BENTENG BATU BARUPPU

BENTENG BUNTU BARUPPU
Pongtiku's fortress

Baruppu

 

This sketch of Benteng Batu Baruppu was drawn by Lieutenant Everhard van Bevervoorde during the siege of the fortress from July 1906 until 26 October 1906 when Pongtiku - a local warlord,coffee and slave trader - surrendered to Dutch colonial troops. Also refer to the Tondon Pangala page.


Baruppu

Still hard to reach these days: the split rock of Benteng Buntu Baruppu today


History

In the 19th century the Dutch got more nervous over the factual independence of several smaller states on Sulawesi (Celebes) Island. After the wars against Bone (1856-1860), they announced sovereignty over Sulawesi even though they merely controlled parts of Manado and Makassar. Only in the second decade of that century the Dutch decided to get control over the entire island, and to make contact with the little known populations in the highlands. Under the aggressive military actions of governor-general Van Heutsz, small military units were sent all over Sulawesi to hunt any leaders who refused to subject to Dutch rule. In 1906, all rulers were obliged to sign a so-called 'Short Declaration', in which they agreed to abide to the rules of the Dutch Indies government. This victory was reached by a lot of bloodshed. In Donggala, Tolitoli, Gorontalo, Kulawi and Banggai the Dutch had to overcome strong armed opposition by the proud and densely populated Buginese and Makassarese states. The Dutch expeditionary force once again attacked Bone in July 1905 hoping that a defeat would result in a common surrender. After a bitter fight which costed an estimated 1000 lives, the capital was taken. After the capitulation, the raja, La Pawawoi, was chased and captured four months later. In October 1905 the main Dutch force got into a battle with Gowa, in which sultan Husen was forced to flea north with his followers. Husen died in 1906, still hunted by the Dutch. After that, resistance of the Buginese didn't last much longer. A number of important aristocrats of Luwu' got killed in a short fight at the beach of Palopo in 1906. From this town the Dutch spread out in military columns in various directions.
Baruppu The Dutch troops faced strong opposition in the mountains around Pangala where a local headman, Pongtiku, had established major coffee and slave trade routes and dominated wide highland areas. In doing so, he received guns, salt and foreign products in trade. Pongtiku is remembered on Sesean for his violence. He took politically valuable women as wives, both to expand his influence and in a series of fruitless attempts to father children. When "necessary" he murdered the husbands and burned homes in recalcitrant villages. In 1906 the Dutch attacked his strongholds in the Rindingallo area including the formidable Buntu Baruppu fortress. Pongtiku's fighters held out for four months but surrendered in October after the Dutch had undermined the fortress by digging a tunnel (the foto shows the entrance) and filling it with explosives, telling Pongtiku they'd blow up the entire mountain. After his surrender, Pongtiku escaped and it took the Dutch one year to capture him. In Juli 1907 he was executed in Rantepao "while trying to escape" (refer to the Pongtiku Monument page). 


For more information, refer to:  Tana Toraja:  A Social History of an Indonesian People (Singapore:  Singapore University Press, 2005) by Terence Bigalke. ISBN: 9971693186

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