This harbour town was first known as Sunda Kelapa. But on 22 June 1527 Prince Fatahillah razed Sunda Kelapa and founded the town of Jayakarta on the same site. This is the date that Jakarta takes as the establishment of the city. Jayakarta was a thriving port where traders from China, India, Arabia and later the Europeans, as well as those from all over the archipelago exchanged their wares.
In 1619, the Dutch VOC under Jan Pieterszoon Coen destroyed Jayakarta and built a new town on the west bank of the Ciliwung river, which he named Batavia, after the Batavieren, the Dutch tribal ancestors. Batavia was planned similar to Dutch towns, in a series of blocks cut by canals and defended by a fortified wall and a moat. This part of Batavia was completed in 1650. Old Batavia was where the Europeans lived, while the Chinese, Javanese and other indigenous groups were relegated outside the city entrenchment.
In its heydays, Batavia became known as the Jewel of the East, the seat of the VOC and later it became the seat of the Dutch Government over the sprawling East Indies archipelago. During the Japanese occupation in 1942, the Japanese again changed the name from Batavia to Jakarta.