Mataram's overseas empire


Like its predecessors, Mataram never exercised direct administrative control in the territories of its distant vassals. Its rulers sought as far as possible to bring trade under their control, but when this was not possible, they preferred to close the northern coasts of Java and to end trade altogether, rather than allow it to come into the hands of potential rivals. Mataram's overseas adventures were correspondingly modest: it did not seriously seek to recreate the archipelagic empire of Majapahit, and indeed it would have found great difficulty in doing so, for Europeans, especially the Dutch in their United East Indies Company (VOC), had become an increasingly potent naval force in the region.

Further reading

Reid, Anthony, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce 1450-1680, volume two: expansion and crisis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Map number from Cribb, Historical Atlas of Indonesia (2000)


Year span

1595 - 1620