Majapahit Empire: Gigantic Kingdom in East Java, Indonesia

Majapahit is one of the biggest kingdom existed in Indonesia from 1293 to 1500s. The glorious day of Majapahit was in the priod of Hayam Wuruk (1350-1389). Majapahit Kingdom was located ay Tarik forest nearby Brantas River, Mojokerto, East Java. Majapahit was the last Hindu Kingdom ruled over nusantara and considered as one of the biggest kingdoms in Indonesia history. Its area consisted of Java, Sumatera, Semenanjung Malaya, to Eastern part of Indonesia though this opinion is still debated.

Majapahit history can be traced from its kings.

Raden Wijaya (1293-1309)
He was the descendant of Singasari king. When Singasari was attacked by Jayakatwang from Kediri, Raden Wijaya could escape to Madura Island. He asked Wiraraja help and Wiraraja suggested him to return to Kediri, and pretend to work for Jayakatwang. To prove his will, he was ready to open Tarik forest, located nearby Sidoarjo, to be a amusement forest for Jayakatwang whow as keen to hunt. Raden Wijaya was helped by Madurese, Wiraraja men, to open the forest and built a village called Majapahit.
In 1293, Mongol troop came to punish Kertanegara that hurt Kubilai Khan’s messenger in 1289. Raden Wijaya said that he, as the heir of Kertanegara would surrender if he was helped by Mongol troop to get freedom from Jayakatwang. Mongol and Majapahit assault Kediri and Jayakatwang could be defeated. Afterwards, Majapahit cast out Mongol troop from Java.
According to Kidung Panji Wijayakusuma, and Harsawijaya, Mongol troop was invited by Wiraraja to help Raden Wijaya to defeat Kadiri, for 2 princesses for Kubilai Khan. Raden Wijaya was the first king of Majapahit since 1293. From Kudadu inscription from date back 1294, Aria Wiraraja was known with title Rakyan Mantri Arja Wiraraja Makapramuka. In Penanggungan inscription date back 1296, Wiraraja was not found anymore. It was possibly because in 1295, one of Wiraraja sons, Ranggalawe rebelled and killed. Arya Wiraraja was hurt by his son death and the he resigned from his position, and asked Raden Wijaya to fulfill his promise for half of Majapahit to him. Raden Wijaya granted his request, and Wiraraja ruled over east part of Majapahit with capital in Lumajang.
Raden Wijaya was entitled as Kertarajasa Jayawardhana in 1294. Majapahit derives from fruit name found when Raden Wijaya opened Tarik forest. The fruit name was Maja and it taste bitter (pahit in Javanese).

Jayanegara (1309-1328)
Raden Wijaya was succeeded by his son, Kalagemet. Kalagemet was the son of Raden Wijaya with Malay princess Dara Petak. He ruled Majapahit with name Sri Jayanegara and when he ruled there were numerous rebellions, such as Ranggalawe, Sora, Nambi and Kuti.
Kuti Rebellionw  was very dangerous that Jayanegara escaped to Badander. Jayanegara was guarded by Bayangkari squad and led by Gajah Mada. King could escaped and for quality of Gajah Mada troop, Jayanegara could get his throne again. For his service, Gajah Mada was promoted as Regent in Kahuripan. 2 years later Gajah Mada became Regent in Dah.

Tribuwanatunggadewi (1328-1350)
Jayanegara ruled Majaphit until 1328, and he passed away without son to be his predecessor. He was supposed to be succeeded by Rajapatni, Buta Rajapatni was a monk then he gave the throne to her daughter Sri Gitarja.
Sri Gitarja was known as Tribuwana Tunggadewi Jayawisnuwardhani after she reigned. Gajah Mada was promoted as prime minister to replace Arya Tadah who was sick. Gajahmada was ordered to solve Sadeng rebellion and he was succeed. When Gajahmada was sworn as prime minister, he vowed that he would unify Nusantara or known as Sumpah (vow) Palapa. In that period, nusantara referred to Hasta Dwipa Nusantara (8 Islands); Malaka, Sumatera, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Sunda Kecil/ Nusa Tenggara, Moluccas and Irian (Gurun).
For his goal, Gajah Mada built strong naval fleet and Majapahit was known as Maritime Kingdom. The admiral of the troop was Empu Nala. Majapahit could conquer Dompo in 1340 and Bali in 1343.
Here is Sumpah Palapa sworn by Gajah Mada “Sira Gajah Mada pepatih amugkubumi tan ayun amukita palapa, sira Gajah Mada, lamun huwus kalah nusantara ingsun amukti palapa, lamun kalah ring Gurun, ring Seram, Tanjungpura, ring Haru, ring Pahang, Dompo, ring Bali, Sunda, Palembang, Tumasik, samana ingsun amukti palapa.”

Hayam Wuruk (1334-1389
Rajapatni (Gayatri) died in 1350. After the death of her mother, Queen Tribuwanatunggadewi gave her throne to her son, Hayam Wuruk. Hayam Wuruk became king in the age of 16 and known as Sri Rajasanegara.
Hayam Wuruk period is the glorious day of Majapahit. He was accompanied by Gajah Mada as prime minister. Gajah Mada continued his goal to unify nusantara. One by one nusantara can be conquered. Majapahit comprised recent Indonesia , Tumasik and Semenanjung Melayu.
In that period, Majapahit had relationship with great kingdoms in South East Asia, such as India, Muangthai, Kamboja, and China. Majapahit trade was in advance term. Majapahit’s port such as Ujung Galuh, Gresik, Pasuruan were very busy and visited by Chinese, Indian, and Persian.
Beside growing as an advanced maritime kingdom, Majapahit also evolved as advance agrarian country.  Majapahit built dam and irrigation channels to water farms. Few roadings, bridges also constructed for an ease of traffic intra-regions. Majapahit produced rice, spices, cotton, silk, and plantation products.
Hayam Wuruk also concerned about culture activities. This was proven by lots of temples constructed and advance in literature. Temples from Majapahit era were Candi Sawentar, Candi Sumberjati, Candi Surawana, Candi Tikus, Candi Jabung. The most popular literature were Negarakertagama written by Empu Prapanca and Sutasoma written by Empu Sutasoma. In Negarakertagama, Pancasila term was found and in Sutasoma, Republic Indonesis Motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika , was found.
In Hayam Wuruk period, Bubat War was broken, between Majapahit and Pajajaran. Hayam Wuruk was intended to propose Diyah Pitaloka (Ciptaresmi), daughter of King Pajajaran.  Majapahit sent messenger to propose and both parties made agreement. The agreement contents was King of Majapahit should not propose to Pajajaran palace but at border of both kingdoms, in Bubat village. Gajah Mada has other plan. Gajah Mada forced Pajajaran king who was already in Bubat village to gave his daughter as tribute to King Hayam Wuruk. This request was rejected by Pajajarana and the war was unavoidably happened. Pajajaran kingdom group including king and his daughter were killed in this war. Hayam Wuruk did not agree with Gajah Mada action, and from that moment on, relationship from both side were not close anymore. Gajah Mada died in 1364, while Hayam Wuruk died in 1389. After both figures died, Majapahit declined.

Kusumawardhani-Wirakramawardhana (1389-1429)
After Hayam Wuruk, there was seizure of power in Majapahit. Hayam Wuruk predecessor was Kusumawardhani, who married to Wirakramawardhana. Wirakramawardhana led Majapahit from 1389 to 1429. Bhre Wirabumi, son of Hayam Wuruk harem was given authority in Blambangan. Bhre Wurabumi said that he had the right to be king of Majapahit.
In 1401-1406 Paregreg war broke out. Bhre Wirabumi was killed in this war. And this led to deeper conflict between Hayam Wuruk descendants. In 1429, Wirakramawardana died. Wirakramawardana was replaced by Suhita. Suhita was replaced by Bhre Pamotan, who was known as Srirajasawardhana. Bhre Pamotan moved the center of governance to Kahuripan to avoid family conflict. Bhre pamotan died in 1453 and he had no predecessor. In 1456, Bhre Wengker became the king as Girindra Wardhana. The family conflict kept growing until Ranawijaya reigned. In 1522, Majapahit was conquered by Demak Kingdom.

Source of Majapahit History;
Prasasti Butok (1244).This inscription was issued by Raden Wijaya after he became the king of Majapahit. This inscription note the collapse of Singasari Kingdom and Raden Wijaya struggle to establish the kingdom.
Kidung Harsawijaya and Kidung Panji Wijayakrama . Both kidung or poems  tell about how Raden Wijaya fought against enemies in the early years of Majapahit.
Kitab Pararaton recorded about kings of Singasari and Majapahit.
Kitab Negarakertagama recorded about Hayam Wuruk trip to East Java.

Majapahit had open political policy to interact with foreign countries such as China, Ayodya (Siam), Champa and Cambodia. In 1370 – 1381, Majapahit had sent several messenger to China as noted by Chinese chronicle from Ming Dynasty. Government structure in Majapahit:
1. King
2. Yuaraja or Kumaraja (Young King)
3. Rakryan Mahamantri Katrini
—–a. Mahamantri i-hino
—–b. Mahamantri i –hulu
—–c. Mahamantri i-sirikan
4. Rakryan Mahamantri ri Pakirakiran
—–a. Rakryan Mahapatih (Commander/Hamangkubhumi)
—–b. Rakryan Tumenggung (Kingdom Commander)
—–c. Rakryan Demung (Internal Affair Office)
—–d. Rakryan Kemuruhan (Liasona and Protocol Officer)
—–e. Rakryan Rangga (Commader Assistant)
5. Two Dharmadyaka , and each is assisted by religious official called Upapati. In Hayam Wuruk era there were 7 Upapati.

Beside the officials, under king there were regional kings (paduka bharata) each ruled in one region. Majapahit had civil and military officials as well. Majapahit has an advance government system and political system.

Here are literature from Majaahit period:
Kitab Negarakertagama, written by Mpu Prapanca
Kitab Sutasoma,  written by Mpu Tantular
Kitab Arjunawiwaha, written by Mpu Tantular
Kitab Kunjarakarna
Kitab Parhayajna
Kitab Prapanca, about kings of Majapahit and Singasari
Kitab Sundayana about Bubat war
Kitab Sarandaka about Sora Rebellion
Kitab Ranggalawe about Ranggalawe Rebellion
Panjiwijayakrama, about story of Raden Wijaya became king
Kitab Usana Jawa, about conquerance of Bali Island by Gajah Mada and Arya Damar and moving the capital to Gelgel and defeating giant king Maya Denawa.
Kitab Usana Bali, about conflict in Bali
Other literatures are: Kitab Paman Cangah, Tantu Pagelaran, Calon Arang, Korawasrama, Babhulisah, Tantri Kamandaka and Pancatantra.