Image: Hayam Wuruk

Hayam Wuruk (1334-1389)

Hayam Wuruk (1334-1389), ruler of the Majapahit Kingdom, the last Hindu empire of Java, at the height of its power. In 1350 Hayam, whose name means young cook in Javanese, ascended the throne at age 16. He ruled Majapahit, which covered much of present-day Indonesia and Malaysia, with the help of chief minister Gadjah Mada. Before Hayam`s rule, Majapahit enjoyed a golden age, which continued under Hayam. With its power at sea, Majapahit dominated trade from New Guinea to the Philippine Islands, though Hayam preferred to govern and trade within the Malay Archipelago and leave the outlying territories alone. A strong leader, Hayam held the empire together for nearly 40 years, but after he died, a son-in-law and an illegitimate son appear to have battled for the throne. The two warring factions split the kingdom, thus allowing North Borneo, Indragiri on Sumatra, and Malacca in Malaysia to gain independence from the Javanese empire.

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