Why did the Japanese dominate Palembang first!

Palembang is the capital city of South Sumatra Province, Indonesia. This city is the oldest city in Indonesia, dating from the 7th century. Palembang was once the capital of Srivijaya, a Malay kingdom that ruled over parts of the western archipelago and controlled maritime trade routes, particularly in the Straits of Malacca. Palembang was incorporated into the Dutch East Indies in 1825 after the abolition of the Palembang Sultanate. Palembang was given status as a city on April 1, 1906 during the Dutch East Indies era. Palembang is now one of the largest cities in Sumatra and Indonesia. The Kedukan Bukit Inscription, which is dated 682 AD, is the oldest inscription found in Palembang. This inscription tells of a king who gained magical powers and led a large military force over water and land, departed from the Tamvan delta, arrived at a place called "Matajap", and (in the interpretation of some scholars) established the Srivijaya government. Mukha Upang, a district in Palembang. As the capital of the Srivijaya empire, this second oldest city in Southeast Asia has been an important trading center in maritime Southeast Asia for more than a millennium. The kingdom flourished by controlling international trade through the Straits of Malacca from the 7th to the 13th centuries, establishing hegemony over the states in Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. Sanskrit inscriptions and Chinese travel records report that this kingdom prospered because it was an intermediary in international trade between China and India. Due to the Monsoon, or seasonal winds that occur twice a year, after arriving at Srivijaya, traders from China or India had to stay there for several months waiting for the wind direction to change, or had to return to China or India. Therefore, Sriwijaya grew to become the largest international trade center, and not only its market, but also infrastructure for traders such as lodging and entertainment was also developed.

Sriwijaya served as a cultural center as well. Yijing, a Chinese Buddhist traveler who lived in Palembang and Jambi in 671, notes that there were more than a thousand learned monks and scholars, who were supported by the kingdom to study religion in Palembang. He also noted that there were many "states" under the kingdom called Srivijaya (Shili Foshi). In 990, troops from the Medang Kingdom in Java attacked Srivijaya. Palembang was ravaged and its palace looted. However, Cudamani Warmadewa asked for protection from China. In 1006, the invasion was finally repulsed. In retaliation, the king of Srivijaya sent his troops to assist King Wurawari of Luaram in his rebellion against Medang. In the ensuing battle, the Medang Palace was destroyed and the Medang royal family executed. In 1068, King Virarajendra Chola of the Chola Dynasty in India conquered what is now Kedah from Srivijaya. Having lost many soldiers in the war and with its coffers nearly empty due to twenty years of trade disturbances, Srivijaya's reach waned. Its territory began to free itself from the sovereignty of Palembang and established many small kingdoms throughout the former empire. Srivijaya finally experienced a decline due to military expeditions by the Javanese kingdoms in the 13th century. Chen Zuyi and Liang Daoming. In 1407, Chen was ambushed in Palembang by the returning Imperial treasure fleet under Admiral Zheng He. Zheng He made the first move, demanding Chen surrender and the pirate quickly signaled a deal while preparing for a surprise surprise attack. However, the details of his plan had been given to Zheng He by a local Chinese informant, and in the fierce fighting that ensued, the Ming soldiers and the superior Ming fleet finally destroyed the pirate fleet and killed 5,000 men.

Islam became dominant in Palembang since this period.

Chen was arrested and publicly executed in Nanjing in 1407. Peace was finally restored in the Straits of Malacca when Shi Jinqing was installed as the new ruler of Palembang and incorporated into what would become a system of far-flung allies recognizing Ming supremacy in return for diplomatic recognition, protection military, and trade rights. After the Demak Sultanate fell under the Pajang Kingdom, a Demak nobleman, Geding Suro and his followers fled to Palembang and founded a new dynasty. Islam became dominant in Palembang since this period. Settlements developed along the banks of the Musi River, some of the houses being built on rafts. The Sultanate passed a law dividing the lower reaches of Seberang Ilir where the palace was located, reserved for the residents of Palembang, while foreigners who were not residents of Palembang on the opposite bank of the river were called Seberang Ulu. Several local rivals, such as Banten, Jambi, and Aceh threatened the existence of the Sultanate, while the Dutch East India Company (Company) established a trading post in Palembang in 1619. In 1642, the Company obtained a monopoly on the pepper trade in this port.

Tensions rose between the Dutch and the local population, peaking in 1657 when a Dutch ship was attacked in Palembang, signaling the Company to launch a punitive expedition in 1659 that burned the city to the ground. During the Napoleonic Wars of 1812, the then sultan, Mahmud Badaruddin II rejected British demands for his rule, to which the British responded by attacking Palembang, looting the palace, and installing the sultan's more cooperative younger brother, Najamuddin to the throne. The Dutch attempted to restore their influence at court in 1816, but Sultan Najamuddin was uncooperative with them. A military expedition was launched by the Dutch in 1818, captured Sultan Najamudin, and exiled him to Batavia. A Dutch garrison was established in 1821, and the sultan tried to attack and mass poison the garrison, which the Dutch prevented. Mahmud Badaruddin II was exiled to Ternate, and his palace was burned to the ground. This sultanate was then abolished by the Dutch government and the colonial government was immediately established.

Since the abolition of the Palembang Sultanate in 1825 by the Dutch, Palembang became the capital of the Residency of Palembang, covering the entire territory of what would become the Province of South Sumatra after independence, led by Jan Izaäk van Sevenhoven as its first resident. From the late nineteenth century, with the introduction of new export crops by Dutch companies, Palembang rose again as an economic center. In the 1900s, the development of the oil and rubber industry led to unprecedented economic growth, which brought an influx of migrants, increased urbanization, and development of socioeconomic infrastructure. The emergence of rubber cultivation in South Sumatra began in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, several large Western companies entered the area and operated rubber plantations. From the mid-1920s, rubber became the largest export crop in the area, surpassing robusta coffee. Although there are large rubber plantations owned by Western companies, rubber in Palembang is mainly produced by small farmers. In the 1920s, the Residency of Palembang (currently South Sumatra Province) was ranked sixth in the area for smallholder rubber production, and later became the largest smallholder rubber production area in the region in the 1940s, producing 58,000 tonnes of rubber. There were three oil companies in 1900: the Sumatra-Palembang Oil Company (Sumpal); the French-owned Muara Enim Oil Company; and the Musi Ilir Oil Company.

Sumpal was soon merged into Royal Dutch, and Muara Enim Co and Musi Ilir Co were also merged into Royal Dutch, in 1904 and 1906, respectively. Based on this merger, Royal Dutch and Shell founded BPM, the company that operates Royal Dutch Shell, and opened an oil refinery in Plaju, on the banks of the Musi River in Palembang, in 1907. While BPM was the only company operating in this area until the 1910s, American oil companies launched their businesses in the Palembang area from the 1920s. Standard Oil of New Jersey established a subsidiary, the American Petroleum Company, and, to prevent Dutch laws restricting the activities of foreign companies, the American Petroleum Company established its own subsidiary, the Netherlands Colonial Oil Company (Nederlandche Koloniale Petroleum Maatschapij, NKPM). The NKPM began building its own in the Sungai Gerong area in the early 1920s, and completed construction of a pipeline to deliver 3,500 barrels per day from their oil field to a refinery on Sungai Gerong. The two refinery complexes were like enclaves, separate city centers with houses, hospitals, and other cultural facilities built by the Dutch and Americans. In 1933, Standard Oil merged the NKPM holding into the Standard Vacuum Company, a new joint venture, which was renamed Standard Vacuum Petroleum Maatschappij (SVPM).

Caltex (a subsidiary of Standard Oil California and Texas Company) obtained an extensive exploration concession in Central Sumatra (Jambi) in 1931. In 1938, crude oil production in the Dutch East Indies reached 7,398,000 metric tons, and BPM's share reached seventy-two percent, while the share of NKPM (StandardVacuum) is twenty-eight percent. The most productive area in crude oil production was East Kalimantan until the late 1930s, but since then Palembang and Jambi have taken over the position. All crude oil production in the Dutch East Indies was processed at seven refineries at that time, mainly at three major export refineries: the NKPM refinery in Sungai Gerong, the BPM refinery in Plaju, and another in Balikpapan. Thus Palembang controlled two of the three largest oil refineries in the archipelago. In the 1920s, with the guidance of Thomas Karsten, one of the pioneers of architectural projects in cities in the Dutch East Indies, the Palembang Traffic Commission aimed to improve conditions for inland transportation in Palembang. This commission reclaims land from rivers and paved roads. The traffic design in the city of Palembang is based on the Karsten city plan, where Ilir is in the form of a ring road, starting from the banks of the Musi River. Since then they have built many small bridges on both sides of the Musi River, including the Wilhelmina Bridge over the Ogan River which vertically divides the Ulu area.

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This bridge was built in 1939 with the aim of connecting the oil refinery on the east side of the river with the west side of the river, where the Kertapati railway station is located. In the late 1920s, ocean steamers sailed the Musi River regularly. In the 1930s, the Residency of Palembang was one of the "three giants" in the Dutch East Indies export economy, along with the Plantation Belts of East Sumatra and Southeast Kalimantan, and the city of Palembang was the most densely populated urban center outside Java. Its population was 50,703 in 1905; and reached 109,069, while the populations of Makassar and Medan were 86,662 and 74,976, respectively. Its population is only surpassed by three major cities located in Java: Batavia, Surabaya, and Semarang. Palembang was a high priority target for Japanese troops, as it was home to some of the best oil refineries in Southeast Asia. An oil embargo has been imposed on Japan by the United States, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. With abundant fuel supplies and airstrips in the area, Palembang offered significant potential as a military base area for both the Allies and the Japanese. The main battle took place during 13-16 February 1942. While Allied aircraft attacked Japanese shipping on 13 February, Kawasaki Ki-56 transport aircraft from Chutai 1, 2, and 3, Imperial Japanese Army Air Forces (IJAAF), parachuted down the Teishin Shudan (Attack Group) above the Pangkalan Benteng airfield.

Despite Allied air raids, production was largely maintained.

At the same time, Mitsubishi Ki-21 bombers of the 98th Sentai dropped supplies for the parachute troops. This formation was escorted by a large army of Nakajima Ki-43 fighters from the 59th and 64th Sentai. A total of 180 men from the Japanese Second Parachute Regiment, under Colonel Seiichi Kume, made the jumps between Palembang and Pangkalan Benteng, and more than 90 men carried out drop off west of the oil refinery in Plaju. Although the Japanese paratroopers failed to capture the Pangkalan Benteng airfield, at the Plaju oil refinery they managed to take control of the entire complex, undamaged. However, the second oil refinery in Sungai Gerong was destroyed by the Allies. A makeshift counterattack by Landstorm troops and anti-aircraft gun troops from Prabumulih managed to retake the compound but suffered heavy losses. The planned destruction failed to do serious damage to the refinery, but the oil warehouses were burned. Two hours after the first drop, another 60 Japanese parachute soldiers were deployed near the Pangkalan Benteng airfield. As the Japanese landing force approached Sumatra, the remaining Allied aircraft attacked it, and the Japanese transport ship Otawa Maru sank. The storm crossed over the river, Japanese landing craft with machine guns. However, by the afternoon of 15 February, all Allied aircraft were ordered to Java, where a major Japanese attack was anticipated, and Allied air units had been withdrawn from southern Sumatra by the night of 16 February 1942. Other personnel were evacuated via Oosthaven (now Bandar Lampung) by ship to Java or India. The Japanese managed to restore production at both major oil refineries, and these oil products were vital in their war effort. Despite Allied air raids, production was largely maintained. In August 1944, USAAF B-29 bombers, flying from India, ambushed oil refineries in Palembang on what was the furthest regular bombing mission of the war.

In January 1945, in Operation Meridian, the United Kingdom Naval Air Fleet Division launched two major attacks on two oil refinery complexes, against determined Japanese defences. On October 8, 1945, the Resident of South Sumatra, Adnan Kapau Gani and all Gunseibu officers raised the Indonesian flag during the ceremony. On that day it was announced that the Residency of Palembang was under the control of the Republic. Palembang was occupied by the Dutch after a city battle between Republican and Dutch troops on January 1-5 1947, dubbed the Battle of Five Days and Five Nights. There were three fronts during the battle, namely the East Ilir front, the West Ilir front, and the Ulu front. The fighting ended in a truce and Republican troops were forced to retreat 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Palembang. During the PRRI/Permesta rebellion, the rebel faction established the Garuda Council in South Sumatra on January 15, 1957 under Lieutenant Colonel Barlian who took over the regional administration of South Sumatra. In April 1962, the Indonesian government began construction of the Ampera Bridge which was completed and officially opened to the public on 30 September 1965 by the Minister/Army Commander Lt. Gen. Ahmad Yani, just hours before he was killed by troops of the 30 September Movement. Initially, the bridge was known as Bung Karno Bridge, after the president at the time, but after his fall, the bridge was renamed Ampera Bridge.


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