Defense Technology of Kingdoms in the Indonesian Archipelago: Breaking the Wrong Primitive Images

Indonesia before the proclamation of independence was a collection of kingdoms. According to various history books taught in schools today, the ancestors of this nation were colonized for 350 years by the Dutch. One factor that makes the colonial period prolonged is the lack of advanced defense technology in the kingdoms of the archipelago. Many objections have arisen related to the uncertain length of occupation. However, the rebuttal narratives related to defense technology are still few.

The narrative that is often echoed is “Our predecessors against the invaders only capitalized bamboo until they managed to seize firearms from the enemy”. Not impossible if there is some resistance in this form. But what is impossible is the implied message contained, that is, all our predecessors did not know firearms to seize from the invaders. Though there are various discoveries that show that our predecessors had known firearms before European colonialism came.

In 1293, the Yuan Dynasty Emperor Kubilai Khan sent troops to attack the Kediri Kingdom, which at that time was controlled by Jayakatwang. Raden Wijaya used this momentum to collaborate with the Chinese-Mongol forces to destroy the Kediri Kingdom. In the successful attack, the Chinese-Mongol Forces used a cannon called pao [1]. From there, the Javanese recognized the cannon and developed its own cannon later on.

This success led Raden Wijaya to form the Majapahit Kingdom. In the 14th century in the aftermath of the king, Hayam Wuruk, a typical cannon production was held which was different from the European cannon model. This cannon is called cetbang, produced in Bojonegoro with the main gunpowder material produced in Biluluk as mentioned in the Sekar Inscription [2].

Figure 1. Cetbang Cannon

Figure 2. Cetbang Cannon at the Bali Museum

In addition to local product cannons, imported cannons were also found from China which were written in 1421 [3]. It is not yet certain which kingdom to import the cannon from, for sure the kingdom is still in Java. The possibility of this kingdom is the Majapahit Kingdom, considering that the kingdom’s relationship with the Ming Dynasty – which was presented by Admiral Cheng Ho – was quite good. Good relations were shown by the appointment of Chinese peranakans as officials in several important positions. Including the appointment of Swan Liong aka Arya Damar as head of the gunpowder factory in Semarang [4].

Interestingly, entering the 16th century when the first people from Europe came to the archipelago, almost all kingdoms in the archipelago already had powerful heavy weapons. In Malacca, Albuquerque in 1511 was able to take 3,000 cannons, 2,000 from bronze and 1,000 from iron, whose manufacturing techniques were unmatched, neither was Portugal. [5] In the 16th century the influence of engineering from Europe entered the realm of cannon making. That influence came mainly from the Ottoman Turkish Sultanate. In 1528, Sultan Trenggono of Demak presented Fatahillah with a large cannon named Ki Jimat for his success in conquering Banten and Sunda Kelapa. This large cannon in its manufacture involved a group of engineers from Turkey and Aceh led by a Portuguese convert named “Coje Geinal” (Khoja Zainal) from the Algarve [6].

Figure 3. Ki Jimat / Ki Amuk Cannon at the Old Banten Archaeological Site Museum

Beaulieu reported that in 1620 the Sultan of Aceh had 2,000 cannons, of which 800 were large. Rijklof van Goens, who visited the Mataram armory in 1651, could not provide figures for his cannon, but according to his estimation, there were sufficiently precise 112,500 armed soldiers [7]. It can be seen, in the 17th century, the kingdoms in the archipelago were already established in weapons.

Besides the cannon, the ship as one of the elements of defense is also interesting to discuss. Jung Ship from Demak can be used as an example. As the Portuguese fleet captain, Ferdinando Perez de Andrade, said that this ship was the largest ship the Portuguese had ever seen. Compared to his Anunciada , the ship doesn’t look like a ship because of the size of the Jung Ship. This ship is very thick in layers. In fact, the largest cannon bullet was unable to penetrate the hull [8]. In addition there is also the Aceh admiral ship which in 1629 astonished the Portuguese with a length of about one hundred meters, three pillars, and a hundred artillery pieces [9].

Figure 4. Painting as an illustration of the size of the Javanese Jung Ship

When we pay attention to the facts above, it certainly makes us ask “If our ancestors were able to make such a way, it means that the scientific knowledge of the time was quite capable. So where are they able to learn the knowledge? “. To answer that question, local and foreign historians cannot agree. However, at least we can integrate their theories.

Baca juga:

In the case of cannons, we can see Chinese influence coming in before European influence. Underlying rather than the technique of making cannons namely metal processing techniques (metallurgy), it can also be said to be influenced by China which since the 13th century has been a supplier of iron in Palembang and Java. In addition, China is also a major supplier of copper as a base for making bronze. Only then did Europe supply large-scale steel, especially in the 19th century [10].

Figure 5 Chinese blacksmith in Batavia

However, this does not mean that the people of the archipelago cannot recognize the technical knowledge if there is no Chinese or European influence. Among the evidence is the keris and the import of iron from Palembang and Ternate by the Malacca Kingdom. Kris is made of iron and requires expertise to form in such a way. The fact that no keris was found outside the archipelago is an example of the Nusantara’s expertise in metallurgy. In addition, one of the secrets of the strength of the Java Jung Boat is the use of teak wood whose trees do not grow much apart from the north coast of Java. This is in addition to being an economic advantage, it also forms technical skills for the Javanese people.

In the meantime, the research conducted by the author is mostly concerned with the kingdoms in Java and surrounding Sumatra due to the ease of getting references compared to other regions. The author is determined to conduct research on kingdoms in other regions as well as God willing .

Reference

[1] Lombard, Denys. 1996. Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya Volume 2: The Asian Network . Subtitles: Winarsih Partaningrat Arifin, Rahayu S. Hidayat, Nini Hidayati Yusuf. PT. Gramedia Main Library, p. 208. See also: Suryanegara, Ahmad Mansur. Fire History 1 . CV.Tria Pratama, p. 122.

[2] Dr. JLA Brandes, TBG, LII (1910). Accessed via https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetbang on 9 August 2019.

[3] Lombard, Denys. 1996. Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya Volume 2: The Asian Network . Subtitles: Winarsih Partaningrat Arifin, Rahayu S. Hidayat, Nini Hidayati Yusuf. PT. Gramedia Main Library, p. 208. The cannon is now stored in the Für Völkerkunde Museum in Berlin

[4] Prof. Dr. Slamet Muljana. 2005. The Collapse of the Hindu-Javanese Kingdom and the Emergence of Islamic States in the Archipelago . PT. LKiS Printing Cemerlang, p.62-63.

[5] Lombard, Denys. 1996. Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya Volume 2: The Asian Network . Subtitles: Winarsih Partaningrat Arifin, Rahayu S. Hidayat, Nini Hidayati Yusuf. PT. Gramedia Main Library, p. 208.

[6] Abdullah, Rachmad. 2015. The Islamic Kingdom of the Demak Fire Islamic Revolution in the Land of Java. Al Wafi Publishers, p.92 & p.135.

[7] Lombard, Denys. 1996. Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya Volume 2: The Asian Network . Subtitles: Winarsih Partaningrat Arifin, Rahayu S. Hidayat, Nini Hidayati Yusuf. PT. Gramedia Main Library, p. 208.

[8] Abdullah, Rachmad. 2015. The Islamic Kingdom of the Demak Fire Islamic Revolution in the Land of Java. Al Wafi Publisher, p. 50-51. See also: Lombard, Denys. 1996. Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya Volume 2: The Asian Network . Subtitles: Winarsih Partaningrat Arifin, Rahayu S. Hidayat, Nini Hidayati Yusuf. PT. Gramedia Main Library, p. 94.

[9] Lombard, Denys. 1996. Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya Volume 2: The Asian Network . Subtitles: Winarsih Partaningrat Arifin, Rahayu S. Hidayat, Nini Hidayati Yusuf. PT. Gramedia Main Library, p. 270.

[10] Ibid, p.264-268.

Image Source

  1. Taken from https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetbang
  2. Taken from https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetbang
  3. Taken from https://kebultur.kemdikbud.go.id/bpcbbanten/meriam-ki-amuk/
  4. Taken from https://www.goodnewsfromindonesia.id/2018/01/23/kapal-besar-jung-jawa-armada-terbesar-indonesia-di-masa-lampau-yang-jarang-orang-kknow
  5. Taken from Book Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya Volume 2 p. 265
Artikel Berhubungan:

Sponsor Warstek.com:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *