Jakarta History

The Jakarta area was part of the fourth century Indianized kingdom of Tarumanagara. Following the decline of Tarumanagara declined, its territories, including the Jakarta area, became part of the Kingdom of Sunda. The harbour area became known as Sunda Kelapa and by the fourteenth century, it was a major trading port for the kingdom. The first European fleet, four Portuguese ships from Malacca, arrived in 1513 when the Portuguese were looking for a route for spices.

The Kingdom of Sunda made a peace agreement with Portugal by allowing the Portuguese to build a port in 1522 in order to defend against the rising power of the Sultanate of Demak from central Java. In 1527, Fatahillah, a Sumatran Malay warrior from Demak attacked and conquered Sunda Kelapa in 1527 driving out the Portuguese. Sunda Kelapa was renamed Jayakarta, and became a fiefdom of the Sultanate of Banten which became a major Southeast Asia trading center.
The Castle of Batavia, seen from West Kali Besar by Andries Beeckman circa 1656-58

Through the relationship with Prince Jayawikarta from the Sultanate of Banten, Dutch ships arrived in Jayakarta in 1596. In 1602, the British East India Company's first voyage, commanded by Sir James Lancaster, arrived in Aceh and sailed on to Banten where they were allowed to build a trading post. This site became the center of British trade in Indonesia until 1682.

Jayawikarta is thought to have made trading connections with the English merchants, rivals of the Dutch, by allowing them to build houses directly across from the Dutch buildings in 1615.