Image: Hamengkubuwono IX

Hamengkubuwono IX (1912-1988)

Hamengkubuwono IX (1912-1988), Indonesian political leader, hereditary sultan of Yogyakarta. Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX was born when what is now Indonesia was under Dutch rule and the Yogyakarta court had been reduced to purely ceremonial functions. Educated in the Netherlands, he was installed as Sultan in 1940. He attempted some political reforms between 1942 and 1945, but it was only after the death of his grand vizier in 1945 that the Sultan assumed full control of court policy. He reduced the bureaucracy, replaced Javanese with Indonesian as the court language, and expanded the electorate for village councils. In the struggle for independence waged against the Dutch between 1945 and 1949, the Sultan played an important role as an organizer of the military resistance. He was military commander of the Yogyakarta Special Territory from 1945 to 1949 and refused to cooperate with the Dutch when their forces occupied Yogyakartaan act of defiance that made him a national hero. He served in a number of cabinet posts from 1946 to 1953, including Minister of Defense (1949-1950) and Deputy Prime Minister (1950-1952). The Sultan served in several of the governments headed by Suharto (who became acting president in 1967 and full president in 1968), taking responsibility for economic affairs between 1966 and 1968 and serving as second Vice President from 1973 to 1978. Besides his political work, the Sultan worked with educational and sports bodies, and donated part of the palace grounds as the site for Gajah Mada University. His main achievement was raising the court to a political prominence it had not enjoyed since the days of Prince Diponegoro.

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