Capital : Jakarta
Aceb, Bali, Bengkulu, Irian Jaya, Kalimancan Barat, Nusa Tenggare Barat, Celebes (Sulawesi), Riau, Timur (Timor), Sumatra (Sumatera), Jambi, Maluku, Selatan, Tengah
Size: 735 000 sq m Popn: 191 170 000
This country consists of a group of over 13000 large and small islands south of China and Indochina. Between 3000 and 500 BC, immigrants from southern China displaced the original Melanesian population. The Buddhist and Hindu Srivijaya and Majapahit empires developed between AD 700 and 1450 but were superseded by Islam from the C13th. British and Portuguese traders arrived during the C16th but the Dutch East India Company took over trade in 1595. They had only established trading centres by the C17th and the area was still dominated by the large Indonesian kingdoms but by the C18th-19th, the Dutch were in complete control and the islands were made a Dutch colony in 1816.
During the 1920s, a nationalist movement developed under the pro-communist Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI) led by Achmed Sukarno. The Dutch suppressed it but after the Japanese occupation in 1942, the PNI was set up as an anti-Western puppet government. Japan surrendered to the allies in 1945 and Sukarno proclaimed Indonesia independent. This was challenged by the Dutch who sent a military expedition and imprisoned Sukarno but agreed under international pressure to transfer sovereignty in 1949. The new republic was originally planned as a federation of sixteen constituent regions but became unitary in 1950. Java, which has two thirds of the country's population, became dominant and there were revolts in Sumatra and the South Moluccas, a predominantly Christian area. As president, Sukarno pursued an authoritarian rule and ambitious and expansionist foreign policy, effecting the transfer of western New Guinea (Irian Jaya) from Dutch to Indonesian control in 1963. After the Bandung Conference in 1955, Indonesia pursued a non-aligned foreign policy.
The economy began to deteriorate and there was an attempted coup against Sukarno in 1965. It was put down by army Chief of Staff General Raden Suharto and between 200 000 and 700 000 people were massacred and it was later revealed that US intelligence had given the Indonesian military with a list of around 5000 alleged members of the Indonesian Communist Party. Suharto assumed power as emergency ruler in 1966 and became President in 1967, instituting the New Order which concentrated political power in the hands of the army and security force officers. It included the propagation of Pancasila, which stressed unity and social justice, the pursuit of a liberal economic programme and fierce suppression of communism.
The rise of oil exports led to industrial and agricultural growth during the 1970s and Indonesia becme self-sufficient in rice production by the 1980s. It extended its borders by the forced annexation of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, in 1976 but Suharto's authoritarianism was opposed by left-wing groups, radical Muslims and separatist groups in outlying islands. The rebellion organization, the Free Papua Movement (OPM) was suppressed in Irian Jaya and the Suharto government instituted a 'transmigration' programme in 1986. It aimed to resettle 65 million Javanese there and on other outer islands with small populations by 2006 but faced strong opposition from native Melanesians and 10 000 refugees left for neighbouring Papua New Guinea. Travel restrictions were partly eased in East Timor in 1988 and the UN refused to recognize Indonesian sovereignty over the area. It is estimated that 200 000 people were killed or starved to death while the territory was closed to the outside world.
In April 1991, leading religious and cultural figures launched the 45-member Democracy Forum which included Abdurrahman Wahid, the leader of the country's largest Muslim association, Nahdatul Ulama. The country's most prominent dissident, General Harkono Resko Dharsono, was released from prison in September 1990 and established the Forum for the Purification of People's Sovereignty (FPPS) in August 1991. The country remained an authoritarian state although it is still a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations and relations with the West improved under Suharto. In 1991, a student was killed in clashes with the police during anti-Indonesian demonstrations in Dili, capital of East Timor. At the funeral on 12 November, soldiers opened fire, killing up to 180 people, and between 300 and 400 were arrested, with 60 of them executed on November 15th. The Netherlands suspended aid but in the assembly elections of June 1992, the ruling Golkar party was returned although its minority was reduced and the situation remains unstable.
The Hindu list includes names of kings of individual islands and tribes prior to mainland invasion.
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This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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