Jakarta History

The Special Capital Region of Jakarta (Daerah Khusus Ibu Kota Jakarta) has a long history. The name “Jakarta” was started to be used in 1942 during Japanese occupation time. It was the abbreviation of Jayakarta. “Jayakarta” was used in 1527-1619. It was given by Demak and Cirebon people under Fatahillah on June 22nd, 1527. Up until now, June 22nd is celebrated as Jakarta’s anniversary. “Jayakarta” itself means city of victorious. But the actual meaning is “victory achieved by deed”.

Several other names have been in use. In 1397-1527, the area was called Sunda Kelapa which was the name of the port of the Sunda Kingdom (you can still find the old Sunda Kelapa harbour in the old city of Jakarta). In the 12th century, this port was known as the busiest port for black pepper. Many ships made port here, some of them from Tiongkok, Japan, South India and Middle East.

Jakarta was known as Batavia during the Dutch colonional area from 1619-1942. On May 30th, 1619 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) led by Jan Pietereszoon Coen occupied Jayakarta after defeating the Banten Sultanate, then “Jayakarta” was changed into “Batavia”. Batavia had developed significantly under the Dutch. Many slaves were taken from Bali, Sulawesi, Tiongkok,etc for Batavia’s development. Many say that those slaves were the ancestors of what is now called the Betawi people.

In 1942 the Japanese changed the name of Batavia into Djakarta. It was done to take the hearts of people’s. After the Japanese surrendered the Indonesian people declared independence here with the Indonesian Independence Proclamation on August 17th, 1945.

Before 1959, Djakarta was part of West Java. In 1959 it was changed into Daerah Tingkat I (DATI I) led by a Governor. In 1961, Djakarta was changed into Special Capital Region (Daerah Khusus Ibukota). Since 1972, the spelling was changed to what is in use now: Jakarta


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