Pattimura, as depicted on the 1,000 rupiah bill
8 June 1783|
Haria, Saparua, Maluku, Dutch East Indies
|Died||16 December 1817
Nieuw Victoria, Ambon, Maluku, Dutch East Indies
|Awards||National Hero of Indonesia|
Thomas Matulessy (8 June 1783 – 16 December 1817,) also known as Kapitan Pattimura or simply Pattimura, was an Ambonese soldier and National Hero of Indonesia.
Born on the island of Saparua, Pattimura joined the British army after they took the Maluku islands from the Dutch colonials. When the islands were returned to the Dutch in 1816, he was dismissed. Concerned that the Dutch would implement programs that limited his people, Pattimura led an armed rebellion that captured Fort Duurstede on 16 May 1817. Killing the inhabitants of the fortress and fighting off Dutch reinforcements, on 29 May he was declared the leader of the Maluku people. After being betrayed by the King of Booi Pati Akoon, he was captured by Dutch forces on 11 November and hanged the next month.
Pattimura has become a symbol of both Maluku and Indonesian independence, praised by President Sukarno and declared a national hero by President Suharto. He has several namesakes both in the capital of Maluku, Ambon, and in the rest of the Indonesian archipelago.
Pattimura was born Thomas Mattulessi on 8 June 1783 in Saparua, Maluku; the name Pattimura was his pseudonym. His parents were Frans Matulessia and Fransina Tilahoi, and he had a little brother named Yohanis. In 1810, the Maluku islands were taken over from the Dutch colonials by the British. Mattulessi received military training from their army and reached the rank of sergeant major.
After the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty on 13 August 1814, in 1816 the Maluku islands were returned to the Dutch; Pattimura attended the ceremony. Afterwards, in violation of the treaty, he and his fellow soldiers were discharged to their hometowns. However, Pattimura refused to accept the restoration of Dutch power. He felt that they would stop paying native Christian teachers, as they had done in 1810, and was concerned that a proposed switch to paper currency would leave the Maluku people unable to give alms — only coins were considered valid — and thus lead to churches being unable to help the poor.
He was appointed as Kapitan by the people of Saparua to rebel against the Dutch on 14 May 1817. The assault began on the 15th, with Pattimura and his lieutenants Said Perintah, Anthony Reebhok, Paulus Tiahahu and Tiahahu's daughter Martha Christina Tiahahu leading the way. On 16 May 1817, he managed to seize the Duurstede Fort, and killed nearly all Dutchmen inside, including Resident van den Berg. The only Dutch survivor was van den Berg's five-year-old son. On 29 May, together with other Maluku leaders, he made the Haria Proclamation, which outlined their grievances against the Dutch government and declared Pattimura to be the leader of the Maluku people.
After the seizure, Pattimura defended the fort and defeated Major Beetjes, Second Lieutenant E. S. de Haas, and their troops. He later led an unsuccessful attack on Fort Zeelandia in Haruku.
Due to betrayal from Booi's king, Pati Akoon, and Tuwanakotta, he was arrested on 11 November 1817 while he was in Siri Sori, and the Duurstede Fort was recaptured by the Dutch Army. He and his fellows were sentenced to death. On 16 December 1817, Pattimura together with Anthony Reebook, Philip Latumahina, and Said Parintah were hanged in front of Niew Victoria Fort in Ambon.
Pattimura and his war have been used as symbols for both Maluku independence, such as with the short-lived Republic of South Maluku, and Indonesian patriotism. The first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, considered Pattimura a great patriot.
Pattimura was awarded the title National Hero of Indonesia by President Suharto in 1973 through Presidential Decree number 87/TK. In Ambon, he is commemorated in the names of the University of Pattimura, Pattimura Airport, and a street, as well as a statue; there are also streets named after him throughout the archipelago. 15 May is celebrated as Pattimura Day; a similar, smaller holiday is on 2 January for the younger Tiahahu. He is also featured on the 2000 series of the 1,000 rupiah bill.
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