General oversight of Royal Families on Java


Royal House of Mataram

Mataram which was founded by Panembahan Senopati (1575-1601) was fo a while the most powerful kingdom on Java. At the beginning of the 17th century it comprised almost the whole of Java with the exception of Banten, Cirebon (West-Java) and Balambang (East-Java). In a series of succession wars the territory of Mataram diminished in favour of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Not did they acquire more land, especially at the coast, but got virtually complete control of trading (monopoly). After the Third Javanese War of succession Mataram was divided between various familymembers.

The sunanate (at Sarakarta) under Paku Buwono III, the sultanate Jogjakarta under Hamengku Buwono I (1755) and the independent princely territory Mangkunegaran in 1757. In 1812 the lieutenant-goveror of Java Stamford Raffles created the independent princely territory of Pakualaman to politically counterbalance the sultanate of Jogjakarta. After the Java War (1825-1830) the territories of Surakarta and Jogjakarta were further diminished.


Sultanate of Banten

The sultanate of Banten was founded by one of the 9 wali’s (Islamic saints) of Java, known by his burial place in Cirebon; Sunan Gunung Jati. His oldest son became sultan of Banten and a great-grandson became his successor in Cirebon. At the height of power the influence of Banten was felt in Lampung (South-Sumatra), Landak and Sukadana (West-Kalimantan). A strong trading nation it came into several conflicts with the VOC. In 1813 the British lieutenant-governor Thomas Raffles abolished the sultanate.

Sultanate of Cirebon

The oldest still existing royal family in Java. With currently 3 branches, with their own kratons (palaces). These branches are called Kasepuhan (the older), Kanoman (the younger) and Kacirebonan. Also these sultanates came in conflict with the VOC. They were abolished in 1811 (Kacirebonan) and 1813 (Kasepuhan and Kanoman), with retention of their titles and a financial compensation.

Princes of Gabang

Not much is known about this princely family near Cirebon. It only entered once into a formal relation with the VOC and is mentioned in various correspondence of the Dutch Indies government, but after the first quarter of the 19th century seems to be of no importance. Their lands have been a part of the government lands.

Princes Wijil of Kadilangu at Demak

The title of Pangeran Wijil of Kadilangu was bestowed on the familyhead of the descendants of the wali Susuhunan Kalijogo. His gravesite as well the mosque at Demak are one of the most revered places on Java.

Sultans and Panembahans at Madura

Titles of sultan and panembahan where bestowed on individual regents of Bangkalan, Pamekasan and Sampang on a non-hereditary basis. This because of their military support of the VOC and later the Dutch East Indies as well the British government.