Kingdoms of Sunda

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Former Sunda Kingdom

Kingdoms of Sunda refers to the monarchies of the Sundanese region prior to the establishment of Indonesia in 1945 AD. The history includes several eras:

  1. Salakanagara
  2. Tarumanagara (Capital at Chandrabhaga/Bekasi & Sundapura)
  3. The Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom (or Sunda-Galuh with capital at Pakuan Pajajaran; Saunggalah and Kawali)
  4. Kingdom of Sumedang Larang, The Sultanate of Banten & The Sultanate of Cirebon


1600-year-old stone inscription from the era of Purnawarman, king of Tarumanagara, founded in Tugu sub-district of Jakarta.

According to the manuscript “Pustaka Rayja-rayja I Bhumi Nusantara”, the first kingdom in Javadwipa (Java island) is Salakanagara (lit: country of silver). Salakanagara was established in Year 52 Saka (130/131 AD). The location of the kingdom is believed to be in Teluk Lada, Pandeglang city, the city which is famous for metal works. (Pandeglang, or pande gelang is Sundanese words for the maker of metal bracelets or armlets). Dr. Edi S. Ekajati, Sundanese historian, conjectured that the location of the capital city of the kingdom was in current Merak City (lit: silvery city). Some people also conjectured that the kingdom was situated around Mount Salak, based on the pronunciation of the words Salaka and Salak which are almost the same.

It is very probable that Argyre or Argyros at the west end of Iabadiou mentioned by Claudius Ptolemaeus Pelusiniensis (Ptolemy) of Alexandria (87-150 AD), in his work “Geographike Hypergesis” is Salakanagara.

A report from China in 132 said that Pien, the king of Ye-tiau, lent gold stamp and violet ribbon to Tiao-Pien. The word Ye-tiau is interpreted by G. Ferrand, a French historian, as Javadwipa and Tiao-pien referred to Dewawarman.

The Salakanagara Kingdom was then replaced by the Tarumanagara Kingdom.


The heyday of the Tarumanagara Kingdom was between the fourth and seventh centuries. The historical record of the kingdom is a sketchy account by a Chinese traveler and several rock inscriptions discovered in the western part of Java island. These sources agree that the most powerful king of Tarumanegara was Purnavarman, who conquered neighbouring countries.

Sunda Kingdom (United Kingdom of Sunda and Galuh)[edit]

The United Kingdom of Sunda and Galuh was a kingdom in West Java and western part of Central Java territory which emerged as a unification of the Sunda kingdom and the Galuh kingdom. The two kingdoms themselves were a result of the division of the former Tarumanagara kingdom. This kingdom was often just called the Sunda Kingdom based on historical primary resources such as stone inscriptions and old literature.

The area covered by the Sunda kingdom until early in the 16th century

Based on the travel records of Prince Bujangga Manik, a Hindu Sundanese monk who visited all of the holy Hindu sites in Java and Bali islands at the beginning of the sixteenth century AD, in his lontar manuscripts, which are saved in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University of England since the 16th century, the border of the Sunda kingdom in the west is the Sunda Strait and in the east is the Cipamali River (present day Brebes River) and Serayu River in Central Java Province.[1]

Historical record

The earliest time of a reference to the name Sunda being used to identify a kingdom, is written on the Prasasti Kebon Kopi II stone inscription of 458 Saka (536 AD) and copperplate letters of the fifteenth century with royal instructions telling the existence of the Sunda kingdom. Another reference to the kingdom is the Sanghiyang Tapak inscriptions. There are also certain Chinese sources concerning the Sunda kingdom; the first source is a report from Chu-fan-chi from 1225 AD and the second source is the Chinese book "shun-feng hsiang-sung" from about 1430 AD. European explorers also report the existence of the Sunda kingdom. One of the explorers was Tomé Pires from Portugal. Tomé Pires, in his report “Summa Oriental (1513–1515)”, wrote about his journey to the Sunda kingdom. Diogo do Couto also wrote that the Sunda kingdom is thriving and abundant; it lies between Java and Sumatra, having between it and the latter the Straits of Sunda. Besides that, the Portuguese made a peace treaty with the Sunda kingdom in 1522 AD. This treaty is better known as the Luso Sundanese Treaty of Sunda Kalapa. Henrique Leme erected a padrão to memorialize the treaty.

In the early sixteenth century AD, the kingdom was divided into three smaller kingdoms, including the Sultanate of Banten and the Sultanate of Cirebon. But many historical resources tell the existence of the third kingdom in south east of West Java, i.e. the Sumedanglarang Kingdom.

Sultanate of Banten[edit]

In 1524/1525, Sunan Gunung Jati from Cirebon together with Demak Sultanate armies seized the port of Banten from the control of the Sunda kingdom, and established The Sultanate of Banten affiliating with the Demak Sultanate. Islam preachers have penetrated and introduced people to the peaceful way of life of Islam, and as a result many people in the region embraced Islam as their belief.

During 1552-1570, Maulana Hasanudin ruled as the first Sultan of Banten.

Reaching its golden age during the first half of the seventeenth century, the Sultanate of Banten lasted for 300 years (1526–1813 AD). The grandeur of this Sultanate has left us with a plethora of archeological remains and historical records. It is for this reason that there will never be a lack of sources in retracing the history of the Sultanate of Banten.

Sultanate of Cirebon[edit]

Sultanate of Cirebon (Indonesian: Kesultanan Cirebon, Sundanese: Kasultanan Cirebon) was a sultanate in Sunda land, founded in the sixteenth century. It is said to have been founded by Sunan Gunungjati, who also established the Sultanate of Banten.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ekajati, Edi S. (2005). Kebudayaan Sunda Jaman Pajajaran. Yayasan Cipta Loka Caraka.
  • “Maharadja Cri Djajabhoepathi, Soenda’s Oudst Bekende Vorst”, TBG, 57. Batavia: BGKW, page 201-219, 1915)
  • Sumber-sumber asli sejarah Jakarta, Jilid I: Dokumen-dokumen sejarah Jakarta sampai dengan akhir abad ke-16
  • Kebudayaan Sunda Zaman Pajajaran, Jilid 2, Edi S. Ekajati, Pustaka Jaya, 2005
  • The Sunda Kingdom of West Java From Tarumanagara to Pakuan Pajajaran with the Royal Center of Bogor, Herwig Zahorka, Yayasan Cipta Loka Caraka, Jakarta, 2007-05-20