Siege of Batavia was a military campaign led by Sultan Agung of Mataram to capture the Dutch port-settlement of Batavia in Java. The first attempt was launched in 1628, and the second in 1629, both were unsuccessful. Jan Pieterszoon Coen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies managed to repel the sieges and beat off all of Sultan Agung’s attacks.
Siege of Batavia by Sultan Agung
First siege (22 aug. – 3 dec. 1628)
On August 25, 1628, the vanguard of Agung’s navy arrived in Batavia. The Mataram naval armada brought extensive amount of supplies, including 150 cattle, 5,900 sack of sugar, 26,600 coconuts and 12,000 sack of rice. As a ruse de guerre they initially asked for permission to land in Batavia to trade, however the size of the Mataram fleet caused the Dutch to be suspicious. The next day the Dutch allowed the cattle to be delivered, with the condition that only one Mataram ship at a time might dock. One hundred armed guards watched the landing from Batavia Castle. On the third day three more Mataram ship arrived, claiming that they were there to ask for travel permit to trade with Malacca. The Hoge Regering became increasingly alarmed at the sudden increase in Mataram ship arrivals, and moved more artillery pieces to Batavia Castle’s two northern bastions. Finally in the afternoon twenty more Mataram ships arrived and began to openly unload their troops north of the castle, causing the alerted Dutch to pull all personnel back into the castle and open fire on the incoming Javanese. To deny shelter for the invading army, Coen had most of Batavia’s bamboo shack suburbs burnt.
On August 28, 1628, 27 more Mataram ships entered the bay but landed quite far from Batavia. On the south of Batavia the vanguard of the overland Mataram force began to arrive, with 1,000 men starting to apply pressure upon Batavia’s southern flank. On August 29 the first of many Mataram attacks was launched against Fort Hollandia, located southeast of the city. One hundred twenty VOC troops under the commands of Jacob van der Plaetten managed to repulse the attack and the Javanese suffered heavy losses. Several company ships also arrived from Banten and Onrust island, landing an additional 200 troops and increasing Batavia’s garrison to 730 men.
The main part of the overland Mataram army arrived in October, bringing their total troop strength to 10,000 men. They blockaded all the roads running south and west of the city and tried to dam the Ciliwung river to limit the Dutch’s water supply. This was of little use though, as repeated Mataram escalade attacks against the Dutch fortification resulted in nothing but heavy losses. Even worse, the Mataram commanders had not prepared for a long siege in an area devoid of local logistical support, and by December the army was already running out of supplies. Angered by the lack of success, on December 2 Sultan Agung sent his executioners to punish Tumenggung Bahureksa and Prince Mandurareja. The next days, the Dutch discovered that their opponent had marched home, leaving behind 744 headless corpses of their men.
Second siege (may – september 1629)
The second invasions again consisted of two forces; the Sundanese army of Dipati Ukur, the regent of Priangan, a vassal of Mataram, and the main Javanese army led by Adipati Juminah, altogether some 20,000 strong. The original plan called for Ukur to wait for the main army to rendezvous with him in Priangan departing together in June, however lack of supplies forced Ukur to start his advance upon Batavia immediately. When Juminah arrived in Priangan, he was angered at the apparent insult Ukur had done to him. The angered Mataram officials and troops created havoc in Priangan, pillaging and raping local women. Hearing the news from his wife, the angered Ukur promptly withdrew from the campaign, going as far as killing a number of Mataram officials attached to his force. From the example of Tumenggung Bahureksa and Prince Mandurareja, Dipati Ukur knew that Sultan Agung would not tolerate failure, much less betrayal, and hence he decided to rise in rebellion against Mataram instead.
With lack of supplies and plagued with malaria and cholera that hit the region, the Mataram troops that arrived at Batavia were exhausted. Mataram troops established an encampment located south of Batavia in an area now known as Matraman (derived from “Mataraman”). The Mataram forces applied a siege upon Batavia and disrupted Batavia’s water supply by polluting the Ciliwung River, causing a cholera plague in Batavia. During this second siege Jan Pieterszoon Coen suddenly died on 21 September 1629, most likely because of this cholera outbreak. With internal problems among their commanders, and plagued with illness and a lack of supply, Mataram forces finally were forced to retreat.
Governor General J. P. Coen