A maja fruit near Brahu temple in
Trowulan, the bitter-tasting fruit is
the origin of the Empire's name
The Empire of Majapahit (Nusantaran Malay: Kemaharajaan Majapahit, Sanskrit: विल्व तिक्त; Wilwatikta) is a sovereign thalassocratic state in Southeast Asia. Majapahit was founded by Nararya Sanggramawijaya (more commonly known as Raden Wijaya) on 10 November 1293; Raden Wijaya became Majapahit's first reigning monarch and 10 November has since been commemorated as Empire Day.
Majapahit is strategically situated between the Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as between the continents of Asia and Australia. Its vast territory encompasses most of maritime Southeast Asia, including the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes, and Papua, as well as the Malay Peninsula, sharing a land border with Thailand there. With a land area of approximately 2.257.000 square kilometres and a growing population of 299,4 million in 2018, Majapahit is the 12th largest country by area and 4th largest country by population in the world.
The name Majapahit derives from local Javanese, meaning "bitter maja". The name originally referred to the area in and around Trowulan, the ancient capital of Majapahit, which was linked to the establishment of a village in Tarik timberland by Raden Wijaya. It was said that the workers clearing the Tarik timberland encountered some maja trees and consumed its bitter-tasting fruit that subsequently become the village's, and later Empire's, name.
Majapahit's strong ties with its vassal states across the archipelago meant that European states willing to establish trade in the region had to do so with explicit agreement with the Empire. Several British, Dutch, Portuguese and German made efforts with local leaders to destabilise numerous regions in Majapahit. These efforts then forced previous Maharajas to grant territorial concessions to the Europeans. These concessions include:
Timor Island: West Timor handed over to the Dutch Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) in 1613, East Timor handed over to the Portuguese in 1702.
Western Papua: Control of the Doberai Peninsula and Bintuni Bay handed over to the Netherlands, later established as Nederlands-Nieuw-Guinea in 1828.
Eastern Papua: Control of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland and southeastern Papua handed over to German and British colonial authorities in the 19th century.
North Kalimantan: Northern Kalimantan (presently Sabah Region-State) handed over to Britain, later established as British North Borneo in late 1880s.
These concessions sparked a wave of anti-European sentiment among the general populace during most of the 19th century. It eventually culminated in the rise of Majapahiti militarism, rapid expansion of the Imperial Military and development in Majapahiti military technology.
World War I
The war in Europe broke out in 1914 when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after its archduke, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by a Serbian revolutionary while on a visit to Sarajevo. Soon, major European powers such as Britain, Germany, France, and Russia were all embroiled in the conflict. The war was not just constricted to the European continent; fighting spread to the European colonies all over the globe. Majapahit remained neutral for the entirety of the war, refusing to side with either power bloc.
In Europe, the war ended in 1918 with the defeat of German, Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian, and the Ottoman empires, ravaging most of the continent's economy and infrastructure. Majapahit later joined the intergovernmental organisation the League of Nations as one of its founding member states along with other European victors of the war.
In the 1920s, Emperor Jayanagara IV sought to consolidate power in the region. He established a close relationship with Siam, ruled by a strong monarchy led by King Rama VI, which eventually led to a Majapahiti-Siamese alliance aimed at defending the monarchies' sovereignty from any foreign power and increased economic cooperation. This semi-formal alliance opposed Britain's Jesselton Strategy, a strategy about defending the British colonial empire in the Asian Far East by basing a decent-sized fleet in the port of Jesselton, North Borneo. The plan includes the construction of naval bases and its defences. Although this strategy was drafted mainly against the threat of Japan, both Majapahit and Siam felt threatened with the presence of a large British fleet stationed in southeast Asia.
This period was also marked with the rise of communism in formerly Imperial Russia, which now had become the Soviet Union. The ideology made its way to Majapahit with the formation of MCP, the Majapahit Communist Party. It gathered some support mostly from populations in outlying islands and rural peasants, who felt unjustly treated by the monarchy. Seeing how the Russian Revolution was very successful in deposing the Tsar and abolishing the Russian monarchy, the Emperor was keen in curbing communist political and social activities. Many communist meetings and rallies were brutally suppressed by the military, and government agencies were purged of suspected communists and their sympathizers.
Fortunately, new economic and social policies introduced by Premier Mangunkusumo's populist government redirected most of the MCP's support back towards the ruling monarchy. The party was later forcibly dissolved in 1928, but its remnants integrated into other political organisations during this era and continued their activities there.
World War II
The rise of fascism in Italy, national socialism in Germany, and militaristic imperialism in Japan were of major concern to Majapahiti interests. The League of Nations' failure to avert another Great War was proven in its inability to prevent the invasion of Abyssinia in 1935, the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and the conquest of Czechoslovakia in 1938. As such, Emperor Jayanagara V withdrew Majapahit from the League.
The war that broke out in September 1939 gave an excuse to Emperor Jayanagara V to realise and put into effect the Trinity Doctrine, a set of foreign policies similar to the United States' Monroe Doctrine. Its aim was to prevent further European imperialism in the Southeast Asian region. Unlike the US however, Majapahit also strives for complete decolonisation of existing colonies in the region. The following month in November, the Emperor announced limited conscription for the Imperial Military to prepare for various planned operations. Several documents detailing takeover of British holdings in Northern Borneo and eastern Papua, as well as Dutch possessions in Timor and western Papua, were drafted by the Imperial War Council under supervision of His Imperial Majesty.
Battlecruiser IMS Jayakarta, flagship of the 3rd
Fleet and its sister ships pictured in 1940.
Representatives from Japan arrived in late November in an unofficial and somewhat secretive state visit to the Imperial Palace in Majakarta. Japanese authorities discovered Majapahit's ambitions to dismantle the European colonial empires in East Asia to align somewhat perfectly with their vision of a "Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" and they offered a political and military alliance to Emperor Jayanagara V. His Imperial Majesty, however, refused the offer and instead negotiated for a non-aggression pact instead. As a result, both nations agree to not interfere with each other's military operations under the basis of having a common enemy: Western imperialism. The pact also increased economic co-operation between the two empires. This period of non-aggression is now commonly referred to as an "uneasy alliance" between Japan and Majapahit.
In April 1940, the Imperial Army positioned several divisions along the land borders of the aforementioned European holdings, while the Imperial Navy increased production of destroyers and cruisers, and prepared its fleets for a naval blockade reminiscent of the one imposed in the Great War a few decades ago. A month later in the first week of May, Foreign Minister Teguh demanded the "return of rightful core Majapahiti territories in Nusantara to the Empire", in practice forcing Britain and the Netherlands to give up their possessions in the archipelago, or face the threat of war. Both initially refused the demands, but after capitulating to Germany later that month, the Dutch government-in-exile gave in and handed over Nederlands-Nieuw-Guinea to the Empire in exchange for limited diplomatic support for the Dutch cause in Europe. Local resistance was offered by several Dutch army units, but were quickly quelled by the Imperial Army.
On 31 May, Majapahit declared war on the United Kingdom, officially to "decolonise territories unlawfully occupied by Britain in Southeast Asia". The Mobile units of the Imperial Army stationed along the border quickly moved rapidly into North Borneo, with limited support offered through the air by the army's Air Forces. Majapahiti troops face to no resistance in doing so (since the colony relied on the Royal Navy for protection), taking no casualties with only a handful of men wounded in action. Sandakan, the administrative centre, was captured a few days after the fall of Jesselton in a little over a week; the Royal Navy squadron stationed in Jesselton was ultimately no match for the Majapahiti 3rd Fleet and surrendered to Imperial Navy troops. British authorities in the territory officially capitulated on 13 June, once the entirety of North Borneo had been retaken by Majapahit.
Postwar Period and internal threats
Although aligned with Japan for most of the war, Majapahit was never officially part of any military alliance, and thus wasn't deeply affected by the Allied victory over the Axis powers in 1945. The territories gained by the Empire from the European colonial authorities in North Borneo and West Papua were integrated into already existing region-states with some degree of autonomy. In November 1945, Emperor Jayanagara V publicly stated in national media:
This war has proven to the world that Majapahit will forever endure."
The aftermath of the Second World War marked the subsequent rise of two global superpowers: the Soviet Union and the United States. The United Kingdom's (especially after the 1956 Suez Crisis) status as a dominant world power was thus weakened; however the UK, alongide France and the Majapahit Empire, were still considered as a major power on the global stage. As time went on, it was clear that the world was now divided along two powerful blocs: the Western bloc, led by the United States championed liberalism and capitalism, while the Eastern bloc, led by the Soviet Union aimed to export the ideas of Karl Marx worldwide. Premier Sosrodiharjo's government thought that in order to counter the aggressive and expansionist foreign policies of both of the blocs, a new solidarity must be established between nations who have suffered the most from imperialism and colonialism.
The Afro-Asian Conference of 1955 hosted in Majapahit seated African and Asian nations, most of which were newly independent. The conference was organised by Majapahit, Burma (Myanmar), Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and India and was coordinated by Premier Kusno Sosrodiharjo. Its official aims were to promote Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism or neocolonialism by any nation.
Majapahit is an archipelagic country located in Southeast Asia, lying between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It is located in a strategic location astride or along major sea lanes connecting East Asia, South Asia and Oceania. Majapahit's various regional cultures have been shaped—although not specifically determined—by centuries of complex interactions with its physical environment.
According to a geospatial survey conducted in 2010 by the Imperial Institute of Aeronautics and Space (IKARA) Majapahit has 18,307 islands. Around 8,800 of those islands are named, with over 900 of those permanently inhabited. It comprises five main islands: Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua; two major island groups (Nusa Tenggara and the Maluku Islands) and sixty smaller island groups.
Lying along the equator, Majapahit's climate tends to be relatively even year-round. It has two seasons—a wet season and a dry season—with no extremes of summer or winter. For most of Majapahit, the dry season falls between May and October while the wet season between November and April. Some regions, such as Kalimantan and Sumatra, experience only slight differences in rainfall and temperature between the seasons, whereas others, such as Nusa Tenggara, experience far more pronounced differences with droughts in the dry season, and floods in the wet. Rainfall in the archipelago is plentiful, particularly in west Sumatra, northwest Kalimantan, west Java, and western Papua.
Jaya Peak, the highest mountain in Majapahit.
The geographical resources of the Majapahiti archipelago have been exploited in ways that fall into consistent social and historical patterns. One cultural pattern consists of the formerly Indianized, rice-growing peasants in the valleys and plains of Sumatra, Java, and Bali, another cultural complex is composed of the largely Islamic coastal commercial sector, a third, more marginal sector consists of the upland forest farming communities which exist by means of subsistence swidden agriculture. To some degree, these patterns can be linked to the geographical resources themselves, with abundant shoreline, generally calm seas, and steady winds favouring the use of sailing vessels, and fertile valleys and plains permitting irrigated rice farming. The heavily forested, mountainous interior hinders overland communication by road or river, but fosters slash-and-burn agriculture.
(Jayanagara VII), Emperor
Current head of government:
Joko Widodo, Premier
Majapahit is a constitutional monarchy with a Maharaja ("Emperor" in Sanskrit) as the "paramount ruler" and executive head of state who elects a Mahapatih ("Premier" or "Prime Minister") as the head of government. The Premier, while appointed by the Emperor himself, is also responsible to the legislature; they can be impeached or forcibly removed from office by the legislature if such an action is deemed necessary, with approval from at least two-thirds of the assembly. The current monarch is Maharaja Jayanagara VII, while the incumbent Premier is Mahapatih Joko Widodo.
After the constitutional referendums of 1915, Majapahit is a multi-party democracy. The ruling political party, the Imperial Rule Alliance, is a centrist, militaristic, and somewhat religious party under Premier Widodo's leadership. It has dominated politics in Majapahit ever since it was first established in 1887, having held the most seats in the Imperial Assembly, Majapahit's bicameral parliament. Only two other parties exist in the Empire, which are the right-wing populist National Civic Party and the left-wing All-Majapahit Union Party, both having ever held only a minor share of parliamentary seats. As such, many foreign scholars consider Majapahit to have a dominant-party system. However, Majapahit's system has been praised for having been able to maintain political stability within the vast Empire.
The Revised Imperial Framework of 1915 is considered as the guiding laws and principles that define the structure and governance of the Empire; in other words, it is Majapahit's official constitution. Every law and policy enacted by the Imperial government must abide to the Framework, in addition to the Emperor's will. It also regulates succession of the throne and participation of the people in governance.
The Cabinet, officially known as His Imperial Majesty's Ministerial Cabinet is the Majapahiti government's executive branch, led and coordinated by the Premier. The term Biro (Bureau in English) has been commonly used to refer to a Ministry or Department as opposed to most western nations. The Cabinet also includes several senior positions equal to that of a Minister.
His Excellency, Joko Widodo
Premier of the Empire of Majapahit
Imperial Office of the Premier
Hon. Tjahjo Kumolo
Imperial Bureau of Domestic Affairs
Hon. Retno L.P. Marsudi
Imperial Bureau of Foreign Affairs
Lt. General (Ret.) Moh. Amir
Imperial Bureau of Defence
Hon. Yasonna Laoly
Imperial Bureau of Justice
Hon. Sri Mulyani
Imperial Bureau of the Treasury
Hon. Airlangga Hartarto
Imperial Bureau of Industry
Hon. Hanif Dhakiri
Imperial Bureau of Labour
Hon. Enggartiasto Lukita
Imperial Bureau of Trade
Hon. Siti Nurbaya Bakar
Imperial Bureau of the Environment
Hon. Ignasius Jonan
Imperial Bureau of Transportation
Hon. Susi Pudjiastuti
Imperial Bureau of Maritime Affairs
Hon. Basuki Hadimuljono
Public Works Minister
Imperial Bureau of Public Works
Hon. Nila D.A. Moeloek
Imperial Bureau of Health
Hon. Muhadjir Effendy
Imperial Bureau of Education
Hon. Muhammad Nasir
Imperial Bureau of Research & Technology
Hon. Khofifah I. Parawansa
Imperial Bureau of Social Affairs
Hon. Arief Yahya
Imperial Bureau of Tourism & Culture
Hon. Moh. Rudiantara
Imperial Bureau of Information & Communications
Hon. Imam Nahrawi
Imperial Bureau of Youth & Sports
Enforcement of Imperial law in Majapahit is carried out by the Imperial Police forces through numerous separate branches, not all of which operate in the same areas. They are generally under the nominal jurisdiction of the Internal Affairs ministry.
Polisi Metro (PM) (Imperial Metropolitan Police) operates mostly in urbanised areas and surrounding locales. It deals with criminal offences and public order and also includes special anti-riot units.
Polisi Wilayah (PW) (Imperial Regional Police) is present in and maintained by every Region-State within the Empire and operates mainly in rural areas. It shares the same tasks and responsibilities as the PM.
Polisi Udara (PU) (Imperial Air Police) utilises rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft, and its units are mostly integrated into the PM and PW. The agency is responsible for traffic control, ground support, search and rescue, as well as transportation of personnel and equipment.
Polisi Laut (PL) (Imperial Maritime Police) colloquially known as the Coast Guard is responsible for enforcement of maritime law, navigation safety, search and rescue, as well as protection of marine resources and fisheries. Like the PU, units of the PL are integrated into the PM and PW. It fields a fleet of patrol vessels, inflatable boats, and floatplanes.
Majapahiti policemen usually wear dark grey field uniforms with a peaked cap in day-to-day operations. They are equipped with a semi-automatic handgun and baton. Specialised services such as the anti-riot units, crews aboard PU aircraft and PL ships would regularly sport military-grade uniforms and gear.
The Empire has generally good relations with most nations of the world, having established numerous embassies and consulates abroad and hosting many foreign diplomatic missions. It has been a member of the World Assembly since its inception..
The Imperial Military of Majapahit, commonly referred to simply as the Imperial Military are the armed services responsible for the defence of the Empire and its overseas territories. They also promote Majapahit's wider interests, support international peacekeeping efforts and provide humanitarian aid. The military is comprised of over 900.000 active-duty personnel and has a budget of $54,8 billion in 2017-18. It is entirely a voluntary, professional force; however, in certain situations the Maharaja has the ability to instate conscription if deemed necessary. This power was most notably exercised by HM Emperor Jayanagara V during the first years of World War II amidst rising tensions with both Imperial Japan and Great Britain.
Historically, the Imperial Military have played a major role in Majapahit's affairs, where it fought for the Empire in various wars and conflicts around the world. It was recorded as one of the strongest and most modern armed forces in Asia since the early 20th century. Majapahit was the second country in Southeast Asia after Siam/Thailand to acquire an aerial warfare capability when the Imperial Army Air Force was first established in 1916, followed by the Imperial Naval Air Corps two years later in 1918.
Su-35I air superiority fighter of the
Imperial Army Air Force (IAAF)
The Imperial Army is the military's principal land warfare branch, which also includes the Imperial Army Air Force, the primary aerial warfare branch. It is the oldest and largest in size among the two service branches, with approximately 560.000 servicemen including 143.000 AAF personnel. Additionally, over half a million reservists could be mobilised in wartime by decree from the Emperor. In peacetime, the army is organised into 17 military districts which do not correspond to regional borders. The army currently operates modern armoured fighting vehicles, attack helicopters, and 4+ generation jet fighters.
The Imperial Navy is an oceangoing blue-water navy. It is traditionally the strongest branch within the military equipment and training-wise. In 2018, official data shows the navy has 390.000 servicemen, including 71.000 INAC personnel and 45.000 marines. The branch has been a well-equipped coastal defence force and blue-water navy with the task of protecting the sovereignty of Majapahit's vast territorial waters and to provide water-borne support for the military as a whole.
The navy's Imperial Fleet consists of surface combat vessels, submarines, and auxiliary craft. Besides that, the Navy also has jurisdiction over the Imperial Marine Corps (its amphibious warfare branch) and the Imperial Naval Air Corps. Presently, the navy is organized into three major Naval Regions each headquartered in the ports of Jayakarta, Majakarta, and Ambon, respectively.
Inter-service rivalry have been rife within the Imperial Military, most notably between the IAAF and the INAC over budget allocation, distribution of equipment, and overlapping jurisdiction.
The nominal Commander-in-chief of the Imperial Military is the Majapahiti monarch, currently HM Emperor Jayanagara VII, to whom members of the forces swear allegiance.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
Majapahit is one of six "nuclear weapons states" under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but is not known to possess or develop any chemical or biological weapons. It was the fifth country in the world to test an independently developed nuclear weapon in 1962, two years after the French tested their first nuclear bomb.
Beginning in the early 1955, the idea of pursuing the research of atomic weapons was initiated by Premier Tribuwana's government. Majapahit's non-aligned or "third positionist" foreign policy required the capability of deterrence against possible attacks by the United States or the Soviet Union and their allies on the sovereign territory and allied states of the Empire. Tribuwana then initiated the establishment of the Bureau of Scientific Research and Technology (BSRT), with creating Majapahit's first nuclear weapon as its primary mission.
The Bureau was thought to have conspired with agencies and nuclear experts from South Africa and Israel to accomplish its goal. A few years later in mid-1962, the first operational weapon code-named "Merak-1" was successfully built. Tests were conducted at a classified location in the southern Indian Ocean, although some sources have suggested the Pacific Ocean was the actual location of the tests. BSRT continued producing warheads for the years to come.
Majapahit under the government of Premier Latuharhary signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1978, ultimately bringing the Empire's nuclear weapons programme to an end. By then, Majapahit has approximately 400 warheads. Presently, the Imperial military is thought to possess some 300 active nuclear warheads. The precise number of active warheads and locations of missile facilities is classified to all but a select few within the high-ranking echelons of government and general staff.
Majapahit follows a market socialist economic system, where it involves private, public and cooperative ownership of the means of production in the framework of a market economy. The private sector dominates a large chunk of the Majapahiti economy, at around 54%. Around 38% is controlled by the public sector, while the remaining 8% is controlled by foreign companies. According to several estimates, as of January 2018, Majapahit's nominal GDP exceeds $2,48 trillion, making it the largest economy and one of the most industrialised in Southeast Asia.
Since the 14th century, primary and secondary sectors such as shipping, fishing, agriculture, and trade have dominated the Majapahiti economy. Presently however, the Empire's economy has shifted to one mainly driven by the tertiary sector, such as manufacturing and services. Majapahit is categorised as a newly industrialised country by many political scientists and economists and is expected to become a fully-fledged developed country by the year 2022.
In January 2019, there are 8 million Majapahiti citizens working overseas, while the number of foreign residents in Majapahit, excluding tourists and foreign emissaries was over 310.000. This relatively high number of foreign workers compared to previous years have been the topics of political debate stirred up by the opposition, although the incumbent government doesn't consider this fact as a particularly troubling issue at all for the economy.
Government involvement in the Majapahiti economy is primarily exercised through the Imperial Bureau of the Treasury and the Imperial Bureau of Industry and Labour. The Imperial Bank of Majapahit is the Empire's central bank and its monetary policies have been responsible for setting interest rates, quantitative easing, and forward guidance.
Majapahit is a religiously diverse nation. Although the official religions the Empire have been Hinduism and Buddhism, the Imperial government guarantees freedom of religion for the people. Five major beliefs are considered Majapahit's national religions, as they have a substantially large amount of believers among the populace, however none of these religions are considered as a 'majority'. These include Hinduism (31% of the population), Islam (26%), Buddhism (17%), Christianity (16%), and Kejawèn (9%).
Kejawèn is a Javanese religious tradition, consisting of an amalgam of animistic, Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic beliefs and practices. A significant number of older-generation Javanese people in Majapahit are devout followers of this belief. Ever since the formal teaching of Kejawèn has been introduced to public schools, the number of adherents is expected to gradually rise in the coming years.
No legislation in Majapahit prohibits adherence to certain religions nor the belief that no God exists. However, only a little over one percent of the population have declared themselves to be atheist/agnostic or adhere to other religious beliefs.
Approximately over 300 distinct native ethnic groups exist in Majapahit, making it a very ethnically diverse country. However, most Majapahitis are descended from Austronesian-speaking peoples. The Javanese are the largest ethnic group, comprising roughly a third of the entire population. The Sundanese, Batak, and Madurese are the largest non-Javanese groups. Non-indigenous peoples, such as those of Chinese and Indian descent, form a considerably large minority. A sense of Majapahiti nationhood exists alongside strong regional identities, making sure the diverse population stays united under the Imperial banner.
Taufik Hidayat, Olympic gold
medalist in badminton men's singles
Sports in Majapahit are generally male-oriented.
Badminton is one of the most popular sports in the country. Majapahiti badminton players are well-known for their successes on the international stage, having won the Thomas and Uber Cups dozens of times, as well as numerous Olympic medals since the sport gained full Olympic status in 1992.
Majapahitis also enjoy association football. Liga Pratama (LP) is the country's premier football league, having been held since 1970 and currently comprises 20 professional clubs. The Piala Maharaja ("Emperor's Cup") is the most prestigious football tournament in Majapahit, which involves the top 8 teams from LP at the end of every season. So far, only twelve top-tier clubs have won at least one Piala Maharaja.
The Imperial Bureau of Information & Communications (commonly referred to as Biro Media by the populace) is the government agency responsible for monitoring and controlling domestic media, while foreign media operating in Majapahit are subject to regulations and censorship issued by the Bureau. Defamation and sedition laws allow Imperial authorities to stop the circulation of news deemed to incite unrest or threaten national security.
Majapahit's media industry has sometimes been criticised for being overly regulated and lacking in freedom by human rights groups, however, in doing so the Imperial government protects its people from the dangers of excessive exposure to Western media, culture, and social norms.