West Papua Diary

All about Rumbati Kingdom You Cannot Miss

Rumbati Kingdom

The Rumbati Kingdom is an Islamic-style kingdom based in Fakfak. This kingdom is one with strong Islamic influence. Let’s find the facts you need to know!

Being Mentioned in Negarakertagama

Rumbati Village, Furwage district, Fakfak Regency, is the administrative headquarters of the Rumbati Kingdom. This district is situated in the southern section of West Papua’s bird’s head. This region is known as “Nutmeg City” because of its nutmeg products and its numerous ruins of ancient 17th-century mosques.

Even this region is referenced in the classic book Negarakertagama (1365 AD), which mentions many regions in eastern Indonesia, including the names Wwanin, Sran, and Timur.

According to ancient Javanese academics, Wwanin is another name for the Onin region in Fakfak, which is today Papua’s oldest district.

Unfortunately, no sources exist to document the establishment of this kingdom. However, there are documented and oral references, including records of colonial individuals, to investigate the narrative of the Rumbati kingdom.

Javanese Ancestors

The Rumbati Kingdom was founded by a member of the Bauw clan. This kingdom is mentioned in the notebooks of a Dutch writer, J.W. Van Hille arrived in Fakfak in the early 1900s.

He mentioned in his note that he interviewed the 23rd King of Rumbati, Muhammad Sidik Bauw, who indicated that his ancestor was Bauw sailors who arrived from Gresik, East Java.

Hille concluded from the story that the first ruler of this Kingdom was from Java. Although no record exists of that story, it is a fact that Gresik was formerly a commercial port. Many Gresik sailors traveled to the eastern areas of the archipelago to trade and look for spices and other commodities such as nutmeg.

Part of an Important Trade Route

The Rumbati Kingdom is situated in Onin, Fakfak, a spice route and a commercial hub for various high-value goods in the 17th and 18th centuries – From nutmeg, slaves, birds of paradise, ambergris, and indigenous Papuan items.

For hundreds of years, the Onin community has maintained relations with Goram, Seram, Makassar, Dutch, Arab, Chinese, and other Papuan traders. With such a crucial position, the Dutch endeavored to collaborate with the Onin people.

Stunning Tourism

The region where the Rumbati kingdom was created, Fakfak Regency, has an abundance of astoundingly stunning tourist sites.

One of them is religious tourism at the Old Mosque of Patimbrak. This mosque was constructed with a distinctive design that resembles a mix between a church and a mosque. Since then, the mosque has been a symbol of religious tolerance.

Fakfak’s community is indeed well-known for upholding inter-religious tolerance. According to researchers,  there are three major religions in Fakfak: Islam, Catholicism, and Protestant Christianity. The three are considered family religions. “So the slogan ‘One Furnace, Three Stones, One Heart, One Brother’ emerged to strengthen harmonization between people.

In addition, several changes have been made to this mosque during its long history. The mosque’s four columns and bullet holes from Japanese invaders attest to preserving the structure’s original form.

Gastronomic Tourism

In addition to religious tourism, gastronomic tourism is available in Fakfak. The region, which is renowned for its spices, undoubtedly has native cuisine with exquisite spices.

There is a flavor of Candied Nutmeg. This snack, as its name says, is produced from processed nutmeg. In addition, there is a traditional nutmeg syrup known as Henggi in the local language.

Alternatively to nutmeg, you may also try sago martabak, a sort of fried pancake prepared with sago flour and coconut or palm sugar as the filling. This snack pairs perfectly with afternoon tea while seeing Fakfak’s breathtaking backdrop.

The facts of Rumbati Kingdom show how diverse and long-lasting West Papua’s cultural heritage is. Not only is physical culture important, but so are moral ideas like inter-religious tolerance.

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