Blambangan Kingdom was the last Javanese
Hindu kingdom that
flourished between the 13th and 18th centuries, based in the eastern
corner of Java. The capital was at Banyuwangi. It had a long
history of its own, developing contemporaneously with the largest
Hindu kingdom in Java,
Majapahit (1293–1527). At the time of the
Majapahit in the late fifteenth century,
on its own as the one solitary
Hindu state left in Java, controlling
the larger part of Java’s Oosthoek.
The historical record and the study of
Blambangan Kingdom is scarce,
which contributed to the obscurity of its history. Contemporary
Javanese mostly know the kingdom through its link to the popular epic
folklore, the legend of
Damarwulan and Menak Jingga. The fictional
story which is set in
Majapahit period, told that the rebellious King
Blambangan named Menak Jingga, desired the hand of
1.1 Formation and growth
2 See also
4 Further reading
Formation and growth
Majapahit period circa 13th century, the eastern realm was
regarded as peripheral area of the Javanese kingdom, which centered in
Majapahit and surrounding
Brantas River basin. Whereas
eastern salient areas such as
Lumajang is regarded as the outlying
Majapahit kingdom was established in 1293 by
Raden Wijaya with the
help of cunning and able Arya Wiraraja, the Regent of Madura. As the
reward of Wiraraja's support, in 1295,
Raden Wijaya agreed to give the
eastern salient of Java, which includes
Blambangan areas with Lumajang
as its capital.
The Nagarakretagama, composed in 1365, mentioned that the central part
of eastern corner of
Java wast visited by King
Hayam Wuruk in his
royal tour in 1359. The poem contains interesting information about
The eastern realm become the vassal or as mancanagara (provinces) of
Majapahit. However, it seems that the eastern realm steadily has grown
quite independently. The eastern salient become the host of eastern
court which rival
Majapahit central authority. The rivalry erupted in
Paregreg war (1404-1406), which was fought as the contest of
succession between Western court led by Wikramawardhana, against
Eastern court led by Bhre Wirabhumi. In 1406 the western troops led by
Bhre Tumapel, the son of Wikramawardhana, penetrated the eastern
palace and defeated Bhre Wirabhumi.
After the collapse of
Majapahit in the late 15th century, Blambangan
stood alone as the sole Javanese
Hindu polity in Java. The kingdom
subsequently was contested and harassed by successive of expansive
Javanese Islamic states to the west, from Demak to
Mataram. On the eastern side across the strait, the Balinese courts
of Gelgel and Mengwi, also has invested its political interest in the
region, as the Balinese regarded
Blambangan as a buffer state to ward
off Islamic expansive influences.
In the first decades of the 16th century, Tomé Pires' informants
reported that the "heathen"
Blambangan kingdom was the most powerful
Javanese kingdom east of Surabaya. At that time, the port of
Panarukan was the commercial as well as the political center of the
For almost three centuries,
Blambangan was situated between two
different political factions, the Islamic state of Mataram in the
west, and various
Hindu realms in
Bali (Gelgel, Buleleng, and Mengwi)
in the east. Both neighbouring powers simultaneously contested the
Blambangan to appease their own political and religious
The Balinese used
Blambangan as a buffer against the Islamic expansion
initiated by Muslim Mataram from the west and also found it useful to
bolster the economy of
Bali which was heavily overshadowed by endemic
In the second half of the 16th century, a few Roman Catholic
missionaries from Portuguese colony in Malacca arrived in East
try to convert the local people. They visited Panarukan and
Blambangan, and reported that the port of Panarukan was contested
between the Muslim rulers of Pasuruhan alied with Surabaya, against
the "heathen" King of Blambangan.
The conquest of
Blambangan by the forces of Sultan Agung of Mataram
took place in 1639, which also the end of Panarukan's independence.
With the lost of its important port, Panarukan, the center of
Blambangan kingdom was receded to inland south to present day
Blambangan area, with its port in Banyuwangi. In 1665, Tawang Alun II
Danureja, the 8th king of Blambangan, opened the forest of Sudiamara
and establishes a new capital in Macan Putih, Kabat subdistrict
located about 10 kilometres from Banyuwangi.
Of the nine rulers who once ruled Blambangan, Tawang Alun II
(1665-1691) is considered as one of the greatest king of Blambangan.
During his reign,
Blambangan territory reaches Jember, Lumajang,
Situbondo and Bali.
Blambangan society at that time lived peacefully
and prosperous, after all time engaged in various warfare against the
expansionist neighboring kingdoms to the west and east. The VOC
archieve mentined the spectacular ngaben (cremation) ceremony of
Tawang Alun II, that among his 400 wifes, 271 of them performed suttee
In 1697, the Balinese Kingdom of Buleleng, sent its expedition to
Blambangan, which established Balinese influence in the region.
In early 18th century, the Dutch and British contested each other’s
political and economic power in the region. Internal disputes about
the succession at the court of
Blambangan impaired the kingdom, making
it vulnerable to foreign intervention.
Monarchs of Java
^ a b c d e f g "Menjejaki Sejarah Keagungan Kerajaan Blambangan".
Tempo.co (in Indonesian). 31 May 2010.
Java Adventure Guide. Tuttle Publishing. 15 April 2014. p. 429.
^ S. Kalyanaraman (2011). Rastram:
Hindu History in United Indian
Ocean States. Sarasvati Research Center. p. 404.
^ Theodore G.Th. Pigeaud (2013).
Java in the 14th Century: A Study in
Cultural History Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor
Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. Springer. p. 419.
^ a b c d Theodore Gauthier Th. Pigeaud (2013). Islamic States in Java
1500–1700: Eight Dutch Books and Articles by Dr H.J. de Graaf,
Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en
Volkenkunde. Springer Science & Business Media.
^ Victor M Fic (2 Jan 2014). From
Majapahit and Sukuh to Megawati
Sukarnoputri. Abhinav Publications. p. 104.
^ H.G.C. Schulte Nordholt (2010). The Spell of Power: A History of
Balinese Politics, 1650-1940, Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk
Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. BRILL.
Margana, Sri (2007). Java's last frontier : the struggle for
hegemony of Blambangan, c. 1763-1813. CNWS/TANAP, Faculty of Arts,
Former states in Indonesia
Lesser Sunda Islands