History-Gowa-Tallo Sultanate in South Sulawesi which was also known as Makasar Kingdom was the major opponent of VOC in East Indonesia. The capital of Gowa Kingdom, Makasar, was a center of trade for Malay, Chinese, Arabic people and other nations.
This rivaled VOC’s trade which was centered in Maluku and endangered them. Many merchants from Maluku also did trade in Makasar because the system was freer than in Maluku. VOC considered it black marketeering.
Military power could not be used to defeat Makasar, so VOC applied a divisive policy to intensify conflicts between the kingdoms in South Sulawesi. Bone Kingdom which had been under the control of Gowa was unhappy with Gowa’s hegemony.
Led by Aru Palaka, Bone rebelled against Gowa. However, the rebellion could be suppressed by Makasar. Aru Palaka fled to Butung Island and asked for help from VOC. VOC’s armada consisting of 31 ships attacked Makasar in 1660, destroyed some Portuguese ships in the harbour and forced Sultan Hasanuddin to accept an agreement.
Nevertheless, the attack did not decrease Sultan Hasanuddin’s resistance against VOC. in December 1666, an armada of VOC which was supported by Aru Palaka and his troops as well as soldiers from Ambon attacked Makasar in particular adn Gowa-Tallo in general.
Severe battles took place on land and the sea, forcing Sultan Hasanuddin to surrender and sign Bongaya Agreement on 18 November 1667. The agreement said :
- VOC was given trade monopoly in Makasar.
- VOC could build a fort in Makasar (Fort of Rotterdam).
- Makasar had to release some of its territories, such as Bone and the island lutside Makasar.
- Aru Palaka was recognized as the king of Bone.
In addition, trade ships from Makasar were not allowed to sail to Maluku, but Sultan Hasanuddin kept struggling to resist and not to implemet the contents of Bongaya Agreement fully. As a result, VOC and its allies launched a second massive attack on Makasar from April 1668 until June 1669. Sultan Hasanuddin suffered a great loss in the war, so he was finally willing to implement Bongaya Agreement fully.
After the implementation of the agreement, Gowa-Tallo was not a powerful kingdom in Sulawesi anymore, and its role was taken over by Bone Kingdom under the reign of Aru Palaka who was backed up by VOC military. Sultan Hasanuddin’s perseverance in resisting VOC made him dubbed ‘The Cock from the East’.
Makasar started to profess Islam in early 17th century when the kings of Gowa-Tallo twin kingdoms embraced Islam. The king of Gowa, Daeng Manrabia, changed his name to Sultan Alaudin, while the king of Talo, Kraeng Matoaya, changed his name to Sultan Abdullah.
The two kings worked hard to spread Islam and expand their territory as far as Nusa Tenggara. Besides that, they kept improving the people’s welfare and believed that Allah had created the sea and all its contents for all His servants.
Since Makasar was a maritime kingdom, most of its people were involved in navigation activities. As a result, they were well-known for their cultural product, ‘pinisi’ boat. The strength of this boat was not only recognized domestically but also internationally.