Monday, June 22, 2015

Jakarta, the capital of the Republic of Indonesia, is the only city that also holds the status as a Province. Located on the northwest of Java Island, Jakarta was also previously known as Sunda Kelapa (prior to 1527), Jayakarta (1527-1619), Batavia (1619-1942) and Djakarta (1942-1972).

Present day Jakarta’s land area is 664.01 km2 wide and inhabited by 9.988.495 people.(1)


Starting out as a little harbor and military outpost at the estuary of Ciliwung River 500 years ago, Jakarta rapidly grew into an international trade center. The earliest findings of Jakarta history were collected from the hieroglyphs found around the harbor area. However, almost no record to date has been found on how and when precisely the European traders arrived Jakarta and when they eventually took it over.

A report written by a European author in the 16th century mentioned a town called “Kalapa,” which seemed to be the main harbor for a Hindu Kingdom named “Sunda” with “Pajajaran” as its capital and located in the remote area approximately 40 kilometers from a major city presently known as Bogor.

Portuguese sailors and traders were the first sizable European occupiers to land at Kalapa harbor.

Taking exception to the presence of these invaders a young man named Fatahillah from a neighboring kingdom then attacked the town with a small army of followers on June 22, 1527, later changing its name to Jayakarta. Since then, this date had been the official birth date of Jakarta.

During the 16th Century Dutch colonizers arrived and quickly conquered Jayakarta, changing its name to Batavia. It was strikingly similar to their country, Batavia being mostly covered by swamps, and they built canals to protect the town from the floods that have inundated it yearly for millennium. The center of governmental activities was approximately 500 meters away from harbor where they constructed an elegant City Hall which became the headquarters for Batavia Governmental Officials.

In the following decades and indeed, centuries, Batavia expanded to the south. Rapid, unregulated development soon caused environmental damage and increased flooding to the town, eventually forcing the Dutch colonists to relocate their headquarters to higher ground. This area was named Weltevreden.

It was during the early 20th Century that Indonesian students in Batavia began the Indonesian nationalism campaign.

A historical pledge was declared in 1928, which is known as “Sumpah Pemuda” (Youth Pledge) and consisted of three pledges: One Land, One Nation, One Language: Bahasa Indonesia.

During World War II the empire of Japan attacked Indonesia, driving out the Dutch and replacing them as overlords in Indonesia (1942 – 1945). During this occupation the Japanese changed the name of Batavia to Djakarta.

In 1966, Djakarta was officially voted the capital of the Republic of Indonesia, leading to the rapid construction government offices and foreign embassies.

In August 1972, following the Enhanced Indonesian Spelling System, Djakarta’s spelling changed to Jakarta.

The rich culture and traditions present and on display in Jakarta along with the history of its dynamic development and ongoing modernisation make it one of the most interesting and exciting destinations for business investors and foreign visitors in both ASEAN and for that matter, the world.

(1) Permendagri Nomor 39 Tahun 2015
(-) Kemendagri Site