Sundanese - History and Cultural Relations

Because the Sundanese (especially those who lived in the hills) were long culturally isolated from the outside world, their culture is still very traditional. In Sundanese history there has been only one state, the kingdom of Pajajaran (1333-1579), which came into existence as a result of the defeat of the Sumatran kingdom by the Javanese kingdom of Singhawari. Indian traders introduced Islam in the fifteenth century; Sundanese Islam then spread outward from the ports where the Indians traded. The nobles of Sunda were converted in 1579 at the order of the sultan of Banten, who first killed the royal family. Shortly thereafter, the Islamic Javanese kingdom of Mataram gained control of Sunda, and not long after this, European power became dominant. The Dutch introduced plantation farming of coffee. On two separate occasions, in 1880 and following World War II, the Sundanese began holy wars against the Dutch with the goal of independence; both wars failed to achieve their aim. At present, the Sundanese are under Indonesian control.

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