Sam Ratulangi

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Sam Ratulangi
Sam Ratulangi 1962 Indonesia stamp.jpg
1st Governor of Sulawesi
In office
President Ir. Soekarno
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Bernard Wilhelm Lapian
Personal details
Born Gerungan Saul Samuel Jacob Ratulangi
(1890-11-05)November 5, 1890
Tondano, North Sulawesi, Dutch East Indies
Died June 30, 1949(1949-06-30) (aged 58)
Jakarta, Indonesia
Nationality Indonesia Indonesia
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Occupation National Hero of Indonesia
Religion Christianity

Dr. Gerungan Saul Samuel Jozias Ratulangi or Ratu Langie (November 5, 1890 – June 30, 1949), usually known as Sam Ratulangi, was a Minahasa politician, journalist and teacher from North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Early life[edit]

The son of Jozias Ratulangi and Augustina Gerungan, both from wealthy, well-respected Minahasa families, Sam Ratulangi was born in Tondano, North Sulawesi, at the time a part of the Dutch East Indies. He was a gifted student, who after completing his studies in Tondano and Batavia went to Amsterdam in the Netherlands for further studies. He graduated from a teacher's college as a science teacher in 1915, studied for two more years at the University of Amsterdam, and in 1919 earned his Ph.D. at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

On his return to Indonesia, he moved to Yogyakarta to teach science at a high school, and then moved on to Bandung to found the insurance company Assurantie Maatschappij Indonesia — the first known instance of the word "Indonesia" being used in an official document. He had already led some Indonesian students' associations in Europe, and in 1924 was appointed secretary of the Council of Minahasan Students. He used this position to lobby for more rights and is widely credited with getting the colonial government to abolish forced labor (or Herendiensten) in Minahasa.

Political career[edit]

Appointed to the Volksraad (the Dutch East Indies' parliament) in 1927, he continued to agitate for equal rights and was one of the founding members of the United Scholars of Indonesia (Vereniging van Indonesische Academici) in 1932. He continued to serve in the Volksraad until 1937, when he was arrested and jailed for several months due to his increasing political involvement. He then became the editor of Nationale Commentaren, a Dutch-language news and issues magazine.

In June 1937 his book Indonesia in den Pacific was published. The book was considered to be visionary in its content, in which Sam Ratulangie warned against the militarisation of Japan and foresaw the possibility that Japan might invade the Indonesian archipelago because of its natural resources which Japan lacks. He described the leading role that Indonesia and other countries in South-East Asia around the Pacific Rim could play — the Pacific Ocean could equal the Atlantic in importance.

In early August 1945, he was appointed as one of the members of the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence, and after Sukarno's unilateral declaration of independence on August 17, he was thereafter appointed as the governor of Celebes (Sulawesi) on August 22. Arrested by the Dutch on April 5, 1946 for high treason, he was exiled for three years to Serui on Yapen Island, Western New Guinea. Freed briefly on March 23, 1948 and brought to Yogyakarta, he was re-arrested there on December 25, 1948. Due to his failing health, he was released in Jakarta in February 1949 where he died on June 30.

Honours and legacy[edit]

In August 1961, Ratulangi was posthumously awarded the title of Pahlawan Kemerdekaan Nasional (National Independence Hero) by Sukarno. Manado's Sam Ratulangi Airport, the main thoroughfare Jalan Sam Ratulangi and the Sam Ratulangi University are all named after him.

He is also depicted on the Rp20,000 valued note from the 2016 Rupiah banknote series.[1]


  1. ^ "BI to Issue New Print Banknotes, Mint Coins with Heroes Images". Cabinet Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia. Retrieved 28 December 2016.