East Java's history
dates back to the famous ancient kingdoms of Kediri and Singhasari, which is
now a city near Malang. The Majapahit empire, centered
at Trowulan, Mojokerto East Java, is celebrated by Indonesians as the golden
age of the archipelago. The Eastern Java region was part of the Mataram
kingdom during its peak.
Eastern Java is
composed of several parts of Mataram. Sumenep was annexated by the Dutch East
India Company in 1705. Madura, Pasuruan, Rembang and Surabaja folllowed in
1743. Besuki came to be a possession of the V.O.C. in 1777 and Madiun became
a part of the Dutch East Indies in 1830.
residencies were united in East Java Province (Provincie Oost Java)
founded in 1929.
On 26 November
1948 the State of East Java (Negara Jawa Timur) was established on the
territory of East Java Province. This state was ruled by a Wali Negara by
name of R.T. Achmad Kusumonegori
(1948.12.03- 1950.01.19) and for some time by a federal commissioner
(1950.01.19-1950.03.09). On the last date the province was incorporated into
the Republic of Indonesia.
In the time of the Kediri and Singasari empires and also in the time of the Mataram Empire the local heraldry apparently was of the Hindu-buddhist kind. When the Dutch V.O.C. took over the symbols of state of the V.O.C. were valid.
Emblems for lower governmental bodies were introduced when Surabaja adopted a coat of arms in 1931.
No coat of arms was ever adopted for colonial East Java Province nor emblems of state are known of the ephemeral State of East Java.
No achievement was adopted for the Province of East
Java in the time of Dutch rule. Instead there was an achievement for its
Arms: Azure, a shark reguardant in chief and a crocodile to the sinister reguardant, both Argent.
Crown: A crown of three leaves and two pearls (also a mural crown of five towers).
Supporters: Two lions Or, langued and unguled Gules.
Motto: SOERA-ING-BAJA in golden lettering on a scroll Azure. 
A legend about the arms of Surabaya narrates:
“Very long time ago, a shark (suro)
and a crocodile (bojo) constantly quarrelled with each other. Both were
strong, courageous, clever and gluttonous and always when they met they waged
a life and death struggle, be it on land or in the sea.
Realizing that life would be
impossible for both of them in this way they made, on the proposal of the
crocodile, an agreement. For the shark, who was a better swimmer than the
crocodile, the sea was his territory henceforth and the crocodile declared
the land to be his. The border between the two territories would be the line
of low tide.
For a long time there was
peace between them but then the shark realized that there was only an
agreement about the land and the sea. The rivers, he thought, are also water
and are not dry at low tides and consequently are a part of my territory. And
so the shark, eager for booty, went into the rivers.
Once the crocodile, returning
from one of his raids, ran into the shark and reproached him that he did not
keep to the agreement.
The shark however said that he
was of the opinion that the rivers, being water, were a part of his territory.
The crocodile did not agree
with that and the quarrel went so far that a fierce struggle resulted. The
water coloured red of the blood of the fighters and even the bridge nearby
was coloured red. For that reason this bridge is still called “The Red Bridge”.
The crocodile was injured on
his right side, there where his tail began. For that reason crocodiles still
have their tails bent to the left. But he chased the shark from his territory
and since then the shark never comes nearer but the mouth of the rivers.
And as a reminder to this
struggle the city founded on the spot was called Surobojo.” 
Jembatan Merah / Roode Brug in Surabaya, end 19th c.
The present arms of Surabaya are:
Arms: Azure, a shark reguardant in chief and a crocodile
to the sinister reguardant in base Or, and the Tugu Pahlawan monument in Surabaya per pale
The Negara Jawa Timur was established 1948.02.26 and
dissolved 1950.03-09. Its wali negara was R.T. Achmad Kusomonegoro
(1948.12.03 - 1950.01.19).
This was the time after WWII of the presence of the
Dutch Army and the struggle for independence
in East Jawa.
On the Dutch side initially there was the
Territorial Command East Java (Territoriaal Commando Oost Java) but
later this was replaced by the A-Division.
The emblem of the Territorial Command East Java
consisted of the map of the Westgat and the Oostgat between
Java and Madura, in chief the flag of the Netherlands and in base the crocodile
of Surabaya. Over all a sword per pale, on its point the letter ‘A’ Tenne
(orange). This emblem was approved by disposal of the army commander (L.C.)
nr. 283/GS/35 of 11 July 1946. As the arms were judged too overloaded they
were replaced by a shield approved by disposal L.C. No. 1823/GS/35 of 21
April 1947. This showed a tower on a red field, its entrance an ‘A’ of the
Around Surabaya were the 5th Division Ronggolawe, the 6th Division Brawijaya and the 7th Division Suropati of the Indonesian Army. Of these three divisions the arms of the Brawijaya Division are known:
Arms: Per pale Gules and Tenne, a temple proper
and a five pointed star Or in chief.
Title: BRAWIJAYA in
white lettering on a chief Sable.
It is not known which temple is depicted on the
Today TNI Kodam V/Brawijaya
controls East Java Province.
Arms: Per fess Azure and
Or, the Merapi volcano Sable, smoking Argent, charged with the national
monument Tugu Pahlawan between a split temple-gate, in chief a
five-pointed star radiant Or and a base barry engrailed Argent and Azure.
Garland: A branch of cotton
and an ear of rice, proper, a white scroll with the name JAWA TIMUR in black lettering
surrounded by a part of a cogwheel on the dexter and the sinister
Azure and in base a chain Or.
Motto: JER BASUKI MAWA BEYA in black lettering on a white scroll.
Merapi (2800 m) is the highest volcano of the range of nine volcanos
of East Java.
split temple-gate symbolizes the spiritual greatness of the people of
East Java in good and bad times.
Tugu Pahlawan monument in Surabaya commemorates the strugge for
golden base symbolizes the rich sawah’s and fields of the province, the waves
the rivers irrigating them
golden star symbolizes the national principle of the Pancasila
garland symbolizes prosperity and makes the date 17 August 1945, the
day of the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia
cogwheel symbolizes industry, the chain the unity of the working class
ð See illustration in the head of this essay
The arms of the
Regional Police (POLDA) of East Java shows, on the usual shield per bend
sinister Or and Sable, a disc with the Merapi Volcano smoking.
© Hubert de Vries 2010-10-14