By M. C. Ricklefs
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Extra info for A History of Modern Indonesia: c. 1300 to the Present
In the early sixteenth century, the greatest of Aceh 's rulers came to the throne. Sultan Iskandar Muda (r. 1607-36) established Aceh for a short time as the major power of the western archipelago. His successes were based upon impressive military power, including a navy dominated by heavy galleys which carried 600-800 men, a cavalry force which included Persian horses among its mounts, an elephant corps, substantial artillery, and conscript infantry forces. In 1612 he took Deli, and in 1613 Aru.
Here were located the 'Spice Islands' of East Indonesia. Immediately after the conquest of Malacca the first exploratory mission was sent eastward under Francisco Serrao. In 1512 he was shipwrecked, but he struggled to Hitu (northern Ambon), where he demonstrated martial skills against an attacking force which endeared him to the local ruler. This also led the rulers of the two competing islands Ternate and Tidore both to inquire after the possibility of Portuguese assistance. There was a temporary decline in Javanese and Malay sailings to the eastern islands at this time, caused especially by the destruction of the Javanese fleet at Malacca in 1511.
The fourth ruler of Demak, traditionally called Sultan Prawata (r. c. ), appears not to have attempted campaigns like those of his predecessor Trenggana. It is hard to know what the hegemony of Demak had amounted to even in its 'golden age', during Trenggana's second reign (c. 152146). This was apparently a period of confusion and fragmentation, and Demak's 'empire' is unlikely to have been more than a loose federation of states. It is doubtful if there was ever any centralised administrative control, and Demak's conquests may have been more in the nature of punitive (and populationgathering) raids.
A History of Modern Indonesia: c. 1300 to the Present by M. C. Ricklefs