As we all know, Indonesia is a very rich country. Not only rich in cultures, but also rich in natural resources, such as gold, oil, pearls, coal, along with fertile soils which produce the best quality of spices, essential oil, and other agricultural plants.
At the beginning, Europeans wanted to buy cheap spices from Nusantara (now called Indonesia), but then they became greedy and wanted to conquer all part of Nusantara. There were 4 European country that colonized Indonesia: Portuguese, Spanish, Netherland, and England. It happened from 17th century to 20th century. At 1942, the Japanese conquered the Dutch, and they colonized Indonesia for 3 years.
Of course, the local people didn’t want to be colonized and exploited by the foreigners. The patriotism began, and many people died to defend their homelands. But these movements were still regional.
From 28 October 1928, in Youth Pledge, it was the first time of youth people gathered together and call themselves “Indonesian”. It was also the first time of Indonesian’s National Anthem, Indonesia Raya, was played by violin by it’s composer, W.R.Supratman. From that time, the movement for kicking away the colonizers was nationalized.
After long and hard efforts, Indonesia finally could announce it’s independence at 17 August 1945. But even after Independence, the Dutch (aided by The Ally troops consisted of England and USA) wanted to colonize Indonesia again, thus making more people died in the wars.
The Indonesian war leaders, both who died before and after Independence, all are called “National Heroes”. According to Indonesian Law (UU no.20 year 2009, Chapter 1), Indonesian heroes are the titles given to deceased Indonesian citizens or someone who fought against colonialism in areas which is now included in Indonesian Republic.
This title is also given to people who died while defending the nation, or people who did heroic acts or did achievements and outstanding works for development of Indonesia. National heroes are divided into 3 groups: Proclamation Heroes, War Heroes, and Heroes Who Died before Independence.
A. Proclamation Heroes
Proclamation Heroes are people who had roles in arranging Indonesian Independence proclamation, from the text writers, flag raisers, to people who spreade the news so that all people in Indonesia could know that they were finally independent.
1. Ir. Soekarno
All Indonesian people know Ir.Soekarno. He was the most prominent person in Independence of Indonesia. He is also the first president of Indonesia.
Soekarno was born in Blitar, East Java, 6 June 1901 and died in Jakarta, 21 June 1970.
Soekarno worked in organizations before Independence Day, and became well-known among other young men (later Independence heroes). There are some important roles that Soekarno did for Indonesian Independence. As first president of Indonesia, He portrayed a reliable and supportive leader in order to make Inondesia become independence country.
He led all small things to do, as well as do main things. Such as arranged proclamation concept in Japanese Marshal Takashi Maeda’s house, with Moh.Hatta and Mr. Achmad Subardjo, then, signed the proclamation text on the name of Indonesian people with Moh.Hatta. Even, he read the Indonesian Independence proclamation text in his house, Jl. Pegangsaan Timur no. 56, Jakarta.
2. Drs. Moh. Hatta
Drs. Moh. Hatta was born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, 12 August 1902. He died in Jakarta, 14 March 1980. He is a warrior, statesman, and first vice president of Indonesia.
His education background was economy, thus he created coops to increase Indonesian economy. Therefore, he is also known as the Father of Indonesian Coops, beside being known as the first vice president.
Moh.Hatta is a companion-in-arms of Soekarno. He did some roles in Indonesian Independence:
- He arraged proclamation concept in Japanese Marshall Tadashi Maeda’s house with Ir. Soekarno and Mr. Achmad Subardjo.
- He signed the proclamation text on the name of Indonesian people with Ir. Soekarno.
3. Mr. Achmad Subardjo
Achmad Soebardjo Djojoadisurjo (born in Karawang, West Java, 23 March 1896 – diedat 15 December 1978) was the first Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Achmad Subardjo was one of old-group people who took important role in preparing proclamation of Indonesian Independence. He arranged proclamation concept with Ir.Soekarno and Moh.Hatta.
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4. Admiral Tadashi Maeda
Tadashi Maeda was born in Kagoshima, Japan, 3 March 1898 and died in Japan, 13 December 1977. Although he is a Japanese, he was willing to help Indonesia because he took pity of Indonesian people’s fate that time, when the Japanese treated Indonesians mercilessly.
Marshal Tadashi Maeda was a high-ranking officer of Japanese Imperium navy force during Pacific war. He violated The Allied’scommand in preventing Indonesian leaders to arrange any independence proclamation. He let Indonesian leaders to arrange proclamation concept in his house.
Sukarni (born in Blitar, East Java, 14 July 1916 – died in Jakarta, 7 May 1971), the full name is Sukarti Kartowirjo, is one of Indonesian proclamation heroes. He was a member of youthgroup who bravely fought colonists. His roles in Indonesian independence are suggested Soekarno and Moh.Hatta to sign proclamation text on the name of Indonesian people. As well as asked Soekarno and Moh.Hatta to hurry in doing Indonesian Independece Proclamation.
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6. Sayuti Melik: Sayuti Melik is a member of youth group who had important role in Indonesian Independence proclamation. He typed Proclamation text after editing it from Soekarno’s handwriting.
7. Fatmawati: Fatmawati is the wife of Ir.Soekarno. She was born in Bengkulu, 1923 – died in Jakarta, 1980. She faithfully stayed beside her husband during independence struggles. She sewed the first Indonesian flag which was flown in Indonesian Independence proclamation in herhouse, Jl. Pegangsaan Timur no.56, Jakarta.
8. B.M. Diah: He was a journalist who spreaded the news of Indonesian Independence throughout Indonesia.
9. Latif Hendraningrat, S.Suhud and Tri Murti: They had important role as flag raisers during Indonesian Independence proclamation.
10. Frans S. Mendur : He was a journalist who recorded history by taking pictures of Indonedian Independence proclamation. He and his friends put the pictures in Ipphos (Indonesia Press Photo Service).
11. Syahrudin: He was a teleghraphist in Japan News Office who spreaded the news of Indonesian Independence proclamation secretly when Japanese officers were out during resting time at 4 pm, 17 August 1945.
12. Soewirjo: He was the governor of Jakarta who managed to the security of Jakarta town during proclamation ceremony.
2. War Heroes
War Heroes are people who died during defending Indonesian Independence, during 1945 – 1949. After defeating Japanese in 1945, The Allied force wanted to return Indonesia to the Dutch. Indonesian people didn’t want to be colonized again, so they fought for their independence, both in military and diplomatic ways.
The Dutch finally admitted Indonesian Independence in Round-Table_Conference in The Hague, Netherland, 1949. However the Dutch wouldn’t let Papua away until 1963.
13. Great General Soedirman (Sudirman)
Sudirman ( 24 January 1916 – 29 January 1950), was the first and the youngest Indonesian great General, appointed at 12 November 1945.
He had his education in HIK, a school to become a teacher. After finishing HIK, he became a Muhammadiyah elementary school teacher in Cilacap, Central Java. His carreer progressed and he became headmaster.
During Japanese colonization, he attended PETA, a military school established by Japanese to help them fighting The Allied force during World War 2.
After finishing his education in PETA, he was appointed as Batalyon Commander in Kroya, Central Java. His career was progressing, he became a general in Banyumas. He attended organizations to fight for Indonesian Independence. In those organizations, he met Soekarno, MOh.Hatta, and other heroes. He was ever appointed as a member of regional representative assembly (DPRD in Indonesia) in Banyumas.
After Indonesian Independence, he led Indonesian Army (initially PETA members) to fight English troops in Ambarawa and Yogyakarta. He died because of tuberculosis at 29 January 1950, and was buried in Taman Makam Pahlawan (graveyard of Heroes) Kusuma Negara, Yogyakarta.
Supriyadi (Trenggalek, East Java, 13 April 1923 – unknown) is an Indonesian hero and the leader of Rebellion of PETA (Indonesian youth army founded by Japanese) to Japanese troops in Blitar, February 1945.
At first, he was appointed as Public Security Minister in Presidential Cabinet, but he was replaced by Imam Muhammad Suliyoadikusumo in 20 October 1945.
Thus, Supriyadi never appeared. He just dissapeared, and until now, his death is still a mistery.
In 1943, Japanese founded PETA, an army of young men to help them fighting The Allied force. Supriyadi joined PETA with title shodancho (platoon commander).
Then, right after he finished the training, he was assigned in Blitar, East Java. He was assigned to supervise romusha (Japanese forced labor) workers. The misery and sufferings of these forced labor workers inspired him to rebel against the Japanese.
15. Sutomo (Bung Tomo)
Sutomo (Surabaya, East Java, 3 October 1920 – Plain of Arafat, Saudi Arabia, 7 October 1981), he was the leader of post-proclamation war in Surabaya, October – November 1945.
Before starting military career, Sutomo was a successful journalist. Then he joined some political and social groups.
In October and November 1945, he was one of Indonesian leaders who moved and uplifted the fighting spirits of Surabaya young men.
At the time, Surabaya was bombardized by English troops who wanted to crush Japanese troops and liberate Dutch prisoners.
Sutomo was the most prominent one, known by his emotional preamble calls in his radio broadcastings. Indonesia was defeated in 10 November 1945, but it was very important as Indonesia could stand the English troops for 10 hours.
After the Independence, Sutomo started his political career in 1950, but he din’t feel happy. He also often disagreed with the new president, Soeharto. He died during Hajj worship in Plain of Arafat, Saudi Arabia. Ad a result of often disagreeing Soeharto, he was arrested and imprisoned in 1970-1978. He wasn’t counted as National Heroes, and he was burried in common graveyard in Surabaya. Only in 2008, Sutomo was finally announced as National Hero.
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16. Sutan Syahrir
Sutan Syahrir (Padang Panjang, West Sumatra, 5 March 1909 – Zurich, Switzerland, 9 April 1966) is an intellectual, pioneer and revolutioner of Indonesian Independence. After the Independence, he became a politician and the first Indonesian prime minister.
He became Prime Minister from 14 November 1945 to 20 June 1947. He founded Indonesian Socialist Party in 1948, but he didn’t like the idea of mimicking Sovyet’s policy. He often disagreed with Soekarno, the president. Soekarno sent him in exile until his death. He was listed as National Heroes at 9 April 1966.
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17. Tan Malaka
Tan Malaka or Sutan Ibrahim , title Datuk Tan Malaka (Nagari Pandam Gadang, West Sumatra, 2 June 1897 – Kediri, East Java, 21 February 1949). He was an Indonesian Independence defendant who favored Left-Wing Group with other leaders from Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). He is the founder of Murba Party, and also a National Hero.
After the Independence, Tan Malaka was involved in 3 July 1946 Acts by founding Persatuan Perjuangan (united struggle). He was mentioned as the mastermind of kidnapping Sutan Syahrir, the prime minister.
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He was imprisoned without any trial for 2,5 years. After rebbelion of PKI in 1948, he was released from the prison. On the other side, after evaluating severe situation of Indonesian Republic as consequences of Linggajati Agreement 1947 and Renville 1948 (result of Sutan Syahrir and Amir Syarifuddin’s bad diplomacy), Tan Malaka founded Murba Party at 7 November 1948 in Yogyakarta. At 28 March 1963, President Soekarno listed Tan Malaka as National Hero.
After the rebellion of PKI was crushed by the governments, Tan Malaka went to Kediri and collected the rest of PKI rebels. From there, he founded Proclamation Defendant Guerilla troops. In February 1949, Tan Malaka and his followers were arrested and executed. Nobody knows where his exact tomb is.
18. Sultan Hamengkubuwana IX
Sultan Hamengkubuwana IX (Yogyakarta, 12 April 1912 – Washington DC, 2 October 1988), is a sultan who reigned in Yogyakarta (1940-1988) and the first governor of Yogyakarta since Indonesian Independence. He was the second vice president (1973-1978). He was also known as Father of Indonesian Scouts (Pramuka) and known as the longest-reigning Sultan of Yogyakarta, with 44 years tenures.
He was a sultan who opposed Dutch colonialism and precipitate Indonesian Independence. During japanese colonialization, the Sultan forbade sending romusha (forced labors)workers by building local irigation projects.
He and Paku Alam IX of Surakarta was the first rulers who joined Indonesian Republic. He also invited the President (Soekarno) to reign from Yogyakarta since Jakarta was overpowered by the DUtch in First Military Agression 1947.
He donated his personal wealth as much as 6 millions guldens for restoring National economy at the beginning of Independence. He also helped General Sudirman to fight against the Allied by sending logistics and weapons secretly.
At 2 October 1988, he died in George Washington University Medical Centre, USA because of heart attack. He was burried in the Mataram Sultans’ mausoleum in Imogiri, Yogyakarta.
19. KH Agus Salim
KH Agus Salim (Koto Gadang, West Sumatra, 8 October 1884 – Jakarta, 4 November 1954) was an Indonesian Independence fighter. He was listed as National Hero at 27 December 1961.
He was the best graduate of all HBS (Dutch High School) all over Nederland-Indische (now Indonesia).
After graduation, he worked as translator and notarist’s assistant in a mining partnership in Indragiri, Riau. At 1906, he worked in Dutch Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At 1915, Agus Salim work in journalism world as Redactor II in Harian Neratja.
Then he was appointed as Chied Editor. In that year, he also joined Sarekat Islam/SI (Islamic Union) and became the vice leader after HOS Cokroaminoto.
His roles in fighting for Indonesian Independence are:
- Volksraad (National assembly) member (1921-1924)
- member of BPUPKI (Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence) preparing UUD 1945 (Basic Indonesian Law)
- Young Minister of Foreign Affairs in Syahrir’s 2nd (1946) and 3rd (1947)
- Initiating diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Arabian countries, especially Egypt at 1947
- Minister of foreign affairs in Amir Sjarifuddin’s cabinet (1947)
- Minister of foreign affairs in Hatta’s cabinet (1948-1949)
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20. Rasuna Said
Rasuna Said (Maninjau, West Sumatra, 14 September 1910 – jakarta, 2 November 1965)was an Indonesian Independence fighter and National Heroine. Just like Kartini, she also fought for emancipation, the same right between men and women.
She was known for her sharp critics toward the Dutch in her essays. In 1935, she became chief editor of a radical magazine, Raya. This magazine was known as the fighting stake in West Sumatra. The Dutch secret police restricted her movements, so she moved to Medan, North Sumatra.
In Medan, she founded a woman’s school. To spread her thoughts, she founded a weekly magazine called Menara Poeteri. This magazine often talked about women, but the main target was to insert anticolonialism movements among women.
After Indonesian Independence, she was active in Indonesian Information Commitee and Indonesian national Committee. She was appointed as a member of National Assembly to represent West Sumatra. She was appointed as a member of Dewan Pertimbangan Agung (Supreme Consultative Council) from 5 July 1959 until her death, 2 November 1965.
21. Ki Hajar Dewantara
Raden Mas Soewardi Soerjaningrat, since 1922 was called Ki Hajar Dewantara (Surakarta, 2 May 1889 – Yogyakarta, 26 April 1959) is an Indonesian nationalism movement activist, columnist, politician, and pioneer of education for common people.
He was the founder of Taman Siswa school, an education foundation which gave chances for common people to have education just like the aristocrats. He believed that nationalism movements would be successful if Indonesian people were educated. His birth date is commemorated as Indonesian Education Day.
Part of his slogan, Tut Wuri Handayani, became the slogan of Indonesian Ministry of Education.
After Independence, he was appointed as Minister of Education. He was listed as National Hero at 28 November 1959.
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22. Mohammad Yamin
Mohammad Yamin (Sawahlunto, West Sumatra, 24 August 1903 – Jakarta, 17 October 1962, is a inguist, historian, cultural, political, and legal expert who is honored as National Hero. He was a pioneer of Indonesian modern literatures and Indonesian Youth Pledge. He mostly created Indonesian nationalism images from his essays and poems.
His political career was initiated when he was still a student in Jakarta. He joined an organization called Jong SUmatranen Bond (Sumatran Youth Association), then he arranged Youth Pledge which was read in 2nd Youth Congress in 28 October 1928. From Indonesia Muda (Youthful Indonesia) organization, he urged so that Bahasa Indonesia, which rooted from Malay language, used as unity language. After Indonesian Independence, Bahasa Indonesia is used as National language and the first language of Indonesian literatures.
He was also a member of BPUPKI (Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence). After the Independence, Moh.Yamin had important positions, such as member of National Assembly since 1950, Minister of Education and Cultures (1953-1955), Minister of Social and Cultural Affairs (1959-1960), Chief of ANTARA supervisory board (1961-1962) and Minister of Information (1962-1963).
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23. Archbishop Albertus Sugiapranata
Albertus Sugiyapranata (Surakarta, Central Java, 25 November 1896 – Netherland, 22 Juli 1963) was the first Indonesian archbishop and a National Hero.
During Japanese colonization, he asked Japanese authority so that St.Carolus hospital could still be operated. He was also a teacher of science, Javanese language and religion in Xaverius College, Muntilan, Yogyakarta. He adapted and developed Catholic theories based on eastern cultures. During Dutch colonization, he was fighting against popular assumption that Catholism is identic with Dutch colonization.
After 1st Military Agression by the Dutch, Sugiyapranata did a speech in Indonesian Republic Radio, stating that all Catholic people would collaborate with Indonesian fighters. Sugiyapranata also wrote to the Pope in Vatican, who sent Georges de Jonghe d’Ardoye as ambassador. This opened diplomatic ways between Vatican and Indonesia.
In December 1947, D’Ardoye arrived in Indonesia and met president Soekarno. Sugiyapranata then became good friend of the president. While the dutch overcame Yogyakarta, Sugiyapranata sent some of his essays abroad; these essays, which was published in Commonwealth magazine, told details of daily Indonesian people life under Dutch colonization and accused the colonization system, so that international people would condemn the Dutch. He also reckoned that Dutch blockage toward Indonesia didn’t only deprive Indonesian economy, but also increased communism power.
24. KH Samanhudi
KH Samanhudi (Surakarta, Central Java, 1868 – Bandung, 28 December 1956) is the founder of Serikat Dagang Islam/SDI (Islamic Trading Union). SDI was intially founded as organization for batik businessmen in Surakarta.
In trading circumstances, he often felt discriminations by the Dutch. The Dutch favored Chinese merchants much more than the muslim local merchants. That’s why, Samanhudi thought that local merchants should have their own organization to defend their needs. At 1905, he founded SDI.
Later, SDI would spread as all over Nederlandsche-Indische as National Islamic Union (SI – Sarekat Islam), founded by Samanhudi’s pupil, HOS COkroaminoto.
25. Raden Dewi Sartika
Raden Dewi Sartika (Cicalengka, West Java, 4 December 1884 – Tasikmalaya, West java, 11 September 1947) is a pioneer of education for women. She was listed as National Heroine in 1966.
In 6 January 1904, she founded a school named Sekolah Isteri (Women’s School) in the house of Bupati of Bandung. The school was later relocated to Jalan Ciguriang and changed its name into Sekolah Kautamaan Isteri (School of Women’s Virtue) in 1910. In 1912, there had been 9 schools dispersed around West Java, and then developed into 1 school for each city/district in 1920. In September 1929, those schools change the name into Sekolah Raden Dewi (raden Dewi’s School). She died in 11 September 1947 during Independence defence war.
26. Syaffrudin Prawiranegara
Syafruddin Prawiranegara (Serang, Banten, 28 February 1911 – Jakarta, 15 February 1989) is an Independence fighter, Minister, governor of Indonesian Bank, vice prime minister and once a chief (the same level as President) of Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia.
He received mandate from Soekarno when Indonesian governments (that time in Yogyakarta) was overpowered by the Dutch as a result of 2nd Military Agression 1948, as Soekarno and Moh.Hatta was exiled to Bangka Island. Later, he became prime minister of The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia cabinet in Central Sumatera.
Heroes Who Died Before Independence
Indonesia was colonized for more than 3 centuries. In that time, there are many leaders and kings trying to kick away the colonists from their homeland. Here are some of the most prominent heroes:
27. HOS Cokroaminoto
HOS Cokroaminoto (Ponorogo, Jawa Timur 16 August 1882 – Yogyakarta, 17 December 1934) is a leader of Sarekat Islam / SI (Islamic Union). He was one of pioneers of nationalism movements which resulted in many ideologies of Indonesian people.
His house was a boarding house for Indonesian youth who later would be Indonesian leaders: Semaun, Alimin, Muso, Soekarno, Kartosuwiryo, even Tan Malaka. He was the first person who refused to submit to the Dutch. After he died, many nationalism movements were done by his pupils.
In May 1912, HOS Cokroaminoto founded the organization of SI, which was known as SDI before, and he was appointed as the leader. From all his pupils, he really liked Soekarno, he even gave away his daughter, Siti Oetari, to be married to Soekarno. His message to his pupils was: “If you want to be a big leader, write like a journalist and talk like an orator”.
These words inspire his pupils, even made Soekarno cried out to learn how to give speech every night, to the point that his friends (Muso, Alimin, Kartosuwiryo, Darsono, etc) woke up and laughed at him. He died in Yogyakarta, 17 December 1934, falling sick after attended SI congress in Banjarmasin. He was burried in Heroes Graveyard Pekuncen, Yogyakarta.
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28. Wage Rudolf Supratman
Wage Rudolf Supratman (Purworejo, 19 March 1903 – Surabaya, East Java, 17 August 1938) is the composer of Indonesian national Anthem, “Indonesia Raya”, and listed as National Hero. In 1914, he joined his eldest sister to Makassar.
There, he was sent to school by his brother in-law, Willem van Eldik. He had music lessons from his brother in-law, so he could play violin well and he could arrange a song. He still did the job when he already moved to Jakarta.
From Makassar, he moved to Bandung and worked as journalist for newspapers Kaoem Moeda and Kaoem Kita. During this time, he became interested with nationalism movements and he made friends with national figures. The unease feeling toward Dutch colonization finally arose within him, and he put the feeling in his book, Perawan Desa (Village Maiden). The book was confiscated and forbidden to be circulated by the Dutch governments.
When he lived in Jakarta, he read an essay in Timbul magazine, challenging any Indonesian musicians to compose national anthem. Supratman was challenged, and he started to composing a song. In 1924, he finally finished composing Indonesia Raya, later would be Indonesian National Anthem. That time, he was 21 years old, and lived in Bandung.
In 1928, the 2nd Youth Congress was held in Jakarta. The congress resulted in Youth’s Pledge. In the congress closing night, he played his composition song instrumentally in public. It was the firt time Indonesia Raya was played in public. Anytime political parties made congress, Indonesia Raya were always sung.
He was always hunted by the Dutch police because of composing Indonesia Raya. He was arrested at the beginning of August 1938 by the Dutch, and died at 17 August 1938 because of sickness.
29. RA Kartini
RA Kartini (Jepara, Central Java, 21 April 1879 – Rembang, Central Java, 17 September 1904) is a Javanese figure and National Heroine. She is known as the pioneer of women’s emancipation in Indonesia.
Her movements began when she felt so many discrimination towards women at that time, when women are not allowed to achieve higher education. She was even forced to leave school when she was 12 years old, and had to stay at home until her parents found a suitor for her.
To kill the time, she often corresponded with her friends abroad. Later, her letters were collected by Abendanon and published with the title “Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang” (After Dark The Light is Risen).
At 12 November 1903, Kartini was forced to marry a Rembang chief-officer. This chief-officer had a wife before, but he really understood Kartini’s aims and let Kartini build a women’s school. Kartini died just 4 days after giving birth to her first son.
30. Cut Nyak Dhien
Cut Nyak Dhien (Aceh, 1848 – Sumedang, West Java, 6 November 1908) was an Aceh War leader and National Heroine.
When Aceh War was spreaded in 1873, she led the war in front line, fighting against the DUtch. After some years, her force was supressed and they fled to secluded place.
In a battle in Sel Glee Tarun, her husband, teuku Ibrahim, died. No matter what, Cut Nyak Dhien continued the fighting. During her husband’s funeral ceremony, she met Teuku Umar, who later became her husband and compatriot.
Together, they arranged force and destroyed Dutch quarters in many places. But at 11 February 1899, Teuku Umar died in battle. Meanwhile, the Dutch who knew that Cut Nyak Dhien got weak and only could flee, continued pressuring Aceh people. This made Cut Nyak Dhien’s health decreased, but she still led some battles.
Finally, she was caught and exiled to Sumedang, West Java. In her exile, she taught religion. She concealed her identity until the rest of her life. She died at 6 November 1908 and was burried in Sumedang. Her grave was found exactly in 1960 when Aceh governments investigated it. Therefore, her trad was filmed in movie “Cut Nyak Dien” in 1988, and become one of the most watched Indonesian movies in the world stage
31. Sultan Agung
Sultan Agung (Mataram Sultanate, 1593 – 1645), Is the 3rd Sultan of mataram (now Yogyakarta). Under his reign, Mataram became the biggest kingdom in Java and Nusantara at the time.
He was mostly known for attacking Batavia as a result of hostility between Mataram and VOC (Dutch Trading Company) in Batavia.
In 1614, VOC sent an ambassador to ask Sultan Agung to collaborate, but the Sultan refused.
At 1619, VOC was succeed in overpowering Jayakarta and change its name to Batavia. Sultan Agung was thinking about taking advantages of VOC in rivalry towards Banten and Surabaya. So, in 1621, Mataram began to build relations with VOC. Both parties sent ambassadors. But VOC refused to help when Mataram wanted to attack Surabaya. This made diplomatic relation end.
To attack Banten, Mataram had to overpower Batavia. in April 1628, Mataram sent an ambassador to Batavia to convey peace offers, with some conditions from Mataram. VOC refused the offers, so Sultan Agung announced war.
At 27 August 1628, Mataram troops arrived in Batavia. Big battle happened in Holandia fortress, but mataram troops were defeated because they lacked of ammunitions. In May 1629, mataram troops attacked Batavia again, but were defeated again by VOC. Although Mataram troops were defeated, they were succeed to dam up Ciliwung river and made the water dirty, resulting in cholera plague in Batavia. General governor of VOC, JP Coen, died because of cholera.
Prior to his death, Sultan Agung commanded to build a mausoleum in Imogiri, where all the Sultans of Mataram would be burried.
33. Prince Antasari
Prince Antasari ( Banjar Sultanate, 1809 – 11 October 1862) is a National Hero. His heroic war against the Dutch is known as Perang Banjar (Banjar War). Perang Banjar began when Prince Antasari and his 300 soldiers attacked Dutch coal mining in Pengaron at 25 April 1859. After that, he led many wars around Banjar Sultanate. The Dutch army, aided by more soldiers from Batavia, could supress Antasari’s movements, to the point that Antasari had to move his defense fortress to Muara Teweh.
Many times, the Dutch persuaded Prince Antasari to surrender, but he remained on his attitude. This was written in his letter to Leutenant Colonel Gustave Verspijk in Banjarmasin at 20 July 1861: “… We strictly explain to you that we don’t agree to proposal of mercy and we fight continously demanding our inheritance right (independence)…”
At war, the Dutch ever offered a gift of 10.000 guldens for anybody who could capture and kill the Prince. But until the war finished, nobody dared to take the offer.
While fighting, Prince Antasari died surrounded by his soldiers because of lungs infection and smallpox.
34. Martha Christina Tiahahu
Martha Christina Tiahahu (4 January 1800 – 2 January 1818) is a National Heroine. She was the dauther of Paulus Tiahahu, a captain from Abubu, Maluku. Her father was also a friend of Thomas Matulessy, who fought the Dutch in 1817. Martha Christina always accompanied her father in battles against the Dutch. She led other women to fight along with the men.
The Maluku people finally could be defeated by the Dutch, because the Dutch had more modern weapons. Her father, with other fighters, were executed.
After her father’s death, she was depressed and finally caught by the Dutch. She was exiled to Java Island. She was ill the ship during the journey to Java, but she still refused and foods and medications. She finally died in the ship, and her corpse was thrown into Banda Sea.
35. Kapitan Pattimura
Pattimura or Thomas Matulessy (Ambon, 1783 – Ambon, 16 December 1817) is an Indonesian Hero from Maluku. He had ever joined English troops, achieving title Sergeant. That time, the Dutch had to give their colony (including Maluku) to England, but in 1816 the Dutch colonized Maluku again. Maluku people were suffering because of the DUtch’s oppression. The people had to do forced labors, and all natural resources were exploited by the Dutch.
Maluku people fought against the Dutch. Before fighting, they appointed Thomas Matulessy as their leader. This made him known as Kapitan Pattimura.
In 1 year, Pattimura led Maluku people to fight against the Dutch They could kill the Dutch resident and his family. Finally, the Dutch did big battle against Maluku people. In November 1817, Patimura was captured, and he was executed at 16 December 1817.
36. Sisingamangaraja XII
Sisingamangaraja XII (Bakkara, North Sumatra, 18 Februry 1845 – Dairi, North Sumatra, 17 June 1907) reigned Batak kingdom since 1870. since his father’s reign, in 1860, Dr. Nomensen (a Dutch missionary) already spreaded Protestanism in Tapanuli. AT the beginning, Sisingamangaraja XII was still tolerant to Christianity in his land. He himself embraced parmalim, a traditional Batak religion.
Overtime, the Dutch tried to conquer Batak land, the reason was to protect missionaries. Seeing the Dutch’s attitude, Sisingamangaraja felt threatened. He collaborated with Aceh and Minang fighters who were evacuated to Batak land. At 1877, the first battle happened in Bahal Batu, the Dutch’s center of defense. The battles against the Dutch happened in guerilla way for 24 years. The Dutch use Marchosse troops from Aceh.
The Dutch, led by Captain Christoffel was finally able to besiege Sisingamangaraja in Pakpak. Sisingamangaraja with his 2 sons (Patuan Nagari and patuan Anggi) died during the battle. After that, all Tapanuli area could be conquered by the Dutch.
37. Teuku Umar
Teuku Umar (Meulaboh, Aceh 1854 – Meulaboh, 11 February 1899)is a National Hero. When Aceh War began in 1873, Umar was only 19 years old, but he joined Aceh people to fight against the Dutch. In 1880, he proposed Cut Nyak Dhien. After getting married to Teuku Umar, Cut Nyak Dhien accompanied him fighting against the Dutch.
At 30 September 1893, he and his troops consisted of 250 people went to Banda Aceh and “surrendered” to the Dutch. At the beginning, Aceh people considered Umar as traitor, but it was just a tactic to deceive the Dutch to get more ammunition and learn the next war strategy. He tried to learn the Dutch tactics, while step by step replacing Dutch soldiers with Aceh soldiers in his unit. When he felt enough, he made fake plan of attacking Aceh guerilla’s basis. At 30 March 1896, Umar went with all his troops and ammunition. He could bring around 800 weapons, 25.000 bullets, 500 kg ammunition, and 18.000 dollars money to help Aceh guerillas.
The Dutch were extremely angry and looking after Umar, but they had difficulties in finding Umar’s exact positions. The Dutch began to hire Aceh people as spies, then they finally could catch Teuku Umar and executed him.
38. Imam Bonjol
Tuanku Imam Bonjol (Bonjol, West Sumatra, 1772 – Minahasa, 8 November 1864), is a National Hero. He fought with the Dutch in Paderi War.
The first 18 years of the war (1803-1821), the war was between Minang people and Mandailing/Batak people. At the beginning, the war was started because of the desire of Islamic priests in Pagaruyung Kingdom to use Syaria law, according to Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah (Sunni) which clings firmly on Quran and Sunnah. Then, the chief priest asked Tuanku Lintau to persuade Pagaruyung King and Kaum Adat (people who support local cultures) to leave some habits which didn’t follow Islam (bid’ah). But the suggestion was rejected.
The Dutch allied with Kaum Adat. After Kaum Adat won, the Dutch was hostile to them, making Kaum Adat finally merged with the priests. The Dutch army could besiege Bonjol Fortress, but they never could capture Imam Bonjol.
The Dutch asked help from Batavia, and Tuanku Imam Bonjol’s position became more difficult, but he still didn’t want to surrender to the Dutch. At 16 August 1837, Bonjol Fortress could be overpowered after being besieged for years.
In October 1837, Tuanku Imam Bonjol was invited to Palupuh to negotiate with the Dutch. When he arrived there, he was suddenly arrested and exiled to Cianjur, West Java. Then he was moved to Ambon, and Finally to Minahasa, where he died. He was burried in his Minahasa.
39. Prince Diponegoro
Prince Diponegoro (Yogyakarta, 11 November 1785 – Makassar, South Sulawesi 8 January 1855), is the eldest son of Sultan Hamengkubuwana from a concubine. His rebellion against Yogyakarta Palace started when he was appointed as a regent of Hamengkubuwana V who was only 3 years old, while the daily administration was done by Prime Minister Danurejo with a Dutch resident. Diponegoro didn’t agree on regent system like this. The Nederlansche-Indische Governments made Prince Diponegoro fight, which was known as War of Diponegoro.
Diponegoro’s attitude of fighting the Dutch openly gained supports and sympathy of common people. With the suggestion of his uncle, Prince Mangkubumi, Diponegoro built his quarter in Selarong cave. His battle made the Dutch lost 15.000 troops and 20 millions guldens.
The Dutch always tried to find a way to capture Diponegoro. They offered 50.000 guldens for anyone who could capture Diponegoro. At the end, Diponegoro was captured in 1830 and exiled to Makassar. He died in exile.
40. Sultan Hasanuddin of Makassar
Sultan Hasanuddin (Makassar, South Sulawesi 12 January 1631 – Makassar, 12 June 1670), is a National Hero. He was nicknamed “De Haantjes van Het Oosten” (The rooster from the east) by the Dutch.
When he was ruling Gowa kingdom, VOC (Dutch Trading Company) was trying to dominate spices trading. Gowa was a big kingdom in eastern Indonesia who controlled trading routes. In 1666, under the lead of Marshal Cornelis Speelman, VOC tried to conquer small kingdoms, but they couldn’t conquer Gowa.
On the other side, when Sultan Hasanuddin was crowned, he tried to merge small kingdoms’ forces to fight VOC. The battle continued, VOC added their force until Gowa was pressed and weak, so at 18 November 1667 Gowa agreed to sign Bungaya Agreement in Bungaya.
However, Gowa felt disadvantaged, so Sultan Hasanuddin began fighting again. VOC added more force from Batavia. At 12 June 1669, VOC could break through the strongest fortress of Gowa, Sombaopu fortress. After that, Sultan Hasanuddin retired from the court and he died one year later. He was burried in Katangka, Makassar.
Indonesia has many heroic people which ready to die to defend its Independence. Some time ago, there were teenagers making pictures with improper poses beside Sudirman’s statue in Jakarta, and those teenagers shamelessly shared the pictures in social media. Indonesian governments have to work hard to educate the younger generation, so that they become thankful and respect the heroes.
After all, Indonesian Independence inspired other 3rd world countries to fight for their independence too, for example India, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Ghana and other African countries. If you are visiting Indonesia, you also can visit Heroes Graveyards or Heroes’ tomb, paying a respect to them, for their bravery and inspirtion to fight colonialism and imperialism all over the world.