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The Massacre at Bubat Square

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Rombonganpasundan

An artist's depiction of Sunda Galuh party arrived at Bubat Square

In the island of Java, Indonesia, there was the Kingdom of Sunda Galuh and the Kingdom of Majapahit. At the time, the Kingdom of Majapahit was the greatest kingdom which, according to the Nagarakretagama (written in 1365), occupied a vast region stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea, consisting of present day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, the Philippines, and East Timor, while Sunda Galuh was only a small kingdom based in the western part of Java Island. At its peak of glory, Majapahit was ruled by King Hayam Wuruk (1334-1389) and his prime minister Gajah Mada (circa 1290 – circa 1364). While making conquests, Majapahit always spared the Sundanese due to their historical relationship through Raden Wijaya (reigned 1293–1309), founder of Majapahit Kingdom, who allegedly was the grandchild of the former king of Sunda Galuh.

Precursor to the MassacreEdit

Gajah mada

A statue of Gajah Mada.

When appointed prime minister, Gajah Mada famously made an oath called Sumpah Palapa, in which he would not allow his food to be spiced until he conquered the entire Nusantara (meaning: South East Asia, literal meaning: the archipelago in between) for Majapahit. While everybody doubted this oath, he proved it by conquering almost all kingdoms in South East Asia.

But he was not yet satisfied with all his conquests because the nearest kingdom, Sunda Galuh, was not yet under the rule of Majapahit. The royal family of Majapahit did not approve Gajah Mada to conquer Sunda Galuh based on family relationship and said that they were still their relatives. But Gajah Mada insisted on conquering Sunda Galuh to fulfill his oath.

The Wedding PlanEdit

Dyah pitaloka

An artist's depiction of Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi

King Hayam Wuruk, who was not yet married, saw a painting of a beautiful girl, Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi, the daughter and eldest child of King Lingga Buana of Sunda Galuh. He fell in love and wanted to marry her. He also thought the marriage would strengthen the relationship between the two kingdoms, thus the answer to Gajah Mada's plan to conquer Sunda Galuh because in effect the two kingdoms would practically be one kingdom. He sent a high official to Sunda Galuh to propose and make the wedding plan.

King Lingga Buana of Sunda Galuh happilly approved the proposal and see the marriage as a means to getting allied with a large kingdom. He would even go to Majapahit to give his daughter's hand to a marriage with King Hayam Wuruk.

The Death of a Royal FamilyEdit

Perang-bubat

Map of Bubat Massacre

In 1357, the royal family of Sunda Galuh arrived at East Java to marry their daughter to the King of Majapahit after sailing through the Java Sea, escorted only by a few soldiers. They camped at Bubat Square in the northern part of Trowulan area. They were waiting for the wedding ceremony to be held.

However, Gajah Mada, eager to fulfill his oath, saw this as an opportunity to conquer Sunda Galuh. Without permission from Majapahit royal family, he demanded Sunda Galuh to submit to Majapahit and to present Dyah Pitaloka as a token of submission of Sunda Galuh to Majapahit, and to be treated as a concubine, not as a Queen.

King Lingga Buana was very angry and felt cheated and insulted. He refused the demand and said that he would choose to die defending his honor and the honor of the Kingdom of Sunda Galuh. Gajah Mada insisted. The situation became hostile A fight would be inevitable.

King Lingga Buana with only a few soldiers was surrounded by a vast number of Majapahit soldiers, but the soldiers and the king bravely fought Majapahit soldiers. Eventually they lost, the king was killed. The royal party was massacred.

Hearing the king's death, the women of Sunda Galuh royal family including the Queen and princess Dyah Pitaloka, refusing to submit to Majapahit, took their own life in defending their and their kingdom's honor.

The AftermathEdit

It was said that King Hayam Wuruk mourned for the death of Sunda Galuh royal family, especially the death of Dyah Pitaloka. He sent a vassal to Sunda Galuh to officially apologize for the incident and said that the bravery of the Sundanese royal family would not be forgotten and would be written in history. The whole Sundanese people mourned the death of their king, queen and princess. The bravery of Sunda Galuh's royal family was revered and the treachery of Gajah Mada was cursed by Sundanese people.

Gajah Mada himself faced opposition, distrust and sneering due to his reckless act. This incident also marked the end of Gajah Mada carreer since not long after this event Hayam Wuruk forced Gajah Mada to an early retirement through awarding the prime minister the lands in Madakaripura (today Probolinggo) thus exiled him far from capital city courtly affairs. The relationship between Sunda Galuh and Majapahit was harmed.

Even to this day some older Sundanese people still show negative sentiment towards East Java people. You will not find any street named after Gajah Mada or Hayam Wuruk or Majapahit in any city or area in West Java, except in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, even though Gajah Mada and Hayam Wuruk are considered Indonesia's national heroes.

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