Bandung: A Brief History

Bandung: A Brief History

Bandung City was born on September 25, 1810. It replaced Krapyak as the old capital of the Bandung Regency.

The construction of a Great Postal Road encouraged the establishment of Bandung. The road connected Anyer and Panarukan by about 1000 km. Herman Willem Daendels built it to defend the island of Java from the British attack. It also aims to facilitate agricultural product transportation on the island.

The construction of this road passed through the Bandung Regency in the middle of 1808. Unfortunately, the distance between this road and the old capital was 11 km.

Daendels wanted to make a new city near the post road. During an inspection of the Ci Kapundur bridge, he said: “Try it! If I come back here, a city will already be standing.” He was so serious about his wishes. On May 25, 1810, he issued an order to move the capital of Bandung from Krapyak to near the road, where he once stuck a stick.

R.A. Wiranatakusumah II, the Regent of Bandung, tried to move his activities to the northern area. He felt it was necessary to move the capital. The old one was no longer workable because of unfavorable natural conditions.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Krapyak was still a wilderness interspersed with ranca (swamp) and situ (small lakes). Floods always hit it because of its location in the lowlands and close to the Ci Tarum River. In addition, this condition often causes disease outbreaks.

He tried to find a suitable place for a new capital with his staff. They are looking to the north of the regency, which is higher than the south where the old city exists.

Apart from keeping him away from Krapyak, this transfer made it easier for the Regent to supervise the people who helped build the postal road. In their search, the Regent and his subordinates occupied the areas of Cikalintu (north end of Jalan Cipaganti now), Balubur Hilir, and Kampung Bogor (around the Pakuan Building now). This search yielded no results because the places visited were deemed unsuitable for the capital.

Finally, Wiranatakusumah II chose the location for the pavilion and the present square as the government center for the new district capital. The choice of this location follows traditional Sundanese beliefs, which suggests that the government capital should not be far from a water source.

In the traditional Sundanese beliefs, the basis for selecting a government center should be something like “garuda ngapak, bahe ngaler-ngetan, deukeut pangguyangan white rhino,” which means “the eagle flutters its wings on the ground, sloping towards the northeast, near the white rhino wallow.”

The meaning of this expression is the land for the capital city must be good from various aspects, in good condition, potential, and close to water sources.

Based on this belief, the Regent established the administrative center for the Bandung Regency. Nowadays, the location is known as Pendopo.

He built the Alun-Alun with the Great Mosque in the west, Bale Bandung in the east, and then a market near the pendopo.

The opening of several villages also accompanied the establishment of the Regency government center. The establishment of this government center marked the establishment of a new city.

The city was established on September 25, 1810, using the same name as the district name Bandung.

This article summarizes the dissertation composed by Sobana Hardjasaputra entitled “Social Changes in Bandung, 1810–1906.”

Read its Indonesian language at: Sejarah Singkat Lahirnya Kota Bandung

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