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Indonesia History - Sunda / Pajajaran - 670-1579

The enchanting land of Sunda stretches from the Sunda Strait in the West to the borders of Central Java in the east. The region is primarily mountainous, with rich green valleys hugging lofty volcanic peaks, many of which surround the capital of the province, Bandung. The history of West Java is a story of trade, spices, and the rise and fall of powerful kingdoms.

In 670 AD, Tarumanagara was split into two, Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom, separated by Citarum River. Kings who reigned Sunda Kingdom were the offspring of King Tarusbawa, King Linggawarman’s son-in-law. King Tarusbawa, who controlled Sunda Kingdom until 723 AD, founded a new capital for the kingdom in a hinterland near the upper course of Cipakancilan. In 732 AD, King Tarusbawa later was succeeded by the second king of Sunda Kingdom, King Harisdarma, his son-in-law. The latter conquered Galuh Kingdom and he was better known as King Sanjaya. As King Sanjaya was also the heir of Kalingga’s throne, he became the ruler of North Kalingga which was also known as Mataram Hindu, in Central Java, in 732 AD. He bequeathed the kingdom in West Java to his son, Rakai Panaraban. His other son, Rakai Panangkaran, inherited the Mataram Hindu Kingdom.

In the late 1500’s the region was ruled from mighty Cirebon, which still survives as a sultanate today, although a shadow of its former glory. West Java was one of the first contact points in Indonesia for Indian traders and their cultural influences and it was here that the Dutch and British first set foot in the archipelago.

The Sultanate of Demak from central Java grew into an immediate threat to Sunda kingdom. To defend against this threat, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa signed a treaty with Portugal in 1512 (the Luso Sundanese Treaty). In return, the Portuguese were granted an accession to build fortresses and warehouses in the area, as well as trading agreement with the kingdom. This first international treaty of West Java with the Europeans was commemorated by the placement of the Padrao stone monument at the riverbank of the Ciliwung River in 1522.

Although the treaty with Portuguese had been established, it could not protect the Sunda Kingdom, andin 1524 Sunda Kalapa harbor fell to an alliance of the Sultanate of Demak and the Sultanate of Cirebon (former vassal state of Sunda kingdom) once their troops under Paletehan alias Fadillah Khan had conquered the city. In 1524/1525, troops under Sunan Gunung Jati also seized the port of Banten and established the Sultanate of Banten which was affiliating with the Sultanate of Demak.

The war between the Sunda kingdom with Demak and Cirebon sultanates continued for another five years until a peace treaty were made in 1531 between King Surawisesa and Sunan Gunung Jati. From 1567 to 1579, under the last king Raja Mulya, alsso known as Prabu Surya Kencana, The Sunda kingdom declined under the pressure from the Sultanate of Banten. After 1576, the kingdom could not maintain its capital at Pakuan Pajajaran (the present-day Bogor) and gradually the Sultanate of Banten took over the former Sunda kingdom's region. And the Mataram Sultanate from central Java seized the Priangan region, the southeastern part of the kingdom. Pakuwan, the capital of the Sunda kingdom of Pajajaran / Padjadjaran, was situated where now Buitenzorg is and was conquered and destroyed by the Mohammedans from Northern Bantam in 1579.

Sunda Kelapa, better known today as Pasar Ikan (meaning fish market) is located at the mouth of the Ciliwung river. It was formerly the harbor town of Sunda Kelapa where the Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Pajajaran in the early 16th century. Finding its origin in the small early 16th century harbor town of Sunda Kelapa, Jakarta's founding is thought to have taken place on 22 June 1527, when it was re-named Jayakarta, meaning Glorious Victory by the conquering Prince Fatahillah from neighboring Cirebon. The Dutch East Indies Company which captured the town and destroyed it in 1619, changed its name into Batavia and made it the center for the expansion of their power in the East Indies. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Batavia fell into the hands of the invading Japanese forces who changed the name of the city into Jakarta as a gesture aimed at winning the sympathy of the Indonesians. The name was retained after Indonesia achieved national independence after the war's end.

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Page last modified: 18-04-2012 19:22:46 ZULU