Siege of Batavia

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Siege of Batavia
AMH-6775-KB Siege of Batavia by the sultan of Mataram.jpg
Siege of Batavia by Sultan Agung in 1628
Date 1628-1629
Location Java

Dutch victory

The Mataram siege repelled
Flag of the Sultanate of Mataram.svg The Sultanate of Mataram Flag of the Netherlands.svg The Dutch East Indies Company
Commanders and leaders
Sultan Agung of Mataram Jan Pieterszoon Coen
10,000 (first siege)
14,000 (second siege)
530 (first siege)
 ? (second siege)

Siege of Batavia was a military campaign led by Sultan Agung of Mataram to capture the Dutch port-settlement of Batavia in Java. The first attempt was launched in 1628, and the second in 1629, both were unsuccessful. Jan Pieterszoon Coen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies managed to repel the sieges and beat off all of Sultan Agung's attacks.[1]


In the Indonesian Archipelago the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) first established their base in Ambon. To expand their trade network, the Dutch asked for the permission of the Sultanate of Mataram to build loji (trading post, mostly consist of fort and warehouses) on Java's north coast. The Sultan of Mataram declined the request for fear that the Dutch would control the economy of the northern Java coast.

After the Dutch wrestled the port of Jacatra (Jayakarta) from Sultanate of Banten, they established a port town in 1619 served as the Dutch East Indies Company headquarters in Asia. The Javanese people were made to feel unwelcome in Batavia, as the Dutch feared Javanese revolt. To meet labor needs, Coen asked Willem Ysbrandtszoon Bontekoe, a skipper for the Dutch East India Company, to bring 1000 Chinese people to Batavia from Macao; however, only a small segment of the 1000 survived the trip. In 1621, another attempt was initiated and 15,000 people were deported from the Banda Islands to Batavia; on this occasion, only 600 survived the trip. Batavia also imported numbers of workers and slaves from parts of the archipelago, such as Maluku Islands and Bali.

Having been established for almost a decade, Batavia, the first Dutch settlement and trading post in Java, had begun to draw hostility from the surrounding Javanese kingdoms. The European port and settlement was considered to be a foreign threat by the native polity. The Sultanate of Banten aspired to retake the port city and also to put down Banten's rival port. However they can not manage to launch a large scale campaign to retake the port. Banten could only launch small scale menaces on Dutch interest outside of the city wall. Learning the Europeans have better military technology, Mataram seeks diplomatic relations with the Dutch East Indies Company in 1621. Sultan Agung, king of the Mataram Sultanate (reign 1613–1645) sent his envoy asked Dutch assistance on his conquest against Surabaya, however the Dutch declined his request, resulted in severed diplomatic relation.

First siege (22 August-3 December 1628)[edit]

The map of Batavia circa 1627. On the left facing north is Batavia Castle.

After Surabaya fell in 1625, Sultan Agung shifted his expansive conquest of ambition westward. Cirebon was already held as an ally, although in practice was behaved as Mataram's vassal. In April 1628 Kyai Rangga Tapa, the regent of Tegal was sent to Batavia to propose a peace treaty with certain conditions on Mataram's behalf. The Dutch however, decline this proposal.

On August 27, 1628, Sultan Agung, launched his first offensive on Batavia led by Tumenggung Bahureksa, the regent of Kendal. The Mataram naval armada led by Bahureksa brought 150 cattle, 5,900 sack of sugar, 26,600 coconuts and 12,000 sack of rice. They asked to land in Batavia to trade, however the numbers of Mataram armada alerted the Dutch. The next day the Dutch allowed the cattle to be delivered with conditions only one by one of Mataram's ship allowed to land. 100 armed guards were watching the landing in Batavia Castle. On the third day three more of Mataram ship arrived to ask for travel permit to trade with Malacca, Batavia start to suspect sudden increase of Mataram ship arrivals and start to move more artillery on Batavia Castle two northern bastions. On the afternoon 20 more Mataram ship unloaded their troops north of the castle, alarmed the Dutch retreated into the castle and started to open fire on incoming Javanese attack.

On 25 August 1628 27 more of Mataram ship entered the bay but landed quite far from Batavia. On the south of Batavia, Mataram foot soldiers had arrive, around 1,000 troops began to apply siege upon Batavia. On 27 August the Mataram troops attacked Hollandia fort located southeast of the city. 120 armed men under the commands of Jacob van der Plaetten manage to protect the fort and Mataram suffer heavy loss. Several Dutch ships arrived from Banten and Onrust island and landed with additional 200 troops, the castle now guarded by 530 troops.

The Dutch fleet destroyed both Mataram's supplies and ships, located in the harbours of Cirebon and Tegal. Mataram troops, starving and decimated by illness. The second troops arrived on October led by Prince Mandurareja (grandson of Ki Juru Martani), with total 10,000 Mataram army. The Mataram troops suffered heavy losses during the battle near Batavia. Angered by the defeat, on December 1628 Sultan Agung sent executioner to punish Tumenggung Bahureksa and Prince Mandurareja. The next days, the Dutch discovered 744 corpses of headless Javanese soldiers.

Second Siege (May-September 1629)[edit]

The Siege of Batavia as part of Sultan Agung's campaign (1613-1645)

Sultan Agung learned that the problem on moving large numbers of Javanese troops from Central Java to Batavia is logistic and supplies.[2] Rather than transporting large numbers of military rice logistics, he decided to established numerous rice farming villages runs by Javanese farmers on Western Java north coast, from Cirebon to Karawang.[2] This logistic strategy led to the Javanese migrations to Northern West Java and later prompted the establishments of Javanese rice farming villages on West Java north coast, from Cirebon, Indramayu, Karawang, and Bekasi. Sultan Agung also sent Javanese ships filled with rice sailing Java Sea as logistics supports for his troops.[2] On May 1629 Mataram ready to launches its second campaign against Batavia.

The Dutch spies however, manage to locate the Mataram's rice barns and logistics in villages at Karawang and burnt them.[2] The poorly armed Javanese rice ships also are no match for Dutch warships, as they sunked them one by one. On May 1629 the first army was led by Dipati Ukur, the regent of Priangan, the vassal of Mataram, and the second army was led by Adipati Juminah arrived on June, the total is 14,000 troops. Dipati Ukur was supposed to wait for Adipati Juminah reinforcement from Mataram, however because the lack of supply, Dipati Ukur decided to depart earlier and attack Batavia on May. The Javanese troops led by Adipati Juminah arrived in Karawang but felt offended on finding no Sundanese Priangan troops waiting for them, this led to distrust between Priangan and Mataram troops. The angered Mataram officials and troops creating havoc in Priangan, pillaging and raping local women. The news from his wife in Priangan angered Dipati Ukur that promptly withdrawed home and kill numbers of Mataram officials. From the example of Tumenggung Bahureksa and Prince Mandurareja execution, Dipati Ukur learn that Sultan Agung would punish failure with death. This led to the Dipati Ukur rebellion against Mataram.

With lack of supplies and plagued with malaria and cholera that hit the region, the Mataram troops were arrived at Batavia exhausted. Mataram troops established encampment located south of Batavia in area now known as Matraman (derived from "Mataraman"). The Mataram forces applied siege upon Batavia and disrupting Batavia's water supply by polluting Ciliwung River, causing cholera plague in Batavia. During this second siege Jan Pieterszoon Coen suddenly died on 21 September 1629, highly possible because of this cholera outbreak. With internal problems among their commanders, plagued with lack of supply and illness, Mataram forces finally retreated.


The Dipati Ukur withdrawal from the campaign and his rebellion has weakened the Mataram holds on Priangan that create instability in West Java for several years. The Dutch however manage to firmly established themselves in Java. The Batavia campaign failure has led Sultan Agung to shift his conquering ambitions to eastward direction and attacked Blitar, Panarukan and the Blambangan in Eastern Java, a vassal of the Balinese kingdom of Gelgel.

Because of Sultan Agung's harsh discipline against failure, large numbers of Javanese troops refused to return home to Mataram. Many of them decided to marry local women and settle down in northern West Java villages. This has created the rice farming villages on Pantura (pantai utara: north coast) region of West Java, spanned from Bekasi, Karawang, Subang, Indramayu and Cirebon. The migration and settlement of Javanese people to Northern West Java has created distinctive culture, that later developed to be quite distinct to highland Sundanese and Central Javanese counterparts.

In following decades, VOC successfully expands their influence by acquiring Buitenzorg and Priangan highlands, and also Mataram's north coast ports such as Tegal, Kendal and Semarang through concessions in expense of Mataram's internal problems; plagued with succession disputes and struggle for power. Some of former Mataram encampments become name of places in Jakarta today, and can be identified with their Javanese origin names, such as Matraman, Paseban and Kampung Jawa.


  1. ^ "Coen, Jan Pieterszoon". Library Index. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Drs. R. Soekmono,. Pengantar Sejarah Kebudayaan Indonesia 3, 2nd ed. (in Indonesian) (1973, 5th reprint edition in 2003 ed.). Yogyakarta: Penerbit Kanisius. p. 61. ISBN 9794132918. 


  • Romain Bertrand, L‘Histoire à parts égales. Récits d'une rencontre Orient-Occident (XVIe-XVIIe siècles), Paris, Seuil, 2011, chapter 15, pp. 420-436.

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