Java (Indonesian: Jawa / Javanese) – Many stories of Indonesian history take place on java island. Java is an island in Indonesia and is the 13th largest in the world. With a population of nearly 160 million, the island has the most population in the world and is one of the most populous places in the world. Even though it only ranks the 5th largest, Java Island is inhabited by 60% of Indonesia’s population. This figure decreases when compared to the population census of 1905 which reached 80.6% of the entire Indonesian population, a decline in population on the island of Java as a result of transmigration from Java to the rest of Indonesia. The capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, is located in Northwestern Java (precisely at the westernmost tip of the northern coast).
Java is a relatively young island and is largely formed from volcanic activity. Rows of volcanoes form a range that runs from the east to the west of the island, with the river alluvial sediment in the north.
Many stories of Indonesian history take place on this island. In the past, Java was the center of several Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, Islamic sultanates, Dutch East Indies colonial government, and the center of the Indonesian independence movement. The island has a major impact on Indonesia’s social, political and economic life.
Most of the population speak in three main languages. The Javanese language is the mother tongue of 100 million Indonesians, and most of the speakers live on the island of Java. Most of the population are bilingual, who speak Indonesian both as first and second languages. The other two important languages are Sundanese and Betawi. Most of the inhabitants of the island of Java are Muslim, but there are still diverse streams of beliefs, religions, ethnic groups, and cultures on this island.
The island is administratively divided into six provinces, namely West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Banten; and two special regions, namely DKI Jakarta and DIY Yogyakarta.
The island is famous for the pedigree of the king.
The origin of the Javanese name
The origin of the name “Java” can be traced from the Sanskrit chronicle which mentions an island called yavadvip (a) (dvipa means “island”, and yava means “barley” or also “grain”).
Whether these grains are millet (Setaria italica) or rice, both of which have been widely found on this island in the period before the entry of Indian influence.
It could be, this island has many previous names, including the possibility of originating from the word jaú which means “far away”. Yavadvi was mentioned in an Indian epic, Ramayana.
Sugriwa, Panglima wanara (ape man) from Sri Rama’s army, sent his envoy to Yavadvip (“Java Island”) to look for Dewi Shinta.
Then based on Indian literature, especially Tamil literature, it is called the Sanskrit name yāvaka dvīpa (dvīpa = island).
Another guess is that the word “Java” comes from the root words in Proto-Austronesian, Awa or Yawa (Similar to the words Awa’i (Awaiki) or Hawa’i (Hawaiki) used in Polynesia, especially Hawaii) which means “home ”
An island called Iabadiu or Jabadiu is mentioned in the work of Ptolemy named Geographia which was made around 150 AD in the Roman Empire. Iabadiu is said to mean “island of barley”, also rich in gold, and has a silver city called Argyra at its western end.
This name indicates Javanese, and seems to be derived from the Hindu name Java-dvipa (Yawadvipa).
The annual news from Songshu and Liangshu referred to Java as She-po (5th century AD), He-ling (640-818 AD), then called it She-po again until the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), where they began call Zhao-Wa.
According to Ma Huan’s record (ie Yingya Shenlan), Chinese people refer to Java as Chao-Wa, and it was once called the She-pó (She-bó).
When John from Marignolli (1338-1353) returned from China to Avignon, he stopped at the kingdom of Saba, which he said had many elephants and was led by the queen; this name Saba might be his interpretation of She-bó.
History of Java
Java Island is part of a group of large Sundanese islands and Sundanese exposure, which in the period before the ice melt was the southeastern tip of the Asian continent.
Homo erectus fossil remains, popularly dubbed the “Java Man”, were found along the banks of the Bengawan Solo River, and these relics date back 1.7 million years.
The Sangiran site is an important prehistoric site on Java. Several megalithic structures have been found on the island of Java, such as menhirs, dolmen, stone tables, and stepped pyramids commonly called Punden Berundak.
Punden berundak and menhirs are found on megalithic sites in Paguyangan, Cisolok, and Gunung Padang, West Java. The Cipari megalithic site also found in West Java shows monolithic structures, stone terraces and sarcophagi.
Punden berundak is considered as the original structure of the archipelago and is the basic design of the temple building at the time of the Hindu-Buddhist Archipelago after the local population received the influence of Hindu-Buddhist civilization from India.
In the 4th century BC to the 1st or 5th century Buni Culture, namely the culture of clay pottery developed on the north coast of West Java. This protosejarah culture was the predecessor of the Tarumanagara kingdom.
The highly fertile and high rainfall island of Java allows the development of rice cultivation in wetlands, thus encouraging increasingly complex levels of cooperation between villages. From the village alliances, small kingdoms developed.
The range of volcanic mountains and surrounding highlands stretching along the island of Java causes the interior areas of the island and its communities to be relatively separated from outside influences.
In the period before the development of Islamic countries and the arrival of European colonialism, the existing rivers were the main means of transportation of the community, although most rivers in Java were short-lived.
Only the Brantas and Bengawan Solo Rivers can become long-distance connecting facilities, so that the river valleys form the center of large kingdoms.
It is estimated that a transportation system consisting of road networks, permanent bridges, and excise collection posts has been formed on the island of Java at least in the mid-17th century.
Local authorities have power over these routes, a heavy rainy season can also interfere with travel, and so the use of roads is highly dependent on ongoing maintenance. It can be said that the relations between the inhabitants of the island of Java at that time were difficult.