The Founder of the Majapahit Kingdom: History, and the First King

Founder of Majapahit – Majapahit was one of the last Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms in the archipelago and existed in the 13th to 16th centuries. Historically, Majapahit was considered one of the largest empires with an area covering almost the entire archipelago.

Majapahit was founded in 1293 by its first king, Raden Wijaya, the son-in-law of Kertanegara and the last king of Singasari. So, who is the founder of the Majapahit Kingdom? Check out the explanation about Raden Wijaya, the first king of the Majapahit Kingdom!

History of Raden Wijaya, the Founder of Majapahit

Raden Wijaya has the real name Sang Naraya Snggramawijaya. Raden Wijaya’s father was a prince who came from the Sunda Galuh Kingdom named Rakyan Jayadarma. Meanwhile, Raden Wijaya’s mother was Syah Lembu Tal, the granddaughter of Ken Arok, the founder of the Singasari Kingdom.

Both from the mother’s and father’s sides, both of them had Sundanese royal blood flowing and bequeathed it to Raden Wijaya. Raden Wijaya actually had the opportunity to inherit the throne from the Sunda Galuh Kingdom. However, Raden Wijaya preferred to serve where his mother came from, namely the Singasari Kingdom during the reign of King Kertanegara.

Raden Wijaya’s choice to serve in the Singasari Kingdom was certainly not a random decision. Because Raden Wijaya is the son-in-law of Kertanegara, even the love story of Raden Wijaya and the daughter of King Kertanegara was also written in the Negarakertagama and Pararaton books.

In the Negarakertagama book, it is stated that Raden Wijaya married four Kertanegara daughters, namely Gayatri, Jayendradewi, Nerendraduhita and Tribhuwaneswari. The consort chosen from the four daughters was Tribuwaneswari while the other three were Raden Wijaya’s concubines.

However, in the Pararaton Book, it is stated that Raden Wijaya only married two of Kertanegara’s daughters. However, Raden Wijaya also married a princess from the Dharmasraya Kingdom from Sumatra named Dara Petak. Putri Dara Petak was then taken by Raden Wijaya in his expedition called the Pamalayu Expedition in Malay land from 1275 to 1286 AD.

From his marriage to Dara Petak, Raden Wijaya had a son whom he named Jayanegara. However, according to the Sukamerta inscription and the Balawi inscription, Jayanegara was the son of Raden Wijaya and his consort Tribhuwaneswari.

With his concubine, Gayatri, Raden Wijaya had two daughters, namely Dyah Ditarja or also known as Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi and Dyah Wiyat or known as Rajadewi Maharajasa.

Jayanegara as the son of Raden Wijaya will then continue his father’s rule as the second king of the Majapahit Kingdom. Meanwhile, Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi later became the third ruler in the Majapahit Kingdom.



The Story of Raden Wijaya Failed to Save Singasari

In 1292 AD there was a rebellion against the Singasari Kingdom which was initiated by the Regent of Gelang-gelang, which is now Madiun, the name of the Regent was Jayakatwang. In the Paranton Book it is narrated that Jayakatwang sent his army named Jaran Guyang to invade the Singasari Kingdom from the north.

Then, King Kertanegara, who knew about Jayakatwang’s plan, ordered his son-in-law, Raden Wijaya, to lead the Singasari troops which aimed to ward off attacks from Jayakatwang’s troops. However, the movement of Jaran Guyang’s troops was only a tactic from Jayakatwang alone.

When sent by King Kertanegara, Raden Wijaya indeed succeeded in defeating Jaran Guyang’s troops. However, Jaran Guyang was a small troop sent by Jayakutwang as a diversion so that the defense in the capital Singasari, which is now Malang, was empty of troops.

The clever Jayakatwang immediately sent a larger army to Singasari. Because most of Singasari’s military forces led by Raden Wijaya never returned, Jayakatwang’s second army finally succeeded in occupying Singasari’s palace, even King Kertanegara was killed in the rebellion.

On the other hand, the troops led by Raden Wijaya had scattered after learning that Singasari had fallen and Kertanegara had been killed in the rebellion. Together with his loyal followers and a few remaining troops, Raden Wijaya then fled into the forest around the Brantas River.

Because of Jayakatwang’s clever tactics, Raden Wijaya failed to protect the Singasari Kingdom from the rebellion. After Jayakatwang paralyzed Kertanegara, Raden Wijaya also served Jayakatwang with a grudge to return to the throne.

Prior to being accepted by Jayakatwang, Raden Wijaya previously fled with his three best friends named Nambi, Sora and Ranggalawe. When they fled, Raden Wijaya and his best friend were received by Arya Wiraraja.

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While in hiding, Raden Wijaya also received advice and assistance from Arya Wiraraja to return to Singaraja on the pretext that he wanted to serve Jayakatwang. Upon Raden Wijaya’s acknowledgment, Jayakatwang accepted it and even gave him an area called the Tarik Forest. After getting the area, Raden Wijaya also cleared the Tarik Forest and turned it into a village. Raden Wijaya also found a maja fruit which has a very bitter taste. From this bitter fruit, Raden Wijaya also gave the village the name Majapahit.

Despite admitting that he would serve, Raden Wijaya still had a grudge against Jayakatwang and had an opportunity when the Mongol troops sent by Kublai Khan came to punish Kertanegara. However, because Kertanegara had died, 20,000 troops brought by the Mongols were invited by Raden Wijaya to attack Jayakatwang again.

Raden Wijaya admitted that if he won, then he would submit to Kublai Khan. But after successfully getting rid of Jayakatwang, Raden Wijaya immediately attacked the Mongol troops. The sudden attack then made the Mongol troops choose to leave Java at that time.

Building the Majapahit Kingdom and the Death of Raden Wijaya

It was from the area given by Jayakatwang that a village named Majapahit formed by Raden Wijaya emerged and eventually became a large empire. The village is near the Brantas River, whose water flows through several areas in East Java, such as Blitar, Malang, Tulungagung, Jombang, Kediri and even Mojokerto. The Brantas River itself is the second longest river in Java after the Bengawan Solo.

After successfully defeating Jayakatwang with the Mongol troops and expelling the Mongol troops, Raden Wijaya then declared the establishment of the Majapahit Kingdom in 1293 with the center of government in Mojokerto. When declaring the Majapahit Kingdom, Raden Wijaya then became the first king with the title he got was Kertajasa Jayawardhana from 1293 to 1309.

The Majapahit Kingdom which was founded by Raden Wijaya also managed to develop into a large empire and had a large territory because Raden Wijaya was good at winning the hearts of the people from Daha and Tumapel.

Raden Wijaya’s loyal followers also played a role in establishing the Majapahit Kingdom and were later appointed by Raden Wijaya as high-ranking officials in the government of the Majapahit Kingdom.

However, the reign of Raden Wijaya was complicated by the presence of someone named Mahapati who liked to pit one against the other. Because of this pitting against Mahapati, then the war between the Majapahit troops and Ranggalawe and other friends of Raden Wijaya ensued.

In a battle involving Raden Wijaya’s friends, Ranggalawe and Lembu Sora were then killed. Then according to the Negarakertagama Book, Raden Wijaya died in 1309 after 16 years of ruling and controlling the Majapahit Kingdom.

To commemorate Raden Wijaya as the founder of the Majapahit Kingdom, Raden Wijaya was later made into a temple in Atahpura with a Jina statue and in Simping with a Shiva statue. after Raden Wijaya died, his son named Jayanegara took over the throne.

The Majapahit Kingdom then became more victorious and developed when it was led by Raden Wijaya’s grandson, Hayam Wuruk with the title Sri Rajasanagara who served as king from 1350 to 1389. Palapa.

It was during the era of Hayam Wuruk and Gajah Mada that the Majapahit Kingdom later became one of the great empires that succeeded in controlling most of the archipelago and other areas around the archipelago.



The Majapahit Kingdom Enters Its Heyday

The Majapahit Empire entered its heyday when Hayam Wuruk together with Gajah Mada ruled. Both have the same role in building and bringing Majapahit in its heyday. Gajah Mada as mahapatih succeeded in quelling all rebellions and vowed to unite the regions in the archipelago.

Hayam Wuruk together with Gajah Mada ruled and led the Majapahit Kingdom for 39 years and had succeeded in making the Majapahit banner visible in all parts of the archipelago to the Malacca peninsula.

Gajah Mada then issued a Palapa Oath which he carried out in areas in the archipelago such as Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, the Nusa Tenggara Islands, Papua, Tumasik or now Singapore, to the Philippine Islands.

The decline of the Majapahit Empire

After successfully achieving its heyday in the 14th century, the Majapahit Empire slowly began to weaken. The weakening of Majapahit began when Hayam Wuruk died in 1389. Because Hayam Wuruk passed away, a struggle for the throne in the Majapahit Kingdom ensued. So that several areas in Majapahit, especially in the northern part of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, also took advantage of the opportunity to become independent.

After independence, the Malay Peninsula became the territory of the Ayutthaya Kingdom until the emergence of the Sultanate in Melaka which was occupied by the Ming Dynasty. Meanwhile, Hayam Wuruk’s own heir, a crown princess named Kusumawardhani, married her cousin, Prince Wikramawardhana.

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Hayam Wuruk also had a son from his concubine named Wirabhumi and claimed the right to the throne left by Hayam Wuruk. After Hayam Wuruk no civil war ensued, the war is known as the Paregreg War which is estimated to have occurred in 1405 to 1406. The war took place between Wirabhumi against Wikramawardhana and was won by Wikramawardhana, while Wirabhumi who lost was then captured and sentenced to beheaded. The civil war that occurred also made the Majapahit Kingdom’s control over the area under its control weaken.

Wirakramawardhana then ruled the Majapahit Kingdom until 1426 and was succeeded by his daughter, Ratu Suhita in 1426 to 1447. Then the Majapahit reign continued until at the end of the 14th and early 15th centuries, the influence of Majapahit’s power diminished in the archipelago.

Majapahit’s power began to wane when Muslim traders and propagators entered the archipelago and at the same time, a new trading empire that embraced Islam emerged, namely the Malacca Sultanate.

The western region of Majapahit began to collapse and Majapahit no longer had the power, especially to stem the growth and resurgence of the Malacca Sultanate. On the other hand, the areas controlled by Majapahit were slowly starting to break away from Majapahit one by one.

It is estimated that Majapahit began to experience a decline in power in 1478 or 1400 saka. These years are considered to be the normal time for the change of dynasty and the end of the reign in 1527.

The end of the golden age of the Majapahit Kingdom is also written on a candrasengkala which reads “sna ilang kretaning bumi” meaning the earth’s prosperity is gone. It is said that the Majapahit Kingdom was getting weaker after the Islamic Empire came to power and getting stronger in the early 16th century and finally defeated the remnants of the Majapahit Kingdom.

In brief, here are some of the factors that caused the Majapahit Empire to begin to collapse and decline, including the following.

  1. Many areas that were previously controlled by the Majapahit Kingdom finally broke away.
  2. There is a conflict involving regarding the struggle for the throne.
  3. Paregreg war or civil war.
  4. The influence of Islam in Java was growing, mined by the increasingly powerful Islamic kingdoms.

In 1527 the power of the Majapahit Kingdom actually ended after Majapahit surrendered under the troops of Sultan Trenggana who came from the Sultanate of Demak. Since then, the remaining areas were taken over by the Sultanate of Demak.

Names of Kings, Titles, and Years of Rule of the Majapahit Kingdom

  1. Raden Wijaya has the title Kertarajasa Jayawardhana, served from 1293-1309
  2. Jayanagara has the title Sri Maharaja Wiralandagopala Sri Sundarapandya Dewa Adhiswara, served from 1309-1328
  3. Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi with the title Sri Tribhuwanattunggadewi Maharajasa Jayawisnuwardhani served from 1328-1350
  4. Hayam Wuruk had the title Maharaja Sri Rajasanagara, served from 1350-1389
  5. Wikramawardhana with the title Bhra Hyang Wisesa Aji Wikrama served from 1389-1429
  6. Suhita has the title Prabu Stri Suhita served from 1429-1447
  7. Kertawijaya title Sri Maharaja Wijaya Prakramawardhana or Brawijaya I, served from 1447-1451
  8. Rajasawardhana has the title Rajasawardhana Sang Sinagara who served from 1451-1453
  9. Girishawardhana has the title Girishawardhana Dyah Suryawikrama who served from 1456-1466
  10. Singhawikramawardhana has the title Sri Adi Suraprabhawa Singhawikramawardhana Gripati Pasutabhupati Ketubhata served from 1466-1468
  11. Bhre Kertabhumi with the title of Brawijaya V and served in 1468-1478
  12. Girindrawardhana with the title Prabhu Natha Girindrawardhana Dyah Ranawijaya served from 1474-1498

There were twelve kings who ruled and once led the Majapahit Kingdom with their respective titles that each king earned. From every title owned by the king of Majapahit has its own meaning.

Like the title Brawijaya which is considered attached to the rulers of Majapahit. Apart from the two kings who have the title Brawijaya, there are also other figures whose names are considered attached to this title, namely Dyha Ranawijaya, the son of Rajasawardhana.



That is an explanation of the figure of the founding figure of the Majapahit Kingdom as well as the first king of the kingdom, Raden Wijaya. Also accompanied by a little explanation about how Raden Wijaya built Majapahit until finally Majapahit entered its heyday until a period of decline caused by several factors, one of which was civil war.

The material for this Majapahit kingdom is listed in history books which Sinaumed’s can learn more about from history books which present similar material. Sinaumed’s can buy these history books at sinaumedia, as #FriendsWithoutLimits. sinaumedia always provides various books for Sinaumed’s. So what are you waiting for? Buy and own the book right now!

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