The First Islamic Empire in Indonesia

The First Islamic Empire in Indonesia – The heyday of the Islamic Empire in Indonesia is estimated to have taken place in the 13th to 14th centuries. The beginning of the arrival of Islam in Indonesia stems from the rise of trade in the archipelago, this is because the territory of Indonesia was crossed by various traders from all over the country during the trading period at that time, especially traders from Arabia, India, Persia and China.

Traders from the Middle East such as Arabs and Persians were traders who actively spread Islam in Indonesia, the spread of Islam in Indonesia was not simultaneous but gradually starting from the island of Sumatra first, then to the island of Java and the areas around Java and finally to the eastern regions of Indonesia such as Sulawesi and Maluku.

It was during this period of the spread of Islam in the archipelago that several Islamic kingdoms began to appear in the archipelago which began to emerge in various regions and various islands in Indonesia. Since then, the life order of the Indonesian people began to change and follow Islamic teachings.

The First Islamic Kingdom in Indonesia

The emergence of the first Islamic empire in Indonesia began when the spread of Islam in the archipelago grew rapidly and developed. There were several sizable Islamic empires in the archipelago at that time such as the Kingdom of Perlak, the Kingdom of Ternate, the Kingdom of Samudra Pasai, the Kingdom of Gowa, the Sultanate of Malacca, the Islamic Kingdom of Cirebon, the Kingdom of Demak, the Islamic Kingdom of Banten and the Islamic Mataram Kingdom.

All of the first Islamic kingdoms in Indonesia were spread across the archipelago, especially in the regions of Java, Sulawesi, Maluku and NTT. This was because the regions of Java, Maluku and Sulawesi at that time were strategic places and were traversed by trade routes from various countries.

The first Islamic kingdom in Indonesia certainly prioritized Islamic teachings as the main basis for regulating the order of social life of the community and the rules in its kingdom. There are several major Islamic empires in the archipelago that have been mentioned above, for that in the following we provide some explanations about the Islamic kingdoms in the archipelago so that you are more familiar with the history of the various Islamic empires in the archipelago.

In understanding the history of the Islamic empires in the archipelago, you can read the book Getting to Know the Islamic Empires of the Archipelago below, because it contains an introduction to the various Islamic empires in the archipelago in their time.


1 Kingdom of Perlak (840-1292)

The first Islamic kingdom in Indonesia was the Kingdom of Perlak or the Sultanate of Perlak. This kingdom is even the oldest in Southeast Asia. The territory of the Perlak kingdom is in the East Aceh area.

It was named the Perlak Kingdom because at that time, the area in East Aceh was a perlak wood producing area which was good wood and the best wood, especially for shipbuilding materials. Due to the abundant natural products and this strategic position, it became a fairly busy port in the 8th century.

Apart from that, it is also a haven for traders from all over the country, one of which is from Arabia and Persia. The first king of the Perlak kingdom was King Abdul Aziz Syah, then after King Abdul Aziz Syah died he was replaced by Sultan Alaidin Saiyid Maulana Abdrahim Syah then the leadership continued to change up to 18 leadership changes and finally in 1292 the Perlak kingdom collapsed.

2. Kingdom of Ternate (1257)

The Kingdom of Ternate, also known as the Kingdom of Gapi, was the first Islamic kingdom in eastern Indonesia, to be precise, in the Maluku Islands. The Kingdom of Ternate played an important role in spreading the archipelago’s Islamic religion, especially in the eastern region of Indonesia. The Kingdom of Ternate was founded in 1257 and experienced its heyday in the 16th century or around 1600.

The glory of the Kingdom of Ternate was due to the fact that the Kingdom of Ternate was a large kingdom which had a commodity of spices, which at that time, spices were one of the most sought-after and quite valuable food ingredients. In addition to having abundant commodity spices, the kingdom of Ternate also has military strength to be reckoned with because of the many soldiers in the kingdom of Ternate.

The collapse of the Ternate kingdom began when western countries began to colonize, at that time the Portuguese came and wanted to control the Ternate Kingdom but failed because the Ternate Kingdom succeeded in fighting the Portuguese. However, when the Dutch came, Ternate finally lost because the Dutch monopolized trade from the Ternate kingdom with contracts that were unfair and detrimental to the Ternate kingdom.

3. Samudera Pasai Kingdom (1267-1521)

The Kingdom of Samudra Pasai or also known as the kingdom of Samudra Darussalam is a kingdom located in the northern part of the island of Sumatra, to be precise, now in the province of Aceh in the city of Lhokseumawe. The administrative center of the Samudra Pasai kingdom was on the outskirts of the Krueng Jambu Aye and Krueng Pase rivers. The kingdom of Samudera Pasai does not have a stone fortress like most other kingdoms.

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But the fortress of the Samudra Pasai Kingdom is in the form of a fence made of wood that surrounds the kingdom. The Kingdom of Samudra Pasai has the main commodity of pepper as a superior commodity. Pepper from the Kingdom of Samudra Pasai is known for its good quality and is in great demand by buyers. The collapse of the Samudra Pasai Kingdom began with a civil war that never ended until the Portuguese came and finally the Portuguese conquered this Pasai oceanic empire.

As the first Islamic kingdom, the Samudra Pasai Sultanate is often admired by various people. One of them is the world explorer from Italy Marco Polo which you can read in the book Tracing the City of Islamic Glory.


4. Kingdom of Gowa (1300-1945)

The Kingdom of Gowa, also known as the Sultanate of Goa, is an Islamic kingdom located in eastern Indonesia, to be precise, in the province of South Sulawesi. The Kingdom of Gowa was a fairly large and victorious Islamic empire in the 17th century, at that time the Kingdom of Gowa became a kingdom that had considerable military power and became a trade center in eastern Indonesia starting from Sulawesi, Maluku, NTT to eastern Kalimantan. .

Most of the people of Gowa are fishermen and traders, because the Gowa area is located on the coast and is one of the strategic sea trade routes passed by traders from various countries. One of the leaders of the Gowa kingdom who was quite famous and became a national hero was Sultan Hasanudin. Sultan Hasanudin became the just, wise and brave leader of Gowa.

Even Sultan Hasanudin was able to unite the small kingdoms in the Sulawesi area and unite against the Dutch who at that time colonized Indonesia. The Kingdom of Gowa never collapsed and even existed until Indonesian independence, after Indonesia proclaimed its independence the Gowa Sultanate officially joined the Republic of Indonesia and changed its name not to the Kingdom of Gowa but to one of the districts in South Sulawesi, namely Gowa Regency.

5. Sultanate of Malacca (1405-1511)

The Malacca Sultanate is one of the Malay kingdoms that stood in Malaysia, namely in Malacca. The Malacca Sultanate was founded by Parameswara, previously the Malacca Sultanate was a kingdom in the area around Singapore. However, due to attacks from the kingdoms in Java and Siam, the Malacca kingdom moved to an area called Malacca.

The heyday of the Malacca Sultanate was in the 15th century and became one of the largest Islamic empires. The Malacca Kingdom is located in the Malacca Strait which is the strait that separates the Sumatran islands from Malaysia and was one of the most strategic routes for international trade at that time.

The collapse of the Malacca Empire occurred when the Portuguese came and conquered the Malacca Sultanate, with the defeat of the Malacca Sultanate, the Malacca Straits route completely became a free path for the invaders to traverse. The collapse of the Malacca Sultanate also opened the gate for the invaders to come to the archipelago.

6. Cirebon Islamic Empire (1430-1677)

The Cirebon Islamic Kingdom or the Cirebon Sultanate is one of the oldest Islamic kingdoms in Indonesia and its legacy still exists today and its sustainability is still maintained. The Sultanate of Cirebon is located in the Cirebon area which is a strategic area in the north of the island of Java and is the border between Central Java and West Java.

The Cirebon Sultanate also became a well-known sultanate in the area of ​​West Java and the Cirebon Sultanate had a great influence on Islam in Java, especially in terms of the spread of Islam in Java. The Sultanate of Cirebon joined Indonesia after Indonesia’s independence and changed its name to the regency and city of Cirebon, each headed by a Regent and Mayor.


7. Kingdom of Demak (1478-1554)

The Kingdom of Demak, also known as the Sultanate of Demak, is an Islamic kingdom located in the Demak area, Central Java. The Kingdom of Demak played a big role in the spread of Islam in Indonesia, especially in Java. The Sultanate of Demak did not last long due to a power struggle by royal relatives.

The existence of a power struggle by royal relatives caused the Demak Sultanate to collapse. The Great Mosque of Demak is one of the legacies of the Demak Sultanate that exists today. The Great Mosque of Demak is believed to be a mosque during the Demak Sultanate which was founded by Walisongo.

The Kingdom of Demak was a well-respected Islamic Empire at that time, until it finally collapsed due to a civil war that fought for power. After the Cirebon sultanate collapsed and was replaced by his heir, he established his own kingdom called the Pajang kingdom or the Pajang Sultanate.

8. The Islamic Kingdom of Banten (1526-1813)

The Islamic Kingdom of Banten is an Islamic Kingdom located in the Banten area which is now the Banten Province. The Sultanate of Banten originated from the Sultanate of Cirebon and the Sultanate of Demak, which were expanding their territory in the northern region of Java Island. The Cirebon Sultanate and the Demak Sultanate then succeeded in conquering several port areas on the west coast of Java Island, one of which was Banten.

The conquest of ports in several areas on the west coast of the island of Java was intended to anticipate the occurrence of a trade monopoly between the Portuguese and the Kingdom of Sunda at that time. Until finally after succeeding in conquering Banten, Maulana Hasanudin, who was the son of Sunan Gunung Jati, founded his own sultanate, namely the Sultanate of Banten and made it a military base because the Sultanate of Banten was known to have strong military power at that time.

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9. The Kingdom of Pajang (1568-1586)

The Kingdom of Pajang or the Sultanate of Pajang is a kingdom located in Central Java, this Kingdom of Pajang is a kingdom founded by one of the heirs of the Demak Kingdom after the collapse of the Demak Kingdom due to civil war due to a power struggle in the Demak kingdom at that time. The Kingdom of Demak initially had a fairly large area, but after changing to the Kingdom of Pajang. The territory of the Pajang Kingdom was getting smaller, only part of Central Java and the Demak area itself.

This is because after the Demak kingdom collapsed, many areas in East Java that were previously part of the Demak kingdom’s territorial powers then separated so that the Pajang kingdom’s territory became smaller. The collapse of the Pajang kingdom was also caused by wars between royal relatives which caused the government to fall apart and fight for power until finally the Pajang kingdom collapsed.

10. Islamic Mataram Kingdom (1588-1680)

The Islamic Mataram Kingdom or the Islamic Mataram sultanate is a kingdom located on the island of Java, to be precise, in Central Java. The Mataram Kingdom became one of the strongest Islamic kingdoms and had a fairly large area, covering the islands of Java, Madura to Sukadana or now the area of ​​West Kalimantan. The Mataram kingdom was led by a dynasty called the Mataram dynasty, which was led by the Mataram dynasty.

The Mataram Kingdom was at its peak in the 16th century, to be precise, when it was under the leadership of Hanyakrakusuma. During the Dutch colonial period, the Mataram Sultanate was de facto an independent kingdom or sovereign state itself and was not under Dutch colonialism. So that the Kingdom of Mataram and the Netherlands (VOC) sent their respective envoys like ambassadors to establish cooperation and strengthen relations between the Mataram kingdom and the Dutch (VOC).

One of the most well-known kings of the Mataram kingdom was Sultan Agung, King Sultan Agung became a king who was highly respected by his people because his leadership made the Mataram kingdom prosperous, peaceful and prosperous. Even Sultan Agung was also named as one of Indonesia’s national heroes.

Sultan Agung built a cemetery in the Imogiri area, which is located tens of kilometers from Yogyakarta, and even this Imogiri cemetery still exists today and is a special cemetery for sultans or royal descendants in Surakarta and Yogyakarta. Relics from the Mataram Kingdom still exist today and are a tourist attraction because the original remains are still preserved.

During the period of the Islamic kingdoms in Java, there was a political and religious transformation from the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms to the Islamic kingdoms in Java and you can read about this in the book Genealogy of Islamic Empires in Java by P. Mardiyono which is below.



Books Related to the First Islamic Empire in Indonesia

Majapahit riots & the establishment of the Islamic empire in Java

This book examines the history of the transition of power in the Land of Java, namely from the Majapahit Kingdom to an Islamic-style royal power, the Sultanate of Demak.

The Collapse of the Hindu Kingdoms in Java & the Establishment of the Islamic Empire

The historical map in Java is concerned not only with the existence of kingdoms in the past.

Get to know the Archipelago Islamic Kingdom

“A great nation is a nation that values ​​its history. The sentence is indeed fitting to describe a great nation. However, it is ironic that in this so-called modern era, the younger generation seems reluctant to see history as just a part of the past that is not even important to learn about.

Never mind the history of the nation, maybe if we ourselves are asked the names of our own ancestors, we can only stick to our grandparents. Above it has been forgotten as if it is not important. Even though whatever position you are in now, you will not be separated from your own family at least. This is important as your identity in forming character

Yourself. This book is here to try to introduce us to the history of Islamic empires in the archipelago. As Muslims, you should know not only as an insight, but also as a character for you as a Muslim. Happy reading and hopefully useful!!”

The legacy of the Islamic empire and its brief history

The relics of the Islamic Empire in the archipelago are spread throughout the archipelago, especially in areas where the Islamic Empire was established. Examples of relics from the Islamic empire are in the form of palace buildings, historical mosque buildings and several objects used by the community and the kingdom during the time when the Islamic Empire in the archipelago was still victorious.

For example, the Samudra Pasai kingdom left quite a lot of archaeological evidence including dirham gold coins which were used as the main transaction tool at that time, then the tomb of Sultan Malik Al Saleh, the Cakra Donya Bell which was a gift from China and several tales of Pasai.

Apart from that, there is also the Aceh Darussalam kingdom which left a legacy in the form of Taman Sari Gunongan, the Baiturahman Mosque, the Tomb of Sultan Iskandar Muda and gold coins. The Kingdom of Demak also has relics that still exist today, namely the Demak Mosque, the bledeg door and the Tomb of Sunan Kalijaga.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Cirebon became an Islamic kingdom that had the most palace heritage among other kingdoms, even the number of palaces of the Cirebon kingdom was the largest among other Islamic kingdoms. Relics from other Islamic empires are also quite a lot and most of them are in the form of palace buildings, forts, mosques, tombs and some knick knacks of objects that were used during the kingdom.

So, that’s an explanation of the first Islamic empire in Indonesia that Sinaumed’s needs to know as a Muslim and an Indonesian citizen. Studying history certainly takes time and requires a lot of references. sinaumedia can visit sinaumedia’s book collection at to get a complete book reference about the first Islamic empire in Indonesia.

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