Sumatra and the Malay peninsula, 13th century


According to legend, the Javanese kingdom of Singhasari also attacked the Minangkabau kingdom. To avert bloodshed, the two sides agreed that the conflict would be settled by means of a buffalo fight. The Javanese champion was a huge bull, but the Minangkabau came forward with a buffalo calf, not yet weaned from its mother. The Javanese expected an easy victory, but the Minangkabau had kept the calf thirsty and had tied razor-sharp knives to its head. When the two animals were released into the ring, the calf rushed immediately towards the bull and nuzzled its belly, hoping to find milk. The knives attached to its head cut open the bull and the Minangkabau claimed victory.

Further reading

Cœdès, George, The Indianized states of Southeast Asia. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1975.

Hall, D.G.E., A History of South-East Asia. New York: St. Martin's Press, 4th ed.,1981.

Munoz, Paul Michel, Early kingdoms of the Indonesian archipelago and the Malay Peninsula. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2006.

Wheatley, Paul, The Golden Khersonese: studies in the historical geography of the Malay Peninsula before A.D. 1500. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1961.

Wolters, O.W., Early Indonesian commerce: a study of the origins of Srivijaya. Ithaca. N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1974.

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


Year span

1200 - 1300