What do you know about Indonesian history

History of Indonesia

With its multitude of languages, ethnicities and religions, the History of Indonesia epic. The word Indonesia itself didn't begin to develop until the 1920s, and it wasn't until 1949 that Indonesia was recognized as an independent nation. From the Man of Java, the first skeleton found outside of Africa, to today's Indonesia, the country has seen kingdoms and wars, external influences and colonization, and dictatorship and democracy, one after the other. Go back in time with us, from prehistory to the Republic of Indonesia.

Prehistory: from Java man to Dong Son culture

Even if the skeleton of the Java man found in the Solo region was more than a million years old, the true settlement of Indonesia probably began around 50,000 BC. At the time, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali were connected to the Asian continent, although the sea level was lower then than it is today. Indonesia then experienced a first wave of migration of negroid and australoid populations that only had to cross the sea. Between 3000 and 500 BC Then came the second wave of migration, that of the Austronesians, starting from Taiwan to the Philippine islands, with the settled population beginning and the History of Indonesia coined. The traces of the first civilization go back to the time before 1000 BC. With the Dong Son culture from Vietnam and North China. Among other things, bronze forging, a local handicraft in Java and Bali as well as some rituals developed.

Trade and Indian Influence in Indonesia

Among other things, it was above all the spices of Indonesia and the trade relations that consolidated the presence of Indian culture and led to the establishment of Hinduism and Buddhism in the archipelago. The Buddhist temple of Borobudur and the Hindu temple of Prambanan, are the most beautiful representations of it in the History of Indonesia. Under the kingdom of Gupta in the 4th and 5th centuries, the first writings are found in Sanskrit, the language of the Indian intellectuals and religious.

The era of the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms

In the 7th century Sumatra was with the Hindu kingdom of Srivijaya, a great sea trading power whose reputation was well known throughout Southeast Asia and which controlled the Straits of Malacca between Sumatra and Malaysia, but also the west of Java. With the beginning of the Mataram Kingdom in Central Java occurred in the History of Indonesia Rivalries on. Two dynasties succeeded one another on the throne, the Hindu Sanjaya, to whom we owe the temple of Prambanan, and the Buddhist dynasty of Sailendra, under which the temple of Borobudur was built. With the influence of its neighbor Java, Bali also feels that the Indian influence and the animism of days gone by are diminishing for the benefit of Indian religions. Erlangga was even the first king of Java of Balinese origin. Then came the kingdoms of Kediri, Singasari and Majapahit.

The Islamization of Indonesia

Islam was introduced early, probably in the 9th century, and marks the History of Indonesia. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the religion spread along the trade routes under the influence of the now Muslim-Indonesian rulers. With the end of the Majapahit Empire, Bali is experiencing an unprecedented cultural exodus in history. The religious, noble, and intellectuals of Java, fearful of the arrival of Islam in their kingdom, seek refuge in Bali. From then on, Bali remained Hindu and withstood the wave of Islamization that was gradually gaining ground in the rest of the archipelago.

The spice trade: from the East India Company to the Dutch East Indies

With the arrival of the Portuguese merchant ships, the spice trade between Europe and Indonesia began. The Moluccas, the famous spice islands, saw the Portuguese build the first colonial departments, which were quickly coveted by the Spanish, the English and the Dutch. In the end, it was the Dutch who took power in 1602 with the establishment of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which controlled the spice trade in Indonesia, often to the detriment of the local population, who were murdered or enslaved. The company destroyed the old town of Jayakarta, now Jakarta, and built a new city along the lines of Amsterdam: Batavia. They kept control of the Indonesian territories, which were then divided into small kingdoms that could not unite against colonial oppression. The Dutch East India Company went bankrupt in 1800. After a few power wars in which the French and English were at the head of Batavia, Holland founded the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch then occupied Indonesia by the middle of the 20th century and developed spice cultures, pepper, cinchona (the bark of which is used to make quinine), rubber, coconut, tea, sugar, coffee, oil and other plantations that made them richer.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Indonesian intellectuals began to rebel and the history of Indonesia was about to change. The Indonesian Nationalist Party of Sukarno was founded in 1927. Since she was seen as a threat, the members were quickly arrested by the Dutch. After the Second World War, when the Japanese occupied Indonesia in a climate of decolonization, the Dutch gave the Indonesians their freedom of choice. The independence of Indonesia, which was proclaimed on August 17, 1945, was not recognized until December 27, 1949. The cultural and social diversity, the lack of standardized education and the total lack of organization shake the newly independent state of Indonesia. Indonesia is in total chaos.

The dictators: Sukarno and Suharto

It was not until 1955 that the first elections took place in Indonesia. Sukarno, Marxist, believer, anti-imperialist and great speaker, is elected. From 1955 to 1967 he headed a country that cannot organize itself. Communist Indonesia only received help from the Soviets and the Chinese at the time. Sukarno's failure to develop the country, growing corruption and the failed and controversial coup d'├ętat of 1965 defeated the dictator, who retired in 1967. Suharto assumed the role of President even before he was officially elected President of Indonesia by Congress in 1968. Favoriteism, corruption and nepotism became the main words of Suharto's authoritarian capitalism. He opens Indonesia to untied foreign capital and invests in unrealizable projects like making the national car: Timor or the national planes. In the midst of the Asian crisis, Indonesia found itself in a black year as forest fires destroyed thousands of acres of land. The government cannot control the situation as it has been exhausted by the enormous cost of the failed Timor project. Unemployment is rising, foreign investors are withdrawing, the currency is falling, the inflation gallop and students are rebelling. Suharto, heavily criticized nationally and internationally, resigned from office in 1998.

Republic of Indonesia

The first democratic elections since 1955 took place in September 1999. In 2004, the first two-round presidential elections were held directly after the electoral law. The country then regained economic stability. Today Indonesia is the third largest democracy in the world and the largest Muslim state in terms of population.

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