Monday, September 14, 2009

Portuguese galleon in Sunda Kelapa

The first European fleet, four Portugese ships from Malacca, arrived in 1513 in Sunda Kelapa (Jakarta's earliest name and nowadays the name of its old harbor) on their way to the Spices Islands. In 1522 the Hindunese Kingdom of Sunda signed a peace agreement with Portugal by allowing the Portuguese to build a port with fort to contain the growing power of the Muslim rulers of Demak from Central Java. A few years later in 1527 the Portugese lost their outpost as the Kingdom of Sunda lost a battle against Fatahillah, a Sumatran Malay warrior from Demak. The new rulers renamed the city to Jayakarta...

By digging in old Sunda Kelapa very recently a stone relief was found. The stone relief showing a Portugese galleon is now resting in the garden of the Stadhuis which serves as Jakarta's historical museum. Now one can hope that this treasure will find a better place than just being stored in the garden exposed to pollution, heat, and shiting birds. It's remarkable how history can be treated.

As I am not an expert on galleons it may be worth learning more about the origin of this stone relief. Any help out there?

Jakarta, March 2009. 

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