In 1498, there was a turning point when Girindrawardhana was deposed by his vice-regent, Udara. After this coup, the war between Demak and Daha receded, since Raden Patah, Sultan of Demak, left Daha alone like his father had done before, some source said Udara agreed to become a vassal of Demak, even marrying Raden Patah's youngest daughter.
Demak came under the leadership of Raden (later crowned as Sultan) Patah, who was acknowledged as the legitimate successor of Majapahit. According to Babad Tanah Jawi and Demak tradition, the source of Patah's legitimacy was because their first sultan, Raden Patah, was the son of Majapahit king Brawijaya V with a Chinese concubine. Another argument supports Demak as the successor of Majapahit; the rising Demak sultanate was easily accepted as the nominal regional ruler, as Demak was the former Majapahit vassal and located near the former Majapahit realm in eastern Java.Maka kaluar dangan parhiasannya orang barbaju-rantai ampat puluh sarta padangnya barkupiah taranggos sakhlat merah, orang mambawa astenggar ampat puluh, orang mambawa parisai sarta padangnya ampat puluh, orang mambawa dadap sarta sodoknya sapuluh, orang mambawa panah sarta anaknya sapuluh, yang mambawa tumbak parampukan barsulam amas ampat puluh, yang mambawa tameng Bali bartulis air mas ampat puluh.
...tall and handsome, lavishly adorned, and they have richly caparisoned horses. They use krises, swords, and lances of many kinds, all inlaid with gold. They are great hunters and horsemen—the horse had stirrups all inlaid with gold and inlaid saddles, which are not to be found anywhere else in the world. The Javanese lords are so noble and exalted that there is no nation to compare with them over a wide area in these parts. They have their head shorn—half tonsured—as a mark of beauty, and they always run their hands over their hair from the forehead upwards unlike what European did. The lords of Java are revered like gods, with great respect and deep reverence.
This quotation comes from Sutasoma canto 139, stanza 5. The full stanza reads as follows:
Terracotta money boxes also have been found in different shapes, such as tubular or boxes, with slits to slip coins. Another important terracotta artefact is the head figurine of a man popularly thought to be the depiction of Gajah Mada, although it is not certain about who was depicted in these figurines.
During his daily administration, the king is assisted by bureaucratic state officials that also included the close relatives of the kings that hold certain esteemed titles. The royal order or edict usually transmitted from the king to the high officials well to their subordinates. The officials in Majapahit courts are:
Majapahit recognise the hierarchy classifications of lands within its realm:
During the reign of Hayam Wuruk (1350–1389) there were 12 provinces of Majapahit, administered by king's close relatives:
When Majapahit entered the thalassocracy imperial phase during the administration of Gajah Mada, several overseas vassal states were included within the Majapahit sphere of influence, as a result, the new larger territorial concept was defined:
The inscription, however, did not mention Majapahit's vassals in other areas around the period, such as :
During the reign of Majapahit's first two monarch — Wijaya and Jayanegara, the kingdom struggled to consolidate its rule, plagued by several rebellions. However, it was not until the reign of its third monarch — Queen Tribhuwana Tunggadewi, and her son, Hayam Wuruk — that the kingdom began to project its power overseas. Majapahit's confidence for dominance was stemmed for their economic and demographic comparative advantage; agrarian as well as a maritime nation; their large rice production, immense human resources, well-organized society, also their mastery in shipbuilding, navigation and military technology; are excellent relatively compared to their neighbours. These strengths were used by Gajah Mada to expand the kingdom's influence and building a maritime empire. This rather imperialistic outlook has projected in the way he forcefully dealt with Majapahit's neighbours; the Pabali (conquest of Bali, 1342–1343) and the Pasunda Bubat (1356). Majapahit pulled Bali into their orbit as a vassal state. While the disastrous diplomacy with the Sunda kingdom has led to the enmity among them.
Within Indonesian archipelago, Majapahit saw itself as the centre of a huge mandala. This notion is demonstrated by its three-tier administrative hierarchy; Nagara Agung, Mancanegara, and Nusantara.
Celebrated as 'the golden era of the archipelago', the Majapahit empire has inspired many writers and artists (and continues to do so) to create their works based on this era or to describe and mention it. The impact of the Majapahit theme on popular culture can be seen in the following: