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Sunda Kingdom

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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.

Historiography

Little physical evidence of Sunda kingdom remains, and most parts of West Java history is remain unclear. However 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.

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

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 inscriptions (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 stone inscription, Sri Baduga Maharaja paved the roads with stones so that carriages could pass the mountains (today’s Puncak road); he established huts and forest reserves for wood destined for offerings, and he established the Talaga-warna-mahawijaya Lake (which is close to the Puncak Pass). 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.

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 Balambangan 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

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.

Kawali

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).

Culture

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 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 and Cibuaya is the evidence of Buddhist influence in West Java.

The culture of Sunda kingdom was heavily centered on agricultural activity, especially rice cultivation. 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.

Economy

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.

Legacy

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 eponimous popular king of Sunda coresponded to Sri Baduga Maharaja.

List of rulers

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

Stone inscription

Manuscript reference

Events

669 – 723

Tarusbawa

Sunda

Pakuan

Wangsakerta, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Tarusbawa renamed the remnant of Tarumanagara as Sunda kingdom. Separation of Sunda and Galuh

612 – 702

Wretikandayun

Galuh

Galuh

Wangsakerta, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Wretikandayun demanded the partition of former Tarumanagara and the separation of Sunda and Galuh

702 – 709

Mandiminyak

Galuh

Galuh

Wangsakerta, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

709 – 716

Sena/Bratasena

Galuh

Galuh

Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

716 – 723

Purbasora

Galuh

Galuh

Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Purbasora, Wretikandayun’s grandson, rebelled against Sena and took the throne of Galuh in 716

723 – 732

Sanjaya/Harisdarma/

Rakeyan Jamri

Sunda, Galuh, and Mataram

Pakuan

Canggal

Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Sanjaya, son of Sannaha (sister of Sena), married Tejakencana (Tarusbawa’s daughter) and become the king of Sunda. He took revenge on Sena’s behalf against Purbasora in Galuh. Sanjaya took his right as the heir in Kalingga, established Sanjaya dynasty and Mataram Kingdom in central Java

732 – 739

Rakeyan Panaraban/

Tamperan Barmawijaya

Sunda and Galuh

Galuh

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Panaraban, son of Sanjaya took his place and reign as the king of Sunda

739 – 766

Rakeyan Banga

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

766 – 783

Rakeyan Medang Prabu Hulukujang

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

783 – 795

Prabu Gilingwesi

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

795 – 819

Pucukbumi Darmeswara

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

819 – 891

Prabu Gajah Kulon Rakeyan Wuwus

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

891 – 895

Prabu Darmaraksa

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

895 – 913

Windusakti Prabu Dewageng

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

895 – 913

Rakeyan Kemuning Gading Prabu Pucukwesi

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

916 – 942

Rakeyan Jayagiri Prabu Wanayasa

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

942 – 954

Prabu Resi Atmayadarma Hariwangsa

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

954 – 964

Limbur Kancana

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

964 – 973

Prabu Munding Ganawirya

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

973 – 989

Prabu Jayagiri Rakeyan Wulung Gadung

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

989 – 1012

Prabu Brajawisesa

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

1012 – 1019

Prabu Dewa Sanghyang

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

1019 – 1030

Prabu Sanghyang Ageng

Sunda and Galuh

Galuh

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Under Srivijaya domination

1030 – 1042

Prabu Detya Maharaja Sri Jayabupati

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Jayabupati

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Offspring of Srivijaya princess and Sunda King, son in-law of king Dharmawangsa of Medang. Proclaiming independence from Srivijaya by assumming the title “Maharaja”. Established the sacred sanctuary of Sanghyang Tapak

1042 – 1064

Dharmaraja

Sunda and Galuh

Galuh

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

1064 – 1154

Prabu Langlangbhumi/

Sang Mokteng Kreta

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

1154 – 1156

Rakeyan Jayagiri/

Prabu Menakluhur Langlangbhumisutah

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

1156 – 1175

Prabu Dharmakusumah/

Sang Mokteng Winduraja

Sunda and Galuh

Galuh

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

1175 – 1297

Prabu Guru Dharmasiksa

Sunda and Galuh

Saunggalah,

Pakuan

Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Rakeyan Jayadharma, son of Dharmasiksa married Dyah Lembu Tal of Singhasari and have a son Wijaya. However Jayadharma died in young age and Dyah lembu Tal returned to Singhasari. Wijaya later established Majapahit. Rakeyan Saunggalah, Jayadharma’s brother become Dharmasiksa successor

1297 – 1303

Rakeyan Saunggalah/

Prabu Ragasuci

Sunda and Galuh

Saunggalah

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Move the capital to Saunggalah (currently Kuningan)

1303 – 1311

Prabu Citraganda/

Sang Mokteng Tanjung

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

1311 – 1333

Prabu Lingga Dewata/

Sang Mokteng Kikis

Sunda and Galuh

Kawali

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Move the capital from Pakuan and built a new capital Kawali near former Galuh capital (currently Ciamis)

1333 – 1340

Prabu Ajigunawisesa/

Sang Mokteng Kiding

Sunda and Galuh

Kawali

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara

Ajigunawisesa is son in-law of Prabu Lingga Dewata

1340 – 1350

Prabu Ragamulya Luhurprabhawa/

Aki Kolot

Sunda and Galuh

Kawali

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

1350 – 1357

Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana/

Prabu Wangi

Sunda and Galuh

Kawali

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Pararaton, Carita Parahyangan, Kidung Sunda

Lingga Buana’s daughter Dyah Pitaloka to be wed with king Hayam Wuruk of Majapahit. However the Sunda king, princess, with most of Sunda royal family died in Bubat, Majapahit, in 1357. Gajah Mada hold responsible for this Pasunda Bubat incident.

1357 – 1371

Mangkubumi Suradipati/

Prabu Bunisora

Sunda and Galuh

Kawali

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

Mangkubumi Suradipati temporarily rule the kingdom on behalf of the late Prabu Wangi because the crown prince Niskala Wastu Kancana was still a child

1371 – 1475

Prabu Raja Wastu/

Niskala Wastu Kancana/ Sang Mokteng Nusalarang

Sunda and Galuh

Kawali

Kawali

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

The kingdom prosper under Niskala Wastu Kancana long reign. Later he separated Sunda and Galuh between his two sons

1475 – 1482

Prabu Susuk tunggal

Sunda

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

Twin equal kingdom of Sunda and Galuh

1475 – 1482

Ningratkancana/

Prabu Dewa Niskala

Galuh

Kawali

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

Twin equal kingdom of Sunda and Galuh

1482 – 1521

Sri Baduga Maharaja/

Ratu Jayadewata/ Prabu Siliwangi

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

Transfer the capital back to Pakuan. The kingdom manage to consolidate its power and enjoyed stability, prosperity, and great wealth. His reign popularly celebrated as the “golden age” of Pajajaran

1521 – 1535

Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa/

Ratu Sang Hiang

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Batu Tulis

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan, Luso Sundanese Treaty, Padrao

Sought the assistance of Portuguese in Malacca in 1522 against expansive pressure of Sultanate of Demak. However the treaty was fail, Sunda Kingdom lost Sunda Kelapa to Fatahillah Demak forces. Batu Tulis inscription was established in 1533 to commemorate his great predecessor, Sri Baduga Maharaja

1535 – 1543

Ratu Dewata/

Sang Ratu Jaya Dewata

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

The kingdom declining fast and lost most of its territory to Cirebon and Banten

1543 – 1551

Ratu Sakti

Sunda and Galuh

Pakuan

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

The kingdom grow weaker under the pressure of Sultanate of Banten

1551 – 1567

Nilakendra/

Tohaan di Majaya

Sunda

Pakuan, Pulasari

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

The fall of Pakuan under Sultanate of Banten invasion

1567 – 1579

Raja Mulya/

Prabu Surya Kencana

Sunda

Pulasari

Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan

The king reside in Pulasari, Pandeglang, or in Kaduhejo, Menes Subdistrict. The kingdom finally collapsed in 1576 under Banten pressure

Sunda Kingdom in popular culture

Celebrated as ‘the golden era’ of ancient Indonesia, especially for Sundanese people, the Sunda kingdom has inspired many writers and artists (and continues to do so) to create their works based on this era, or to describe and mention it. The impact of the Sunda kingdom theme on popular culture can be seen in the following:

1. Saur Sepuh (1987-1991), a radio drama and film by Niki Kosasih. Begun as a popular radio drama program in the late 1980s, Saur Sepuh is based on 15th century Java, centered around the story about a fictional hero named Brama Kumbara, the king of Madangkara, a fictional kingdom neighbour of the Pajajaran. Several films and TV series also based on the Saur Sepuh story.

2. Prabu Siliwangi (1988), a film directed by Sofyan Sharna, about the fictionalized lifestory of famous King Siliwangi.

3. Prabu Siliwangi (2009), a novel written by E Rokajat Asura, also about the fictionalized lifestory of King Siliwangi.

4. Dyah Pitaloka (2007), a novel written by Hermawan Aksan, about the fictionalized detailed lifestory of Sundanese Princess Dyah Pitaloka, focussed around the Bubat War. The novel virtually took the same context and was inspired by Kidung Sundayana.

References

“Maharadja Cri Djajabhoepathi, Soenda’s Oudst Bekende Vorst”, TBG, 57. Batavia: BGKW, page 201-219, 1915)

Sumber-sumber asli sejarah Jakarta, Jilid I: Dokumen-dokumen sejarah Jakarta sampai dengan akhir abad ke-16

Kebudayaan Sunda Zaman Pajajaran, Jilid 2, Edi S. Ekajati, Pustaka Jaya, 2005

The Sunda Kingdom of West Java From Tarumanagara to Pakuan Pajajaran with the Royal Center of Bogor, Herwig Zahorka, Yayasan Cipta Loka Caraka, Jakarta, 2007-05-20

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