Understanding the History of the Pattimura War and Other Archipelago Wars

The Pattimura War – Sinaumed’s must have known Indonesia’s long history before we finally got independence. Colonization of Indonesia started with the arrival of colonialists from the European Continent such as the Portuguese, Dutch and British, followed by the arrival of Japan several years before our independence.

It cannot be denied that the figure of the Proclaimer as well as the First President of the Republic of Indonesia, IR Soekarno together with Vice President Mohammad Hatta supported by other figures became the key to Indonesia’s independence from the shackles of colonialism.

Even so, Sinaumed’s needs to remember that Indonesia’s independence did not happen automatically because of the people mentioned in the previous paragraph. Long before the reading of the proclamation of independence, there were various kinds of efforts from a number of regions to break away from the clutches of the colonialists.

This effort even led to a small war in the area. Even though the majority of wars such as the Pattimura War, the Diponegoro War, the Padri War and the Aceh War ended in defeat, it does not cover the fact that these efforts became one of the triggers for the Indonesian people’s desire to be independent.

For this reason, in this article, we will review some of the Archipelago Wars that occurred before Indonesia’s independence. Sinaumed’s will later study the figures involved in this war and the chronology of the war in general.

Pattimura War

Overview of Pattimura

There is a number of controversies regarding the real name of this figure who is better known as Kapitan Pattimura. Generally, people know Pattimura’s real name as “Thomas Matulessy”. However, other sources say that the figure of Pattimura has the real name “Ahmad Lussy”.

Regardless of Pattimura’s real name, it cannot be denied that the figure who was born on June 7, 1973 is a national hero who had defended his homeland, Maluku Island in 1817. He himself called on the people of Maluku to rebel against the invaders who invaded their homeland.

This rebellion is now also known as the “Patimura War”. Unfortunately, at that time Pattimura’s efforts to defeat the invaders did not end in success. In the end, he and a number of his colleagues were arrested by the Dutch colonialists and themselves sentenced to death for their actions.

Overview of Marta Christina Tiahahu

As explained above, Pattimura was not the only figure who took part in fighting the Dutch colonialists when the Maluku Islands were invaded. Another national hero who also took part in this rebellion was a woman named Marta Christina Tiahahu.

Born on January 4, 1800, Marta Christina Tiahahu has helped liberate the Land of Maluku from colonial hands since she was 17. He himself went down to the battlefield along with his father, helping Pattimura in the rebellion against the Dutch colonialists in 1817.

Unfortunately, Marta Christina Tiahahu and her father were caught by Dutch troops. Even though in the end Marta Christina Tiahahu was released by Dutch troops, her father’s life could not be saved. After that, he fled to the forest, where slowly his mental and physical health deteriorated as he watched the people he loved die in front of him.

History of the Pattimura War

The Pattimura War began with the appointment of Pattimura as “Kapitan” or leader of the war in May 1817. The figure of Pattimura was chosen by the local community because Pattimura was known to be an authoritative figure and had received military training, making him suitable to lead on the battlefield.

Together with a number of his colleagues such as Said Command, Anthony Reebhok, Paulus Tiahahu and his daughter Martha Christina Tiahahu and other Moluccans, they attacked Fort Duurstede which at that time was one of the headquarters of the Dutch army.

The efforts of Pattimura and his colleagues were successful, and the Moluccans managed to occupy Fort Duurstede. The Dutch themselves had tried several times to take Fort Duurstede, but their efforts were always thwarted by Pattimura. While defending Fort Duurstede, Pattimura and company tried to launch other attacks.

After declaring the Haria Proclamation for the Maluku people against the Dutch army, Pattimura attacked Fort Zeelandia in June 1817. Unfortunately, this time his efforts failed. Even worse, Fort Duurstede was eventually re-occupied by the Dutch.

Even so, this still did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Maluku people to return to seize their homeland. However, the Netherlands is not without sense. They several times made a number of cunning tactics to lower the morale of the Maluku people and reduce the strength of the rebels.

One way is to “buy” Raja Booi, who at that time inhabited the Saparua region. He himself leaked the strategy of Pattimura and his colleagues, which led to them being finally caught in November 1817. After being arrested, Pattimura and his colleagues, such as Anthony Reebhok, Philip Latumahina, and Said Parintak were hanged in front of Fort Nieuw Victoria, ending the Kapitan’s struggle.

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Diponegoro War

Overview of Diponegoro

The figure who is also known as “Prince Diponegoro” is one of the Indonesian National Heroes who led his troops to expel the Dutch colonialists from the plains of Java, to be precise in the Yogyakarta area and its surroundings. The Diponegoro War is known as one of the biggest wars in Indonesia and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and damaged thousands of property.

The figure of Diponegoro himself was born with the real name Bendara Raden Mas Antawirya on November 11, 1785. This figure is known as a warm, peace-loving and romantic figure. It is known that Diponegoro was married to 5 different women and had 12 sons and 5 daughters.

Despite his true nature which basically loves peace, Diponegoro did not like the Dutch colonialists. He thinks that these Dutch people have an attitude that is not chivalrous and does not seem to respect the culture and customs of Yogyakarta.

He is also known to have knowledge and depth of war strategy. Evidently, the Dutch had difficulty finding and capturing Diponegoro until he was finally caught in 1830 and exiled to Manado. Finally, on January 8, 1855, Diponegoro died at the age of 69 years.

History of the Diponegoro War

The Diponegoro War began because Diponegoro was known to have never liked the Dutch system in the occupation of the Yogyakarta area. Apart from his system which seemed to be full of coercion and tormented the people of Yogyakarta, Diponegoro also considered that the Dutch were trampling on Yogyakarta’s noble traditions.

This is what sparked the fire of rebellion against the Dutch within Diponegoro. Together with several commanders, such as Kiai Madja, Sentot Prawirodirjo and Kerta Pengalasan, Diponegoro made preparations to fight against the soldiers from the Netherlands.

Diponegoro used various tactics to avoid attacks from the Dutch. Starting from 1825-1830, the Prince often moved headquarters from one place to another to avoid the Dutch. This move was made easier by the large number of people who provided moral and logistical support for the Diponegoro camp.

The Diponegoro camp itself was also strengthened by various weapons, both traditional weapons and firearms, enabling them to defeat the Dutch when they had to deal with them. Diponegoro was considered so slippery because he had repeatedly managed to escape from Dutch ambushes and disappeared without a trace.

The difficulty for the Dutch to find Diponegoro made them send high-ranking military officials several times to find and attack Diponegoro. They also did not forget to use dirty tactics and tricks to catch the Prince.

The Dutch often held competitions to find Diponegoro and were rewarded with big prizes. They also took advantage of the situation where Diponegoro’s side had to deal with a number of wartime diseases such as malaria and fever.

Finally, in March 1830, Diponegoro was arrested after being framed by the Dutch General. He was then exiled to Manado and spent the rest of his life there. This war was continued by Diponegoro’s sons, such as Ki Sodewa Bagus, Dipaningrat, Dipanegara Anom, and Prince Joned, although in the end they were subdued by the Dutch.

Padri War

Overview of Imam Bonjol

Turning to the Minangkabau area, there was also a war called the Padri War which was initially caused by differences in customary understanding by the local tribes, until finally the Minangkabau tribes united to defeat their real enemy, namely the Dutch army.

It is Imam Bonjol or also known by his title “Tuanku Imam Bonjol”, who is the leader of the Padri War. This figure was born with the real name Muhammad Syahab on January 1, 1772. He himself became a leader who led local tribes to fight against the Dutch instead of against their fellow Minangkabau.

His leadership can be said to be quite successful, considering that he managed to unite the two parties that had previously been at odds for decades. Unfortunately, after years of fighting against the Dutch, Imam Bonjol finally had to surrender before the Dutch.

He is known to have surrendered to the Dutch army. After that, Imam Bonjol was exiled to Cianjur, West Java, before finally being transferred again to Ambon, Maluku. Imam Bonjol died at the age of 92 on November 6, 1894.

History of the Padri War

The Padri War initially started when the two tribes or people who came from Minangkabau, namely the Padri and Indigenous People, had different opinions about the beliefs they professed. Long story short, the conflict between the two peoples is known to have started since 1803.

However, entering 1821, the Indigenous People were pressed after facing various kinds of attacks from the Padri. In the end, the leader of the Indigenous People named Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah asked for help against the Dutch troops, as well as surrendered himself to the Dutch against the Padri.

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In the end, the Dutch succeeded in helping the Indigenous people against the Padri. Even so, the Dutch had to admit that the Padri were quite a difficult opponent to beat. This led to a ceasefire by the Dutch and the Padri from 1825 to 1831.

However, not long after the Diponegoro War was over, the Dutch again tried to subdue the Minangkabau people and blackmailed them. This is where the role of Tuanku Imam Bonjol in uniting the two peoples who have different backgrounds to fight against the Dutch.

The Padri War was resumed, this time fighting against the Dutch. This battle started from Imam Bonjol’s direction to reoccupy Bonjol City. There was a fortress called Fort Bonjol which was very sturdy and difficult for the Dutch to penetrate, making them have to think hard about attacking these Minangkabau troops.

The focus of this war shifted to Fort Bonjol from 1835 to 1837. However, after being battered continuously, the Minangkabau people found it increasingly difficult to withstand resistance from the Dutch. In the end, in October 1837, Imam Bonjol surrendered to the Dutch.

Imam Bonjol was exiled a year after he was arrested for heading to Cianjur, West Java and Ambon, Maluku. The Padri War itself continued until 1838, although in the end the Minangkabau had to accept the harsh reality that they could not defeat the Dutch troops.

Aceh War

Overview of Teuku Umar

Turning to Aceh, the figure who became the leader in the Aceh War was Teuku Umar. This man was born in 1854 with an unknown date. He is a National Hero of Indonesia who is known as a smart, brave and determined person.

This is what made him lined up as a leader when the people of Aceh when they fought against the Dutch colonialists in breaking away from colonialism. He had succeeded in making it difficult for the Dutch to subdue Aceh. But, in the end, this figure died in the middle of the battle.

Teuku Umar is known to have died from being shot in 1899, in February to be precise. He was surrounded by Dutch soldiers and inevitably had to fight to escape from the invaders’ ambush. However, he failed and in the end had to breathe his last at the age of 45 years.

Overview of Cut Nyak Dhien

The death of Teuku Umar did not make the people of Aceh just give up in the face of the Dutch colonialists. Even though it had to stop for several years, the struggle of the Acehnese people was finally taken over by the wife of Teuku Umar, namely Cut Nyak Dhien.

Cut Nyak Dhien was born in 1848 again with an unknown date and month. In 1880, he married the figure who led the Aceh War, namely Teuku Umar. The two of them fought against the Dutch as husband and wife before Teuku Umar died in 1899 after being besieged by the Dutch.

With this, Cut Nyak Dhien fought alone to lead troops in Aceh to expel the Dutch colonialists. Unfortunately, due to his old age, he is not able to do much. After being arrested and exiled to Sumedang, Cut Nyak Dhien died on November 6, 1908.

History of the Aceh War

The Aceh War itself actually took place since 1873 and is known to have ended in 1915. During the war, several times the Dutch and the people of Aceh alternated leadership in which the two camps tried to conquer the other camp.

Like the several wars previously mentioned, the people of Aceh fought using guerrilla tactics to make things difficult for the Dutch. Meanwhile, from the Dutch side, they used various kinds of technology, weapons and resources at their disposal to defeat Aceh.

When Teuku Umar led the Aceh War, he pretended to be on the Dutch side several times so that the Acehnese could get weapons supplies to fight the invaders. This tactic proved successful several times, before finally being surrounded by Dutch troops and shot dead.

After Teuku Umar died, Cut Nyak Dhien led a relatively small army to continue the struggle against the Dutch. Unfortunately these troops failed to make a big impact, due to the fact that their numbers were indeed small and not enough to fight the Dutch, as well as the fact that the Dutch were used to fighting against Aceh’s tactics and on the battlefield.

After the arrest of Cut Nyak Dhien, the Aceh War was still being continued by a number of groups in the region. However, almost none of them could make a big impact on the Dutch colonialists. Finally, this war was really considered over in 1915.

Related Book Recommendations

This is an article that discusses the Pattimura War and a number of other archipelago wars. To find out more about the history behind this war. Sinaumed’s can read books such as the recommended books below.

1. Padri War in West Sumatra (1803-1838)

2. Chronicle of the Java War 1825-1830

3. Kapitang Pattimura – Son of Hulaliu Country