West Coast of Sumatera has a long connection with the history. Long time ago this place had been visited by sailors came from domestics and foreign to trade. People from back country of West of Sumatera needed the sea products like salt and fishes produced in the West Coast, in the opposite, people nearby the sea needed the harvest and forest product. At that time, people from Batak Toba bought salt from people who produced it in Mursala Island, but some of them went to the East Coast of Sumatera.
The route from Batak Toba to the west coast was Silindung – Aek Raisan – Bonan Dolok – Simaninggir – Mela Dolok – Mela – Mursala Island. People did this expedition by carrying salt on their shoulder that was usually called Parlanja Sira (Salt Carrier). This activity continued for long time.
When Sibolga was still empty, some other part in the sea shore like Jago-jago, Pargadungan, Poriaha, Sorkam and Barus had been settled. Based on Tom Fires’s book SUMA ORIENTAL, in 1515, there were some kingdoms led by kings in the West Coast of Sumatera.
In 1523 there was conflict between East Bataknese and Acehnese. The Bataknese asked a hand to Portuguese in Malacca, but they still lost. For the lost and avoid a new conflict, people from Batak Toba started a new route to the West Coast. It caused the route get more crowded.
Seeing the condition of the land of the Tapian Nauli Gulf that was very strategic to dock, supported by the beauty of the land and the calm of the sea, created a good relationship between the coastal area people and indigeneous people. Dutch, that also saw this condition started to sail here and dock on December 14Th, 1601 by 2 ships led by Gerard de Roij and Laurens Decter. They bought spices and forest products in Tapian Nauli Gulf that at that time had been full of the sea trading lines that came from Europe, Arabic, India and China.
When trading was getting more crowded, VOC, the Dutch Trading Company took part and tried hard to take over the trading by making a guard to the trading ship with war ship. Competition could not be avoid, Dutch started a conflict.
At that time, OMPU DATU HURINJOM HUTAGALUNG from Silindung, built a settlement in Simaninggir, a place near Bonan Dolok, 10 km west Sibolga. That place was located in the height that could observe Tapian Nauli Gulf, that at last this place turned to be a transit area for those who did a journey from Silindung (Batak Toba) to the coast to trade. This place was also strategic to any other activity.
OMPU DATU HURINJOM HUTAGALUNG had a tall–big posture, in Bataknese usually called BALGA (BIG). Indigenuos traders often said “ let’s go to the Balga’s house, because it’s taboo for Batak people to call someone’s name directly, moreover if the person is honorable. The nick name continuosly called to his descendants.
THE ESTABLISHING OF SIBOLGA
Sibolga, a Nick Name That Turn to a Name of a Settlement When OMPU DATU HURINJOM settled in Simaninggir, the condition of Gulf was still calm, but by the coming of the Europeans to trade the condition became riots, as they wanted to monopoly and competed in in the bad way that usually ended with a conflict and war.
Seeing this condition, OMPU DATU HURINJOM made a consolidation with the indigenious people to find a way facing the Europeans. Then Datu Hurinjom moved his settlement to get close to the coast, Mela Dolok area, then moved again to Simare-mare. This movement was continued by His Son, KING LUKA.
The Dutch got a struggle from local people. Facing the condition, they established a fortress in Barus (in 1669) and English established fortress in Bengkulu and Pariaman (in 1685) for their company needs named East Indian Company and the fortress in Bengkulu named Port Marlborough.
The local people was weak because unequipped to face the Europeans that had good experience in war. For that, Datu Hurinjom coordinated to the people and made a simple philosophy : “ Use Your Rival’s Power to Get Your Goal “.
That trick was succeeded for almost ten years (1681-1690). England supplied weapons to the struggler to fight against the Dutch. Geurilla war happened in Tapian Nauli Gulf, Sorkam and Barus. King Lela Wangsa - Barus was arrested and sent away to Goode Hop – South Africa.
One of Datu Hurinjom’s Son, King Luka Hutagalung felt that the condition was getting worse and tried to move the settlement to a better place to avoid the riot spread to the land. At last he moved it to Simare-mare. This place was very strategic. Since then, King Luka Hutagalung was named Tuangku Dorong (dorong = push) because he was succeeded to push the people to move to get closer to the beach eventhough it was full of conflict.
Tuanku Dorong started to settle on April 2nd 1700 and chose his assistance to arrange the people that consist of King, Datu, and Commander with their own duty as what was stated in their culture when they wanted to set a settlement (in Bataknese it was called Mamukka Huta).
This settlement took name from their anchestor : Si BALGA. For the dialect, there come the difference of naming the village ;
- Si-Balga….Si Bolga….SIBOLGA….(Bataknese)
- Sibolga, dibaca SIBOGA….(Coastal language)
- SIBOUGAH……..(Dutch and English)
SIBOLGA IN PROGRESS
Some Important Events After Sibolga was Established.
After Sibolga was established, there was a big rebellion againts Dutch. At that time, Opperhood (the leader) of the Dutch, Bruijnik in Padang was replaced by Mumme. This moment was taken by people to start a rebel. It firstly happened in Sorkam, Kolang, Sibolga and Barus, with the hand of YDP Pagar Ruyung (1734). In panic, the Dutch burned down 200 houses in Tapian Nauli and ruined the salt factory. The people was forced to buy salt from Dutch and English that usually bought salt from this palce, at last had to buy it from India.
The English also did a struggle. On June 14th 1758, English defeated all posts of Dutch. But it was not last long because in 1760, 2 of France ships led by Graaf d’Estang took over the Gulf and gave the authority to the Dutch commander.
In the conflict atmosphere among Dutch, English, France and American, the secretary of Port Marlborough, William Marsden, was still able to make a research for almost 9 years, in 1770-1779 about the ethnics and culture in Sumatera. The book was firstly published in 1783 titled The History of Sumatera, that consist of the position of Sibolga exactly like the condition now and also wrote the year it was established and the establisher.
Riots happened in the sea caused many people moved to the land and settled in Sibolga. For that, the Residence of England, Jhon Prince made a policy to set up an appointment among the kings in the gulf. It called The Appointment of The Three Brothers (Batigo Badusanak), that if there was a conflict between two kings, it had to be resolved by the third king and also the opposite. But if it was not succeeded then it would be handed by the Residence of Tapanooly. This appointment was set up among 1. King of Sibolga, 2. King Bandaro in Poncan Island, 3. Datuk Mudo Badiri, 4. King Bukit Sorkam, 5. Sutan Bagindo Tapanuli, 6. Datuk Bandaro Kayu Kalangan, 7. Datuk Rajo Amat Sorkam Kanan, 8. King of Lumut. This appointment was agreed and signed on March 11th 1815.
Based on Traktat London in 1824, England had to give the West Coast Area, included Poncan Island under the rule of Governor Van Soematera’s Weskust. The condition in Poncan Island was getting worse because on December 14th 1829, Commander Marah Sidi attacked Poncan Island and defeated Dutch. People was frightened left the island and moved to Sibolga. This movement caused peple and culture in Sibolga was added.
In 1824, Sibolga was stated as the Capital of Tapanuli Resident by Governor General of Dutch. Since Sibolga was getting crowded, while the land was getting narrow, the governor agreed to fill the swamps in the east and south area of Sibolga in 1848.
To keep the harmony among people with many kinds of ethnics and culture, King Of Sibolga together with the Residence of Dutch, Comperus stated the rules that had to be obeyed in Sibolga and also the spesific duty of Datuk, Penghulu, The leader of Ethnic, Kings and Kuria.
Below is the positions and the duty in Sibolga.
- King : The leader of the area in traditional governmental system
- Kuria : The Dutch’s idiom for the person who lead the Head of the Village
- Koeriahoofd : The Leader of Kuria
- Demang : Leading the Leaders of Kuria
- Controler : Leader of Onderafdeeling
- Asistent Resident : The vice of Resident in arranging Afdeeling
- Resident : The Leader of government for Residence
- Kepala Kampong : Represent the government under Kuria
- Datuk : Hand tax and problems in ethnics
- Bunsyu : (Jepanese) the leader of Afdeeling
- Sityotyo : (Japanese) The City Government