Hayam Wuruk and the Golden Age of Majapahit

Majapahit was an empire centered in East Java, Indonesia, which once stood from about 1293 to 1500 AD.  Founder and first King of the kingdom of Majapahit is Kertarajasa Jayawardhana also called Raden Wijaya. There is no record about when he was born but it was said that he died in 1309. Raden Wijaya ruled in 1293-1309, has the title of King Kertarajasa Jayawardana, or full Nararya Sanggramawijaya Sri Maharaja Kertarajasa Jayawardhana.

Hayam Wuruk, also called Rajasanagara, ruled from 1350 until 1389. He is the fourth King of Majapahit kingdom. Majapahit reached its peak at his ruling time period with the help of his mahapatih, Gajah Mada. Under the rule Hayam Wuruk, Majapahit Empire conquered Pasai and Aru (later named Deli, near Medan now). Majapahit also destroyed Palembang, the remnants of defense Srivijaya kingdom (1377). With the help Mahapatih Gajah Mada, he conquered Logajah, Desert breadfruit, Taliwung, Cattle, Volcano, Seram, Hutankadali, Sasak, Bantayan, Luwuk, Mengkasar, Buton, Banggawi, Turmeric, Galiyan, Salayar, Sumba, Muar (Saparua), Solor, Bima, Wandan (Banda), Ambon, Wanin, Seran, East, and Dompo. Only love, pace, especially due to errors in the “Peristiwa Bubat”, Gajah Mada disabled as vizier in 1357. However lifted again so the duke in 1359.

Majapahit kingdom territory

However, natural limitations and the economy showed that the areas of power was apparently not under the control of a centralized Majapahit, but connected to one another by trade who may be monopolized by the king. Majapahit also has a relationship with Campa, Cambodia, Siam, southern Burma, and Vietnam, and even sent his envoys to China.

In 1351, Hayam Wuruk about to marry the daughter of King Galuh / Padjadjaran (West Java), Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi. Padjadjaran agrees if it is not the intention to annex the kingdom of Majapahit Galuh. When on the way to the wedding ceremony, Gajah Mada urged to submit Galuh royal princess as a tribute and subject to the Majapahit. Galuh Kingdom refused, finally broke the battle, Bubat War. In this sad event Galuh entire royal entourage were killed, and in a few years Galuh into the territory of Majapahit.

After reaching its peak in the 14th century, Majapahit power gradually weakened. After the death of Hayam Wuruk in 1389, Majapahit entered a period of deterioration due to a struggle for the throne. Hayam Wuruk heir is Kusumawardhani crown princess, who married his own cousin, Prince Wikramawardhana. Hayam Wuruk also has a son of a concubine Wirabhumi are also demanding their right to takhta.Perang brother called Paregreg War is estimated to occur in 1405-1406, among Wirabhumi against Wikramawardhana. The war eventually won Wikramawardhana, while Wirabhumi captured and then beheaded. This civil war seems to weaken the Majapahit control over conquered areas across.

Paregreg War

Although the Majapahit ruler to expand his power in the various islands and sometimes invade the neighboring kingdom of Majapahit main concern seems is getting the largest portion and controlling the of trade in the Nusantara. At this time a Muslim merchant and propagator of Islam began to enter this area.

In the period of Wikramawardhana’s governing, a series of naval expedition led by Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He, a Chinese Muslim generals, arrived in Java several times between the period 1405 until 1433. Since 1430 expedition of Cheng Ho’s has created a Chinese Muslim and Arab communities in some port town north coast of Java, such as in Semarang, Demak, Tuban, and Ampel; then Islam began to have a foothold on the north coast of Java.

Majapahit kingdom is the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms that dominate the Nusantara and is considered as one of the greatest country in the history of Indonesia. According Negarakertagama, strengths lie in Java, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Indonesia to the east, although it is disputed territory.


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