Today’s South Kalimantan is a part of former Bajar
Sultanate. The capital of the sultanate was Banjermasin but later
it was moved to Martapura. Islam was introduced during the reign of Raden
Samudra (1520-’46) who was converted in 1526 and adopted the title of Sultan Surianshah.
At first the sultanate was tributary to Demak on
Java but it became sovereign after its eclipse. Projects to restore Javanese
supremacy in Borneo in the beginning of the 17th century failed.
The golden age of Banjar was the 17th century when
the pepper trade flourished and most of Borneo paid tribute to the sultanate.
In the course of a conflict within the ruling
dynasty the help of Bugis forces was called in by one of the quarreling
parties in 1757 and of the VOC by the party on the other side. After the Bugis were defeated by VOC forces a
treaty between the VOC and Banjar was concluded. The leader of one of the factions was banned to Ceylon.
The interference of the Company ushered in the
decline of the sultanate.
As a result of the treaty and later treaties the
territory of Banjermasin was reduced to what is now South Kalimantan Province
through the loss of Landak, Sambas, Bulungan, Kutai, Pasir, Pagatan
and Kotawaringin. In 1860 the Sultanate was abolished altogether and replaced
by a regency. In its turn this regency was abolished in 1884 and replaced by
the Banjermasin Division (Afdeeling Banjermasin).
During WWII Borneo Government, then called Borneo
Kaigun Minseibu was governed by the Japanese navy.
Indonesia's proclamation of independence (August 17, 1945), the government
under Soekarno and Hatta appointed Ir. H. Pangeran Muhammad Noor as the
governor of Borneo Government on August 18, 1945. The capital was
Banjarmasin. Soon however the Dutch could restore their rule in large parts
of the island which were well disposed to them. This was realized amongst
others by the Territoriaal en Troepen Commando Zuid & Oost Borneo
under the jurisdiction of the Commando van de Groote
Oost en Borneo residing in Makassar. As a result the states of
Kotawaringin, Dayak Besar (Great Dayak), Daerah Banjar (Banjar Territory),
and the Federation of Southeast Kalimantan were proclaimed in former Borneo
In 1950 these
states were abolished and became a part of the Republic of Indonesia. On 7
December 1956 the province of South Kalimantan was formed of these areas.
Later Pasir (a part of Southeast Kalimantan Federation) was integrated into
the province of East Kalimantan. On 23 May 1957 Kotawaringin and Dayak Besar
were separated from South Kalimantan to form their own province of Central
Probably because of the early abolition of the
sultanate very little has been preserved of the pusaka’s, regalia and other
emblems of state of Banjar Sultanate.
A part of the royal regalia, dating from the 19th
c., was a gilded iron shield decorated with a sun of 16 rays strongly
reminding the Majapahit
sun. This sun is the emblem of the Banjar Empire.
We may suppose that in the time of Majapahit and
Demak suzerainty the hindu-buddhist and islamic political symbols were used.
These could have been the Vishnu-garuda combination symbolizing the (central)
royal government or a sun symbolizing the empire. Military governors may have
been symbolized by lions. No insignia of rank of lower ranking officials like
the Banjar vassals however are known.
When islamic rulers of Banjar had gained independence from Demak it is possible that they used the islamic sun, moon and star system. Military command can have been symbolized by the two-pointed sword Dhu ‘l Fakr. From this system the Banjermasin shield is an example.
Shield, 19th century, Banjermasin,
iron. Æ 46.5 cm H. 9.3 cm. Museum Nasional, Jakarta, inv. no. E315.
The flag and
achievement for the inauguration of the Raja of Banjar Sultanate (2005) may
be an indication that the islamic system was used indeed. On the other hand
it contains some symbols that are difficult to interprete as they seem to
originate from a Chinese system of symbols. It would be interesting to know
more about the time and manner of creation of these emblems.
of Banjar Sultanate
The emblem on
the flag is:
Emblem: A chinese dragon affrontée supporting a
flag-staff with the pennon of Indonesia between eight pajong, the
exterior ones topped with a crescent.
Crest: Two five-pointed stars and a crescent.
Supporters: Two pegasus’
Compartment: A mountain-ridge.
After WW II the Territoriaal en Troepen Commando
Zuid & Oost Borneo (Territorial and Army Command South and East Broneo) was
encamped on Borneo and helped to restore Dutch rule.
This TTC had as
its arms: Sable, two mandaus
blades Or and hilts Argent in saltire.
These arms were
also used by XIII and XIV Batallion Infantry KNIL when active on Borneo.
The arms were
adopted by decision
Clg 283/GS/35 dated 11-07-1946.
As a result the
Territory of Banjar (Daerah Banjar) was established on 14 January
1948. This territory was incoprorated into the Republic of Indonesia on 4
The present arms
of Kalimantan Selatan were adopted by decree No 10 of 9 April 1963.
An introduction by
the Governor of South Kalimantan reads:
and the decree
ð See illustration in the head of this essay.
© Hubert de Vries