Mataram Sultanate

Mataram Sultanate
Nagari Mataram
Sultanate of Mataram



The maximum extent of Mataram Sultanate during the reign of Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo (1613-1645)
Capital Kota Gede (1588–1613)
Karta (1613–1647)
Plered (1647–1681)
Language(s) Javanese
Religion Islam, Kejawen
Government Monarchy
 - 1588–1601 Senopati
 - 1677–1681 Pakubuwono I
 - Death of Sultan Prabuwijaya of the Kingdom of Pajang 1588
 - Trunajaya rebellion November 28, 1681
This article is part of the
History of Indonesia series
History of Indonesia.png
See also:
Timeline of Indonesian History
Early kingdoms
Kutai (4th century)
Tarumanagara (358–669)
Kalingga (6th–7th century)
Srivijaya (7th–13th centuries)
Sailendra (8th–9th centuries)
Sunda Kingdom (669–1579)
Medang Kingdom (752–1045)
Kediri (1045–1221)
Singhasari (1222–1292)
Majapahit (1293–1500)
The rise of Muslim states
Spread of Islam (1200–1600)
Sultanate of Ternate (1257–present)
Malacca Sultanate (1400–1511)
Sultanate of Demak (1475–1548)
Aceh Sultanate (1496–1903)
Sultanate of Banten (1526–1813)
Mataram Sultanate (1500s–1700s)
European colonization
The Portuguese (1512–1850)
Dutch East India Co. (1602–1800)
Dutch East Indies (1800–1942)
The emergence of Indonesia
National awakening (1908–1942)
Japanese occupation (1942–45)
National revolution (1945–50)
Independent Indonesia
Liberal democracy (1950–57)
Guided Democracy (1957–65)
Start of the New Order (1965–66)
The New Order (1966–98)
Reformasi era (1998–present)
v · d · e

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 16th century until the beginning of the 18th 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 centre 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-17th century the kingdom was so large and powerful that most historians concur it had already been established for several generations.

Kota Gede, the former capital of Mataram Sultanate, founded in 1582 by Sutawijaya (Panembahan Senapati).

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

Sultan Amangkurat II of Mataram (upper right) watching warlord Untung Surapati fighting Captain Tack of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). ca 1684 AD.

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 had learned that the alliance of VOC’s military with any Javanese faction made them nearly invincible. It seemed that VOC’s plan to reap the profit from a stable Java under a kingdom which was 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 the 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 outbreaks 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 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 owners. These laborers were loaded onto ships out of Batavia but the rumor that these people were thrown into the sea as soon as the ship was beyond the horizon caused panic among the remaining Chinese. In 7 October 1740, several Chinese mobs 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.

See also

  • List of Sunni Muslim dynasties
  • List of monarchs of Java


  • Anderson, BRO’G. The Idea of Power in Javanese Culture dalam Anderson, BRO’G. Language and Power: Exploring Political Cultures in Indonesia. Cornell University Press. 1990.
  • Blusse, Leonard. 2004. Persekutuan Aneh: Pemukim Cina, Wanita Peranakan, dan Belanda di Batavia VOC. LKiS: Yogyakarta.
  • Carey, Peter. 1997. Civilization on loan: the making of an upstart polity: Mataram and its successors, 1600-1830. Modern Asian Studies 31(3):711-734.
  • Cosmopolis and Nation
  • de Graaf, H.J. dan T.H. Pigeaud. 2003. Kerajaan Islam Pertama Di Jawa: Tinjauan Sejarah Politik Abad XV dan XVI. Pustaka Utama Graffiti.
  • De Graaf, H.J. Puncak Kekuasaan Mataram: Politik Ekspansi Sultan Agung. Pustaka Utama Graffiti 2002.
  • Depdikbud. 1980. Serat Trunajaya.
  • Mangunwijaya Y.B. 1983. Rara Mendut. Jakarta : Gramedia.
  • Miksic, John (general ed.), et al. (2006) Karaton Surakarta. A look into the court of Surakarta Hadiningrat, central Java (First published: 'By the will of His Serene Highness Paku Buwono XII'. Surakarta: Yayasan Pawiyatan Kabudayan Karaton Surakarta, 2004) Marshall Cavendish Editions Singapore ISBN 981-261-226-2
  • Remmelink, Willem G.J. 2002. Perang Cina dan Runtuhnya Negara Jawa 1725-1743. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Jendela.
  • Ricklefs, M.C. 2002. Yogyakarta di Bawah Sultan Mangkubumi 1749-1792: Sejarah Pembagian Jawa. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Matabangsa.
  • Ricklefs, M.C. 2001. A history of modern Indonesia since c.1200. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4480-7.
  • Ricklefs. M.C. 2001. Sejarah Indonesia Modern 1200-2004. PT. Serambi Ilmu Semesta. Cetakan I: April 2005.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sultanate of Demak — Kasultanan Demak ← 1475–1548 …   Wikipedia

  • Mataram — may refer to: the region of Central Java Mataram Kingdom, 570 927, a Hindu Buddhist kingdom Mataram Sultanate, c. 1570 1755, an Islamic kingdom which is a protectorate of Dutch East Indies Mataram (city), a city on the Indonesian island of Lombok …   Wikipedia

  • Mataram (city) — Not to be confused with Matraman, Mataram (disambiguation), Mataram Kingdom, or Mataram Sultanate. Mataram Provincial Capital of West Nusa Tenggara …   Wikipedia

  • Sultanate of Cirebon — A pendopo pavilion in Keraton Kasepuhan, Cirebon. This article is part of the History of Indonesia series …   Wikipedia

  • Malacca Sultanate — Sultanate of Malacca كسلطانن ملايو ملاك ← 1402–1511 …   Wikipedia

  • Yogyakarta Sultanate — or Kesultanan Yogyakarta is a monarchy in the province of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.HistoryAfter Sultan Agung, the Sultanate of Mataram was declining due to power struggle within the sultanate. To make things worse, VOC (Dutch East India Company)… …   Wikipedia

  • Asahan Sultanate — Flag of the Sultanate of Asahan. This article is part of the History of Indonesia series …   Wikipedia

  • Sultanato de Mataram — Para otros usos de este término, véase Mataram. Nagari Mataram Sultanato de Mataram …   Wikipedia Español

  • Amangkurat I of Mataram — Amangkurat I was the sultan of Mataram from 1646 to 1677.He was the son of the powerful Sultan Agung. Upon taking the throne, he tried to bring long term stability to the Sultanate of Mataram s realm, which was considerable in area but marred by… …   Wikipedia

  • History of Indonesia — Indonesia is an archipelagic country of 17,508 islands (6,000 inhabited) stretching along the equator in South East Asia. The country s strategic sea lane position fostered inter island and international trade; trade has since fundamentally… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”