The Special Region of Yogyakarta (Indonesian: Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, or DIY), is the smallest province of Indonesia (excluding Jakarta). It is located on the island of Java. It is the only province in Indonesia that is still formally governed by a precolonial Sultanate: the Sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat. In English it is , which derives from its Dutch spelling Jogjakarta. In Javanese (and Dutch) it is .
The city of Yogyakarta is the capital of the province.
The population of DIY in 2003 was approximately 3,000,000. The province of Yogyakarta has a total area of 3,185.80 km². Yogyakarta has the second-smallest area of the provinces in Indonesia, after the Jakarta Capital Region. However it has, along with adjacent areas in Central Java, some of the highest population densities of Java.
Located within the Yogyakarta province, Yogyakarta city is known as a center of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry and puppet shows. It is also famous as a center for Indonesian higher education. At Yogyakarta's center is the kraton, or Sultan's palace. While the city sprawls in all directions from the kraton, the core of the modern city is to the north.
The Yogyakarta Sultanate, formally the Sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, was formed in 1755 when the existing Sultanate of Mataram was divided by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in two under the Treaty of Giyanti. This treaty states that the Sultanate of Mataram was to be divided into the Sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat with Yogyakarta as the capital and Mangkubumi who became Sultan Hamengkubuwono I as its Sultan and the Sultanate of Surakarta Hadiningrat with Surakarta as the capital and Pakubuwono III who was the ruler of the Sultanate of Mataram as its Sultan. The Sultan Hamengkubuwono I spent the next 37 years building the new capital, with the Kraton as the centerpiece and the court at Surakarta as the blueprint model. By the time he died in 1792, his territory exceeded Surakarta's.
The ruler Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX (April 12, 1912 - 1988) held a degree from the Dutch Leiden University, and held for a time the largely ceremonial position of Vice-President of Indonesia, in recognition of his status, as well as Minister of Finance and Minister of Defense.
In support of Indonesia declaring independence from the Dutch and Japanese occupation, in September 5, 1945, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya and Sri Paku Alam VIII in Yogya declared their sultanates to be part of the Republic of Indonesia. In return for this support, a law was passed in 1950 in which Yogyakarta was granted the status of province Daerah Istimewa (Special Region Province), with special status that recognizes the power of the Sultan in his own region's domestic affairs. By this act, Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX was appointed as governor for life. During the Indonesian National Revolution against the Dutch after World War II (1945-1950), the capital of the newly-declared Indonesian republic was temporarily moved to Yogyakarta when the Dutch reoccupied Jakarta from January 1946 until August 1950.
The current ruler of Yogyakarta is his son, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, who holds a law degree from Universitas Gadjah Mada. Upon the elder sultan's death, the position of governor, according to the agreement with Indonesia, was to pass to his heir. However, the central government at that time insisted on an election. In 1998, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X was elected as governor by the provincial house of representatives (DPRD) of Yogyakarta, defying the will of the central government. "I may be a sultan," he has been quoted in Asia Week as saying, "but is it not possible for me to also be a democrat?
The province of Yogyakarta bore the brunt of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake on 27 May, 2006 which killed 5,782 people and left some 36,299 persons injured. More than 135,000 houses are damaged, and 600,000 people are homeless . The earthquake extensively damaged the local region of Bantul, and its surrounding hinterland. The most significant number of deaths occurred in this region.
The coincidence of the recent eruption of Mount Merapi, and the earthquake would not be lost on the older and more superstitious Javanese - as such natural phenonomena are given considerable import within their understanding of the spiritual aspect of such events.