History in Indonesia

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Indonesia is the fourth largest country in terms of population in the world and this archipelago is constituted of more than 17000 islands. The country has a rich, long and a turbulent Indonesia History.

Pre-historic Era

The Indonesian archipelago was estimated to have formed after the last ice age. The first human beings who lived here were ‘Java Man’ almost 2 million years ago. Australasian people, forming the majority of the Indonesian population today, hailed from modern day Taiwan almost 4000 years back. The soil in Indonesia was very fertile and so rice cultivation mastery came naturally to the natives. The mastery of Ikat weaving methods, Bronze casting helped this region flourish as early as 8th century BCE.

Hindu and Buddhist Kingdoms

The early traces of Hindu gods were found as early as 4th century BCE. However, the first Hindu Kingdom that ruled Java and Sumatra was Tarumanagara dynasty and it ruled this part from 4th century CE to 7th century CE. Then Srivijaya Kings started reigning over Sumatra from the 7th century to around 11th century. At the same time, the Sailendra dynasty was ruling Java and established the famous Borobudur Buddhist Monastery. Majapahit was the last eminent Hindu dynasty which ruled over Java, Sumatra and Bali islands. The Majapahit dynasty ruled till early 16th century CE.

Muslim Era

Muslims started trading with the Hindu kings from the 11th century and by the end of the 13th century they were controlling the trades across the straits of Malacca. Sultanate of Mataram was the biggest among all the dynasties. Mataram Sultans reigned all of Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan and slowly the population was converted to Islam. Bali remained the only major exception.

Colonial Era

Portuguese were the first Europeans to come to Indonesia and with their firepower and local assistance started ruling over Malacca as early as 16th century CE. The Portuguese's hold in that region did not last long as Dutch east India Company took over the control of trade affairs of the region after defeating Portuguese in Malacca. The Dutch East India Company gave birth to modern day Indonesia and ruled the country until 1800 before the company went bankrupt. The Dutch government took over Indonesia and ruled it until World War II. Freedom movements led by Sukarno and Hatta shook the Dutch during 1930s and finally in 1941 Japan defeated Dutch. In 1945 after Japan was defeated in World War II, Sukarno announced independence and was appointed president. The Dutch tried to regain power until 1949 but finally left.

Modern Era

Sukarno took over as the president of the newly formed Indonesia but the problem was to unite all the Islands into a nation. Sukarno had built lots of freedom monuments and structures to celebrate freedom, but the economy was deteriorating all the time. During 1965 some top officials were killed and the total blame fell upon PKI (communist faction) and some few thousand communists were killed across the country. Sukarno remained as president but the power shifted to the military general Suharto. Suharto tried to have more trade and relationships with the western countries and the economy flourished, only to be brought down badly by the Asian crisis of 1997. Suharto resigned in 1998. The first direct presidential election of Indonesia happened in 2004. Still political unstable, east Timor issue and violence can be seen across various parts of Indonesia.

Contributors
April 08, 2010 change by ctanios
April 05, 2010 new by ashmita

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