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Malay history

Ternate Sultanate

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1. History

a. Origin

Ternate Island which located in North Maluccu, Indonesia, is a volcanoes area, 40 km square in width. The indigenous people of Ternate were the migrants who came from Halmahera. At the beginning, there were four settlements in the island, which each of those settlements  was headed by a clan leader called Momole in Ternate language. These settlements subsequently amalgamated to establish a kingdom named Ternate. Besides Ternate, there were other Kingdoms existing in the North Maluccu region namely Tidore, Jailolo, Bacan, Obi, and Laloda.

Historically, many foreign traders from India, Arab, China, and Malay visited Ternate for commercial purposes given that the island was well known as spices producing land. As the community representative, Momole was responsible for connecting the traders and community, bargaining the prices and commodity, and conducting trade with them.

The increasing commercial activity within the island and emergence of external pressures and threats both engendered the indigenous people`s impetus to unify these different settlements.  Initated by Momole Guna, Tobona leader, a gathering was conducted then to carry on with the idea. The gathering was intended to form a stronger organization/union in the island and to choose a leader as a king. The gathering produced an agreement to install Momole Ciko, Sampalu leader as the first King of Ternate titled Baab Mashur Malamo in 1257 C.E.  He then ruled the Kingdom for 20 years (1257-1277 C.E).

Throughout Indonesian history, the Ternate Kingdom which constituted the oldest Kingdom in Nusantara (Malay Archipelago) was also popular as Gapi Kingdom. From the 13th to the 17th century, the Ternate Kingdom played a significant role in commercial sector.

b. Union Formation

Besides Ternate, there were several Kingdoms which held the power in the Maluccu Island. These Kingdoms were competing each other to be the dominating power in the islands. However, because of trade development and military support, Ternate became the dominator. Ternate then carried out military expansions which generated the anger, hatred of other Kingdoms and broke wars among these Kingdoms. In order to terminate prolonged war, the 7th king of Ternate `Kolano Cili Aiya` (1322-1331) took the initiative to invite other Kings to cease fire and signed a peace treaty which reached an agreement to form a union called Moti or Motir Verbond. The treaty also reached an agreement to unify the structure of Kingdom. Since the treaty was attended by 4 powerful strongest kings in Maluccu, the union called Moloku Kie Raha (four mountains of Maluccu)    

c. Islam in Ternate

It has been presumed that Islam came through two ways; trade route and dakwah (Islamic promulgation). It could be seen from the magnitude of Arab traders entering to the island for commercial or settling purpose and the number of muballigh (Islamic conveyer) who spread Islamic teachings among the Ternate society. Some of the most famous muballigh are Maulana Hussein and Sunan Giri.   

The first Ternate King who embraced Islam was Kolano Marhum, the 18th Ternate King, (1465-1486 C.E). However, it has been assumed by several historiciants that Kolano was not the first Moslem King in Ternate Sultanate. Kolano`s son, Zainal Abidin (1486-1500) who was well known as Bualawa Sultan or Cengkeh Sultan had ever learned Islamic thoughts in Pesantren Sunan Giri (Islamic boarding school), Gresik, East Java, Indonesia. When Zainal Abidin was ascended the throne of Ternate, he took a number of important adjustments; he adopted shariah (Islamic law) as the kingdom law, changed the title of King from Kolano to Sultan, and improved education sector by establishing several madrasah (Islamic schools). Afterward, Islam developed significantly in Ternate and became official religion of Ternate.  

d. The Coming of European Colonialism

First coming of European noted in history was in 1506 C.E when Loedwijk de Bartomo visited Ternate and followed by Portuguese people six years later (1512 C.E). These visitors were accepted by the ruler and Ternate people since they concealed their colonialism intention and showed good purposes. The welcoming attitude of Sultan Bayanullah (1500-1521) who held the rein of Ternate to the coming of Portuguese in order to build a commercial post was the obvious example of friendly attitude of Ternate.

As a matter of fact, the coming of Portuguese was purposed not only for commercial advantages but also for controlling natural resources of Ternate. It was proven by Portuguese stance after the death of Sultan Bayanullah who left a queen `Nukila` and two princesses `Hidayat and Abu Hayat`. Sultan`s brother `Taruwase` was too ambitious to replace his brother position as the highest ruler in Ternate Kingdom. This delicate situation was manipulated by Portuguese by stirring up the hatred among Bayanullah`s descendants and waging civil war. Taruwase who was supported by lucrative aid of Portuguese could get the kingship eventually. However, he then was betrayed by Portuguese and murdered.

In this vacuum period, Portuguese compelled kingdom board to install princess Tabarij as Sultan of Ternate. As Tabarij could not rule the Kingdom under the Portuguese shadow, he was sent to exile in Goa-India where which he was imposed to make Ternate as a Christian Kingdom but he was able to reject the proposal. Sultan Khoirun who replaced Tabarij also refused to sign the treaty.  

The oppressive conduct of Portuguese over the Ternate society and sultanate royalties inspired Sultan Khoirun to courage fighting spirit among the Ternate society. In attempt to strengthen Ternate position and prevent the coming of Portuguese military aid from Malacca straits, Ternate invited two other Kingdoms Aceh and Demak to form persekutuan segitiga (triangle union). As Portuguese forces weakened, Governor in Ternate, Lopez de Mesquita asked Sultan Khoirun to stop the escalated war in a negotiation. However, again, the Sultan Ternate `Khoirun` was murdered during the conciliation process.

Sultan Babullah became the Ternate King afterward. He attempted to regain the sovereignty of Ternate by unifying the power and mobilizing the society to attack and expel Portuguese forces from the region.  After five years long of war, Ternate successfully released from foreign domination in 1575. Historically, this event was noted as the first triumph of Indonesian struggle over werstern colonialism

2. Genealogy

Below are some Kolano and Kings who had ever ruled the Ternate Kingdom. The data is till limited. Therefore some Kings and Sultans were not mentioned yet.

1.   Kolano Baab Mashur Malamo (1257-1272 C.E)

7.   Kolano Cili Aiya (1322-1331 C.E)

17. Kolano Marhum (1465-1486 C.E)

18. Sultan Zainal Abidin (1486-1500 C.E)

19. Sultan Bayanullah (1500-1521 C.E)

20. Pangeran Taruwese

21. Pangeran Tabarij

22. Sultan Khairun (1534-1570 C.E)

23. Sultan Baabullah (1570-1583 C.E)

--   Sultan Mandar Syah (1648-1650 C.E)

--   Sultan Manila (1650-1655 C.E)

--   Sultan Mandar Syah (1655-1675 C.E)

--   Sultan Sibori (1675-1691 C.E)

--   Sultan Muhammad Usman (1896-1927 C.E)

48. Sultan Muhammad Jaber Syah

49. Sultan Mudaffar Syah (1975-now)       

3. Kingdom Period

Since commercial trade that mainly relied on spices trade, Ternate reached its glorious period in the second half of the 16th century, under the rule of Sultan Baabullah (1570-1583 C.E). Ternate navy was responsible for controlling the trade route (straits and waters) in the region. The strength of Ternate Navy had been proven by its success in expelling the Portuguese forces.

In the second half of the 17th century, Sultan Mandar Syah resigned from Ternate Kingship after being forced by VOC governor in Ambon, Arnold de Vlaming. This occurrence marked the even of Ternate Sultanate. Other sources mentioned that VOC had also imposed Sultan Mandar Syah to sign an agreement to liberate claimed territory in Maluccu from Ternate power.

The Ternate Sultanate has existed for more than 750 years. Their existence now is limited to be merely a symbol. The Sultan position has no bending authority but has significant influence on Ternate society. The incumbent Sultan is Drs Hi. Mudaffat Sjah, BcHk. (Mudaffar II) which was ascended in 1975 C.E and constituted the 49th Sultan Ternate.   

4. Kingdom Territory

At the first period of Ternate establishment, the Kingdom only encompassed several settlements in Ternate Island. Later, Ternate developed significantly and reached the glorious period in the 16th century and enlarged its territory to encompass Maluccu area, South Sulawesi, East Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, South Philippine Islands (Mindano) and Marshal Islands in Pacific.

5. Kingdom Structure

Ternate was originally formed by different settlements which were headed by momole. When these settlements united to establish a kingdom, a highest authority was in hand of Kolano (king). The coming of Islam, more or less, changed the system of the Kingdom. Of these changes were the naming of King as Sultan, and the significant role of Ulema (Muslim Scholars) in the Kingdom. The first Kolano that was titled as Sultan was Zainal Abidin.  

Jogugu (Ministers) and Fala Raha (this word literally means four houses and deemed here as King Adviser) were selected to assist King in running the Kingdom. Fala Raha is a representative of four noble clans which constitute the important pillar of the Ternate Kingdom.  It can be said that Fala Raha was the substitute of four momole in the pre-Islam period. Each Raha was headed by a Kimalaha which were; Marasaoli, Tomagola, Tomaito, and Tamadi. Official Kingdoms were selected among these clans. In case of the absence of King Descendants, one of the clans will replace the Kingship position. In addition there were several positions which were formed to assist the King such as Bobato Nyagimoi  (Board 18), Sabua Raha, Kapita Lau, Salhakan, and Sangaji.

6. Socio-Cultural Life

The Ternate society was varied in term of their job. Since Ternate was famous for its harvest such as spices, and cloves, most of the people became farmers. Those who usually plant cloves, nutmegs, canaries, and kayu manis live in the hill area. Meanwhile people who live nearby seashore usually planted coconut or became fishermen.  In addition, some of them are traders.

Huda which made of rice, sago, or cassava that was usually cooked in particular way was Ternate staple food. From cassava, they also made papeda. The consumed rice was originally imported from Halmahera Island, Makassar, and Manado.

Even though Ternate had ever made several acquaintances with several developed civilizations such as Java, Malay, China, Arab, Europe, Ternate left no valuable heritage in form of intellectual, architecture, or high quality of art. The only heritage is literature Dolo Bololo se dalil Moro. This literature is in form of poems, proverbs, sayings which commonly contain tradition, and moral education messages.

War and conflict resulted in the absence of writing culture. Prior to the coming of Portuguese that dissipated most energy, Ternate was engaged in several wars to gain the hegemonic power in the region.  Hence, the prevalent culture among Ternate people related to either attack or being attacked. For those reasons, the emerging art that proliferate is dance cakalele which has military character.

Source : members.virtualtourist.com

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Comment of "ternate sultanate"

19 Aug 2016. Miftahul.hadid
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