The Founder of the Kingdom of Cirebon – The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) as we know it today, has gone through a long history of various kingdoms that have grown and disappeared that are spread across all parts of the archipelago.
These kingdoms had their respective governments under their own sovereign powers which were still traditional. The archipelago as we know it once gave birth to the greatest empires that succeeded in ruling in the Southeast Asian region which is remembered throughout the history of civilization in the Eastern world.
On the main islands in Indonesia, such as Java and Sumatra, many kingdoms were born that played a role in the development of the archipelago’s civilization. This does not include when we mention the small kingdoms spread across the islands and other parts of the archipelago, such as those spread across Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, the Maluku Islands, to Papua.
In the concept of constitutional law, this form of government is called monarchy. This kind of government itself is a form of government that has characteristics in which the leader who holds power gains legitimacy or recognition from the people for his power from the collective belief that the leader or king in power is the incarnation of an almighty figure in human form, it could even be equated with a figure God himself.
Thus, a king who becomes a ruler is usually considered knowledgeable, skilled, and has high charisma which only belongs to himself so that the people consider him a special figure.
If we observe government in the form of a kingdom from the point of view of constitutional law theory, then we can ensure that an empire can be formed as a result of certain elite groups who have succeeded in controlling all the land in the local jurisdiction so that the common people are a class that “rides” on the king. in power.
Because of this power, a king usually controls massive population manganese sources, such as agriculture and animal husbandry, so that the king determines the continuity of the kingdom’s economy while at the same time determining the taxes to be paid by his people.
In carrying out his government, a king must maintain the political stability of his kingdom. Thus, in order to achieve political stability in the kingdom, so that it can avoid disturbing forces, both from within and outside the kingdom, the government formed by a king must also be equipped with equipment in the form of military troops.
Through the formation of a strong military force, the king can secure and protect his kingdom from domestic rebellion by deploying soldiers whose job is to quell conflict while protecting and defending his royal power from outside forces as well as conquering other kingdoms by ordering his troops to go to war.
In governing a kingdom, a king usually has absolute or unlimited power. Any form of command that a king orders is a word that must be recognized as pure truth by his people.
Under these conditions, the highest sovereignty in this form of government is held by a ruling king. In other words, the king is the determinant of the direction of the kingdom itself, while the people are the group that must obey what the king orders.
The power of the ruling king is certainly not limited by time, except for the death of the king himself or a coup by his political opponents. In historical records, kings who have died usually handed over their power over royal government to their descendants, especially the biological sons who were the most mature and had great influence in politics.
Not only that, we can say that in the form of monarchical government itself, the auxiliary power holders who are tasked with helping the king’s work come from a limited group. The nobility came from certain elite groups, especially those from the king’s closest relatives and associates. Thus, in this form of government, class separation will be clearly seen between the elite or nobility and the common people.
The archipelago itself has a long list of royal history that once ruled. The history of the heyday of the kingdoms that once stood in the archipelago itself has experienced a long historical cycle, starting from the pioneering and development stages, glory, to collapse. Kingdoms that have succeeded in building a strong economy, so that they can prosper their people, certainly get a longer term of power than the kingdoms that failed.
Not only from the economic sector that determines the direction of an empire, the development of military forces and foreign policy is also a very important factor in the resilience of an empire. In addition, the character of a king who leads also has a big influence on the continuity of a kingdom. If the king is wise in ruling, then by itself he will strengthen the power he has. Meanwhile, a king who does not have a strong and incompetent character will have the potential to determine the destruction of the kingdom.
Among a series of kingdoms that once spread and ruled over the archipelago, the Kingdom of Cirebon is one of the Islamic-style kingdoms that placed an important milestone in the history of the archipelago, especially in West Java. The Sultanate of Cirebon succeeded in becoming one of the most influential Islamic empires during the 15th to 17th century AD. By ruling the northern mainland of Java, the Cirebon Sultanate had succeeded in reaching its peak of glory almost perfectly.
In this article, we invite Sinaumed’s to find out more about the Cirebon Kingdom, from its founding, glory, to its downfall. In addition, we will also discuss what are the important legacies and key figures during the continuity of this Islamic-style kingdom from the east coast of Java. Here’s the discussion.
Kingdom Location and History
The Cirebon kingdom was an Islamic-style kingdom with a center of power on the north coast of Java Island, where its territory was located between West Java and Central Java. This geographical location is also a bridge between two major cultures: Sundanese and Javanese.
Even though it includes these two cultures, the Cirebon Kingdom was not dominated by just one culture, but had a distinctive culture. In addition, because royal power is based on Islamic religious teachings, this kingdom can also be said to be an empire, where the ruling king is a sultan.
The history of the Cirebon Kingdom originates from the Chronicle of Tanah Sunda and Atja in the Carita Purwaka Caruban Nagari manuscript. The Cirebon kingdom itself originally came from a small hamlet named Caruban (in Sundanese it means mixed) which was built by Ki Gedeng Tapa.
As a bustling coastal area due to being used as a port center, Cirebon is slowly becoming a civilization with a large population. Slowly the Cirebon area became a big city with a bustling population.
Thus the name Caruban is appropriate because there has been a mixture of local residents and immigrants from various ethnic groups, religions, languages, customs, backgrounds and livelihoods that differ from one another. These migrants also visited Caruban with the aim of staying for a long time or simply trading for a specified time.
Over time, many Caruban residents began to make a living as fishermen, so slowly other types of work developed, such as fishing and rebon (small shrimp) along the coast which were then used as raw materials for making shrimp paste.
In addition, other livelihoods were also born, such as in the field of making paste and salt. Because in the end the local people were famous for their shrimp paste production, the water used for making shrimp paste was finally used as the origin of the name “Cirebon”. The word “Cirebon” comes from ” Cai ” which means water and ” Rebon ” which refers to rebon shrimp.
Founder of Cirebon Kingdom
After the death of Ki Gedeng Tapa, Cirebon did not just sit idly by. In its development, Wauntungsang, who was the grandson of Ki Gedeng Tapa, established a more organized government in Cirebon. Since then, Wajuangsang, who was given the title of Prince Cakrabuana, is considered the person who became the Founder of the Cirebon Kingdom. In an effort to establish the seat of government for the Cirebon Kingdom as well as its throne, Wauntungsang built the Pakungwati palace.
Wajuangsang himself is a figure who has a lineage from the throne of the Kingdom of Pajajaran. he was the first son of Sri Baduga Maharaja Prabu Siliwangi and his first wife named Subanglarang (daughter of Ki Gedeng Tapa). From this genealogy, Wauntungsang has two siblings, namely Nyai Rara Santang and Raden Kian Santang, two prominent figures from the Kingdom of Pajajaran.
From the genealogy which states that he is the oldest son, then Wauntungsang should be the rightful successor to the throne of the Pajajaran kingdom. However, because he was a follower of Islam inherited from his mother, his position as crown prince was replaced by his father’s younger brother named Prabu Surawisesa, the son of Prabu Siliwangi’s second wife named Nyai Cantring Manikmayang.
The replacement of the crown prince was due to the fact that the religion embraced by the majority of the population in the Kingdom of Pajajaran was Sunda Wiwitan, Hinduism and Buddhism, while Wauntungsang was a Muslim.
According to Mertasinga’s text, Wauntungsang left the palace due to his disappointment with Prabu Siliwangi’s treatment of his mother. Together with Rara Santang, Wauntungsang decided to leave and eventually form the Cirebon Kingdom in the future. Based on a number of sources, Prince Wauntungsang married two women so he succeeded in having 10 children, namely 8 women and 2 men. Princess Pakungwati, who is the daughter of Nyimas Indang Geulis, finally married Sunan Gunung Jati.
As the first king of the Sultanate of Cirebon and a follower of Islam, Wauntungsang finally made his pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca. After being advised by Syekh Datuk Kahfi, Wauntungsang and Lara Santang decided to sail to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. The city of Mecca at that time was under the rule of the Mamluk Sultanate which was centered in Egypt. These two Indonesian nobles lived in Mecca for three months under the guidance and care of Syekh Bayanullah (Syekh Datuk Kahfi’s brother).
While in Mecca, Wauntungsang and Lara Santang each took Arabic names, namely Haji Abdullah Iman and Syarifah Mudaim. In Mecca, Lara Santang decided to marry a nobleman named Syarif Abdullah and have a son, Syarif Hidayatullah, who later became the heir to the influential throne in the Kingdom of Cirebon.
After completing his pilgrimage and returning to his homeland, he began to become a king who actively spread Islam to his people, so that the Cirebon Kingdom slowly grew stronger in Islam. Wajuangsang eventually died in 1529.
The Peak of the Glory of the Cirebon Kingdom
The Cirebon kingdom succeeded in reaching its peak of glory since it was led by one of the nine wali songo (nine major figures who propagated Islam in the archipelago), namely Syarif Hidayatullah or commonly called Sunan Gunung Jati. Not only playing a role in the politics of the Cirebon Kingdom, Sunan Gunung Jati also succeeded in becoming a key figure in the spread and teaching of Islam in Cirebon.
Throughout his reign, Sunan Gunung Jati succeeded in expanding and expanding his territory, to Banten, Sunda Kelapa and Rajagaluh. Conquest after conquest he made based on the aim of expanding the influence of his power, in addition to spreading Islam.
In the economic field, Sunan Gunung Jati was very successful in taking advantage of the geographical location of Cirebon which is perched on the north coast of Java. He opened diplomacy far abroad and succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with Campa, Malacca, India, China and Arabia. This good diplomatic relationship has brought good results to create a climate for exports and imports of goods and services in the Kingdom of Cirebon with countries that cooperate with it.
In general, there were several factors that led to the superiority of Sunan Gunung Jati’s administration, including:
- Freeing the Kingdom of Cirebon from the Kingdom of Sunda Pajajaran,
- Extending the power of the Cirebon Kingdom to half of West Java and Banten,
- Spread the religion of Islam massively to the population in the region,
- Build important infrastructure, such as ports, palaces, roads, and mosques,
- Create a powerful military force.
The Collapse of the Cirebon Empire
The Cirebon kingdom began to face its downfall since being led by Panembahan Ratu II or Prince Rasmi in 1666 AD. At that time, slowly the power of the Cirebon Kingdom began to experience a decline in influence in the areas it occupied. Panembahan Ratu II’s leadership became the turning point for the fall of the Cirebon Kingdom.
The main cause of the downfall of the Cirebon Kingdom was the slander hurled by Sultan Amangkurat I who summoned Panembahan Ratu II to Surakarta. Sultan Amangkurat I alleged that Panembahan Ratu II had conspired with the Kingdom of Banten to harass and overthrow his power in Mataram. From there, a dispute was born between Panembahan Ratu II and Sultan Amangkurat I.
As a result of this dispute, Panembahan Ratu II was exiled until he finally died in 1667 AD in Surakarta. Seeing the power vacuum that enveloped the Cirebon Kingdom, Sultan Amangkurat I took over the remnants of the Cirebon Kingdom’s territory after its fall.
The Mataram Kingdom’s unilateral and arbitrary takeover of the Cirebon Kingdom’s territory eventually sparked the anger of Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa who ruled over the Banten Kingdom. Finally, Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa took the initiative to intervene to resolve the struggle for the remaining territory from the collapse of the Cirebon Kingdom and rescue Panembahan Ratu II’s son who was also exiled by the Mataram rulers.
Since the collapse and division, the Kingdom of Cirebon was finally divided into three parts, each of which was in power led by their respective sultans who succeeded the next throne.
Not only caused by the power struggle within the country between kingdoms that triggered the collapse of the Cirebon Kingdom. The VOC occupation and conquest also slowly sparked conflicts between kingdoms, including the Cirebon Kingdom and the Mataram Kingdom. Through the divide et impera policy or the politics of pitting one against the other, the VOC succeeded in creating conflicts within the archipelago’s kingdoms.
The Cirebon kingdom managed to leave some historical traces that we can still find today. Here are some relics of the Cirebon Kingdom.
- The Kasepuhan Palace was built by Prince Cakrabuana.
- Kanoman Palace which was founded by Prince Kertawijaya,
- Kacirebonan Palace,
- Cirebon Grand Mosque.
- Tomb of Sunan Gunung Jati.
We have briefly discussed how the Founder of the Cirebon Kingdom succeeded in expanding influence in the history of the archipelago to the founder of the Cirebon kingdom . As one of the largest Islamic empires in the archipelago, the Cirebon Kingdom went through phases of birth, glory, and collapse like other kingdoms that have ever existed.
Meanwhile, we can still trace further how things were at that time through relics, especially in the field of architecture which can still be found today. So, are you interested in knowing more about the history of the founder of the Cirebon kingdom?
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Author: Savero Aristia Wienanto