Learn more about Majapahit Empire
| This article is part of|
the History of Indonesia series
|Pre-colonial Indonesia (before 1602)|
|Srivijaya (3rd century–1400)|
|Sailendra (8th Centry-832)|
|Kingdom of Mataram (752-1045)|
|Majapahit Empire (1293–1500)|
|Sultanate of Demak (1475-1518)|
|Mataram Sultanate (1500s to 1700s)|
|Dutch East Indies (1602–1945)|
|Anglo-Dutch Java War (1810–1811)|
|Padri War (1821–1837)|
|Java War (1825–1830)|
|Aceh War (1873–1904)|
|National Revival (1899–1942)|
|Japanese Occupation (1942–1945)|
|Declaration of Independence (1945)|
|National Revolution (1945–1949)|
|Asian-African Conference (1955)|
|Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation (1962–1965)|
|New Order (1965–1998)|
|Overthrow of Sukarno (1965–1966)|
|Act of Free Choice (1969)|
|Revolution of 1998 (1996–1998)|
|2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake (2004–present)|
|[Edit this template]|
The Majapahit Empire was an Indianized kingdom based in eastern Java from 1293 to around 1500. Its greatest ruler was Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 marked the empire's peak when it dominated other kingdoms in the southern Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Bali, and the Philippines.
Two old manuscripts are used by historians to study the history of Majapahit: Pararaton and Nagarakertagama.<ref name="Johns1964">Template:Cite journal</ref> Pararaton (or the Book of Kings) is a manuscript written in Kawi language that is mostly about Ken Arok (the founder of Singhasari) but includes a number of shorter narrative fragments about the formation of Majapahit. Nagarakertagama, on the other hand, is an old Javanese epic poem that describes the Majapahit kingdom until its fall.
After defeating Srivijaya in Java in 1290, Singhasari became the most powerful kingdom in the area. Kublai Khan, the ruler of the Chinese Yuan Dynasty, challenged Singhasari by sending emissaries demanding tribute. Kertanegara, the last ruler of Singhasari, refused to pay the tribute. In 1293, Kublai Khan sent a massive expedition of 1,000 ships to Java.
By that time, a rebel from Kediri, Jayakatwang, had usurped and killed Kertanagara. Raden Wijaya, Kertanegara's son-in-law, allied himself with Yuan's army to fight against Jayakatwang. Once Jayakatwang was destroyed, Raden Wijaya forced his allies to withdraw from Java by launching a surprise attack. Yuan's army had to withdraw in confusion as they were in hostile territory. It was also their last chance to catch the monsoon winds home; otherwise, they would have had to wait for another six months on a hostile island.
In AD 1293, Raden Wijaya founded a stronghold. The capital was named Majapahit, from maja (a fruit name) and pahit (or bitter). His formal name was Kerjarajasa Jayawarddhana. The new kingdom faced challenges. Some of Kertarajasa's most trusted men, including Ranggalawe, Sora, and Nambi rebelled against him, though unsuccessfully. It was suspected that the mahapati (equal with prime minister) Halayudha set the conspiracy to overthrow all of the king's opponents, to gain the highest position in the government. However, after following the death of the last rebel Kuti, Halayudha was captured and jailed for his tricks, and then sentenced to death. Wijaya himself died in AD 1309.
Wijaya's son and successor, Jayanegara was notorious for immorality. One of his sinful acts was taking his own step-sisters as wives. He was entitled Kala Gemet, or "weak villain". In AD 1328, Jayanegara was murdered by his doctor. His stepmother, Rajapatni, was supposed to replace him, but Rajapatni retired from court to become a bhiksuni (a female Buddhist monk) in a monastery. Rajapatni appointed her daugther, Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, as the queen of Majapahit under Rajapatni's auspices. During Tribhuwana’s rule, the Majapahit kingdom grew much larger and became famous in the area. Tribhuwana ruled Majapahit until the death of her mother in AD 1350. She was suceeded by her son, Hayam Wuruk.
 Golden age
Hayam Wuruk, also known as Rajasanagara, ruled Majapahit in AD 1350–1389. During his period, Majapahit attained its peak with the help of his prime minister, Gajah Mada. Under Gajah Mada command (AD 1313–1364), Majapahit conquered more territories. A few years after Gajah Mada's death, the Majapahit navy captured Palembang, putting an end to the Srivijayan kingdom. Gajah Mada's other renowned general was Adityawarman, known for his conquest in Minangkabau.
The nature of the Majapahit empire and its extent have been debated. It may have had limited or entirely notional influence over some of the tributary states claimed in the Nagarakertagama.<ref name="atlas">Cribb, Robert, Historical Atlas of Indonesia, University of Hawai'i Press, 2000</ref>
Although the Majapahit rulers extended their power over other islands and destroyed neighboring kingdoms, their focus seems to have been on controlling and gaining a larger share of the commercial trade that passed through the archipelago. About the time Majapahit was founded, Muslim traders and proselytizers began entering the area.
After Hayam Wuruk died in 1389 AD, Majapahit power began its decline with a conflict over succession. Hayam Wuruk had been succeeded by the crown princess Kusumawardhani, who had married a relative, Prince Wikramawardhana. Hayam Wuruk also had a son by his previous marriage, crown prince Wirabhumi, who also claimed the throne. The resulting war, called Paregreg, lasted from 1403 to 1406 AD. Wikramawardhana was victorious and Wirabhumi was caught and decapitated. Wikramawardhana ruled to 1492 AD and was succeeded by his daugther Suhita, who ruled from 1426 to 1447 AD. She was the second child of Wikramawarddhana by a concubine who was the daughter of Wirabhumi.
In 1447, Suhita died and was succeeded by Kertawijaya, her brother. He ruled until 1451 AD. After Kertawijaya died, Bhre Pamotan become a king with formal name Rajasawardhana and ruled at Kahuripan. He died in 1453 AD. After that Majapahit grew internally weaker until 1456 AD, when Bhre Wengker, son of Kertawijaya, came to power. He died in 1466 AD and was succeeded by Singhawikramawardhana. In 1468 AD Kertabhumi suddenly attacked Bhre Wengker and promoted himself as king of Majapahit.
Singhawikramawardhana moved the Kingdom’s capital to Daha and continued his rule until he was succeeded by his son Ranawijaya in 1474 AD. In 1478 AD he defeated Kertabhumi and reunited Majapahit as one Kingdom. Ranawijaya ruled from 1474 AD to 1519 AD with the formal name Girindrawardhana. Nevertheless, Majapahit's power had declined through these family conflicts and the growing power of the north-coastal kingdoms in Java.
Majapahit found itself unable to control the rising power of the Sultanate of Malacca. Dates for the end of the Majapahit Empire range from 1478 to 1520, or - as recorded by the babad - c. 1400 Saka. After a series of battles with the Demak Bintoro Sultanate, founded by Kertabumi's own son Raden Patah, the last remaining courtsmen of Majapahit were forced to withdraw eastward. A large number of courtiers, artisans, priests, and members of the royalty moved east to the island of Bali; however, the crown and the seat of government moved to Demak under the leadership of Pengeran, later Sultan Fatah.
For modern Indonesian nationalists, including those of the Indonesian National Revival of the early 20th century through to both Presidents Sukarno and Suharto, Majapahit became a symbol of past greatness. It was invoked by Sukarno for nation building and by the New Order as an expression of state expansion and consolidation.<ref>Friend, Theodore. Indonesian Destinies. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 19. ISBN0-674-01137-6.</ref> Like Majapahit, the modern state of Indonesia covers vast territory and is politically centred on Java.
"Of all the buildings, none lack pillars, bearing fine carvings and coloured" [Within the wall compounds] "there were elegant pavillions roofed with aren fibre, like the scene in a painting... The petals of the katangga were sprinkled over the roofs for they had fallen in the wind. The roofs were like maidens with flowers arranged in their hair, delighting those who saw them".
Majapahit had a momentus and lasting influence on Indonesian architecture. Although brick had been used in the candi of Indonesia's classical age, it was Majapahit architects that mastered it in the 14th and 15th centuries.<ref name="Schoppert1997">Schoppert, P., Damais, S. (1997). Didier Millet: Java Style. Paris: Periplus Editions, 33–34. ISBN 962-593-232-1.</ref> Making use of a vine sap and palm sugar mortar, their temples had a strong geometric quality. The old Javanese epic poem Nagarakertagama by Mpu Prapanca includes descriptions of the capital The description of pavillions, or pendopo, invoke the Javanese Kraton and also the Balinese temples and compounds of today.
While Bali in particular is heavily influenced by Majapahit and they consider themselves to be the true heirs of the kingdom.<ref name="Schoppert1997"/>, Central Javanese palaces have traditions and silsilah that attempt to prove links back to the Majapahit royal lines - usually in the form of a grave as a vital link in Java - where legitimacy is enhanced by such a connection. 
 List of rulers
- Raden Wijaya, styled Kertarajasa Jayawardhana (1294 - 1309)
- Kalagamet, styled Jayanagara (1309 - 1328)
- Sri Gitarja, styled Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi (1328 - 1350)
- Hayam Wuruk, styled Sri Rajasanagara (1350 - 1389)
- Wikramawardhana (1389 - 1429)
- Suhita (1429 - 1447)
- Kertawijaya, styled Brawijaya I (1447 - 1451)
- Rajasawardhana, born Bhre Pamotan, styled Brawijaya II (1451 - 1453)
- Bhre Wengker, Purwawisesa or Girishawardhana, styled Brawijaya III (1456 - 1466)
- Singhawikramawardhana, Pandanalas, or Suraprabhawa, styled Brawijaya IV (1466 - 1968)
- Kertabumi, styled Brawijaya V (1468 - 1478)
- Girindrawardhana, styled Brawijaya VI (1478 - 1498)