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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 Malaya, Moroland, Philippines, Australia, the Japanese territory of the Nan'yo Islands, 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 IndiesPortuguese 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.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.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.
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.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, 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.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.
World War II
After the invasion of the Netherlands, the martial law was implemented in the Dutch East Indies. All public political meetings, including the Indonesian People's Congress, were banned. Several political figures who suspected be associated with Japan, such Thamrin, Kartohadikoesoemo, Sam Ratulangi and Ernest Douwes Dekker, were arrested in January 1941. Thamrin, already ill of malaria, died after five days in custody and Dekker was exiled to a prison camp in Suriname. This soon cultivated a graver doubt to the Dutch among the nationalists.When China occupied French Indochina in February 1941, Japan decided to suddenly attack the Dutch East Indies from the South Pacific Islands in March 1941. Within three months, the Dutch forces were quickly overwhelmed by the Japanese and finally capitulated to Japan in Bandung in June 1941. Afraid will be used a puppet for Japan, the Dutch colonial government was able to exile Sukarno, the most prominent Indonesian nationalist leader, along with Dekker to Suriname until his death due to malaria in 1945, just prior to the capitulation.
Although the Japanese agreed to keep the status quo, however, the capitulation of Dutch forces was already showing how weak and powerless the Dutch were to the native population. The nationalist movement once again became less cooperative toward the colonial authority. In July 1941, new leader of nationalist faction in the Volksraad, Koesoemo Oetojo, delivered a speech that openly criticized the weak Dutch colonial defense. Oetojo was then expelled from the Volksraad. However, all Volksraad members, except the appointed and European ones, soon resigned en masse as a sign of solidarity for Oetojo. After these resignation, the Volksraad was left unconvened until 1942.
Situation was quickly changed when Japan decided to join the Allies and merged the war in Asia with the one in Europe. The Netherlands had no any option other than reluctantly accepted Japan as its "superior" partner in Asia, thus established a Japanese de-facto control over the colony. The martial law was formally lifted on March 3, 1942, a day after Japan declared war on Germany, Spain and Italy. The ban on nationalist symbols was also lifted and the political prisoners who went into internal exile, such Mohammad Hatta, Sutan Sjahrir and Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, were officially pardoned and released by the Governor-General with the order from the General Headquarters of the Japanese Forces in the East Indies.
With the release of many influential nationalist activists, the nationalist movement became more radical. The Second Indonesian People's Congress that convened in September 1942 adopted a resolution called for complete independence, instead of mere autonomy, following the call for decolonization as stated by the Atlantic Charter in 1941. The congress also demanded "Indonesia" to be used as the name of the colony, instead of "Indies". When the Volksraad was re-convened in December 1942, the resolution from the congress was carried and submitted as an official petition by all of the elected Volksraad members.
Japan itself was supportive toward the nationalist movement in Indonesia due to the official Pan-Asianist policy of the Japanese Nationalist Party. Koesoemo Oetojo, Mohammad Hatta and Sutan Sjahrir were invited by the Japanese government to attend the Greater East Asia Conference at Tokyo as the delegates for the Dutch East Indies in November 1943. On his speech before the conference, Hatta famously declared that the future of Asia should be build upon the foundation of democratic and anti-fascist ideals based on the Declaration by United Nations and the very own values of Asian cultures.
Following the liberation of the Netherlands on May 5, 1945, Dr. Hubertus J. van Mook, was appointed by the Dutch government as new Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Van Mook is known for his liberal inclinations and sympathies towards Indonesian nationalism. On his inaugural speech before the Volksraad on August 23, 1945, Governor-General Van Mook expressed his goodwill support toward the independence of Indonesia within the Netherlands-Indonesian Union in the future.The first Grand Conference of Insular Rulers (Indonesian: Moesjawarah Agoeng Radja-radja Kepoelaoean; Dutch: Groot-Overleg van Insulaire Vorsten) was convened in Yogyakarta on October 27, 1945. Sultan Sjarif Kasim II of Siak was elected as its president while Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogyakarta and Sultan Osman Al-Sani Perkasa Alamsjah of Deli, were elected as his deputies. On November 1, 1945, the Conference of Rulers adopted the Djogjakarta Motion that supporting the re-organization of Dutch colonial administration in Indonesia. The Djogjakarta Motion also proposed for the name change of "Indies" into "Indonesia".