ternatese in 1606, deported the Ternate Sultan and his entourage to Manila. In 1607 the Dutch came back in Ternate where with the help of Ternateans built a fort in Malayo. The island was divided between the two powers: the Spaniards were allied with Tidore and the Dutch with their Ternaten allies. For the Ternaten rulers, the Dutch were a useful, if not particularly welcome, presence that gave them military advantages against Tidore and the Spanish. Particularly under Sultan Hamzah (1627-1648), Ternate expanded its territory and strengthened its control over the periphery. Dutch influence over the kingdom was limited, though Hamzah and his grandnephew and successor, Sultan Mandar Syah (1648-1675) did concede some regions to the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in exchange for help controlling rebellions there. The Spaniards abandoned Maluku in 1663.

Desire to restore Ternate to its former glory and expel the western power, Sultan Sibori of Ternate (1675-1691) declared war to the Dutch, but the power of Ternate had greatly reduced over the years, he lost and forced to concede more of his lands to the Dutch by an unjust treaty in 1683. By this treaty, Ternate lost its equal position with the Dutch and became a vassal. However the Sultans of Ternate and its people was never fully under Dutch control.

In the 18th century Ternate was the site of a VOC governorship, which attempted to control all trade in the northern Moluccas. By the 19th century, the spice trade had declined substantially. Hence the region was less central to the Netherlands colonial state, but the Dutch maintained a presence in the region in order to prevent another colonial power from occupying it. After the VOC was nationalised by the Dutch government in 1800, Ternate became part of the Government of the Moluccas (Gouvernement der Molukken). Ternate was occupied by British forces in 1810 before being returned to Dutch control in 1817. In 1824 became the capital of a residency (administrative region) covering Halmahera, the entire west coast of New Guinea, and the central east coast of Sulawesi. By 1867 all of Dutch-occupied New Guinea had been added to the residency, but then its region was gradually transferred to Ambon (Amboina) before being dissolved into that residency in 1922.

Sultan Haji Muhammad Usman (1896 – 1914) made a last attempt to drove out the Dutch by instigate revolts in the region, he fails and was dethroned, his wealth was confiscated and exiled to Bandung where he lived his remaining years until 1927. The throne of Ternate was left vacant from 1914-1927 until the board of minister by the blessing of the Dutch placed the Crown Prince Iskandar Muhammad Jabir as the next Sultan.


The dynasty which ruled Ternate still exist today as well as the Sultanate itself, though they no longer holds any political power. Ternate is ruled by an unbroken line of rulers since its first king, Baab Mashur Malamo in 13th century. The current sultan is H.H. Sultan Drs. H. Mudaffar II Syah who assumed the title in 198

Sultanate of Demak

Kasultanan Demak
Sultanate of Demak

The Grand Mosque of Demak, build on traditional Javanese architecture.

Capital Demak
Language(s) Javanese
Religion Islam
Government Sultanate
 – 1475-1518 ¹ Raden Patah
 – 1518-1521 Pati Unus
 – 1521-1548 Sultan Trenggana
 – foundation of Demak port town 1475
 – death of Sultan Trenggana 1548
¹ (1475-1478 as vassal of Majapahit)

The Sultanate of Demak was Javanese Muslim state located on Java‘s north coast in Indonesia, at the site of the present day city of Demak. A port fief to the Majapahit kingdom thought to have been founded in the last quarter of the 15th century, it was influenced by Islam brought by Arab and Gujarat traders. The sultanate was the first Muslim state in Java.

Despite its short period, the sultanate played an important role in the establishment of Islam in Indonesia, especially on Java and neighbouring area.


Demak’s origins are uncertain although it was apparently founded in the last quarter of the fifteenth century by a Muslim, known as Raden Patah (from Arabic name: “Fatah”, also called “Pate Rodin” in Portuguese records, or “Jin Bun” in Chinese record). There is evidence that he had Chinese ancestry and perhaps was named Cek Ko-po.[1]

Raden Patah’s son, or possibly his brother, led Demak’s brief domination in Java. He was known as Trenggana, and later Javanese traditions say he gave himself the title Sultan. It appears that Trenggana had two reigns—c 1505–1518 and c 1521–1546—between which his brother in law, Yunus of Jepara occupied the throne.[1]

Before emergence of Demak, northern coast of Java was seat of many Muslim communtiy, both foreign merchants and Javanese. The islamisation process gained momentum from decline of Majapahit authority. Following fall of Majapahit capital to usurper from Kediri, Raden Patah declared Demak indepence from Majapahit overlordship so did nearly all northern Javanese ports.[2]

Demak and nearby ports. With approximate coastline when Muria and Java still separated.

Demak was a busy harbor with trade connection to Malacca and the Spices islands. It was located at the end of a channel that separated Java and Muria Island (the channel has now filled and Muria joined with Java). In 15th century until 18th century, the channel was wide enough and important waterway for ships traveling along northern Javanese coast to the Spices islands. In the channel also located Serang river, which enabled access to rice producing interior of Java. This strategic location enabled Demak to rise as a leading trading center in Java.[3]

According to Tome Pires, Demak had more inhabitants than any port in Sunda or Java. Demak was the main exporter of rice to Malacca. And with the rise of Malacca, so did Demak rise into prominence. Its supremacy also enhanced with claim of direct decent of Raden Patah to Majapahit royalty and his marriages ties with neighboring city-states.[3]

Rulers of Demak

Raden Patah

Foundation of Demak traditionally attributed to Raden Patah (1475–1518), a Javanese nobility related to Majapahit royalty. At least one account stated that he was son of Kertabhumi, who reigned as king Brawijaya V of Majapahit (1468–1478). Demak manage consolidate its power to defeat Daha in 1527 because its more accepted as legitimate successor of Majapahit. The reason of his acceptance because Raden Patah was direct descendant of Kertabhumi who survive from Girindrawardana invasion into Trowulan in 1478.

Chinese chronicle in temple of Semarang states that Raden Patah founded town of Demak in marshy area to the north of Semarang. After the collapse of Majapahit, its various dependencies and vassals broke free, including northern Javanese port towns like Demak.[4]

The new state derives its income by trade: importing spices and exporting rice to Malacca and the Moluccas. He managed to gain hegemony on other Javanese trading ports in northern coast of Java such as Semarang, Jepara, Tuban, and Gresik.[5]

Supremacy of Raden Patah was illustrated by Tome Pires,” … should de Albuquerque make peace with the Lord of Demak, all of Java will almost be forced to make peace with him… The Lord of Demak stood for all of Java”.[6] Apart from Javanese city-states, Raden Patah also gained overlordship of ports of Jambi and Palembang in eastern Sumatra, from which produced commodities such as lignaloes and gold.[6] As most of its power is based on trade and control of coastal cities, Demak can be considered as a thalassocracy.

A very early map of Java. Note that only major trading ports on the northern coast were known to the European. From west to east: * Bantam (Banten) * Xacatara (Jayakarta) * Cherebum (Cirebon) * Taggal (Tegal) * Damo (Demak) * Iapara (Jepara) * Tubam (Tuban) * Sodaio (Sedayu, now near Gresik) * Surubaya (Surabaya)

Pati Unus

Raden Patah was succeeded by his brother-in-law Pati Unus or Yunus (1518–1521). Before it, he was a ruler of Jepara, a vassal state to the north of Demak. He was known for his two attempts in 1511 and 1521 to seize the port of Malacca from the control of Portuguese.

During the invasions he managed to mobilise vessels from Javanese coastal cities to Malay Peninsula. Javanese ports turned against Portuguese for a number of reason, the major of them is opposition to Portuguese insistence on monopoly of spices trade. The invasion fleet cosisted around one thousand vessels, but this was repulsed by the Portuguese. The destruction of this navy proved devastating to the Javanese ports, who although somewhat recovered, unable to respond properly when next colonial power came, the Dutch.

This campaign attempt ended with failures and loss of the King’s life. He was later remembered as Pangeran Sabrang Lor or the Prince who crossed (the Java Sea) to North (Malay peninsula).

Sultan Trenggana

The King’s brother-in-law, Trenggana (1522–1548), crowned by Sunan Gunungjati (one of the Wali Songo), became the third and the greatest ruler of Demak. He conquered the Hindu based resistance in Central Java.

Following discovery of news of Portuguese-Sunda alliance, he ordered invasion to Banten and Sunda Kelapa ports of kingdom of Sunda at 1527 (Sunda Kelapa was later renamed Jayakarta). From this territories he created sultanate of Banten as vassal-state under Hasanudin, son of Gunungjati.

Trenggana spread Demak’s influence eastward and during his second regin, he conquered the last Javanese Hindu-Buddhist state, the remnants of Majapahit. Majapahit had been in decline since the later fifteenth century and was in an advanced state of collapse at the time of the Demak’s conquest[1], it not real Majapahit which defeated by Sultan Trenggana since it created by Girindrawardhana after he defeat Kertabumi and raze Trowulan into ground. Majapahit’s heirlooms were brought to Demak and adopted as Demak’s royal icons.[citation needed] Demak was able to subdue other major ports and its reach extended into some inland areas of East Java that are not thought to have been Islamised at the time. Although evidence is limited, it is known that Demak’s conquests covered much of Java: Tuban, an old Majapahit port mentioned in Chinese sources from the eleventh century, was conquered c. 1527;

His campaign ended when he was killed in Panarukan, East Java in 1548.


The death of the strong Trenggana sparked the civil war of succession between the king’s younger brother, Sekar Seda Lepen; and the King’s son, Prince Prawoto; all two were killed in this civil war; and finally Sekar’s son, Arya Penangsang won the throne.

Arya Penangsang soon faced heavy opposition from his own vassals due to his unlikeable character, and soon was dethroned by a coalition of vassals led by Jaka Tingkir, Lord of Boyolali, who had kinship with the King Trenggana. Jaka Tingkir assumed the role as the King but he moved all the Demak heirlooms and sacred artifacts to Pajang, then he ended the Demak history when he founded his new kingdom: the short-lived Kingdom of Pajang.

Javanese legends of Demak

Later Javanese chronicles provide varying accounts of the conquest, but they all describe Demak as the legitimate direct successor of Majapahit although they do not mention the possibility that by the time of its final conquest, Majapahit no longer ruled. The first ‘Sultan’ of Demak, Raden Patah, is portrayed as the son of Majapahit’s last king by a Chinese princess who was exiled from the court before Patah’s birth.

The chronicles conventionally date the fall of Majapahit at the end of the fourteenth Javanese calendar (1400 Saka or 1478 AD), a time when changes of dynasties or court was though to occur. Although these legends explain little about the actual events, they do illustrate that the dynastic continuity survived Islamisation of Java.

Aceh Sultanate

 The Sultanate of Aceh, officially the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam (Acehnese: Keurajeun Acèh Darussalam) was a sultanate centered in the modern area of Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, which was a major regional power in the 16th and 17th centuries, before experiencing a long period of decline. Its capital was Kutaraja, the present Banda Aceh. At its peak it was a formidable enemy of the sultanate of Johor and Portuguese-controlled Malacca, both on the Malayan Peninsula, as all three attempted to control the trade through the Strait of Malacca and the regional exports of pepper and tin with fluctuating success. In addition to its considerable military strength, the court of Aceh became a noted center of Islamic scholarship and trade.

Foundation and rise

Masjid Raya Baiturrahman, Banda Aceh‘s Grand Mosque.

Aceh’s origins are unquestionably Cham, as the Champa king Syah Pau Kubah sent his son Syah Pau Ling to rule over Aceh when the capital Vijaya (Champa) in 1471 AD, was sacked by the Vietnamese. Acehnese is the only other non-Chamic language in the 11 language Aceh-Chamic languages group.

The ruler of Aceh converted to Islam in the mid-15th century.[1] The sultanate was founded by Ali Mughayat Syah, who began campaigns to extend his control over northern Sumatra in 1520.[2] His conquests included Deli, Pedir, and Pasai, and he attacked Aru. His son Alauddin al-Kahar extended the domains farther south into Sumatra, but was less successful in his attempts to gain a foothold across the strait, though he made several attacks on both Johor and Malacca,[3] with the support along with men and firearms from Suleiman the Magnificent‘s Ottoman Empire[1]. The Ottoman Empire sent a relief force of 15 Xebecs commanded by Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis, the fleet introduced gunsmiths, cannons, and muskets to Muslim Sultanates in Southeast Asia (see also: Ottoman expedition to Aceh).

Internal dissension in the sultanate prevented another powerful sultan from appearing until 1607, when Iskandar Muda came to the position. He extended the sultanate’s control over most of Sumatra. He also conquered Pahang, a tin-producing region on the Malayan Peninsula. The strength of his formidable fleet was brought to an end with a disastrous campaign against Malacca in 1629, when the combined Portuguese and Johor forces managed to destroy all his ships and 19,000 troops according to Portuguese account.[4][5] Aceh forces was not destroyed, however, as Aceh was able to conquer Kedah within the same year and taking many of its citizens to Aceh.[5] The Sultan’s son in law, Iskandar Thani, former prince of Pahang later became his successor. During his reign Aceh focused on internal consolidation and religious unity.

After the reign of Sultan Iskandar Sani, Aceh was ruled by a series of female sultana. Aceh previous policy of taking hostage conquered kingdoms’ population [5] made them eager to seek independence, the results are Aceh’s power weakened while regional rulers gained effective power. The sultan ultimately became a largely symbolic title.[6] By the 1680s, a Persian visitor could describe a northern Sumatra where “every corner shelters a separate king or governor and all the local rulers maintain themselves independently and do not pay tribute to any higher authority.”[7]

Culture and economy

Aceh saw itself as heir to Pasai, the first Muslim state in Southeast Asia, and continuing Muslim missionary work of Malacca after it was conquered by the Roman Catholic Portuguese. It called itself the “veranda of Mecca,” and became a center of Islamic scholarship, where the Qur’an and other Islamic texts were translated into Malay.[1] Its notable scholars included Hamzah Pansuri, Syamsuddin of Pasai, Abdurrauf of Singkil, and the Indian Nuruddin ar-Raniri.[8]

Aceh gained wealth from its export of pepper, nutmeg, cloves, betel nuts,[9] and, once it conquered Pahang in 1617, tin. Low interest rates and the use of gold currency strengthened its economy.[10] It was always somewhat fragile economically, however, because of the difficulty in providing enough surplus food to support the military and commercial adventures of the state.[11] However, as it lost political cohesion in the 17th century, it saw its trading importance yielding to the Dutch East India Company, who became the dominant military and economic power in the region following the successful siege of Malacca in 1641.[7]

Conquest by the Dutch

Tuanku Muhammad Daudsyah Johan Berdaulat, the last Sultan of Aceh.

In the 1820s, as Aceh produced over half the world’s supply of pepper, a new leader, Tuanku Ibrahim, was able to restore some authority to the sultanate and gain control over the “pepper rajas” who were nominal vassals of the sultan by playing them off against each other. He rose to power during the sultanate of his brother, Muhammad Syah, and was able to dominate the reign of his successor Sulaiman Syah (r. 1838-1857), before taking the sultan himself, under the title Sultan Ali Alauddin Mansur Syah (1857–1870). He extended Aceh’s effective control southward at just the time when the Dutch were consolidating their holdings northward.[12] Britain, heretofore guarding the independence of Aceh in order to keep it out of Dutch hands, re-evaluated its policy and concluded the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of Sumatra, which allowed for Dutch control throughout Sumatra in exchange for concessions in the Gold Coast and equal trading rights in northern Aceh. The treaty was tantamount to a declaration of war on Aceh, and the Aceh War followed soon after in 1873. As the Dutch prepared for war, Mahmud Syah (1870–1874) appealed for international help, but no one was willing or able to assist.[13]

In 1874 the sultan abandoned the capital, withdrawing to the hills, while the Dutch announced the annexation of Aceh. The sultan died of cholera, as did many combatants on both sides, but the Acehnese proclaimed a grandson of Tuanku Ibrahim sultan. The rulers of Acehnese ports nominally submitted to Dutch authority in order to avoid a blockade, but they used their income to support the resistance.[14] However, eventually many of them compromised with the Dutch, and the Dutch were able establish a fairly stable government in Aceh with their cooperation, and get the sultan to surrender in 1903. After his death in 1907, no successor was named, but the resistance continued to fight for some time.[15] Indeed, Hasan di Tiro, who founded the Free Aceh Movement, is a descendent of the last sultan.[16]

List of sultans

  • 1496-1528 Ali Mughayat Syah
  • 1528-1537 Salahuddin
  • 1537-1568 Alauddin al Qahhar
  • 1568-1575 Husain Ali Riayat Syah
  • 1575 Muda of Aceh|Muda
  • 1575-1576 Sri Alam
  • 1576-1577 Zainal Abidin of Aceh|Zainal Abidin
  • 1577-1589 Alauddin Mansur Syah
  • 1589-1596 Buyong
  • 1596-1604 Alauddin Riayat Syah Sayyid al-Mukammil
  • 1604-1607 Ali Riayat Syah
  • 1607-1636 Iskandar Muda
  • 1636-1641 Iskandar Thani
  • 1641-1675 Ratu Safiatuddin Tajul Alam
  • 1675-1678 Ratu Naqiatuddin Nurul Alam
  • 1678-1688 Ratu Zaqiatuddin Inayat Syah
  • 1688-1699 Ratu Kamalat Syah Zinatuddin
  • 1699-1702 Badrul Alam Syarif Hashim Jamaluddin
  • 1702-1703 Perkasa Alam Syarif Lamtui
  • 1703-1726 Jamal ul Alam Badrul Munir
  • 1726 Jauhar ul Alam Aminuddin
  • 1726-1727 Syamsul Alam
  • 1727-1735 Alauddin Ahmad Syah
  • 1735-1760 Alauddin Johan Syah
  • 1760-1781 Mahmud Syah
  • 1764-1785 Badruddin
  • 1775-1781 Sulaiman Syah
  • 1781-1795 Alauddin Muhammad Daud Syah
  • 1795-1815 Alauddin Jauhar ul Alam
  • 1815-1818 Syarif Saif ul Alam
  • 1818-1824 Alauddin Jauhar ul Alam (second time)
  • 1824-1838 Muhammad Syah
  • 1838-1857 Sulaiman Syah
  • 1857-1870 Mansur Syah
  • 1870-1874 Mahmud Syah
  • 1874-1903 Muhammad Daud Syah

 Sultanate of Banten


Kasultanan Banten
Sultanate of Banten

Rough extend of Banten at the death of Hasanudin, controlling both sides of Sunda Strait

Capital Banten (city)
Language(s) Javanese, Sundanese, Lampung
Religion Islam
Government Sultanate
 – 1552–1570 ¹ Hasanudin
 – 1651–1683 Ageng Tirtayasa
 – invasion of kingdom of Sunda 1527
 – annexation by Dutch East Indies 1813
¹ (1527–1552 as vassal of Demak)

 The Sultanate of Banten was founded in the 16th century and centered in Banten, a port city on the northwest coast of Java; the contemporary English spelling of both was Bantam. It is said to have been founded by Sunan Gunungjati, who later went on to found Cirebon.

Once a great trading center in Southeast Asia, especially of pepper, its importance was overshadowed by Batavia, and finally annexed to Dutch East Indies in 1813. Its core territory now forms the Indonesian province of Banten.


Before 1526 AD, a settlement called Banten was situated not on the coast, but about ten kilometers inland on the Cibanten River, in the area which is today occupied by the southern suburbs of the town of Serang. It was known as Banten Girang, meaning “Banten-up-the-river” owing to its location.[1]

In the early 16th century, an ulema known today as Sunan Gunungjati settled from Demak in Banten Girang, then part of the kingdom of Sunda, with the intention of spreading the word of Islam in this still-Hindu town. Although at first well received by Sunda authorities, after news of the Portuguese-Sunda alliance became known, Gunungjati nevertheless asked Demak sultanate to send troops to Banten. It was likely his son, Hasanudin, who commanded this military operation in 1527, just as the Portuguese fleet was arriving of the coast at Sunda Kelapa, to capture these towns.[2]

Sunan Gunung Jati had Hasanudin named king of Banten by the Sultan of Demak who, in turn, offered Hasanudin his sister’s hand in marriage. Thus a new dynasty was born at the same time as a new kingdom was created. Banten was the capital of this kingdom, held as a vassal-state of Demak.[3]



De Stad Bantam, engraving by François Valentijn, Amsterdam, 1726[4]

From the beginning it was obviously Hasanuddin’s intention to revive the fortunes of the ancient kingdom of Sunda for his own benefit. One of his earliest decision was to travel to southern Sumatra, which had traditionally belonged to the kingdom of Sunda, and from which the bulk of the pepper sold in the Sundanese region came. He was keen to assure himself of the loyalty of these wealthy areas as soon as possible and to guarantee supplies of pepper for his ports, since it was on this spice that all international trade was based and, hence, in which the wealth of his kingdom lay.[5]

Having established control over the ports and the pepper trade, Hasanuddin decided to build a new capital, to symbolize the new era which was beginning. On the advice of his father, Sunan Gunungjati, he choose to construct it on the coast at the mouth of the Cibanten River. That a settlement already existed at this place is evidence by its harbour activities, but at this time the seat of political power was in Banten Girang. The royal city was founded on the delta, formed by the two arms of the river. Two main streets running north-south and east-west divided the city into quarters. The royal palace surrounded by residences of the principal minister of state, was built on the south side of the royal square and the great mosque on the west side. Foreigners, for the most part merchants, had to live outside the royal city, that is on either side of the delta.

After some twenty years the new dynasty was so firmly established that Hasanuddin had no hesitation in leaving the kingdom in 1546 to take part in a military expedition against Pasuruan in eastern Java, at the request of Sultan Trenggana, third sultan of Demak. The Sultan lost his life in this venture, and it is likely that Hasanuddin took advantage of his suzerain’s death and the troubles which ensued to free his kingdom from any further obligations to this royal house.

From 1550s onwards the kingdom enjoyed a period of great prosperity. According to tradition, the development of this kingdom was managed by Hasanuddin’s son, Maulana Yusuf, who had become co-sovereign with his father, following a custom long practiced in the archipelago.[6]

Colonial era sketch of Grand Mosque of Banten

.Also during this period, Hasanuddin decided to launch the final blow to what remained of the kingdom of Sunda. Maulana Yusuf led the attack on Dayeuh Pakuan, its capital city located in modern Bogor. After losing its most important port Sunda Kelapa, the kingdom, already deprived of its trading revenues, was of symbolic importance only. The kingdom put up little resistance and henceforth Banten ruled over the entire territory of the former kingdom of Sunda, which corresponds to most of current Indonesian province of West Java.

The sacred stone (watu gigilang) that was serving as the sovereign’s throne of Sunda kingdom was taken away and put at the street intersection in the royal square of Banten, thus marking the end of the Sundanese dynasty. Henceforth this stone was to serve as the Banten sovereign’s throne.

When Hasanuddin died in 1570, the royal kingdom of Banten comprised all of Sunda, with the exception of Cirebon, and all of southern Sumatra, as far as Tulangbawang (modern-day Lampung) in the northeast and Bengkulu in the northwest. Trade was expanding to become one of the largest in Southeast Asia.[7]

Traders coming from China, India, Turkey, England, Portugal and the Netherlands were frequent visitors to the Banten harbor. Spices, silk, Chinese ceramics, gold, jewelry and other Asian goods attracted European merchants. Banten was a pioneer in international trade. Banten was also known as an educational center for Islamic studies. [8] Among Islamic scholars in Banten was Sheikh Yusuf. He was a scholar from Macassar who worked under Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa.

The greatest period in Banten is arguably under Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa. In 1661 he extended Banten’s rule to Landak in western Borneo. In the 1670s he also acquired Cirebon area following a civil war in Mataram. Ageng established trade with the Spanish Manila for silver and built canals for coconut palm and sugar plantations, among other developments. [9]


Banten Residency after annexation to Dutch East Indies, with neighbouring Batavia (now Jakarta) and Buitenzorg (now Bogor).

On June 27 1596 Dutch trade ships led by Cornelis de Houtman, the first ever Dutch fleet to arrive in East Indies, landed in Banten. On its return to the Netherlands, the voyage (1595–97) generated a modest profit.[10] The Portuguese and Dutch fought for control of Banten in the 17th century. In 1600 the Dutch set up the Dutch East Indies Company.

Other Europeans were soon to follow. The English, who started to sail to the East Indies from around 1600, established a permanent trading post in Banten in 1602 under James Lancaster. In 1603, the first permanent Dutch trading post in Indonesia was established in Banten.[11]

Danish merchants also arrived from Tranquebar, in search of pepper. The trade relation is evident in two letters written by Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa to Frederick III of Denmark. [12]

After conflict with the Dutch over the pepper trade in 1619, the Dutch East India Company Governor-General Jan Pieterszoon Coen took the port of Jayakarta from Banten. He founded Batavia (now Jakarta) on the ruins of this Javanese town, which became the center of VOC operation and a serious rival for Banten, later contributing to its decline. During the middle of 17th century several conflicts between Banten and the Dutch in Batavia, just 60 miles separated along the northern coast of Java, occurred.

Palace disputes erupted between Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa and his son and co-sovereign Sultan Haji. Sultan Ageng wished to maintain a policy of free-trade with all European powers, but his son wanted close relations with the Dutch in Batavia. Ageng’s independence is shown in the letter to the Danish king mentioned above, offering to trade pepper from Banten for firearms and gunpowder.

With Sultan Haji allied with the VOC, a war broke between Batavia and Banten in the 1670s and 1680s. The result was disastrous for Banten: the VOC gained Priangan Highlands (now West Java) and reduced Banten’s power substantially, making it a protectorate of the VOC. Although nominally independent, its power was gone. In 1752, the Dutch annexed territories on western Borneo and southern Sumatra formerly held by Banten.

In 1808 Herman Willem Daendels, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in 1808-1810, commissioned the construction of Great Post Road to defend Java from incoming British invasion. Daendels ordered Sultan Aliyuddin II of Banten to move the capital to Anyer and to provide labor to build a new port planned to be built at Ujung Kulon. The Sultan refused Daendels’ command, and in response Daendels ordered the invasion of Banten and destruction of Surosowan palace. The Sultan, together with his family, was arrested in Puri Intan and held as a prisoner in Fort Speelwijk, and later sent into exile in Ambon.

On 22 November 1808, Daendels declared from his headquarters in Serang that the Sultanate of Banten had been absorbed into the territory of the Dutch East Indies.[13] In 1813 Banten Sultanate ceased to exist when Thomas Stamford Raffles forced Sultan Muhamad Syafiuddin to give up his throne.[14] This was the final blow that marked the end of Sultanate of Banten.


  • Sunan Gunungjati
  • Maulana Hasanudin – Panembahan Surosowan (1552-1570)
  • Maulana Yusuf – Panembahan Pakalangan Gedé (1570-1580)
  • Maulana Muhammad – Pangeran Ratu Ing Banten (1580-1596)
  • Pangeran Ratu – Abdul Kadir Kenari (1596-1651)
  • Ageng Tirtayasa – Abul Fath Abdul Fattah (1651-1683)
  • Abu Nasr Abdul Kahhar – Sultan Haji (1682-1687)
  • Abdul Fadhl (1687-1690)
  • Abul Mahasin Zainul Abidin (1690-1733)
  • Muhammad Wasi Zainifin (1733-1750)
  • Muhammad Syifa (1750-1752)
  • Syarifuddin Artu Wakilul Alimin (1752-1753)
  • Muhammad Arif Zainul Asyikin (1753-1773)
  • Abul Mafakir Muhammad Aliyuddin (1773-1799)
  • Muhyiddin Zainush Sholihin (1799-1801)
  • Muhammad Ishaq Zainul Muttaqin (1801-1802)
  • Wakil Pangeran Natawijaya (1802-1803)
  • Aliyuddin II (1803-1808)
  • Wakil Pangeran Suramanggala (1808-1809)
  • Muhammad Syafiuddin (1809-1813)
  • Muhammad Rafiuddin (1813-1820)


Mataram Sultanate

Kota Gede, the former capital of Mataram Sultanate.

This article is about a historic kingdom on Java in what is now Indonesia. For other uses, see Mataram (disambiguation).

The Sultanate of Mataram (pronounced muh-TAR-uhm) was the last major independent Javanese empire on Java before the island was colonized by the Dutch. It was the dominant political force in interior Central Java from the late sixteenth century until the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Javanese kingship

The name Mataram itself was never the official name of any polity. This name refers to the areas around present-day Yogyakarta. The two kingdoms that have existed in this region are both called “Mataram”, but the second kingdom is called Mataram Islam to distinguish it from the Hindu 9th-century Kingdom of Mataram. Javanese kingship varies from Western kingship, which is essentially based on the idea of legitimacy from the people (Democracy), or from God (divine authority), or both. The Javanese language does not include words with these meanings.

The concept of the Javanese kingdom is a mandala, or a center of the world, in the sense of both a central location and a central being, focused on the person of the king (variously called Sri Bupati, Sri Narendra, Sang Aji, Prabu). The king is regarded as a semi-divine being, a union of divine and human aspects (binathara, the passive form of “bathara”, god). Javanese kingship is a matter of royal-divine presence, not a specific territory or population. People may come and go without interrupting the identity of a kingdom which lies in the succession of semi-divine kings. Power, including royal power is not qualitatively different from the power of dukuns or shamans, but it is much stronger. Javanese kingship is not based on the legitimacy of a single individual, since anyone can contest power by tapa or asceticism, and many did contest the kings of Mataram.


The dates for events before the Siege of Batavia in the reign of Sultan Agung, third king of Mataram, are difficult to determine. There are several annals used by H.J. de Graaf in his histories such as Babad Sangkala and Babad Momana which contain list of events and dates in Javanese calendar (A.J., Anno Javanicus), but besides de Graaf’s questionable practice of simply adding 78 to Javanese years to obtain corresponding Christian years, the agreement between Javanese sources themselves is less than perfect.

The Javanese sources are very selective in putting dates to events. Events such as the rise and fall of kratons, the death of important princes, great wars, etc. are the only kind of events deemed important enough to be dated, by using a poetic formula called “candrasengkala”, which can be expressed verbally and pictorially, the rest being simply described in narrative succession without dates. Again these candrasengkalas do not always match the annals.

Therefore, it is suggested to follow the following rule of thumb: the dates from de Graaf and Ricklefs for the period before the Siege of Batavia can be accepted as best guess. For the period after the Siege of Batavia (1628-29) until the first War of Succession (1704), the years of events in which foreigners participated can be accepted as certain, but –again- are not always consistent with Javanese version of the story. The events in the period 1704-1755 can be dated with greater certainty since in this period the Dutch interfered deeply in Mataram affairs but events behind kraton walls are in general difficult to be dated precisely.

The rise of Mataram

Details in Javanese sources about the early years of the kingdom are limited, and the line is unclear between the historical record and myths since there are indications of the efforts of later rulers, especially Agung, to establish a long line of legitimate descent by inventing predecessors. However, by the time more reliable records begin in the mid-seventeenth century the kingdom was so large and powerful that most historians concur it had already been established for several generations.

According to Javanese records, the kings of Mataram were descended from one Ki Ageng Sela (Sela is a village near the present-day Demak). In the 1570s one of Ki Ageng Sela’s descendants, Kyai Gedhe Pamanahan became the ruler of the Mataram area with the support of the kingdom of Pajang to the north, near the current site of Surakarta (Solo). Pamanahan was often referred to as Kyai Gedhe Mataram.

Pamanahan’s son, Sutawijaya or Panembahan Senapati Ingalaga, replaced his father around 1584. Under Panembahan Senapati the kingdom grew substantially through regular military campaigns against Mataram’s overlord of Pajang and Pajang’s former overlord, Demak. After the defeat of Pajang, Senopati assumed royal status by wearing the title “Panembahan” (literally “one who is worshipped/sembah”). He began the fateful campaign to the East along the course of Solo River (Bengawan Solo) that was to bring endless conflicts and eventual demise of his kingdom. He conquered Madiun in 1590-1 and turned east from Madiun to conquer Kediri in 1591, and perhaps during the same time also conquered Jipang (present day Bojonegoro), Jagaraga (north of present day Magetan) and Ponorogo. His effort to conquer Banten in West Java in 1597 – witnessed by Dutch sailors – failed, perhaps due to lack of water transport. He reached east as far as Pasuruan, who may have used his threat to reduce pressure from the then powerful Surabaya.

The reign of Panembahan Seda ing Krapyak (circa 1601-1613), the son of Senapati, was dominated by further warfare, especially against powerful Surabaya, already a major center in East Java. He faced rebellion from his relatives who were installed in the newly conquered area of Demak (1602), Ponorogo (1607-8) and Kediri (1608). The first contact between Mataram and the Dutch East India Company (VOC) occurred under Krapyak. Dutch activities at the time were limited to trading from limited coastal settlements, so their interactions with the inland Mataram kingdom were limited, although they did form an alliance against Surabaya in 1613. Krapyak died that year.

Mataram under Sultan Agung

Krapyak was succeeded by his son, Raden Mas Rangsang, who assumed the title Panembahan ing Alaga and later took the title of Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo (“Great Sultan“) after obtaining permission to wear “Sultan” from Mecca. Agung was responsible for the great expansion and lasting historical legacy of Mataram due to the extensive military conquests of his long reign from 1613 to 1646. He attacked Surabaya in 1614 and also Malang, south of Surabaya, and the eastern end of Java. In 1615, he conquered Wirasaba (present day Mojoagung, near Mojokerto). In 1616, Surabaya tried to attack Mataram but this army was crushed by Sultan Agung’s forces in Siwalan, Pajang (near Solo). The coastal city of Lasem, near Rembang, was conquered in 1616 and Pasuruan, south-east of Surabaya, was taken in 1617. Tuban, one of the oldest and biggest cities on the coast of Java, was taken in 1619.

Surabaya was Mataram’s most difficult enemy. Senapati had not felt strong enough to attack this powerful city and Krapyak attacked it to no avail. Sultan Agung weakened Surabaya by capturing Sukadana, Surabaya’s ally in southwest Kalimantan, in 1622 and the island of Madura, another ally of Surabaya, was taken in 1624 after a fierce battle. After five years of war Agung finally conquered Surabaya in 1625. The city was taken not through outright military invasion, but instead because Agung surrounded it on land and sea, starving it into submission. With Surabaya brought into the empire, the Mataram kingdom encompassed all of central and eastern Java, and Madura, except for the west and east end of the island and its mountainous south (except for Mataram – of course). In the west Banten and the Dutch settlement in Batavia remain outside Agung’s control. He tried in 1628-29 to drive the Dutch from Batavia, but failed.

By 1625, Mataram was undisputed ruler of Java. Such a mighty feat of arms, however, did not deter Mataram’s former overlords from rebellion. Pajang rebelled in 1617, and Pati rebelled in 1627. After the capture of Surabaya in 1625, expansion stopped while the empire was busied by rebellions. In 1630, Mataram crushed a rebellion in Tembayat (south east of Klaten) and in 1631-36, Mataram had to suppress rebellion of Sumedang and Ukur in West Java. Ricklefs and de Graaf argued that these rebellions in the later part of Sultan Agung’s reign was mainly due to his inability to capture Batavia in 1628-29, which shattered his reputation of invincibility and inspired Mataram’s vassal to rebel. This argument seems untenable due to two reason: first, rebellions against Sultan Agung already began as far back as 1617 and occurred in Pati even during his peak of invincibility after taking Surabaya in 1625. The second, and more importantly, the military failure to capture Batavia was not seen as political failure by Javanese point of view. See Siege of Batavia.

In 1645 Sultan Agung began building Imogiri, his burial place, about fifteen kilometers south of Yogyakarta. Imogiri remains the resting place of most of the royalty of Yogyakarta and Surakarta to this day. Agung died in the spring of 1646, leaving behind an empire that covered most of Java and stretched to its neighboring islands.

Struggles for power

Upon taking the throne, Agung’s son Susuhunan Amangkurat I tried to bring long-term stability to Mataram’s realm, murdering local leaders that were insufficiently deferential to him including the still-powerful noble from Surabaya, Pangeran Pekik, his father-in-law, and closing ports and destroying ships in coastal cities to prevent them from getting too powerful from their wealth. To further his glory, the new king abandoned Karta, Sultan Agung’s capital, and moved to a grander red-brick palace in Plered (formerly the palace was built of wood).

By the mid-1670s dissatisfaction with the king was turning into open revolt, beginning from the recalcitrant Eastern Java and creeping inward. The Crown Prince (future Amangkurat II) felt that his life was not safe in the court after he took his father’s concubine with the help of his maternal grandfather, Pangeran Pekik of Surabaya, making Amangkurat I suspicious of a conspiracy among Surabayan factions to grab power in the capital by using Pekiks’ grandson’s powerful position as the Crown Prince. He conspired with Panembahan Rama from Kajoran, west of Magelang, who proposed a stratagem in which the Crown Prince financed Rama’s son-in-law, Trunajaya, to begin a rebellion in the East Java. Raden Trunajaya, a prince from Madura, lead a revolt fortified by itinerant fighters from faraway Makassar that captured the king’s court at Mataram in mid-1677. The king escaped to the north coast with his eldest son, the future king Amangkurat II, leaving his younger son Pangeran Puger in Mataram. Apparently more interested in profit and revenge than in running a struggling empire, the rebel Trunajaya looted the court and withdrew to his stronghold in Kediri, East Java, leaving Puger in control of a weak court. Seizing this opportunity, Puger assumed the throne in the ruins of Plered with the title Susuhanan ing Alaga.

Amangkurat II and the beginning of foreign involvement

Amangkurat I died in Tegal just after his expulsion, making Amangkurat II king in 1677. He too was nearly helpless, having fled without an army nor treasury to build one. In an attempt to regain his kingdom, he made substantial concessions to the Dutch East India Company (VOC), who then went to war to reinstate him. For the Dutch, a stable Mataram empire that was deeply indebted to them would help ensure continued trade on favorable terms. They were willing to lend their military might to keep the kingdom together. The multinational Dutch forces, consisting of light-armed troops from Makasar and Ambon, in addition to heavily-equipped European soldiers, first defeated Trunajaya in Kediri in November 1628 and Trunajaya himself was captured in 1679 near Ngantang west of Malang, then in 1681, the alliance of VOC and Amangkurat II forced Susuhunan ing Alaga (Puger) to relinguish the throne in favor of his elder brother Amangkurat II. Since the fallen Plered was considered inauspicious, Amangkurat II move the capital to Kartasura in the land of Pajang (northern part of the stretch of land between Mount Merapi and Mount Lawu, the southern part being Mataram).

By providing help in regaining his throne, the Dutch brought Amangkurat II under their tight control. Amangkurat II was apparently unhappy with the situation, especially the increasing Dutch control of the coast, but he was helpless in the face of a crippling financial debt and the threat of Dutch military power. The king engaged in a series of intrigues to try to weaken the Dutch position without confronting them head on; for example, by trying to cooperate with other kingdoms such as Cirebon and Johor and the court sheltered people wanted by the Dutch for attacking colonial offices or disrupting shipping such as Untung Surapati. In 1685, Batavia sent Captain Tack, the officer who captured Trunojoyo, to capture Surapati and negotiate further details into the agreement between VOC and Amangkurat II but the king arranged a ruse in which he pretended to help Tack. Tack was killed when pursuing Surapati in Kartasura, then capital of Mataram (present day Kartasura near Solo), but Batavia decided to do nothing since the situation in Batavia itself was far from stable, such as the insurrection of Captain Jonker, native commander of Ambonese settlement in Batavia, in 1689. Mainly due to this incident, by the end of his reign, Amangkurat II was deeply distrusted by the Dutch, but Batavia were similarly uninterested in provoking another costly war on Java.

Wars of succession

Amangkurat II died in 1703 and was briefly succeeded by his son, Amangkurat III. However, this time the Dutch believed they had found a more reliable client, and hence supported his uncle Pangeran Puger, formerly Susuhunan ing Alaga, who had previously been defeated by VOC and Amangkurat II. Before the Dutch, he accused Amangkurat III of planning an uprising in East Java. Unlike Pangeran Puger, Amangkurat III inherited blood connection with Surabayan ruler, Jangrana II, from Amangkurat II and this lent credibility to the allegation that he cooperated with the now powerful Untung Surapati in Pasuruan. Panembahan Cakraningrat II of Madura, VOC’s most trusted ally, persuaded the Dutch to support Pangeran Puger. Though Cakraningrat II harbored personal hatred towards Puger, this move is understandable since alliance between Amangkurat III and his Surabaya relatives and Surapati in Bangil would be a great threat to Madura’s position, even though Jangrana II’s father was Cakraningrat II’s son-in-law. Pangeran Puger took the title of Pakubuwana I upon his accession in June 1704. The conflict between Amangkurat III and Pakubuwana I, the latter allied with the Dutch, usually termed First Javanese War of Succession, dragged on for five years before the Dutch managed to install Pakubuwana. In August 1705, Pakubuwono I’s retainers and VOC forces captured Kartasura without resistance from Amangkurat III, whose forces cowardly turned back when the enemy reached Ungaran. Surapati’s forces in Bangil, near Pasuruan, was crushed by the alliance of VOC, Kartasura and Madura in 1706. Jangrana II, who tended to side with Amangkurat III and did not venture any assistance to the capture of Bangil, was called to present himself before Pakubuwana I and murdered there by VOC’s request in the same year. Amangkurat III ran away to Malang with Surapati’s descendants and his remnant forces but Malang was then a no-man’s-land who offered no glory fit for a king. Therefore, though allied operations to the eastern interior of Java in 1706-08 did not gain much success in military terms, the fallen king surrendered in 1708 after being lured with the promises of household (lungguh) and land, but he was banished to Ceylon along with his wives and children. This is the end of Surabayan faction in Mataram, and – as we shall see later – this situation would ignite the political time bomb planted by Sultan Agung with his capture of Surabaya in 1625.

With the installation of Pakubuwana, the Dutch substantially increased their control over the interior of Central Java. Pakubuwana I was more than willing to agree to anything the VOC asked of him. In 1705 he agreed to cede the regions of Cirebon and eastern part of Madura (under Cakraningrat II), in which Mataram had no real control anyway, to the VOC. The VOC was given Semarang as new headquarters, the right to build fortresses anywhere in Java, a garrison in the kraton in Kartasura, monopoly over opium and textiles, and the right to buy as much rice as they wanted. Mataram would pay an annual tribute of 1300 metric tons of rice. Any debt made before 1705 was cancelled. In 1709, Pakubuwana I made another agreement with the VOC in which Mataram would pay annual tribute of wood, indigo and coffee (planted since 1696 by VOC’s request) in addition to rice. These tributes, more than anything else, made Pakubuwana I the first genuine puppet of the Dutch. On paper, these terms seemed very advantageous to the Dutch, since the VOC itself was in financial difficulties during the period of 1683-1710. But the ability of the king to fulfil the terms of agreement depended largely on the stability of Java, for which VOC has made a guarantee. It turned out later that the VOC’s military might was incapable of such a huge task.

The last years of Pakubuwana’s reign, from 1717 to 1719, were dominated by rebellion in East Java against the kingdom and its foreign patrons. The murder of Jangrana II in 1706 incited his three brothers, regents of Surabaya, Jangrana III, Jayapuspita and Surengrana, to raise a rebellion with the help of Balinese mercenaries in 1717. Pakubuwana I’s tributes to the VOC secured him a power which was feared by his subjects in Central Java, but this is for the first time since 1646 that Mataram was ruled by a king without any eastern connection. Surabaya had no reason to submit anymore and thirst for vengeance made the brother regents openly contest Mataram’s power in Eastern Java. Cakraningkrat III who ruled Madura after ousting the VOC’s loyal ally Cakraningrat II, had every reason to side with his cousins this time. The VOC managed to capture Surabaya after a bloody war in 1718 and Madura was pacified when Cakraningrat III was killed in a fight on board of the VOC’s ship in Surabaya in the same year though the Balinese mercenaries plundered eastern Madura and was repulsed by VOC in the same year. However, similar to the situation after Trunajaya’s uprising in 1675, the interior regencies in East Java (Ponorogo, Madiun, Magetan, Jogorogo) joined the rebellion en masse. Pakubuwana I sent his son, Pangeran Dipanagara (not to be confused with another prince with the same title who fought the Dutch in 1825-1830) to suppress the rebellion in the eastern interior but instead Dipanagara joined the rebel and assumed the messianic title of Panembahan Herucakra.

In 1719 Pakubuwana I died and his son Amangkurat IV took the throne in 1719, but his brothers, Pangeran Blitar and Purbaya contested the succession. They attacked the kraton in June 1719. When they were repulsed by the cannons in VOC’s fort, they retreated south to the land of Mataram. Another royal brother, Pangeran Arya Mataram, ran to Japara and proclaim himself king, thus began the Second War of Succession. Before the year ended, Arya Mataram surrendered and was strangled in Japara by king’s order and Blitar and Purbaya was dislodged from their stronghold in Mataram in November. In 1720, these two princes ran away to the still rebellious interior of East Java. Luckily for VOC and the young king, the rebellious regents of Surabaya, Jangrana III and Jayapuspita died in 1718-20 and Pangeran Blitar died in 1721. In May and June 1723, the remnants of the rebels and their leaders surrendered, including Surengrana of Surabaya, Pangeran Purbaya and Dipanagara, all of whom were banished to Ceylon, except Purbaya, who was taken to Batavia to serve as “backup” to replace Amangkurat IV in case of any disruption in the relationship between the king and VOC since Purbaya was seen to have equal “legitimacy” by VOC. It is obvious from these two Wars of Succession that even though VOC was virtually invincible in the field, mere military prowess was not sufficient to pacify Java.

Court intrigues in 1723-1741

After 1723, the situation seemed to stabilize, much to the delight of the Dutch. Javanese nobility has learned that the alliance of VOC’s military with any Javanese faction makes them nearly invincible. It seemed that VOC’s plan to reap the profit from a stable Java under a kingdom which is deeply indebted to VOC would soon be realized. In 1726, Amangkurat IV fell to an illness that resembled poisoning. His son assumed the throne as Pakubuwana II, this time without any serious resistance from anybody. The history for the period of 1723 until 1741 was dominated by a series of intrigues which further showed the fragile nature of Javanese politics, held together by Dutch’s effort. In this relatively peaceful situation, the king could not gather the support of his “subjects” and instead was swayed by short-term ends siding with this faction for a moment and then to another. The king never seemed to lack challenges to his “legitimacy”. The descendants of Amangkurat III, who were allowed to return from Ceylon, and he royal brothers, especially Pangeran Ngabehi Loring Pasar and the banished Pangeran Arya Mangkunegara, tried to gain the support of the Dutch by spreading gossips of rebellion against the king and the patih (vizier), Danureja. At the same time, the patih tried to strengthen his position by installing his relatives and clients in the regencies, sometimes without king’s consent, at the expense of other nobles’ interests, including the powerful queens dowager, Ratu Amangkurat (Amangkurat IV’s wife) and Ratu Pakubuwana (Pakubuwana I’s wife), much to the confusion of the Dutch. The king tried to break the dominance of this Danureja by asking the help of the Dutch to banish him, but Danureja’s successor, Natakusuma, was influenced heavily by the Queen’s brother, Arya Purbaya, son of the rebel Pangeran Purbaya, who was also Natakusuma’s brother-in-law. Arya Purbaya’s erratic behavior in court, his alleged homosexuality which was abhorred by the pious king and rumors of his planning a rebellion against the “heathen” (the Dutch) caused unrest in Kartasura and hatred from the nobles. After his sister, the Queen, died of miscarriage in 1738, the king asked the Dutch to banish him, to which the Dutch complied gladly. Despite these faction strruggles, the situation in general did not show any signs of developing into full-scale war. Eastern Java was quiet: though Cakraningrat IV refused to pay homage to the court with various excuses, Madura was held under firm control by VOC and Surabaya did not stir. But dark clouds were forming. This time, the explosion came from the west: Batavia itself.

Chinese War 1741-1743

In the meantime, the Dutch were contending with other problems. The excessive use of land for sugar cane plantation in the interior of West Java reduced the flow of water in Ciliwung River (which flows through the city of Batavia) and made the city canals an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, resulting in a series of malaria outbreak in 1733-1795. This was aggravated by the fall of sugar price in European market, bringing bankruptcy to sugar factories in the areas around Batavia (the Ommelanden), which were mostly operated and manned by Chinese labor. The unrest prompted VOC authorities to reduce the number of unlicensed Chinese settlers, who had been smuggled into Batavia by Chinese sugar factory owner. These laborers were loaded into ships out of Batavia but the gossip that these people were thrown to the sea as soon as the ship was beyond horizon caused panic among the Chinese. In 7 October 1740, several Chinese mob attacked Europeans outside the city and incited the Dutch to order a massacre two days later. The Chinese settlement in Batavia was looted for several days. The Chinese ran away and captured Bekasi, which was dislodged by VOC in June 1741.

In 1741, Chinese rebels were present in Central Java, particularly around Tanjung (Welahan), Pati, Grobogan, and Kaliwungu. In May 1741 Juwana was captured by the Chinese. The Javanese at first sided with the Dutch and reinforced Demak in 10 June 1741. Two days later, a detachment of Javanese forces together with VOC forces of European, Balinese and Buginese in Semarang to defend Tugu, west of Semarang. The Chinese rebel lured them into their main forces’s position in Mount Bergota through narrow road and ambushed them. The allied forces were dispersed and ran as fast as they could back to Semarang. The Chinese pursued them but were repulsed by Dutch cannons in the fortress. Semarang was seized by panic. By July 1741, the Chinese occupied Kaligawe, south of Semarang, Rembang, and besieged Jepara. This is the most dangerous time for VOC. Military superiority would enable VOC to hold Semarang without any support from Mataram forces, but it would mean nothing since a turbulent interior would disrupt trade and therefore profit, VOC’s main objective. One VOC high official, Abraham Roos, suggested that VOC assumed royal function in Java by denying Pakubuwana II’s “legitimacy” and asking the regents to take an oath of loyalty to VOC’s sovereignty. This was turned down by the Council of Indies (Raad van Indie) in Batavia, since even if VOC managed to conquer the coast, it would not be strong enough to conquer the mountainous interior of Java, which do not provide much level plain required by Western method of warfare. Therefore, the Dutch East India Company must support its superior but inadequate military by picking the right allies. One such ally had presented itself, that is Cakraningkrat IV of Madura who could be relied on to gold the eastern coast against the Chinese, but the interior of Eastern and Central Java was beyond the reach of this quarrelsome prince. Therefore, VOC had no choice but to side with Pakubuwana II.

VOC’s dire situation after the Battle of Tugu in July 1741 did not escape the king’s attention, but – like Amangkurat II – he avoided any open breach with VOC since his own kraton was not lacking of factions against him. He ordered Patih Natakusuma to do all the dirty work, such as ordering the Arch-Regent (Adipati) of Jipang (Bojonegoro), one Tumenggung Mataun, to join the Chinese. In September 1741, the king ordered Patih Natakusuma and several regents to help the Chinese besiege Semarang and let Natakusuma attack VOC garrison in Kartasura, who were starved into submission in August. However, reinforcement from VOC’s posts in Outer Islands were arriving since August and they were all wisely concentrated to repel the Chinese around Semarang. In the beginning of November, the Dutch attacked Kaligawe, Torbaya around Semarang, and repulsed the alliance of Javanese and Chinese forces who were stationed in four separate fortress and did not coordinate with each other. At the end of November, Cakraningrat IV had controlled the stretch of east coast from Tuban to Sedayu and the Dutch relieved Tegal of Chinese rebels. This caused Pakubuwana II to change sides and open negotiations with the Dutch.

In the next year 1742, the alliance of Javanese and Chinese let Semarang alone and captured Kudus and Pati in February. In March, Pakubuwana II sent a messenger to negotiate with the Dutch in Semarang and offered them absolute control over all northern coasts of Java and the privilege to appoint patih. VOC promptly sent van Hohendorff with a small force to observe the situation in Kartasura. Things began to get worse for Pakubuwana II. In April, the rebels set up Raden Mas Garendi, a descendant of Amangkurat III, as king with the title of Sunan Kuning.

In May, the Dutch agreed to support Pakubuwana II after considering that after all, the regencies in eastern interior were still loyal to this weak king but the Javano-Chinese rebel alliance had occupied the only road from Semarang to Kartasura and captured Salatiga. The princes in Mataram tried to attack the Javano-Chinese alliance but they were repulsed. On 30 June 1742, the rebels captured Kartasura and van Hohendorff had to run away from a hole in kraton wall with the helpless Pakubuwana II on his back. The Dutch, however, ignored Kartasura’s fate in rebel hands and concentrated its forces under Captain Gerrit Mom and Nathaniel Steinmets to repulse the rebels around Demak, Welahan, Jepara, Kudus and Rembang. By October 1742, the northern coast of Central Java was cleaned of the rebels, who seemed to disperse into the traditional rebel hideout in Malang to the east and the Dutch forces returned to Semarang in November. Cakraningrat IV, who wished to free the eastern coast of Java from Mataram influence, could not deter the Dutch from supporting Pakubuwana II but he managed to capture and plunder Kartasura in November 1742. In December 1742, VOC negotiated with Cakraningrat and managed to persuade him to relieve Kartasura of Madurese and Balinese troops under his pay. The treasures, however, remained in Cakraningrat’s hand.

The reinstatement of Pakubuwana II in Kartasura in 14 December 1742 marked the end of the Chinese war. It showed who was in control of the situation. Accordingly, Sunan Kuning surrendered in October 1743, followed by other rebel leaders. Cakraningrat IV was definitely not pleased with this situation and he began to make alliance with Surabaya, the descendants of Untung Surapati, and hired more Balinese mercenaries. He stopped paying tribute to VOC in 1744, and after a failed attempt to negotiate, the Dutch attacked Madura in 1745 and ousted Cakraningrat, who was banished to the Cape in 1746.

Division of Mataram

The divided Mataram in 1830, after the Java War.

The fall of Kartasura made the palace inauspicious for the king and Pakubuwana II built a new kraton in Surakarta or Solo and moved there in 1746. However, Pakubuwana II was far from secure in this throne. Raden Mas Said, or Pangeran Sambernyawa (meaning “Soul Reaper”), son of banished Arya Mangkunegara, who later would establish the princely house of Mangkunagara in Solo, and several other princes of the royal blood still maintained rebellion. Pakubuwana II declared that anyone who can suppress the rebellion in Sukawati, areas around present day Sragen, would be rewarded with 3000 households. Pangeran Mangkubumi, Pakuwana II’s brother, who would later establish the royal house of Yogyakarta took the challenge and defeated Mas Said in 1746. But when he claimed his prize, his old enemy, patih Pringgalaya, advised the king against it. In the middle of this problem, VOC’s Governor General, van Imhoff, paid a visit to the kraton, the first one to do so during the whole history of the relation between Mataram and VOC, in order to confirm the de facto Dutch possession of coastal and several interior regions. Pakubuwana II hesitantly accepted the cession in lieu of 20.000 real per year. Mangkubumi was dissatisfied with his brother’s decision to yield to van Imhoff’s insistence, which was made without consulting the other members of royal family and great nobles. van Imhoff had neither experience nor tactfulness to understand the delicate situation in Mataram and he rebuked Mangkubumi as “too ambitious” before the whole court when Mangkubumi claimed the 3000 households. This shameful treatment from a foreigner who had wrested the most prosperous lands of Mataram from his weak brother led him to raise his followers into rebellion in May 1746, this time with the help of Mas Said.

In the midst of Mangkubumi rebellion in 1749, Pakubuwana II fell ill and called van Hohendorff, his trusted friend who saved his life during the fall of Kartasura in 1742. He asked Hohendorff to assume control over the kingdom. Hohendorff was naturally surprised and refused, thinking that he would be made king of Mataram, but when the king insisted on it, he asked his sick friend to confirm it in writing. On 11 December 1749, Pakubuwana II signed an agreement in which the “sovereignty” of Mataram was given to VOC.

On 15 December 1749, Hohendorff announced the accession of Pakubuwana II’s son as the new king of Mataram with the title Pakubuwana III. However, three days earlier, Mangkubumi in his stronghold in Yogyakarta also announced his accession with the title Mangkubumi, with Mas Said as his patih. This rebellion got stronger day by day and even in 1753 the Crown Prince of Surakarta joined the rebels. VOC decided that it did have not the military capability to suppress this rebellion, though in 1752, Mas Said broke away from Hamengkubuwana. By 1754, all parties were tired of war and ready to negotiate.

The kingdom of Mataram was divided in 1755 under an agreement signed in Giyanti between the Dutch under the Governor General Nicolaas Hartingh and rebellious prince Mangkubumi. The treaty divided nominal control over central Java between Yogyakarta Sultanate, under Mangkubumi, and Surakarta, under Pakubuwana. Mas Said, however, proved to be stronger than the combined forces of Solo, Yogya and VOC. In 1756, he even almost captured Yogyakarta, but he realized that he could not defeat the three powers all by himself. In February 1757 he surrendered to Pakubuwana III and was given 4000 households, all taken from Pakubuwana III’s own lungguh, and a parcel of land near Solo, the present day Mangkunegaran Palace, and the title of “Pangeran Arya Adipati Mangkunegara”. This settlement proved successful in that political struggle was again confined to palace or inter-palace intrigues and peace was maintained until 1812.

Sultanate of Ternate

Sultanate of Ternate was originally named as Kingdom of Gapi, but later change the name base of its capital, Ternate. The sultanate is one of the oldest muslim kingdoms in Indonesia, established by Baab Mashur Malamo in 1257. It reach its Golden Age during the reign of Sultan Baabullah (1570 – 1583) and encompassed what most of the eastern part Indonesia and a part of southern Philippines. Ternate was a world producer of cloves and a major power in the region between 15th – 17th century.


Pre-colonial history

Ternate and neighbouring Tidore were the world’s single major producer of cloves upon which their rulers became among the wealthiest and most powerful sultans in the Indonesian region. Much of their wealth, however, was wasted fighting each other. Up until the Dutch completed the colonization of Maluku in the 19th century, the sultans of Ternate ruled empires that claimed at least nominal influence as far as Ambon, Sulawesi and Papua.[1]

In part as a result of its trade-dependent culture, Ternate was one of the earliest places in the region to which Islam spread, probably coming from Java in the late 15th century. Initially, the faith was restricted to Ternate’s small ruling family, and spread only slowly to the rest of the population.

The royal family of Ternate converted to Islam during the reign of King Marhum (1465-1486), his son and successor, Zainal Abidin (1486-1500) enacted Islamic Law and transformed the kingdom into Islamic base Sultanate, the title Kolano (king) was then replaced with Sultan.

The peak of Ternate’s power came near the end of the sixteenth century, under Sultan Baabullah (1570-1583), when it had influence over most of the eastern part of Sulawesi, the Ambon and Seram area, Timor island, parts of southern Mindanao and as well as parts of Papua. It frequently engaged in fierce competition for control of its periphery with the nearby sultanate of Tidore. According to historian Leonard Andaya, Ternate’s “dualistic” rivalry with Tidore is a dominant theme in the early history of the Maluku Islands.


The first Europeans to stay on Ternate were part of the Portuguese expedition of Francisco Serrão out of Malacca, which was shipwrecked near Seram and rescued by local residents. Sultan Bayanullah of Ternate (1500-1522) heard of their stranding, and, seeing a chance to ally himself with a powerful foreign nation, he brought them to Ternate in 1512. The Portuguese were permitted to build a fort on the island, construction of which began in 1522, but relations between the Ternateans and Portuguese were strained from the start.

An outpost far from Europe generally only attracted the most desperate and avaricious, such that the generally poor behaviour of the Portuguese combined with feeble attempts at Christianisation, strained relations with Ternate’s Muslim ruler.[2] In 1535 Sultan Tabariji was deposed and sent to Goa by the Portuguese. He converted to Christianity and changed his name to Dom Manuel. After being declared innocent of the charges against him he was sent back to reassume his throne however he died en route in Malacca in 1545. He had though bequeathed the island of Ambon to his Portuguese godfather Jordão de Freitas. Following the murder of Sultan Hairun at the hands of the Portuguese, the Ternateans expelled the Portuguese in 1575 after a five-year siege. Ambon became the new centre for Portuguese activities in Maluku. European power in the region was weak and Ternate became an expanding, fiercely Islamic and anti-Portuguese state under the rule of Sultan Baab Ullah (r. 1570 – 1583) and his son Sultan Said.[3]

Spanish forces captured the former Portuguese fort from the Ternatese in 1606, deported the Ternate Sultan and his entourage to Manila. In 1607 the Dutch came back in Ternate where with the help of Ternateans built a fort in Malayo. The island was divided between the two powers: the Spaniards were allied with Tidore and the Dutch with their Ternaten allies. For the Ternaten rulers, the Dutch were a useful, if not particularly welcome, presence that gave them military advantages against Tidore and the Spanish. Particularly under Sultan Hamzah (1627-1648), Ternate expanded its territory and strengthened its control over the periphery. Dutch influence over the kingdom was limited, though Hamzah and his grandnephew and successor, Sultan Mandar Syah (1648-1675) did concede some regions to the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in exchange for help controlling rebellions there. The Spaniards abandoned Maluku in 1663.

Desire to restore Ternate to its former glory and expel the western power, Sultan Sibori of Ternate (1675-1691) declared war to the Dutch, but the power of Ternate had greatly reduced over the years, he lost and forced to concede more of his lands to the Dutch by an unjust treaty in 1683. By this treaty, Ternate lost its equal position with the Dutch and became a vassal. However the Sultans of Ternate and its people was never fully under Dutch control.

In the 18th century Ternate was the site of a VOC governorship, which attempted to control all trade in the northern Moluccas. By the 19th century, the spice trade had declined substantially. Hence the region was less central to the Netherlands colonial state, but the Dutch maintained a presence in the region in order to prevent another colonial power from occupying it. After the VOC was nationalised by the Dutch government in 1800, Ternate became part of the Government of the Moluccas (Gouvernement der Molukken). Ternate was occupied by British forces in 1810 before being returned to Dutch control in 1817. In 1824 became the capital of a residency (administrative region) covering Halmahera, the entire west coast of New Guinea, and the central east coast of Sulawesi. By 1867 all of Dutch-occupied New Guinea had been added to the residency, but then its region was gradually transferred to Ambon (Amboina) before being dissolved into that residency in 1922.

Sultan Haji Muhammad Usman (1896 – 1914) made a last attempt to drove out the Dutch by instigate revolts in the region, he fails and was dethroned, his wealth was confiscated and exiled to Bandung where he lived his remaining years until 1927. The throne of Ternate was left vacant from 1914-1927 until the board of minister by the blessing of the Dutch placed the Crown Prince Iskandar Muhammad Jabir as the next Sultan.


The dynasty which ruled Ternate still exist today as well as the Sultanate itself, though they no longer holds any political power. Ternate is ruled by an unbroken line of rulers since its first king, Baab Mashur Malamo in 13th century. The current sultan is H.H. Sultan Drs. H. Mudaffar II Syah who assumed the title in 1986


Dutch East India Company in Indonesia

Dutch East India Company in Indonesia

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) had a presence in the Indonesian archipelago from 1603, when the first trading post was established, to 1800, when the bankrupted party was dissolved, and its possessions nationalised as the Dutch East Indies.

Early settlements

In 1603, the first permanent Dutch trading post in Indonesia was established in Banten, northwest Java[1] and in 1611, another was established at Jayakarta (later ‘Batavia‘ and then ‘Jakarta’).

VOC headquarters were in Ambon from 1610 to 1619, and although it was located centrally in the spice production areas, it was far from the Asian trade routes and other VOC activity ranging from Africa to Japan.[2] A location in the west of the archipelago was thus sought; while the Straits of Malacca were strategic, the Portuguese conquest had made them dangerous, and the first permanent VOC settlement in Banten was difficult due to control by a powerful local ruler and competition from Chinese and English traders.[2]

In 1604, a second English East India Company voyage to Maluku, and subsequent establishments of trading posts between 1611 and 1617 across the archipelago began Anglo-Dutch competition for access to spices as the Dutch monopolistic ambitions were threatened.[3] Diplomatic agreements and cooperation between the Dutch and the English over the spice trade ended with the notorious Amboyna massacre‘ where ten Englishmen were tortured and killed for conspiracy against the Dutch government, following which the English withdrew from their Indonesian activities (except in Banten).[4]

In 1619, Jan Pieterszoon Coen was appointed Governor-General of the VOC. On 30 May, 1619, Coen, backed by a force of nineteen ships, stormed Jayakarta driving out the Banten forces, and from the ashes, established Batavia as the VOC headquarters. To establish a monopoly for the clove trade, in the 1620s almost the entire native population of the Banda Islands, the source of nutmeg was deported, driven away, starved to death, or killed in an attempt to replace them with Dutch plantations, operated with slave labour. He hoped to settle large numbers of Dutch colonists in the East Indies, but this part of his policies never materialized, because the Heren XVII were wary at the time of large, open-ended financial commitments.

 Dutch East Indies

Dutch East Indies
Dutch colony


Flag Coat of arms

Map of the Dutch East Indies showing its territorial expansion from 1800 to its fullest extent prior to Japanese occupation in 1942.

Capital Batavia
Government Colonial administration
Governor-General List of Governors-General
 – VOC in Indonesia 1603-1800
 – Nationalisation of the VOC 1 January 1800
 – Japanese occupation[1] February 1942–August 1945
 – Proclamation of Indonesian Independence 17 August 1945
 – Dutch recognition of Indonesian sovereignty 27 December 1949
Currency Dutch East Indies Gulden
Between 1945 and 1949, the Dutch tried to re-establish their colony although Indonesia had proclaimed its independency in 17 August 1945.


The Dutch East Indies, or Netherlands East Indies, (Dutch: Nederlands-Indië; Indonesian: Hindia-Belanda) was the Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the former Dutch East India Company that came under the administration of the Netherlands in 1800. During the nineteenth century, Dutch possessions in the archipelago and its hegemony were expanded, reaching their greatest extent in the early twentieth century. Following the World War II Japanese occupation, Indonesian nationalists declared Indonesian independence in 1945. Thereafter and as a consequence of the subsequent Indonesian National Revolution, the Netherlands formally recognised Indonesian sovereignty in December 27, 1949.

Establishing a hegemonic Indies empire

In an 1806 to 1816 interregnum, during the Napoleonic Wars, the British took over administration of several Dutch East Indies posts including Java before Dutch control was restored. The fact that Indonesia still drives on the left is a legacy of this period. The 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty, ceded Dutch control of Malacca, the Malay Peninsula, and possessions in India (Dutch India from 1609) to Great Britain in exchange for British settlements in Indonesia, such as Bengkulu in Sumatra. The resulting delineation of borders between British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies remains today between Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively. The capital of the Dutch East Indies was Batavia, now known as Jakarta, which remains the capital of the Indonesian republic.

For most of the Dutch East Indies history, and that of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) before it, Dutch control over these territories was tenuous; it was not until the early 20th century that Dutch dominance was extended to what was to become the boundaries of modern-day Indonesia. Although Java was under Dutch domination for most of the 350 years of the combined VOC and Dutch East Indies era, many areas remained independent for much of this time including Aceh, Lombok, and Borneo.[2]

The submission of Prince Diponegoro to General De Kock at the end of the Java War in 1830

There were numerous wars and disturbances across the archipelago as various indigenous Indonesian groups resisted efforts to establish a Dutch hegemony, which weakened Dutch control and tied up its military forces.[3] In the seventeenth century, the VOC had used its superior arms, and Buginese (from Sulawesi) and Ambonese (from Maluku) mercenaries to expand and protect its trading interests across the archipelago. The most prolonged conflicts were the Padri War in Sumatra (1821–38), the Java War (1825–30) led by Prince Diponegoro, and a thirty-year war in Aceh. Although each resulted in an eventual Dutch ascendancy, Indonesians used Islam as a vehicle for opposition to the Dutch, which along with communism and nationalism, would be used to a much greater extent and eventual success in the twentieth century struggle for independence (see Indonesian National Revival and Indonesian National Revolution).[2]

Disturbances continued to break out on both Java and Sumatra during the remainder of the 19th century, and between 1846 and 1849, expeditions to conquer Bali were largely unsuccessful. The Banjarmasin War in southeast Borneo resulted in the Dutch defeat of the sultan. In Aceh, guerrilla leaders fought off Dutch invasion in what was the longest and bloodiest conflict from 1873 to Acehnese surrender in 1908. As exploitation of Indonesian resources expanded off Java, most of the outer islands came under direct Dutch government control or influence. Significant Indonesian piracy remained a problem for the Dutch until the mid-19th century.[2]

Under the 1904–1909 tenure of governor-general J.B. van Heutsz, the government extended more direct colonial rule throughout the Dutch East Indies, thereby laying the foundations of today’s Indonesian state.[4] Although relatively minor, Indonesian rebellions broke out, but control was taken off the remaining independent local rulers although their wealth and splendour under the Dutch grew;[5] southwestern Sulawesi was occupied in 1905–06, the island of Bali in 1906-08 with the Dutch intervention in Bali (1906) and finally the Dutch intervention in Bali (1908), and the Bird’s Head Peninsula (West Papua), was brought under Dutch administration in 1920. This final territorial range would form the territory of the Republic of Indonesia proclaimed in 1945, with the exception of Netherlands New Guinea territory, which became part of the Indonesian republic in the 1960s.

Economic and social history

Workers pose at the site of a railway tunnel under construction in the mountains, 1910.

Dutch economic strategy for the colony during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can be defined along three overlapping periods: the Cultivation System, the Liberal Period, and the Ethical Period. Throughout these periods, and until Indonesian independence, the exploitation of Indonesia’s wealth contributed to the industrialisation of the Netherlands. Large expanses of Java, for example, became plantations cultivated by Javanese peasants, collected by Chinese intermediaries, and sold on overseas markets by European merchants. Before World War II, the Dutch East Indies produced most of the world’s supply of quinine and pepper, over a third of its rubber, a quarter of its coconut products, and a fifth of its tea, sugar, coffee, and oil. Indonesia made the Netherlands one of the world’s most significant colonial powers.[2]

Despite increasing returns from the Dutch system of land tax, Dutch finances had been severely affected by the cost of the Java and Padri Wars. The Dutch loss of Belgium in 1830 brought the Netherlands to the brink of bankruptcy, and a concerted Dutch exploitation of Indonesian resources commenced. In 1830, a new Governor-General, Johannes van den Bosch, was appointed to make the Dutch East Indies pay their way. An agricultural policy of government-controlled forced cultivation was introduced to Java. Known as the Cultivation System (Dutch: cultuurstelsel); much of Java became a Dutch plantation, making it a profitable, self-sufficient colony and saving the Netherlands from bankruptcy. The Cultivation System, however, brought much economic hardship to Javanese peasants, who suffered famine and epidemics in the 1840s.[2]

The cultivation required farmers to deliver, has a sort of tax, fixed amounts specified crops, such as sugar or coffee. Culturally, the Dutch promoted schooling in the Malay and Javanese languages, not in touch. This promoted the native cultures, and slowed the impact of westernizing ideas such as democracy and nationalism, which otherwise might have threatened the empire

Critical public opinion in the Netherlands led to much of the Cultivation System’s excesses being eliminated under the agrarian reforms of the “Liberal Period”. From 1870, producers were no longer compelled to provide crops for exports, but the Indies were open up to private enterprise. Dutch businessmen set up large, profitable plantations. Sugar production doubled between 1870 and 1885; new crops such as tea and cinchona flourished, and rubber was introduced, leading to dramatic increases in Dutch profits. However, the resulting scarcity of land for rice production, combined with dramatically increasing populations, especially in Java, led to further hardships. Changes were not limited to Java, or agriculture; oil from Sumatra and Kalimantan became a valuable resource for industrialising Europe. Dutch commercial interests expanded off Java to the outer islands with increasingly more territory coming under direct Dutch government control or dominance in the latter half of the nineteenth century.[2]

In 1898, the population of Java numbered twenty-eight million with another seven million on Indonesia’s outer islands.[6]

In 1901 the Dutch adopted what they called the Ethical Policy, under which the colonial government had a duty to further the welfare of the Indonesian people in health and education. Other new policies included irrigation programs, transmigration, communications, flood mitigation, industrialisation, and protection of native industry. Political reform increased the autonomy to the local colonial administration, moving a degree from central control from the Netherlands, whilst power was also diverged from the central government to more localised governing units. Although far more progressive than previous policies, the humanitarian policies were ultimately inadequate. While a small elite of secondary and tertiary-educated Indonesians developed, the overwhelming majority of Indonesians remained illiterate. Primary schools were established and officially open to all, but by 1930, only 8% of school-aged children received an education. Industrialisation did not significantly effect the majority of Indonesians, and Indonesia remained an agricultural colony; by 1930, there were 17 cities with populations over 50,000 with a combined population of 1.87 million.[5] However, the education reforms, and modest political reform, resulted in the creation of a small elite of highly educated indigenous Indonesians, who promoted the idea of an independent and unified “Indonesia” that would bring together disparate indigenous groups of the Dutch East Indies. A period termed the Indonesian National Revival, the first half of the twentieth century saw the nationalist movement develop strongly, but also face Dutch oppression.[2]

Removal of the colonial state

Main articles: Japanese occupation of Indonesia and Indonesian National Revolution

The invasion and occupation of Indonesia during World War II brought about the destruction of the colonial state in Indonesia, as the Japanese removed as much of the Dutch state as they could, replacing it with their own regime. Although the top positions were held by the Japanese, the internment of all Dutch citizens meant that Indonesians filled many leadership and administrative positions. Following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, nationalist leaders Sukarno and Hatta declared Indonesian independence. A four and a half-year struggle followed as the Dutch tried to re-establish their colony; although Dutch forces re-occupied most of Indonesia’s territory a guerrilla struggle ensued, and the majority of Indonesians, and ultimately international opinion, favoured Indonesian independence. In December 1949, the Netherlands formally recognised Indonesian sovereignty.

The 1949 agreement, however, left out Western New Guinea, which remained under the auspices of Netherlands New Guinea. The Indonesian government under Sukarno pressured for the territory to come under Indonesian control. Skirmishes took place between 1961 and 1962, including a brief naval engagement in 1962. The United States pressured the Netherlands to surrender it to Indonesia in August under terms negotiated in the New York Agreement. At the same time, the Australian government reversed its policy and supported Indonesian control of the area. As a result, the Dutch turned-over the territory to UNTEA temporary administration in 1962, who was subsequently replaced by Indonesian administration on May 1963. Today, it remains as part of Indonesia.


Portrait of a European family living in Batavia. Dated between 1900 and 1940.

Many surviving colonial families and their descendants who moved back to the Netherlands after Independence or after the 1950s lessening Dutch colonial presence tended to look back on the era with a sense of the power and prestige they had in the colony with such items as the 1970s book Tempo Doeloe (Old times), and other books and materials that became quite common in the 1970s and 1980s.[7]

Indo (Eurasian) repatriants

Main article: Indo people

The majority of Dutchmen that repatriated to the Netherlands after and during the Indonesian revolution are Indo (Eurasian), native to the islands of the Dutch East Indies. This relatively large Eurasian population had developed over a period of 400 years and were classified by colonial law as belonging to the European legal community.[8]

In Dutch they are referred to as ‘Indische Nederlanders’ (Indies Dutchmen) or Indo (short for Indo-European). Of the 296,200 so called Dutch ‘repatriants’ only 92,200 were expatriate Dutchmen born in the Netherlands.[9] Being part Indonesian as well as born and bred in the Dutch East Indies this first generation immigrant group is particularly prone to nostalgia.[10]

Including their 2nd generation descendants, they are currently the largest foreign born group in the Netherlands. In 2008, the Dutch Census Buro for Statistics (CBS)[11] registered 387,000 first and second generation Indos living in the Netherlands.[12]

Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies

List of Governors-General of the Dutch East Indies and their service years

The Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies represented the Dutch rule in the Dutch East Indies between 1610 and Dutch recognition of the independence of Indonesia in 1949.

The first Governors-General were appointed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). After the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800,[1] the territorial possessions of the VOC were nationalised under the Dutch Government as the Dutch East Indies, a colony of the Netherlands. The Governors-General were appointed by the Dutch government.

Under the period of British control (1811-1816), the equivalent position was the Lieutenant-Governor, of whom the most notable is Thomas Stamford Raffles. Between 1942 and 1945, while Hubertus Johannes van Mook was the nominal Governor-General, the area was under Japanese control, and was governed by a two sequence of governors, in Java and Sumatra. After 1948 in negotiations for independence, the equivalent position was named High Commissioner of the Crown in the Dutch East Indies.

List of Governors-General Dutch East India Company

Governors-General of the Dutch East Indies (1610–1709)

Dutch East Indies

Governors-General of the Dutch East Indies (1797–1851)

Governors-General of the Dutch East Indies (1851–1931)

Pieter Both

This article is about the first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. For the mountain named after him, see Pieter Both (mountain).

Pieter Both 

Portrait of Pieter Both

1st Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies
In office
19 December 1610 – 6 November 1614
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Gerard Reynst

Born 1568
Amersfoort, Dutch Republic
Died 6 March 1615
Indian Ocean (near Mauritius)

Pieter Both (1568, Amersfoort – 6 March 1615, Mauritius) was the first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.

Not much is known of his early years. In 1599, Both was already an admiral in the New, or Brabant Company. In that year, he traveled to the East Indies with four ships. When the newly founded Dutch East India Company set up a government for the Dutch East Indies, Pieter Both was invited to become the Governor-General. He held that position from 19 December 1610 to 6 November 1614. During that period he concluded contracts with the Moluccans, conquered Timor, and drove the Spaniards out of Tidore.

After he relinquished his position as Governor-General to Gerard Reynst, he left for the Netherlands with four ships. Two of the ships were shipwrecked near Mauritius, and Pieter Both drowned.

The second highest mountain of Mauritius is named Pieter Both after him.

Gerard Reynst

Portrait of Gerard Reynst

Gerard Reynst (Amsterdam, ? – Jakarta, 7 December 1615) was a Dutch merchant, father of a museum curator, and later the second Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. All that is known of his early years is that he was born in Amsterdam.


In 1599 he became a merchant and ship-owner, as well as a founder-member and administrator of the Nieuwe or Brabantsche Compagnie which, in 1600, became the Vereenighde Company of Amsterdam. This company then in 1602 merged into the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

On the request of his elders in the college of the Heren XVII (17 men), he became Governor-general of the Dutch East Indies in 1613 and left with 9 ships. The trip lasted 18 months, after which he took over command from Pieter Both. On the way, he had already sent one of his ships to the Red Sea to start trade relations with the Arabs there. He died more than a year after arrival, having caught dysentery so that he could do little there, besides a few minor activities that were only intermittently successful.


Reynst left his wife with seven children that she raised with her brother Jacques Nicquet. Among these were his son Gerrit or Gerard, Jan (who died collecting art in Venice), Weijntje became the mother of Isaac Coymans.

Gerard (1599-1658) lived in a house called De Hoop at Keizersgracht 209 that he later made into an art museum. His brother Jan Reynst (1601-1646) was a collector of antique statuary and Italian paintings who was able to purchase the collection of the estate Andrea Vendramin in 1629, 230 sculptures and 140 paintings. These were sent to his brother in Amsterdam who published a selection of 112 items in the collection with the help of Gerard de Lairesse as Signorum Veterum Icones, and opened his house to visitors. Amalia van Solms and Cosimo de Medici were some of the more notable visitors. Reynst never lived to see his book published, since he drowned in the canal in front of his house in 1658.[1]

Laurens Reael

Laurens Reael (ca. 1620)

Dr. Laurens Reael (Amsterdam, 22 October 1583 – Amsterdam, 21 October 1637) was an employee of the VOC, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in 1616-1617 and an admiral of the Dutch navy from 1625-27.

Early life

Laurens Reael was the son of Laurens Jacobsz Reael, a merchant in Amsterdam named after the sign or gable stone of his house/shop In den gouden Reael (“In the Golden Real“) and an amateur poet known for writing Geuzenliederen (songs of the geuzen). The Amsterdam neighborhood Gouden Reael is named after Laurens Reael’s birth house, via a later (1648) warehouse of the Reael family on the Zandhoek that turned into a popular inn. Laurens Jr. had academic talents, excelling in math and languages. He studied law in Leiden, where he lived in the house of Jacobus Arminius who had married his older sister Lijsbet Reael in 1590. Laurens received his doctorate in 1608.

East Indies

In May 1611 he left as commandeur of four ships for the East Indies. He quickly worked his way up to become the third Governor-General in 1616, where he was stationed at the VOC headquarters, at that time on Ternate in the Moluccas. That year he could personally welcome both Joris van Spilbergen (March 30) and Schouten & Le Maire (September 12) upon their respective arrivals at Ternate from Holland via the Strait of Magellan and Cape Horn. He was unaware that the VOC had ordered Schouten & Le Maire’s ships to be confiscated for alleged infringement of its monopoly of trade to the Spice Islands.

Already after a year, on October 31 1617, Reael resigned following a dispute with the VOC’s leadership (the Lords XVII) on the treatment of both the English competitors in the Moluccas and of the native people. The jurist Reael would only take action against the English if international law would allow that and had protested repeatedly against the incursions against the natives. He, like the local admiral Steven van der Haghen, was of the opinion that the VOC’s goals should be achieved solely via commercial and diplomatic routes. In his official report to the Staten Generaal and the VOC’s Lords XVII upon his return to Holland he made these points again very clear.

It would take however until March 21, 1619 until the decidedly less pacifistic Jan Pieterszoon Coen would replace him as Governor-General, before which time Reael had fought the Spanish in 1617 in the Bay of Manila, the English at Bantam and in the Mollucas, and the Mataram Sultanate at Japara on Java.

Later life in Holland

Reael left the East Indies in January 1620 for Holland where for several years he focused on poetry, partially because his sympathies for the remonstrants (Arminius had been his brother in law after all) prevented him from holding public office. He acquainted, among others, the poets Pieter Cornelisz Hooft and Joost van den Vondel and became part of the Muiderkring. In 1623 Vondel dedicated his poem Lof der Zeevaart (Ode to Seafaring) to him.

After the death of Maurice of Nassau, Reael’s standings were restored, and on June 9 1625 he became a member of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, which he would remain until the end of his life. From 1625 – 1627 he was Vice-Admiral of Holland and West-Friesland with the Amsterdam Admiralty, and he commanded a fleet of ships fighting the Spanish at the Barbary Coast alongside the English (the “second expedition to Spain” from 12 November 1626 to 10 July 1627). In 1626 he represented the Dutch Republic at the crowning of Charles I of England, who knighted him at the occasion. From 18 August 1627 he was acting Lieutenant-Admiral of Holland and West-Friesland after the death of Lieutenant-Admiral Willem van Nassau.

At the end of 1627, he was sent as a diplomat to Denmark, which at that time was at war with Ferdinand II of Austria. On his way back early in 1628, he suffered a shipwreck of the coast of Jutland, where Austrian imperial troops happened to be camped. These captured him and sent him to Vienna, where he would remain imprisoned until February 1629. On his return he was not reinstated in his naval functions. In the summer of that year he married, and in 1630 he became councillor and in 1632 alderman (schepen) of the city of Amsterdam.

In 1637 he was considered for the function of Fleet Admiral of the confederate Dutch fleet to replace the incompetent Philips van Dorp, but in October, after losing his two young sons earlier in the year, he died of bubonic plague in Amsterdam. He was buried in the Westerkerk

Jan Pieterszoon Coen

Jan Pieterszoon Coen 
Born 8 January 1587(1587-01-08)
Hoorn, Holland, Dutch Republic
Died 21 September 1629 (aged 42)
Batavia, Dutch East India
Nationality Dutch
Occupation Colonial governor

Jan Pieterszoon Coen (8 January 1587 – 21 September 1629) was an officer of Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the early seventeenth century, holding two terms as its Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.

A national hero in the Netherlands, for providing the impulse that set the VOC on the path to dominance in the Dutch East Indies. A quote of his from 1618 is well known, “Despair not, spare your enemies not, for God is with us” (“Dispereert niet, ontziet uw vijanden niet, want God is met ons” in Dutch). Since the latter half 20th century he has been looked at in a more critical light, as some people view his often violent means to have been excessive.

Coen was known in his time on account of strict governance and harsh criticism of people who did not share his views, at times directed even at the 17 Lords of the VOC (for which he was reprimanded). His overall policies were however never judged to be unreasonable. Coen was known be strict towards subordinates and merciless to his opponents. His willingness to use violence to obtain his ends was too much for many, even for such a relatively violent period of history. When Saartje Specx, a girl whom he had been entrusted to care for, was found in a garden in the arms of a soldier, Pieter Cortenhoeff, Coen showed little mercy in having her whipped instead of drowned in a barrel as he first intended. Cortenhoeff was beheaded.


Statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen in Hoorn

Tombstone of Coen, Wayang Museum, Jakarta

Coen was born at Hoorn on 8 January 1587 and in 1601 travelled to Rome to study trade in the offices of Justus Pescatore, where he learned the art of bookkeeping. Joining the Dutch East India Company (VOC), he made trading voyages to Indonesia in 1607 and 1612. On the second trip, he commanded two ships and in October 1613 was appointed accountant-general of all VOC offices in Indonesia and president of the head office in Bantam (Indonesian: Banten) and of Jakarta. In 1614, he was made director-general, second in command. On 25 October 1617 the XVII Lords of the VOC appointed him their fourth governor-general in the East Indies (of which he was informed on 30 April 1618).

On account of disputes at the head office in Bantam with natives, the Chinese, and the English, the VOC desired a better central headquarters. Coen thus directed more of the company’s trade through Jakarta, where it had established a factory in 1610. However, not trusting the native ruler, he decided in 1618 to convert the Dutch warehouses into a fort. While away on an expedition the English had taken control over the town. Coen managed to reconquer Jakarta with fire destroying most of the town during the process. He rebuilt the city and fort. In 1621 the city was renamed Batavia. Coen preferred Nieuw Hoorn, after his hometown, but didn’t get his way.

Coen also set about establishing a monopoly over the trade in nutmeg and mace, which could be obtained only from the Banda Islands. The inhabitants of Banda had been selling the spices to the English, despite contracts with the VOC which obliged them to sell only to the VOC, at low prices. In 1621, he led an armed expedition to Banda, taking the island of Lonthor by force after encountering some fierce resistance, mostly by cannons that the natives had acquired from the English. A large number of the inhabitants were killed or exiled to other islands.

On 1 February 1623, he handed his post to Pieter de Carpentier and returned to the Netherlands, where he was given a hero’s welcome off the coast of Texel. He then became head of the VOC chamber in Hoorn and worked on establishing new policies. During his absence from the East Indies, difficulties with the English were exacerbated by the Amboyna Massacre. On 3 October 1624 he was reappointed governor-general in the East Indies, but his departure was hindered by the English. In 1625, he married and in 1627 departed incognito for the East Indies with his wife, their newborn child and her brother and sister, starting work on 30 September 1627. After his arrival, the English abandoned Batavia and established their headquarters in Bantam.

Twice during Coen’s term in office, Sultan Agung of Mataram besieged Batavia, in 1628 and 1629. However, Agung’s military was poorly armed and had inadequate provisions of food, and was never able to capture the city.
During Agung’s second siege Coen suddenly died on 21 September 1629.

Herman Willem Daendels

Herman Willem Daendels

Herman Willem Daendels (Hattem (Netherlands), October 21, 1762 – St. George d’Elmina (Dutch Gold Coast, now Ghana), May 2, 1818) was a Dutch politician who served as the 36th Governor General of the Dutch East Indies between 1808 – 1811.[1]

Early life

Born in Hattem, Netherlands, on the 21 October 1762, he was the son of Burchard Johan Daendels, the mayoral secretary, and Josina Christina Tulleken. He studied law at the University of Harderwijk, acquiring his doctorate on 10 April 1783.

Political Activity

In 1785, he sided with the Patriots, who had seized power in several Dutch cities. In 1786 he defended the city of Hattem against stadholderian troops. In 1787, he defended Amsterdam against the Prussian army that invaded the Netherlands to restore William V of Orange. After William V was in power again, he fled to France because of a death penalty. Daendels was close witness to the French revolution.

He returned to the Netherlands in 1794, as a general in the French revolutionary army of general Charles Pichegru and commander of the Batavian Legion. Daendels helped unitarian politician Pieter Vreede to power in a coup d’état on 25 January 1798. The group behind Vreede was dissatisfied with the conservative-moderate majority in parliament, which tried to prevent the formulation of a more democratic, centralistic constitution. The reign of Vreede did not bring the expected results, however, and Daendels supported another coup d’état against Vreede on 14 June 1798. In the Batavian Republic Daendels occupied several political offices, but he had to step down when he failed to prevent the Anglo-Russian Invasion of Holland in 1799, and became a farmer in Heerde, Gelderland.

Military and colonial career

Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies

Java Great Post Road, commissioned by Daendels.

Louis Bonaparte made him colonel-general in 1806 and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in 1807. After a long voyage, he arrived in the city of Batavia (now Jakarta) on the 5 January 1808 and relieved the former Governor General, Albertus Wiese. His primary task was to rid the island of Java of the English Army, which he promptly achieved. He built new hospitals and military barracks, a new arms factories in Surabaya and Semarang, and a new military college in Batavia. He demolished the Castle in Batavia and replaced it with a new fort at Meester Cornelis (Jatinegara), and built Fort Lodewijk in Surabaya. However, his best-known achievement was the construction of the Great Post Road (Indonesian: Jalan Raya Pos) across northern Java. The road now serve as the main road in Java island, called Jalur Pantura. The thousand-kilometre road was completed in only one year, during which thousands of Javanese forced labourers died.[2]

He displayed a firm attitude towards the Javanese rulers, with the result that the rulers were willing to work with the English against the Dutch. He also subjected the population of Java to forced labour (Rodi). There were some rebellious actions towards this action, such as in Cadas Pangeran, West Java.

There is considerable debate as to whether he increased the efficiency of the local bureaucracy and reduced corruption, although he certainly enriched himself during this period.

General in Napoleon’s Grande Armée

When the Kingdom of Holland was incorporated into France in 1810, Daendels returned to Holland. He was appointed a Divisional General (Major General) and commanded the 26th Division of the Grande Armée in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

Governor-General of the Dutch Gold Coast

After the fall of Napoleon, king Willem I and the new Dutch government feared that Daendels could become an influential and powerful opposition leader and effectively banned him from the Netherlands by appointing him Governor-General of the Dutch Gold Coast, now Ghana. In the aftermath of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade, Daendels tried to redevelop the rather dilapidated Dutch possessions as an African plantation colony driven by legitimate trade. Drawing on his experience from the East Indies, he came up with some very ambitious infrastructural projects, including a comprehensive road system, with a main road connecting Elmina and Kumasi in Ashanti. The Dutch government gave him a free hand and a substantial budget to implement his plans. At the same time, however, Daendels regarded his governorship as an opportunity to establish a private business monopoly in the Dutch Gold Coast.

Eventually none of the plans came to fruition, as Daendels died of malaria in the castle of St. George d’Elmina, the Dutch seat of government, on 8 May 1818. His body was interred in the central tomb at the Dutch cemetery in Elmina town. He had been in the country less than two years.

Godert van der Capellen

Baron van der Capellen

Godert Alexander Gerard Philip, Baron van der Capellen (December 15, 1778 – April 10, 1848) was a Dutch statesman from Utrecht.

Van der Capellen was made Prefect of Friesland and soon thereafter Minister of the Interior and a member of the Privy Council. At his advice, King Louis Napoleon abdicated the throne in 1810 in favor of his son, Louis II. Van der Capellen did not serve Napoleon I. Wilhelm I, King of the Netherlands, appointed him Colonial Minister and sent him as Secretary of United Kingdom of the Netherlands to Brussels. In 1815, van de Capellen was made the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, where he had to deal with both a native rebellion and a money shortage. In fact, during his tenure in Java, his power was largely ceremonial as his adjunct, Cornelis Theodorus Elout, had much of the actual power. He was ordered back in 1825 and named President of the Board of Trustees of the University of Utrecht in 1828. In 1838, he attended the coronation of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in London as the Dutch envoy. Van de Capellen then served as the Lord Chamberlain of King William II. He died in April 1848 in De Bilt.

Stamford Raffles


Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles 
Born 6 July 1781 (1781-07-06)
Off the Coast of Jamaica
Died 5 July 1826 (1826-07-06) (aged 44)
London, England
Occupation British Colonial Official
Known for Founding Singapore
Religion Anglican

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (6 July 1781 – 5 July 1826) was a British statesman, best known for his founding of the city of Singapore (now the city-state of the Republic of Singapore). He is often described as the “Father of Singapore”. He was also heavily involved in the conquest of the Indonesian island of Java from Dutch and French military forces during the Napoleonic Wars and contributed to the expansion of the British Empire. He is also a writer and wrote a book entitled History of Java (1817).

Early life

Raffles was born on the ship Ann off the coast of Port Morant, Jamaica, to Captain Benjamin Raffles (d. June 1797) and Anne Raffles (née Lyde). His father was a Yorkshireman who had a burgeoning family and little luck in the West Indies trade during the American Revolution, sending the family into debt. The little money the family had went into schooling Raffles. In 1795, at the age of 14, Raffles started working as a clerk in London for the British East India Company, the trading company that shaped many of Britain’s overseas conquests. In 1805 he was sent to what is now Penang in the country of Malaysia, then called the Prince of Wales Island, starting his long association with Southeast Asia. He started with a post under the Honourable Philip Dundas, the Governor of Penang.

As he was gazetted assistant secretary to the new Governor of Penang in 1805, he married Olivia Mariamne Fancourt (née Devenish), a widow who was formerly married to Jacob Cassivelaun Fancourt, an assistant surgeon in Madras who had died in 1800. It was also at this time that he made acquaintance with Thomas Otho Travers, who would accompany him for the next twenty years.


His knowledge of the Malay language as well as his wit and ability, gained him favour with Lord Minto, governor of India, and he was sent to Malacca. Then, in 1811, after the invasion and annexation of the Kingdom of Holland by France during Napoleon’s war, Raffles had no choice but to leave the country. He mounted a military expedition against the Dutch and French in Java, Indonesia. The war was swiftly conducted by Admiral Robert Stopford, General Wetherhall, and Colonel Gillespie, who led a well-organized army against an army of mostly French conscripts with little proper leadership. The previous Dutch governor, Herman Willem Daendels, had built a well-defended fortification at Meester Cornelis (now Jatinegara), and at the time, the governor, Jan Willem Janssens (who, coincidentally, surrendered to the British at the Cape Colony), mounted a brave but ultimately futile defence at the fortress. The British, led by Colonel Gillespie, stormed the fort and captured it within three hours. Janssens attempted to escape inland but was captured. The British invasion of Java took a total of forty-five days, during which Raffles was appointed the Lieutenant-Governor by Lord Minto before hostilities formally ceased. He took his residence at Buitenzorg and despite having a small subset of Britons as his senior staff, he kept many of the Dutch civil servants in the governmental structure. He also negotiated peace and mounted some small military expeditions against local princes to subjugate them to British rule, as well as a takeover of Bangka Island to set up a permanent British presence in the area in the case of the return of Java to Dutch rule after the end of the War of the Sixth Coalition in Europe.

The memorial to Olivia Mariamne, Raffles’ first wife, erected by him along the Kanarielaan in the National Botanical Gardens (now the Bogor Botanical Gardens) that he founded in Buitenzorg (now Bogor), West Java

During his governorship, Raffles introduced partial self-government, stopped the slave trade, became an early opponent of the Opium trade by placing strict limitations upon its importation, much to the dismay of Calcutta, led an expedition to rediscover and restore Borobudur and other ancient monuments, and replaced the Dutch forced agriculture system with a land tenure system of land management, probably influenced by the earlier writings of Dirk van Hogendorp (1761–1822). He also changed the Dutch colonies to the British system of driving on the left,[citation needed] which is why Indonesia drives on the left today.

Under the harsh conditions of the island, Olivia died on 26 November 1814, an event that devastated Raffles. In 1815, he left again for England after the island of Java was returned to control of the Netherlands following the Napoleonic Wars, under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, but not before he was officially replaced by John Fendall on account of the poor financial performance of the colony during his administration, as deemed by the successors of Lord Minto in Calcutta. He sailed to England in early 1816 to clear his name, and en route, visited Napoleon, who was in exile at St. Helena, but found him unpleasant and unimpressive.

Interlude in England

In 1817, Raffles wrote and published a book entitled History of Java, describing the history of the island from ancient times. In 1817 he was knighted by the prince regent, whose daughter, Princess Charlotte, was particularly close to him. At the publication of the book, he also stopped using the name “Thomas”, preferring to use his middle name, “Stamford”, possibly to avoid confusion amongst his associates with Sir Thomas Sevestre or his cousin who bore the same name. On February 22, he married his second wife, Sophia Hull.

He was appointed as the Governor-General of Bencoolen (now Bengkulu) on 15 October 1817, and set sail to take the post with his new wife.

Bencoolen (Bengkulu) and Malaya

Raffles in 1817

Raffles arrived in Bencoolen (Bengkulu) on 19 March 1818. Despite the prestige connected with the title, Bencoolen was a colonial backwater whose only real export was pepper and only the murder of a previous Resident, Thomas Parr, gained it any attention back home in Britain. Raffles found the place wrecked, and set about reforms immediately, mostly similar to what he had done in Java – abolishing slavery and limiting cockfighting and such games. To replace the slaves, he used a contingent of convicts, already sent to him from India. It is at this point when he realized the importance of a British presence that both challenged the Dutch hegemony in the area and could remain consistently profitable, unlike Bencoolen or Batavia. However, the strategic importance of poorly-maintained but well-positioned British possessions such as Penang or Bencoolen made it impossible for the British to abandon such unprofitable colonies in such close proximity to the Dutch in Java. The competition in the area, between Raffles and the aggressive Dutch de jure Governor, Elout, certainly led at least in part to the later Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. Raffles looked into alternatives in the area – namely Bangka, which had been ceded to the Dutch after its conquest by the British during its occupation of Java.

Bintan was also under consideration. Despite the fact that Warren Hastings overlooked the island before settling upon Penang in 1786, the Riau Archipelago was an attractive choice just to the south of the Malay Peninsula, for its proximity to Malacca. In his correspondences with Calcutta, Raffles also emphasized the need to establish a certain amount of influence with the native chiefs, which had greatly waned since the return of the Dutch. Raffles sent Thomas Travers as an ambassador to the Dutch, to possibly negotiate an expansion of British economic interests. When this failed, and when Raffles’ own expeditions into his new dominion found only treacherous terrain and few exportable goods, his desire to establish a better British presence was cemented.

However, the Anglo-Dutch Convention of 1814 was not completely clear, especially on the issue of certain possessions such as Padang. The Convention of 1814 only returned Dutch territory that was held before 1803, which did not include Padang. Raffles asserted the British claim personally, leading a small expedition to the Sultanate of Minangkabau. Yet, as Raffles confirmed with the sultan regarding the absolute British influence of the area, he realized that the local rulers had only limited power over the well-cultivated and civilized country, and the treaty was largely symbolic and had little actual force.

Founding of Singapore

Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore, based on the original by Thomas Woolner

Meanwhile, Major William Farquhar, the British Resident of Malacca, had been attempting to negotiate commercial treaties with the local chiefs of the Riau Archipelago, especially with the heads of the Sultanate of Johore. Due to the death and subsequent turmoil of the sultanate at the time of Farquhar’s arrival, Farquhar was compelled to sign the treaty not with the official head of the sultanate, but rather, the Raja Muda (Regent or Crown Prince) of Riau. Noting it as a success and reporting it as such back to Raffles, Raffles sailed to Malacca in late 1818 to personally secure a British presence in the Riau area, especially Singapura, which was favoured by him both through the readings of Malayan histories and by Farquhar’s explorations.

Despite Lord Hastings’ less-than-stellar opinion of Raffles before (which had necessitated his trip to England to clear his name at the end of his tenure as Governor-General of Java), the now well-connected and successful Raffles was able to secure the permission to set up a settlement where in Malaysian history the name Lion City was applied and was in a strategically advantageous position. However, he was not to provoke the Dutch, and his actions were officially disavowed. Despite the best efforts in London by authorities such as the Viscount Castlereagh to quell Dutch fears and the continuing efforts to reach an agreement between the nations that eventually became the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of London of 1824, as well as to send instructions to Raffles to undertake far less intrusive actions, the distance between the Far East and Europe had meant that the orders had no chance of reaching Raffles in time for his venture to begin.



After a brief survey of the Karimun Islands, on 29 January 1819, he established a post at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It was established that there was no Dutch presence on the island of Singapore. Johore also no longer had any control of the area, so contact was made with the local Temenggong, or Raja. The contacts were friendly and Raffles, knowledgeable about the muddled political situation, took advantage to provide a rudimentary treaty between the nominal chiefs of the area that called for the exclusivity of trade and the British protection of the area. Members of Raffles’ party surveyed the island and proceeded to request the presence of the sultan, or whoever at the time had supreme nominal power, to sign a formal treaty, while Major Farquhar was ordered to do the same in Rhio. A few days later, the formal treaty was signed by a man who claimed to be the “lawful sovereign of the whole of territories extending from Lingga and Johor to Mount Muar“. This man was Hussein Shah of Johor, who, although having had no previous contact with the British, had certainly heard of the might of the British navy and was in no position to argue against the terms. However, Raffles was able to charm the man and to reassure him that the Dutch posed no threat in the area. Hussein Shah had been the crown Prince of Johor, but while he was away in Pahang to get married, his father died and his younger brother was made sultan, supported by some of the court officials and the Dutch. To circumvent the situation of having to negotiate with a sultan influenced by the Dutch, Raffles decided to recognise, on behalf of the British Crown, Hussein Shah as being the rightful ruler of Johor. Farquhar’s attempt to establish a more favorable treaty in Rhio was met with greater challenge, as the Dutch were present and made for a rather awkward position. The Dutch were alarmed and sent a small contingent to the island. Despite a covert offer of subterfuge against the Dutch offered by the Raja of Rhio, Farquhar returned and an official protest was sent by the Raja to Java regarding the matter.

Raffles declared the foundation of what was to become modern Singapore on 6 February, securing the transfer of control of the island to the East India Company. Much pomp and ceremony was done, and the official treaty was read aloud in languages representing all nations present, as well as the Malay and Chinese inhabitants. Hussien Shah was paid $5,000 a year while the local Temenggong received $3,000 a year, both massive sums at the time, equivalent to several hundred thousand dollars now[citation needed]. Farquhar was officially named the Resident of Singapore as Raffles was named as “Agent to the Most Noble the Governor-General with the States of Rhio, Lingin and Johor”. Although ownership of the post was to be exclusively British, explicit orders were given to Farquhar to maintain free passage of ships through the Strait of Singapore and a small military presence was established alongside the trading post. After issuing orders to Farquhar and the remaining Europeans, Raffles left the next day, 7 February 1819.

Achin, and the early conflict/crisis with the Dutch

Raffles also planned to start a British presence in Achin, at the northern tip of Sumatra. As soon as he left, the Raja of Rhio sent letters to the Dutch, claiming innocence and a British encroachment. The Dutch in Malacca acted at once, and ordered that no Malays could go to Singapore. Raffles’ bold claim of Singapore created a curious geographic situation where although Penang was clearly closer distance-wise to Singapore, Raffles, in his capacity as the Governor-General of Bencoolen, was in control. This undoubtedly irked the authorities in Penang to the point where they refused to send any sepoys to Singapore to complete the garrison. Official Dutch complaints came before the end of the month, and Raffles attempted to appease the situation by instructing Farquhar to not interfere with the politics of surrounding islands. Despite numerous threats and serious considerations by the Dutch Governor-General in Java, the Dutch did not take any military action.

The muddled political situation in Johore and Rhio also created a certain uneasiness and instability for the two nations.Tengku Long was claimed to be a pretender to the throne, and, since the succession laws in the Malay sultanates were not clear cut, the treaties signed between native rulers and the European powers always seemed to be on the verge of being invalidated, especially if a sultan is deposed by one of his siblings or other pretenders.

Nevertheless, amidst the uncertainty and intrigue, Raffles landed in Achin on 14 March 1819, with the begrudging help of Penang. Once again, it seems that multiple people were in power, but none wanted to formally deal with the British. The hostile atmosphere created allowed for Raffles to cancel the only meeting he was able to arrange, with Panglima Polim, a powerful divisional chief, fearing treachery. As the influential merchant John Palmer, Raffles, and fellow commissioner John Monckton Coombs of Penang sat offshore, waiting for a response, Calcutta debated whether to reinforce Singapore or not. Evacuation plans were made, but the Dutch never acted and finally Lord Hastings prompted Colonel Bannerman, the Governor of Penang, to send funds to reinforce Singapore.

Raffles finally was able to convince his fellow commissioners to sign a treaty with Jauhar al-Alam Shah, the ruler of Achin, which placed a British resident as well as the exclusivity of trade. By the time Raffles returned to Singapore, on 31 May, much of the immediate crisis that the establishment of the colony had caused in both Penang and Calcutta had passed. By then, the initial five-hundred villagers had grown to become five-thousand merchants, soldiers, and administrators on the island. Raffles was determined to both destroy the Dutch monopoly in the area, and create a gateway to the trade with China and Japan, the latter of which he attempted and failed to reach while governing Java.

First year of Singapore

While in Singapore, Raffles established schools and churches in the native languages. He allowed missionaries and local businesses to flourish. Certain colonial aspects remained: a European town was quickly built to segregate the population, separated by a river; carriage roads were built and cantonments constructed for the soldiers. Otherwise, however, no duties were imposed and confident that Farquhar would follow his instructions well, he sailed for Bencoolen once again on 28 June.

Bencoolen, once again

Raffles was still the Governor-General of Bencoolen and having returned to it after the settling of Singapore, Raffles started more reforms that were, by now, almost trademarks of his reign upon colonies. Forced labor was abolished when he first arrived, and he declared Bencoolen a free port as well. Currency was regulated and as he had an excess of out-of-work civil servants, formed committees to advise him in the running of the colony. However, Bencoolen was not as self-sufficient as Singapore. The area was poor and disease-ridden, and the first reports from the committees reflected very poorly upon the condition of the colony. Unlike the salutary neglect Raffles granted upon Singapore, he slowed the European-inspired reforms and emphasized on the cultivation of whatever land that was available. Native authorities were given power in their respective districts and were answerable only to the Governor-General. The slave-debtor system was brought in in exchange instead of the old slavery system that Raffles abolished in Java, Borneo, and initially in Bencoolen. Slave-debtors were registered, and educational reforms started to focus on the children instead of the entire population. Raffles was looking into a long-term plan for a slow reform of Bencoolen.

Unlike many other European colonizers, Raffles did not impose upon the colonized the language, culture, or other aspects of the colonizer. In addition to preserving the artifacts, fauna, and flora of his colonies, he also allowed religious freedom in his colonies, especially important as the Malay states were largely Muslim. However, Christian schools were started by missionaries in all of his colonies.

Consolidation of the Eastern Isles

The death of Colonel Bannerman of Penang in October 1819 brought upon a new opportunity for Raffles to expand his power to also include the other minor British factories and outposts from Sumatra to Cochin China. He sailed to Calcutta and as Lord Hastings sought to consolidate all of the small British possessions in the East Indies. During his sojourn, he had the opportunity to argue for free trade and the protection of the private enterprise. Education and the retention of small British outposts were also discussed.

The Dutch claim on the Sultanate of Johore and hence, Rhio, and the diplomatic exchanges between Baron Godert van der Capellen and Calcutta continued throughout this time. The legitimacy of the British treaties were also questioned once again, but finally, as Singapore grew at an exponential rate, the Dutch gave up their claim on the island, allowing the colony to continue as a British possession. However, the pressures put upon Calcutta ensured that no single governor of all British possessions in the Strait or on Sumatra was appointed, and Raffles, whose health was slowly ailing, returned to Bencoolen.

Administration of Bencoolen, 1820–1822

Raffles returned to Bencoolen in ill-health, but as his health improved, he continued on his quest to learn about the island which he now called home. He studied the Batak cannibals of Tappanooly and their rituals and laws regarding the consumption of human flesh, writing in detail about the transgressions that warranted such an act as well as their methods. He also noted the rise of the Sikh religion in certain parts of Sumatra.

By early 1820, Tunku Long had firmly established himself as the Sultan of Johore to the British, but the political situation in the area remains a befuddled mess, with the old sultan dying and many new ones attempting to gain either the crown or regency. As Farquhar was involving himself poorly in local politics, Raffles appointed Travers as the Resident of Singapore, replacing Farquhar. Upon his arrival, Travers found the colony a delightful smörgåsbord of different races and cultures, numbering over six thousand, and the Singapore trade was slowly overtaking the Java trade.

As in Java, Raffles collected samples of local species of plants and animals, as well as described them in his journals. He also described other local tribes and their customs, especially their religions and laws. He brought the island of Nias under British rule as well, noting its more civilized state and production of rice.

Yet, the production of food remained somewhat of a problem in Bencoolen. Raffles paid special attention to the agricultural methods of the Chinese, and wrote an introduction to the only issue of Proceedings of the Agricultural Society, in order to remedy this. His employer, the East India Company, however, had no other concerns outside of profit, and even as Raffles lived like a country gentleman and ran his colony as an estate, his expenditures in natural preservation was frowned upon. His removal was discussed in both Calcutta and London, while Castlereagh continued negotiations with the Dutch regarding the ongoing diplomatic conflicts.

Luckily, the Singapore issue had its supporters in the House, so as negotiations went on in Europe, Raffles remained largely idle in Bencoolen. The only major issue, outside of the politics of local sultans, involved the replacement of Farquhar, who decided that he had no intention of leaving his post voluntarily, causing a moment of tension between him and Travers. Raffles’ request for Travers to deliver dispatches to India nullified the issue late in the year, and Farquhar remained in charge in Singapore, with its survival still in doubt for many in both India and London, who believed that it would either be handed over to the Dutch or taken violently by the Dutch at the end of Castlereagh’s negotiations.

Farquhar, however, stirred up more trouble, conflicting especially with local English merchants over trivial matters of self-importance and overreaction over small infractions of white traders, for some of which he was reprimanded by Calcutta officially. Public works, commissioned by Raffles but undertaken by Farquhar, was becoming overwhelmingly expensive.

Personal tragedies also started for Raffles. His eldest son, Leopold, died during an epidemic on 4 July 1821. The oldest daughter, Charlotte, was also sick with dysentery by the end of the year, but it would be his youngest son, Stamford Marsden, who would perish first with the disease, 3 January 1822, with Charlotte to follow ten days later. For the good part of four month the couple remained devastated. The year would be eventful with the suicide of Castlereagh and the appointment of Lord Amherst as the Governor-General of India, replacing Hastings. As Raffles grew restless and depressed, he decided to visit Singapore, before heading home to England. Accompanying him would be his wife Sophia and only surviving child, Ella.

Singapore (1822–1823)

The Plan of the Town of Singapore, or more commonly known as the Jackson Plan

Raffles was pleased at the fact that Singapore had grown exponentially in such short years. The colony was a bustling hub of trade and activity. However, Farquhar’s development work was deemed unsatisfactory and Raffles drew up what is now known as the Jackson Plan, and replanned the city according to recommendations of a committee headed by the colony’s engineer, Phillip Jackson.

It was still a segregated plan, giving the best land to the Europeans, yet it was considered remarkably scientific for the time. It was also during the replanning and reconstruction of the town that allowed Farquhar to clash dramatically with Raffles, who now considered Farquhar unfit for the position of Resident. Raffles took direct control with a heavy hand. In 1823, Raffles instituted a code of settlement for the populace, and soon followed with laws regarding the freedom of trade. He also quickly instituted a registration system for all land, regardless of ownership, and the repossession of the land by the government if land remained unregistered. This act greatly asserted the power of the British government as it covered land previously owned by the Sultan as well. A police force and magistrate was then set up, under British principles. In a very short period of time, Raffles had turned a semi-anarchic trading post into a proper city with at least a semblance of order.

Repeated efforts by Raffles for Calcutta to send a replacement for Farquhar remained unanswered. As Raffles started to hint at his impending retirement, he made Johore a British protectorate, causing a protest from van der Capellen. Finally, Calcutta appointed John Crawfurd, who had followed Raffles for over twenty years, as the Resident of Singapore. Captain William Gordon MacKenzie took over Bencoolen from Raffles. In March 1823, and coincidentally, on the same day he was replaced, he received an official reprimand from London for the takeover of Nias.

With politics against him, Raffles finally turned back to the natural sciences. He gave a speech regarding the opening of a Malay college in Singapore that heavily involved his observations of his years in Southeast Asia and the importance of both the local and the European languages. Raffles personally gave $2,000 towards the effort, as the East India Company gave $4,000.

In 1823, Raffles drafted the first constitution for Singapore, which followed a fairly moralistic stance, outlawing gaming and slavery. A specific regulation in the constitution called for the multiethnic population of Singapore to remain as is, and there shall be no crimes based on being a race. He then went to work drafting laws, defining on exactly “what” constituted a crime. Finally, on 9 July 1823, feeling that his work on establishing Singapore was finished, he boarded a ship for home, but not before a stop in Batavia to visit his old home and adversary, van der Capellen. A final stop in Bencoolen ensued, and finally, a voyage home, interrupted by a harrowing experience when one of the ships caught fire off Rat Island, which claimed many of his drawings and papers.

The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 finally settled the score in the East Indies. The British gained dominance in the north, while the entirety of Sumatra became Dutch. The Malay Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent were both free of Dutch interference.

Raffles finally returned to England 22 August 1824, over a year after he left Singapore. His longest tenure in Singapore was only eight months, but he was considered the founder of Singapore nevertheless.

England and death

Upon arrival in England in poor health, both Sir Stamford and Lady Raffles convalesced in Cheltenham until September, after which he entertained distinguished guests in both London and his home. He also made plans to run for parliament, but this ambition was never realized. He moved to London at the end of November, just in time to have a war of words in front of the Court of Directors of the EIC regarding Singapore with Farquhar, who had also arrived in London. Despite raising several severe charges against Raffles, Farquhar was ultimately unable to discredit him; he was denied a chance to be restored to Singapore, but was given a military promotion instead.

With the Singapore matter settled, Raffles turned to his other great hobby – botany. Raffles was a founder (in 1825) and first president (elected April 1826) of the Zoological Society of London and the London Zoo. Meanwhile, he was not only not granted a pension, but was called to pay over twenty-two thousand pounds sterling for the losses incurred during his administrations. Raffles replied and clarified his actions, and moved to his country estate, Highwood, but before the issue was resolved, he was already much too ill.

He died in London, England, a day before his forty-fifth birthday, on 5 July 1826, of apoplexy. His estate amounted to around ten thousand pounds sterling, which was paid to the Company to cover his outstanding debt. Because of his anti-slavery stance, he was refused burial inside his local parish church (St. Mary’s, Hendon) by the vicar, whose family had made its money in the slave trade. A brass tablet was finally placed in 1887 and the actual whereabouts of his body was not known until 1914 when it was found in a vault. When the church was extended in the 1920s his tomb was incorporated into the body of the building.


In Singapore and in other parts of the world, his name lives on in numerous entities, including:





Sports and recreation


References and further reading



The Portuguese in Indonesia (1512 – 1850)

The Portuguese in Indonesia (1512–1850)

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the islands of Indonesia. Their quest to dominate the source of the lucrative spice trade in the early 16th century, and their simultaneous Roman Catholic missionary efforts, saw the establishment of trading posts and forts, and a strong Portuguese cultural element that remains substantial in Indonesia.


The nutmeg plant is native to Indonesia’s Banda Islands. Once one of the world’s most valuable commodities, it drew the first European colonial powers to Indonesia.

Europeans were making technological advances in the early sixteenth century; new found Portuguese expertise in navigation, ship building and weaponry allowed them to make daring expeditions of exploration and expansion. Starting with the first exploratory expeditions sent from newly-conquered Malacca in 1512, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Indonesia, and sought to dominate the sources of valuable spices[1] and to extend their Roman Catholic missionary efforts. Initial Portuguese attempts to establish a coalition and peace treaty in 1512 with the West Javan Sunda Kingdom,[2] failed due hostilities amongst indigenous kingdoms on Java. The Portuguese turned east to Maluku, which comprised a varied collection of principalities and kingdoms that were occasionally at war with each other but maintained significant inter-island and international trade. Through both military conquest and alliance with local rulers, they established trading posts, forts, and missions in eastern Indonesia including the islands of Ternate, Ambon, and Solor. The height of Portuguese missionary activities, however, came at the latter half of the sixteenth century, after the pace of their military conquest in the archipelago had stopped and their east Asian interest was shifting to Japan, Macau and China; and sugar in Brazil and the Atlantic slave trade in turn further distracted their Indonesian efforts. In addition, the first European people that arrived in Northern Sulawesi was the Portuguese.

Francis Xavier supported and visited the Portuguese mission at Tolo on Halmahera. This was the first Catholic mission in the Moluccas. The mission began in 1534 when some chiefs from Morotia came to Ternate asking to be baptised. Simao Vaz the vicar of ternate went to Tolo to found the mission. The mission was the source of conflict between the Spanish, the Portuguese and Ternate. Simao Vaz was later murdered at Sao.[3][4]

Decline and legacy

The Portuguese presence in Indonesia was reduced to Solor, Flores and Timor (see Portuguese Timor) in modern day Nusa Tenggara, following defeat in 1575 at Ternate at the hands of indigenous Ternateans, Dutch conquests in Ambon, north Maluku and Banda, and a general failure for sustained control of trade in the region.[5] In comparison with the original Portuguese ambition to dominate Asian trade, their influences on Indonesian culture are small: the romantic keroncong guitar ballads; a large number of Indonesian words which reflect Portuguese’s role as the ‘lingua franca’ of the archipelago alongside Malay; and many family names in eastern Indonesia such as da Costa, Dias, de Fretes, Gonsalves, etc. The most significant impacts of the Portuguese arrival were the disruption and disorganisation of the trade network mostly as a result of their conquest of Malacca, and the first significant plantings of Christianity in Indonesia. There have continued to be Christian communities in eastern Indonesia through to contemporary times, which has contributed to a sense of shared interest with Europeans, particularly among the Ambonese.[

The Portuguese settlements in the Lesser Sunda islands and in the Moluccas (1500-1600).

The Portuguese settlements in the Lesser Sunda islands and in the Moluccas (1500-1600).  
The first Portuguese expedition to the Moluccas, under the command of Antonio de Abreu, arrived in Amboina and in the Banda islands in 1512. After an adventurous voyage he went back at Malacca. Francisco Serrao and other members of this expedition wrecked on a reef off Lucopino island (Nusa Penju) not far from Ambon island, but somehow managed to reach first Ambon and then Ternate. There the Sultan of Ternate adopted Serrao as his personal councilor and made him and his companions prominent figures of his royal court.
From 1513, the Portuguese sent an annual trading fleet to the Spice islands. The first, under Captain Antonio de Miranda de Azevedo, opened two small “feitorias” one in Ternate and one in Batjan.


The Moluccas, from the “Livro das Plantas das Fortalezas, Cidades e Povoaçoes do Estado da India Oriental 1600s.


On Febraury 1522, the Portuguese captain Antonio de Brito came to the Banda islands and strengthened the friendship with the King of these islands. To mark this event, they erected a stone “padrao”  with the arms of the King of Portugal. Antonio de Brito arrived in Ternate in May of 1522, where he built the fortress of Sao Joao Baptista de Ternate. The first stone of the fortress was laid on June 1522.
The Jesuits started a school in Ternate in its earlier days.
The Portuguese rule in these islands was always weak. This was due to the remoteness of the islands and to the small number of the Portuguese that arrived there; the Europeans were never more than a few thousand.
Several Spanish expeditions arrived at Tidore, the first was that of Magalhaes. The Spaniards settled in Tidore and annoyed the Portuguese for many years.
On 25 October 1536, the Portuguese governor, Antonio Galvao arrived at Ternate. He was a good governor, reconciling, organizing and evangelizing the Moluccas. He was also the builder of the Portuguese town of Ternate, he built a school and an hospital and had a stone wall built all around the town.
Antonio Galvao is worshiped as the apostle of the Moluccas.
On 15 July 1575, the Portuguese surrendered the fort. 


The old city of Ternate in the XVII century.


Ambon is an island located in the center of the Spice Islands in what is today the Indonesian archipelago.
In the year 1569, Gonçalo Pereira Marramaque erected a wooden fort on the northern coast of the Ambon island.
In 1572, it was moved to the southern side of the bay. Subsequently, Sancho de Vasconcelos built a temporary fort at Gelala and another at Batumarah, both of wood; and finally built a stone fortress where  the town of Ambon is situated today.
The first stone was laid on 25 March 1576 and the fortress was named “Nossa Senhora da Anunciada”. In July 1576, the new fortress was inaugurated. Inside the square construction crowned with four towers, one at each corner, there were the captain residence, a meeting room, some storehouses and dwellings for the military officials.
The town was built around the fortress and was divided in several quarters, all inhabited by Christians.
The Portuguese town was not walled, only the Jesuits (in Ambon since 1578) had a stone wall around their garden to protect themselves against attacks of enemy villages. Near their residence was the church of “Sant’ Iago” (1581) covered by a thatched roof.
The Jesuits also served in the church of São Tomé (1581). They used their residence in Ambon like a pastoral center for Ambon and the three Lease Islands: Haruku, Saparua, Nusalaut. The Ambon residence was for some years (1575-1578) the center of the Moluccas Jesuit mission.
Along the shore was situated the oldest church of Ambon called “Sao Paulo” a fortress church.
Near the southeastern side of the fort were the hospital and the church of “Misericordia”. This brotherhood -confraria da Misericordia- was founded in 1579.
The town of Ambon was besieged many times. Its history is a history of war. In 1591 and in 1593 it was besieged by the Ternatans; in 1598 by the Javanese; in 1600 by the Dutch; finally on 23 February 1605 the fortress surrendered to the Dutch.
The early Portuguese contact with these islands was in the years about 1520s. They frequented these islands mainly to purchase sandalwood. The early traders established only temporary warehouses. They did not built permanent trading posts, farms or fortresses, as this task was left to the Dominican missionaries.
In 1561, four Dominican friars under the orders of Brother Antonio da Cruz left Malacca to preach the Gospel in those islands. They settled in Solor.
The friars had a noticeable success in the conversions.
In order to protect their spiritual work from the enemies, in 1566 they built a stone fortress at Solor.

The fort of Solor, from the “Livro das Plantas das Fortalezas, Cidades e Povoaçoes do Estado da India Oriental 1600s.


Within the fort were built the friars’ dormitory, a seminary (in 1600 it contained 50 pupils) and the church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade reserved to the Portuguese. The Portuguese captain resided in a tower. On the left side of the fort, a native village was built adjacent to the church of São João Baptista. A few years later, outside the fort, near the sea, was built the church of Misericórdia.
New conversions were also done in the nearby islands of Adonara and Flores.
In the island of Ende Minor the friar built a fort (1595), and, within its walls, was built the church of São Domingos.
The converted indigenous peoples settled in the vicinity of the fort, where three native villages were founded. Numbas, close to the fortress; Currolalas on the left side, with the church of Santa Catarina de Sena; and Charaboro on the right side, with the church of Santa Maria Maddalena.
The first commander of the fortress of Ende was capitão (captain) Pero Carvalhais.
By 1599 the Dominicans had built as many as 18 churches in the Solor islands:SOLOR:
– Nossa Senhora da Piedade, inside the fortress.
– São João Baptista, on the left of the fort, was the native’s church.
– Misericordia, in the village of Laboiana.
– São João Evangelista, in the village of Lamaqueira; it was destroyed in 1598.
– Madre de Deus, in the village of Guno.
– São Domingos, inside the fort.
– Santa Catarina de Sena, in the village of Currolalas.
– Santa Maria Madalena, in the village of Charaboro.
– São Lourenço, in the village of Lavunama.
– Nossa Senhora de Esperança, in the village of Boibalo.
– Nossa Senhora, in the village of Larantuca.
– Santa Luzia, in the village of Sicà.
– name unknown, in the village of Pagà.
– Nossa Senhora de Assunção, in the village of Quevà.
– São Pedro Martir, in the village of Lena.
– Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, on the beach of Dondo, but it was neglected a short time after being built.
– Espírito Santo, in the village of Cramà.
– name unknown, in the village of Lamala, destroyed a short time after during a rebellion.
On 27 January 1613, a Dutch fleet appeared off Solor. The Portuguese captain Manuel Alvares depended on 30 Portuguese and 1000 natives to defend the place.
After nearly 3 month of siege, the Dutch conquered the Solor fortress on 18 April 1613. They renamed it the Fort Henricus.
In 1615 (?) the Dutch fled from the fort, but in 1618 they reoccupied it. Again in 1629-30, as the Dutch left Solor, the Portuguese wasted no time and, in 1630, occupied again Solor. However, in 1636, they left Solor and it remained deserted till the Dutch returned again in 1646.
The Dominicans, from 1613 moved their headquarters to Larantuka (Flores). This was the center of the Portuguese in the Lesser Sunda island up to 1662 when the headquarters were moved to Lifau (today Ocussi in Timor).Bibliography:
– Andaya, Leonard Y.  “The world of Maluku: Eastern Indonesia in the early modern period”  University of Hawaii Press, 1993, Honolulu.
– Argensola, Bartolomé Leonardo   “Conquista de las islas Malucas”
372 pp.   EdicionesPolifemo, 1992 (1609), Madrid, Spain.
– Boxer,Ch.R. “Francisco Vieira de Figueiredo: a Portuguese merchant-adventurer in South East Asia, 1624-1667”
118 pp. Martinus Nijhoff 1967 ‘S-Grevenhage, The Netherlands.
The adventurous history of the life of Francisco Vieira de Figueiredo in Makassar and Larantuka.
– Des Alwi & Hanna, A. Willard “Turbolent times past in Ternate and Tidore” (also for the Dutch history)
290 pp. Rumah Budaya 1990 Banda Neira, Moluccas, Indonesia.
– Hanna, Willard A. “Indonesian Banda: Colonialism and its aftermath in the nutmeg islands”
164 pp. Ills. Map, ISHI, 1978, Philadelphia, USA.
– Jacobs, Hubert “A treatise on the Moluccas c. 1544. Probably the preliminary version of Antonio Galvao’s lost Historia das Molucas”
x, 402 pp. Sources and studies for the history of Jesuits n° 3, Institutum Historicum S. I., 1971, Roma, Italia.
– Jacobs, Hubert “The first locally demonstrable christianity in Celebes 1544”
In STUDIA N° 17, pp. 251 – 305, 1966, Lisbon, Portugal.
– Jacobs, Hubert “The Portuguese town of Ambon, 1567-1605”
In: AA.VV. “II Seminario Internacional de Historia Indo – Portuguesa” 601-614 pp. IICT & CEHCA 1985 Lisboa, Portugal.
– Jacobs, Hubert “Documenta Malucensia” Vol. I-II-III
Vol. I 1542-1577.  XLII-84*-760 pp. (vol. 109). Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 1974, Roma, Italia.
Vol. II 1577-1605. XXXII-65*-794 pp. (vol. 119). Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 1980, Roma, Italia.
Vol. III 1606-1682. XXIV-54*-778 pp. (vol. 126). Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 1984, Roma, Italia.
– Jacobs, Hubert “Jesuits Makasar Documents, 1612-1682”
XXIII-36*-284 pp. (vol. 134). Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 1988, Roma, Italia.
– Kartodirdjo, Sartorio “Religious and economic aspects of Portuguese-Indonesian relations”
In STUDIA N° 29, pp. 175 – 196, 1970, Lisbon, Portugal.
– Perez, Lorenzo OFM  “Historia de las misiones de los Franciscanos en las islas Malucas y Celebes”
In: “Archivum Franciscanum Historicorum” vol. VI (1913), pp. 45-60, 681-701; vol. VII (1914) 198-226, 424-446, 621-653.
– Pinto da Franca, A. “Influencia Portuguesa na Indonesia”
In STUDIA N° 33, pp. 161-234, 1971, Lisbon, Portugal.
– Ramerini, Marco “Le Fortezze Spagnole nell’Isola di Tidore, 1521-1663” Roma, 2008 


The remains of Ende fort.

 The remains of Ende fort.

The remains of Ende fort.

The remains of Ende fort.

The remains of Ende fort.

Photos by Mark Schellekens and Greg Wyncoll

The ruins of the Portuguese fort on Ende island (Ende Minor) are nothing more then a collection of coralrocks. Just a single wall remains standing up and for the rest there are some floor parts and foundations visible. The site is used nowadays by local farmers to farm Tapioca and corn and little remains as most of the stones from the fort have been used to build houses in the village of Kemo (pronounced as “K’mo”). This village is easily reached from mainland Flores, from the town of Ende from where 4-5 boats daily sail to Kemo, where the ruins are located.



Tracing Portuguese Heritage in Jakarta

Up until 1940, Tugu residents spoke Portuguese in daily conversations.

 People pinpoint the spot as Kampung Tugu (Tugu Kampong). Situated in Semper Barat, Cilincing Subdistrict, North Jakarta, the Kampong is squeezed by a number of industrial buildings. Tanjung Priok Harbor is only located around four kilometers north-west of it. 
The Kampong is inhabited by Tugu people. They are Portuguese descendants who started to inhabit the area in 1661. “The word Tugu is derived from Portuguese,” Arthur Michiels, a dweller of Kampung Tugu, told VIVAnews.

The story began as Vereenigde Oost-indische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company) occupied a port city in the Malacca Straits in 1641, previously colonized by Portugal. Then, Dutch colonizers took the Portuguese to Indonesia as prisoners of war. They were then placed in Kampung Bandan.
After settling in Kampung Bandan for 20 years, 23 families, around 150 Tugu people, were liberated and transferred to Kampung Tugu. The Dutch colonizers called them De Mardijkers, meaning ‘the liberated people.’
At that time, Kampung Tugu was surrounded by swamps infamous as a malaria-bearing mosquito nest. There, the Tugu people survived by hunting animals and fishing.

The Portuguese traditions still enliven the homes of Kampung Tugu. In fact, up until 1940, they spoke Portuguese in daily conversations. “Today, Tugu inhabitants are provided with weekly Portuguese course from several embassy officials who speak Portuguese,” said Michiels.

The population in Kampung Tugu is estimated to be around 1,200 people. There are only 600 people that still dwell in Kampung Tugu. Around 100 others are spread around Indonesia. In addition, 500 Tugu descendants reside in the Netherlands. “In 1950, many of the Tugu people went to Papua and migrated to the Netherlands through Suriname,” said Michiels.

Those who are still in Kampong Tugu still practice several Portuguese traditions including Rabo-rabo. The Rabo-rabo tradition is held every new year’s eve: it is an inter-family visiting tradition. A family visits their relatives, and these two gathering families will visit other families. The process continues until all families gather in the oldest family. “In line with the nature of the Portuguese who often frequent parties, we always sing and dance in any event,” said Michiels.

Tugu Church

The Portuguese inheritage is very apparent in Tugu Church, which was founded around 1678 by As Amelchior Leidecker. “Those who come and pray in the church are not only people from Tugu. Many outsiders also pray there,” he said.
The church still maintains its original architecture although it has often been renovated. The structure of the building is simple. The white concrete walls are combined with red window panes and doors. A cemetery is located at the churchyard. Rumor has it that Leydecker is also buried in the area.








Medang (Mataram) Kingdom


Medang Kingdom

This article is about the Hindu Kingdom. For other uses, see Mataram (disambiguation).




Medang Kingdom during Central Java Period and Eastern Java Period

Capital Central Java: Mdaη i Bhumi Mataram (precisely unknown suggested around Yogya and Prambanan), later moved to Mamrati and Poh Pitu

East Java: Mdaη i Tamwlang and Mdaη i Watugaluh (near modern Jombang), later moved to Mdaη i Wwatan (near modern Madiun)

Language(s) Old Javanese, Sanskrit
Religion Kejawen, Hinduism, Buddhism, Animism
Government Monarchy
 – 732—760 Sri Sanjaya
 – 985—1006 Dharmawangsa
 – Sri Sanjaya established Sanjaya Dynasty (Canggal Inscription) 752
 – Dharmawangsa defeat to Wurawari and Srivijaya 1045
Currency Masa and Tahil (native gold and silver coins)

Medang or Mataram was a Hindu-Buddhist Javanese kingdom based in Central Java, and in a later period (between the 8th and 10th centuries CE) in East Java. Established by king Sanjaya, the founder of the Sanjaya dynasty, the kingdom was ruled by the Sailendra and Sanjaya families. By 850 the kingdom had become the dominant power in Java and was a serious rival to the hegemonic Srivijaya Empire.

Origin and formation

The earliest account of Medang kingdom is in the Canggal inscription, dated 732, discovered in Canggal village, southwest from the town of Magelang. This inscription, written in Pallava script in Sanskrit, tells about the erection of a lingga (symbol of Shiva) on the hill in the Kunjarakunja area, located on a noble island called Yawadwipa (Java) which was blessed with abundance of rice and gold. This inscription tells that Yawadwipa was ruled by king Sanna, whose long reign was marked by wisdom and virtue. After king Sanna died the kingdom fell into disunity. Sanjaya, the son of Sannaha (Sanna’s sister) ascended to the throne. He was the king who mastered holy scriptures and martial arts and obtained military prowess. He conquered areas around his kingdom, and his wise reign blessed his land with peace and prosperity for all of his subjects [1].

Kings Sanna and Sanjaya were also known in the Carita Parahyangan, a book from a later period which mainly describes the history of Pasundan (Sunda Kingdom). This book mentioned that Sanna was defeated by Purbasora, king of Galuh, and retreated to Mount Merapi. Later Sanna’s successor Sanjaya reclaimed Sanna’s kingdom and ruled West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Bali. He also battled with Malayu and Keling (against their king Sang Srivijaya).

Earliest evidence of a currency system in Java. Javanese gold mas or tahil ingots, circa 9th century.

From the time of its founding in early 8th century until 928, the kingdom was ruled by the Sanjaya Dynasty. The first king of Medang was Sanjaya,who ruled in the Mataram region in the vicinity of modern Yogyakarta and Prambanan, and left the written records on the Canggal inscription. However around the mid 8th century, the Sailendra dynasty emerged in Central Java and challenged the Sanjaya dynasty’s domination in the region. According to the Kalasan inscription dated 778 CE, written in the Pranagari script in Sanskrit, the Kalasan temple was erected by the will of Guru Sang Raja Sailendravamçatilaka (the Jewel of the Sailendra family), who succeeded to persuade Panangkaran (Sanjaya’s successor) to construct a holy building for the goddess (boddhisattvadevi) Tara and build a vihara (monastery) for Buddhist monks from the Sailendra family’s realm. Panangkaran also awarded the Kalaça village to a sangha (Buddhist monastic community).[2].

The established version of history holds that the Sailendra dynasty existed next to the Sanjaya dynasty in Central Java, and much of the period was characterized by peaceful co-existence and cooperation. This theory holds that the Sailendra with their strong connections to Srivijaya managed to gain control on Central Java and impose overlordship on the Rakai (local Javanese lords) including the Sanjayas, thus making the Sanjaya kings of Mataram their vassals. Another theory holds that the Sailendra was a single dynasty that were initially Shivaist Hindu, but later partially converted to Mahayana Buddhism and became its patron in Java.

Little is known about the kingdom due to the dominance of the Sailendra which during this period constructed Borobudur, a Buddhist monument. Samaratungga, the monarch of the Sailendra, tried to secure the Sailendra’s position in Java, cementing an alliance with the Sanjayas by arranging the marriage of his daughter Pramodhawardhani with Pikatan.

Around the middle of the 9th century, relations between the Sanjaya and the Sailendra had deteriorated. In 852 the Sanjaya ruler Pikatan had defeated Balaputra, the offspring of the Sailendra monarch Samaratunga and princess Tara. This ended the Sailendra presence in Java and Balaputra retreated to the Srivijayan capital in Sumatra, where he became the paramount ruler.

The magnificent 9th century Hindu temple of Prambanan, Yogyakarta, was built by the kingdom of Medang.

The Ruin of Prambanan soon after their discovery


(The ruins of Prambanan soon after their discovery.In 1811 during Britain’s short-lived rule of the Dutch East Indies, Collin Mackenzie, a surveyor in the service of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, came upon the temples by chance. Although Sir Thomas subsequently commissioned a full survey of the ruins, they remained neglected for decades, with Dutch residents carting off sculptures as garden ornaments and native villagers using the foundation stones for construction material.

Half-hearted excavations by archaeologists in the 1880s merely facilitated looting. Reconstruction of the compound began in 1918, and proper restoration only in 1930. Efforts at restoration continue to this day. The main building was completed around 1953. Since much of the original stonework has been stolen and reused at remote construction sites, hampering restoration and since a temple can be rebuilt only if at least 75% of the original masonry is available, only the foundations of most of the smaller shrines are now visible with no plans for their reconstruction)

However, this dual Sailendra-Sanjaya dynasties theory proposed by Casparis was opposed by some Indonesian historians. A theory proposed by Poerbatjaraka suggested that there was only one kingdom and one dynasty, the kingdom called Medang with the capital in the Mataram area (thus the name of the kingdom: “Medang i Bhumi Mataram”), and the ruling dynasty being the Sailendra. He holds that Sanjaya and all of his offspring belonged to the Sailendra family, which initially was Shivaist. However, because Sanjaya’s son, Panangkaran, converted to Mahāyāna Buddhism, the later series of Sailendra kings who ruled Medang become Mahāyāna Buddhist too and gave Buddhism royal patronage in Java until the end of Samaratungga’s reign.[4] Shivaist Hindu gained royal patronage again with the reign of Pikatan, lasting until the end of the Medang kingdom. During the reign of Kings Pikatan and Balitung, the royal Hindu Trimurti temple of Prambanan was built in the vicinity of Yogyakarta.

Most of the time, the court of Medang kingdom was located in Mataram, near modern Yogyakarta and Prambanan. However, during the reign of Rakai Pikatan, the court was moved to Mamrati. Later, in the reign of Balitung the court moved again, to Poh Pitu. Unlike Mataram, the locations of both Mamrati and Poh Pitu remain unknown and historians have been unable to pinpoint the exact location,although most historians agree that both Mamrati and Poh Pitu were located in Kedu Plain, somewhere around modern Magelang or Temanggung regencies. Later, during the reign of Wawa, the court was moved back to the Mataram area.


The Wonoboyo hoard displays the immense wealth and artistic achievement of Medang kingdom.

The complex stratified ancient Java society, with refined aesthetic taste in art and culture, is evidence through the various scenes in narrative bas-reliefs carved on various temples dated from Medang kingdom. The kingdom leaves several temples and monuments. The monumental Hindu temple of Prambanan in the vicinity of Yogyakarta built during the reign of King Pikatan and Balitung, is the fine example of ancient Medang Mataram art and architecture.

The grand temple complex was dedicated to Trimurti (Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu), the three highest god in Hindu pantheon. It was the largest Hindu temple ever built in Indonesia, the evidence of immense wealth and cultural achievement of the kingdom. Other Hindu temples dated from Mataram Kingdom era are Sambisari, Gebang, Barong, Ijo, and Morangan temple.

During 9th to mid 10th century, Medang kingdom witnessed the blossom of art, culture and literature, mainly through translation of Hindu-Buddhist sacred texts also transmition and adaptation of Hindu-Buddhist ideas. The bas-relief naration of Hindu epic Ramayana was carved on the wall of Prambanan temple. During this period, the Kakawin Ramayana, an old Javanese rendering was written. This Kakawin Ramayana also called Yogesvara Ramayana, it is attributed to the scribe Yogesvara circa 9th century CE, who was employed in the court of the Medang in Central Java. It has 2774 stanzas in manipravala style, a mixture of Sanskrit and Archaic prose Javanese language. The most influential version of the Ramayana is the Ravanavadham of Bhatti, popularly known as Bhattikavya. The Javanese Ramayana differs markedly from the original Hindu prototype.

Wonoboyo hoard, the golden artifacts discovered in 1990, displayed the economy, wealth, art and culture also the aesthetic achievement of Medang Kingdom. The artifacts shows the intricate artworks, also displays the aesthetic and technical mastery of ancient Java goldsmith. On the surface of the gold coins engraved with a script “ta”, a short form of “tail” or “tahil” a unit of currency in ancient Java. The hoard was estimated dated from the reign of King Balitung (899–911).[5] The treasure has been identified as belonging to a noble or the member of royal family.[6]

The name of Medang kingdom was written in Laguna Copperplate Inscription dated 822 saka (900 CE), discovered in Manila, Philippines. The discovery of inscriptions written in the Kawi script in a variety of Old Malay containing numerous loanwords from Sanskrit and a few non-Malay vocabulary elements whose origin is ambiguous between Old Javanese and Old Tagalog, suggested that the people or officials of Medang kingdom has embarked on inter-insular trade and foreign relations in the region as far as the Philippines, and the connections between ancient kingdoms in Indonesia and the Philippines is exist.

Moving eastward

Sambisari temple buried five metres under volcanic debris of Mount Merapi.

At certain point of the time around the year 929, the centre of the kingdom was shifted from Central Java to East Java by Mpu Sindok, who established the Isyana Dynasty. The exact cause of the move is still uncertain. However probably have been caused by a severe eruption of the volcano Gunung Merapi or a power struggle. Historian suggest that at some point of time during the reign of King Wawa (924—929) the Merapi volcano erupt viciously and devastated the kingdom’s capital in Mataram. The historic massive eruption of Merapi volcano that caused th destruction of Mataram is popularly known as Pralaya Mataram (the death of Mataram). The evidence of this eruption can be seen in several temples that virtually buried under Merapi’s lahar and volcanic debris, such as Sambisari, Morangan, Kedulan, and Pustakasala temples.

Next to the increasing volcanic activity, another theory suggested that the shift of capital city eastward was meant to avoid Srivijaya invasion, or motivated by the economic reason that Brantas river valley was considered to be strategic location to control maritime trade route to the eastern parts of archipelago, especially vital to control Maluku spice trade. Sindok moved the capital to Tamwlang and later move it again to Watugaluh. Historian identify those name with Tambelang and Megaluh area near modern Jombang, East Java. The later king Dharmawangsa moved the capital again to Wwatan, identified as Wotan area near modern Madiun. Dharmawangsa also ordered the translation of the Mahabharata into Old Javanese in 996.


In late 10th century the rivalry between Sumatran Srivijaya and Javanese Medang has become more severe and hostile. The animosity was probably caused by Srivijaya effort to reclaim Sailendra lands in Java, as Balaputra and his offsprings — the series Srivijaya Maharajas — was belongs to Sailendra dynasty, or probably led by Medang aspiration to challenge Srivijaya dominance as regional power. In the year 990, Dharmawangsa launched a naval invasion on Srivijaya and unsuccessfully attempted to capture Palembang. Dharmawangsa’s invasion caused the Maharaja of Srivijaya, Chulamaniwarmadewa to request protection from China. In 1006, Srivijaya resiliently managed to repelled the Medang invaders. In retaliation, Srivijaya forces assisted Haji (king) Wurawari of Lwaram to revolt, attacked and destroyed the Medang Palace. Dharmawangsa and most of the royal family was killed in this attack. With the death of Dharmawangsa and the fall of the capital under military pressure from Srivijaya, the kingdom finally collapsed. There were further unrest and violence invested in the kingdom for several years following.

Airlangga, a son of Udayana of Bali, also a nephew of Dharmawangsa, manage to escaped the death and went to exile. He later reunited the remnants of Medang kingdom and re-established the kingdom (including Bali) under the name of Kahuripan. In 1045 Airlangga abdicated his throne to resume the life of an ascetic, and divided the kingdom between his two sons, Janggala and Panjalu (Kediri) and from this point on the kingdom is known as Kediri.

List of rulers

Tarumanagara Kingdom


The territory of Tarumanagara
Capital Sundapura (near Tugu, Jakarta and Bekasi)
Language(s) Sundanese, Sanskrit
Religion Hinduism, Buddhism, Sunda Wiwitan
Government Monarchy
 – Established 358
 – Srivijaya invasion in 650 669


This article is part of the
History of Indonesia series
See also:Timeline of Indonesian History
Early kingdoms
Tarumanagara (358-669)
Srivijaya (7th to 13th centuries)
Sailendra (8th to 9th centuries)
Sunda Kingdom (669-1579)
Medang Kingdom (752–1045)
Kediri (1045–1221)
Singhasari (1222–1292)
Majapahit (1293–1500)
The rise of Muslim states
The spread of Islam (1200–1600)
Sultanate of Ternate (1257–….)
Malacca Sultanate (1400–1511)
Sultanate of Demak (1475–1548)
Aceh Sultanate (1496–1903)
Sultanate of Banten (1526–1813)
Mataram Sultanate (1500s to 1700s)
European colonialism
The Portuguese (1512–1850)
Dutch East India Co. (1602–1800)
Dutch East Indies (1800–1942)
The emergence of Indonesia
National awakening (1899–1942)
Japanese occupation (1942–1945)
Declaration of independence (1945)
National revolution (1945–1950)
Independent Indonesia
Liberal democracy (1950–1957)
“Guided Democracy” (1957–1965)
Start of the “New Order” (1965–1966)
The “New Order” (1966–1998)
Reformasi” era (1998–present)
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1600-year-old stone inscription from the era of Purnawarman, king of Tarumanagara, founded in Tugu sub-district of Jakarta.

Tarumanagara or Taruma Kingdom or just Taruma is an early Sundanese kingdom, whose fifth-century ruler, Purnavarman, produced the earliest known inscriptions on Java island. The kingdom was not far from modern Jakarta, and according to Tugu inscription Purnavarman apparently built a canal that changed the course of the Cakung River, and drained a coastal area for agriculture and settlement. In his inscriptions, Purnavarman associated himself with Vishnu, and Brahmins ritually secured the hydraulic project.[1]

Tarumanagara existed between 358669. The earliest known written records of Tarumanagara existence are inscribed monument stones. Inscribed stone is called prasasti in Indonesian language. A prasasti located in a river bed of Ciaruteun river, called Prasasti Ciaruteun, from the fifth century AD, written in Wengi letters (used in the Indian Pallava period) and in Sanskrit language, reports the most famous king of Tarumanagara:

This is the print of the foot soles of the very honorable Purnawarman, the king of Tarumanagara who is very brave and control the world, as those of God Wisnu.

Located nearby is the Prasasti Kebon Kopi I, also called Telapak Gadjah stone, with an inscription and the engraving of two large elephant footprints. The inscription read: These elephant foot soles, akin to those of the strong Airwata (elephant, which God Indra used to ride), belongs to Tarumanagara King who is successful and full of control.

Not only stones testify of the existence of King Purnawarman and his Tarumanagara kingdom. There are also Chinese history sources, since Tarumanagara maintained extended trade and diplomatic relations in the territory stretching between India and China. The Chinese Buddhist Monk Fa Xian reported in his book fo-kuo-chi (414 AD) that he stayed on the island of Yavadi (Java), most probably the western part of Java island, for six months, from December 412 until May 413 AD. He reported that the Law of Buddha was not much known, but that the Brahmans (Hinduism) flourished, and heretics (animists) too.

In the annals of the Sung Dynasty, the king of Ya-va-da (Java) is His Majesty Purnawarman. Those annals also provide documentary evidence of a diplomatic mission sent by Purnawarman, which arrived in China in 435 AD.

First rulers

Purnawarman was not the first king of Tarumanagara. According to the book Nusantara, Rajadirajaguru Jayasingawarman founded the Tarumanagara kingdom in 358 AD. He died in 382 AD and was buried at the bank of Kali Gomati river (present-day Bekasi city). His son, Dharmayawarman ruled from 382 to 395 AD. His burial site is at Kali Chandrabaga. Purnawarman was the third king of Tarumnagara and reigned from 395 to 434 AD.

Age of Purnawarman

Book Nusantara, parwa II sarga 3 (page 159 – 162) notes that under the reign of King Purnawarman, Tarumanagara held control over 48 small kingdoms with area stretching from Salakanagara or Rajatapura to Purwalingga (current city of Purbalingga in Central Java Province). Traditionally Cipamali river (Brebes river) was the border between Sunda and Java.

In 397 AD, King Purnawarman established a new capital city for the kingdom, located near to a beach, called Sunda Pura meaning Holy Town or Pure Town. Thus, word “Sunda” was introduced for the first time by King Purnawarman in 397. Sunda Pura could have been near present day Tugu (North Jakarta), or near present day Bekasi. He left seven memorial stones with inscriptions bearing his name spread across current Banten and West Java provinces. The prasasti tugu, which is a few years older than the Parasasti Ciaruteun, is considered the oldest of all the inscriptions.

There are more stones with inscriptions from the time of king Purnawarman, some close to Bogor city. They are Prasasti Muara Cianten, Prasasti Pasir Awi, Prasasti Cidanghiang, and Parasasti Jambu. Prasasti Cidanghiang (sits further to the west at Lebak in the Pandeglang area), consisting of two lines, proclaiming Purnawarman as the standard for rulers around the world. Prasasti Jambu, with a two-line inscription in Pallava/Sanskrit, bears the large footprints of the king. The inscription translates as:

The name of the king who is famous of faithfully executing his duties and who is incomparable (peerless) is Sri Purnawarman who reigns Taruma. His armour cannot be penetrated by the arrows of his enemies. The prints of the foot soles belong to him who was always successful to destroy the fortresses of his enemies, and was always charitable and gave honorable receptions to those who are loyal to him and hostile to his enemies.

Kings after Purnawarman

Purnawarman’s son, Dharmayawarman ruled from 382 to 395 AD. His burial site is at Kali Chandrabaga. The next kings of Tarumanagara were:

  • From 434 to 455: King Wisnuwarman
  • From 455 to 515: King Indrawarman
  • From 515 to 535: King Candrawarman
  • From 535 to 561: King Suryawarman
    King Suryawarman established a new capital city for the kingdom eastward and left Sunda Pura and its communities to preserve their own order. Then, Sunda Pura become a new smaller kingdom called Sunda Sambawa which was under control of Tarumanagara. Before the king reigned Tarumanagara, Manikmaya, his son in law, in 526, left Sunda Pura southeastward and established a new kingdom near current Nagreg, Garut city.

After Suryawarman, Tarumanagara was ruled by kings:

  • From 561 to 628: King Kertawarman
    In this period, the grandson of Manikmaya, Wretikandayun, in 612, established Galuh Kingdom, southeast of current Garut with its capital city located in Banjar Pataruman.
  • From 628 to 650 Linggawarman

The only daughter of King Linggawarman, Princess Sobakancana married Daputahyang Srijayanasa, who later established the Sriwijaya kingdom. Their daughter, Manasih, married Tarusbawa.


Tarumanagara kingdom was attacked and defeated by Srivijaya around 650. After this, Tarumanegara’s influence over its neighbors began to decline.

In 669, Tarusbawa inherited Tarumanagara’s crown. Tarusbawa was the last king of Tarumanagara. This is in line with Chinese chronicles mentioning that a messenger of Tarumanagara last visited China in 669. Tarusbawa indeed sent his messenger advising his enthronement to Chinese king in 669. Because the influence of Tarumanagara in Tarusbawa era declined as a result of severance by its vassal states as well as due to the attacks by Srivijaya, he wished to return the greatness of the kingdom as was in the era of Purnawarman controlling the kingdoms from Sunda Pura. Hence, in 670, he changed name Tarumanagara to be Sunda.

This event was made as a reason by king Wretikandayun (Monarchic founder of Galuh) to dissociate the small kingdom from the power of Tarumanagara and asked King Tarusbawa to divide Tarumanagara territory into two parts. Galuh got a support from Kalingga kingdom (the first kingdom in Java island) to separate from Tarumanagara because Galuh and Kalingga had made an alliance through dynastic marriage; a son of King Wretikandayun married Parwati (a daughter of Queen Sima) from Kalingga and Sana alias Bratasenawa alias Sena (a grandson of King Wretikandayun) married Sanaha (a granddaughter of Queen Sima). In a weak position and wishing to avoid civil war, the young King Tarusbawa accepted the request of old King Wretikandayun. In 670, Tarumanagara was divided into two kingdoms: Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom with the Citarum river as the boundary. Then Galuh Kingdom comprised many vassal kingdoms which covered areas of present-day West and present-day Central Java Provinces.

King Tarusbawa then established a new capital of his kingdom near the Cipakancilan river upstream which centuries later became the city of Pakuan Pajajaran (or shortly called Pakuan or Pajajaran). King Tarusbawa becomes the ancestor of Sunda kings.

Srivijaya Kingdom 7th – 13th Century


Srivijaya Kingdom


7th century–13th century

The maximum extent of Srivijayan Empire around 8th century with series of Srivijayan expeditions and conquest

Capital Palembang, Jambi, Chaiya
Language(s) Old Malay, Sanskrit
Religion Buddhism, Hinduism
Government Monarchy
 – Circa 683 Jayanasa
 – Circa 775 Dharmasetu
 – Circa 792 Samaratunga
 – Circa 835 Balaputra
 – Circa 988 Sri Culamanivarmadeva
 – Dapunta Hyang’s expedition and expansion, (Kedukan Bukit Inscription) 7th century
 – Singhasari conquest in 1288, Majapahit put an end to Srivijayan rebellion in 1377 13th century
Currency Native gold and silver coins

Srivijaya or Sriwijaya was a powerful ancient Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia.[1] The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6 months.[2][3] The first inscription in which the name Srivijaya appears also dates from the 7th century, namely the Kedukan Bukit Inscription around Palembang in Sumatra, dated 683.[4] The kingdom ceased to exist in the 13th century due to various factors, including the expansion of the Javanese Majapahit empire.[1] Srivijaya was an important center for Buddhist expansion in the 8th to 12th centuries. In Sanskrit, sri (श्री) means “shining” or “radiant” and vijaya (विजय) means “victory” or “excellence”.[5]

After Srivijaya fell, it was largely forgotten and so historians had never considered that a large united kingdom could have been present in Southeast Asia. The existence of Srivijaya was only formally suspected in 1918 when French historian George Coedès of the École française d’Extrême-Orient postulated the existence of the empire.[5] By 1993, Pierre-Yves Manguin proved that the centre of Srivijaya was along the Musi River between Bukit Seguntang and Sabokingking (situated in what is now the province of South Sumatra, Indonesia).[5]


There was no continuous knowledge of Srivijaya in Indonesian histories; its forgotten past has been recreated by foreign scholars. No modern Indonesians, not even those of the Palembang area around which the kingdom was based, had heard of Srivijaya until the 1920s, when French scholar George Coedès published his discoveries and interpretations in Dutch and Indonesian-language newspapers.[6] Coedès noted that the Chinese references to “Sanfoqi”, previously read as “Sribhoja”, and the inscriptions in Old Malay refer to the same empire.[7]

Srivijaya became a symbol of early Sumatran greatness, and a great empire to balance Java’s Majapahit in the east. In the twentieth century, both empires were referred to by nationalist intellectuals to argue for an Indonesian identity within an Indonesian state prior to the Dutch colonial state.[6]

Srivijaya and by extension Sumatra had been known by different names to different peoples. The Chinese called it Sanfotsi or San Fo Qi, and at one time there was an even older kingdom of Kantoli that could be considered as the predecessor of Srivijaya.[8][9] Sanskrit and Pali referred to it as Yavadesh and Javadeh, respectively.[8] The Arabs called it Zabag and the Khmer called it Melayu.[8] This is another reason why the discovery of Srivijaya was so difficult.[8] While some of these names are strongly reminiscent of the name of Java, there is a distinct possibility that they may have referred to Sumatra instead.[10]

Formation and growth

Little physical evidence of Srivijaya remains.[11] According to the Kedukan Bukit Inscription, dated 605 Saka (683 AD), the empire of Srivijaya was founded by Dapunta Hyang Çri Yacanaca (Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa). He led 20,000 troops (mainly land troopers and a few hundred ships) from Minanga Tamwan to Jambi and Palembang.

The empire was a coastal trading centre and was a thalassocracy. As such, it did not extend its influence far beyond the coastal areas of the islands of Southeast Asia, with the exception of contributing to the population of Madagascar 3,300 miles to the west.[12] Around the year 500, Srivijayan roots began to develop around present-day Palembang, Sumatra, in modern Indonesia. The empire was organised in three main zones—the estuarine capital region centred on Palembang, the Musi River basin which served as hinterland, and rival estuarine areas capable of forming rival power centres. The areas upstream of the Musi river were rich in various commodities valuable to Chinese traders.[13] The capital was administered directly by the ruler while the hinterland remained under its own local datus or chiefs, who were organized into a network of allegiance to the Srivijaya maharaja or king. Force was the dominant element in the empire’s relations with rival river systems such as the Batang Hari, which centred in Jambi. The ruling lineage intermarried with the Sailendras of Central Java and lived along the Javanese Sanjaya dynasty when the Srivijayan capital was located in Java.

Candi Gumpung, a Buddhist temple at Muaro Jambi of Malayu Kingdom, later integrated as one of Srivijaya’s important urban center.

Under the leadership of Jayanasa, the kingdom of Malayu became the first kingdom to be integrated into the Srivijayan Empire. This possibly occurred in the 680s. Malayu, also known as Jambi, was rich in gold and was held in high esteem. Srivijaya recognized that the submission of Malayu to them would increase their own prestige.[14]

According to the Kota Kapur Inscription discovered in Bangka Island, the empire conquered most of Southern Sumatra, neighboring island of Bangka, as far as Lampung, also according to this inscription, Jayanasa has launched a military campaign against Bhumi Java in late 7th century, a period which coincides with the decline of Tarumanagara in West Java and Holing (Kalingga) in Central Java. The empire thus grew to control the trade on the Strait of Malacca, Sunda Strait, the South China Sea, the Java Sea, and Karimata Strait.

Chinese records dated in the late 7th century mention two Sumatran kingdoms as well as three other kingdoms on Java being part of Srivijaya. By the end of the 8th century, many western Javanese kingdoms, such as Tarumanagara and Holing, were within the Srivijayan sphere of influence. It has also been recorded that a Buddhist family related to Srivijaya dominated central Java at that time.[15] The family was probably the Sailendras.[16]

During the same century, Langkasuka on the Malay Peninsula became part of Srivijaya.[17] Soon after this, Pan Pan and Trambralinga, which were located north of Langkasuka, came under Srivijayan influence. These kingdoms on the peninsula were major trading nations that transported goods across the peninsula’s isthmus.

With the expansion to Java as well as the Malay Peninsula, Srivijaya controlled two major trade choke points in Southeast Asia. Some Srivijayan temple ruins are observable in Thailand and Cambodia.

Ruins of the Wat Kaew in Chaiya, dating from Srivijayan times

The area of Chaiya Surat Thani Thailand was already inhabited in prehistoric times by Semang and Malayan tribes. Founded in the 3rd century, until the 13th century the Srivijaya kingdom dominated the Malay Peninsula and much of the island of Java from there. The city Chaiya the name might be derived from its original Malay name “Cahaya” (means ‘light’, ‘gleam’, or ‘glow’). However some scholars state that Chai-ya came from Sri-vi-ja-ya. It was a regional capital in the Srivijaya kingdom of the 5th to 13th century. Some Thai historians[who?] even claim that it was the capital of the kingdom itself for some time, but this is generally disputed. Wiang Sa and Phunphin were another main settlement of that time.[citation needed]

At some point in the 7th century, Cham ports in eastern Indochina started to attract traders. This diverted the flow of trade from Srivijaya. In an effort to divert the flow, the Srivijayan king or maharaja, Dharmasetu, launched various raids against the coastal cities of Indochina. The city of Indrapura by the Mekong River was temporarily controlled from Palembang in the early 8th century.[16] The Srivijayans continued to dominate areas around present-day Cambodia until the Khmer King Jayavarman II, the founder of the Khmer Empire dynasty, severed the Srivijayan link later in the same century.[18] After Dharmasetu, Samaratungga became the next Maharaja of Srivijaya. He reigned as ruler from 792 to 835. Unlike the expansionist Dharmasetu, Samaratungga did not indulge in military expansion but preferred to strengthen the Srivijayan hold of Java. He personally oversaw the construction of Borobudur; the temple was completed in 825, during his reign.[19]

The construction of the Borobudur begun by Sangramadhananjaya and completed under the reign of Samaratunga.

Vajrayana Buddhism

The construction of the Borobudur begun by Sangramadhananjaya and completed under the reign of Samaratunga.

A stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism, Srivijaya attracted pilgrims and scholars from other parts of Asia. These included the Chinese monk Yijing, who made several lengthy visits to Sumatra on his way to study at Nalanda University in India in 671 and 695, and the 11th century Bengali Buddhist scholar Atisha, who played a major role in the development of Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet. Yijing reports that the kingdom was home to more than a thousand Buddhist scholars; it was in Srivijaya that he wrote his memoir of Buddhism during his own lifetime. Travellers to these islands mentioned that gold coinage was in use on the coasts, but not inland.

Relationship with regional powers

Pagoda in Srivijaya style in Chaiya, Thailand

Although historical records and archaeological evidence are scarce, it appears that by the seventh century, Srivijaya had established suzerainty over large areas of Sumatra, western Java and much of the Malay Peninsula. Dominating the Malacca and Sunda straits, Srivijaya controlled both the spice route traffic and local trade, charging a toll on passing ships. Serving as an entrepôt for Chinese, Malay, and Indian markets, the port of Palembang, accessible from the coast by way of a river, accumulated great wealth. Envoys travelled to and from China frequently.

Malayu kingdom was the first rival power centre absorbed into the empire, and thus began the domination of the region through trade and conquest in the 7th and 9th centuries. Malayu kingdom’s gold mines up in Batang Hari river hinterland were a crucial economic resource and may be the origin of the word Suvarnadvipa (island of gold), the Sanskrit name for Sumatra. Srivijaya helped spread the Malay culture throughout Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and western Borneo. Srivijaya’s influence waned in the 11th century. It was in frequent conflict with, and ultimately subjugated by, Javanese kingdoms, first Singhasari and then Majapahit. This was not the first time the Srivijayans conflicted with the Javanese. According to historian Paul Michel Munoz, the Javanese Sanjaya dynasty was a strong rival of the Srivijayans in the 8th century when the Srivijayan capital was located in Java. The seat of the empire moved to Malayu Muaro Jambi in the last centuries of Srivijaya’s existence.

The Khmer Empire might also have been a tributary in its early stages.

Some historians claim that Chaiya in the Surat Thani province in Southern Thailand was at least temporarily the capital of Srivijaya, but this claim is widely disputed. However, Chaiya was probably a regional centre of the kingdom. The temple of Borom That in Chaiya contains a reconstructed pagoda in Srivijaya style[20].

Phra Boromathat Chaiya is highlighted by the chedi in Srivijaya style, dating back from the 7th century but elaborately restored. Buddha relics are enshrined in the chedi, in the surrounding chapels are several Buddha statues in Srivijaya style as it was labeled by Prince Damrong in his Collected Inscriptions of Siam, is now attributed to Wat Hua Wiang in Chaiya. Dated to the year 697 of the Mahasakkarat era (i.e. 775 CE), the inscription on a Bai Sema shaped stone tells about the King of Srivijaya having erected three stupas at that site that possibly the one at Wat Phra Borom That. But also be assumed as three stupas at Wat Hua Wiang (Hua Wiang temple), Wat Lhong (Lhong temple) and Wat Kaew (Kaew temple) found in the area of Chaiya ancient city, stand in the direction from north to south on the old sand dune.

After the fall of the Srivijaya in Chaiya, the area was divided into the cities (Mueang) Chaiya, Thatong (now Kanchanadit) and Khirirat Nikhom.

Srivijaya also maintained close relations with the Pala Empire in Bengal, and an 860 inscription records that maharaja Balaputra dedicated a monastery at the Nalanda university in Pala territory. Relations with the Chola dynasty of southern India were initially friendly but deteriorated into actual warfare in the eleventh century.

Golden age

The graceful golden statue of Avalokiteçvara in Malayu-Srivijayan style, discovered at Rataukapastuo, Muarabulian, Jambi, Indonesia.

After trade disruption at Canton between 820 and 850, the ruler of Jambi (Melayu Kingdom) was able to assert enough independence to send missions to China in 853 and 871.[citation needed] Melayu kingdom’s independence coincided with the troubled time when the Sailendran Balaputradewa, expelled from Java, seized the throne of Srivijaya. The new maharaja was able to dispatch a tributary mission to China by 902. Only two years later, the expiring Tang Dynasty conferred a title on a Srivijayan envoy.

In the first half of the tenth century, between the fall of Tang and the rise of Song, there was brisk trade between the overseas world and the Fujian kingdom of Min and the rich Guangdong kingdom of Nan Han. Srivijaya undoubtedly benefited from this, in anticipation of the prosperity it was to enjoy under the early Song. Circa 903, the Muslim writer Ibn Rustah was so impressed with the wealth of Srivijaya’s ruler that he declared one would not hear of a king who was richer, stronger or with more revenue. The main urban centres were at Palembang (especially the Bukit Seguntang area), Muara Jambi and Kedah.

The migration to Madagascar accelerated in the 9th century, when the powerful Sumatran empire of Srivijaya controlled much of the maritime trade in the Indian Ocean.[12]

In late 10th century the rivalry between Sumatran Srivijaya and Javanese Medang kingdom has become more intense and hostile. The animosity was probably caused by Srivijaya effort to reclaim Sailendra lands in Java, as Balaputra and his offsprings — the series Srivijaya Maharajas — was belongs to Sailendra dynasty, or probably led by Medang aspiration to challenge Srivijaya domination in the region. In the year 990, king Dharmawangsa launched a naval invasion against Srivijaya, and unsuccessfully attempted to capture Palembang. Dharmawangsa’s invasion has led the Maharaja of Srivijaya, Chulamaniwarmadewa to seeks protection from China. In 1006, Srivijaya’s mandala alliance has proven its resilience by succeeds to repelled the Javanese invasion. In retaliation, Srivijaya assisted Haji (king) Wurawari of Lwaram to revolt, attacked and destroyed the Medang palace. With the death of Dharmawangsa and the fall of the Medang capital, Srivijaya has contributed to the collapse of Medang kingdom, leaving Eastern Java in further unrest, violence, and desolation for several years to come.

The influence of the empire had reached Manila by the 10th century. A kingdom under its sphere of influence had already been established there.[21][22]

By the twelfth century, the kingdom included parts of Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, Western Java, Sulawesi, the Moluccas, Borneo and the Philippines, most notably the Sulu Archipelago and the Visayas islands (and indeed the latter island group, as well as its population, is named after the empire).[23]

Srivijaya remained a formidable sea power until the thirteenth century.[1]


In 1025, Rajendra Chola, the Chola king from Coromandel in South India, conquered Kedah from Srivijaya and occupied it for some time. The Cholas continued a series of raids and conquests throughout what is now Indonesia and Malaysia for the next 20 years. Although the Chola invasion was ultimately unsuccessful, it gravely weakened the Srivijayan hegemony and enabled the formation of regional kingdoms based, like Kediri, on intensive agriculture rather than coastal and long-distance trade.

Srivijaya’s Empire and its neighbors in 900 AD.

Between 1079 and 1088, Chinese records show that Srivijaya sent ambassadors from Jambi and Palembang.[24] In 1079 in particular, an ambassador from Jambi and Palembang each visited China. Jambi sent two more ambassadors to China in 1082 and 1088.[24] This suggests that the centre of Srivijaya frequently shifted between the two major cities during that period.[24] The Chola expedition as well as changing trade routes weakened Palembang, allowing Jambi to take the leadership of Srivijaya from the 11th century on.[25]

According to a Chinese source in the book of Chu-fan-chi[26] written around 1178, Chou-Ju-Kua describe that in Southeast Asia archipelago there was two most powerful and richest kingdoms; Srivijaya and Java (Kediri). In Java he founds that the people adhere two kinds of religions: Buddhism and the religions of Brahmins (Hinduism), while the people of Srivijaya adhere Buddhism. The people of Java are brave and short tempered, dare to put a fight. Their favourite pastimes was cockfighting and pig fighting. The currency was made from the mixture of copper, silver, and tin.

The book of Chu-fan-chi mentioned that Java was ruled by a maharaja, that rules several colonies: Pai-hua-yuan (Pacitan), Ma-tung (Medang), Ta-pen (Tumapel, now Malang), Hi-ning (Dieng), Jung-ya-lu (Hujung Galuh, now Surabaya), Tung-ki (Jenggi, West Papua), Ta-kang (Sumba), Huang-ma-chu (Southwest Papua), Ma-li (Bali), Kulun (Gurun, identified as Gorong or Sorong in West Papua or an island in Nusa Tenggara), Tan-jung-wu-lo (Tanjungpura in Borneo), Ti-wu (Timor), Pingya-i (Banggai in Sulawesi), and Wu-nu-ku (Maluku).

About Srivijaya, Chou-Ju-Kua[27] reported that Srivijaya had 15 colonies and was still the mightiest and wealthiest state in western part of archipelago. Srivijaya’s colony are: Pong-fong (Pahang), Tong-ya-nong (Terengganu), Ling-ya-si-kia (Langkasuka), Kilan-tan (Kelantan), Fo-lo-an (Dungun, eastern part of Malay Peninsula, a town within state of Terengganu), Ji-lo-t’ing (Cherating), Ts’ien-mai (Semawe, Malay Peninsula), Pa-t’a (Sungai Paka, northern part of Malay Peninsula), Tan-ma-ling (Tambralinga, Ligor or Nakhon Si Thammarat, South Thailand), Kia-lo-hi (Grahi, northern part of Malay peninsula), Pa-lin-fong (Palembang), Sin-t’o (Sunda), Lan-wu-li (Lamuri at Aceh), Kien-pi (Jambi) and Si-lan (Cambodia)[20][28].

According to this source in early 13th century Srivijaya still ruled Sumatra, Malay peninsula, and western Java (Sunda). About Sunda, the book describe it further that the port of Sunda (Sunda Kelapa) is really good and strategic, pepper from Sunda is among the best quality. People work on agriculture and their house are build on wooden piles (rumah panggung). However the country was invested by robbers and thieves. In sum, this Chinese source from early 13th century suggested that the Indonesian archipelago was ruled by two great kingdoms, western part was under Srivijaya’s rule, while eastern part was under Kediri domination.

In 1288, Singhasari, the successor of Kediri in Java, conquered Melayu state includes Palembang, Jambi as well as much of Srivijaya during the Pamalayu expedition.

In the year 1293, Majapahit ruled much of Sumatra as the successor of Singhasari. Prince Adityawarman was given responsibilities over Sumatera in 1347 by Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, the third monarch of Majapahit. The rebellion in 1377 was squashed by Majapahit but it left the area of southern Sumatera in chaos and desolation.

In the following years, sedimentation on the Musi river estuary cut the kingdom’s capital off from direct sea access. The strategic disadvantage crippled the trade in the Kingdom’s capital. As the decline continued, Islam made its way to the Aceh region of Sumatra, spreading through contacts with Arab and Indian traders. By the late 13th century, the kingdom of Pasai in northern Sumatra converted to Islam. At the same time, Srivijaya was briefly a tributary state of the Khmer empire and later the Sukhothai kingdom[citation needed]. The last inscription, on which a crown prince, Ananggavarman, son of Adityawarman, is mentioned, dates from 1374.

Several attempts to revive Srivijaya were made by the fleeing princes of Srivijaya. In 1324, a prince of Srivijaya origin, Sri Maharaja Sang Utama Parameswara Batara Sri Tribuwana (Sang Nila Utama) founded the ancient Singapore (Temasek). He maintained control over Temasek for 48 years. Confirmed as ruler over Temasek by an envoy of the Chinese Emperor ca 1366. He was succeeded by his son Paduka Sri Pekerma Wira Diraja (1372–1386) and grandson, Paduka Seri Rana Wira Kerma (1386–1399). In 1401, his great grandson, Paduka Sri Maharaja Parameswara was expelled from Temasek by a Majapahit invasion. He later headed north and founded Sultanate of Malacca in 1402[29]. The Sultanate of Malacca succeeded Srivijaya Empire as a Malay political entity of the archipelago.[30][31]


In the world of commerce, Srivijaya rapidly rose to be a far-flung empire controlling the two passages between India and China, namely the Sunda Strait from Palembang and the Malacca straits from Kedah. Arab accounts state that the empire of the maharaja was so vast that in two years the swiftest vessel could not travel round all its islands, which produced camphor, aloes, cloves, sandal-wood, nutmegs, cardamom and crubebs, ivory, gold and tin, making the maharaja as rich as any king in the Indies.[citation needed]


Although Srivijaya left few archaeological remains and was almost forgotten in the collective memory of the Malay people, the rediscovery of this ancient maritime empire by Coedès back in the 1920s stimulated the notion that it was possible in the past for a widespread political entity to thrive in Southeast Asia.

According to the Malay Annals, Parameswara the founder of Malacca Sultanate claimed to be the member of the Palembang Srivijaya lineage. This suggested that in the 15th century the prestige of Srivijaya still remained and was used as the source for political legitimacy in the region.

Modern Indonesian nationalists have also invoked Srivijaya along with Majapahit, as a source of pride in Indonesia’s past greatness.[32] Srivijaya has become the focus of national pride and regional identity, especially for the people of Palembang, South Sumatra province, and the Malay people as a whole. For the people of Palembang, Srivijaya has also become a source of artistic inspiration for Gending Sriwijaya song and traditional dance. The same situation also happened in southern Thailand, where Sevichai (Srivijaya) dance was recreated in accordance with the art and culture of ancient Srivijaya.

In Indonesia, Srivijaya is a street name in many cities and has become synonymous with Palembang and South Sumatra. Srivijaya University, established in 1960 in Palembang, was named after Srivijaya. Kodam Sriwijaya (a military commando area unit), PT Pupuk Sriwijaya (a fertilizer company), Sriwijaya Post (a Palembang based newspaper), Sriwijaya Air (an airline), Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium, and Sriwijaya F.C. (Palembang football club) were also all named to honor this ancient maritime empire.

List of Rulers

The Maharajas of Srivijaya[20][33]

Date   King’s name   Capital   Stone inscription or embassies to China and events  
683 Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa Srivijaya Kedukan Bukit (682), Talang Tuo (684), and Kota Kapur inscriptions

Malayu conquest, Central Java conquest

702 Indravarman




Embassies 702-716, 724(China)

Embassies to Caliph Muawiyah I and Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz

728 Rudra vikraman




Embassy 728-748
      No information for the period 728-775
790 Dharmasetu or Vishnu Java Nakhon Si Thammarat (Ligor), Vat Sema Muang
775 Dharanindra Java Ligor, started to build Borobudur in 770,

conquered South Cambodia

782 Samaragrawira Java Ligor, Arabian text (790), started to build Borobudur in 770, conquered South Cambodia
792 Samaratungga Java 802 lost Cambodia, 825 completion of Borobudur
835 Balaputradewa Srivijaya


Lost central Java, moved to Srivijaya

Nalanda Inscription (860)

      No information for the period 835-960
960 Çri Udayadityavarman




Embassies 960, 962
980 Haji




Embassies 980-983
988 Sri Culamanivarmadeva




Embassy 988-992-1003

Javanese attack of Srivijaya, building of temple for Chinese Emperor, Tanjore Inscription or Leiden Inscription (1044), gift of village by Raja-raja I

1008 Sri Maravijayottungga




Embassy 1008
1017 Sumatrabhumi Srivijaya


Embassy 1017
1025 Sangramavijayottungga Srivijaya


Captured by Rajendra Chola

Chola Inscription on the temple of Rajaraja, Tanjore

1028 Sri Deva Palembang


Embassy 1028

Building of Tien Ching temple, Kuang Cho (Kanton) for Chinese Emperor

1078 Kulothunga Chola I




Embassy 1079
      No information for the period 1080-1155
1156 Rajaraja Chola II Palembang


Larger Leyden Plates
1183 Srimat Trailokyaraja Maulibhusana Warmadewa Dharmasraya Kingdom Bronze Buddha Chaiya 1183
      No information for the period 1183-1275
1286 Srimat Tribhuwanaraja Mauli Warmadewa Dharmasraya Kingdom Padang Roco Inscription 1286, Pamalayu expedition 1275-1293


Sunda Kingdom

Sunda Kingdom
The territory of Sunda Kingdom
Capital Pakuan Pajajaran, Kawali
Language(s) Sundanese, Sanskrit
Religion Hinduism, Buddhism, Sunda Wiwitan
Government Monarchy
 – Coronation of king Tarusbawa and change the name from Tarumanagara to Sunda 669
 – Lost Sunda Kelapa to Sultanate of Demak in 1527, Sultanate of Banten invasion in 1570s 1579
Currency Native gold and silver coins

 The Sunda Kingdom was a kingdom based on western part of Java from 669 to around 1579, covering areas of present-day Banten, Jakarta, West Java, and the western part of Central Java. According to primary historical records, the Bujangga Manik manuscript the eastern border of the Sunda Kingdom is Pamali River (Ci Pamali, present day Brebes River) and Serayu River (Ci Sarayu) in Central Java. Most of the accounts of Sunda Kingdom came from the primary historical records dated from the sixteenth century.


Padrão of Sunda Kalapa (1522), a stone pillar commemorating the Sunda–Portuguese treaty, Indonesian National Museum, Jakarta.

There is continuous knowledge about the kingdom among Sundanese people that has been kept alive through Sundanese Pantun oral tradition, the chant of poetic verses mostly tells the story of the golden era of Sunda Pajajaran and the legend of King Siliwangi, the popular king of Sunda.

Most of the account and records of Sunda kingdom came from ancient manuscripts dated from later period, such as Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Kidung Sunda, Bujangga Manik, and Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara. Several stone inscriptions also mentioned the kingdom, such as Jayabupati, Kawali, and Batutulis.

Historical resources from the Sunda kingdom

The earliest time a reference to the name Sunda being used to identify a kingdom is written on the Prasasti Kebon Kopi II stone inscription of 458 Saka (536 AD). The inscription was in old Javanese script; however, the language used was old Malay language. The inscription translates as follows:

This memorial stone is to remark the saying of Rakryan Juru Pangambat (Royal Hunter), in 458 Saka, that the order of government is returned to the power of king of Sunda.

Some people have an opinion that the year of the inscription must be read as 854 Saka (932 AD) because they think it is not possible that the Sunda kingdom existed in 536 AD, in the era of the Kingdom of Tarumanagara (358-669 AD).

Another reference to the kingdom is the Jayabupati inscription which consist of 40 lines written on 4 pieces of stone. These 4 stones were found in the Cicatih river bank in Cibadak, Sukabumi. The inscriptions is written in old Javanese script. Now the four inscriptions are stored at National Museum Jakarta, with code D 73 (Cicatih), D 96, D 97 and D 98. The contents of the inscriptions (according Pleyte):

Peace and well-being. In the year of Saka 952 (1030 AD), Kartika month on the 12th day on the light part, Hariang day, Kaliwon, first day, Wuku Tambir. Today is the day that king of Sunda Maharaja Sri Jayabupati Jayamanahen Wisnumurti Samarawijaya Sakalabuwanamandaleswaranindita Haro Gowardhana Wikramottunggadewa, makes his marks on eastern part of this Sanghiyang Tapak (insribed stone). Made by Sri Jayabupati King of Sunda. And may there be nobody allowed to break this law. In this part of river catching fish is forbidden, in the sacred area of Sanghyang Tapak near the source of the river. Up until the border of sacred Sanghyang Tapak marked by two big tree. So this inscriptions is made, enforced with an oath. Whoever breaks the law will be punished by these supranatural beings, die in horrible way like their brain being sucked, blood being drunk, intestines being destroyed, and chest is split in two. O being known by thee.., all the spirits.

The date of the Jayabupati inscription is suggested on October 11, 1030. According to Pustaka Nusantara, Parwa III sarga 1, Sri Jayabupati reigned for 12 years (952 – 964) saka (1030 – 1042AD). The style of the inscriptions revealing East Javanese style whether letters, language, and style, and the noble name of the king.

Copperplate letters of the fifteenth century with royal instructions also explains the existence of the Sunda kingdom. The copperplate inscription of Prasasti Kebantenan I (Jayagiri) reads that Raja Rahyang Niskala Wastu Kancana sent an order through Hyang Ningrat Kancana to the Susuhunan of Pakuan Pajajaran to take care of dayohan in Jayagiri and Sunda Sembawa. The text expressively mentions a ban on issuing regulations aimed at taking any taxes from the people there because they all are very knowledgeable in (Hindu) religion and they worship the gods.

Prasasti Kebantenan II (Sunda Sembawa I) copperplate has the inscription announcing the approval of Sri Baduga Maharaja (1482–1521), the king staying in Pakuan, of a sacred estate (tanah devasasana); the borders of which are already established, and that ground must not be distributed because devasana harbors facilitates for worship, which belong to the king. The text also tells that this restricted area was put at the disposal of the wiku (priests).

Prasasti Kebantenan III (Sunda Sembawa II) copperplate contains announcement of approval from the king of Sunda and sanctions of holy construction in Sunda Sembawa, which should be cared for and not being disturbed because the area stipulated is the residential area of the wiku (priests). If anyone dares to enter that area in sunda Sembawa, they are to be killed.

Prasasti Kebantenan IV (Gunung Samaya) inscription says that Sri Baduga Maharaja, who is ruling in Pakuan, sanctions a sacred place (tanah devasana) at Gunung (Mount Samya (Rancamaya), the borders of which are already established. Anyone entering was forbidden to disturb this area, and the imposition of taxes and other levies was prohibited because the area contained places of worship, which belonged to the king.

Historical resources from China

According to F. Hirt and W. W. Rockhill, there is certain Chinese sources concerning the Sunda kingdom. At the time of the Southern Sung Dynasty, the inspector of trade with foreign countries, Chan Ju-kua collected reports from sailors and merchants who had actually visited foreign countries. In his Report on Far countries, Chu-fan-chi, written from 1178 to 1225 AD, the deep water harbor of Sin-t’o (Sunda) is mentioned. Chu-fan-chi reported that:

All along the shores, people are dwelling. The people are working in agriculture, their houses are on poles and the roofs are thatched with the bark of the leaves of palm trees and the walls were made with wooden boards tied together with rattan. Both men and women wrap round their loins a piece of cotton, and in cutting their hair they only leave it half an inch long. The pepper grown on the hills (of this country) is small-grained, but heavy and superior to that of Ta-pan (eastern Java). The country produces pumpkins, sugar cane, bottle-guards, beans and egg-plants. As, however, there is no regular government in this country, the people are given to brigandage, on which account foreign traders rarely go there.

Chinese book “shun-feng hsiang-sung” from about 1430 AD tell:

In this voyage eastward from Sunda, along the north oast of Java, ships steered 97 1/2o for three watches to make Kalapa; they then followed the coast (past Tanjung Indramayu), finally steering 187 1/2o for four watches to reach Cirebon. Ships from Banten proceeded eastward along the north coast of Java, past Kalapa, past Indramayu head, past Cirebon.

The Portuguese report dated from later period of the kingdom shortly before the fall of the kingdom to Sultanate of Banten forces.

Historical resources from European explorer

European explorers also report the existence of the Sunda kingdom. One of the explorers was Tomé Pires from Portuguese. In his report “Summa Oriental (1513–1515)” he wrote that:

Some people affirm that the Sunda kingdom take up half of the whole island of Java; others, to whom more authority is attributed, say that the Sunda kingdom must be a third part of the island and an eight more. It ends at the river chi Manuk. The river intersects the whole island from sea to sea in such away that when the people of Java describe their own country, they say that it is bounded to the west by island of Sunda. The people hold that whoever passes this strait (the river Cimanuk) into the South Sea is carried off by violent currents and unable to return.

Formation and growth

According to Wangsakerta manuscript, king Tarusbawa from Sunda Sambawa, a vasal kingdom of Tarumanagara, had succeeded his father in-law as the 13th king of Tarumanagara. At the same time, Tarumanagara’s prestige and power had been declining, likely due to the series of invasions from Srivijaya. Wishing to restore the glory of King Purnawarman that reigned from Purasaba (capital city) of Sundapura, in 670 AD he changed the name of Tarumanagara to Sunda kingdom. This event confirmed by a Chinese source that mentioned the last time Tarumanaga sent their envoy was in 669 AD. Tarusbawa did send his emissary to the Chinese Emperor at the time to informed his ascension to the throne in 669 AD. He was crowned on the date 9 on full moon on Jesta month in 591 Saka, or corresponds to 18 May 669 AD.

Separation of Galuh and Sunda Kingdom

Citarum River separates Sunda and Galuh

According to the Wangsakerta manuscript, the establishment of the Sunda Kingdom was used as an excuse by Wretikandayun, the lord of Galuh, another former vasal kingdom of Tarumanagara to break eastern Taruma apart from Tarusbawa’s Sunda. Since the crown prince of Galuh is the son in-law of Queen Sima of Kalingga, a Hindu kingdom in central Java, Wretikandayun with the support from Kalingga demands that the remnant of what was known as Tarumanagara‘s territory should be divided into two kingdoms. Finding himself in an unfortunate position and unwilling to risk a civil war, King Tarusbawa granted Wretikandayun’s demand. In 670 AD Tarumanagara is divided into two kingdoms: the Sunda Kingdom in the west, and the Galuh Kingdom the east, separated by the Tarum (Citarum) River.

Sanna and Purbasora

Tarusbawa is the good friend of Bratasena or Sena (709 – 716), the third king of Galuh. He also known as Sanna, as mentioned in Canggal inscription (732 AD), uncle of Sanjaya. This friendship encourage Tarusbawa to took Sanjaya as his son in-law. Bratasenawa (Sanna or Sena) is surpassed from Galuh throne by Purbasora in 716. Purbasora is the grandson of Wretikandayun from his eldest son, Batara Danghyang Guru Sempakwaja, the founder of Galunggung kingdom. On the other hand Sena is also grandson of Wretikandayun from his youngest son, Mandiminyak, the second king of Galuh (702-709 AD).

Actually Purbasora and Sena is brothers from same mother because the affair between Mandiminyak and Sempakwaja’s wife. Sempakwaja can not succeeded his father because he is toothless, a shameful physical handicap considered unsuitable to be king at that time. That’s why his younger brother has inherited the Galuh throne from Wretikandayun. However, the son of Sempakwaja still felt deserved to the throne of Galuh. Moreover King Sena has doubtful scandalous origin that fueled Purbasora rebellion and determination to took Galuh throne from Sena.

With the aid of his father in-law, King Indraprahasta, from a kingdom near present day Cirebon, Purbasora launch his coup on Galuh throne. Defeated Sena flee to Kalingga, the kingdom of his wife’s grandmother, Queen Shima.

Reunification of Sunda and Galuh

Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom coexisted under a strange and complex relationship. At times the two kingdoms united as the Sunda kingdom under the same king, at others they separated with different kings. They would finally unify as the Sunda kingdom under the same king.

Since the crown prince of Sunda died before King Tarusbawa, Princess Tejakencana (the daughter of crown prince) was hailed as heiress of Sunda. She married to Rakeyan Jamri, who was a son of Bratasenawa (the third king of Galuh kingdom and a son of Wretikandayun) and princess Sanaha (from Kalingga). In 723 Jamri surpassed Tarusbawa to be the second king of Sunda. As the lord of Sunda he was known as Prabu Harisdarma and when he acquired the throne of Galuh he was known as Sanjaya.

The two kingdoms united as the Sunda kingdom under kings:

  • Sanjaya (723 – 732 AD) with capital city in Kawali Galuh (present-day ciamis City)
  • Tamperan or Rakeyan Panaraban (in 732 – 739 AD) with capital in Kawali Galuh
  • Wuwus (819 – 891 AD) with capital city in Pakuan (present-day Bogor City)
  • Darmaraksa (891 – 895 AD) with capital in Pakuan
  • Prabu Guru Darmasiksa with capital city in Sawunggalah (present-day Kuningan city)
  • Rakeyan Jayadarma resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Ragasuci (1297–1303 AD) resided in Saunggalah
  • Prabu Citraganda (1303–1311 AD) resided in Pakuan
  • Prabu Lingga Dewata (1311–1333 AD) might be resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Ajiguna Wisesa (1333–1340 AD) resided in Kawali.
  • Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana (1340–1357 AD) resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Mangkubumi Suradipati/Prabu Bunisora (1357–1371 AD) resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Raja Wastu/Niskala Wastu Kancana (1371–1475 AD) resided in Kawali
  • Sri Baduga Maharaja (1482 to 1521 AD) resided in Pakuan

Sanjaya and Balangantrang

Sanjaya, the son of Sannaha (sister of Sena), determined to take revenge to Purbasora’s family. He ask the help of Tarusbawa, friend of Sena. His wish is put to realisation when he become the king of Sunda, reigning on behalf of his wife.

He has prepared a special force placed on Gunung Sawal area with the help of Rabuyut Sawal, also dear friend of Sena. This special force is led by Sanjaya, while Sunda army is led by Patih Anggada. The raid is launced at nightfal is surprise attack. Almost all of Purbasora’s family is wiped out, except Bimaraksa, Purbasora’s son in-law, the minister of Galuh that escaped with just a handful of guards.

Bimaraksa also known as Ki Balangantrang, he is the Senapati (army general) of the kingdom. Balangantrang also the grandson of Wretikandayun from his second son, Resi Guru Jantaka or Rahyang Kidul, he also considered unfit to be the successor of Wretikandayun because he suffer hernia. Balangantrang hide in Gègèr Sunten village and rising anti-Sanjaya forces. He is supported by kings of Kuningan also the remnants of Indraprahasta army. Indraphrasta has been annihilates by Sanjaya as the revenge for their aid, helping Purbasora to ousts Sena.

Sena has asked Sanjaya to honor all of Galuh royal family, except Purbasora. Sanjaya himself is not interested to reign Galuh. He just attack it to fulfill his godfather’s wish to took revenge on Purbasora’s family. After defeating Purbasora, Sanjaya ask his uncle, Sempakwaja, in Galunggung to order Demunawan, younger brother of Purbasora, to reign in Galuh. But Sempakwaja decline his fearing this only Sanjaya’s trick to annihilate Demunawan.

Sanjaya himself can not reach Balangantrang whereabout. So he accepted his rights on Galuh throne. Realize he is unwelcomed in Galuh court, and also he is a Sunda King that must reside in Pakuan, he put Premana Dikusuma, grandson of Purbasora in charge of Galuh. Premana Dikusuma at that time is placed as vassal king. In the age 43 years old (born on 683 AD), he’s already known as Rsi or aeschetic monk because his passion on learning spiritual teaching since young age, he also known as Bagawat Sajalajaya.

Sanjaya also had legitimate right to Kalingga’s throne (from his grandmother’s side). Thus in 732 AD he chose to live in Kalingga (in the northern part of central Java) and later established the Mataram Kingdom and Sanjaya Dynasty. In 732 he gave his right of western Java to his son from Tejakencana, Prince Tamperan (Rakeyan Panaraban). Rakeyan was a halfbrother of Rakai Panangkaran, Sanjaya’s son from Sudiwara (daughter of Dewasinga, king of southern Kalingga).

Rakeyan Jayadarma

According to Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara parwa II sarga 3: Rakeyan Jayadarma is the son-in-law of Mahisa Campaka of Singhasari. Prince Jayadharma married Dyah Singamurti alias Dyah Lembu Tal. Sangrama Wijaya (Raden Wijaya), the first King of Majapahit, is the son of Sunda King; Rakeyan Jayadharma. Except for Gajah Mada who insisted to incorporated the Sunda kingdom within Majapahit realm, this is the likely reason why Majapahit kings were reluctant to attack the Sunda kingdom. Thus there was some sacred alliance between the Sunda kingdom and Majapahit kingdom.

Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana

He resided in Kawali Galuh. He died in the Bubat War, Majapahit, in 1357 against the conspiracy crafted by the Majapahit prime minister, Gajah Mada. The prelude of the tragedy was started with the intention of Hayam Wuruk, the king of Majapahit to marry princess Dyah Pitaloka (also known as Citraresmi), a daughter of Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana. The Sunda king and his royal family came to Majapahit, sailing through the Java Sea, to accompany and marry his daughter with Hayam Wuruk. The Sunda party erected the encampment on Bubat square in northern part of Trowulan, Majapahit capital city, and awaited the proper wedding ceremony. However Gajah Mada saw this event as an opportunity to demand Sunda’s submission to Majapahit overlordship, and insisted that instead of become the queen of Majapahit, the princess was to be presented as a token of submission and treated as mere concubine for the Majapahit king. Sunda king was angered and felt humiliated by Gajah Mada’s demand.

As a result there was a skirmish between the Sunda royal family and the Majapahit army to defend their honour. The royal family were decimated by the Majapahit army. Almost whole of the Sundanese royal party including the princess were perished in this tragedy. Tradition mentioned that Princess Dyah Pitaloka committed suicide, took her own life to defend the honor and pride of her country. After his death, Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana was revered by Sundanese as Prabu Wangi (lit. king with pleasant fragrance) because of his heroic act to defend his honor against Majapahit, and his descendants, the later kings of Sunda, were called Siliwangi (lit. successor of Wangi). The story of the Bubat War is the main theme of the book Kidung Sunda.

Sri Baduga Maharaja

He is a grandchild of Prabu Wastu Kancana or Prabu Niskala Wastu, one of Prabu Wangi’s sons. Sri Baduga Maharaja is popularly known as Prabu Siliwangi through traditional Sundanese oral tradition of Pantun. He moved the government seat from Kawali back to Pakuan in 1482. Based on Prasasti Kebantenan copperplate inscription, he established a sacred estate (tanah devasasana) at Mount Samya (Rancamaya) and ordered that anyone entering was forbidden to disturb this area and the imposition of taxes and other levies was prohibited because devasana contained facilities for worship, which belonged to the king. He also announced that holy construction in Sunda Sembawa, which should be cared for and be undisturbed because the area stipulated is the residential area of the wiku (priests). According to Batutulis inscription, Sri Baduga Maharaja built defensive moat surrounding Pakuan Pajajaran capital city; built “gugunungan” (sacred mounds), he established huts and sacred Samya forest, reserves for wood destined for offerings, and he established the Talaga Rena Mahawijaya Lake. Certainly, there was a good road to Sunda Kalapa (present-day Jakarta Metropolitan city) too, the most important harbor of the Sunda kingdom. At the time of the visit of Tome Pirés in Pakuan, Sri Baduga Maharaja reigned over the Sunda kingdom (1482 to 1521).

The year of his coronation in 1482, has been stipulated at the birth date of the present-day city of Bogor. However, there was certainly an important settlement there long before, and Pakuan had already been declared the capital of the Sunda kingdom under previous kings of Sunda. The reign of Sri Baduga Maharaja or Prabu Siliwangi was hailed as the “golden age” of Sundanese people. It was the era when the kingdom was able to consolidate its rule and exercise its power throughout western part of Java and the surrounding area. It was also marked the era of great wealth and prosperity owed to efficient agriculture management and thriving pepper spice trade in the region. However unfortunately this era of great wealth also marked the beginning of Sunda kingdom’s decline.


Kingdom of Sunda anxiously watched the growing influence of the expansive Islamic Sultanate of Demak that finally succeed to destroy Majapahit in 1500s. Because of this event, only Blambangan in the eastern edge of Java, and Sunda in the western part that remains as Hindu kingdoms in Java. The pressure from coastal Java Islamic states has driven the king of Sunda, Sri Baduga Maharaja, to sought assistance from the Portuguese at Malacca. Therefore, in 1512 and again in 1521, he sent his son, the crown prince Prabu Surawisesa also known as Ratu Sang Hiang (Portuguese heard it as Samian) to Malacca in order to invite the Portuguese to sign a peace treaty, to trade in pepper, and to build a fort at his main port of Sunda Kalapa.

Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa, and Sunda – Portuguese Treaty in 1522

After Sri Baduga Maharaja’s death in 1521, the succeeding kings, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa alias Ratu Sang Hiang (by the Portuguese called Ratu Samian), faced the threat of expansion by expansive Sultanate of Banten and Demak. Under this threat, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa, who reigned over the kingdom from 1521 to 1535, concluded the treaty with Portuguese from Malacca to establish a warehouse and fortress at Sunda Kelapa in return for protection against the expansive forces.

By 1522, the Portuguese were ready to form a coalition with the King of Sunda in order to get access to his profitting pepper trade. The commander of the fortress of Malacca at that time was still Jorge de Albuquerque. He sent a ship, the São Sebastião, under Captain Henrique Leme, to Sunda Kalapa with valuable gifts for the king of Sunda. Two written sources describe the concluding of the treaty in detail. One is the original Portuguese document of 1522 with the text of the treaty and the signatories of the witnesses, and the other is a report on that event by João de Barros in his book Da Ásia, printed not before 1777/78.
According to these sources, the king welcome them warmly upon their arrival. The crown Prince (1512 and 1521) had succeeded his father and was now King Prabu Surawisesa with his title Ratu Samiam (Sang Hiang). Barros called him King Samião. This Sunda ruler agreed to an arrangement of friendship with the King of Portugal and decided to grant a fortress at the mouth of the Ciliwung River where the Portuguese could load as many ships as they wished with pepper. In addition, he pledged that from the day when the building of the fortress began, each year he would donate one thousand sacks of pepper to the Portuguese king (that is more than 20 tons). The contract document was drafted into two copies and signed. On the said day, Henrique Leme of Portuguese and his entourage together with deputies of the King of Sunda, erected a commemoration stone, called Padrão at the mouth of the Ciliwung River in 1522 AD.

This trade and defense treaty with the Portuguese from 1522, which is called Luso Sundanese Treaty, lacked its realization because the Portuguese failed to keep their promise to construct the fortress because of troubles in Goa India and Fatahillah had conquered Sunda Kalapa harbour just before the Portuguese arrived back there.

The army of Paletehan alias Fadillah Khan (1487–1570), comprising around 1452 troops from Cirebon-Demak alliance, had forcefully conquered Sunda Kalapa The commander of the Sunda kingdom and his troops fell to them. The harbor chief and his family, the royal minister, and all of the people working in the harbor, lost their lives. Most of the city was destroyed, as the reinforcements sent in from Pakuan realized that their forces were too weak and retreated. Sunda Kalapa Harbour was named as Jayakarta or Jakarta.

Thirty Portuguese sailors, who had been shipwrecked by storm, swam to the beach at Kalapa only to be killed by Fadillah Khan’s men. The Portuguese recognized the political leadership had changed when they were not allowed to set foot on the land. As they were too weak for a battle, they set sail back to Malacca. The next year, a second attempt failed because of striking sailors who were angry at not having been paid.

The war between Cirebon-Demak alliance and the Sunda kingdom lasted almost five years. The king lost 1000 of his troops. Finally, in 1531 a peace treaty was concluded between king Surawisesa and Syarif Hidayatullah.

Prabu Surawisesa established the Prasasti Batutulis inscription stone in 1533 AD to commemorate his great father. Because of ongoing battles, he often could not stay in his palace in Pakuan Pajajaran.

After Prabu Surawisesa, other kings who ruled Sunda Kingdom were:

  • From 1535 to 1543: Ratu Dewata, alias Sang Ratu Jaya Dewata, was his successor but not Prabu Surawisesa’s son.
  • From 1543 to 1551: Ratu Sakti. He was the fourth Pajajaran king in Pakuan.
  • From 1551 to 1567: King Nilakendra, alias Tohaan di Majaya. Because of ongoing battles, he could not stay in the kraton. The last kings of Sunda could no longer reside in Pakuan Pajajaran because 1550s Hasanuddin, sultan of Banten launch the attack to Dayeuh Pakuan.
  • From 1567 to 1579, under the last king Raja Mulya, alias Prabu Surya Kencana, the kingdom declined essentially, particularly after 1576 due to expansive pressure, and finally collapsed in 1579. In Carita Parahyangan, his name is Nusa Mulya. He lived in Pulasari, Pandeglang, or in Kaduhejo, Menes Subdistrict, at the slope of Mount Palasari. Then the Sultanate of Banten ruled most of the former Sunda Kingdom territory.

Center of Power

Location of Pakuan Pajajaran copied from book “Kabudayaan Sunda Zaman Pajajaran” Part 2″, 2005)

Throughout the history of Sunda kingdom, the center of power is often shifted between two courts: Pakuan Pajajaran, the capital of Sunda; and Kawali, the capital of Galuh.


The capital of Galuh kingdom was in the area now known as Karang Kamulyan, Ciamis, around the town of Kawali. The city was located on eastern slope of Sawal mount near the source of Citanduy river. Kawali inscription was discovered here. According to tradition the keraton in Kawali is called Surawisesa. Kawali served as the capital of the kingdom for several generations until Sri Baduga Maharaja moved the government back to Pakuan in 1482.

Pakuan Pajajaran

After the fall of Tarumanagara in 7th century, King Tarusbawa built a new capital city inland near the source of Cipakancilan river in present day Bogor. According to Carita Parahyangan, a manuscript from 15-16th century, king Tarusbawa was only mentioned as Tohaan (Lord/King) of Sunda. He was the ancestor of a series of Sunda kings that reigned until 723 AD. Pakuan served as capital of Sunda during the reign of several kings, and the court shifted to Kawali for most of the times until Sri Baduga Maharaja moved the court from Kawali back to Pakuan. After Sri Baduga Maharaja, the capital city of the Sunda kingdom remained in Pakuan until the end of the kingdom and the fall of the city to Sultanate of Banten in 1550s.

Because Pakuan, the capital city of the Sunda kingdom laid between two parallel rivers, Ciliwung and Cisadane, it was called Pajajaran (lit. place laid between two parallel things) or Pakuan Pajajaran. Although primary local and European historical record noted that the kingdom in western part of Java island is the Sunda Kingdom. Sundanese, especially after the establishment of the Sultanate of Banten and The Sultanate of Cirebon, called the kingdom in this region minus the sultanates as Pakuan Pajajaran Kingdom, or named shortly Pakuan Kingdom or Pajajaran Kingdom. The later name is more familiar for people resided in West Java and also in Mataram region (current Yogyakarta and Solo).


The 8th century Cangkuang temple, cultural heritage of Galuh Kingdom

The culture of the people in Sunda kingdom was a mixture of Sunda Wiwitan; a native shamanism belief, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Several intact prehistoric megalithic sites such as Cipari site in Kuningan and Pangguyangan menhir and stepped pyramid in Cisolok, Sukabumi, suggests that native shamanic animism and dynamism beliefs still alive and well next to Hinduism and Buddhism influences. The native belief of Sunda Wiwitan still persist to become the way of life for Baduy or Kanekes people that resist islamization and foreign influences. Hindu influence was absorbed since the dawn of Tarumanagara. The Cangkuang Hindu temple in Leles, Garut, dated from 8th century was dedicated for Shiva and built during the Galuh kingdom. Buddhist influence probably made their way to West Java through the Srivijaya conquest, the empire dominated West Java until 11th century. The brick stupas in Batujaya is the evidence of Buddhist influence in West Java, while nearby Cibuaya sites show Hinduim influence.

The culture of Sunda kingdom was heavily centered on agricultural activity, especially rice cultivation. Naturally Nyi Sri Pohaci or Sanghyang Asri, the goddess of rice, is considered and revered as the main deity or the highest goddess within Sundanese pantheon. The priest was concerning about the religious ceremonies and the king with his subjects participated in annual ceremonies and festivals such as the blessing of the rice seeds ceremonies and harvest festival. The annual Seren Taun rice harvest festival still can be found today in traditional Sundanese communities.

According to Bujangga Manik manuscript, the courtly culture of Sunda kraton and its noble’s etiquette in Pakuan Pajajaran was quite sophisticated and refined. However no traces and remains of palace or buildings survived in the former capital, probably because most were constructed from organic wooden materials and had decayed eversince.

The Portuguese source provide the glimpse of the culture and custom of Sunda kingdom. In his report “Summa Oriental (1513–1515)” Tomé Pires wrote:

Sunda kingdom is very rich. The land of Sunda has as much as four thousands horses which come there from Priaman (Sumatera) and other islands to be sold. It has up to forty elephants; these are for the king’s array. An inferior gold, of six carats, is found. There is abundance tamarinds which serve the native for vinegar. The city where the king is most of the year is the great city of Dayo. The city has well-built houses of the palm leaf and wood. They say that the king’s house has three hundred and thirty wooden pillars as thick as a wine cask, and five fathoms (8 m) high, and beautiful timber work on the top of the pillars, and a very well-built house. The city is two days journey from the chief port, which is called Kalapa. The people of Sunda are said to be truthful. They, with great city of Dayo, the town and lands and port of Bantam, the port of Pontang, the port of Cheguide, the port of Tangaram, the Port of Tangaram, the port of Calapa, the port of chi Manuk. are justly governed. The king is a great sportsman and hunter. The kingdom descends from father to son. The women are handsome, and those of the nobles chaste, which is not the case with those of the lower classes. There are monasteries of convents for the women, into which the nobles put their daughters, when they cannot match them in marriage according to their wishes. The married women, when their husband die, must, as point of honour, die with them, and if they should be afraid of death they put into the convents. The inhabitants are not very warlike, much addicted to their idolatries. They are fond of rich arms, ornamented with gold and inlaid work. Their krises are gilt, and also the point of their lances. The people of the sea coast get along well with the merchants in the land. They are accustomed to trade. These people of Sunda very often come to Malacca to trade. They bring cargo lancharas, ships of a hundred and fifty tons. Sunda has up to six junks and many lancharas of the sunda kind, with masts like a crane, and steps between each so that they are easy to navigate.


The economy of Sunda kingdom rely highly on agriculture, especially rice cultivation. It is clearly reflected in Sundanese culture and annual cycle of activity which incorporated ceremony of crop seeding and Seren Taun rice harvest festival. The harvest ceremony also functioned as the means for king’s official to collect tax from surrounding villages and his subjects in the form of rice that can be stored in state’s Leuit (rice barn). However the kingdom also well known as the world’s main producer of high quality pepper. The kingdom was participated in spice trade network in the archipelago.

Other Portuguese explorer, Diogo do Couto, also wrote that the Sunda kingdom is thriving and abundant; it lies between Java and Sumatra, having between it and the latter Sunda Strait. Many islands lie along the coast of this kingdom within the strait, for nearly the space of forty leagues[vague], which in the widest are about twenty-five, and in others only twelve leagues, which in the widest are about twenty-five, and in others only twelve leagues[vague] broad. Bantam is about the middle distance. All the islands are well timbered, but have little water. A small one called Macar, at the entrance of Sunda Strait, is said to have much gold.

He also noted that the principle ports of the Sunda kingdom were Banten, Ache, Chacatara (Jakarta), to which every year resort about twenty sommas, which are a kind of vessel belonging to Chienheo (Cochin China), out of the maritime province of China, to load pepper, for this kingdom produces eight thousand bahars, which are equal to 3,000,000 kg of pepper annually.

Bantam is situated at 6° south latitude, in the middle of a fine bay, which is three leagues from point to point. The town in length, stretching landward, is eight hundreed and fifty fathoms[vague], and the seaport extends about 400. A river capable of admitting jungs and gallies, flow through the middle of the town: a small branch of this river admits boats and small craft.

There is a brick fort, the walls of which are seven palms thick, with wooden bulwarks, armed with two tiers of artillery. The anchorage is good; in some places a muddy, in others a sandy bottom, the depth from two to sixt fathoms.


Although the kingdom of Sunda left little archaeological remains, the memory about the kingdom was kept alive within the culture of Sundanese people through Pantun oral tradition, the chant of poetic verses. Sunda kingdom is revered as the prosperous and glorious golden age. The historical identity and the source of pride for Sundanese people, the same as Majapahit for Javanese people. The pantun that mentioned Sunda Kingdom (popularly known as Pakuan or Pajajaran):

Talung-talung keur pajajaran. Jaman keur aya keneh kuwerabekti. Jaman guru bumi dipusti-pusti. Jaman leungit tangtu eusina metu. Euweuh anu tani kudu ngijon. Euweuh anu tani nandonkeun karang. Euweuh anu tani paeh ku jenkel. Euweuh anu tani modar ku lapar (Pantun Bogor: Kujang di Hanjuang siang, Sutaarga 1984:47)

Translation: It was better during Pajajaran era. The era where Kuwera (the god of wealth) was still revered. The era when the earth guru was still honored. The era when something lost will be appeared (returned to the owner). There was no farmer have to took the loan. There was no farmer have to sell their lands. There was no farmer dying in vain. There was no farmer died in hunger.

Dinegara Pakuan sarugih. Murah sandang sarta murah pangan. Ku sakabeh geus loba pare. Berekahna Dewa Guru anu matak kabeh sarugih. Malah ka nagri lain geus kakocap manjur. Dewa Guru miwarangan ka Ki Semar: “maneh Semar geura Indit, leumpangan ka nagri pakuan!” (Wawacan Sulanjana: Plyte 1907:88)

Translation: In the prosperous kingdom of Pakuan. (People) satisfied their needs of clothes and foods. Everybody have a lot of rice. The blessing of Dewa Guru so everybody is rich. As far as to other lands the fame has spread. Dewa Guru has ordered Ki Semar: Semar, go to the kingdom of Pakuan!

Several streets in major Indonesian cities, especially in West Java, was named after Sundanese kings and Sunda Kingdom. Padjadjaran University in Bandung was named after Pakuan Pajajaran, the capital and also the popular name for Sunda Kingdom. The TNI Siliwangi Military Division and Siliwangi Stadium was named after King Siliwangi, the eponymous popular king of Sunda corresponded to Sri Baduga Maharaja.

List of rulers

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Based on Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, the most probable timeline for the rulers of the Sunda kingdom is as follows:

Period King’s name Ruler of Capital    
669 – 723 Tarusbawa Sunda Pakuan    
612 – 702 Wretikandayun Galuh Galuh    
702 – 709 Mandiminyak Galuh Galuh    
709 – 716 Sena/Bratasena Galuh Galuh    
716 – 723 Purbasora Galuh Galuh    
723 – 732 Sanjaya/Harisdarma/Rakeyan Jamri Sunda, Galuh, and Mataram Pakuan    
732 – 739 Rakeyan Panaraban/Tamperan Barmawijaya Sunda and Galuh Galuh    
739 – 766 Rakeyan Banga Sunda Pakuan    
766 – 783 Rakeyan Medang Prabu Hulukujang Sunda Pakuan    
783 – 795 Prabu Gilingwesi Sunda Pakuan    
795 – 819 Pucukbumi Darmeswara Sunda Pakuan    
819 – 891 Prabu Gajah Kulon Rakeyan Wuwus Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
891 – 895 Prabu Darmaraksa Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
895 – 913 Windusakti Prabu Dewageng Sunda Pakuan    
913 – 916 Rakeyan Kemuning Gading Prabu Pucukwesi Sunda Pakuan    
916 – 942 Rakeyan Jayagiri Prabu Wanayasa Sunda Pakuan    
942 – 954 Prabu Resi Atmayadarma Hariwangsa Sunda Pakuan    
954 – 964 Limbur Kancana Sunda Pakuan    
964 – 973 Prabu Munding Ganawirya Sunda Pakuan    
973 – 989 Prabu Jayagiri Rakeyan Wulung Gadung Sunda Pakuan    
989 – 1012 Prabu Brajawisesa Sunda Pakuan    
1012–1019 Prabu Dewa Sanghyang Sunda Pakuan    
1019–1030 Prabu Sanghyang Ageng Sunda and Galuh Galuh    
1030–1042 Prabu Detya Maharaja Sri Jayabupati Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
1042–1064 Dharmaraja Sunda and Galuh Galuh    
1064–1154 Prabu Langlangbhumi/Sang Mokteng Kreta Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
1154–1156 Rakeyan Jayagiri/Prabu Menakluhur Langlangbhumisutah Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
1156–1175 Prabu Dharmakusumah/Sang Mokteng Winduraja Sunda and Galuh Galuh    
1175–1297 Prabu Guru Dharmasiksa Sunda and Galuh Saunggalah,Pakuan    
1297–1303 Rakeyan Saunggalah/Prabu Ragasuci Sunda and Galuh Saunggalah    
1303–1311 Prabu Citraganda/Sang Mokteng Tanjung Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
1311–1333 Prabu Lingga Dewata/Sang Mokteng Kikis Sunda and Galuh Kawali    
1333–1340 Prabu Ajigunawisesa/Sang Mokteng Kiding Sunda and Galuh Kawali    
1340–1350 Prabu Ragamulya Luhurprabhawa/Aki Kolot Sunda and Galuh Kawali    
1350–1357 Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana/Prabu Wangi Sunda and Galuh Kawali    
1357–1371 Mangkubumi Suradipati/Prabu Bunisora Sunda and Galuh Kawali    
1371–1475 Prabu Raja Wastu/Niskala Wastu Kancana/ Sang Mokteng Nusalarang Sunda and Galuh Kawali    
1475–1482 Prabu Susuk tunggal Sunda Pakuan    
1475–1482 Ningratkancana/Prabu Dewa Niskala Galuh Kawali    
1482–1521 Sri Baduga Maharaja/Ratu Jayadewata/ Prabu Siliwangi Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
1521–1535 Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa/Ratu Sang Hiang Sunda and Galuh Pakuan  
1535–1543 Ratu Dewata/Sang Ratu Jaya Dewata Sunda and Galuh Pakuan    
1543–1551 Ratu Sakti Sunda and Galuh Pakuan  
1551–1567 Nilakendra/Tohaan di Majaya Sunda Pakuan, Pulasari    
1567–1579 Raja Mulya/Prabu Surya Kencana Sunda Pulasari