The Life of Prince Diponegoro of Yogyakarta, 1785–1855

by Peter Brian Ramsay Carey (Author)
©2014 Others L, 381 Pages


This book is a completely revised version of The Power of Prophecy; Prince Dipanagara and the End of an Old Order in Java, 1785–1855 (2007). A vivid biography of Indonesia’s foremost national hero, it tells the story of a remarkable figure whose life spanned his native Java’s troubled transition to the modern world. It will be read with profit by all those interested in the impact of European imperialism on non-European societies, the cultural encounter between West and East, the role of Islam in anti-colonial resistance, and the making of modern Indonesia. An Indonesian-language edition of Destiny has been published simultaneously by Indonesia’s leading publishing house, Penerbit Buku Kompas (Gramedia), as Takdir: Riwayat Pangeran Diponegoro (1785–1855).

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Destiny – An Appreciation by Goenawan Mohamad
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Maps of Eastern and Central Java
  • Part I: Youth and Upbringing, 1785–1808
  • Chapter I: Diponegoro’s Youth and Upbringing, 1785–1803
  • Chapter II: Young Manhood: Marriage, Education and Links with the Religious (santri) Community, 1803–1805
  • Chapter III: Pilgrimage to the South Coast, circa 1805
  • Part II: The Beginning of the Ruin of the Land of Java, 1808–1812
  • Chapter IV: The Beginning of Ruin: Daendels’ ‘New Order’ and the Central Javanese Courts, 1808
  • Chapter V: The Old Order’s Last Champion: The Origins and Course of Raden Ronggo’s Rebellion, 1809–1810
  • Chapter VI: The End of the Beginning: The Fall of the Franco-Dutch Government and the British Rape of Yogyakarta, 1811–1812
  • Part III: Golden Years, Iron Years, 1812–1825
  • Chapter VII: Into a New Era: Diponegoro and the Post-June 1812 British Interregnum
  • Chapter VIII: Binding on the Iron Yoke: Diponegoro, the Returned Dutch Administration and the Impoverishment of the South-Central Javanese Peasantry, 1816–1822
  • Chapter IX: Waiting for the ‘Just King’: Diponegoro’s Final Visions and the Road to War in South-Central Java, 1822–1825
  • Plates
  • Part IV: War and Exile, 1825–1855
  • Chapter X: The Last Stand of the Old Order: Diponegoro and the Java War, 1825–1830
  • Chapter XI: Betrayal or Honourable Submission? Diponegoro’s Capture at Magelang and Journey Through Batavia, February–May 1830
  • Chapter XII: Surviving the Dutch Gulag: Diponegoro’s Years of Exile and Death, 1830–1855
  • Glossary of Javanese words
  • Index

List of Illustrations


Map 1

Map of central and east Java showing the apanage provinces belonging to the south central Javanese courts pre-1811. Map outline taken from Louw and De Klerck 1894–1909, VI, adapted by J. Wilbur Wright of Oxford.

Map 2

Map of the Yogyakarta area in the early nineteenth century taken from Louw and De Klerck 1894–1909, IV, showing the main roads and villages. Map outline adapted by J. Wilbur Wright of Oxford.

Map 3

Plan of the Tegalrejo estate and its surroundings, circa 1830, on a scale of one inch to 100 metres. Adapted from Louw and De Klerck 1894–1909, I: ‘Plattegrond van de hoofdplaats Jogjakarta omstreeks 1830’, by J. Wilbur Wright of Oxford.

Map 4

Diponegoro’s pilgrimage to the south coast of Java (circa 1805), showing the main places he visited. Adapted from Louw and De Klerck 1894–1909, I, by J. Wilbur Wright of Oxford. ← xi | xii →

Map 5

Map of central and east Java in 1810 showing the route taken by Raden Ronggo Prawirodirjo III, chief administrator (bupati wedana) of Madiun (in office, 1796–1810) after his flight from Yogyakarta on 20 November 1810 until his final battle and death at Sekaran on the banks of the Solo River (Bengawan Solo) on 17 December 1810. Taken from H.J. de Graaf (ed.), De expeditie van Anthonio Hurdt (The Hague: Nijhoff for Linschoten Vereeniging, 1971). Redrawn and rearranged by J. Wilbur Wright of Oxford.

Map 6

Diponegoro’s journey into exile in Manado (1830–1833) on the corvette Pollux (4–5–1830–12–6–1830) and his subsequent voyage to Makassar, where he would spending his remaining days in exile (1833–55), on the Dutch naval sloop Circe (20–6–1833 – 11–7–1833). Map drawn by J. Wilbur Wright of Oxford.


Plate 1

Charcoal sketch of Diponegoro as a young man probably made by a Yogya court artist at the time of his marriage to his first official wife, a daughter of the Yogya district head (bupati) of Panolan, in East Java, Raden Tumenggung Notowijoyo III (in office, 1803–11), on 27 February 1807. It is the only known sketch of the prince which shows him dressed in Javanese kraton style in a jacket (surjan) and Javanese headdress (blangkon). Photograph courtesy of the late Ibu Dr Sahir (great-great granddaughter of Diponegoro II), Jl. Nyoman Oka 7, Kota Baru, Yogyakarta, 1972. ← xii | xiii →

Plate 2

Diponegoro (dressed in black) giving instructions to his two followers, Kyai Joyomustopo and Kyai Mopid, before they set out on their pilgrimage (ziarah) to Nusakambangan to find the flower of royalty (kembang Wijoyokusumo). Diponegoro is seated under a kemuning [Kamboja] tree (wit kemuning) on his meditation stone (selo gilang) at his retreat (panepen) of Selorejo just to the north-east of Tegalrejo. KITLV Oriental MS 13, Buku Kedung Kebo, f.81v. Photograph courtesy of the KITLV, Leiden.

Plate 3

Sketch of a Yogya court delegation with sea-scattered offerings (labuhan) for the goddess of the Southern Ocean (Ratu Kidul) at Parangkusumo. From Musium Nasional (Jakarta), MS 933 DI, Ir Moens, ‘Platen Album’, no. 8, Slametan Cembèngan, 116, plate 120. Photograph courtesy of the Perpustakaan Nasional (Indonesian National Library), Jakarta.

Plate 4

Kyai Mojo (circa 1790–1849), Diponegoro’s principal religious adviser during the Java War, who came from the Surakarta pradikan (tax-free) village of Mojo just to the northeast of Delanggu, and died in exile in Kampung Jawa, Tondano, North Sulawesi. Although he had never made the pilgrimage to Mecca (haj), he commanded great authority amongst Diponegoro’s religious (santri) followers because of his intimate knowledge of the Qur’ān and his forceful character. Uncoloured lithograph by Jean Augustin Daiwaille (1786–1850) and Pieter Veldhuizen (1806–1841) based on a sketch by Major (later Major-General) F.V.H.A. Ridder de Stuers (1792–1881), made in Salatiga in December 1828 after Kyai Mojo had given himself up to the Dutch with over 600 of his followers, sixty-two of whom later accompanied him into exile in North Sulawesi (Minahasa). Taken from De Stuers, Prins Diepo Negoro hoofd muitelingen op Java; Kiaij ← xiii | xiv → Goeroe van Modjo hoofdpriester; Radeen Pacha Prawiro Dirdjo opperbevelhebber (Amsterdam: Lith, Daiwaille and Veldhuijsen, 1831). Photograph courtesy of the KITLV, Leiden.

Plate 5

Posthumous portrait of Herman Willem Daendels (1762–1818), painted by Raden Saleh Syarif Bustaman (circa 1811–80) in 1838. Daendels’ hand points to a map of the Mount Megamendung (West Java) section of the famous trans-Java mail road (postweg), the highest pass on the postweg, which ran from Anyer on the Sunda Straits to Panarukan in Java’s Eastern Salient (Oosthoek) and which was built during his administration. Photograph courtesy of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Plate 6

Oil painting by the Belgian artist, A.A.J. Payen (1792–1853), of the governor-general’s carriage being drawn up Daendels’ postweg with the aid of a yoke of buffalo in the Priangan highlands at Gunung Pola near Sumedang (West Java). Payen painting collection, Museum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden, no. 200/22. Photograph courtesy of the Museum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden.

Plate 7

Ali Basah Abdul Mustopo Prawirodirjo (Sentot) (circa 1808–55), son of Raden Ronggo Prawirodirjo III, chief administrator (bupati wedana) of Madiun (in office 1796–1810), by an unofficial wife (garwa ampéyan). Sentot became one of Diponegoro’s most effective cavalry commanders during the Java War, but gave himself up to the Dutch in October 1829 because of the increasingly desperate military situation. Uncoloured lithograph by Jean Augustin Daiwaille (1786–1850) and Pieter Veldhuizen (1806–1841) ← xiv | xv → based on a sketch drawn by Major (later Major-General) F.V.H.A. Ridder de Stuers (1792–1881) in Yogyakarta, in April 1830, after Sentot had been given the rank of lieutenant-colonel (overste) and placed in charge of his own column of troops (barisan). Taken from De Stuers, Prins Diepo Negoro hoofd muitelingen op Java; Kiaij Goeroe van Modjo hoofdpriester; Radeen Pacha Prawiro Dirdjo opperbevelhebber (Amsterdam: Lith, Daiwaille and Veldhuijsen, 1831). Photograph courtesy of the KITLV, Leiden.

Plate 8

A Javanese chief in war dress, taken from Raffles 1817, I:90 facing. Photograph courtesy of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Plate 9

Boats of His Majesty’s Sloop Procris attacking and capturing six French gunboats off the north coast of Java at Indramayu on 31 July 1811. Engraving by Charles Rosenberg (flourished mid-19th century) after a painting by the celebrated naval artist, William John Huggins (1781–1845). Photograph courtesy of the British Library, London.

Plate 10

Aquatint by William Daniell (1769–1837) of a Light Infantry Volunteer Battalion sepoy (right) and grenadier sepoy (left) who took part in the British attack on the Yogya kraton in June 1812 and the sepoy conspiracy of 1815. Taken from John Williams, An Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the Bengal Native Infantry from its First Formation in 1757 to 1796 (London: John Murray, 1817), pp. 171 and 331 facing. Photographs courtesy of the Bodleian Library, Oxford. ← xv | xvi →

Plate 11

Watercolour by John Newman (1795–1818) entitled ‘Javanese grandee and a servant’, 1811–12. It is possible that the figure depicted is Kyai Adipati Suro-Adimenggolo, the district head (bupati) of Torboyo in Semarang (circa 1760–1827; in office 1809–22), the uncle of the celebrated painter Raden Saleh Syarif Bustaman, and a great friend and informant of Raffles, who provided many of the details on Javanese-Islamic law for Raffles’ History of Java (1817). Photograph courtesy of the British Library, London.

Plate 12

Watercolour by John Newman (1795–1818) entitled ‘Javanese grandee and a European’, 1811–12. The European in question may have been Hugh Hope, scion of a very grand Scottish family, who served as Civil Commissioner of the Eastern Districts and Resident of Semarang (in office, 1811–12). The painting is interesting for its depiction of the spread of European ways, in this case port drinking, amongst the Javanese elite. Photograph courtesy of the British Library, London.

Plate 13

Equestrian portrait of Sultan Hamengkubuwono IV (reigned 1814–22) of Yogyakarta showing him dressed in his Dutch major-general’s uniform and wearing the eight-pointed star set with diamonds of the Order of the Union (Orde van de Unie) given to his father, Hamengkubuwono III (reigned 1812–1814), by Daendels in May 1811 after he was appointed Regent of Yogyakarta. Portrait by the Javanese artist, Soebardjo, based on an original oil painting and completed in February 1938. Photograph courtesy of the Musium Karaton Ngayogyakarta. ← xvi | xvii →

Plate 14

Sketches of the Chinese inhabitants of Java in the early nineteenth century by A.A.J. Payen (1792–1853). Above: a Chinese tailor and his assistant; below: Chinese men dressed with their signature top-hats, pigtails and parasols. Inventaris No.E/71 and E/78 of the Payen collection in the Ethnographic Museum, Leiden. Photographs courtesy of the Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden.

Plate 15

Huibert Gerard baron Nahuys van Burgst (1782–1858), the ‘bigwig with a pair of big thick epaulettes’ in De Stuers’ description, who served as Resident of Yogyakarta between 1816 and 1822. Diponegoro described him in his autobiographical babad as a resident who ‘enjoyed eating and drinking and the spreading of Dutch ways’ (karemannya mangan minum/lan anjrah cara Welandi). Painting by Jan Adam Kruseman (1804–1862) completed in 1840 when Nahuys was serving as a member of the Council of the Indies (Raad van Indië) (1836–1841). Photograph courtesy of the Museum Bronbeek, Arnhem.

Plate 16

Raden Adipati Danurejo IV (in office, 1813–1847) being hit over the face with a slipper by Diponegoro as a result of an argument over the renting of royal land to Europeans. A sentono (member of the sultan’s family) looks on. From Oriental MS 13 of the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Leiden) (Buku Kedung Kebo), f.55v. Photograph courtesy of the KITLV. ← xvii | xviii →

Plate 17

Jonkheer Anthonië Hendrik Smissaert (1777–1832), Resident of Yogyakarta between 1823 and 1825, whose bungling and ineptitude were directly responsible for the outbreak of the Java War. One Dutch contemporary, Willem van Hogendorp, described him as a ‘small, fat and shy man’ (klein, dik en verlegen), and another, the Belgian painter A.A.J. Payen, compared him to Sancho Panza, one of the most archetypal panakawan (clown retainer) figures in European literature. Portrait attributed to the Dutch artist W.G.F. Heymans (1797–1868), and probably painted in 1827 after Smissaert had returned to The Hague in disgrace. From the private collection of the Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken (Kasteel Heeze), the family of Governor-General G.A.G.Ph. van der Capellen’s wife, Baroness Jacqueline Elisabet. Photograph by courtesy of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague.

Plate 18

Sketch of Diponegoro and his armed followers (pikemen) entering the prepared encampment at Metesih, a settlement in the Progo River just below the ‘old’ Residency House (Karesidenan Lama) in Magelang, on 8 March 1830, before the ‘peace’ negotiations with the Dutch which ultimately led to his arrest on 28 March 1830. Uncoloured litograph by the Dutch painter and lithographer, Wilhelmus van Groenewoud (1803–1842), based on a sketch made by Major (later Major-General) F.V.H.A. Ridder De Stuers (1792–1881). Print from De Stuers, Mémoires sur la guerre de l’île de Java (Leiden: Luchtmans, 1833), Atlas, Plate 12. Photograph courtesy of the KITLV, Leiden.

Plate 19

Charcoal sketch of Diponegoro by A.J. Bik (1790–1872). It shows him dressed in the ‘priestly’ garments which he wore during the Java War, namely ← xviii | xix → a turban, an open-necked kabaya (cotton shirt) and a jubah (loose outer robe or tabard). A sash hangs over his right shoulder and his pusaka kris (heirloom dagger), Kangjeng Kyai Bondoyudo (Sir Duelling Without Weapons), is stuck in his flowered silk waist band. The slightly sunken cheeks, which accentuate the prince’s high cheek bones, were the result of successive bouts of malaria from which he had been suffering since his wanderings in the jungles of Bagelen at the end of the war (November 1829–February 1830). Photograph courtesy of the Musium Kota (now Museum Sejarah Jakarta).

Plate 20

Letter of Pangeran Diponegoro to Colonel (later Major-General) Jan Baptist Cleerens (1785–1850) and Major (later Major-General) Hendrik Frederik Buschkens (1795–1860), dated 17 Shaban, Anno Hijrae 1245 (14 February 1830) (Islamic calendar from the date of the flight of The Prophet AD 622 from Mecca to Medina) in pégon (Arabic) script dealing with the negotiations for a meeting at Remokamal in north-eastern Bagelen to discuss peace terms. Diponegoro’s seal which bears the royal title which he assumed at Selarong on 1 Suro, Anno Javanico 1753 (15 August 1825) (Javanese year – lunar era inaugurated by Sultan Agung [reigned 1613–1646] in 1633), is placed in the middle of the letter and reads as follows: ‘Ingkang Jumeneng Kangjeng Sultan Ngabdul Chamid Hèrucakra Kabirul Mu’minin Sayidin Panatagama […] Rasulullah s.a.w. ing Tanah Jawi [He who is raised as His Highness Sultan Ngabdulkamid Erucokro, the First among the Believers, Lord of the Faith, Regulator of Religion, [Caliph] of The Prophet of God, may peace be on Him, in Java]’. Letter no.208 from the H.M. de Kock private collection of the Nationaal Archief, The Hague.

Plate 21

Oil painting by the Dutch artist Nicolaas Pieneman (1809–60) entitled ‘The Submission of Diponegoro to Lieutenant-General De Kock, 28 March ← xix | xx → 1830’, which was commissioned by De Kock following his triumphal return to the Netherlands in October 1830. Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Plate 22

Oil painting by Raden Saleh Syarif Bustaman (circa 1811–80) entitled ‘An Historical Tableau, the Arrest of the Javanese Chief Diponegoro (Ein Historisches Tableau, die Gefangennahme des Javanischen Häuptlings Diepo Negoro)’ (March 1857), which Saleh presented as a ‘Trojan horse’ gift to his patron, King Willem III of the Netherlands (reigned, 1849–90). The numbers refer to key figures imagined by Saleh as being present such as no.1, Diponegoro’s wife, Raden Ayu Retnoningsih, or those actually present such as no.2, Diponegoro’s personal retainer (panakawan), Joyosuroto (Roto); no.3, the Dutch military translator for Javanese, Captain Johan Jacob Roeps (1805–40); no.4, the commander of the cavalry detachment (7th Hussars), Major Johan Jacob Perié (1788–1853); no.5, the Resident of Kedu, Frans Gerhardus Valck (1799–1842; in office 1826–30); no.6, Diponegoro’s eldest son, Prince Diponegoro the Younger (born circa 1803, died post-March 1856); no.7, Diponegoro himself; no.8, De Kock; no.9, Lieutenant-Colonel Louis du Perron (1793–1855), commander of the Magelang garrison with De Kock’s senior staff officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Willem Adriaan Roest (1796–1875), with the gold braided uniform collar, facing forward in the background; no.10, Major de Stuers; no.11, Major A.V. Michiels (1797–1849), commander of the Eleventh Mobile Column, who was tasked with disarming Diponegoro’s troops; nos.12 and 13, possible self-portraits of Raden Saleh; no.14, Saleh’s servant whispering the dramatic events in ‘Ecce Homine’ mode to his master; and no.15 a member of Diponegoro’s priestly ‘Barjumungah’ bodyguard regiment who would later migrate to East Java to found new communities populated by the prince’s former soldiers. Photo courtesy of the Presidential Secretariat, Jakarta. ← xx | xxi →

Plate 23

Personal letter in Diponegoro’s hand to his mother, Raden Ayu Mangkorowati (circa 1770–1852), written from Batavia in late April 1830 before his departure for Manado, reassuring her as to his fate and asking for her forgiveness for his faults and requesting both herself and her grandchildren to intercede with his late father, see Carey 2008:823–4. Photograph courtesy of the Koninklijke Militaire Academie (Dutch Royal Military Academy), Breda.

Plate 24


L, 381
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (June)
national hero transition European imperialism
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2014. 381 pp., 24 b/w ill., 6 maps

Biographical notes

Peter Brian Ramsay Carey (Author)

Peter Carey, currently Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Indonesia in Jakarta and Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College, Oxford, has made a lifetime study of Prince Diponegoro and early nineteenth-century Javanese history. His latest book is The Power of Prophecy: Prince Dipanagara and the End of an Old Order in Java, 1785-1855 (2007). He is one of the foremost British historians of Southeast Asia and has also published on Burma and East Timor (Timor-Leste).


Title: Destiny
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
448 pages