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Javanese Meets French in Kavallerie Artillerie


               What do you think about Java? Batik, Sociability or colonialized people? They must be related to this place. Java is always well-known as one of origin Indonesian cultures. Javanese culture is now more recognized by world. Javanese culture has gotten place as a part of world’s cultural wealth.
            Although Java was colonialized by Dutch for 3,5 centuries and Japanese 3,5 years. There is Mangkunegara Legion (Legiun Mangkunegara) which was developed by Mangkunegara Kingdom in Surakarta city, Central Java, Indonesia. The legion was established by the King Mangkunegara II. Mangkunegara Legion was inspired by Napoleon’s Grande Armee. Napoleon admitted the legion from its tactics and contribution. The legion had supported many battle fields such as Napoleon’s War in Asia as a part of French-Dutch army fought Britain-Sepoy in India (1811), Army operation in East Indies and Pacific War (1942). Napoleon had sent many letters and visitations. One of Napoleon’s gifts can be watched in Radya Pustaka Museum.


Picture 1.1 Mangkunegara Legion

            The French inspirations are proved in the architecture of Kavallerie Artillerie (the legion’s headquarter) and the legion’s divisions. In 1808 when the legion was leaded by Ario Praboe Prang Wedana as the colonel of official duty with Lodewijk Napoleon (Bonaparte’s relative), Mangkunegara Legion had 1.150 troops which were divided into 800 infantries (Fusilier), 100 invaders (Jagers), 200 cavalries and 50 artilleries. 


Picture 1.2 Kavallerie Artillerie Building

            The legion is known as the first army in Indonesia. The costumes were also influenced from French with Javanese symbols. They wore black coat, white trousers and military hat. They combined with blangkon (Javanese hat). 
            Those collaborations between French and Javanese were the efforts which were made by Mangkunegara in order to introduce the kingdom and to appreciate western military development without forgetting Javanese elements as their identity.
            After Japanese involvement in Indonesia, the legion was closed. The legion’s members and their offspring have contributed themselves in Indonesian National Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia). Kavallerie Artillerie as the historical building owned by Mangkunegara legion still stands in front of Mangkunegara Palace which faces to the palace’s field. 


The photos are taken from Angelina Kusuma's blog and Kompasiana Sejarah
See also: The writer's page on Kompasiana

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The writer has attention towards Linguistics. It makes him focus on Linguistic research since he was in Bachelor Degree. He is now studying in Master of Linguistics. He is a researcher staff and Literature Division in "Balai Penelitian dan Kajian Sosial". He always watches and participates in many events, then writes them in this blog. He also develops his talent in music with Solo Jazz Society, a Jazz community in Solo, Indonesia. So, enjoy....!! Thanks

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