Sunda Kingdom

Kingdom of Sunda
The territory of Sunda Kingdom
Capital Pakuan Pajajaran, Kawali
Languages Sundanese, Sanskrit
Religion Hinduism, Buddhism, Sunda Wiwitan
Government Monarchy
   Coronation of king Tarusbawa and change the name from Tarumanagara to Sunda 669
   Lost Sunda Kelapa to Sultanate of Demak in 1527, Sultanate of Banten invasion in the 1570s 1579
Currency Native gold and silver coins
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Sumedang Larang
Sultanate of Banten
Sultanate of Cirebon
Today part of  Indonesia
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The Kingdom of Sunda was a Hindu kingdom located in western Java from 669 to around 1579, covering the area of present-day Banten, Jakarta, West Java, and the western part of Central Java. According to primary historical records, the Bujangga Manik manuscript, the eastern border of the Sunda Kingdom was the Pamali River (Ci Pamali, the present day Brebes River) and the Serayu River (Ci Sarayu) in Central Java. Most accounts of the Sunda Kingdom come from primary historical records from the 16th century.


Padrão of Sunda Kalapa (1522), a stone pillar commemorating the Sunda–Portuguese treaty, Indonesian National Museum, Jakarta.

Knowledge of the kingdom among Sundanese people has been kept alive through Sundanese Pantun oral tradition, the chant of poetic verses about the Golden Age of Sunda Pajajaran, and the legend of King Siliwangi (Prabu Siliwangi), the most popular king of Sunda.

Most account and records of the Sunda Kingdom came from manuscripts dated from a period later than the Golden Age, such as Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Kidung Sunda, Bujangga Manik, and Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara. Several stone inscriptions also mention the kingdom, such as Jayabupati, Kawali, and Batutulis.

Historical sources about the Sunda Kingdom

The earliest reference to the name "Sunda" being used to identify a kingdom is the Kebon Kopi II inscription dated 854 Saka (932 AD). The inscription was in old Javanese script, but the language used was old Malay. It translates as follows:

This memorial stone is to remark the saying of Rakryan Juru Pangambat (Royal Hunter), in 854 Saka, that the order of government is returned to the power of king of Sunda.

The inscription chandrasengkala (chronogram) written 458 Saka, however some historians suggested that the year of the inscription must be read backward as 854 Saka (932 AD) because the Sunda kingdom could not have existed in 536 AD, in the era of the Kingdom of Tarumanagara (358-669 AD).

Another reference to the kingdom is the Jayabupati inscription which consists of 40 lines written on four pieces of stone found on the Cicatih river bank in Cibadak, Sukabumi. The inscription is written in old Javanese script. The four inscriptions are now stored at the National Museum in Jakarta, under the codes D 73 (Cicatih), D 96, D 97 and D 98. The contents of the inscriptions (according to Pleyte):

Peace and well-being. In the year of Saka 952 (1030 AD), Kartika month on the 12th day on the light part, Hariang day, Kaliwon, first day, Wuku Tambir. Today is the day that king of Sunda Maharaja Sri Jayabupati Jayamanahen Wisnumurti Samarawijaya Sakalabuwanamandaleswaranindita Haro Gowardhana Wikramottunggadewa, makes his marks on eastern part of this Sanghiyang Tapak (insribed stone). Made by Sri Jayabupati King of Sunda. And may there be nobody allowed to break this law. In this part of river catching fish is forbidden, in the sacred area of Sanghyang Tapak near the source of the river. Up until the border of sacred Sanghyang Tapak marked by two big tree. So this inscriptions is made, enforced with an oath. Whoever breaks the law will be punished by these supranatural beings, die in horrible way like their brain being sucked, blood being drunk, intestines being destroyed, and chest is split in two. O being known by thee.., all the spirits.

The date of the Jayabupati inscription may be 11 October 1030. According to Pustaka Nusantara, Parwa III sarga 1, Sri Jayabupati reigned for 12 years, from 952 to 964 saka (1030 - 1042 AD). The inscription has an East Javanese style in lettering, language, and style, and mentions the current king by name.

Copperplate letters dating to the 15th century, including royal instructions, also imply the existence of the Sunda Kingdom. The copperplate inscription of Prasasti Kebantenan I (Jayagiri) reads that Raja Rahyang Niskala Wastu Kancana sent an order through Hyang Ningrat Kancana to the Susuhunan of Pakuan Pajajaran to take care of dayohan in Jayagiri and Sunda Sembawa, banning the collection of collecting taxes from the residents because they were knowledgeable about the (Hindu) religion and worshiped the gods. Prasasti Kebantenan II (Sunda Sembawa I) copperplate inscription announces Sri Baduga Maharaja (1482–1521), the king staying in Pakuan, approving an already delineated sacred estate (tanah devasasana) put at the disposal of the wiku (priests), which must not be split as it houses facilities for worship, which belong to the king. Prasasti Kebantenan III (Sunda Sembawa II) copperplate announces the king of Sunda's sanctions of holy construction in Sunda Sembawa. The Prasasti Kebantenan IV (Gunung Samaya) inscription says that Sri Baduga Maharaja, who ruled in Pakuan, sanctioned a sacred place (tanah devasana) at Gunung (mount) Samya (Rancamaya), the mentions a similar sacred estate to the one described in the Prasasti Kebantenan II inscription.

The primary source that contains informations about the daily life of late 15th to early 16th century Sunda Kingdom was found in Bujangga Manik manuscript. The names of places, culture and customs, was described in great detail, it is one of the important specimen of Old Sundanese literature. The main character is Prince Jaya Pakuan alias Bujangga Manik, a Sundanese Hindu hermit, who, though a prince at the court of Pakuan Pajajaran, preferred to live a life of a man of religion. As a hermit he made two journeys from Pakuan Pajajaran to central and eastern Java and back, the second one including a visit to Bali. After his return he practised asceticism on a mountain in western Java, where his bodily existence came to an end.[1] The manuscript dated from pre-Islamic Sunda. The language represents an older stage of Sundanese. It displays a marked influence from Javanese but does not contain one word which is tracable to Arabic. In the content of the story, too, Islam is completely absent. This manuscript specifically the mention of Majapahit, Malaka and Demak allow us to date the writing of the story in the 15th century, probably the later part of this century, or the early 16th century at the latest.[2]

Historical sources from China

According to F. Hirt and W. W. Rockhill, there are Chinese sources concerning the Sunda Kingdom. At the time of the Southern Sung Dynasty, the inspector of trade with foreign countries, Chau Ju-kua, collected reports from sailors and merchants who had visited foreign countries. His report on far countries, Chu-fan-chi, written from 1178 to 1225 AD, mentions the deepwater harbour of Sin-t’o (Sunda). Chu-fan-chi reported that:

All along the shores, people are dwelling. The people are working in agriculture, their houses are on poles and the roofs are thatched with the bark of the leaves of palm trees and the walls were made with wooden boards tied together with rattan. Both men and women wrap round their loins a piece of cotton, and in cutting their hair they only leave it half an inch long. The pepper grown on the hills (of this country) is small-grained, but heavy and superior to that of Ta-pan (eastern Java). The country produces pumpkins, sugar cane, bottle gourd, beans and egg plants. As, however, there is no regular government in this country, the people are given to brigandage, on which account foreign traders rarely go there.

According to this source, the kingdom of Sunda produced high quality black pepper. The kingdom located in the western parts of Java near Sunda Strait, corresponds to today Banten, Jakarta and west part of West Java province. According to this source, the port of Sunda was under Srivijaya mandala domination. Port of Sunda was highly possible refer to port of Banten instead of Kalapa. Its capital is located 10 kilometres inland southward in Banten Girang near Mount Pulosari.

The Chinese book “shun-feng hsiang-sung" from about 1430 AD relates:

In this voyage eastward from Sunda, along the north coast of Java, ships steered 97 1/2o for three watches to make Kalapa; they then followed the coast (past Tanjung Indramayu), finally steering 187 1/2o for four watches to reach Cirebon. Ships from Banten proceeded eastward along the north coast of Java, past Kalapa, past Indramayu head, past Cirebon.

According to this source the port of Sunda was located west of Kalapa and later identified as port of Banten.

Historical resources from European explorers

European explorers also report the existence of the Sunda Kingdom. Tomé Pires from Portugal wrote in his report “Summa Oriental (1513–1515)”:

Some people affirm that the Sunda kingdom take up half of the whole island of Java; others, to whom more authority is attributed, say that the Sunda kingdom must be a third part of the island and an eight more. It ends at the river chi Manuk. The river intersects the whole island from sea to sea in such away that when the people of Java describe their own country, they say that it is bounded to the west by island of Sunda. The people hold that whoever passes this strait (the river Cimanuk) into the South Sea is carried off by violent currents and unable to return.[3]

The Portuguese report is dated from a later period of the kingdom, shortly before its fall to forces of the Sultanate of Banten.

Formation and growth

According to the Wangsakerta manuscript, King Tarusbawa from Sunda Sambawa, a vassal kingdom of Tarumanagara, succeeded his father-in-law as the 13th king of Tarumanagara. Tarumanagara's prestige and power had been declining, likely due to a series of invasions from Srivijaya. Wishing to restore the glory of King Purnawarman, who reigned from the Purasaba (capital city) of Sundapura, in 670 AD Tarusbawa renamed Tarumanagara to the Sunda Kingdom. This event is confirmed by a Chinese source mentioning Tarumanagara's last envoy was in 669 AD. Tarusbawa sent his emissary to the Chinese Emperor at the time to advise him of his ascension to the throne in 669 AD. He was crowned on the ninth of the month of Jesta, in 591 Saka, which corresponds to 18 May 669 AD.

Separation of Galuh and Sunda Kingdom

Citarum River separates Sunda and Galuh

According to the Wangsakerta manuscript, Wretikandayun, the lord of another former vassal kingdom of Tarumanagara, Galuh Kingdom, used the establishment of the Sunda Kingdom as an excuse to split eastern Taruma from Tarusbawa's Sunda. Since the crown prince of Galuh was the son-in-law of Queen Sima of Kalingga, a Hindu kingdom in central Java, Wretikandayun, supported by Kalingga, demanded that the remnant of what was known as Tarumanagara's territory be divided into two kingdoms. Finding himself in an unfortunate position and unwilling to risk a civil war, King Tarusbawa granted Wretikandayun's demand. In 670 AD, Tarumanagara was divided into two kingdoms: the Sunda Kingdom in the west, and the Galuh Kingdom in the east, separated by the Tarum (Citarum) River.

Sanna and Purbasora

Tarusbawa was a good friend of Bratasena or Sena (709 - 716), the third king of Galuh; he was also known as Sanna, cited in the Canggal inscription (732 AD), and Sanjaya's uncle. This friendship encouraged Tarusbawa to take Sanjaya as his son-in-law. Purbasora succeeded Bratasenawa (Sanna or Sena) on the Galuh throne by in 716. Purbasora was Wretikandayun's grandson twice over—he was the child of his eldest son, Batara Danghyang Guru Sempakwaja, the founder of the Galunggung Kingdom and through his youngest son, Mandiminyak, the second king of Galuh (702-709 AD).

Purbasora and Sena were brothers as a result of an affair between Sempakwaja's wife and Mandiminyak. Sempakwaja could not succeed his father because he was toothless, a shameful physical handicap considered unsuitable for a king at that time. So his younger brother inherited the Galuh throne from Wretikandayun. However, the son of Sempakwaja still felt he deserved the throne of Galuh. Moreover, King Sena had a doubtful scandalous origin, which fuelled a Purbasora rebellion and the determination to take the Galuh throne from Sena.

With the aid of his father-in-law, King Indraprahasta, from a kingdom near present-day Cirebon, Purbasora launched his coup on the Galuh throne. Defeated, Sena fled to Kalingga, the kingdom of his wife's grandmother, Queen Shima.

Reunification of Sunda and Galuh

Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom coexisted under a strange and complex relationship, occasionally united under one king, and at other times allied kingdoms under different rulers.

Since the crown prince of Sunda died before King Tarusbawa, Princess Tejakencana (the daughter of the crown prince) was hailed as the heiress of Sunda. She married Rakeyan Jamri, son of Bratasenawa (the third king of Galuh Kingdom and a son of Wretikandayun) and Princess Sanaha (from Kalingga). In 723, Jamri succeeded Tarusbawa as second king of Sunda. As the lord of Sunda, he was known as Prabu Harisdarma and when he ascended the throne of Galuh he was known as Sanjaya.

The two kingdoms united as the Sunda Kingdom under the following kings:

Sanjaya and Balangantrang

Sanjaya, the son of Sena's sister Sannaha, determined to take revenge on Purbasora's family. He requested aid from Tarusbawa, a friend of Sena. His wish was realised when he became the king of Sunda, reigning on behalf of his wife.

He prepared a special force, which he placed in the Gunung Sawal area with the help of Rabuyut Sawal, also a dear friend of Sena. This special force was led by Sanjaya, while the Sunda army was led by Patih Anggada. The raid was launched at nightfall. Almost all of Purbasora's family was wiped out, except for Bimaraksa, Purbasora's son-in-law; the minister of Galuh escaped with a handful of guards.

Bimaraksa, also known as Ki Balangantrang, was the Senapati (army general) of the kingdom. Balangantrang was also the grandson of Wretikandayun, as a child of his second son, Resi Guru Jantaka or Rahyang Kidul, and was also considered unfit to succeed Wretikandayun because he suffered from a hernia. Balangantrang hid in the village of Gègèr Sunten and raised anti-Sanjaya forces. He was supported by the kings of Kuningan and also by the remnants of the Indraprahasta army. Indraphrasta was annihilated by Sanjaya as revenge for helping Purbasora to oust Sena.

Sena asked Sanjaya to honour all of the Galuh royal family, except Purbasora. Sanjaya himself was not interested in ruling Galuh. He merely attacked it to fulfill his godfather's wish to take revenge on Purbasora's family. After defeating Purbasora, Sanjaya asked his uncle, Sempakwaja, in Galunggung to order Demunawan, the younger brother of Purbasora, to reign in Galuh. But Sempakwaja declined, fearing this to be Sanjaya's trick to annihilate Demunawan.

Sanjaya himself could not find Balangantrang, so he accepted the Galuh throne. Realizing that he was unwelcomed at the Galuh court, and also that he was a Sunda king who must reside in Pakuan, he put Premana Dikusuma, grandson of Purbasora, in charge of Galuh. Premana Dikusuma at that time was a vassal king. At the age of 43 (born in 683 AD), he was already known as Rsi or an ascetic monk, because of his passion for learning and spiritual teaching since a young age, he is also known as Bagawat Sajalajaya.

Sanjaya also had legitimate right to Kalingga's throne (from his grandmother's side). Thus in 732 AD he chose to live in Kalingga (in the northern part of central Java) and later established the Mataram Kingdom and Sanjaya Dynasty. In 732 he gave his right to western Java to his son from Tejakencana, Prince Tamperan (Rakeyan Panaraban). Rakeyan was a half-brother of Rakai Panangkaran, Sanjaya's son from Sudiwara (daughter of Dewasinga, king of southern Kalingga).

Rakeyan Jayadarma

According to Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara parwa II sarga 3, Rakeyan Jayadarma was the son-in-law of Mahisa Campaka of Singhasari. Prince Jayadharma married Dyah Singamurti, also known as Dyah Lembu Tal. Sangrama Wijaya (Raden Wijaya), the first King of Majapahit, was the son of the Sunda king, Rakeyan Jayadharma. Except for Gajah Mada, who insisted on incorporating the Sunda Kingdom within the Majapahit realm, this is the likely reason why Majapahit kings were reluctant to attack the Sunda Kingdom. There was a sacred alliance between the Sunda Kingdom and the Majapahit Kingdom.

Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana

He resided in Kawali Galuh. He died in the Bubat War, Majapahit, in 1357, against the conspiracy crafted by the Majapahit prime minister, Gajah Mada. The tragedy's prelude came with the intention of Hayam Wuruk, the king of Majapahit, to marry Princess Dyah Pitaloka (also known as Citraresmi), a daughter of Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana. The Sunda king and his royal family came to Majapahit, sailing through the Java Sea, to accompany and marry his daughter to Hayam Wuruk. The Sunda party erected the encampment on Bubat square in the northern part of Trowulan, Majapahit capital, and awaited the proper wedding ceremony. However, Gajah Mada saw this event as an opportunity to demand Sunda's submission to Majapahit overlordship, and insisted that instead of becoming the queen of Majapahit, the princess was to be presented as a concubine for the Majapahit king, as a token of her kingdom's submission. The Sunda king was angered and humiliated by Gajah Mada's demand.

As a result, there was a skirmish between the Sunda royal family and the Majapahit army. The Majapahit army decimated the Sunda royal family; almost the entire Sundanese royal party, including the princess, perished in this tragedy. Tradition mentioned that Princess Dyah Pitaloka committed suicide to defend the honour and pride of her country. After his death, Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana was revered by the Sundanese as Prabu Wangi (lit. king with pleasant fragrance) because of his heroic defence of his honour against Majapahit, and his descendants, the later kings of Sunda, were called Siliwangi (lit. successor of Wangi). The story of the Battle of Bubat is the main theme of the book Kidung Sunda.

Sri Baduga Maharaja

Sri Baduga Maharaja is a grandchild of Prabu Wastu Kancana or Prabu Niskala Wastu, one of Prabu Wangi’s sons. Sri Baduga Maharaja is popularly known as Prabu Siliwangi in the Sundanese oral tradition of Pantun. He moved the government seat from Kawali back to Pakuan in 1482. Based on Prasasti Kebantenan copperplate inscription, he established a sacred estate (tanah devasasana) at Mount Samya (Rancamaya) and ordered that anyone entering was forbidden to disturb this area and forbade the imposition of taxes and other levies because this devasana contained Royal facilities for worship. He also announced that holy construction in Sunda Sembawa, which should be cared for and be undisturbed because the area stipulated is the residential area of the wiku (priests). According to Batutulis inscription, Sri Baduga Maharaja built defensive moats surrounding Pakuan Pajajaran; he built "gugunungan" (sacred mounds), established huts and sacred Samya forest, reserves for wood destined for offerings, and the Talaga Rena Mahawijaya Lake. Certainly, there was a good road to Sunda Kalapa (present-day Jakarta Metropolitan city) too, the most important harbour of the Sunda kingdom. At the time of Tome Pirés visit to Pakuan, Sri Baduga Maharaja reigned over the Sunda kingdom (1482 to 1521).

The year of his coronation in 1482 has been mentioned as the birth date of the present-day city of Bogor. However, there was an important settlement at the site already, and Pakuan had been the capital of the Sunda kingdom under previous kings. The reign of Sri Baduga Maharaja, also known as Prabu Siliwangi, was hailed as the "golden age" of the Sundanese people. The kingdom consolidated its rule and exercised power throughout western part of Java. It also marked the era of great prosperity resulting from efficient agriculture management and the thriving pepper trade in the region. This era of great wealth also marked the beginning of Sunda kingdom's decline.


The Kingdom of Sunda anxiously watched the growing influence of the expansive Islamic Sultanate of Demak that finally succeed to destroy Majapahit in the 16th century. As a result of this event, only Blambangan in the eastern edge of Java, and Sunda in the western part remained Hindu kingdoms in Java. Meanwhile, in the land of Sunda, Muslim influences had penetrated the kingdom.

Rise of Muslim States, Cirebon and Banten

Sunda King Prabu Jayadewata or Sri Baduga Maharaja or popularly known as King Siliwangi married Nyai Subang Larang, daughter of Ki Gedeng Tapa, port master of Muara Jati. They had three children; Prince Walangsungsang born in 1423, Princess Rara Santang born in 1426, and Prince Kian Santang (Raden Sangara) born in 1428.[4] Although Prince Walangsungsang was the first-born son of Sunda King, the prince did not earned the right as a crown prince of Pakuan Pajajaran. This was because his mother, Nyai Subang Larang was not the prameswari (queen consort). Another reason was probably because of his conversion to Islam, probably influenced by his mother, Subang Larang whom was a Muslim. In 16th century West Java, the state's religion was the Sunda Wiwitan (Sundanese ancestral religion), Hinduism and Buddhism. It was his half brother, King Siliwangi's son from his third wife Nyai Cantring Manikmayang, who was chosen as crown prince, later ascended to the throne as King Surawisesa.

Walangsungsang, assisted by Ki Gedheng Danusela, established a new settlement called Dukuh Alang-alang on 8 April 1445. After Ki Gedeng Alang-Alang's death in 1447, Walangsungsang appointed as the ruler of the town and established a court and assumed a new title as Prince Cakrabuana. Sri Baduga Maharaja sent his envoy Tumenggung Jagabaya and Raja Sengara (Cakrabuana's younger brother), to bestow Prince Carkrabuana with the title Tumenggung Sri Mangana. Cirebon grew into a thriving port, yet Cakrabuana still loyal to his father and sent tribute to the main court of Sunda Pajajaran. At that time Cirebon was still the vassal of Pakuan Pajajaran.

After his Resignation in 1479 CE, Cakrabuana was succeeded by his nephew, Sharif Hidayatullah (1448-1568), the son of Nyai Rara Santang (Syarifah Mudaim) and Sharif Abdullah of Egypt. He married his cousin, Nyi Mas Pakungwati daughter of Cakrabuana. He is popularly known with his posthumously name, Sunan Gunung Jati. In 1482, the Sunda kingdom lost one of its important ports, Cirebon. On 2 April 1482, Sunan Gunungjati, the ruler of Cirebon (and also the grandson of Sri Baduga Maharaja), stated that Cirebon will no longer send tribute to Pajajaran, which marked the proclamation of the Sultanate of Cirebon as independence from Sunda Pajajaran.[4] Sunan Gunung Jati later also established the Sultanate of Banten, which later become a menace for Hindu Sunda kingdom.

The pressure from coastal Javan Islamic states drove the king of Sunda, Sri Baduga Maharaja, to seek assistance from the Portuguese at Malacca. In 1512 and again in 1521, he sent his son, the crown prince Prabu Surawisesa also known as Ratu Sang Hyang (the Portuguese record it as Samian) to Malacca to request the Portuguese to sign a peace treaty, to trade in pepper and to build a fort at his main port of Sunda Kalapa.

Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkasa, and Sunda – Portuguese Treaty in 1522

After Sri Baduga Maharaja’s death in 1521, the succeeding kings, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa, also known as Ratu Sang Hyang whom the Portuguese called Ratu Samian, faced the threat of the Sultanate of Banten and Demak Sultanate expanding nearer his kingdom. Under this threat, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa, who reigned from 1521 to 1535, concluded the treaty with Portuguese from Malacca to establish a warehouse and fortress at Sunda Kelapa in return for protection against the Sultanate.

By 1522, the Portuguese were ready to form a coalition with the King of Sunda to get access to his profitable pepper trade. The commander of the fortress of Malacca at that time was Jorge de Albuquerque. He sent a ship, the São Sebastião, under Captain Henrique Leme, to Sunda Kalapa with valuable gifts for the king of Sunda. Two written sources describe the concluding of the treaty in detail, the original Portuguese document of 1522 with the text of the treaty and the signatories of the witnesses, and a report on that event by João de Barros in his book Da Ásia, printed after 1777/78.

According to these sources, the king welcomed them warmly upon their arrival. The Crown Prince had succeeded his father and was now King Prabu Surawisesa, although Barros called him King Samião. This Sunda ruler agreed to an arrangement of friendship with the King of Portugal and granted a fortress at the mouth of the Ciliwung River where the Portuguese could load as many ships as they wished with pepper. In addition, he pledged, dating from the start of construction on the fortress, each year he would donate one thousand sacks of pepper to the Portuguese king. The contract document was drafted into two copies and signed. On the said day in 1522, Henrique Leme of Portuguese and his entourage together with deputies of the King of Sunda, erected a commemoration stone, called Padrão, at the mouth of the Ciliwung River.

This trade and defence treaty with the Portuguese, the Luso Sundanese Treaty, fell through when the Portuguese failed to construct the fortress because of troubles in Goa India and Fatahillah conquered Sunda Kalapa harbour just before the Portuguese returned.

The army of Paletehan, also called Fadillah Khan (1487–1570), comprising around 1452 troops from the Cirebon-Demak alliance, conquered Sunda Kalapa The commander of the Sunda kingdom and his troops fell to them. The harbour chief and his family, the royal minister, and all of the people working in the harbour, lost their lives. Most of the city was destroyed, as the reinforcements sent in from Pakuan realised that their forces were too weak and retreated. Sunda Kalapa Harbour was named Jayakarta or Jakarta.

Thirty Portuguese sailors, shipwrecked by storms, swam to the beach at Kalapa only to be killed by Fadillah Khan’s men. The Portuguese recognised the political leadership had changed when they were not allowed to set foot on the land. As they were too weak for a battle, they set sail back to Malacca. The next year, a second attempt failed because of striking sailors angry at not having been paid.

The war between Cirebon-Demak alliance and the Sunda kingdom lasted almost five years. The king lost 1000 of his troops. Finally, in 1531, a peace treaty was concluded between King Surawisesa and Syarif Hidayatullah.

Prabu Surawisesa established the Prasasti Batutulis inscription stone in 1533 AD to commemorate his father. Because of ongoing battles, he often could not stay in his palace in Pakuan Pajajaran.

Subsequent kings of Sunda Kingdom were:

Center of power

Location of Pakuan Pajajaran copied from book "Kabudayaan Sunda Zaman Pajajaran" Part 2", 2005

Throughout Sunda's history, the centre of power shifted between Pakuan Pajajaran, the capital of Sunda and Kawali, the capital of Galuh.


The capital of Galuh was in the area now known as Karang Kamulyan, Ciamis, near the town of Kawali. The city was located on eastern slope of Mount Sawal near the source of the Citanduy river. A Kawali inscription was discovered here. According to tradition, the keraton in Kawali is called Surawisesa. Kawali served as the capital of the kingdom for several generations until Sri Baduga Maharaja moved the government back to Pakuan in 1482.

Pakuan Pajajaran

After the fall of Tarumanagara in the 7th century, King Tarusbawa built a new capital city inland near the source of the Cipakancilan river in present-day Bogor. According to Carita Parahyangan, a manuscript from the 15th or 16th century, King Tarusbawa was only mentioned as Tohaan (Lord/King) of Sunda. He was the ancestor of a series of Sunda kings that reigned until 723. Pakuan served as the capital of Sunda during the reign of several kings, and the court shifted to Kawali until Sri Baduga Maharaja moved the court from Kawali back to Pakuan. After Sri Baduga Maharaja, the capital city of the Sunda kingdom remained in Pakuan until the end of the kingdom and the fall of the city to Sultanate of Banten in the 1550s.

Because Pakuan, the capital city of the Sunda kingdom laid between two parallel rivers, Ciliwung and Cisadane, it was called Pajajaran (lit. place laid between two parallel things) or Pakuan Pajajaran. Although primary local and European historical records referred to the kingdom in the western part of Java island as the Sunda Kingdom, the Sundanese, especially after the establishment of the Sultanate of Banten and The Sultanate of Cirebon, referred to the kingdom in this region minus the sultanates as Pakuan Pajajaran Kingdom, abbreviated as Pakuan Kingdom or Pajajaran Kingdom. The later name is more familiar for people residing in West Java and the Mataram region (current Yogyakarta and Solo).


The 8th century Cangkuang temple, cultural heritage of Galuh Kingdom

The culture of the people in Sunda kingdom blends Sunda Wiwitan; a native shamanism belief, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Several intact prehistoric megalithic sites, such as Cipari site in Kuningan and the Pangguyangan menhir and stepped pyramid in Cisolok, Sukabumi, suggest that native shamanic animism and dynamism beliefs coexisted with Hinduism and Buddhism. The native belief, Sunda Wiwitan, persists today as a way of life for the Baduy or Kanekes people who resist Islam and other foreign influences.

Hindu was one of the earliest influences in Tarumanagara. The Cangkuang Hindu temple in Leles, Garut, dated from the 8th century, was dedicated to Shiva and built during the Galuh kingdom. Buddhist influence came to West Java through the Srivijaya conquest, as the empire dominated West Java until the 11th century. The brick stupas in Batujaya indicate Buddhist influence in West Java, while nearby Cibuaya sites show Hinduim influence.

The culture of Sunda kingdom centred on agricultural activity, especially rice cultivation. Nyi Pohaci Sanghyang Asri or Sanghyang Asri, the goddess of rice, is revered as the main deity or the highest goddess within Sundanese pantheon. The priest was concerning about the religious ceremonies and the king and his subjects participated in annual ceremonies and festivals such as the blessing of the rice seeds ceremonies and harvest festival. The annual Seren Taun rice harvest festival is still practised today in traditional Sundanese communities.

According to the Bujangga Manik manuscript, the courtly culture of Sunda kraton and its nobles' etiquette in Pakuan Pajajaran was sophisticated. However no traces of the palace or buildings survived in the former capital, probably because their wood construction decayed over the centuries.

The Portuguese source provide a glimpse of the culture and customs of the Sunda kingdom. In his report “Suma Oriental (1512–1515)” Tomé Pires wrote:

Sunda kingdom is very rich. The land of Sunda has as much as four thousands horses which come there from Priaman (Sumatera) and other islands to be sold. It has up to forty elephants; these are for the king’s array. An inferior gold, of six carats, is found. There is abundance tamarinds which serve the native for vinegar.

The city where the king is most of the year is the great city of Dayo. The city has well-built houses of the palm leaf and wood. They say that the king’s house has three hundred and thirty wooden pillars as thick as a wine cask, and five fathoms (8 m) high, and beautiful timber work on the top of the pillars, and a very well-built house. The city is two days journey from the chief port, which is called Kalapa.

The people of Sunda are said to be truthful. They, with great city of Dayo, the town and lands and port of Bantam, the port of Pontang, the port of Cheguide, the port of Tangaram, the Port of Tangaram, the port of Calapa, the port of chi Manuk. are justly governed. The king is a great sportsman and hunter. The kingdom descends from father to son. The women are handsome, and those of the nobles chaste, which is not the case with those of the lower classes. There are monasteries of convents for the women, into which the nobles put their daughters, when they cannot match them in marriage according to their wishes. The married women, when their husband die, must, as point of honour, die with them, and if they should be afraid of death they put into the convents. The inhabitants are not very warlike, much addicted to their idolatries. They are fond of rich arms, ornamented with gold and inlaid work. Their krises are gilt, and also the point of their lances.

The people of the sea coast get along well with the merchants in the land. They are accustomed to trade. These people of Sunda very often come to Malacca to trade. They bring cargo lancharas, ships of a hundred and fifty tons. Sunda has up to six junks and many lancharas of the sunda kind, with masts like a crane, and steps between each so that they are easy to navigate.[5]


The economy of Sunda kingdom relied on agriculture, especially rice cultivation; this is reflected in Sundanese culture and the annual ceremonies of crop seeding and Seren Taun rice harvest festival. The harvest ceremony also allowed the king's official to collect tax in the form of rice that can be stored in the state's Leuit (rice barn). However, the kingdom was also well known as the world's main producer of high quality pepper. The kingdom participated in spice trade network in the archipelago. The ports of Sunda participated in international trades in the region.

In Suma Oriental, written in 1512-1515, Tomé Pires, a Portuguese explorer report about the ports of Sunda:

First the king of Çumda (Sunda) with his great city of Dayo, the town and lands and port of Bantam, the port of Pomdam (Pontang), the port of Cheguide (Cigede), the port of Tamgaram (Tangerang), the port of Calapa (Kelapa), and the port of Chemano (Chi Manuk or Cimanuk), this is Sunda, because the river of Chi Manuk is the limit of both kingdoms.[5]

Another Portuguese explorer, Diogo do Couto, wrote that the Sunda kingdom is thriving and abundant; it lies between Java and Sumatra, separated from the latter by the Sunda Strait. Many islands lie along the coast of this kingdom within the strait, for nearly the space of forty leagues; the strait's widest point is about twenty-five and narrowest point only twelve leagues broad. Bantam is about the midpoint. All the islands are well timbered, but have little water. A small one called Macar, at the entrance of Sunda Strait, is said to have much gold.

He also noted that the principal ports of the Sunda kingdom were Banten, Ache, Chacatara (Jakarta), which annually receive twenty sommas, ships from Chienheo, China, to ship the eight thousand bahars, which are equal to 3,000,000 kg of pepper the kingdom produced.

Bantam is situated at 6° south latitude, in the middle of a bay, three leagues from point to point. The town is eight hundred and fifty fathoms in length, and the seaport extends about 400. A river capable of admitting junks and galleys flows through the middle of the town: a small branch of this river admits boats and small craft.

There is a brick fort, the walls of which are seven palms thick, with wooden bulwarks, armed with two tiers of artillery. The anchorage is good, with a muddy or sandy bottom and a depth from two to six fathoms.


Although the kingdom of Sunda left little archaeological remains, it remains part of culture of Sundanese people through the Pantun oral tradition, the chant of poetic verses. Sunda is revered as the prosperous and glorious golden age. The historical identity and the source of pride for Sundanese people, the same as Majapahit for Javanese people. The pantun that mentioned Sunda Kingdom (popularly known as Pakuan or Pajajaran):

Talung-talung keur pajajaran. Jaman keur aya keneh kuwerabekti. Jaman guru bumi dipusti-pusti. Jaman leungit tangtu eusina metu. Euweuh anu tani kudu ngijon. Euweuh anu tani nandonkeun karang. Euweuh anu tani paeh ku jenkel. Euweuh anu tani modar ku lapar

(Pantun Bogor: Kujang di Hanjuang siang, Sutaarga 1984:47)

Translation: It was better during the Pajajaran era, when Kuwera (the god of wealth) was still revered. The era when the earth guru was still honoured. The era when something lost will be returned to the owner. No farmer had to take loans. No farmer had to sell their lands. No farmer died in vain. No farmer died in hunger.

Dinegara Pakuan sarugih. Murah sandang sarta murah pangan. Ku sakabeh geus loba pare. Berekahna Dewa Guru anu matak kabeh sarugih. Malah ka nagri lain geus kakocap manjur. Dewa Guru miwarangan ka Ki Semar: "maneh Semar geura Indit, leumpangan ka nagri pakuan!" (Wawacan Sulanjana: Plyte 1907:88)

Translation: In the prosperous kingdom of Pakuan, people lacked no food or clothing. Rice was plenteous. The blessing of Dewa Guru laid on the land, so everyone was rich. The land's fame spread to other lands. Dewa Guru ordered Ki Semar to the kingdom of Pakuan!

Several streets in major Indonesian cities, especially in West Java, were named for Sundanese kings and Sunda Kingdom. Padjadjaran University in Bandung was named for Pakuan Pajajaran, the capital and the popular name for the Sunda Kingdom. The TNI Siliwangi Military Division and Siliwangi Stadium was named for King Siliwangi, the eponymous popular king of Sunda corresponded to Sri Baduga Maharaja.

List of rulers

Based on Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, the most probable timeline for the rulers of the Sunda kingdom is as follows:

Period King's name Ruler of Capital Stone inscription Manuscript reference Events
669 – 723 Tarusbawa Sunda Pakuan Wangsakerta, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Tarusbawa renamed the remnant of Tarumanagara Sunda. Separation of Sunda and Galuh
612 – 702 Wretikandayun Galuh Galuh Wangsakerta, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Wretikandayun demanded the partition of Tarumanagara and the separation of Sunda and Galuh
702 – 709 Mandiminyak Galuh Galuh Wangsakerta, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara
709 – 716 Sena/Bratasena Galuh Galuh Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara
716 – 723 Purbasora Galuh Galuh Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Purbasora, Wretikandayun's grandson, rebelled against Sena and took the throne of Galuh in 716
723 – 732 Sanjaya/Harisdarma/

Rakeyan Jamri

Sunda, Galuh, and Mataram Pakuan Canggal Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Sanjaya, son of Sena's sister, Sannaha, married Tarusbawa's daughter, Tejakencana, and become the king of Sunda. He took revenge on Sena's behalf against Purbasora in Galuh. Sanjaya took his right as the heir in Kalingga, established the Sanjaya dynasty and Mataram Kingdom in central Java
732 – 739 Rakeyan Panaraban/

Tamperan Barmawijaya

Sunda and Galuh Galuh Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Panaraban, son of Sanjaya, became king of Sunda
739 – 766 Rakeyan Banga Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
766 – 783 Rakeyan Medang Prabu Hulukujang Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
783 – 795 Prabu Gilingwesi Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
795 – 819 Pucukbumi Darmeswara Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
819 – 891 Prabu Gajah Kulon Rakeyan Wuwus Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
891 – 895 Prabu Darmaraksa Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
895 – 913 Windusakti Prabu Dewageng Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
913 – 916 Rakeyan Kemuning Gading Prabu Pucukwesi Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
916 – 942 Rakeyan Jayagiri Prabu Wanayasa Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
942 – 954 Prabu Resi Atmayadarma Hariwangsa Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
954 – 964 Limbur Kancana Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
964 – 973 Prabu Munding Ganawirya Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
973 – 989 Prabu Jayagiri Rakeyan Wulung Gadung Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
989 – 1012 Prabu Brajawisesa Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
1012–1019 Prabu Dewa Sanghyang Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
1019–1030 Prabu Sanghyang Ageng Sunda and Galuh Galuh Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Under Srivijaya domination
1030–1042 Prabu Detya Maharaja Sri Jayabupati Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Jayabupati Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Offspring of Srivijaya princess and Sunda King, son in-law of King Dharmawangsa of Medang. Proclaimed independence from Srivijaya by assuming the title "Maharaja". Established the sacred sanctuary of Sanghyang Tapak
1042–1064 Dharmaraja Sunda and Galuh Galuh Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara
1064–1154 Prabu Langlangbhumi/

Sang Mokteng Kreta

Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara
1154–1156 Rakeyan Jayagiri/

Prabu Menakluhur Langlangbhumisutah

Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara
1156–1175 Prabu Dharmakusumah/

Sang Mokteng Winduraja

Sunda and Galuh Galuh Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara
1175–1297 Prabu Guru Dharmasiksa Sunda and Galuh Saunggalah,


Carita Parahyangan, Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Rakeyan Jayadharma, son of Dharmasiksa, married Dyah Lembu Tal of Singhasari, and have a son Wijaya. Jayadharma died in boyhood and Dyah lembu Tal returned to Singhasari. Wijaya later established Majapahit. Rakeyan Saunggalah, Jayadharma's brother, succeeded Dharmasiksa
1297–1303 Rakeyan Saunggalah/

Prabu Ragasuci

Sunda and Galuh Saunggalah Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Moved the capital to Saunggalah (currently Kuningan)
1303–1311 Prabu Citraganda/

Sang Mokteng Tanjung

Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara
1311–1333 Prabu Lingga Dewata/

Sang Mokteng Kikis

Sunda and Galuh Kawali Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Moved the capital from Pakuan and built a new capital Kawali near the former Galuh capital (currently Ciamis)
1333–1340 Prabu Ajigunawisesa/

Sang Mokteng Kiding

Sunda and Galuh Kawali Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara Ajigunawisesa, son in-law of Prabu Lingga Dewata
1340–1350 Prabu Ragamulya Luhurprabhawa/

Aki Kolot

Sunda and Galuh Kawali Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan
1350–1357 Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana/

Prabu Wangi

Sunda and Galuh Kawali Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Pararaton, Carita Parahyangan, Kidung Sunda Lingga Buana's daughter Dyah Pitaloka wed king Hayam Wuruk of Majapahit. However, in the Battle of Bubat (1357), the Sunda king, princess, and most of Sunda royal family died in Bubat, Majapahit. Gajah Mada held responsible for this Pasunda Bubat incident.
1357–1371 Mangkubumi Suradipati/

Prabu Bunisora

Sunda and Galuh Kawali Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan Mangkubumi Suradipati temporarily ruled the kingdom on behalf of the late Prabu Wangi because the crown prince, Niskala Wastu Kancana, was still a child
1371–1475 Prabu Raja Wastu/

Niskala Wastu Kancana/ Sang Mokteng Nusalarang

Sunda and Galuh Kawali Kawali Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan The kingdom prospered under Niskala Wastu Kancana long reign. Later, he split Sunda and Galuh between his two sons
1475–1482 Prabu Susuk tunggal Sunda Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan Twin equal kingdom of Sunda and Galuh
1475–1482 Ningratkancana/

Prabu Dewa Niskala

Galuh Kawali Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan Twin equal kingdom of Sunda and Galuh
1482–1521 Sri Baduga Maharaja/

Ratu Jayadewata/ Prabu Siliwangi

Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan Transferred the capital back to Pakuan. The kingdom consolidated its power and enjoyed stability, prosperity, and great wealth. His reign popularly celebrated as the "golden age" of Pajajaran
1521–1535 Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa/

Ratu Sang Hiang

Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Batutulis Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan, Luso Sundanese Treaty, Padrao Sought the assistance of Portuguese in Malacca in 1522 against pressure of Sultanate of Demak. The treaty failed, and Sunda Kingdom lost Sunda Kelapa to Fatahillah Demak forces. Batu Tulis inscription was established in 1533 to commemorate his great predecessor, Sri Baduga Maharaja
1535–1543 Ratu Dewata/

Sang Ratu Jaya Dewata

Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan The kingdom declininged fast and lost most of its territory to Cirebon and Banten
1543–1551 Ratu Sakti Sunda and Galuh Pakuan Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan The kingdom grow weaker under the pressure of Sultanate of Banten
1551–1567 Nilakendra/

Tohaan di Majaya

Sunda Pakuan, Pulasari Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan The fall of Pakuan under Sultanate of Banten invasion
1567–1579 Raja Mulya/

Prabu Surya Kencana

Sunda Pulasari Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, Carita Parahyangan The king resided in Pulasari, Pandeglang, or in Kaduhejo, Menes Subdistrict. The kingdom finally collapsed in 1576 under pressure from the Banten

Celebrated as 'the golden era' of ancient Indonesia, especially for Sundanese people, the Sunda kingdom has inspired many writers and artists to create works based on this era. The impact of the Sunda kingdom theme on popular culture can be seen in the following:

  1. Saur Sepuh (1987–1991), a radio drama and film by Niki Kosasih. Begun as a popular radio drama program in the late 1980s, Saur Sepuh is set in 15th century Java, and is about Brama Kumbara, a fictional king of Madangkara, itself a fictional kingdom neighbour of the Pajajaran. Several films and TV series are also based on the Saur Sepuh story.
  2. Prabu Siliwangi (1988), a film directed by Sofyan Sharna, about the fictionalised lifestory of King Siliwangi.
  3. Prabu Siliwangi (2009), a novel written by E Rokajat Asura, also about King Siliwangi.
  4. Dyah Pitaloka (2007), a novel written by Hermawan Aksan, about Sundanese Princess Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi, focussed around the Bubat War. The novel virtually took the same context and was inspired by Kidung Sundayana.

See also


  1. Noorduyn, J. (2006). Three Old Sundanese poems. KITLV Press. p. 437.
  2. Noorduyn, J. (2006). Three Old Sundanese poems. KITLV Press. p. 438.
  3. SJ, Adolf Heuken (1999). Sumber-sumber asli sejarah Jakarta, Jilid I: Dokumen-dokumen sejarah Jakarta sampai dengan akhir abad ke-16. Cipta Loka Caraka. p. 34.
  4. 1 2 "Sejarah Kabupaten Cirebon" (in Indonesian). Cirebon Regency. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  5. 1 2 Pires, Tome (1512–1515). "The Suma Oriental of Tome Pires: An Account of the East, from Red Sea to China". Armando Cortesão. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi 1990, 2005. ISBN 81-206-0535-7. Retrieved 16 January 2013.


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