Republic of the United States of Indonesia
Republik Indonesia Serikat
Timeline: Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum

OTL equivalent: Indonesia
Flag of Indonesia National emblem of Indonesia Garuda Pancasila
Flag National emblem
Location of Indonesia (Myomi)
Location of Indonesia

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Old Javanese)
("Unity in Diversity")

Anthem "Indonesia Raya"
(and largest city)
  others Javanese; Sundanese; Madurese; Minangkabau; Musi; Buginese; Banjarese; Acehnese; Balinese; Betawi
Religion Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Traditional folk religions
Ethnic Group Javanese; Sundanese; Malays; Chinese; Madurese; Bugis; Minangkabau; Banjars
Demonym Indonesian
Government Federal state; Parliamentary republic
  legislature Parliament of Indonesia
Population 238,000,000 
Established December 15, 1950
Independence from the Netherlands
  declared August 17, 1955
Currency Rupiah (Rp) (IDR)
Time Zone various (UTC+7 to +9)
Calling Code +62
Internet TLD .id

Indonesia, officially the Republic of the United States of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia Serikat), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 17,508 islands. It is populated by over 238 million people and is the world's fourth most populous country. The nation's capital city is Jakarta.

The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, North Borneo, Sarawak and the Portuguese overseas province of Portuguese Timor. Other neighboring countries include MalayaMoroland, Philippines, Australia, and the British overseas territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Indonesia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation. Across its many islands, there are over 300 ethnic groups and more than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesia. The largest - and politically dominant - ethnic group are the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a majority Muslim population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity.


Netherlands East Indies

main page: Dutch East Indies (Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum)

Myristica fragrans - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-097

The nutmeg plant was once one of the world's most valuable commodities and drew the first European colonial powers to Indonesia.

The first regular contact between Europeans and the peoples of Indonesia began in 1512, when Portuguese traders, led by Francisco Serrão, sought to monopolize the sources of nutmeg, cloves and cubeb pepper in Maluku. Dutch and British traders followed.

In 1602 the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the dominant European power. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the government of the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalized colony.

From the arrival of the first Dutch ships in the late sixteenth century, to the independence of Indonesia in 1950, Dutch control over the Indonesian archipelago was always tenuous. Although Java was dominated by the Dutch, many areas remained independent throughout much of this time including Aceh, Bali, Lombok and Borneo. There were numerous wars and disturbances across the archipelago as various indigenous groups resisted efforts to establish a Dutch hegemony. It was not until the early 20th century, that Dutch dominance was extended across to the future territory of modern-day Indonesia.

From about 1840, Dutch national expansionism saw them wage a series of wars to enlarge and consolidate their possessions in the outer islands. Although Indonesian rebellions broke out, direct colonial rule was extended throughout the rest of the archipelago from 1821 to 1910 and control taken from the remaining independent local rulers. The Bird's Head Peninsula (Western New Guinea), was brought under Dutch administration in 1920. This final territorial range would form the territory of Indonesia.

1916 Dutch East Indies - Art

Dutch imperial imagery representing the Dutch East Indies, 1916

In 1901, Queen Wilhelmina announced that the Netherlands accepted an ethical responsibility for the welfare of their colonial subjects that could be summarized in the 'Three Policies' of Irrigation, Transmigration and Education. Upgrading the infrastructure of ports and roads in East Indies was a high priority for the Dutch, with the goal of modernizing the economy, facilitating commerce, and speeding up military movements.

The government policy on education, however, brought the Western political ideas of freedom and democracy. During the 1920s and 30s, this small elite began to articulate a rising anti-colonialism and a national consciousness. However, the Dutch colonial government strongly repressed all attempts at change and suppressed the Indonesian nationalist movement. Political freedoms under the Dutch were limited at best.

In October 1908, the first native emancipation movement was formed, Boedi Oetomo, which followed by the establishment of first nationalist mass movement, Sarekat Islam, in 1912. It brought the Indonesians together, using the banner of Islam in opposition to Dutch rule, however, it had not nationalist agenda, and was often more anti-Chinese than anti-Dutch. In contrast, the Communist Party of Indonesia (Indonesian: Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI), formed in 1920, was a fully-fledged independence party inspired by European politics. In 1926, it attempted a revolution throughout Indonesia through isolated insurrections across Java that panicked the Dutch, who arrested and exiled thousands of communists, effectively neutralizing the PKI for the remainder of the Dutch occupation.

In approximately 1920 that the word "Indonesia" came into its modern usage. Created by English ethnologists, George Windsor Earl and James Richardson Logan, in 1850s to classify the ethnic and geographic area, "Indonesia" was used upon by the nationalists as a word to imagine a unity of peoples of the archipelago. On October 28, 1928, the name "Indonesia" gained more political significance when the native pro-independence nationalist youth acknowledged Indonesia as one motherland, one nation, and uphold Indonesian language, that based on Bazaar Malay language, as the language of unity.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Opening van de Volksraad door gouverneur-generaal Van Limburg Stirum op 18 mei 1918 op Java TMnr 10001373

Opening of the Volksraad in Batavia, May 18, 1918.

In the 20th century, the colony gradually developed as a state distinct from Metropolitan Netherlands with treasury separated in 1903, public loans being contracted by the colony from 1913, and quasi-diplomatic ties were established with Hejaz to manage the Hajj pilgrimage from the Dutch East Indies. In 1922 the colony came on equal footing with the Netherlands in the Dutch constitution, while remaining under the Ministry of Colonies.

A proto-parliament, the Volksraad (Indonesian: Dewan Rakjat; People's Council), was also established in 1916 and convened in 1918. The Volksraad was limited to an advisory role and only small portions of the indigenous population were able to vote for its members. Nevertheless, the Volksraad was used as the medium of political struggle by the Indonesian nationalists to achieve the goal of independence or, at least, a self-government.

Independence movement

The natives’ active participation within the colonial government at the Japanese South Pacific influenced the Indonesian nationalist movement in the Dutch East Indies to grow significantly in late 1920s and early 1930s. In early 1927, the secular and non-cooperative Indonesian National Party (Partai Nasional Indonesia, PNI) was established in Bandung with Sukarno as its leader. With its pro-independence and anti-Dutch political agitations, the PNI gained very popular supports in West and Central Java and had 10,000 members by the end of 1929. This alarmed the authorities, and Sukarno and seven party leaders were arrested in December 1929. Without its leaders, the PNI dissolved itself in 1931.

On October 28, 1928, the Second All-Indonesian Youth Congress was convened by several nationalist youth movements throughout the Dutch East Indies. The congress then produced the so-called Sumpah Pemuda (“Youth Pledge”), established the three ideals of Indonesian nationalism: "one motherland — Indonesia, one nationality — Indonesian and one language of unity — Indonesian." The nationalist anthem, Indonesia Raya, was also played for the first time by Wage Rudolf Supratman on violin during the congress.


M.H. Thamrin, E. Gobée and Koesoemo Oetojo (centre, 1st row) and other elected native members of Volksraad, ca.1935

The fate suffered by the PNI inspired many nationalist movements chose to use more legal ways. The Grand Indonesian Party (Partai Indonesia Raja, Parindra) was established in 1935 from the merger of several local political parties, such as Boedi Oetomo, Surabaya-based Persatoean Bangsa Indonesia, Batavia-based Kaoem Betawi and Moluccas-based Sarekat Ambon. One of the Parindra leading figures was a Betawi politician, Mohammad Hoesni Thamrin. Thamrin was a prominent member of Volksraad which he actively pushed for nationalist agendas, such the use of Indonesian language in the legal documents

In July 1936, Mas Soetardjo Kartohadikoesoemo, a Volksraad member, submitted a petition called for an imperial conference to arrange Indonesian autonomy within the Kingdom of the Netherlands over a ten-year period. However, in November 1938, a royal decree was issued to reject the proposal. As a respond for the rejection, the main Indonesian nationalist organizations, including the Parindra, formed the Indonesian Political Federation (Gaboengan Politiek Indonesia, GAPI) with Thamrin as its main leader on May 21, 1939. In December, the GAPI convened the First Indonesian People’s Congress to campaign for autonomy status albeit the strong antipathy from the government of the Netherlands.

Kongres rakjat indonesia

The First Indonesian People Congress convened by the GAPI, 1939

The invasion of Poland by Germany in September 1939 signaled the start of World War II in Europe. East Asia itself was succumbed under the then-separate conflicts between Japan and China. Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and the Dutch government-in-exile was established in London. The government-in-exile was still in control of the Dutch East Indies with all of its resources: it was the third largest oil producer at the time. Under this condition, Japan started to press the government of Dutch East Indies in late 1940 for an exclusive access to oil supply on the islands.