Consulate of Indonesia
Yerevan, Armenia
Israyelyan Street, Bld. 37/147
0015 Yerevan, Armenia
Tel: + 374 10 528825
Fax:+ 374 10 565669
E-mail: [email protected]
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Indonesia from Ancient Man to Modern Day


Ancient Man
It is believed that the archipelago now known as Indonesia must have existed during the Pleistocene period (4 million years BC) when it was linked with the Asian mainland. During this period, the Hominids made their first appearance, and the Java man inhabited this part of the world. Named Pithecanthropus Erectus by Eugene Dubois, who found the fossils on the island of Java, the "Java Man" must have been the first inhabitant of Indonesia.
When the sea level rose as the result of melting ice north of Europe and the American continent, many islands emerged, including the Indonesian archipelago. It was also during this period (3000-500 BC) that Indonesia was inhabited by Sub-Mongoloid migrants from Asia who later inter-married with the indigenous people. Later still (1000 BC) inter-marriage occurred with Indo-Aryan migrants from the South-Asian subcontinent of India.
Islands of Gold and Rice
The first Indian migrants mostly came from Gujarat in Southeast India during the first Christian era. The Caka period in Indonesia witnessed the introduction of the Sanskrit language and the Pallawa script by the Indian Prince Aji Caka (78 AD). The Devanagari script of the Sanskrit language was also used as shown in ancient stone and copper inscriptions (paracasthies) which have been unearthed. The language and script were adapted to become the Kawi language, which includes words and phrases derived from Javanese.
Early trade relations were established between South India and Indonesia. Sumatra was then named Swarnan Dwipa or "the island of god," Java was called Java Dwipa or "the rice island," and a Hindu kingdom in Borneo, was named Kutai. Relations between the Buddhist Srivijaja in Sumatra and Nalanda in South India not only included religious and cultural exchanges, which later developed into diplomatic relations, but also covered a wide range of trade relations.
The influx of Indian settlers continued during the period from the seventh century AD. Gradually the Hindu religion spread peacefully throughout the archipelago. It was adopted by all layers of the people of Java, but limited to the upper classes in the other islands.
The Great Hindu and Buddhist Kingdoms
Many well organized kingdoms with a high degree of civilization were ruled by indigenous kings who had adopted the Hindu or Buddhist religion. This explains why this period in history is called the Period of Hindu Kingdoms, which lasted from ancient times to the 16th century AD. Because the culture and civilization that emanated from the Hindu and Buddhist religions blended with the local cultural element, it is also referred to as the Hindu Indonesian Period.
Indian culture and customs were introduced, such as the system of government in a monarchy, the ancestry system, the organization of military troops, literature, music and dances, architecture, religious practice and rituals, and even the division of laborers into castes or varnas. The Hindu literary works, known as Vedas and the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics were also introduced through the wayang or shadow-play performance, which is still very popular in many parts of present day Indonesia.
The first Indian Buddhists arrived in Indonesia between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. They brought with them Buddhism in its two sects, Hinayana and Mahayana with the latter becoming more advanced in the 8th century AD.
With the spread of Buddhism to China, many Chinese pilgrims sailed to India through the strait of Malacca. Some sojourned in Indonesia to learn more about Buddhism.
Kings, Saints, and Scholars
In 144 AD a Chinese Buddhist saint, Fa Hsien, was caught in a storm and landed in Java-Dwipa or Java Island where he stayed for five months.
The northern part of the island was then ruled by an Indonesian Hindu king by the name of Kudungga. Kutai on the island of Borneo was successively ruled by three Hindu kings.
When the Greek explorer and geographer ptolemy of Alexandria wrote on Indonesia, he named either the island of Java or Sumatra abadiou. His chronicles described Java as a country with a good government system, with advanced agriculture, navigation, and astronomy. There was even mention of the batik painting process on cloth. The people also made metal ware, used the metric system and minted coins.
Chinese chronicles of 132 AD described the existence of diplomatic relations between Java-Dwipa and China around 502 AD, Chinese annals recorded the existence of a Buddhist kingdom in South Sumatra, Kant Li, presumably in the neighborhood of present-day Palembang, which was ruled by King Gautama Subhadra and later by his son, who established diplomatic relations with China.
On his way to India, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, I Tsing, visited Srivijaya in 671 AD to study the Sanskrit language, returning 18 years later in 689 AD. Srivijaya was then the center of Buddhist learning and many well known scholars in philosophy resided there.
Bronze Canting and Magnificent Temples
The Kingdom maintained diplomatic relations with the South India kingdom of Nalanda. The Srivijaya mission had built on its premises a school where Indians could learn the art of molding bronze statues and broaden their knowledge of the Buddhist philosophy. With the spread of Buddhism, Srivijaya's influence reached out to many other parts of the archipelago.
Another known Buddhist kingdom was Cailendra in Central Java.
Ruled by the king of the Cailendra dynasty, it was during this period that the famous Buddhist temple of Brobudur was built. In 772 AD other Buddhist temples were built, such as the Mendut, Kalasan and Pawon. All these temples are preserved as historical sites near the city of Yogyakarta. The Cailendra Kingdom was also known for its commercial and naval power and its flourishing arts and culture.
A Pallawa language stone inscription dating to 732 AD mentions the name of King Sanjaya, later identified as the king of Mataram, a kingdom which replaced Cailendra in Central Java.
The Prambanan temple, which was dedicated to Lord Shiva, was started in 856 AD and completed in 900 AD by King Daksa. Earlier shiva temples were built in 675 AD on the Dieng mountain range, southwest of Medang Kamoian, the capital of the Mataram Kingdom.
In West Java reigned the kingdoms of Galuh, Kanoman, Kuningan and Pajajaran, The latter was founded by King Purana with Pakuan as its capital. It replaced the kingdom of Galuh. The kingdoms of Taruma Negara, Kawali and Parahyangan Sunda came later.
At the end of 13th century, the Srivijaya empire began. to fall as result of severance by its vassal states and the frequent attacks by the south India kingdom of Chola and Majapahit. In the end, Srivijaya was completely conquered by the Majapahit with the support of King Aditiawarman of the Melayu kingdom.
Earlier Majapahit had conquered the kingdom of Jambi in East Sumatra and by moving its expansion along the rivers, it finally annexed The kingdom of Pagar Ruyung in West Sumatra. Thus, all of Sumatra was under Majapahit's rule.
Mysterious Disappearance
Meanwhile, for unknown reasons, the mighty kingdoms of Central Java disappeared from historic records and new, prosperous kingdoms emerged in East Java.
King Balitung, who ruled between 820 and 832 AD, succeeded in uniting the Central and East Java kingdoms. The disappearance of records was presumably caused by a natural disaster or an epidemic.
At the end of the 10th century (911-1007 AD), the powerful kingdom of Singasari emerged in East Java under King Dharmawangsa. He codified laws and translated into Javanese the Mahabharata epic and its basic philosophy as exposed in the Bhisma Parva scripture. He also ordered the translation of the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavad Gita.
Meanwhile, the island of Bali was reigned by King Airlangga who was known as a wise and strong ruler. He had water works built along the Brantas river which are still in use today. Before his death in 1409 AD, he divided the land into the kingdoms of Janggala and Daha or Kediri, which were to be ruled by his two sons. Under Airlangga's rule, literary works flourished. The Panji novels, which were written during this period, are still popular today and even taught in the universities, Asian studies, in particular those of Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia.
King Jayabaya of Kediri (1135-1157) wrote a book in which he foretold the downfall of Indonesia, predicting that the country would be ruled by a white race, to be followed by a yellow race. His prediction turned out to be the Dutch colonial rule followed by the Japanese occupation of the country during Word War II. However, Jayabaya also predicted that Indonesia would ultimately regain her independence. During the golden period of the Kediri Kingdom, many other literary works were produced, such as the Javanese version of the Mahabharata by Mpu (saint) Sedah and his brother Mpu Panuluh. This work was published in 1157.
The Mighty Majapahit Kingdom
The kingdoms of East Java were later succeeded by the Majapahit kingdom, first ruled by Prince Wijaya, who was also known as King Kartarajasa.
The Moghul emperor, Kubilai Khan, attempted to invade Majapahit. His troops, however, were defeated and driven back to their ships. As Majapahit grew to a powerful empire, it conquered the kingdom of Srivijaya in South Sumatra.
Under King Hayam Wuruk, the Majapahit empire became the most powerful kingdom in the history of Indonesia. It had dependencies in territories beyond the borders of the present archipelago, such as North Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines (1331-1364). King Hayam Wuruk with his able prime minister, Gajah Mada, succeeded in gradually uniting the whole archipelago under the name Dwipantara.
Golden Age of Literature
During this golden period of Majapahit many literary works were produced, such as Negara Kertagama by the famous author Mpu Prapanca (1335-1380). Parts of the book described the diplomatic and economic ties between Majapahit and Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Tonkin, Annam, Kampuchea and even India and China.
Other works in the Kawi or old Javanese language were Pararaton, Arjuna Wiwaha, Ramayana, Sarasa Muschaya and many more. These works were later translated into modem European language for study purposes.
The Period of Islamic Kingdoms
Moslem merchants from Gujarat and Persia began to visit Indonesia in the 13th century and established trade links between this country and India and Persia. Along with trade, they propagated Islam among the Indonesian people, particularly in the coastal areas of Java, such as Demak. At a later stage they even influenced and converted Hindu kings to Islam, the first being the Sultan of Demak. This Moslem Sultan later spread Islam westwards to Cirebon and Banten, and eastwards along the northern coast of Java to the kingdom of Gresik. In the end he brought the downfall of the powerful kingdom of Majapahit (1293-1520).
After the fall of Majapahit, Islam spread further east where the sultanates of Bone and Goa in Sulawesi were established. Also under the influence of Islam, the sultanates of Ternate and Tidore were established in the Moluccas.
North of Java, the religion spread to Banjarmasin in Borneo and further west to Sumatra, where Palembang, Minangkabau (West Sumatra), Pasai and Perlak were converted.
Bali Becomes Hindu Refuge
Meanwhile, descendants of the Majapahit aristocracy religious scholars, and Hindu Ksatriyas retreated through the East Java peninsula of Blambangan to the islands of Bali and Lombok. In later period, however, the eastern part of Lombok was converted to Islam, which entered the island from the South Sulawesi city of Makassar, now named Ujung Pandang.
The capital of the West Java kingdom of Pajajaran was Sunda Kelapa (1300 AD), today located in the present capital city of Jakarta. In 1527, Sunda Kelapa was conquered by Falatehan, an Islamic troop commander of the sultanate of Demak. Since then the city was renamed Jayakarta, meaning "the great city," which was the origin of the present name, Jakarta. Falatehan has also to his record the defeat of the Portuguese who tried to seize the city.
Colonial Rule and the Spice Trade
In their search of spices, the Portuguese arrived in Indonesia in 1511 after their conquest of the Islamic kingdom of Malacca on the Malay Peninsula. They were followed by the Spaniards. Both began to propagate Christianity and were most successful in Maluku or the Moluccas.
In the meantime, the Dutch had started their ventures to seek Indonesian spices for sale on the European market at a huge profit. To achieve more efficient and better organized merchant trade, they established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602. Dutch warships protected the merchant fleet from frequent pirate attacks on the high seas.
After the nationalization of the VOC in 1799, it maintained a firm grip on the vital territories of the country. People in those territories were forced to surrender their agricultural produce on the Dutch merchants. This was the beginning of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia. Sunda Kelapa was renamed Batavia.
Meanwhile, the Hindu kingdom of Mataram became Islamic and was ruled by Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo. He developed the political power of the state and was a keen patron of the arts and culture. In 1633, he introduced the Islamic Javanese calendar. Sultan Agung was a fierce enemy of the Dutch. In 1629, he sent his troops to attack Batavia, but these were repulsed by the troops of Governor General Jan Pieter zoon Coen.
After the seizure of Ambon in the Moluccas in 1605 and Banda island in 1623, the Dutch secured the trade monopoly of the spice islands. A policy of ruthless exploitation by " divide and rule" tactics was carried out. In this way such indigenous inter-island trade as that between Makassar, Aceh, Mataram and Banten, as well as overseas trade, was gradually paralyzed. Indonesia was reduced to an agricultural country forced to supply European markets. Meanwhile, the Dutch adopted a so called open-door policy to the Chinese in order that they could serve as middlemen in their trade with Indonesia.
War against the Dutch
Sultan Hasanuddin of Goa waged a war against the Dutch in 1666 but was defeated, and Goa was made a vassal state of the VOC under the treaty of Bunggaya of 1667.
Prince Trunojoyo of Madura, who fought the Dutch, was defeated and killed in 1680. To reinforce their spice monopoly in the Moluccas, the Dutch undertook the notorious hongi expeditions to bum down clove gardens of the people as there seemed to be overproduction which brought down the prices of cloves on the European market. In these expeditions brutal atrocities were committed against the people who attempted to defend their crops.
In 1740, the Dutch suppressed a rebellion in Jakarta, sparked by dissatisfied Chinese who were later joined by Indonesians. Ten thousand Chinese were massacred.
The kingdom of Mataram, which slowly saw its downfall, was divided by the VOC into the Principalities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. However, mismanagement and corruption forced the VOC into bankruptcy and on December 31, 1799, all territories in Indonesia were taken over by the Dutch Administration in Batavia.
In 1814 the British came to Indonesia and built Fort York in Bengkulu on the west coast of Sumatra. It was later renamed Fort Marlborough.
Napoleonic Wars Bring British Rule
During the Napoleonic wars in Europe when Holland was occupied by France, Indonesia fell under the rule of the British East India Company (1811 - 1816), Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles was appointed Lieutenant Governor General of Java and dependencies, subordinate to the Governor General in Bengal, India.
Raffles introduced partial self-government and abolished the slave trade. (In those days slaves were captured and traded by foreigners).
He also introduced the land-tenure system, replacing the hated Dutch forced agricultural system whereby crops were grown and surrendered to the government.
Brobudur and other temples were restored. Raffles wrote his famous book, The History of Java, in which he described Java's high degree of civilization and culture.
During the British stay in Sumatra from 1814 to 1825, William Marsden wrote a similar book of the history of Sumatra, which was published in 1889.
Dutch Administration Returns
At the end of the French occupation of Holland after the fall of Napoleon, the British and the Dutch signed a Convention in London on August 13, 1814, in which it was agreed that Dutch colonial possessions dating from 1803 onwards should be returned to the Dutch Administration in Batavia. The Indonesian archipelago was recovered from the British in 1815.
Soon the Dutch intensified their colonial rule, but this only sparked widespread revolts to seize freedom. These revolts, however, were suppressed one after another.
To mention only a few, Thomas Matulessy alias Pattimura staged a revolt against the Dutch in the Moluccas (1816-1818), Prince Diponegoro of Mataram led the Java War from 1825 till 1830. Again it was a fierce struggle for freedom. Tuanku Imam Bonjol led the Padri War in West Sumatra, while Teuku Umar headed the Aceh War in North Sumatra (1873 - 1903). King Sisingamangaraja of the Bataks revolted against the Dutch in 1907. An attempt by the Dutch troops to occupy Bali in 1908 was repelled by King Udayana. Revolts also were staged in Goa, South Sulawesi, and in South Kalimantan.
When all these regional wars of independence failed, Indonesian nationalists began to think of a more-organized political struggle against the Dutch colonialism.
The National Movement Emerges
For the next thirty years, Indonesia would see the shaping of its own political destiny through its nationalist movement. The move for political organization began with the founding of Boedi Oetomo, literally meaning "noble conduct", on May 20, 1908. This organization of Indonesian intellectuals was initially set up for educational purposes but later turned political. It was inspired by Japan's victory over Russian in 1901, which also gave impetus to nationalist movements in many parts of Indonesia. The founder of Boedi Oetomo was Dr. Soetomo, who was at the time a student of STOVIA, an institution to train Indonesian medical officers.
Dr. Soetomo was very much influenced by Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo and supported by Gunawan and Suradji.
In 1912, the Sarekat Dagang Islam or Association of Moslem Merchants, was formed by Haji Samanhudi and others. The objective was first to stimulate and promote the interests of the Indonesian business in the Dutch East Indies. However, in 1912, this organization of middle-class businessmen turned into a political party and was renamed Sarekat Islam under the leadership of H.O.S. Tjokroaminoto, Haji Agoes Salim and others.
In 1912, a progressive Moslem organization, Muhammadyah, was established by K.H. Akhmad Dahlan in Yogyakarta for the purpose of social and economic reforms.
In December of the same year the Partai Indonesia was founded by Douwes Dekker, later named Setiabudi, with Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo and Ki Hajar Dewantoro. The objective of the party was to strive for complete independence for Indonesia. All the three leaders of the party were exiled by the colonial government in 1913.
In 1914 communism was introduced to the East Indies by the Dutch nationals, Sneevliet, Baars and Brandsteder.
In May 1920, Sarekat Islam split into a right and a left wing, the latter was to become the partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI, the Indonesian Communist Party) under the leadership of Semaun, Darsono, Alimin, Muso and others.
The Powerless People's Council
In 1916 the Sarekat Islam Party held its first convention in Bandung and resolved to demand self-government for Indonesia in cooperation with the Dutch. When the Sarekat Islam demanded a share in the legislative power of the colony, the Dutch responded by setting up the Volksraad in 1918, which was virtually a powerless people's council with an advisory status.
Indonesian representatives on the council were indirectly elected through regional councils, but part of the other members was appointed colonial officials.
The Volksraad later developed into a semi-legislative assembly. Among the members of this body were prominent nationalist leaders like Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo, H.O.S. Tjokroaminoto, Abdul Muis, Dr.G.S.S.J. Ratulangi, M.H. Thamrin, Wiwoho, Sutardjo Kartohadikusumo, Dr. Radjiman, Soekardjo Wiryopranoto and others.
Under the pressure of social unrest, in the Netherlands at the end of World War I, the Dutch promised to grant self-government to the Indonesians. This was known as the "November Promise", which was never met. Besides the volksraad, there was another body called Raad van Indies of the Council of the Indies, the members of which were appointed by the Government. Achmad Djajadiningrat and Sujono were among the very few Indonesian members of this council.
Political Activism Intensifies
Deteriorating economic conditions and increasing labor strikes prompted the colonial government in 1923 to put severe restrictions on Indonesian civil liberties.
Meanwhile, the Technical Faculty was set up in Bandung in 1920. The Law Faculty was open in Jakarta in 1924 to replace the former Law School. The Medical Faculty was opened in Jakarta in 1927 to replace the old Medical School. Except for the Technical Faculty in Bandung, all the faculties in Jakarta were merged into the University of Indonesia in 1964 in independent Indonesia.
Concerned about the growing national awareness of freedom, the colonial authorities arrested the PNI leader Soekamo, in December 1929. This touched off widespread protests by the Indonesians.
In 1930 the world was in the grip of an economic and monetary crisis. The severe impact was felt in the Indies, which was a raw-material producing country.
The colonial government adopted a strict balanced budget policy which aggravated economic and social conditions.
Two other leaders of the PNI, Gatot Mangkupradja and Maskun Supriadinata, were arrested and tried in court on charges of plotting against the Government. Soekamo was released in September 1931 but exiled again in August 1933. He remained in Dutch custody until the Japanese invasion in 1942.
In January 1931, Dr. Soetomo founded the Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia or the Indonesian Unity Party, the objective of which was to improve the social status of the Indonesian people.
In April of the same year, the PNI was abandoned. A new party was formed by Sartono, LLM, and named the Partai Indonesia or the Indonesian Party. Its basis was nationalism, its line was independent.
Also in that same year, Sutan Syahrir formed the Pendidikan Nasional Indonesia, known as the new PNI which envisaged national education. Mohammad Hatta joined this organization.
In 1933, a mutiny broke out on the Dutch warship De Zeven Provincien for which Indonesian nationalists were held responsible. The following year Sutan Syahrir and Mohammad Hatta and other nationalist leaders were arrested and banished until 1942.
In 1935, Soetomo merged the Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia and the Boedi Oetomo in the Partai Indonesia Ray a. Its fundamental goal was the Independence of Great Indonesia.
The Indonesian Petition
The following year, in July 1936, Sutardjo submitted to the Volksraad, a petition calling for greater autonomy for Indonesia. This petition was flatly rejected by the Dutch dominated Council.
In 1937, Dr. A.K. Gani stated the Indonesian people's Movement or Gerakan Rakyat Indonesia, which was based on the principles of nationalism, social independence and self-reliance.
In 1939, the All Indonesian Political Federation (GAPI), called for the establishment of a full-fledged Indonesian parliament. This demand was rejected by the Government in Hollan in 1940.
GAPI also demanded an Indonesian military service for the purpose of defending the country in times of war. Again this was turned down, notwithstanding the impending outbreak of World War II. At the same time there were widespread movements for fundamental and progressive reforms in the colonies and dependencies in Asia.
The Japanese Occupation
After their attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the Japanese forces moved southwards to conquer several Southeast Asian countries. When Singapore had fallen, they invaded the Dutch East Indies, and the colonial army surrendered in March 1942.
Soekarno and Hatta were released from their detention. The Japanese began their propaganda campaign for what they called "Great East Asia Co-prosperity." But Indonesians soon realized it was only a camouflage for Japanese imperialism in place of Dutch colonialism.
To further the cause of Indonesia's independence, Soekamo and Hatta appeared to cooperate with the Japanese authorities. In reality, however, Indonesian nationalist leaders went underground and masterminded insurrections in Java, such as in Blitar (East Java), Tasikmalaya and Indramayu (West Java), in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
Under the pressure of the Pacific war, where their supply lines were interrupted, and the increasing impact of Indonesian insurrections, the Japanese ultimately allowed the red-and-white flag to fly as the Indonesian national flag. Recognition foil wed of Indonesia Raya as the national anthem and the Bahasa Indonesia as the national language. Hence the youth's pledge of 1928 was fulfilled.
After persistent demands, the Japanese finally agreed to place the civil administration of the country in the Indonesian hands. This was a golden opportunity for nationalist leaders to prepare for the proclamation of Indonesia's independence.
Independence Proclaimed
The Republic of Indonesia first saw light on August 17, 1945, when its independence was proclaimed a few days after the Japanese surrender to the Allies. Pancasila became the ideological and philosophical basis of the Republic, and on August 18, 1945, the Constitution was adopted as the basic law of the country.
Following the provisions of this Constitution, the country would be headed by a President, to serve as the Chief Executive, assisted by a Vice-President and a cabinet of ministers.
The sovereignty of the people would rest with the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR). Hence, the President would be accountable to the MPR. The legislative power would be vested in the House of People's Representatives (DPR). There would also be a Supreme Court, a Supreme Advisory Council and a Supreme Audit Board.
Soekarno became the first President and Chief Executive and Mohammad Hatta, the first Vice-President of the Republic. On September 5, 1945, the first cabinet was formed.
The War of Independence
The infant republic was soon faced by military threats to its very existence. British troops landed in Indonesia as a contingent of the Allied Forces to disarm the Japanese. Dutch troops seized this opportunity to regain control of the former East Indies. At the beginning they were assisted by British troops under General Christison, as this was later admitted by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Commander of the Allied Forces in Southeast Asia based in Myanmar.
In fact, the British troops were only assigned the task to repatriate, Allied prisoners of war and internees.
On November 10, 1945, fierce fighting broke out between British troops and Indonesian freedom fighters in which the British lost brigadier Mallaby. The British turned to an all-out combat from the sea, the air and on land. The newly recruited army of the Republic soon realized the superiority of the British forces and withdrew from urban battles. They subsequently formed guerilla units and fought together with armed groups of the people.
Under the pretext of representing the Allied Forces, the Dutch sent in more troops to attack Indonesian strongholds. Between 1945 and 1949, the Dutch undertook two military actions.
Diplomacy and Fighting
Meanwhile on November 11, 1945, Vice-President Hatta issued a manifesto which outlined the basic policy of the New Republic. It was a "good neighbor" policy espousing peace with the rest of the world.
On November 14 of the same year, the newly-appointed Prime Minister, Sutan Syahrir, introduced a parliamentary system in the Republic with party representation. On December 22, he announced Indonesia's acceptance of a British proposal to disarm and confine to internment camps 25,000 Japanese troops all over the country. This task was successfully carried out by the TNI, the Indonesian National Army. Repatriation of the Japanese troops began on April 28, 1946.
Since fighting with Dutch troops continued, the seat of the Republican Government was moved from Jakarta to Yogyakarta on January 4, 1946.
The war in Indonesia posed a threat to international peace and security. In the spirit of Article 24 of the United Nation's Charter, the question of Indonesia was officially brought before the Security Council by Jacob Malik of the Soviet Union. Soon afterwards, on February 10, 1946, the first official meeting of Indonesian and Dutch representatives took place under the chairmanship of Sir Archibald Clark Kerr.
Freedom Fighters Continue
But the freedom fight continued and Dutch military aggressions met with stiff resistance by Indonesian troops. The Indonesian Government conducted a diplomatic offensive against the Dutch.
With the good offices of Great Britain's Lord Killearn Indonesian and Dutch representatives met at Linggarjati, West Java. The negotiations resulted in the de facto recognition by the Dutch of Indonesia's sovereignty over Java, Sumatra and Madura. The Linggarjati Agreement was initiated on November 1946 and signed on March 25, 1947.
The agreement was in fact a violation of Indonesia's Independence Proclamation on August 17, 1945, which implied sovereignty over the whole territory of the republic. As such, it met with widespread disapproval of the people. Hence, guerilla fighting continued and brought heavy pressure on Dutch troops.
In July 1947, the Dutch launched a military aggression to reinforce their urban bases and to intensify their attacks on guerilla strongholds. The aggression, however, was put to an end by the signing of the Renvile agreement on January 17, 1948. The negotiation was initiated by India and Australia and took place under the auspices of the UN Security Council.
It was during those critical moments when the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) declared the formation in an "Indonesian People's Republic" in Madiun, East Java. Muso led an attempt to overthrow the Government, but this communist revolt was quickly stamped out and Muso was killed.
In violation of The Renville Agreement, the Dutch launched their military aggression on December 19, 1948. They invaded the capital of Yogyakarta, arrested President Soekamo, Vice-President Mohammad Hatta and other leaders and detained them on the island of Bangka, off the east coast of Sumatra. A carataker government was set up under Syafruddin Prawiranegara with headquarters in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra.
A Call for Total Dutch Surrender
On the initiative of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru of India, a meeting of 19 nations was convened in New Delhi which produced a resolution to the United Nations, pressing for total Dutch surrender of sovereignty to the Republic of Indonesia by January 1, 1950. It also requested the release of all Indonesian detainees and the return of territories seized during the military actions. On January 28, 1949, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to establish a cease fire, the release of Republican leaders and their return to Yogyakarta.
The Dutch, however, were adamant and continued to occupy the city of Yogyakarta in defiance of the Republican Government and the National Army. They deliberately issued a false statement to the world that the Government and the army of the Republic of Indonesia no longer existed.
To prove that the Dutch claim was a mere fabrication, Lieutenant Colonel Soeharto, later President of the Republic, led an all-out attack on the Dutch troops in Yogyakarta on March 1, 1949, and occupied the city for several hours. This offensive is recorded in Indonesia's history as "the first of March all-out attack" to show the world that the Republic and its military were not dead.
Consequently on May 7, 1949, an agreement was signed by Muhammad Roem of Indonesia and Van Rooyen of the Netherlands to end hostilities, restore the Republican Government in Yogyakarta, and to hold further negotiations at a round table conference under the auspices of the United Nations.
Recognition of Indonesia's Sovereignty
The Round Table Conference was opened in the Hague oh August 23, 1949, under the auspices of the UN. It was concluded on November 2 with an agreement that Holland was to recognize the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia.
On December 27, 1949, the Dutch East Indies ceased to exist and became the sovereign Federal Republic of Indonesia with a Federal Constitution.
The constitution, inter alia, provided for a parliamentary system where the cabinet was responsible to Parliament. The question of the sovereignty over Irian Jaya, the former West New Guinea, was suspended for further negotiations between Indonesia and the Netherlands. This issue had since been a perpetual source of conflict between the two countries which lasted for more than 13 years. On September 28, 1950, Indonesia became a member of the United Nations.
The Unitary State of the Republic
On August 17, 1950, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, as originally proclaimed, was restored. However, the liberal democratic system of government was retained whereby the cabinet was answerable to the House of Representatives. This was a source of political instability with frequent changes in government. In the absence of a stable government, it was utterly impossible for a newly independent state to embark on a program of development.
With the return of the unitary state, the President once again assumed the duties of a Chief Executive and the Mandatory of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly, assisted by a Vice-President and cabinet ministers of his own choice. The executive is not responsible to the House of Representatives.
Challenges to the Unitary State
The philosophy behind the Unitary State was that a pluralistic country like Indonesia could only be independent and strong if it was firmly united and integrated, the opposite of the Dutch colonial practice of Jevide and rule. Hence the national motto is Bhineka Tunggal Ika.
However, no sooner was the Unitary State reestablished than it had to face numerous armed rebellions. The Darul Islam rebels under Kartosuwiryo terrorized the countryside of West Java in their move to establish an Islamic State, which took years to crush. Then there was the terrorist APR A band of a former Dutch army captain, Turco Westerling, which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people.
Outside Java demobilized ex-colonial army men who remained loyal to the Dutch crown staged a revolt and proclaimed what they called "the Republic of South Maluku."
In South Sulawesi, an ex-colonial army officer, Andi Aziz, also rebelled. In Kalimantan, Ibnu Hadjar led another armed revolt. Sumatra could also count for number separatist movements.
The Asian - African Conference
Presiden Soekarno had to his credit the holding of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, West Java, from April 18 to 24, 1955. The initiative was taken by Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Ceylon (Sri lanka). The conference was attended by delegates from 24 Asian and African countries. The purpose of the meeting was to promote closer and amiable cooperation in the economic, cultural and political fields. The resolution adopted was to be known as the Dasa Sila or The Ten Principles of Bandung : to strive for world peace, to promote respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. The resolution also seeks to uphold the human rights principles of the United Nations.
The Communist Threat Intensifies
Overconfident of their strength and precipitated by the serious illness of President Soekarno who was undergoing treatment by a Chinese medical team from Beijing, the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) conspired to take control of the government. The uprising, however, would condemn the PKI and its supporters for years to come. It would also lead to a freeze in diplomatic relations with China, who was suspected of complicity in the coup attempt
The Communist Coup Attempt
On the night of September 30, or more precisely in the early hours of October 1, 1965, armed PKI men and members of Cakra Birawa, the President's security guard, kidnaped and killed six top Army Generals.
Their bodies were dumped in abandoned well at Lubang Buaya on the outskirts of Jakarta. The coup was staged in the wake of troops' deployment to Kalimantan at die height of Indonesia's confrontations with Malaysia. Many cabinet members were attending a celebration of the Chinese October Revolution in Beijing. During that power vacuum the Communist faction struck again. Under instructions of General Soeharto, crack troops of the Army Commando Regiment (RPKAD) freed the central radio station (RRI) and the telecommunication center from communist occupation.
Students made for the streets in militant demonstrations to fight for a three-point claim or Tritura, namely to ban the PKI, to replace Soekamo's cabinet ministers, and to reduce the price of basic necessities. They set up a "Street parliament" to gather demands of the people.
Soekarto Assumes Control, Bans PKI
Under these explosive conditions, President Soekarno gave in and granted Soeharto full power to restore order and security in the country. The transfer of power was effected by a presidential order known as "the11th of March Order" of 1966. Soon afterwards on March 12, 1966, General Soeharto banned the PKI. This decision was thereafter endorsed and sanctioned by virtue of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly Decree XX-V/MPRS/1966. He also formed a new cabinet, but Soekarno remained the Chief Executive. This brought dualism in the cabinet, particularly when Soekarno did not show support for the cabinet's program to establish political and economic stability. Hence, a special session of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (MPRS) was convened from March 7 to 12, 1967. The Assembly resolved to relieve Soekarno from his presidential duties and appointed Soeharto as Acting President, pending the election of a new President by an elected People's Consultative Assembly.
Since taking office in 1967, the New Order Government of President Soeharto determined to return to constitutional life by upholding the 1945 Constitution in a strict and consistent manner and by respecting Pancasila as the state Philosophy and Ideology.
To emerge from the political and economic legacies of Soekamo's Old Order, the new government set out to undertake the following:
1.     To complete the restoration of order and security and to establish political stability;
2.     To carry out economic rehabilitation;
3.     To prepare a plan for and execute national development with the emphasis on economic development;
4.     To end confrontation and normal diplomatic relations with Malaysia;
5.    To return to the United Nations which Indonesia quit in January 1945;
6.    To pursue consistently the independent and active foreign policy;
7.    To resolve the West Irian question.
8.    To regain Indonesia's economic credibility overseas.
9.     To hold general elections once every five years.
The New Order
Much of the implementation of these policies has been described in the Indonesia Handbook, which is published annually by the Government. It remains here to mention only some of the notable achievements that the New Order has to its credit within a few years of its existence.
With regard to Malaysia, not only were relations normalized, but Indonesia together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand joined together, establishing the Association of Southeast Asian Nation or ASEAN. The objective of the association is regional cooperation in the economic, social and cultural fields. At a later stage, ASEAN also began to operate in the political area. On achieving independence in 1984, Brunei Darussalam became the sixth member of ASEAN. In July 1995, Vietnam was accepted as the seventh member of this regional organization, and in 1997 Laos and Myanmar joined in die organization. During the 6fh ASEAN Summit in Hanoi December 1998, the ASEAN Leaders decided to accept Cambodian as full member of ASEAN.
To prepare for national development, in addition to economic rehabilitation, Indonesia secured agreement with her creditor countries to reschedule an overseas debt of US$ 5 billion. With the recovery of her overseas credibility, Indonesia succeeded in the formation of a consortium of creditor countries to assist in her economic development. This consortium is known as the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia, or IGGI, and comprises, the United Sates, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Britain and a number of West European countries. Its annual meetings are held in Amsterdam under the chairmanship of the Netherlands. The IGGI was dissolved on March 25, 1992, and a similar consortium, named "Consultative Group for Indonesia" or CGI, was formed during its first meeting in Paris from 16-17 July 1992. The CGI comprises the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland and South Korea.
Issue on East Timor
History recorded that in 672 AD Timor was part of the Srivijaya Kingdom. At later time, the island belonged to the Majapahit Kingdom for two hundred years until 1520.
In the last quarter of me 16th century, the Portuguese subjugated Sultan Baabullah of Ternate who was then the overlord to Timor.
In 1651, the Dutch invade Kupang in Western Timor and on April 20, 1859, concluded a treaty with Portugal whereby the latter was granted the right only to the northern part of Timor. Atauro Island and Oecussi, a tiny Sultanate in the Dutch-controlled part of West Timor.
In a statement on May 28, 1974, the governor of Portuguese Timor, Colonel Fernando Alves Aldela, granted the people permission to form political parties. The response was the emergence of five political parties, namely the UDT (Uniao Democratia Timorese), the FRETILIN (Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independent), the APODETI (Associacao Popular Democratica De Timor), the KOTA (Klibur Oan Timur Aswain) and the TRABALHISTA (Labor Party).
Through lack of popular support, FRETILIN resorted to tactics of threats, blackmail and terror in an attempt to intimidate members of the other parties. This caused growing tension throughout the colony and sparked an inevitable civil war.
On August 27, 1975, the Governor and other Portuguese officials abandoned the capital of Dili, fled to Atauro Island and left the FRETILIN free to continue their reign of terror. They were even supplied with arm from the Portuguese army arsenal. On November 28 of the same year, FRETILIN unilaterally declared the independence of East Timor and announced the formation of the Democratic Republic of East Timor. They were even supplied with arm from the Portuguese army arsenal.
 In light of these developments, on November 30, 1975, at Balibo the UDT, APODETI, KOTA and TRABALHISTA proclaimed the independence of the territory and its simultaneous integration with Indonesia. On December 17, 1975, the four parties announced the establishment of the Provisional government of East Timor in Dili.
On May 31, 1976, the duty-elected People's Assembly of East Timor decided in an open session to formally integrate the territory with the Republic of Indonesia. A bill on this integration was approved by the Indonesian House of Representative on July 15, 1976 and with the promulgation by the President became Law on July 17. East Timor has since been the 27th province of Indonesia with all the rights and duties provided for under the 1945 Constitution of the Republic.
Thirty five East Timor Traditional Leaders (Liurai), on August 14, 1993, issued a written political statement on East Timor.
Representing the East Timorese people, they stated, among others, that the East Timorese people have been Indonesian citizens since July 17, 1976, and that they rejected Portugal's intention to continue the decolonization process since the process which Portugal initiated and which was continued by the political parties of East Timor has already been completed.
Portugal has brought up the East Timor issue to the United Nations. It is being argued that the East Timorese has yet to exercise their rights of self-determination.
Since 1983 the East Timor issue has not been listed on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly. Under the agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United Nations Secretary General, the East Timor problem would be discussed in the Tripartite Dialog Forum, namely at the level of Foreign Ministers of the two parties under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General. It was aimed to build Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between the two parties concerned in an effort to find a final solution of the East Timor issue in international forum.
In the reform era, the Government of Indonesia under President B.J. Habibie proposed a "special status with wide ranging autonomy" for East Timor which the Minister for Foreign Affairs officially submitted to the UN Secretary-General on 18 June 1998. The UN Secretary-General cited Indonesia's proposal as positive development that merited immediate follow up. Portugal also hailed Indonesia's proposal and expressed readiness to continue the dialogue process.
The autonomous administration of East Timor would have the widest freedom to decide its own government and people in all fields, political, economic, social, cultural, religious, and others, in accordance with the aspirations of the East Timorese people, except in matters of defence from external aggression, foreign policy and monetary and fiscal policy. On 4-5 August 1998, it was agreed that the UN Secretary-General consult with East Timorese leaders and groups in East Timor and abroad.
The proposed special wide-ranging autonomous status would not be imposed unilaterally by the Government but would be a product of negotiations toward an agreement with Portugal at the Tripartite Dialogue. It would have to be explicitly recognized as a final formula for the resolution of the dispute between Portugal and Indonesia on the East Timor issue. This offer reflects the great and sincere desire of the Indonesian government to find common ground and to accommodate the parties that had opposed integration.
In order to accommodate the aspirations of the East Timorese the Government of Indonesia later proposed another option which was the independence of East Timor, provided mat the East Timorese reject the offered autonomy. The Tripartite Dialog between Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Portugal and the United Nations Secretary-General, on May 5, 1999, agreed that the United Nations carry out the popular consultation on the two options in East Timor in the month of August 1999.
The popular consultation which was conducted on 30 August 1999 resulted in the votes which were 94,388 or 21, 5 per cent in favor, and 344,580 or 78, 5 per cent against the proposed special autonomy.
The Evolution of Political Parties
The Government manifesto of November 3, 1945, had opened the way to a rapid growth of political parties. Soon a multy-party system emerged with parties of different ideologies, from nationalism to socialism, to religion and even Marxism/Leninism. Hence, the political structure developed into a liberal democracy which was a complete departure from the type of democracy envisaged by Pancasila.
With sharply conflicting ideologies, political rivalry was the order of the day, and the ideal of a unified Government was a far cry from reality. With a total of 24 political parties and their faction, a cabinet could only be formed on the basis of a shaky compromise between the strongest parties. Coalition cabinet were formed and dissolved frequently.
The administration was in total dissaray and consequently development was a far cry.
The first and only general election ever held during the rule of the Old Order had taken place in 1955. Even that election did not produce a strong cabinet with solid support in Parliament. On the contrary, because political conditions continued to deteriorate, the President ordered the formation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution; However, this ended up in a total deadlock, which led the President to take all the power of the state into his hands under the pretext of "guided democracy."
Having learned from the experiences of an unlimited multi-party system in the past, the New Order Government which came into office in 1976 undertook to simplify the political system a long the following lines:
1. In order to minimize ideological conflict between political organizations, it would be best if all these organizations adopt Pancasila as their sole basic principle.
2. To simplify the political system, particularly for the purpose of choosing a political organization by the people in
general elections, it was felt that the number of these organizations should be reduced.
3. In the past, villages were made as the bases of political activities and maneuvers, most notably in the heyday of the Indonesian Communist party. This adversely affected the social and economic life of the village populations. Hence, it would be desirable to free villages from the activities of political organizations.
The Dynamism of Political Parties
Furthermore the large number of organizations was reduced by the fusion of parties and their affiliated organizations into two political parties the Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (the United Development Party or PPP) and Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (the Indonesian Democracy Party or PDI, and the Golongan Karya (the Functional Group or Golkar).
The PPP represented a fusion of the Nahdatul Ulama (the Moslem Scholars-Party), the Parmusi (the Moslem Party), the PSII (the Islamic Confederation) and other Islamic organizations.
The PDI was the result of a fusion of former PNI (the Nationalist Party), the Catholic Party, the Christian (Protestant) Party, the Indonesian Independence Party, and the Partai Murba (the People Party).
Golkar accommodates the aspiration and political right and duties of functional groups which are not affiliated to either party, namely civil servant, retired members of the Armed Force, women's organization, professional groups, farmers, students, etc.
By virtue of the 1983 Guidelines of States Policy and on the basis of Act No. 3 of 1985, Pancasila was finally adopted as the one and only ideological principle upon which all political organizations base their activities.
The village has since been declared off-limits to parties and Golkar political activities are confined to the second regional level or districts.
The general elections since 1971 until 1997 resulted in the party "Golkar" emerging as the winner with a single majority which held power in Indonesia.
The economic crisis, which struck Indonesia in July 1997 and which later developed into a political crisis resulted in the demand for political and economic reforms which caused the resignation of President Soeharto (the New Order).
Demand for political reforms includes the holding of early elections to elect 462 members of the House of Representatives and to elect a new president. Forty-eight political parties (old and new) participated in the General Elections. The results of the General Elections of 1999 were as follows : PDI-P (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) won the election with153 seats in the House of Representatives, followed by Golkar with 120 seats, PPP ( The United Development Party) with 58 seats, PKB (The National Awakening Party) with 51 seats, PAN (National Mandate Party) with 34 seats, PBB (Crescent Star Party) with 13 seats, PK (Party of Justice) with 7, PDKB (Party of Demokrasi Kasih Bangsa) with 5 seat, PNU (Party of Nahdatul Umat) with 5 seats and PKP (Unity and Justice Party) with 4 seats.
Regardless of what party is the most prominent and which leaders are elected or appointed to office, the unity of the Indonesian government resides firmly with Pancasila as the philosophical basis of the Indonesia states. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit word, panca meaning five, and sila meaning principle. Thus, the Pancasila is comprised of five inseparable and interrelated principles as follows: Belief in the one and only God, Just and Civilized Humanity, the Unity of Indonesia, Democracy Guided by the Inner Wisdom of Deliberations of Representatives, and Social justice for all the Indonesian People.
Modern Day Indonesia
Since the proclamation of national independence on August 17, 1945, Indonesia has experienced significant economic growth and diversification. The birth of the modern Indonesian economy can be said to have taken place with the establishment of the New Order Government in 1966. The government immediately adopted an approach to economic development based on the implementation of sound and prudent fiscal management programs and the careful targeting of development objectives as established under a system of five-year development plans known as Repelitas commencing in 1969.
Oil has had a special role in Indonesia's development As Asia's large petroleum exporter, the major increase in world oil prices that began in 1973 resulted in Indonesia experiencing a period of unprecedented growth that lasted into the early 1980s.
The government prudently drew on this oil wealth to develop the national infrastructure, build domestic manufacturing capabilities and to boost agricultural output.
While oil once dominated the economy, today Indonesia's economy is characterized above a