Majapahit was a well-known Hindu kingdom. The founder of the kingdom was Raden Wijaya. It was built in Tarik forest, near the delta of Brantas River, East Java. Majapahit reached its golden period when it was let by King Hayam Wuruk and his chief minister, Gajah Mada.
The territory of Majapahit at that time was almost as large as today’s Indonesia. The emergence of the Majapahit Kingdom was closely related to the Singasari Kingdom.
The foundation of Majapahit Kingdom
In 1292 the Singasari Kingdom was attacked, King Kertanegara was killed. One of Kertanegara’s son-in-laws. Raden Wijaya managed to escape together with his wife. They crossed the strait to Madura and asked for help from Wiraraja. Sometime later, Raden Wijaya was advised to go back to Kediri and pretend to offer his service of Jayakatwang.
Later on, Jayakatwang gave Raden Wiajaya the forest of Tarik as a present. Assisted by his followers, Raden Wijaya developed Tarik forest.
When they were working, one of them found a fruit called ‘maja’. When Raden Wijaya tasted the fruit, it was very bitter, so he named the new village Majapahit (bitter ‘maja’).
Read also: The fall of Majapahit Kingdom
In 1292, a large military contingent from China arrived in Tuban. The troops were commanded by three commanders. When Raden Wijaya heard of the arrival of Chinese troops, he sent a messenger to tell them that he was willing to help the Chinese troops.
The Chinese troops marched on to attack Kediri, while Raden Wijaya and his troops followed them. After a severe battle, Jayakatwang’s troops pulled back into town leaving thousands of dead soldiers. The town was besieged by the Chinese troops until Jayakatwang came out and surrounded.
Jayakatwang and his family as well as some officials of the kingdom were detained and taken by the Chinese to their fortification at Hujung Galuh. In prison, Jayakatwang still managed to write a book of poetry called Wukir Polaman. He died in the prison. Ardaraja ran away to the mountains but he was caught by Chinese soldiers, then he was imprisoned in Daha.
Raden Wijaya returned to Majapahit escorted by a band of Chinese soldiers. In Majapahit, the Chinese soldiers were attacked by Wijaya’s troops, so a war broke out. Chinese relief troops arrived, but they were resisted by Wiajaya’s army using the guerilla tactic.
The Chinese troops that were used to fighting in the open including their horse soldiers were unable to defeat the guerrilla fighters in the forest. Many of them were killed. The Chinese command considered that the war was useless because they had succeeded in punishing the king of Java.
In addition, the monsoon wind had started to change, so if they stayed too long they would not be able to go back to China at that time and would have to wait for the monsoon wind until the following year. Therefore, the commanders of the Chinese army decided to go back to China.
After the Chinese army left Java and the king of Kediri, Jayakatwang died, there was a vacuum of power. The vacuum of power was filled by Raden Wijaya by becoming the king of Majapahit to replace Singasari. As the king of Majaphit, his title was Kertarajasa Jayawardhana.
Raden Wijaya married four daughters of Kertanegara, they were Tribhuwaneswari, Narendraduhita, Prajnaparamita, and Gayatri. Tribhuwaneswari gave burth to Jayanegara. From Gayatri, Raden Wijaya got two daughters, Tribhuwanatunggadewi Jaya Wisnuwardhani and Rajadewi Maharajasa, while from Narendraduhita and Prajnaparamita he did not get any children. Raden Wijaya married the daughters of Kertanegara to strengthen his position and ensure that the entire Singasari was inherited to him.
The people who had been faithful and meritorious in the struggle to build Majaphit were given a chance to enjoy the result of the struggle and appointed as high-rank officials in the government.
Wiraraja was appointed Minister of ‘Mahawirdikara’. Nambi was appointed ‘Rakiyan Mapatih’, and Sora as Rakiyan Apatih in Daha. Nambi was awarded o first-rank position in the hierarchy of the Majapahit government, whereas Sora was given a second-rank position.
Rangga Lawe was appointed as the regent of Datam, and the commander of Malayu troops was made commander in chief and given a title, Kebo Anabrang.
Rangga Lawe was disappointed with the king because it was not him nor Sora who was appointed chief minister in Majapahit, whereas he felt that he had been more meritorious than Nambi. So, he went back to Tuban and built his force. Wiraraja’s attempt to bring him back to his senses failed. It turned out that in the royal circle, there was an agitator, Majapahit.
He informed the king that Rangga Lawe was about to rebel. To suppress the rebellion, the royal troops attacked Rangga Lawe in Tuban in 1295. Rangga Lawe was killed by Kebo Anabrang. Sora, the close friend of Rangga Lawe, took revenge for Rangga Lawe by stabbing Kebo Anabrang from behind.
The incident was used as a reason by Mahapatih to remove Sora and proposed to the king to sentence Sora to death. The king felt it was too hard for him to give the death penalty to Sora because he had been quite meritorious to the kingdom.
Deceitfully, Mahapatih managed to set up a was between royal troops and Sora (1298 – 1300). Sora was killed in the war. After that, Nambi was selected as the next target to slander by Mahapatih who wanted the position of Amangkubumi (chief minister).
Detecting Mahapatih’s conspiracy against him, Nambi decided to move away from Majaphit to Lumajang, and the reason he gave was in order to see his sick father. So only one more step was left for Mahapatih to achieve his goal. Unfortunately, Raden Wijaya died in 1309 and was burried in Sumberjati Temple, in the south of Blitar.