Kyai Pandan Arang


Semarang's history dates back to the ninth century, when it was known as Bergota. By the end of fifteenth century, a Javanese Islamic missionary from nearby Sultanate of Demak with the name of Kyai Pandan Arang founded a village and an Islamic boarding school in this place. On May 1, 1547, after consulting Sunan Kalijaga, Sultan Hadiwijaya of Pajang declared Kyai Pandan Arang the first bupati (regent) of Semarang, thus culturally and politically, on this day Semarang was born.

In 1678, Sunan Amangkurat II promised to give control of Semarang to the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a part of a debt payment. In 1682, the Semarang state was founded by the Dutch colonial power. On October 5, 1705 after years of occupations, Semarang officially became a VOC city when Susuhunan Pakubuwono I made a deal to give extensive trade rights to the VOC in exchange of wiping out Mataram's debt. The VOC, and later, the Dutch East Indies government, established tobacco plantations in the region and built roads and railroads, making Semarang an important colonial trading centre.

In the 1920s, the city became a center of leftist and nationalist activism. With the founding of the Communist Party of Indonesia in the city, Semarang became known as the "Red City". The Japanese military occupied the city along with the rest of Java in 1942, during Pacific War of World War II. During that time, Semarang was headed by a military governor called a Shiko), and two vice governors known as Fuku Shiko. One of the vice governors was appointed from Japan, and the other was chosen from the local population. After Indonesian independence in 1945, Semarang became the capital of Central Java province.

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