The Mataram Kingdom
The Sultanate of Mataram was the last major
independent Javanese empire on Java before the island was colonized by the Dutch.
It was the dominant political force in interior Central Java from the late
sixteenth century until the beginning of the eighteenth century.
The name Mataram itself was never the official name of any polity. The 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, as apparent from the lack of a Javanese word with the same
The Javanese kingdom is a mandala or center of the world, in the sense of both
central location and 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 royal-divine presence, and not a
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 power of dukuns or
shamans, only 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
The rise of Mataram
Details in Javanese sources about the early years of the kingdom are limited,
and the line is unclear between the historical record and myths since there are
indications of the efforts of later rulers, especially Agung, to establish a
long line of legitimate descent by inventing predecessors. However, by the time
more reliable records begin in the mid-seventeenth century the kingdom was so
large and powerful that most historians concur it had already been established
for several generations.
According to Javanese records, the kings of Mataram were descended from one Ki
Ageng Sela (Sela is a village near the present-day Demak). In the 1570s one of
Ki Ageng Sela's descendants, Kyai Gedhe Pamanahan became the ruler of the
Mataram area with the support of the kingdom of Pajang to the north, near the
current site of Surakarta (Solo). Pamanahan was often referred to as Kyai Gedhe
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
Struggles for power
Upon taking the throne, Agung's son Susuhunan Amangkurat I tried to bring
long-term stability to Mataram's realm, murdering local leaders that were
insufficiently deferential to him including the still-powerful noble from
Surabaya, Pangeran Pekik, his father-in-law, and closing ports and destroying
ships in coastal cities to prevent them from getting too powerful from their
wealth. To further his glory, the new king abandoned Karta, Sultan Agung’s
capital, and moved to a grander red-brick palace in Plered (formerly the palace
was built of wood).
By the mid-1670s dissatisfaction with the king was turning into open revolt,
beginning from the recalcitrant Eastern Java and creeping inward. The Crown
Prince (future Amangkurat II) felt that his life was not safe in the court after
he took his father’s concubine with the help of his maternal grandfather,
Pangeran Pekik of Surabaya, making Amangkurat I suspicious of a conspiracy among
Surabayan factions to grab power in the capital by using Pekiks’ grandson’s
powerful position as the Crown Prince. He conspired with Panembahan Rama from
Kajoran, west of Magelang, who proposed a stratagem in which the Crown Prince
financed Rama’s son-in-law, Trunajaya, to begin a rebellion in the East Java.
Raden Trunajaya, a prince from Madura, lead a revolt fortified by itinerant
fighters from faraway Makassar that captured the king's court at Mataram in
mid-1677. The king escaped to the north coast with his eldest son, the future
king Amangkurat II, leaving his younger son Pangeran Puger in Mataram.
Apparently more interested in profit and revenge than in running a struggling
empire, the rebel Trunajaya looted the court and withdrew to his stronghold in
Kediri, East Java, leaving Puger in control of a weak court. Seizing this
opportunity, Puger assumed the throne in the ruins of Plered with the title
Susuhanan ing Alaga.
Amangkurat II and the beginning of foreign involvement
Amangkurat I died in Tegal just after his expulsion, making Amangkurat II king
in 1677. He too was nearly helpless, having fled without an army nor treasury to
build one. In an attempt to regain his kingdom, he made substantial concessions
to the Dutch East India Company (VOC), who then went to war to reinstate him.
For the Dutch, a stable Mataram empire that was deeply indebted to them would
help ensure continued trade on favorable terms. They were willing to lend their
military might to keep the kingdom together. The multinational Dutch forces,
consisting of light-armed troops from Makasar and Ambon, in addition to
heavily-equipped European soldiers, first defeated Trunajaya in Kediri in
November 1628 and Trunajaya himself was captured in 1679 near Ngantang west of
Malang, then in 1681, the alliance of VOC and Amangkurat II forced Susuhunan ing
Alaga (Puger) to relinguish the throne in favor of his elder brother Amangkurat
II. Since the fallen Plered was considered inauspicious, Amangkurat II move the
capital to Kartasura in the land of Pajang (northern part of the stretch of land
between Mount Merapi and Mount Lawu, the southern part being Mataram).
By providing help in regaining his throne, the Dutch brought Amangkurat II under
their tight control. Amangkurat II was apparently unhappy with the situation,
especially the increasing Dutch control of the coast, but he was helpless in the
face of a crippling financial debt and the threat of Dutch military power. The
king engaged in a series of intrigues to try to weaken the Dutch position
without confronting them head on; for example, by trying to cooperate with other
kingdoms such as Cirebon and Johor and the court sheltered people wanted by the
Dutch for attacking colonial offices or disrupting shipping such as Untung
Surapati. In 1685, Batavia sent Captain Tack, the officer who captured Trunojoyo,
to capture Surapati and negotiate further details into the agreement between VOC
and Amangkurat II but the king arranged a ruse in which he pretended to help
Tack. Tack was killed when pursuing Surapati in Kartasura, then capital of
Mataram (present day Kartasura near Solo), but Batavia decided to do nothing
since the situation in Batavia itself was far from stable, such as the
insurrection of Captain Jonker, native commander of Ambonese settlement in
Batavia, in 1689. Mainly due to this incident, by the end of his reign,
Amangkurat II was deeply distrusted by the Dutch, but Batavia were similarly
uninterested in provoking another costly war on Java.
Wars of succession
Amangkurat II died in 1703 and was briefly succeeded by his son, Amangkurat III.
However, this time the Dutch believed they had found a more reliable client, and
hence supported his uncle Pangeran Puger, formerly Susuhunan ing Alaga, who had
previously been defeated by VOC and Amangkurat II. Before the Dutch, he accused
Amangkurat III of planning an uprising in East Java.
Unlike Pangeran Puger,
Amangkurat III inherited blood connection with Surabayan ruler, Jangrana II,
from Amangkurat II and this lent credibility to the allegation that he
cooperated with the now powerful Untung Surapati in Pasuruan. Panembahan
Cakraningrat II of Madura, VOC’s most trusted ally, persuaded the Dutch to
support Pangeran Puger. Though Cakraningrat II harbored personal hatred towards
Puger, this move is understandable since alliance between Amangkurat III and his
Surabaya relatives and Surapati in Bangil would be a great threat to Madura’s
position, even though Jangrana II’s father was Cakraningrat II’s son-in-law.
Pangeran Puger took the title of Pakubuwana I upon his accession in June 1704.
The conflict between Amangkurat III and Pakubuwana I, the latter allied with the
Dutch, usually termed First Javanese War of Succession, dragged on for five
years before the Dutch managed to install Pakubuwana. In August 1705, Pakubuwono
I’s retainers and VOC forces captured Kartasura without resistance from
Amangkurat III, whose forces cowardly turned back when the enemy reached Ungaran.
Surapati’s forces in Bangil, near Pasuruan, was crushed by the alliance of VOC,
Kartasura and Madura in 1706. Jangrana II, who tended to side with Amangkurat
III and did not venture any assistance to the capture of Bangil, was called to
present himself before Pakubuwana I and murdered there by VOC’s request in the
same year. Amangkurat III ran away to Malang with Surapati’s descendants and his
remnant forces but Malang was then a no-man’s-land who offered no glory fit for
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 anway, 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
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
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 proclaimed 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 were dislodged
from their stronghold in Mataram in November.
In 1720, these two princes ran
away to the still rebellious interior of East Java. Luckily for VOC and the
young king, the rebellious regents of Surabaya, Jangrana III and Jayapuspita
died in 1718-20 and Pangeran Blitar died in 1721.
In May and June 1723, the
remnants of the rebels and their leaders surrendered, including Surengrana of
Surabaya, Pangeran Purbaya and Dipanagara, all of whom were banished to Ceylon,
except Purbaya, who was taken to Batavia to serve as “backup” to replace
Amangkurat IV in case of any disruption in the relationship between the king and
VOC since Purbaya was seen to have equal "legitimacy" by VOC. It is obvious from
these two Wars of Succession that even though VOC was virtually invincible in
the field, mere military prowess was not sufficient to pacify Java.
Court intrigues in 1723-1741
After 1723, the situation seemed to stabilize, much to the delight of the Dutch.
Javanese nobility has learned that the alliance of VOC’s military with any
Javanese faction makes them nearly invincible. It seemed that VOC’s plan to reap
the profit from a stable Java under a kingdom which is deeply indebted to VOC
would soon be realized. In 1726, Amangkurat IV fell to an illness that resembled
poisoning. His son assumed the throne as Pakubuwana II, this time without any
serious resistance from anybody.
The history for the period of 1723 until 1741
was dominated by a series of intrigues which further showed the fragile nature
of Javanese politics, held together by Dutch’s effort. In this relatively
peaceful situation, the king could not gather the support of his "subjects" and
instead was swayed by short-term ends siding with this faction for a moment and
then to another. The king never seemed to lack challenges to his "legitimacy".
The descendants of Amangkurat III, who were allowed to return from Ceylon, and
he royal brothers, especially Pangeran Ngabehi Loring Pasar and the banished
Pangeran Arya Mangkunegara, tried to gain the support of the Dutch by spreading
gossips of rebellion against the king and the patih (vizier), Danureja.
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 Queen-Dowagers, Ratu
Amangkurat (Amangkurat IV’s wife) and Ratu Pakubuwana (Pakubuwana I’s wife),
much to the confusion of the Dutch.
The king tried to break the dominance of
this Danureja by asking the help of the Dutch to banish him, but Danureja’s
successor, Natakusuma, was influenced heavily by the Queen’s brother, Arya
Purbaya, son of the rebel Pangeran Purbaya, who was also Natakusuma’s
brother-in-law. Arya Purbaya’s erratic behavior in court, his alleged
homosexuality which was abhorred by the pious king and rumors of his planning a
rebellion against the “heathen” (the Dutch) caused unrest in Kartasura and
hatred from the nobles.
After his sister, the Queen, died of miscarriage in
1738, the king asked the Dutch to banish him, to which the Dutch complied gladly.
Despite these faction strruggles, the situation in general did not show any
signs of developing into full-scale war. Eastern Java was quiet: though
Cakraningrat IV refused to pay homage to the court with various excuses, Madura
was held under firm control by VOC and Surabaya did not stir. But dark clouds
were forming. This time, the explosion came from the west: Batavia itself.
Chinese War 1741-1743
In the meantime, the Dutch were contending with other problems. The excessive
use of land for sugar cane plantation in the interior of West Java reduced the
flow of water in Ciliwung River (which flows through the city of Batavia) and
made the city canals an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, resulting in a
series of malaria outbreak in 1733-1795. This was aggravated by the fall of
sugar price in European market, bringing bankruptcy to sugar factories in the
areas around Batavia (the Ommelanden), which were mostly operated and manned by
The unrest prompted VOC authorities to reduce the number of
unlicensed Chinese settlers, who had been smuggled into Batavia by Chinese sugar
factory owner. These laborers were loaded into ships out of Batavia but the
gossip that these people were thrown to the sea as soon as the ship was beyond
horizon caused panic among the Chinese. In 7 October 1740, several Chinese mob
attacked Europeans outside the city and incited the Dutch to order a massacre
two days later. The Chinese settlement in Batavia was looted for several days.
The Chinese ran away and captured Bekasi, which was dislodged by VOC in June
In 1741, Chinese rebels infested 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
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
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 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.
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.
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.