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Jambi was the site of a well-established, powerful Srivijayan kingdom that engaged in trade throughout the Strait of Malacca and beyond. It succeeded Palembang to the south, which was a frequent military and economic rival, as the later capital of the ancient kingdom. The move to Jambi was partly induced by the historic 1025 raid by pirates from the Chola region of southern India that destroyed much of Palembang.

In the middleages Jambi was a part of the Malacca Sultanate and later of its successor state the sultanate of Johor which was split up by the Anglo Dutch Treaty of 1824 in a Dutch and a British sphere of influence. 

In 1833, minor conflicts with the Dutch, who were well established in Palembang, meant the Dutch increasingly felt the need to control the actions of Jambi. They coerced Sultan Facharudin to agree to greater Dutch presence in the region and control over trade, although the sultanate remained nominally independent. In 1858 the Dutch invaded Jambi with a force from Batavia. They met little resistance, and Sultan Taha fled to the upriver, inland regions of Jambi. The Dutch installed a puppet ruler, Nazarudin, in the lower region, which included the capital city. For the next forty years Taha maintained the upriver kingdom, and slowly reextended his influence over the lower regions through political agreements and marriage connections. In 1904, however, the Dutch finally managed to capture and kill Taha, and in 1906, the entire area was brought under direct colonial management.

With the end of the period following the death of Jambi sultanate sultan Taha Saifuddin on April 27, 1904 and the success of the Dutch controlled areas of the Sultanate of Jambi, Jambi then was made a Residency of Nederlandsch Indiė. Jambi's first Resident O.L. Helfrich appointed by the Governor General by Decree No. 20 dated May 4, 1906 and his inauguration held on July 2, 1906.

In 1938 Jambi Residency (Residentie Djambi) became a part of Sumatra Province. In 1942 it was occupied by the Japanese Army. After the war Jambi Residency was incorporated into Sumatera Tengah (Central Sumatera) and after the rebellion of the generals in 1958 and the dissolution of Sumatera Tengah it was upgraded to a province.




Through the ages the  political symbols valid in Jambi may have been of the Hindu-Buddhist and Muslim kind. The Muslim political symbols may have been used also by Jambi sultanate but nothing is known about it. After 1906 the political symbols of the Kingdom of the Netherlands were valid and in the time of Japanese occupation those of the Japanese Army and the Japanese Empire. These were followed by the arms of the Republic of Indonesia.


From the time of Jambi Sultanate we know the flags of the sultan himself, and the flag of the commercial nobility:[1]


 Flag of the Sultan, also the flag for war


Flag of the Commercial Nobility


A specific emblem for Jambi was only adopted after the residency was upgraded to a province.


The arms show:


Arms: Parted per fess Or and Azure, in chief a mosque Argent its stone basement proper (grey); in base a lotus-shaped bowl Or, its stem charged with a gong and a keris per pale, and rising from waves of the sea, all proper.

Motto: SEPUCUK JAMBI SEMBILAN LURAH (The Precious Jambi of the Nine Village Chiefs) in black lettering on a yellow scroll.


š See illustration in the head of this essay


  • The Mosque symbolizes muslim faith
  • The bowl symbolizes the administration,
  • The gong the call up for a meeting and the Srivijayan past.
  • The keris symbolizes power of defense

The five-cornered shield is for the Pancasila










Today Jambi is controlled by

Kodam II/Sriwijaya.


The arms of Jambi Police shows, on the usual shield per bend sinister Or and Sable, a black disc charged with the gong, the keris and the waves from the provincial arms.



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© Hubert de Vries 2010-11-29

[1] ) Carte de Pavillions en usage chez le differents peuples des Indes-Orientales Néerlandaises, 1865. Rühl, Dirk: Vlaggen van den Oost-Indischen Archipel (1600-1942). In: Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie. Dl. VI, 1952. pp. 136-148.

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