Java War

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Java War
Part of the Dutch colonial campaigns

From top, left to right: Submission of Dipo Negoro to De Kock, Attack of the column Le Bron de Vexela on Diepo Negoro near Gawok, Charge of the Hussars under Lieutenant Ferrouge at Magelang, Storming of Pleret.
Date25 September 1825 – 28 March 1830 (1825-09-25 – 1830-03-28)
Result Dutch victory
 Dutch Empire
Yogyakarta Sultanate
Javanese rebels
Commanders and leaders
50,000 100,000
Casualties and losses
15,000 killed (8,000 Dutch and 7,000 native)[1] 20,000 killed
200,000 Javanese civilian killed[1]

The Java War (Javanese: ꦥꦼꦫꦁꦗꦮ) or Diponegoro War (ꦥꦼꦫꦁꦢꦶꦥꦤꦼꦒꦫ) was fought in central Java from 1825 to 1830, between the colonial Dutch Empire and native Javanese rebels. The war started as a rebellion led by Prince Diponegoro, a leading member of the Javanese aristocracy who had previously cooperated with the Dutch.

The rebel forces laid siege to Yogyakarta, a move that prevented a quick victory. This gave the Dutch time to reinforce their army with colonial and European troops, allowing them to end the siege in 1825. After this defeat, the rebels continued fighting a guerrilla war for five years.

The war ended in a Dutch victory, and Prince Diponegoro was invited to a peace conference. He was betrayed and captured. Due to the cost of the war, Dutch colonial authorities implemented major reforms throughout the Dutch East Indies to ensure the colonies remained profitable.


The direct cause of the Java War was the decision by the Dutch to build a road across a piece of Diponegoro's property that contained his parents' tomb. Longstanding grievances reflected tensions between the Javanese aristocracy and the increasingly powerful Dutch. Javanese aristocratic families were resentful about Dutch laws restricting their rental profits. The Dutch, meanwhile, were unwilling to lose influence over the Yogyakartan court.

Dutch influence also affected the cultural dynamics of Java. A devout Muslim, Diponegoro was alarmed by the increasingly relaxed religious observance at court. This included the rising influence of Christian Dutch colonists and the court's pro-Dutch leanings. Among Diponegoro's followers, the war was described as a jihad "both against the Dutch and the murtad or apostate Javanese."[2]

Following a common colonial strategy, the Dutch worked to exacerbate a succession crisis for the Yogyakartan throne. Diponegoro was the eldest son of Hamengkubuwono III, but his right to succeed was disputed because his mother was not the queen. Diponegoro's rivals were his younger half-brother Hamengkubuwono IV and his then-infant nephew Hamengkubuwono V, who were supported by the Dutch.

Major Battles during Java War[edit]

  Javanese victory
  Dutch victory
Date Battle Javanese Rebels Dutch Empire Result
August–September 1825 Siege of Yogyakarta Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Dutch Empire Victory[3]
August 1825 Fire of Yogyakarta Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese Victory

• The City was Looted by Javanese Forces[3]

24 July 1825 Ambush At Pisangan Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[4]
1825-1828 South Central Java Campaign Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[5]
1825 Battle of Demak Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[5]
1825-1826 Siege of Madiun Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[5]
21 July- 9 October 1825 Expedition to Selarong Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory

• Dutch Failure To Captured Prince Diponegoro[6]

28 July 1826 Battle of Kasuran Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[7]
30 July 1826 Battle of Lengkong Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[7]
August 1826 Battle of Pajang Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory

• Pajang Falling to Diponegoro[8]

4 August 1826 Battle of Bantul Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[7]
9 August 1826 Battle of Kejiwan Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[7]
28 August 1826 Battle of Delanggu Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[7]
November 1825- April 1826 Kali Progo Campaign Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[7]
October 1826 Surakarta Campaign Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[9]
1826 Storming of Pleret Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Dutch Empire Victory [10]
15 October 1826 Battle of Gawok Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Dutch Empire victory[7]
1827 Battle of Rembang Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[5]
26 September 1827 Battle of Salatiga Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[11]
1828 Battle of Jipang Rajewgesi Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Javanese victory[5]
17 September 1829 Battle of Siluk Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Dutch Empire victory[7]
1829 Ambush at Kelir Javanese Rebels  Dutch Empire Dutch Empire victory[7]


The Java War began 21 July 1825 when Prince Diponegoro raised the standard of revolt on his estate at Selarong.[12] The rebel forces were successful in the early stages of the war, taking control of central Java and besieging Yogyakarta. The Javanese population was generally supportive of Prince Diponegoro's cause.

However, as the war persisted, Prince Diponegoro had difficulties retaining his army. By contrast, the Dutch colonial army was able to fill its ranks with indigenous troops from Sulawesi, and eventually received reinforcements of European troops from the Netherlands. Dutch commander General de Kock ended the rebel siege on Yogyakarta on 25 September 1825.

Prince Diponegoro then began an extensive guerrilla war. Until 1827, the Dutch army struggled to protect the Javanese hinterland, so they bolstered their territorial defense by deploying mobile detachments of colonial troops, based in small forts throughout central Java. It is estimated that 200,000 died over the course of the conflict, including 8,000 Dutch.[13]

The rebellion ended in 1830, after Prince Diponegoro was tricked into entering Dutch-controlled territory near Magelang, under the pretense of negotiations for a possible ceasefire. He was captured and exiled to Manado, and then to Makassar, where he died in 1855.[14]


Dutch sources estimated 200,000 Javanese deaths; about one tenth in combat and the remainder from disease, starvation and other causes. Dutch military fatalities were 15,000, of which 8,000 were Europeans. [15]

Due to the Dutch forces' heavy losses, the colonial government decided to enlist African recruits in Gold Coast: the so-called "Belanda Hitam" ("Black Dutchmen"), to augment its East Indian and European troops.

The war was detrimental to Dutch finances; thus, the pacification of Java enabled the colonial government of the Dutch East Indies to implement Cultuurstelsel ("The Cultivation System") in Java without any local opposition in 1830. Overseen by the new governor general, Johannes van den Bosch, this cultivation system required that 20% of village land be devoted to growing cash crops for export at government rates.

Alternatively, peasants had to work in government-owned plantations for 60 days of the year. Dutch colonialists and their native allies amassed enormous wealth through this forced-export system. The profits from the colony more than repaid the Netherlands for the war, and made the Dutch East Indies self-sufficient.


  1. ^ a b Prasojo, Munif; Herlia, Tati (2021). "TOTAL WAR OF THE PAST IN INDONESIA, CASE STUDY: JAVA / DIPONEGORO WAR" (PDF). International Journal of Arts and Social Science. 4 (3): 13–44.
  2. ^ J. Kathirithamby-Wells (1998). "The Old and the New". In Mackerras, Colin (ed.). Culture and Society in the Asia-Pacific. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 9781134691289.
  3. ^ a b Midship 2021.
  4. ^ Carey 2008, p. 607.
  5. ^ a b c d e Carey 2008, p. 623.
  6. ^ Carey 2008, p. 641.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Carey 2008, p. 642.
  8. ^ Carey 2008, p. 634.
  9. ^ Carey 2008, p. 610.
  10. ^ Tate, D. J. M. (1971). The Making of Modern South-East Asia: The European conques. Oxford University Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780196381138. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  11. ^ Carey 2008, p. 644.
  12. ^ Carey, Peter (1976). "The Origins of the Java War (1825–30)". The English Historical Review. 91 (358): 74. JSTOR 565191.
  13. ^ Ricklefs, M.C. (1993), A History of modern Indonesia since 1300 (2nd ed.), Stanford UP, p. 117, ISBN 978-0804721950
  14. ^ Volkman, Toby Alice (1990), Sulawesi: island crossroads of Indonesia, Passport Books, p. 73, ISBN 0844299065
  15. ^ Koloniale oorlogen in Indonesië, Piet Hagen, Arbeiderspers, 2018, Pag. 310-338.


External links[edit]

  • Media related to Java War at Wikimedia Commons