The painting illustrates Sultan Hassanudin (who reigned from 1653 to 1669) in his fight against the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
After Sultan Hasanuddin ascended to the throne as the 16th sultan of Gowa, he tried to combine the power of the small kingdoms in eastern Indonesia to fight the VOC. The war later broke in 1666 between the VOC and the sultanate of Gowa and a fleet was sent on 24 November 1666 under the command of Admiral Cornelis Speelman. On 18 November 1667, the Treaty of Bungaya was signed by the major belligerents in a premature attempt to end the war, but Sultan Hasanuddin did not comply. Battles broke out again in various places with Sultan Hasanuddin giving fierce resistance. Military reinforcements sent from Batavia eventually enabled the VOC to break the Sultanate of Gowa’s strongest fortress in Somba Opu on June 12, 1669 and end the war. Sultan Hasanuddin resigned from the royal throne, dying on June 12, 1670.