“Mempawah” derived from “Mempauh”, the name of trees that grow on the upper course of a river that was later called also as Mempawah River (J.U. Lontaan, 1975: 125). As time goes by, Mempawah has become associated with the name of a kingdom/sultanate that emerged in West Kalimantan. The history of Mempawah traditional administration splits into two periods: the era of Hindu-based administration of Dayak Kingdom and the era of Islam-influenced administration or sultanate.
The origin of Mempawah Kingdom is closely related to the history of some previous kingdoms, such as Bangkule Sultankng and Sidiniang. Bangkule Sultankng was a kingdom of Dayak Ethnic Group which was set up by Ne’Rumaga in a place called Bahana (Erwin Rizal, n.d: 39).
Karlina Maryadi, in her article entitled “Menguak Misteri Sebukit Rama (Unravelling the Mystery of Sebukit Rama)” states that Ne’Rumaga’s administration was succeeded by Patih Gumantar (Karlina Maryadi, www.indonesiaindonesia.com). However, there is also an opinion saying that the Dayak Kingdom whose king was Patih Gumantar was a different administration and it had existed since 1380 A.D. Located in Sidiniang Mountains, near Sangking, Upper Mempawah, the kingdom is better known as Sidiniang Kingdom (Musni Umberan, et. al, 1996-1997:12).
It is believed that by then Patih Gumantar had established relations with Gadjah Mada from Majapahit Kingdom as part of the effort to unite states in the archipelago under the power of Majapahit. Some say that Patih Gumantar and Gadjah Mada once went to Thailand to block the attack of Khubilai Khan from Mongolia. According to Lontaan, there is an evidence of the relations between the two kingdoms, i.e. a keris that was bestowed to Patih Gumantar. The keris is still kept in Upper Mempawah and by the locals, it is called Keris Susuhunan (1975: 120).
The kingdom of Sidiniang was not free from threats, however. One of them was an attack from Suku Biaju Kingdom. In the year of 1400 A.D., there was an outbreak of head-cutting war or kayau-mengayau, in local language, that caused the death of Patih Gumantar (Lontaan, 1975: 120). With the leader dead, the story of Sidiniang Kingdom came to an end. Some say that Patih Gumantar was succeeded by his son, Patih Nyabakng. However, the administration of Patih Nyabakng did not last long due to the clash with Lara Kingdom, whose center was on the great river of Negeri Sambas (Maryadi, in www.indonesiaindonesia.com). There are not yet further records of Sidiniang Kingdom after Patih Nyabakng’s leadership.
Two hundreds years after, in about 1610 A.D., emerged a new kingdom in an area of Sidiniang Kingdom’s ruins. It has not been unveiled as to what was the relation between the founder of the new kingdom with Patih Gumantar. Various sources only states that the leader of the new kingdom was Raja Kodong or Kudung (Rizal, tt:39; Umberan, et.al., 1996-1997:13). Raja Kudung then moved its center of administration from Sidiniang to Pekana (Umberan, et.al., 1996-1997:13).
In about the year of 1680 A.D., Raja Kudung died and was buried in Pekana (Umberan, et.al., 1996-1997:13). His successor was Panembahan Senggaok, also known as Senggauk or Sengkuwuk, who reigned since the same year with Raja Kudung’s bereavement. The name Panembahan “Senggaok” began to be used as the center of administration was relocated from Pekana to Senggaok, an area in the upper course of Mempawah River (Lontaan, 1975: 121). He married the daughter of Raja Qahar from Baturizal Indragiri Kingdom from Sumatra, Putri Cermin. The couple had a daughter named Utin Indrawati (Lontaan, 1975: 121). Putri Utin Indrawati was married to Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin from Matan Tanjungpura Kingdom (Rizal, tt: 39). They had a daughter from the marriage, named Putri Kesumba (Umberan, et. al, 1996-1997:14). It is this princess that later married Opu Daeng Menambun who was a pioneer in bringing in Islam influence to Mempawah.
Opu Daeng Menambun was originally from Luwu Bugis Sultanate from South Sulawesi. Raja Ali Haji in his book Tuhfat Al-Nafis wrote a story about Opu Daeng Menambun’s father, Opu Tendriburang Dilaga, who is told to have travelled from Sulawesi to various states in Malay domain. Opu Tendriburang Dilaga was the son of Opu La Maddusilat, the first Bugis king to embrace Islam (Raja Ali Haji, 2002: 18). Opu Tendriburang Dilaga had five sons whom he brought along in his Malay journey, namely Opu Daeng Menambun, Opu Daeng Perani, Opu Daeng Celak, Opu Daeng Marewah, Opu Daeng Kemasi (Gusti Mhd Mulia [ed.], 2007: 18). Their arrival to the lands of Malay became one of the migration phases of Bugis people that conducted in the 17th century (Andi Ima Kesuma, 2004: 96). Opu Tendriburang Dilaga and his five sons played an important role in Malay Peninsula and Kalimantan, particularly in spreading Islam (www.ilagaligo.com; Rizal, n.d: 40).
Opu Daeng Menambun’s arrival in Kalimantan was actually at request of Sultan Matan (Tanjungpura), namely Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin (1665-1724), who asked for help to take back the throne of Matan Sultanate that had been seized by force by Pangeran Agung, Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin’s brother (Umberan, et. al., 1996-1997:14). Opu Daeng Menambun and his brothers, who were in Johor Sultanate, headed to Tanjungpura right away to help put down the upheaval. With their help, the throne could be saved (Mulia [ed.], 2007: 18). Opu Daeng Menambun was later married to Ratu Kesumba, Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin’s daughter. Not long after, Opu Daeng Menambun and his brothers decided to go back to Johor Sultanate.
Without Opu Daeng Menambun present, an internal conflict broke out again in Matan Sultanate. This time, Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin’s sons disagreed as to who deserved to be their father’s successor. The Sultan once more asked help from Opu Daeng Menambun, who had arrived in Johor. Opu Daeng Menambun was willing to help and left for Tanjungpura for the second time without his four brothers because their presences were needed in Johor Sultanate (Umberan, et.al, 1996-1997:15).
With the help of Opu Daeng Menambun, the dispute could be solved peacefully. To thank him, Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin deigned to confer him an honorary title, Pangeran Mas Surya Negara. Opu Daeng Menambun himself decided to stay in Matan Sultanate with his wife. They had six children, namely Putri Candramidi, Gusti Jamiril, Syarif Ahmad, Syarif Abubakar, Syarif Alwie and Syarif Muhammad (Syarif Ibrahim Alqadrie, 2005, in http://syarif-untan.tripod.com).
In 1724 A.D., Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin died. His heir was Gusti Kesuma Bandan whose title was Sultan Muhammad Muazziddin. Meanwhile, 13 years later in Mempawah, Pangeran Senggaok died. Since Panembahan Senggaok did not have any son, the throne of Mempawah was given to Sultan Muhammad Muazzudin, who was Panembahan Senggaok’s grandson, the child of Puteri Utin Indrawati and Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin. However, a year later or precisely in 1738 A.D., Sultan Muhammad Muazzuddin departed and was replaced by his son, Gusti Bendung or Pangeran Ratu Agung who bore the title Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin. He was the 3rd Sultan of Matan.
In 1740 A.D., the authority over Mempawah, which had been held concurrently with Matan Sultanate, was given to Opu Daeng Menambun whose name later changed to Pangeran Mas Surya Negara, a title given by the late Sultan Muhammad Zainuddin, the first Sultan of Matan. While his wife, Ratu Kesumba, wore the title Ratu Agung Sinuhun (Rizal: 40). It is his tenure that Islam was made the kingdom’s official religion. In accordance, the term “kingdom” was replaced with “sultanate”. Opu Daeng Menambun moved the center of his administration to Sebukit Rama, an area that was fertile, prosper, strategic and busy with merchantmen’s visits (Umberan, et. al., 1996-1997: 16).
Islam influence in Mempawah during the era of Opu Daeng Menambun became even stronger with the intervention of Sayid Habib Husein Alqadrie, a voyager from Hadramaut or South Yemen (Mahayudin Haji Yahya, 1999: 224). Husein Alqadrie himself had been a supreme judge in Matan Sultanante during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Muazzudin. Husein Alqadrie was married to the daughter of Sultan Muhammad Muazzudin whose name was Nyai Tua (Alqadrie, 2005, in http://syarif-untan.tripod.com). In Matan Sultanate, Husein Alqadrie served until the administration of the 4th sultan, namely Sultan Ahmad Kamaluddin, who succeeded Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin in 1749 A.D. However, in 1755 A.D., Husein Alqadrie had a disagreement with the Sultan in death sentence matter.
Knowing such situation, Opu Daeng Menambun offered Husein Alqadrie to stay in Mempawah. Husein accepted the offer and then moved into Opu Daeng Menambun’s palace. He was appointed patih (chief minister to a Sultan) and at the same time, Grand Mufti of Mempawah. An area, called Kuala Mempawah (Galah Herang), was given to him to be made a center for Islam religious teachings. To tighten the bond of Husein Alqadrie’s family and Mempawah Sultanate, Husein’s son, Syarif Abdurrahman Alqadrie, was married to Opu Daeng Menambon’s daughter, Putri Candramidi (Muhammad Hidayat, n.d.: 21). Anon in 1778 A.D., Syarif Abdrurrahman Alqadrie established Kadriah Sultanate in Pontianak.
In 1761 A.D., Opu Daeng Menambun died and was buried in Sebukit Rama (Umberan, et. al, 1996-1997: 16). To be crowned as sultan was the son of Opu Daeng Menambun, Gusti Jamiril, whose title was Panembahan Adiwijaya Kusumajaya (Umberan, et. al. 1996-1997: 17). Under the power of Panembahan Adiwijaya, Mempawah expanded its territory and made its name as a hectic port of commerce.
Not long after their arrival at Mempawah circa 1787 A.D., the Dutch were engaged in a war with Mempawah Sultanate. The Dutch persuaded Syarif Kasim, the son of Syarif Abdurrahman Alqadrie, the Sultan of Kadriah Sultanate in Pontianak, to join the attack on Mempawah. Panembahan Adiwijaya then moved away to Karangan in Upper Mempawah to make plans (Umberan, et. al., 1996-1997-16). In 1790 A.D., however, Panembahan Adiwijaya died before launching a counterattack. He left 8 children from two wives.
In about 1794 A.D., the feud between Mempawah Sultanate and Kadriah Sultanate was aggravated by the Dutch’s success in persuading Syarif Kasim to expand his territory up to the upper course of the river, an area bordering on Mempawah Sultanate. As a result, the war broke out over again, this time Kadriah Sultanate was helped by the Chinese people who lived in Pontianak, and Mempawah Sultanate, having not yet had a new sultan to replace Panembahan Adiwijaya, got supports from Dayak people and Singkawah Sultanate. But since Kadriah Sultanate was fully backed by the Dutch, they could defeat Mempawah Sultanate (www.asiawind.com).
Afterward, the Dutch colonial appointed Syarif Kasim as the head of Mempawah. He was entitled Panembahan Mempawah (Hidayat, n.d: 22). Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman Alqadrie, Syarif Kasim’s father, did not agree with the appointment because Mempawah and Kadriah had actually a very close relation. His wife, Puteri Candramidi, was the daughter of Opu Daeng Menambon. The appointment of Syarif Kasim as Panembahan was written down in the treaty dated 27 August 1787 (Ansar Rahman, et. al., 2000: 109-110).
Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman Alqadrie died in 1808, followed with the Dutch appointing Syarif Kasim as the head of Kadriah Sultanate, bearing the title Sultan Syarif Kasim Alqadrie. He was then abdicated by his brother, Syarif Hussein. However, Syarif Hussein’s tenure did not last long as the Dutch power was getting more unstable due to the attacks mounted by two sons of Panembahan Adiwijaya, Gusti Jati and his brother, Gusti Mas. After shoving the Dutch away from Mempawah, Gusti Jati was enthroned as the Sultan of Mempawah (Umberan, et. al., 1996-1997: 18). The Dutch then stepped out from Kadriah Sultanate under Sultan Syarif Kasim Alqadrie’s protection.
Gusti Jati ascended the throne in about the year of 1820 and was entitled Sultan Muhammad Zainal Abidin. Gusti Mas stayed with his brother to help develop the life and security of Mempawah people (Lontaan, 1975: 126). By Sultan Muhammad Zainal Abidin, the center of administration was moved to the bank of Mempawah River, precisely in Pulau Pedalaman. It is in this era that Mempawah Sultanate got its fame as a center of commerce and as having a strong fortress. Knowing the sultanate was getting bigger and stronger, the Dutch colonial prepared a strategy. They would now try peaceful approaches in dealing with the Sultan. Meanwhile the armed force of Kadriah Sultanate was ready to hit Mempawah anytime they eased their awareness.
The Dutch went well with their tactic. When the high officials of Mempawah Sultanate were stirred with their peace offer, Kadriah Sultanate army attacked Pulau Pedalaman. The evidence of the aggression can still be seen in the ruins of the defense strongholds built in the right and left sides of Istana Mempawah (Lontan, 1975:126). Consequently, Sultan Zainal Abidin was forced to move back to Sebukit Rama to soup up power. His counterattack went well, his army could defeat Kadriah Sultanate’s. However, Sultan Zainal Abidin did not come back to Pulau Pedalaman. He chose to go into seclusion at the upper course of Mempawah River (Lontaan, 1975: 126).
There was another vacancy in the leadership of Mempawah Sultanate, and again, the Dutch took the chance by naming Sultan Zainal Abidin, whose real name was Gusti Amin, as the Sultan of Mempawah entitled Panembahan Adinata Krama Umar Kamarrudin (Rizal, n.d: 41; Johan Wahyudi in Borneo Tribune, December 2007). In 1831, Mempawah Sultanate was running out of power because of the Dutch’s interference. From then on, every succession on the leadership of Mempawah Sultanate was a political game played by the Dutch. What is worse is that the sultanate had to obey the regulations the Dutch colonial constituted.
After the death of Gusti Amin in 1839, the Dutch colonial enthroned Gusti Mukmin, entitled Panembahan Mukmin Nata Jaya Kusuma. Afterward, in 1858, it was Gusti Makhmud who ascended the throne, bearing the title Panembahan Muda Makhmud Alauddin. J.U. Lontaan in his book entitled Sejarah Hukum Adat dan Adat-Istiadat Kalimantan Barat (1975) states that the year of 1858 also saw Gusti Usman enthroned as the Sultan of Mempawah (Lontaan, 1975: 129). According to the book, it is possible that Gusti Makhmud died not long after he was crowned. Gusti Usman, the son of Gusti Mukmin, was named Sultan of Mempawah ad interim. Such interpretation was likely to be true because when Gusti Usman passed away in 1872, his heir was Gusti Ibrahim, entitled Panembahan Ibrahim Muhammad Syafiuddin, who was the son of Gusti Makhmud (Rizal, n.d: 41).
When Gusti Ibrahim died in 1892, the crown prince, Gusti Muhammad Thaufiq Accamuddin, was not yet considered as having come of age to replace his father. For this reason, Gusti Intan, the elder sister of Gusti Muhammad Thaufiq Accamuddin, was appointed traditional leader of Mempawah Sultanate ad interim was (Wahyudi, December 2007). He was crowned in 1902. By the year of 1922, he built The Palace Amantubillah Wa Rusuli Allah in Pulau Pedalaman. Sultan Muhammad Thaufiq Accamuddin reigned until the Japanese arrived in Indonesia in 1942.
The Japanese’s arrival brought along tragedy to the kingdoms of West Kalimantan, including Mempawah Sultanate. In 1944, Sultan Muhammad Thaufiq Accamudin was put in prison by the Japanese army and died a prisoner. Until now, the body or grave of the Sultan has not been found (Lontaan, 1975: 130). That time, the crown prince, Gusti Jimmi Muhammad Ibrahim, was not yet adult and instead the Japanese appointed Gusti Mustaan as the guardian of the Panembahan of Mempawah Sultanate. He held the position until 1955. However by then, Gusti Jimmi Muhammad Ibrahim was unwilling to be enthroned due to his ongoing education in Yogyakarta. Therefore, it is assumed that the last Sultan of Mempawah is Sultan Muhammad Thaufiq Accamuddin (Umberan, et. al. 1996-1997: 20).
After Indonesia declared independence in 1945, with the Dutch recognizing Indonesia’s full sovereignty in 1949, there were significant changes in administration system, including that at regional level. This happened as well in West Kalimantan. With the establishment of the Republic, authorities that of the Special Region of West Kalimantan were given back to the new-born state (http://kalbar.bps.go.id).
Nevertheless, at the insistence of the people and traditional leaders of Dayak and Malayo-Bugis, Gusti Jimmi Muhammad Ibrahim was finally willing to be inaugurated as head of adat (tradition) of Mempawah Sultanate. Having joined and being part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, the leadership of Gusti Jimmi Muhammad Ibrahim, who was entitled Panembahan XII of Amantubillah Mempawah Sultanate, did not cover political authority.
On 12 August 2002, due to persistent illness, Panembahan Gusti Jimmi Muhammad Ibrahim handed over the authority of Mempawah Sultanate to his son, Pangeran Ratu Mulawangsa Mardan Adijaya Kesuma Ibrahim, who was later appointed Panembahan XII of Amantubillah Mempawah Sultanate and is still reigning nowadays. In 2005, Panembahan Jimmi Muhammad Ibrahim died at 73 and was buried with traditional honors of Mempawah Sultanate (http://riaulingga.blogspot.com).
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