Sumba Opu Fort is a historical remnant before Islam came in where Gowa Kingdom was in the peak of its glory. There are two versions of Sumba Opu Fort history: Makassar and Bugis. However, Makassar version is the one commonly known by the International pubic.During Tumanurunga kingdom in Tamalate (the first ruler in Gowa) until the VIIth king of Gowa ‘I Pakkere Tau Tunujallo ri Passukki’, Gowa kingdom had never been fortified. It was remain in static condition, there were no political zone-expansions yet.

In the early 16th century, during the IXth king ‘Karaeng Tumapa’risi Kallonna’ (1510-1546) as political, economical, and cultural reformer, forts establishment was then. At the time, Gowa was crowded by foreign traders; Malacca, Portuguese, Spain, China, and others. It was the 4th famous town in Asia. In economy development, trading harbor was built for trading activities specially facilitated foreign ships. In politic development, Gowa Kingdom expanded the zone, whether through peace agreement or hard way (war).

Apparently, Karaeng Tumapa’risi Kallonna gained formidable developments in many aspects. Concerning this crucial state, considered necessary to buil a defence fort to protect the city. In 1525, Sumba Opu Fort was built by Karaeng Tumapa’risi Kallonna and it also as the capital city of Gowa Kingdom. He was the very first promoter of fort establishment in form of ‘dawala’ (simple construction like field dikes) made of clays.In the Xth king, Karaeng Lakiung Tunipallangga Ulaweng (1546-1565), the fort strengthened the walls’ structure by adding bricks around the clays; 7-8 m height and 3-4 m wide and armed it with some cannons.

The XIIth king Karaeng Bonto Langkasa Tunijallok Ulaweng (1565-1590) continued renovation by completed it with more weapons and cannons. These cannons were gotten from Portuguese traders’ cooperation. This fact was confirmed by H.D. Mangemba who stated the SOF was renovated in 1580 during Karaeng Tunijallok ruler by contribution from Portuguese. These cannons which were placed in each bastions, named Subhana Cannons (it was called Subhana because the lightener screamed ‘Subhanallaah’ before flashing them) and ‘Ana’ Mangkasara’ (the sacred cannon of Gowa people).

The SOF form has not been clear yet, due to the north wall existence remains a puzzle. The west fracture caused the archeologists lost traces of the north wall. Until the last research, only three wall sides can be detected. The north wall predicted washed away toward the sea, the evidence showed from the fort bricks found in Lae-lae Island. The researchers lost the north wall from this west fracture.

Excavations had been done to reveal the wall. Based on Francois Valentijn map which then completed by Bleau in 1638’s map (original map is in Haphurge, Wina-Austria), SOF is a square. Inside the fort, there were king’s palaces, noblemen houses, kingdom officials’ houses surrounded by tall and wide circling wall and the fort was armed by cannons. Bastions which faced the land were made in sharp formation. The largest powered was concentrated in two bastions facing the sea armed by 15 cannons.

While the east and south wall were not strengthened enough considering that the enemy would attacked from the west and north. Inside the fort, the kings also built palaces; Maccini Danggang (now it becomes Trading Office), Karaeng Pattingalloang Palace (the artifact is right under Pattingalloang Museum), Maccini Sombala Palace, Langgara (mosque) Mangalle Kana, hall, and kingdom-soldiers’ houses. In the main bastion in northwest corner, Ana’ Mangkasara sacred cannon was placed.

On the southwest, there was a huge bastion, while the west wall (between those two bastions) there were two smaller bastions. The noblemen and the king’s family resided on the north side, divided by the main road of the north to south. The main road was cut by the west-east road. The mosque was on the south at the cross west to east, oriented to the west. The king’s palace was parallel to the west wall facing the mosque. Each building had their own yard surrounded by small fences. The lower soldiers, kingdom’s laborers, traders, and outsiders from foreign countries lived on the outside of SOF.

On the outside of the north wall, there was Portuguese Trade Office. In 1607, the Dutch also established their trade vice, followed England in 1613, Spain in 1615, Chinese and Denmark in 1618. On the outside of the east wall, Malayan inhabited Mangalekkanna village, while Buginese-Makassarese traders inhabited the areas around the SOF. The peasants worked on the kingdom’s fields, inhabited Bontoala village. Except SOF as main fort, Gowa kings also fortified their area from all over the place.

Started from Ana’ Gowa Fort and Kale Gowa Fort behind the SOF, there were also forts spread from Maros to Takalar regency; Garassi Fort, Panakkukang Fort, Barombong Fort, Mariso Fort, Pattunuang Fort, and Tallo Fort). The Dutch wrote that there are 227 cannons in SOF. This defense causing the Dutch (who wanted to colonize Gowa Kingdom) found difficulties to break through.The collapse of Malacca in 1511 and deterioration of Java trade harbor influenced the merchants turned their attention to Sumba Opu town.

The kings of Gowa owned monopolize rights of rice and other properties. The voyage route between Java, Flores, and Makassar Strait were under the kings’ control. Gowa fame attracting foreign countries. One of them was the Dutch in South Sulawesi in 2 Maret 1607. Primarly, the Dutch did not pay attention on Gowa Kingdom. They just realized Gowa Kingdom as a transit center for traders’ ships after hearing from Portuguese traders. On 26 June 1637, in Sultan Hasanuddin Kingdom, for the very first time, Cornelis Matelief (a Dutch ambassador) introduced an agreement with Gowa.

The agreement’s missions were in peace cooperation; a free trade for the Dutch but it contained of one condition that the Dutch were obligated not to stay permanently in Sumba Opu. Through the pact, the Dutch slowly monopolized spice trading in Mollucan strait. Conflicts were on the peak and the war exploded causing a great loss of both sides. 18 November 1667, the Dutch for the second time offered peace pact called ‘Cappaya ri Bungaya’ (Bungaya Pact). Forward, Sultan Hasanuddin realized that the pact gave loss for his kingdom. Some of the pact contents are:

o Admit the kingdom area is the Dutch’s.

o Will keep a good cooperation with the Dutch, making their enemy as Gowa enemy, and Dutch partner as Gowa partner.

o Will help the Dutch to build forts, houses, etc. in Gowa area.

o Gowa traders and sailors had to set the Dutch flag on their ships, and obligated for asking permission from the Dutch.

12 April 1668, another battle happened. Around 8-9 August 1668, Gowa soldiers succeeded to blow up one Dutch ship, killing its captain and 17 people of his men. The death of the captain, made the Dutch sent their best and tougher soldiers and bigger weapon capacity. Bugginess soldier led by Arung Palakka who allied with the Dutch was seized paddies and other plants in Gowa villages.

One speculation said that Arung Palakka was born and grew up in Tallo Kingdom. He saw Gowa Kingdom was doing many tortures on war prisoners. He was then joined with the Dutch against Gowa to set the prisoners free. 14 June 1669, the Dutch directly led by Cornelis Spellman, attacked by exploding dynamites in every directions, in order to make it easier to break in. the wall finally broke into 5 Roodes (1 Roode= 3, 75 m).

The Dutch attacked from Makassar Strait, while Arung Palakka came by breaking the east wall. 30. 000 bullets were shot against Gowa defence. However, Gowa people stayed endured on the one day battle. The Dutch finally colonized Sumba Opu Fort in 15 July 1669. They took over and occupied the fort, and exploded Anak Mangkasara, the sacred cannon. All forts but Ujung Pandang Fort were destroyed. The collapse of Sumba Opu Fort signed the end of Gowa glories. These wars which contained great patriotism value known as ‘Pa’bundukang ri Makassar’ means wars in Makassar.

The rights of Gowa people were suppressed, their ships were destroyed, and voyage limitation was determined by the Dutch. Gowa people ran away leaving their mother nature, while it had been principal that they will not ever leaving their birth place, accept for a big disaster happened. Sumba Opu destruction had really broken the principal. On the other side, Cornelis Spellman, the golden son of Batavia, built a beautiful palace for Arung Palakka in Bontoala and took him as Bone ruler.SOF as the power of east Indonesia that destroyed by the Dutch, collapsed in honor, but will always blooms in memories. How great the struggle at the time. But now, the great city in the past has changed into quiet desolated village.

The fact is, SOF which as the symbol of glory, the center ruler of Gowa kingdom, defence fort, and also as king’s palace, all of them are written in the world history. For the reasons, even though cities development keep continuing in this age, but there is one principal thing can not be forgotten by Gowa people. Sumba Opu Fort insight of administrative zone from the past until today is in Gowa area, and always will be. Displacement SOF to another district will vanish the glory and pride of Gowa people. It would be very precious and worthable, if Sumba Opu harbor rebuild as what had described in the past.


The bricks of Sumba Opu Fort were made in Pattallassang village, Takalar and Danau Mawang, Gowa without printing tools. Hence, the bricks had various sizes. The construction recognized no cement, geometry, or special tools. In predicting the straight lines of the walls, people were collected and stood in a line. When the line aslant, means the wall would result an aslant form too.

However, what was created is totally perfect, neat and straight. Three centuries passed away, the remains walls can proved this story. Now, if in other parts we find unstraight wall, cannon balls assaults can be considered.The uniqueness is, it has muddy soft structure when it was dug in the ground, but just a moment in the air, it will change very hard. When it is attached one to another without using cement, they will tight as if they were attached by cement.

This special uniqueness is synchronized with Makassar cultural aspect called ‘Accera’. It is one ritual using eggs, slaughtering certain animals, and incantations. In the Museum Karaeng Pattingalloang, we can find samples of aesthetic bricks created by the Gowa artist. The bricks had plants carvings, traces of chicken and cat, or fish. The chicken and cat traces invite two opinions; Accera ritual was really held, or the animals stepped on the bricks when they were being dried.


There are two versions about the history of Islam religion came in Gowa Kingdom. One version is in one ‘Lontara’ (traditional written) from Takalar ‘La Garuda’ tells how Islam came into Gowa Kingdom. It was the Gowa Kingdom Minister (King of Tallo) I Mangadacinna Daeng Sitaba bergelar Karaeng Matoaya Tumenanga ri Agamana or Karaeng Pattingalloang, who replaced the XIV Gowa King Daeng Manrabia for awhile, when three strangers came in Sumba Opu Fort wearing white clothes. A soldier then told the news to the king.

Spontaneously, the king stood and said that he wanted to see them directly. He then went down from his chair and stepped out of the palace. Just as he stepped out of the gate, a tall and huge man wearing white clothes asked the king, whether he knew who were the three strangers might be. The king answered about his curious that he did not know. The tall man told him to open his palm. What the king saw were Syahadat sentences, confession words of Islam. The king could only say ‘Akkasara’ Nabbia’, means the prophet presence. After saying the words, the tall man vanished. On Monday, 10.00 a.m., the king gathered all his people to be Islamized. Hence, the name of ‘Makassar’ was emerged for the first time.

The three strangers were Datuk ri Bandang, Datuk ri Tiro, and Datuk Patimang. In the same period, an Arabic man (Son of Prophet Khaidir) came and married Gallarang Moncong Loe Princess. Their son named Syech Yusuf who then became a famous Islamic figure.

The other version is from ‘Profil Sejarah, Budaya, dan Pariwisata Gowa’. The XIIIth king of Gowa I Tepu Karaeng Daeng Parabbung was displaced by his brother in 1539, the XIVth King of Gowa, I Mangerangi Daeng Manrabia. But the XIV king was only 7 years old at the time while the government should continued activated. Handling the problem, the King of Tallo Mallingkan Daeng Nyonri Karaeng Katangka atau Karaeng Matoaya as the Prime Minister of Gowa Kingdom took over the ruler.

I Manrabia and his Prime Minister Daeng Nyonri Karaeng Matoaya accepted Islam as their religion in 9 Jumadil Awal 1014 H or 22 September 1605. It was signed by their statements of two confession sentences ‘Syahadat’.

Datuk ri Bandang then gave Daeng Nyonri Karaeng Matoaya an Islamic name ‘Sultan Abdullah Awwalul Islam’ while King I Mangerangi Daeng Manrabia ‘Sultan Alauddin’. Two years later, all of Gowa people were done to be Islamized. The first Friday Pray was held in Tallo, 19 Rajab 1016 H or 9 November 1607.

Datuk ri Bandang is one Moeslim Scholar who izlamized both of the kings. His name is Abdul Mahmud Khatib Tunggal or known as Datuk ri Bandang. He came from Minangkabau, West Sumatera. His journey to spread Islam was helped by Khatib Sulaiman or Datuk ri Patimang who spread Islam in Luwu Kingdom, dan Datuk ri Tiro known as Khatib Bungsu who spread Islam in Tiro

After Gowa and Tallo became Islamic Kingdom and the kings always had their ‘Sultan’ name, then Gowa Kingdom developed as Islamized center in South Sulawesi. As the Islam concept to bring it wider, Sultan Alauddin sent his announcement for the kings in South Sulawesi to accept Islam. The announcement based on an agreement between the kings; whoever finds a better way, he is obligated to convey it to the others. It means Islam is a good way which is meant in the agreement. Some kingdoms welcome the religion, so they had a peace Islamize.

On the contrast, strong Bugis kingdoms such as Soppeng, Bone, Wajo, Sidenreng Kingdoms, and the other small kingdoms rejected the Sultan Alauddin’s vow. Sultan Alauddin the sent his soldiers for four times to attact Bugis Land. In 1608, Gowa Kingdom had not succeeded to submit the united kingdoms. However, in the next year, all the kingdoms were conquered one by one. The Islam expansion in Bugis Land known as ‘Musu Assalengeng’ means Islam War.Basically, as a Muslim king, Sultan Alauddin held Islam view to spread Islam in peace way. He firstly did not willing to force by using hard way, but the Bugis kingdoms rejections also means they did not admit Gowa Kingdom’s power as the kingdom who conquered them before.


The experts assumed the sites of Sumba Opu Fort actually can be seen in 3-7 m under the ground; the IXth king’s palace, Langgara (mosque), or the forts wall.Inside the fort, some old graves from centuries ago still can be seen.

o Meriam Potonga Grave ( Cannon Fracture Grave)

In front of Karaeng Pattingalloang Museum, a ‘Subhana’ cannon fracture lied under a big tree. The cannon predicted from Netherland and people say that the other piece of the cannon can be found there.Nearby, there is an old grave in a small house. The grave is ± 2 m height. Certain people assumed this grave as a sacred place. It is seen from the way they add a pillow, bed, kelambu (a net for preventing mosquitoes), right beside the grave. Who was buried there will remain mystery. People around just called it ‘Kuburu’na Meriam Potonga’.

o Maccini Sombala Grave

This grave is on the corner of west-south wall. This is the point where Maccini Sombala palace was built. It was called Maccini Sombala due to its functions to watch over the trading activities outside in the harbor and also spied the enemies.The grave is on a ground heap about 10 m height circled by thick piled of bricks. The archeologists estimated there are 15 cannons buried under the heap.

The discovery of this grave was begun when the archeologists and the local society were doing ritual procession to star their research. After the ritual was done, suddenly at one point, a small fountain spurted from the ground. After the water stopped, a grave stone emerged at the point. This strange moment was very astonishing. The grave stone presence on the place, surely signed the existence of an old grave. People around fenced it with bamboo pieces. There are another two graves close to the grave stone.

Gowa Kingdom still had many treasures around the fort. Just for description, Gowa Kingdom stamp has not been found. Kingdom properties made of gold such as spitting bowls, plats, spoon, kris and others are spread around. Indeed, the princess and noblemen’s daughters were obligated to wear a silver or gold mask when facing the king. This was caused by the power of the king’s aura, ordinary eyes could not afford to see him directly. In eighties, an old well in front of Baruga Sumba Opu was dug freely. It was amazing to find precious good

s that came from 16th century in one full in a car. The treasures were sold without any limitation before the 1983 rules concerning conservatory of historical remnants.


South Sulawesi is inhabited by four main ethnics; Makassar, Bugis, Tana Toraja and Mandar. When the government of Suharto as the President of Indonesia, he pointed Drs. Amiruddin as South Sulawesi Governor. Mr. Amiruddin began his developmental project in his province, including SOF development by establishing South Sulawesi Miniature. This miniature contains of traditional houses of South Sulawesi. It also called ‘Pasar Seni’, means market of art. Unfortunately, before the project completed, Mr. Amiruddin was moved to Indonesian Legislative Assembly (DPR).The project has never been continued until this moment.

However, the miniature still functioned as exhibition spot in welcoming Indonesia Independence Day. The houses also rented by certain societies as meeting place, working session, etc. The miniature has two parts; traditional houses and representative buildings of government and private instances.


On the southern behind the South Sulawesi Miniature, a rubber dam divides a half of Garassi River. This river is one tributary of Jeneberang River. It flows toward the estuary of the sea. Jeneberang Rubber Dam was built in 1995, functioned for anticipating the sea tide contaminated Garassi River when the fresh water in low tide. Garassi River is the second source after Ballangbaru River as Municipal Water Corporation (PAM) supplier.


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