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About the Mataram

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History of Mataram

The old people speak of a beautiful young woman who was the daughter of the sea who heard the heart of young man singing on the beach. She followed his song and upon seeing him, fell in love immediately and left the ocean to be by his side.

She is Nyai Roro Kidul, Guardian of Mataram and the Southern Seas and spiritual consort to the nobles of Mataram.

The young man in the local legend was Danang Sutawijaya, better known as Panembahan Senopati, the founder of early-modern Istana Mataram in the sixteenth century.

Mataram’s rich history can be traced back to the eighth century, which was when Javanese art, architecture and culture bloomed and which still exists today; its largest monument (literally), the Borobudur temple, a gift from the Sailendra dynasty to the people of the Southern Sea.

Panembahan Senopati’s father, Ki Ageng Pemanahan, a descendant of the last Majapahit King Brawijaya V, was a Javanese chief and retainer to Hadiwijaya, Sultan of Pajang. Ki Ageng Pemanahan was awarded the land of Mataram when his advice to the Sultan defeated Arya Panangsang, regent of the neighbouring Demak Kingdom.

The members of the House of Mataram today are their descendants.

  • Brawijaya V
  • Ki Bondan Kejawen
  • Ki Getas Pendawa
  • Ki Ageng Sela
  • Ki Ageng Ngenis
  • Ki Ageng Pemanahan / Ki Ageng Mataram
  • Panembahan Senopati

Panembahan Senopati’s successor is his son Sultan Agung Hanyakrawati, followed by Sultan Agung Hanyakrakusuma. Sultan Agung’s reign is considered the apogee of Mataram’s rule in Java.  He was responsible for the great expansion and lasting historical legacy of Mataram due to his conquest and guardianship against neighbouring kingdoms and the Dutch.

Mataram became the undisputed ruler of Java through conquest of Surabaya (Mataram’s most formidable adversary), Wirasaba, Lasem and Tuban. Later on, Sultan Agung built Imogiri, his burial place. Imogiri remains the resting place of most of the royalty of Yogyakarta and Surakarta up to this day. Sultan Agung died in the spring of 1645 leaving behind an empire that covered most of Java and its neighboring islands.

Agung’s son, Susuhunan (ruler) Amangkurat ascended the throne. Unlike his father, he was not an accomplished military leader. The dissatisfaction with the Susuhunan turned into an open revolt and the Trunajaya rebellion captured the King’s court. The King escaped with his eldest son, the future king Amangkurat II, leaving his younger son, Pangeran Puger in Mataram. When Amangkurat I died, Prince Puger crowned himself as King with the title of Pakubuwana I.

Three years later, Prince Puger abdicated the throne in favour of his older brother Amangkurat II with the assistance of the Dutch, who saw stability in the region as beneficial to all. In 1703, Amangkurat II died and was succeeded by his son Amangkurat III. During his reign, the center of the government moved to Kartasura.

When Amangkurat III died, the throne was passed back by P. Puger with the title of Pakubuwana I. When Pakubuwana I died, his son, Amangkurat IV took the throne but fell into illness. His son took the title Pakubuwana II and was the last ruler of Kartasura and the first Susuhunan of Surakarta. He moved the center of government to Solo, village of Sala which later became the Karaton Surakarta Hadiningrat.

In 1749, after two years of war and then peace with the Chinese and the Dutch, Pakubuwana II’s son, Pakubuwana III, succeeded his father and peace reigned.

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The Javanese Culture

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Javanese culture is centered in the Central Java, Yogyakarta, and East Java provinces of Indonesia. Due to various migrations, it can also be found in other parts of the world, such as Suriname (where 15% of the population are of Javanese descent), the broader Indonesian archipelago region, Cape Malay, Malaysia, Singapore, Netherlands and other countries. The migrants bring with them a various aspect of Javanese cultures such as Gamelan music, traditional dances, and art of Wayang kulit shadow play.

The migration of Javanese people westward has created the coastal Javanese culture that distinct to inland Sundanese culture in West Java. Being the largest ethnic group, the Javanese culture and people influence Indonesian politics and culture, a process sometimes described as Javanization.

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