Window of Archipelago

Borobudur Temple - 800 AD

Borobudur Temple (337 - 422 AD) already existed when F-Huan came to the Land of Java Jakarta ( DreamLandLibrary ) - Borobudur is ...

Majapahit - (1293 AD - 1527 AD)


Surabaya (DreamLandLibrary) - Majapahit is a large kingdom centered in East Java, Indonesia, established on November 10, 1293 to 1500 AD During the reign of Hayam Wuruk, the glory of this kingdom can be seen from the vast area of ​​the archipelago which was controlled from 1350 to 1389.

The Majapahit Kingdom (the King and his people at that time happened to adhere to the Imported Religion - Hindu-Buddha) which was considered to be one of the largest countries of Indonesia, where its authority stretched from Java, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, Kalimantan, to Eastern Indonesia.

Historiography
Raden Wijaya who succeeded in seizing power from the rebels, then enthroned in the capital city of Majapahit as the first king, with the title Kertarajasa Jayawarddhana on the 15th day of Kartika in 1215 Saka (AD calendar 10 November 1293). So this date, which we should commemorate as the day of the establishment of the Majapahit Kingdom. (Because the Great Nation, is a Nation that respects the History of the Nation)

The main sources used by historians are Pararaton ('Book of Kings' - written in Kawi) and Nagarakretagama (Old Javanese), namely:

Pararaton is a literature describing Ken Arok (founder of the Singhasari Kingdom), which also tells of the formation of Majapahit.
Nagarakertagama is a collection of Old Javanese poems written during the heyday of Majapahit during the Hayam Wuruk era.
The name Nagarakertagama itself was given by Jan Laurens Andries Brandes, this philologist found the manuscript in the ruins of the Cakranagara Palace, Lombok. The literary work was composed by Rakawi Prapanca in 1365, who wrote a clear picture of the archipelago by mentioning various islands.

Prapanca was a poet from Majapahit who would later become the "pioneer of modern historian and journalist pioneer in Indonesia".

From Ma Huan's account, it seems that Majapahit had moved from the edge of the Brantas river to the interior. But the harbor and river are still the main route to the kingdom.

From the Canggu Inscription 1.358 AD, it shows the crossings on large rivers, such as the Brantas River and Bengawan Solo.

With the "growth" that occurred in the interior, and along the North Coast of Java, made Majapahit as a modern kingdom that had utilized its land and sea areas, so that at that time Majapahit had become a Commercial Maritime Agrarian country.

During the time of Raja Hayam Wuruk, Prapanca wrote a description of the Archipelago which clearly mentions various islands, according to the historical source of Kakawin Nagarakertagama (original title: Desawarnana), which describes the villages.

The History of Majapahit's Establishment
Singhasari is the most powerful kingdom in Java. This made Kubilai Khan, the ruler of the Yuan Dynasty in China, want to subdue Singosari, by sending an envoy named Meng Chi to Singhasari, to ask for a tribute to Kertanagara (Raja Singhasari - In-Law Raden Wijaya)

Kertanegara was not afraid, and refused to pay tribute, even humiliating the messenger, by damaging his face and cutting off his ear. (This is how our ancestors maintain their Self-Esteem before being poisoned by misleading Foreign values). This made Kublai Khan angry, and sent his army in large numbers to Java 1,293 CE.

At the time of the invasion from Kublai Khan arrived, at that time Jayakatwang, Duke of Kediri, had toppled and killed Kertanegara.

The suggestion from Aria Wiraraja, Jayakatwang gave forgiveness to Raden Wijaya, Kertanegara's son-in-law, who came to surrender.

Then Raden Wijaya, who was given the Tarik forest, opened the forest and built a new village, under the name Majapahit. The name Majapahit is taken from the Maja fruit, which tastes "bitter".

Raden Wijaya's Strategy for War
When the Mongols arrived, Raden Wijaya allied with the Mongols to attack Jayakatwang. After successfully toppling Jayakatwang (not killing him, as Jayakatwang did to his in-laws), Raden Wijaya turned to attack his Mongol allies.

The Mongols withdrew their defeated troops with Raden Wijaya's troops, which was also the last chance for the Mongols to utilize the monsoon to return home, or they were forced to become captives for six months to await the returning monsoon.

Several trusted Kertarajasa people, including Ranggalawe, Sora, and Nambi rebelled against him, even though the rebellion was unsuccessful.

The Ranggalawe Rebellion was supported by Panji Mahajaya, Ra Arya Sidi, Ra Jaran Waha, Ra Lintang, Ra Tosan, Ra Gelatik, and Ra Tati. All this is stated in the Pararaton.

Most likely Mahapatih Halayudha's conspiracy to bring down all of the King's confidants, and take the reins of leadership, could be read by Raden Wijaya, so that after the death of the last rebel (Kuti), Halayudha was imprisoned, and then sentenced to death.

Raden Wijaya died in 1309 AD
Then it was continued by Putra Raden Wijaya, Jayanegara, who during his reign was briefly visited by an Italian priest, Odorico da Pordenone.

In 1,328 AD, Jayanegara was killed by his physician, Tanca. His stepmother, Gayatri Rajapatni, should have succeeded him, but Rajapatni chose to resign from the palace, and chose to become a nun.

Rajapatni appointed his daughter Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi to be the queen of Majapahit. In 1,336 AD, Tribhuwana appointed Gajah Mada as Mahapatih, at his inauguration Gajah Mada said "Palapa Oath", and built a kingdom. During Tribhuwana's rule, the Majapahit kingdom developed to become larger and more famous in the archipelago.

Tribhuwana ruled in Majapahit until the death of his mother in 1,350 AD, then continued by his son, Hayam Wuruk.

Majapahit Glory
Hayam Wuruk, also known as Rajasanagara, ruled Majapahit from 1,350 AD to 1,389 AD At this time Majapahit reached its peak with the assistance of Mahapatih Gajah Mada (1,313 AD - 1,364 AD).

According to Kakawin Nagarakretagama, pupil XIII-XV, Majapahit Territories include Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, the islands of Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, Papua, Tumasik (Singapore - currently called Temasek) and parts of the Philippine Islands.

Direct government administration by the Majapahit kingdom only covered the regions of East Java and Bali, outside the area was only a kind of wide autonomous government, periodic tribute payments, and recognition of Majapahit sovereignty over them.

However, any rebellion or challenge to Majapahit's resistance to the area could invite strong reactions.

Majapahit Economics and Business
However, natural and economic boundaries show that these areas of power did not appear to be under Majapahit's centralized power, but were connected to one another by trade which might have been a monopoly by the king.

Majapahit had links to Campa, Cambodia, Siam, southern Burma and Vietnam, and even sent its ambassadors to China.

In addition to launching military attacks and expeditions, Majapahit also took the path of diplomacy and formed a partnership. Possibly because of political reasons, Hayam Wuruk was eager to marry Citraresmi (Pitaloka), the daughter of the Sunda Kingdom as his queen.

The Sundanese consider this proposal as a partnership agreement. In 1,357 AD the entourage of Sundanese kings and their families, and their bodyguards, went to Majapahit to deliver the princess to be married to Hayam Wuruk.

Bubat War
Gajah Mada sees this situation as an opportunity to force the Sundanese kingdom to submit to Majapahit. The fight between the Sundanese royal family and Majapahit soldiers in the Bubat field took place.
Eventually the Sundanese kingdom was defeated, where almost the entire group of Sundanese royal families could be destroyed. Seeing a situation like this finally the princess who was disappointed, doing "Defending Pati", committed suicide to defend the honor of his country.

In 1,377 AD, a few years after Gajah Mada's death, Majapahit launched a naval attack to quell a rebellion in Palembang.

Majapahit's main concern is controlling trade in the archipelago. It was at this time that Muslim traders and spreaders of Islam began to enter this region.

The fall of Majapahit

After the death of Hayam Wuruk in 1,389 AD, Majapahit entered a period of decline. This is caused by a conflict over the throne.

Hayam Wuruk's heir is Princess Mahkota Kusumawardhani, with prince Wikramawardhana, his own cousin.

Meanwhile, Hayam Wuruk's son from his concubine, Wirabhumi also demanded the right to the throne.

Paregreg War
The civil war called the Paregreg War 1,405 AD - 1,406 AD, between Wikramawardhana versus Wirabhumi, which was finally won by Wikramawardhana, while Wirabhumi was captured, and then beheaded. It was this civil war which weakened Majapahit's control of the conquered territories across.

Wikramawardhana ruled until 1,426 AD, then passed on by his daughter, Ratu Suhita, she was the second daughter of Wikramawardhana of a concubine (who incidentally was Wirabhumi's second daughter). Queen Suhita ruled in 1426 - 1447 AD

During the Wikramawardhana administration, a series of Ming Dynasty sea expeditions led by Admiral Cheng Ho, a Muslim Chinese general, arrived on Java several times between the period of 1,405 AD to 1,433 AD

Cheng Ho's expedition created Chinese and Arabic Muslim communities in 1,430 CE in several harbor cities north of Java, such as in Semarang, Demak, Tuban, and Ampel; then Islam began to have a foothold on the north coast of Java.

In 1,447 AD, Suhita died and the government was continued by Kertawijaya, his younger brother. He ruled until 1451.

After Kertawijaya died, Bhre Pamotan became king with the title Rajasawardhana and ruled in Kahuripan. He died in 1,453 AD

After three years without a king, due to the crisis of inheritance of the throne. Girisawardhana, son of Kertawijaya, took the throne in 1456, and then died in 1466.


Girisawardhana was replaced by Singhawikramawardhana. In 1468 the prince Kertabhumi rebelled against Singhawikramawardhana and appointed himself king of Majapahit.

At the end of the 14th century, beginning of the 15th century, the influence of Majapahit in the entire archipelago began to diminish. At the same time, a Sultanate of Malacca based on Islam began to appear in the western part of the archipelago.

Majapahit who began to retreat, allowed the rise of the Sultanate of Malacca in the mid-15th century to begin to control the Malacca Strait, and spread its power to Sumatra.


Singhawikramawardhana moved the Royal Capital to Daha (the former capital of the Kediri Kingdom), and continued to rule there until it was replaced by his son Ranawijaya in 1474.

In 1,478 AD Ranawijaya defeated Kertabhumi, and reunited Majapahit into one kingdom. Ranawijaya ruled in the period of 1,474 AD - 1,519 AD with the title Girindrawardhana. Nevertheless Majapahit's power had weakened due to the conflicts of this dynasty, and the rise of the power of Islamic empires on the north coast of Java.

The time of the Majapahit Empire ended in the year 1,478 AD - 1,527 AD

A Chronogram / Candrasengkala sound disappears kretaning earth. This Sengkala is said to be the year of the end of Majapahit, which is read as 0041, which is the year 1400 Saka, or 1478 AD.

The meaning of the Sengkala is "The Loss of Earth's Prosperity". This is also described by Candrasengkala as the death of Bhre Kertabumi, the 11th King of Majapahit, by Girindrawardhana.

From the records of the Jiyu and Petak inscriptions, Ranawijaya claimed that he had defeated Kertabhumi, and moved the capital to Daha (Kediri).

The incident triggered a war between Daha and the Sultanate of Demak, this was because the Demak ruler was a descendant of Kertabhumi.

This battle was won by Demak in 1,527 AD With the defeat of Daha, a large number of court servants, artists, priests and members of the royal family fled to the island of Bali.

With the fall of Daha, the power of the Islamic empire at the beginning of the 16th century began to grow, which eventually defeated the rest of the Majapahit empire.

Demak changed the title of the people in his government, from Raden to Sultan.

While Raden Patah, is recognized as the successor to the Majapahit kingdom. According to the Babad Tanah Jawi, and the Demak tradition, Raden Patah's legitimacy was because he was the son of the king of Majapahit Brawijaya V with a Chinese princess.

Historical records from China, Portugal (Tome Pires), and Italy (Pigafetta) indicate that there was a transfer of Majapahit power from the hands of the Hindu rulers to the Duke of Unus, the ruler of the Demak Sultanate, between 1,518 AD - 1,521 AD

After the collapse of Majapahit, Demak made sure to become the first Islamic empire to stand on the island of Java.

While the remaining Hindu kingdoms that still survive on the island of Java are the Blambangan Kingdom at the east end, and the Sunda Kingdom which has its capital in Pajajaran in the west.

The economy
Majapahit is an agrarian, maritime, and trade country. Taxes and penalties are paid in cash. Currency has been known since the 8th century during the Medang kingdom, which used gold or silver coins or coins.


During the reign of the first king of Majapahit, an important monetary change took place: the domestic coins were replaced with "kepeng" coins, namely copper coins imported from China.

The reason for the use of foreign coins or coins is not recorded in history, but experts suspect that with the growing and complex economy of Java, small fractions or coins are needed in the Majapahit currency system, so that they can be used in daily economic activities days at the Majapahit market. Because expensive gold and silver money are not suitable for daily necessities.

A description of the economic growth of Majapahit from various records obtained and inscriptions. Canggu inscription 1.358 AD, written as many as 78 crossing boat crossing points in the country (Mandala Java).

The development of various career specializations, such as; gold, silver craftsmen, drink sellers, butchers or butchers. Although these types of jobs have existed since previous times, the number of job seekers outside agriculture has increased in the Majapahit era.


From the records of Wang Ta-Yuan (Chinese merchant),
  • Java's export commodities at that time were pepper, salt, cloth and parrots
  • Imported commodities are pearls, gold, silver, silk, ceramic goods, and articles of iron, currencies made from a mixture of silver, tin, lead and copper.
From the records of Odorico da Pordenone (Roman Catholic monk from Italy) 1,321 AD, mentions that the Javanese king's palace was filled with gold, silver and jewelery.

Majapahit Prosperity, including:
  • First, the Brantas and Bengawan Solo river valleys in the lowlands of northern East Java are very suitable for rice farming, which is supported by a variety of irrigation infrastructure, which was built by Majapahit.
  • Second, the Majapahit ports on the north coast of Java play an important role as a port base to obtain Maluku spice commodities, because taxes imposed on spice commodities that pass through Java are an important source of income for Majapahit.
Nagarakretagama said that Majapahit had attracted the attention of many foreign traders, including; Indian, Khmer, Siam and Chinese traders. For this reason, special taxes are levied on foreigners, especially those who live semi-permanently on Java, and do work other than international trade. Majapahit has officials specializing in traders from India and China, who settled in the royal capital, as well as various other places in the Majapahit region on Java.

Government structure
During the Hayam Wuruk era, Majapahit had an organized government structure and bureaucratic structure, and apparently did not change much during its historical development. The king holds the highest authority, because the King is considered to be the incarnation of a god in the world.

Bureaucratic apparatus
The king was assisted by a number of bureaucratic officials in carrying out the government, with sons and close relatives of the king, who had high positions. The king's order is usually handed down to the officials under him, including:
  • Rakryan Mahamantri Katrini, usually held by the sons of the king
  • Rakryan Mantri ri Pakira-kiran, the council of ministers who carry out the government
  • Dharmmadhyaksa, religious law officials
  • Dharmma-upapatti, religious officials
In the Rakryan Mantri ri Pakira-kiran there is an important official, Rakryan Mapatih, or Patih Hamangkubhumi, or can be said to be the Prime Minister.

In the Rakryan Mapatih era, it could together with the King help implement government policies.

There is also a kind of royal consideration council whose members are kings' relatives, called Bhattara Saptaprabhu.

Division of territory
It can be said that the Majapahit Kingdom was a continuation of the Singhasari Kingdom, which had several regions in the eastern and central parts of Java.

These territories were ruled by Uparaja as Paduka Bhattara with the title of Bhre or "Bhatara i". This title is the highest title of royal nobility, and usually this position is only intended for close relatives of the king. Uparaja has two main tasks, namely:
  • Economic Tasks; manage their kingdom, and collect taxes, and send tribute to the center,
  • Defense Duties; manage defense in the border areas they lead.
During the reign of Hayam Wuruk (1,350 AD - 1,389 AD), there were 12 areas in Majapahit, which were managed by a close relative of the king. The hierarchy in the classification of territories in the Majapahit kingdom is known as follows:
  • Bhumi: kingdom, ruled by the king
  • Nagara: governed by Rajya (governor), or natha (lord), or bhre (prince or nobleman)
  • Watek: managed by Wiyasa,
  • Kuwu: managed by the lurah,
  • Wanua: managed by thani,
  • Kabuyutan: small hamlet or sacred place.
Source: From various sources
Photo: Special

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