The principality of Sintang, in West Borneo (Kalimantan) originates in a union between local Dayak nobles and Javanese settlers. The progenitor of the family being a certain Aji Melayu, a Hindu nobleman from Java. His wife, Putri Junjung Bui, the daughter of a Moyang Dayak chief. Their descendant in the ninth generation, Assam or Hassan, is supposed to have adopted Islam and to be the founder of the principality sometime during the early fourteenth century. However, this is almost certainly apocryphal not real given that his grandchildren continued to bear Hindu names and titles.

The verifiable ancestry of the ruling family seems to begin with Putri Dara Juanti, the granddaughter of Assam, and her husband Prabhu Lokendra, a supposed brother of the Chief Minister of the great Majapahit Empire. Their descendants laid the foundation of a Malay-Dayak state composed which secured the allegiance of several important Dayak tribes and Malay Hindu immigrants. Their son became a powerful ruler, whose sons became rulers of other important polities in the region.

The ruling family adopted Islam in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Javanese culture, state organisation and titles become more firmly established at this time. By the end of the century, the dominance of Islam had become permanent and the state become important enough for the ruler to adopt the title of Sultan, in common with Muslim rulers elsewhere.

Little or no contact with the outside world disturbed the state for the next century and a half. It is only after sins of increasing British interest in Borneo that the Dutch began to take an interest in securing control over the region. They sent a colonial official into the region in 1822 and secured the first contract with Sultan Muhammad Qamar ud-din. Within a year they had removed him from exercising his executive powers and recognised his son and heir as the effective ruler. Although he eventually succeeded his father as Sultan according to the local adat, the precedent had been set and they removed him in the same way.

Sultan Muhammad Jamal ud-din II being still alive when his son 'Abdu'l-Rashid was placed in power, the latter could not assume the title of Sultan. He was installed as Panembahan Kusuma Negara by the Dutch, which became the reign title for the rulers thereafter. Rebellions and insurrections in favour of the former sultan erupted throughout the late 1850's and 1860's, but were eventually subdued and parts of the state placed under direct Dutch rule.

The two following rulers reigned until their deaths, but their next successor, Gusti Adi 'Abdu'l-Majid, blotted his copybook in the manner of his ancestors. The Dutch deposed him in 1913 and exiled him with his sons and family to Bogor on Java. They replaced him with his Dutch educated cousin, Ade Muhammad Jun, as Wakil Panembahan (deputy or temporary ruler). By all accounts he was enlightened and efficient, perhaps one of the best rulers of his time in Borneo. But his rule was never fully in accordance with local adat custom and most people recognised the son of the deposed Panembahan as the best rightful heir. As a consequence, the Dutch restored the Royal line when he died in 1934, but only after bypassing the rightful Heir Apparent in favour of his better educated and more "suitable" younger brother.

Muhammad Jamal ud-din reigned successfully until the Japanese occupation. In common with other Borneo rulers and aristocrats, he came under suspicion of supporting the allies by the Japanese. They arrested him, together with his brothers and several other senior officials, all of whom they subsequently beheaded in the Mandor forest in June 1944.

Although the Japanese installed the son of the former Heir Apparent as ruler, this fact alone secured Dutch animosity against him when they returned in 1945. A commission of investigation by the Sultan of Pontianak took local soundings and eventually settled on the eldest son of the murdered former Panenbahan as the "rightful heir". Muhammad Shams ud-din was deposed in 1947 and murdered shortly afterward. Radin Muhammad Khalidi, minor son of Muhammad Jamal ud-din, then ascended the throne as "temporary ruler" under a Council of Administration headed by a distant cousin. Ade Muhammad Johan, became head of the Swapraja administration after the Dutch withdrawal in 1950, and later served as Bupati of Sintang 1954-1958. He continued as guardian until the abolition of the principality in 1959.

Muhammad Khalidi, or more correctly Ismail Shafi ud-din, continued as Head of the Royal House until his death. Although no successor has been officially recognised, his only brother Radin Muhammad Ikhsani Perdana, has served as unofficial Heir Apparent pending final agreement.

The ruling prince: Sri Paduka Tuanku (reign name), Panembahan Kusuma Negara*.
The principal Royal consort of the ruling Prince: Ratu Permaisuri or Ratu Panembahan.
The Heir Apparent: Pangeran Ratu (personalised suffix).
The other male members of the dynasty, descended in the male line: Radin** (personal name).
The female members of the dynasty, descended in the male line: Radin**.
* Although it is common to see the use of distinguishing Roman numerals for rulers, these are not actually used according to local practice and do not appear on the seals of the rulers. It should also be noted that Dutch practice seemed to require the jumbling together of birth names and titles, together with reign names, in a scarsely understandable manner. As far as possible, these have been separated and corrected in these pages. However, the confusing Dutch practice seems to have taken root and is often still followed.
**The use of these titles before the given name is a comparatively recent practice. In former times, the usual titles at birth were the Dayak titles of Abang (males) and Dayang (females). Male children usually received the title of Ade and a Koranic personal name during adolescence. Those born of Royal mothers receiving further promotion to the Royal title of Gusti. Senior male members of the family also received titles of nobility, usually with the prefix Pangeran or Radin.

Male primogeniture, the sons of Royal wives taking precedence over those of commoners, with provision for the adat council to approve the final decision.


Abang Anoi bin Ade Toi. Salinan Salsilah Ketoeroenan Sultan-Sultan dan Panembahan-Panembahan jang memerintah di-Keradjaan Sintang diambil dari pertengahan. Sintang, 25th October 1934.
J.J.K. Enthoven. Bijdragen tot de Geographie van Borneo's Wester-afdeeling. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1903.
J.U. Lontaan. Sejarah-Hukum Adat dan Adat Istiadat Kalimantan-Barat. Pemda Tingkat I KalBar, Jakarta, 1975.
Mulhakim. Selayang Pandang Kerajaan Sintang. Kekerabatan Istana Panembahan Sintang. Sintang, 1999.
Mulhakim. Silsilah Keturunan Raja-Raja Kerajaan Sintang. Sintang, Kalimantan Barat, 2003.
Sejarah dan asal usul singkat Ade Mohamad Djoen Wakil Penembahan Kerajaan Sintang 1913-1934. Sintang, 16th September 2000.
A. Warteni. Susunan Silah-silah Keturunan Raja-Raja Kerajaan Sintang. Budaga Museum Dara Juanti, Sintang, 28th January 1985.

Sri Paduka Tuanku Panembahan Kusuma Negara.
Hans Hägerdal, Department of Humanities, University of Växjö, Sweden.
Ade Muhammad Iswadi, SE.
Father Jacques Maessen, SJ.
D. Tick, Pusat Dokumentasi Kerajaan-Kerajaan di Indonesia "Pusaka".
Copyright© Christopher Buyers
Copyright© Christopher Buyers
I would be grateful to hear from anyone who may have changes, corrections or additions to contribute. If you do, please be kind enough to send me an e-mail using the contact details at: Copyright© Christopher Buyers
Copyright© Christopher Buyers

Copyright© Christopher Buyers, June 2005 - September 2008