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Armed Forces

Back to Yogyakarta



The sultans of Surakarta and Yogyakarta were not in command of auxiliary troops. Instead they had a military house of which they were the head and they were titulary officers of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. The sultan of Yogyakarta had the rank of major-general.

On the territory of Yogyakarta however, there was the command of the Pakualaman Auxiliary Corps.

Pakualaman (also written Paku Alaman) is a small hereditary principality within the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It was created in 1812 when Natakusuma (later Paku Alam I) was rewarded by helping the British quell the conflict in Yogyakarta in June 1812. It became the counterpart of the Mangkunegaran principality in the territory of the Susuhunanate of Surakarta

A Pakualaman Corps of 100 cavalry (later 50 cavalry and 100 infantry) was established, but was never to become as significant as the Mangkunegaran Legion, and disbanded in 1892.

Due to Paku Alam VIII's role in the Indonesian independence movement, a law was passed to give the position of vice-governor of the Special District of Yogyakarta to the ruling Paku Alam prince at any particular time. Meanwhile, the Sultans of Yogyakarta were to hold the governor's office hereditarily.


Pakualaman Rulers

Paku Alam I

1812 - 1829

Paku Alam II

1829 - 1858

Paku Alam III

1858 - 1864

Paku Alam IV

1864 - 1878

Paku Alam V

1878 - 1900

Paku Alam VI

1901 - 1902

Paku Alam VII

1903 - 1938

Paku Alam VIII

1938 - 1999

Paku Alam IX

1999 - Present



A flag was granted to Pakualam I in 1813. This consisted of two breadths yellow and green. [1]



Photo: Timur Tunggadewa

Paku Alam,  cypher.


The cypher of the Paku Alam consisted of the capitals P and A in gold, crowned with a green cap with golden decorations. This cypher is on the carriage “Kyai Manik Kumolo”, presented to Paku Alam I (1812-’29) by Stamford Raffles. [2]  We may doubt however if this cypher is of Paku Alam I himself  as the first crowns may have been of Dutch style, as demonstrated by the 19th century achievements and royal cyphers of the Paku Buwono and Hamengku Bowono. A crown “Indonesian style” may have been introduced by Paku Alam VII (1903-’38) at the end of his reign. Before, his cypher may have consisted of the letters PA VII, surrounded by a garland of oak leaves, as on the helmets of his guard (see below).

As can be seen on the great gong stand from his gamelan set, the Pakualam achievement consisted of the cypher PA, supported by two naga.


Photo: Timur Tunggadewa

Achievement of Paku Alam VIII and ancient cypher

On the Pakualaman Mosque


At the end of Dutch Rule the emblems of the Paku Buwono and the Hamengku Buwono were restyled in a more local style, abandoning the Latin alphabet and introducing Javanese script. Following these examples the emblem of Paku Alam VIII (1938-‘99) was also restyled. It was:


Arms: Vert, the cypher PM8 in Paksćnan-Antiqua-script, Or.

Crown: The Pakualaman Crown.

Supporters: A pair of wings Or.


š See: Achievement of Paku Alam VIII in Pakualaman Museum, Yogyakarta, in the head of this essay. [3]


Armed Forces


Initially the Pakualaman Legion wore Dutch style uniforms, its cap badge consisting of a brass or silver plaque of the Dutch achievement 1816, also worn by the Marechaussee and the Rijksveldwacht in the motherland.

Ceremonial lance of Paku Alam IV, 1874

Coll. Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam


On the ceremonial lance of the Pakualam, probably meant to be the standard of the Pakualaman Legion, the finial consisted of a crescent supported by a Garuda, the crescent being a symbol of the state (i.e. Yogyakarta government) and the garuda being the symbol of the vehicle of Vishnu or of the ruler in general. [4]

In the Babad Pakualaman the banner of the Pakualam is described as a “traditional standard” charged with “a moon-orchid embroidery” and hanging from a tasseled staff. [5] The banner was displayed at the wedding of the daughter of Hamengkubuwono and also in the Java war. The finial of this staff could well have been the crescent-and-garuda from the Tropenmuseum collection.

The moon-orchid is a species of orchid (Phalaeonopsis amabilis) known in Javanse art and this brings us to the following reconstruction of the Pakualaman standard  š


The crescent-garuda-orchid standard was probably replaced by a new standard (after the Java War?), reason why its finial eventually became a part of the Tropenmuseum-collection.


Like the Legion of the Mangku Negoro and the Barisan Corpses the Pakualaman Legion was granted a banner, probably of the common Dutch style, showing the crowned letter “W” on the obverse and the name of the corps in Dutch and Javanese on the reverse.

A royal guard seems to have been maintained by Paku Alam VII (1903-’38) after the disbanding of the Pakualaman Corps in 1892. [6] The helmet-badge of this guard is on its ceremonial helmets and consists of the cypher PA VII, surrounded by a garland of oak leaves:


Photo: Timur Sri Muhammad Tunggadewa

Badge on a ceremonial helmet of the Paku Alam VII Guard.

(Coll. Pakualaman Museum Yogyakarta)


Paku Alam Legion Arms

For use on civil dress.

After 48 years a new Paku Alam Legion was founded in March 1940. The soldiers of this ephemeral Paku Alam Legion wore a brass PA cypher on the collar of their green uniform. The same cypher was worn by the officers on their shoulderpatches. They were allowed to wear a red, white and blue shield on their civil dress, charged with the cypher PA.  [7]



Photo: Timur Sri Muhammad Tunggadewa


The present Pakualaman Corps, reestablished in the early 1990-ties has the achievement of the Paku Alam as its emblem. It is worn as a breast patch and as a cap badge, both embroidered.


Breast Patch of the Kabupaten Pakualaman Ngayogyakarta



 (Arsip Kadipaten Pakualam, 2012)



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© Hubert de Vries 2011-05-11 Updated 2011-10-24; 2016-06-20


[1] Rühl, Dirk: Vlaggen van den Oost-Indischen Archipel (1600-1942). In: Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie. Dl. VI, 1952. pp. 136-148.

[2] Today in the Pakualaman Museum in Yogyakarta. Photo and info: Timur Sri Muhammad Tunggadewa (2011)

[3] Today in the Pakualaman Museum in Yogyakarta. Photo: Timur Sri Muhammad Tunggadewa (2011)

[4]  Compare european achievements of the English, Scottish and Portuguese parliaments which consisted of the royal arms supported by a single supporter.

[5]  Jurumartani, B.R.A.: Babad Paku Alaman. Jakarta, 1998. P. 202.: Anggrek-bulan

[6] See also: Tunggadewa, Timur Sri Muhammad: Legium Pakualaman Yogyakarta 1813-1892.

[7] Cats, B.C.: Hulpkorpsen in voormalig Nederlands-Indiė: hun uniformering en onderscheidingstekenen [1812-1942]. In: Armamentaria 1988,  pp. 149-171.


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