Palembang – A Brief History: South Sumatra

Palembang was once the capital of the ancient, Buddhist kingdom Srivijaya. It remained the capital from the 7th century to the 14th century A.D. When the 13th century was approaching its end, Sriwijaya had splintered into 8 smaller kingdoms, the largest of which, Malayu, was centered on Jambi and became a strong power. But finally, with the rise of Melaka in the 14th Century, Sriwiajaya became a remote backwater. The region around Palembang still produces fine woven fabrics and performs unique Hindu-like dances.

The city was traditionally a trade center, and, for around 500 years up to the 13th Century.Following a 1025 raid by the Chola Empire of southern India it began to gradually decline in importance. Srivijaya’s capital eventually moved northward to Jambi.

The Dutch established a trading post in the city in 1659, and also built a fort. The Japanese occupied it during the second World War, and currently, since it has a working port, is an important trade venue. The architectural legacy of Dutch colonization is still visible in the city. Deep-water port facilities are built along the Musi River, which flows through the city.

The naval Battle of Palembang was fought near the city during the Second World War between February 13-February 15, 1942.

(Compiled from various sources)