The Mataram Kingdom & Royal Palaces

April 13, 2008

In Yogyakarta and Surakarta

The center of Mataram Kingdom were Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Central Java.


It was known as Hindu Mataram Kingdom which had ruled this region from 8th to 10th century AD. This kingdom has a very fertile land so it could support the constructions of several temples, like Prambanan, Borobudur, etc.

According to a Dutch archeologist, DR. Krom, prior to the arrival of Hindus, in the earlier centuries, the Javanese had known, among other :

1. Irrigation (wet-rice cultivation) or Agriculture.
2. Fishery
3. Astronomy
4. Weaving
5. Batik
6. Gamelan
7. Wayang

This kingdom were ruled by Javanese who had adopted the Hindu faith and culture. Before the arrival of the Hindus, Javanese already had a culture and beliefs of their own.

The Hindu-Javanese culture was a result of a meeting of the two civilizations, the indigenous and the Hindu. The influence of Islam, from the 15th century, into the Javanese civilization again produced a mix culture which does exist to present date.
The Mataram kingdom I, moved from Central Java to East Java, probably due to destructive eruption of MOUNT Merapi, which had ruined and covered with ash and debris several temples such as Borobudur, Sambisari, etc. Some scientist analyzed that removal of the power center eastward was due to internal wars between the rulers. Although the power center had shifted to East Java, but the rulers were the descendants or families from Mataram Rulers.
The first kingdom was established at Brantas river valley where agriculture was also flourishing due to its fertile soil. The king was Mpu Sindok, who had left many records on stone and the king Dharmawangsa. Under his rule, the epic Bharatayudha was translated into old Javanese language (996 AD). From 1019 to 1042, Airlangga was one of the biggest king in East Java.

The KEDIRI KINGDOM existed until 1222, followed by Singhasari Kingdom (1222-1292) with its territory on present day Malang.


The founder was Wijaya. This was the most powerful Indonesian Kingdom, with its capital at Trowulan (nearby Surabaya). Majapahit reached its golden peak under the king Hayam Wuruk (1350) with his brilliant prime minister Gajah Mada. At that time Majapahit kingdom embraced almost the entire territory of what is now Indonesia.

Gajah Mada was famous with his Palapa Oath. He swore that he would never consume spices (palapa) before he could unite the whole Indonesia archipelago under the Majapahit’s power umbrella (The first Indonesian satellite communication devices were named ‘ Palapa ‘ in honour of Gajah Mada).

DEMAK KINGDOM (Central Java)

After the collapse of Majapahit, the power center had shifted to Demak (30 km) east of Semarang – Central Java. It marked by the beginning of the rise of Islam in Java.
After the fall of Majapahit sometimes in 1478 AD, some of the people who did not agree with Demak Kingdom, fled to Bali and around the mountain Bromo (Tengger) and kept their faith to present date.
Demak with the famous and legendary Wali Songo (the nine Islamic leaders) went forward with Islamization. The last Hindu kingdom in Kediri was conquered at 1527, at the same year, Sunda Kelapa liberated and changed its name to be JAYAKARTA – Glorious City (now Jakarta).
The first king was Raden Patah, his father was a king of Majapahit who married his Je’ampa Moslem mother. The second king was Patiunus, the third was Trenggono.

The rice of Demak and Islam in Java were attributed by the Wali Songo -the nine religious leaders among other Sunan Kalijaga, Sunan Kudus, Sunan Gunung Jati (Falatehan), etc.

Islam became the official religion of the kingdom and provided new social and moral codes, at the same time Javanese philosophy and tradition continued.


The son in law, of Trenggono the last king of Demak, Joko Tingkir had moved the power center to Pajang (10 km west of Solo) sometimes around 1540 AD.
Joko Tingkir (the boy from the village of Tingkir), became the ruler as Sultan Hadiwijoyo


Panembahan Senopati was the first ruler (1584-1601) of Mataram. His father, Pemanahan (Ki Ageng Mataram) was a chief-warrior in Pajang, his great grand father was the last king of Majapahit Empire. Panembahan comes from the word : SEMBAH – respectful greeting – made with palms together, fingertips upward and touching the top of the nose. This is the way the Javanese respect their elders, their superiors especially in the court family. So, Panembahan is the one who highly respected, adored or even worshipped. Panembahan Senopati with his child name Sutowijoyo was a legendary king of Mataram.
The stories of Panembahan Senopati are full with tales of mystical power and occult feats. Nowadays, the places where he made meditations or gained supernatural powers, his former palace (Kotagede) 5 km Southeast of Yogyakarta and his grave attract thousand of pilgrims, and considered by many believers as holy places of Mataram Dynasty.

Kanjeng Panembahan Senopati Hingkang Sinuwun Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo

Those places among other are :

In the southern beach of Parang Tritis (20 km south of Yogyakarta), where he received a divine revelation and made an agreement with Kanjeng Ratu Kidul (the supreme goddess of the south sea) that the queen should always protect the kings of Mataram and its people from evil deeds. Some considers, that every king of Mataram dynasty is married with the queen, it is more precisely a spiritual marriage or agreement.

Located 10 km south of Yogyakarta, where the young Sutowijoyo received the God’s revelation, known as LINTANG JOHAR.

Located 68 km southeast of Solo it was his retreat, where he conversed the jungle of Mentaok to be a powerful kingdom, it was also attributed to his wise advisors such as his own father Pemanahan, Ki Ageng Giring (his father in law), his uncles Juru Mertani and Penjawi. He also respected highly Sunan Kalijogo, who told Sultan of Pajang – Hadiwijoyo, his adopted father to transfer immediately the Mentaok Jungle as promised to Pemanahan and Suto Wijoyo.
Sultan Hadiwijoyo was reluctant to release Mentaok after listening the prediction of Sunan Kudus that one day Mataram should become a strong and glorious power.
Sunan Giri said that establishment of Mataram is a God’s will. It was true Mataram expanded its territory due to the strong military power.
In 1588, Pajang’s heirlooms, the symbols of king’s power were taken to Mataram, followed by the conquered of Demak (1588), Madiun (1590), Kediri, Ponorogo and other places of southern part of East Java (1591).

The second Mataram’s king was Panembahan Sedo ing Krapyak (1601-1613), in which the holy city of Kudus was under Mataram.

Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo was the third king (1613-1646), the greatest king warrior in Java. Under his rule Mataram reached its peak, dominating all parts of Java except Banten and Batavia.
The wars against the Dutch colonialism in Batavia contained a lot of historic lessons to Indonesia. Sultan Agung concentrated his power in hinterland, he did not appreciate the traders. He moved the capital to Kerta, South of Kotegede. His grave in the hill of Imogiri visited by a lot of pilgrims, who believe in his sacred supernatural power.
The Javanese lunar calendar which is functioning now, was created by Sultan Agung by combining the Javanese and Islam calendar.
His Successors :

Susuhunan Amangkurat I (1646-1677)
Susuhunan Amangkurat II (1677-1703)
Susuhunan Amangkurat III (1703-1708)
Susuhunan Pakubuwono I (1704-1719)
Susuhunan Amangkurat IV (1719-1726)
Susuhunan Pakubuwono II (1726-1749)

Continuously involved in a series of internal wars in Java and wars against the Dutch V.O.C. (East Indian Company) had weakened significantly the power of Mataram Kingdom. The capital of Mataram had been moved several times, in 1647 by Amangkurat I to Plered (nearby Kerta), in 1680 by Amangkurat II to Kartosuro (10 km) west of Solo,in 1743 by Pakubuwono II to the bank of river Solo.

Giyanti Treaty in February 13, 1755
Recognized Prince Mangkubumi or Hamengkubuwono I as the king of Yogyakarta Kingdom.

The division of Mataram Kingdom II.

The king : Susuhunan Pakubuwono III (1749-1788)
Adipati (Viceroy) : Sri Mangkunagoro I (1757-1795)
Recognized since March 1757 in SALATIGA.

The king : Sultan Hamengkubuwono I (1749-1792)
Adipati (Viceroy) : Sri Pakualam I (1813-1829)
Recognized by Raffles, the then British Lieutenant Governor of Java.

These royal and court families of Surakarta and Yogyakarta do exist up to now, and they stand in forefront to preserve Javanese culture and tradition.

(Suryo S. Negoro)


Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X

April 13, 2008

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X

Mataram Yogyakarta is the next generation of Kotagede Mataram Islamic Kingdom. In modernization era, the King gives modern touch that is in harmony with the culture of the ancestor.

“7 March 1750, five years before Giyanti Agreement, which was the date of the foundation of Yogyakarta Kingdom, was also the birth date of Sultan Sepuh. For the reason, the momentum of the coronation of Hamengku Buwono X on 7 March 1989 was considered a renewal momentum of the resolution to uphold the throne for people prosperity and culture. In relation to this, the relevance is that the ‘Jumenengan’ or coronation plays its role as a starting point for culture to step forward.” (Dr. Damardjati Supadjar, Nawang Sari 1993, Fajar Pustaka Baru, Yogyakarta).

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X (HB X)

Bendara Raden Mas (BRM) Herjuno Darpito who is the second child of Kanjeng Raden Ayu Windyaningrum HB IX, the wife of Hamengku Buwono IX, was born on 2 April 1946. After his appointment as a Crown Prince, he has the title of “Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Anom Hamengku Negara Sudibyo Raja Putra Nalendra Mataram”.

BRM Herjuno’s modern education background becomes the basis of his logical thinking. His behavior and decisions are based on the existing realities. After his coronation as Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, he breaks some of the old tradition of the Palace.

Different from his predecessors who had more than one wife, HB X only has one wife who is also the queen consort. The labuhan alit that used to be held twice a year is changed to once in a year.

He holds to his logical thinking even though some people do not agree to his way of thinking, including the plan to build underground parking area beneath the North Square.

His modern thinking is not separated from his father’s. Hamengku Buwono IX was the king with modern thinking who emphasized human equality.

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX (HB IX)

GRM Dorojatun who was born on 12 April 1912 was the only child of Kanjeng Ratu Ayu Adipati Anom (KRAy.AA) Hamengkunegoro.

Since he was four years old, he was raised by the Mulder family to get discipline education and simple life even though he was the Crown Prince.

One year after his study in Netherlands, on 18 March 1940, he was seated on his throne with the title of “Sampeyan Dalem Ingkang Sinuwun Kanjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwono, Senopati Ing Ngalogo, Abdurrahman Sayidin Panoto Gomo, Kalifatullah Ingkang Kaping IX”. This title means Sultan was the lawful authority of this perishable world; he was also the highest commander of the troop during the war. Besides, Sultan was also a kind hearted religion leader, because he was acknowledged a kalifatullah, the representative of Mohammad the Disciple of God.

HB IX is an example of a democratic nobleman. His western education gives many cultural alternatives. He also changed the old tradition where the king is not an authority controller but a democratic leader. His services to the Republic of Indonesia are worth remembering.

On 7 October 1988, his body arrived in the Sultan Palace after his demise in Washington DC, the United States of America. The Sultan Palace and Indonesian people were in mourning. Seeming like feeling the grief, the banyan tree named Kiai Dewandaru that was planted during the reign of HB I fell down. “This signals new scene in the Archipelago Culture Stage”. This banyan tree was replanted with the approval of HB X and it can be seen in the North Square now. Its size is smaller than Kiai Wijayadaru on its east side. The picture can be seen in YogYES documentation.

HB IX was buried in Pajimatan cemetery in Imogiri.

The Kingdom of Mataram Yogyakarta in the Midst of Modernization

In its triumphant era, Mataram Kingdom developed a political concept of keagungbintaraan, meaning that the king was as authoritative as gods, the caretaker of law and universe, abundant goodness, and being fair to others (agung binathara bahu dhenda nyakrawati, berbudi bawa leksana ambeg, adil para marta).

Embracing the political concept of equality and democratic thinking, the Sultan of Mataram Yogyakarta Kingdom is ruling Yogyakarta government at this moment. (YogYES.COM)

Writer: R. Syah
Photo & Artistic: Sutrisno
Copyright © 2006 YogYES.COM

Yogyakarta Special Zone

April 13, 2008

It is not clear whether Yogyakarta is Special anymore.

The Yogyakarta Special Zone is traditionally ruled by the unelected head of the Yogyakarta royal family, currently Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X. However due to the Sultan’s clearly stated and firm refusal to take up the position of Governor of Yogyakarta for another term doubts have been raised as to whether Yogyakarta will be any longer deserving of “Special” province status.

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X
Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X

Earlier this week thousands of Yogyakartans from all walks of life took part in a rally demanding that the central government in Jakarta give more concrete, formal, and permanent recognition of the special status of the province.

During the rally, sponsored by the board of the New Democratic Party, residents put on art performances and gathered signatures in support of the province and the sultan, who is also automatically the governor of the province. Those taking part in the event said the central government had ignored a draft law currently at the House of Representatives on the special status of Yogyakarta.

Article 18 of the 1945 Constitution guarantees the special status of the province.

Yogyakarta was truly Special, said Dahlan Ta’ib, an assistant to the Yogyakarta provincial administration.

Historically, Hamengkubuwono X and Pakualam VII voluntarily made Yogyakarta part of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia.

The special characteristics of DKI (Jakarta) are clear, also Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and Papua. But what about Yogyakarta, where is its special status?

No laws, apart from the constitutional article, have ever been passed outlining the special status and privileges given to Yogyakarta.

One marcher said:

I’ll give my support without being asked. In principle, I follow whatever decision is taken by Ngarso Dalem [Sultan Hamengkubuwono X].

The marchers were later received by members of the local legislative council, who naturally also supported the special position of Yogyakarta.

The special status is fixed and we have to struggle for it.

said Noor Haris of the National Awakening Party.

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X

April 13, 2008

The Sultan of Yogyakarta does not plan to take a second wife.

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, the governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY), and the head of the Yogyakarta Kraton and the sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, says, as a man, he would like to have more than one wife but he is afraid of doing so.

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X
Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X

Polygamy, HamengkuBuwono also admits, was a common practice of his predecessors but he fears that he would not be able to fulfil the requirements of Islam for polygamy, that is, in being fair to both/all wives. The problem, he says, is that he cannot be sure of the feelings of the women involved, even though he might believe that he has acted fairly he cannot guess how his wives will adjudge his actions.

It’s hard enough with one wife, the Sultan says, he hurts her feelings without knowing exactly what he has done wrong. He said: [1]

When thinking about it like that I don’t want to be polygamous even though my religion, Islam, allows a man to have more than one wife, up to four.
(Dengan pertimbangan semacam itu maka saya tidak akan melakukan poligami, meskipun agama saya (Islam) memungkin seorang laki-laki beristri lebih dari satu hingga empat orang.)

Another factor he said was that women today were a lot more independent than in the past and they demanded to be treated the same as men.

Finally, he said that if it were announced that he taken a second wife he was sure that the palace would be quickly surrounded by angry women demonstrators. He was “owned” by the people and couldn’t just do whatever he liked.

List of Sultans of Yogyakarta (1755-Present)

April 13, 2008
No. Name Reign start Reign end
1. Hamengkubuwono I February 13, 1755 March 24, 1792
2. Hamengkubuwono II April 2, 1792 June 20, 1812
3. Hamengkubuwono III June 28, 1812 November 3, 1814
4. Hamengkubuwono IV November 9, 1814 December 6, 1823
5. Hamengkubuwono V December 19, 1823 August 17, 1826
4. Hamengkubuwono IV August 17, 1826 January 2, 1828
5. Hamengkubuwono V January 17, 1828 June 5, 1855
6. Hamengkubuwono VI July 5, 1855 July 20, 1877
7. Hamengkubuwono VII December 22, 1877 January 29, 1921
8. Hamengkubuwono VIII February 8, 1921 October 22, 1939
9. Hamengkubuwono IX March 18, 1940 October 2, 1988
10. Hamengkubuwono X March 7, 1989 incumbent

Sri Sultan Hanengku Buwono I

April 13, 2008

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, born Raden Mas Sujana (d. 1792), was the first sultan of Yogyakarta.

Sujana, the Crown Prince, was known as Prince Mangkubumi prior to becoming sultan of Yogyakarta Sultanate. As a son of Sultan Sunan Prabu of Mataram Mataram ruler, and brother to Prince Heir Apparent Pakubuwono II of Surakarta a dispute arose concerning Succession to the Mataram throne. Prince Mangkubumi challenged brother Pakubuwono II who was aided by the Dutch East India Company seeking a more pliant VOC puppet as Central Javanese king. The war that eventuated was known as the Third Succession War in Mataram.

During the war Prince Mangkubumi was aided by brilliant legendary army commander-in-chief Raden Mas Said who fought in a highly effective strategic manner. Mangkubumi won decisive battles at Grobogan, Demak and Bogowonto River. During the War in 1749, Pakubuwono II died and the Crown Prince Mangkubumi became Sultan. At the Battle of Bogowonto River in 1751, the Dutch Army under De Clerck was destroyed by Mangkubumi’s forces. Raden Mas revolted in dispute with Prince Mangkubumi. The Succession War and revolt of Raden Mas Said ended when the Gyanti Treaty of 1755 Giyanti Treaty, signed in Giyanti- an area east of Surakarta (capital of Matarm Empire) Raden Mas Said was granted Royal Appenages and the title Mangkunegara.

According to the Giyanti Treaty, Mataram was firstly divided into two kingdoms, Surakarta with Pakubuwono III as ruler, and Yogyakarta Sultanate with Prince Mangkubumi as sultan with the title Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I Senopati Ing Ngalaga Sayidin Panatagama Kalifatulah. Yogyakarta became capital and a new palace was built with a magnificent water palace in the west of his grounds Taman Sari.

Sultan Hamengkubuwono died in 1792 and was interred in the Royal cemetery of Astana Kasuwargan in Imogiri. He was succeeded by Hamengkubuwono II, his son.

Further reading

  • Ricklefs, M.C. (1974) Jogjakarta under Sultan Mangkubumi, 1749–1792: A history of the division of Java . London Oriental Series, vol. 30. London : Oxford University Press, (Revised Indonesian edition 2002)

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX

April 13, 2008

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX

Hamengkubuwono IX was born Raden Mas Dorodjatun in Sompilan, Ngasem, Yogyakarta on 12 April 1912 to Gusti Pangeran Haryo (Prince) Puruboyo and Raden Ajeng Kustillah. When Hamengkubuwono IX was three, he was named Crown Prince to the Yogyakarta Sultanate after his father ascended to the throne and became Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII.

Hamengkubuwono IX had a distinctly Western education. When he was four, he was sent away to live with a Dutch family. After completing his primary and secondary education in 1931, Hamengkubuwono IX left Indonesia to attend the Leiden University in the Netherlands. In Holland, Hamengkubuwono IX took Indonesian studies and economics. He returned to Indonesia in 1939.

Sultan of Yogyakarta

With the death of Hamengkubuwono VIII in October 1939, Hamengkubuwono ascended to the throne with a coronation ceremony on March 18, 1940. His full title is “Sampeyan Dalem Ingkang Sinuwun Kanjeng Sultan Hamengkubuwono Senopati Ing Alogo Ngabdurrakhman Sayidin Panotogomo Kholifatullah Ingkang Kaping Songo.” During his coronation speech, Hamengkubuwono recognized his Javanese origins and said “Even though I have tasted Western Education, I am still and will always be a Javanese.”[1]

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX also became a noted reformer. In his reign, the office of the Sultan adopted a more democratic and decentralized approach. An example of this was the granting of more power to local village chiefs and general modernization of the way in which the court was managed. Hamengkubuwono IX also changed the ways in which the Sultanate held its traditional ceremonies; doing away with ceremonies which he considers to have gone obsolete.

In 1942, the Dutch Colonial Government in Indonesia was defeated by the Japanese Imperial Army. As the Japanese Imperial Army consolidated their hold on Indonesia, many suggested that Hamengkubuwono IX evacuate himself and seek asylum in Australia or the Netherlands. Hamengkubuwono IX refused this offer, insisting that Sultan has to stay close to its people in times of crisis.

The Indonesian War of Independence

Directly after the declaration of Indonesian independence at 17 August 1945, Hamengkubuwono IX together with Paku Alam VIII, the Prince of Pakualaman decided to support the newly formed Republic. Hamengkubuwono IX’s support was immediately recognized by the Central Government with an appointment to the Life-Governorship of Yogyakarta with Paku Alam VIII as Vice Governor. Yogyakarta’s status was also upgraded to that of Special Region. In addition, Hamengkubuwono IX served as Yogyakarta’s Military Governor and was also Minister of the State from 1945-1949.

It was not long however, before the Dutch returned to lay claim to their former colony. Hamengkubuwono IX played a vital role in the resistance. In early 1946, the capital of Indonesia was quietly relocated to Yogyakarta, in that time the Sultan gave the new government some funds. When Indonesia first sought a diplomatic solution with the Dutch Government, Hamengkubuwono IX was part of the Indonesian delegation.

Things took a turn for the worse on 21 December 1948. That day, the Dutch successfully occupied Yogyakarta and arrested Sukarno and Hatta, Indonesia’s first President and Vice President. The Dutch didn’t dare to overthrow the Sultan however. Hamengkubuwono IX did not leave Yogyakarta and continued to serve as Governor. The Dutch viewed him with suspicion and at one stage began to entertain the idea that Hamengkubuwono IX was either planning to make Yogyakarta a completely autonomous region or setting his eyes on the leadership of the Republic.[2]

The 1 March General Offensive

In early 1949, Hamengkubuwono IX conceived the idea of a major offensive to be launched against Yogyakarta and the Dutch troops occupying it. The purpose of this offensive was to show to the world that Indonesia still existed and that it was not ready to surrender. Hamengkubuwono IX also thought that this would also give the idea of Indonesian independence some legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.

The idea was suggested to General Sudirman, the Commander of the Indonesian Army and received his approval. In February 1949, Hamengkubuwono IX had a meeting with then Lieutenant Colonel Suharto, the man chosen by Sudirman to be the field commander for the offensive. After this discussion, preparations were made for the offensive. This involved intensified guerilla attacks in villages and towns around Yogyakarta so as to make the Dutch station more troops outside of Yogyakarta and thin the numbers in the city itself.

On 1 March at 6 AM, Suharto and his troops launched the 1 March General Offensive. The Offensive caught the Dutch by surprise. For his part, Hamengkubuwono IX allowed his palace to be used as a hide out for the troops. For 6 hours, the Indonesian troops had control of Yogyakarta before finally retreating. The Offensive was a great success, inspiring demoralized troops all around Indonesia and most importantly, caused the United Nations to pressure the Netherlands to recognize Indonesia’s Independence.

Minister in the Indonesian Government

After Indonesia’s Independence was recognized by the Dutch Government, Hamengkubuwono IX continued to serve the Republic. In addition to continuing his duties as Governor of Yogyakarta, Hamengkubuwono IX continued to serve in the Indonesian Government as Minister.

Hamengkubuwono IX served as Minister of Defense and Homeland Security Coordinator (1949-1951 and 1953), Vice Premier (1951), Chairman of the State Apparatus Supervision (1959), Chairman of the State Audit Board (1960-1966), and Coordinating Minister for Development while concurrently holding the position of Minister of Tourism (1966).

In addition to these positions, Hamengkubuwono IX have also served as Chairman of the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) and Chairman of the Tourism Patrons Council.

Transition from Old Order to Orde Baru

During the G30S Movement, in the course of which six Generals were kidnapped from their homes and killed, Hamengkubuwono IX was present in Jakarta. That morning, with President Sukarno’s location still uncertain, Hamengkubuwono was contacted by Suharto, who was now a Major General and the Commander of Kostrad for advice. Suharto suggested that because Sukarno’s whereabouts are still unknown, Hamengkubuwono IX should form a provisional Government to help counter the movement.[3] Hamengkubuwono IX rejected the offer and contacted one of Sukarno’s many wives who confirmed Sukarno’s whereabouts.

After Suharto had received Supersemar in March 1966, Hamengkubuwono IX and Adam Malik joined him in a triumvirate to reverse Sukarno’s policies. Hamengkubuwono IX was appointed Minister of Economics, Finance, and Industry and charged with rectifying Indonesia’s Economic problems. He would hold this position until 1973.

Vice Presidency

Ever since Mohammad Hatta resigned from the Vice Presidency in December 1956, the position had remained vacant for the rest of Sukarno’s time as President. When Suharto was formally elected to the Presidency in 1968 by the People’s Consultative Assembly, it continued to remain vacant. Finally in March 1973, Hamengkubuwono IX was elected as Vice President alongside Suharto who had also been re-elected to a 2nd term as President.

Hamengkubuwono IX’s election was not a surprise as he was a popular figure in Indonesia. He was also a civilian and his election to the Vice Presidency was hoped to complement Suharto’s military background. Despite being officially elected in 1973, it can be said that Hamengkubuwono IX had been the de facto Vice President beforehand as he regularly assumed the leadership of the country whenever Suharto was out of the country.[4]

As Vice President, Hamengkubuwono IX was put in charge of welfare and was also given the duty of supervising economic development.[5] It was expected that the Suharto and Hamengkubuwono IX duet would be retained for another term. However, Hamengkubuwono IX had become disillusioned with Suharto’s increasing authoritarianism and the increasing corruption.[6]

These two elements were also recognized by protesters who had demanded that Suharto not stand for another term as President. These protests reached its peak in February 1978, when students of Bandung Technological Institute (ITB) published a book giving reasons as to why Suharto should not be elected President. In response, Suharto sent troops to take over the campus and issued a ban on the book.

As a man who believed in democracy, Hamengkubuwono could not accept what Suharto had done. In March 1978, Hamengkubuwono rejected his nomination as Vice President by the MPR. Suharto asked Hamengkubuwono to change his mind, but Hamengkubuwono continued to reject the offer and cited health as his reason for not accepting the nomination.[7] Suharto took Hamengkubuwono IX’s rejection personally and in his 1989 autobiography would claim credit for conceiving the 1 March General Offensive.

Scout Movement

Hamengkubuwono IX had been active with Scouts from the days of the Dutch colonial government and continued to look after the movement once Indonesia became independent. In 1968, Hamengkubuwono IX was elected Head of the national Scout movement. Hamengkubuwono IX was also awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1973.


Hamengkubuwono IX died at the George Washington University Medical Center in the United States on October 1, 1988 and was buried at Imogiri. There is a special museum dedicated to him in the sultan’s palace (kraton) in Yogyakarta. He was also given the title National Hero of Indonesia, a distinction for Indonesian patriots. He was replaced by his son, Raden Mas Herdjuno Darpito, who took the name Hamengkubuwono X.


Hamengkubuwono IX never had a Queen Consort during his reign; preferring instead to take four concubines from which he had 21 children.

Hamengkubuwono IX was a fan of wuxia movies and novels.[8] . He also enjoyed cooking and headed an unofficial cooking club which included Cabinet Ministers as its members.


  • “Walaupun saya telah mengenyam pendidikan Barat yang sebenarnya, namun pertama-tama saya adalah dan tetap adalah orang Jawa.” (Even though I have tasted Western Education, I am still and will always be a Javanese)
  • “Izinkanlah saya mengakhiri pidato saya ini dengan berjanji, semoga saya dapat bekerja untuk memuhi kepentingan nusa dan bangsa, sebatas pengetahuan dan kemampuan yang ada pada saya.” (Allow me to end my speech with a promise. I hope that I will be able to work for in the interest of my Nation and Country with all the knowledge and skill that I possess)


  1. ^ Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, Bangsawan Yang Demokratis (Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, the Democratic Aristocrat). Tokohindonesia. Retrieved on 28 October, 2006.
  2. ^ Elson, Robert [2001]. Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, p. 33. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  3. ^ Hughes, John [1967] (2002). The End of Sukarno: A Coup That Misfired: A Purge That Ran Wild, 3rd (in English), Singapore: Archipelago Press, p. 68. ISBN 981-4068-65-9.
  4. ^ Elson, Robert [2001]. Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, p. 167. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  5. ^ “Wakil Presiden, antara Ada dan Tiada” (The Vice Presidency, between Existence and Non-Existence”. Kompas (8 May 2004). Retrieved on 30 October, 2006.
  6. ^ Elson, Robert [2001]. Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, p. 225. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  7. ^ Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX. Setwapres. Retrieved on 30 October, 2006.
  8. ^ Komunitas Pendekar Penggebuk Anjing. Kompas. Retrieved on 28 October, 2006.

Further reading

  • Soemardjan, S. 1989 In Memoriam: Hamengkubuwono IX, Sultan of Yogyakarta, 1912-1988 Indonesia. 47:115-117