Diplomatic Correspondence: A Comparative Study on Malay and Javanese Letters in 1800s


Gilang Maulana Majid(1*)

(1) Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany
(*) Corresponding Author


A more established tradition may set an indirect consensus for thecommunication between rulers in any situation. This article identifies howdiplomatic correspondence was conducted and how different perceptions could actually be negotiated to attain certain goals. Two diplomatic letters – one from the Panembahan of Sumenep and one from the Sultanof Yogyakarta dispatched to Thomas Stamford Raffles to address Raffles’retirement during the British interregnum in Java from 1811 to 1816 –were analyzed. These letters were chosen due to the different scripts and languages used in the two letters: Classical Malay Jawi and Old Javanese'aksara Jawa'. By applying content analysis, this study finds that the Malay language was not only influential throughout the Indonesian archipelagoas a medium for verbal communication, but its letter-writing tradition even clearly affected its Javanese counterpart, setting a standard writing style for diplomatic letters.


Diplomatic Correspondence, Javanese Script, Malay Jawi, Raffles, British Interregnum in Java.

Full Text:



Behrend, T. (2005). Frontispiece Architecture in Ngayograkarta: Notes on Structure and Sources. Archipel, Vol. 69, 39–60.

Dwiyanto, D. (2009). Kraton Yogyakarta: Sejarah, Nasionalisme & Teladan Perjuangan. Yogyakarta: Paradigma Indonesia.

Gallop, A. (2010). The Amuletic Cult of Ma'ruf Al-Karhi in the Malay World.Cambridge: Archetype.

__________. (1994). The Legacy of the Malay Letter = Warisan Warkah Melayu. London: British Library.

Gallop, A. & Arps, B. (1991). Golden Letters: Writing Traditions of Indonesia. London & Jakarta: British Library & Yayasan Lontar.

Graaf, H. (2002). Puncak Kekuasaan Mataram: Politik Ekspansi Sultan Agung. Jakarta: Pustaka Utama Grafiti.

Graaf, H & Pigeaud, T. (1985). Kerajaan-Kerajaan Islam Pertama di Jawa: Kajian Sejarah Politik Abad ke-15 dan ke-16. Jakarta: Grafiti Pers. Hannigan, T. (2011). When Raffles Ran Java. History Today. Vol. 61, No. 9, 10–17.

Hernawan, W. (2016). Menelusuri Para Raja Madura dari Masa Pra-Islam Hingga Masa Kolonial. Wawasan: Jurnal Ilmiah Agama dan Sosial Budaya Vol. 1, No. 2. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15575/jw/ v1i2.589 Diplomatic Correspondence

Kresna, A. (2011). Sejarah Panjang Mataram: Menengok Berdirinya Kesultanan Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta: DIVA Press.

Mangunsuwito, S. (2002a). Kamus Bahasa Jawa: Jawa–Indonesia.Bandung: Yrama Widya.

__________. (2002b). Kamus Bahasa Jawa: Jawa–Jawa; Jawa–Indonesia;Indonesia–Jawa. Bandung: Yrama Widya.

Marihandono, D., & Juwono, H. (2008). Sultan Hamengku Buwana II: Pembela Tradisi dan Kekuasaan Jawa. Yogyakarta: Banjar Aji Production.

Niel, R. (2005). Java's Northeast Coast, 1740–1840: A Study in ColonialEncroachment and Dominance. Leiden: CNWS Publications. Pudjiastuti, T. (2005). Letters of the Sultans of Banten in the National

Archives of the Republic of Indonesia. Sari, Vol. 23, 123–135. Purwadi. (2008). History of Java: Melacak Asal-Usul Tanah Jawa.

Yogyakarta: Mitra Abadi.
Rahayu, I. (2016). Pergeseran Kesultanan Sumenep ke Tangan VOC

Tahun 1624-1705. Avatara, e-Journal Pendidikan Sejarah, Vol. 4, No. 3.

Ricklefs, M. (2008). A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1200. Fourth Edition. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

__________. (1993). War, Culture, and Economy in Java, 1677–1726: Asian

and European Imperialism in the Early Kartasura Period. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Ricklefs, M, Voorhoeve, P., & Gallop, A. (2014). Indonesian Manuscripts

in Great Britain. Jakarta: Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia.
Sono, H. (2008). Japan's Accession to the CISG: The Asia Factor. Pace

International Law Review, Vol. 20, Issue 1, 105–114. Sudarmanto. (2008). Kamus Lengkap Bahasa Jawa (Jawa–Indonesia,

Indonesia–Jawa). Semarang: Widya Karya.
Wurtzburg, C. (1986). Raffles of the Eastern Isles. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/ikat.v2i2.39239

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 1098 | views : 969


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Gilang Maulana Majid

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

View My Stats