Makassar (Buginese-Makassar language: ??? ????) – sometimes spelled Macassar, Mangkasara – is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is the largest city on Sulawesi Island in terms of population number and the sixth largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Medan, and Semarang. From 1971 to 1999, the city was named Ujung Pandang, after a precolonial fort in the city, and the two names are often used interchangeably. The port city is located on the southwest coast of the island of Sulawesi, facing the Makassar Strait.
The citys area is 175.77 square kilometres (67.87 sq mi) and it had a population of around 1.334 million as of the 2010 Census. Its official metropolitan area, known as Mamminasata, covers an area of 2,473 square kilometres (955 sq mi) and had a population of 1,334,090 at the 2010 Census.
Before the sixteenth century the country was ruled by a king who had two sons. Then the East India trading company took over, killed the king, and exiled the two princes. One of them had a son and the family line continued until now. The family is now believed to be mostly in South Africa and some in England. Beginning in the sixteenth century, Makassar was the dominant trading center of eastern Indonesia, and soon became one of the largest cities in island Southeast Asia. The Makassar kings maintained a policy of free trade, insisting on the right of any visitor to do business in the city, and rejecting the attempts of the Dutch to establish a monopoly over the city.
The trade in spices figured prominently in the history of Sulawesi, which involved frequent struggles between rival native and foreign powers for control of the lucrative during the pre-colonial and colonial period, when spices from the region were in high demand in the West. Much of South Sulawesis early history was written in old texts that can be traced back to the 13th and 14th centuries.
Further, tolerant religious attitudes meant that even as Islam became the dominant faith in the region, Christians and others were still able to trade in the city. With these attractions, Makassar was a key center for Malays working in the spice trade, as well as a valuable base for European and Arab traders from much further afield.
The first European settlers were the Portuguese sailors. When the Portuguese reached Sulawesi in 1511, they found Makassar a thriving cosmopolitan entre-port where Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Siamese, Javanese, and Malays came to trade their manufactured metal goods and textiles for pearls, gold, copper, camphor and spices – nutmeg, cloves and mace imported from the interior and the neighbouring Spice Islands of Maluku. By the 16th century, Makassar had become Sulawesis major port and centre of the powerful Gowa and Tallo sultanates which between them had a series of 11 fortresses and strongholds and a fortified sea wall which extended along the coast. Portuguese rulers called the city Macacar.
The arrival of the Dutch in the early 17th century, altered events dramatically. They finally replaced the Portuguese as colonial masters in 1667. Their first objective was to create a hegemony over the spice trade and their first move was to capture the fort of Makassar in 1667, which they rebuilt and renamed Fort Rotterdam. From this base they managed to destroy the strongholds of the Sultan of Gowa who was then forced to live on the outskirts of Makassar. Following the Java War (1825–1830), Prince Diponegoro was exiled to Fort Rotterdam until his death in 1855.
The character of this old trading centre changed as a walled city known as Vlaardingen grew. Gradually, in defiance of the Dutch, the Arabs, Malays and Buddhist returned to trade outside the fortress walls and later also the Chinese.
The town again became a collecting point for the produce of eastern Indonesia – the copra, rattan, pearls, trepang and sandalwood and the famous oil made from bado nuts used in Europe as girls hair dressing – hence the anti-macassars (embroidered cloths placed at head rests of upholstered chairs).
Although the Dutch controlled the coast, it was not until the early 20th century that they gained power over the interior of the south through a series of treaties with local rulers. Meanwhile Dutch missionaries converted many of the Toraja people to Christianity. By 1938, the population of Makassar had reached around 84,000 – a town described by writer Joseph Conrad as "the prettiest and perhaps, cleanest looking of all the towns in the islands".
In World War II the Makassar area was defended by approximately 1000 men of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army commanded by Colonel M. Vooren. He decided that he could not defend on the coast and was planning to fight a guerilla war inland. The Japanese landed near Makassar on 9 February 1942. The defenders retreated but were soon overtaken and captured.
Following the Indonesian National Revolution in 1950, Makassar was the site of fighting between pro-Federalist forces under Captain Abdul Assiz and Republican forces under Colonel Sunkono during the Makassar Uprising. By the 1950s, the population had increased to such a degree that many of the historic sites gave way to modern development and today one needs to look very carefully to find the few remains of the citys once grand history.
The city is southern Sulawesis primary port, with regular domestic and international shipping connections. It is nationally famous as an important port of call for the pinisi boats, sailing ships which are among the last in use for regular long-distance trade.
Makassar has several famous traditional foods. The most famous is Coto Makassar. It is a stew made from the mixture of nuts, spices and selection of offal which may include beef brain, tongue and intestine. Konro rib dish is also popular traditional food in Makassar. Both Coto Makassar and Konro are usually eaten with Burasa or Ketupat, a glutinous rice cake.
In addition, Makassar is the home of Pisang Epe (pressed banana), as well as Pisang Ijo (green banana). Pisang Epe is a banana which is pressed, grilled, and covered with palm sugar sauce and sometimes eaten with Durian. Many street vendors sell Pisang Epe, especially around the area of Losari beach. Pisang Ijo is a banana covered with green colored flours, coconut milk, and syrup. Pisang Ijo is sometimes served iced, and often eaten on Ramadan.