Hamengkubuwono IX

His Majesty
The Sultan and Hereditary Governor of Yogyakarta
Bandara Raden Mas Darajatun

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX

Hamengkubuwono IX in 1973
2nd Vice President of Indonesia
In office
24 March 1973  23 March 1978
President Suharto
Preceded by Mohammad Hatta
Succeeded by Adam Malik
1st Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
In office
25 July 1966  17 October 1967
President Suharto
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Ali Wardhana
Deputy Prime Minister of Indonesia
In office
6 September 1950  27 April 1951
President Sukarno
Preceded by Abdul Hakim
Succeeded by Suwiryo
5th Minister of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia
In office
4 August 1949  20 December 1949
President Sukarno
Preceded by Mohammad Hatta
Succeeded by Abdul Halim
In office
3 April 1952  30 July 1953
President Sukarno
Preceded by Sukiman Wirjosandjojo
Succeeded by Iwa Kusumasumantri
1st Governor of Yogyakarta
In office
17 August 1945  1 October 1988
President Sukarno
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Paku Alam VIII (Governor Acting)
9th Sultan of Yogyakarta
In office
18 March 1940  1 October 1988
Preceded by Hamengkubuwana VIII
Succeeded by Hamengkubuwana X
Personal details
Born (1912-04-12)12 April 1912
Yogyakarta, Dutch East Indies
Died 2 October 1988(1988-10-02) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C., United States
Profession Sultan
Religion Sunni Islam/Kejawen

Hamengkubuwono IX or HB IX (Javanese: ꦄꦩꦼꦁꦏꦸꦧꦸꦮꦤ꧇꧙꧇;[1] Gêdrìk: Hamêngkubuwånå IX; O-Javanese: Hamengkubuwana IX; 12 April 1912–2 October 1988) was the first Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, the second Vice President of Indonesia and the ninth Sultan of Yogyakarta during the rule of Suharto.

Early life

Born as Raden Mas Dorodjatun in Sompilan, Ngasem, Yogyakarta to Gusti Pangeran Haryo (Prince) Puruboyo and Raden Ajeng (Lady) Kustillah, when he was three years old 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 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. There 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 18 March 1940.

His full title in Javanese was Sampéyan Dalêm Ingkang Sinuwún Kanjêng Sultan Hamêngkubuwónó Sénópati Íng Alogó Ngabdurråkhman Sayidin Panåtågåmå Khålifatullåh Ingkang Kapíng Sångå. (His Exalted Majesty Sultan Hamengkubuwono the Ninth, Commander-in-chief in war, Servant of the Most Gracious, Cleric and Caliph that Safeguards the Religion)

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."[2]

The 28 years old young Sultan negotiated terms and conditions with 60 years old governor, Dr Lucien Adam, for four months from November 1939 to February 1940. The main points of contention were:

  1. The Sultan did not agree that his prime minister ("Patih Danureja") would be also the Netherlands' employee to avoid conflict of interest.
  2. The Sultan did not agree that half of his advisor would be selected by the Netherlands.
  3. The Sultan did not agree that his small army would receive direct order from the Netherlands' army.

Eventually, the Sultan agreed to the proposal by the government of the Netherlands, after he received insight that Netherlands would leave Indonesia. In May 1940, the Dutch surrendered to the German Army, and in February 1942, the Netherlands surrendered Indonesia to the invading Japanese army.

During Hamengkubuwono IX's 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. He also changed the ways in which the Sultanate held its traditional ceremonies; doing away with ceremonies which he considered 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. In fact, he saved his people from being sent to Burma to become romusha forced-labors, by asking the Japanese to allow the building of a water canal (the Selokan Mataram).

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 to 1949.

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. On 21 December 1948, the Dutch successfully occupied Yogyakarta and arrested Sukarno and Hatta, Indonesia's first president and vice president. Hamengkubuwono IX did not leave Yogyakarta and continued to serve as governor. The Dutch intended to make Yogyakarta the capital of the new Indonesian federal state of Central Java and to appoint the sultan as head of state, but Hamengkubuwono refused to cooperate.[3] 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.[4]

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. 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 1949 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.

On 30 June 1949, the retreating Dutch forces handed over authority over Yogyakarta to Hamengkubuwono.[5]

On 27 December, immediately after the transfer of sovereignty was signed by Queen Juliana in Dam Palace in Amsterdam, High Commissioner A.H.J. Lovink transferred his powers to Hamengkubuwono during a ceremony in Jakarta in Koningsplein Palace, later renamed Merdeka Palace.[6]

Minister in the Indonesian Government

After Indonesia's Independence was recognized by the Dutch, 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.[7]

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 held the positions of chairman of the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) and chairman of the Tourism Patrons Council.

Transition from old order to new order

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.[8] 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

Hamengkubuwono IX.

Ever since Mohammad Hatta resigned as vice-president 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.[9] As vice president, Hamengkubuwono IX was put in charge of welfare and was also given the duty of supervising economic development.[10]

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.[11]

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. 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.[12]

Suharto took Hamengkubuwono IX's rejection personally and in his 1989 autobiography would claim credit for conceiving the 1 March General Offensive.

Scout movement

Hamenkubuwono IX and the scouts camping featured on the 10,000-rupiah banknote.

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.


During a visit to Washington D.C., United States in 1988, Hamengkubuwono IX experienced a sudden internal bleeding. He was brought to the George Washington University Medical Center, where he died on 1 October 1988. His body was flown back to Yogyakarta and buried in the royal mausoleum of the Mataram monarchs in 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 regnal name Hamengkubuwono X.

One of the two symbolically important banyan trees, namely Kiai Dewandaru planted during the reign of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I fell in the Alun-Alun Lor (Northern Parade Square) coincidentally concurrently with the funerary rites of Hamengkubuwono IX, attributed by kejawen Javanese as a sign of immense grief of even the physical lands of the kingdom. The banyan was replanted with approval of Hamengkubuwono X although it is diminutive beside the centuries-old Kiai Wijayadaru on the east flank.

Marriage status

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.[13] He also enjoyed cooking and headed an unofficial cooking club which included Cabinet Ministers as its members.


Foreign honours



  1. Kamus Pepak Basa Jawa,Sudaryanto/Pranowo, 2001, #1359
  2. "Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, Bangsawan Yang Demokratis (Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, the Democratic Aristocrat)". Tokohindonesia. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
  3. Van den Doel, H.W., Afscheid van Indië. De val van het Nederlandse Imperium in Azië [Farewell to the Indies. The Fall of the Dutch Empire in Asia] (Amsterdam: Prometheus 2001), page 337.
  4. Elson, Robert (2001). Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. p. 33. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  5. Van den Doel, H.W., Afscheid van Indië. De val van het Nederlandse Imperium in Azië [Farewell to the Indies. The Fall of the Dutch Empire in Asia] (Amsterdam: Prometheus 2001), page 344.
  6. Van den Doel, H.W., Afscheid van Indië. De val van het Nederlandse Imperium in Azië [Farewell to the Indies. The Fall of the Dutch Empire in Asia] (Amsterdam: Prometheus 2001), page 351.
  7. Van den Doel, H.W., Afscheid van Indië. De val van het Nederlandse Imperium in Azië [Farewell to the Indies. The Fall of the Dutch Empire in Asia] (Amsterdam: Prometheus 2001), page 284.
  8. Hughes, John (2002) [1967]. The End of Sukarno: A Coup That Misfired: A Purge That Ran Wild (3rd ed.). Singapore: Archipelago Press. p. 68. ISBN 981-4068-65-9.
  9. Elson, Robert (2001). Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. p. 167. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  10. ""Wakil Presiden, antara Ada dan Tiada" (The Vice Presidency, between Existence and Non-Existence"". Kompas. 8 May 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2006.
  11. Elson, Robert (2001). Suharto: A Political Biography. UK: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. p. 225. ISBN 0-521-77326-1.
  12. "Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX". Setwapres. Retrieved 30 October 2006.
  13. "Komunitas Pendekar Penggebuk Anjing". Kompas. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
  14. "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1972." (PDF).

See also

Political offices
Preceded by
Position Created
Governor of Yogyakarta
17 August 1945 – 1 October 1988
Succeeded by
Paku Alam VIII
Preceded by
Mohammad Hatta
Vice President of Indonesia
22 March 1973 – 23 March 1978
Succeeded by
Adam Malik
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Hamengkubuwono VIII
Sultan of Yogyakarta
18 March 1940 – 2 October 1988
Succeeded by
Hamengkubuwono X

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