Jakarta History Museum and Fatahillah Square. Source: Setio Martinus 2016.

Kalapa – Jacatra –Batavia - Jakarta: An old city that never gets old

Annissa M. Gultom


The archaeology of Jakarta is a multi-layered artefact compounded with thin period separations. In the geographical sphere of the “greater Jakarta area”, its roots start from the Neolithic with the discovery of Buni tradition pottery. The Buni area stretched along the north coast of west Java towards the interior to the south. This geographical sphere then became the oldest kingdom in the archipelago, Tarumanagara, an Indian-influenced Hindu Kingdom. A series of different ancient kingdoms ruled until the arrival of the Europeans. First, the Portuguese signed a treaty with Sunda (a Hindu Kingdom and ruler of the port of Kalapa) to defend their territory from Cirebon (an Islamic Kingdom in the eastern part of west java). Kalapa became a prized area that was fought over until the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or VOC), led by J. P. Coen, burnt it down and built Batavia. Kalapa, as one of the few main ports of Sunda, historically welcomed people (with or without their will) from different areas. The influx of multicultural influence through this port continued when Batavia became the capital of the VOC, and then for the Netherlands Indies. The area grew into what is now known as the greater area of Jakarta. Although this greater area is now delineated into three different provinces, the cultural span of the area is still the same. A version of this paper was delivered as part of SEAMEO SPAFA’s Capital’s Archaeology Lecture Series on 23 May 2017 at the Siam Society, Bangkok. This paper has been peer reviewed. The lecture can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2imigGG


Kalapa, Nusa Kalapa, Sunda Kalapa, Jakarta, Jayakarta, Old City, Archaeology, Capital, Port City, Indies, Sunda Kelapa, Nusantara, Indonesia

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26721/spafajournal.v2i0.173


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