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Indonesian history
The first people in Indonesia arrived about 40,000 years ago when sea level was lower and it was joined to Asia by a land bridge. Then at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 BC a new wave of people came. At first they hunted animals, collected shellfish and gathered plants for food. By about 2,500 BC they learned to grow crops such as taro, bananas, millet and rice. The early farmers also made pottery but all their tools were made of stone. However by 700 BC the Indonesians had learned to make bronze and iron. Furthermore at that time wet rice cultivation was introduced. Indonesian villages were forced to co-operate to regulate the supply of water to their fields. In time organized kingdoms emerged. From about 400 BC Indonesians traded with other nations such as China and India. Hinduism and Buddhism were also introduced to Indonesia and they took route. The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; the islands were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan’s surrender, but it required four years before the Netherlands agreed to relinquish its colony. Fossilized remains of Homo erectus, popularly known as the ―Java Man‖, suggest the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited two million to 500,000 years ago. Austronesian peoplearrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE, and confined the native Melanesian peoples to the far eastern regions as they expanded. Ideal agricultural conditions, and the mastering of rice cultivation allowed villages, towns, and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE. Indonesian strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade. For example, trade links with both Indian kingdoms and China were established several centuries BCE. Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history. From the seventh century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism.

. Trade contracts with India. the largest Buddhist monument in the world. The last and most powerful of these early Hindu-Javanese kingdoms. Some 60.Between the eighth and 10th centuries CE. The faith gradually spread throughout archipelago. who lived here half a million years ago.000 years ago. was located on the coast of Sumatra around the strategic straits of Malacca. they were followed by the ancestors of the modern-day Malays.000 years ago. One of the first Indianized empires. once controlled and influenced much of what is now known as Indonesia. or Homo erectus. such as Borobudur. the agricultural Buddhist Sailendra and Hindu Mataram dynasties thrived and declined in inland Java. the 14th century Majapahit Empire. eventually reaching New Guinea and Australia some 30-40. Java Man The first known hominid inhabitant of Indonesia was the so-called "Java Man".C. known to us now as Sriwijaya. large kingdoms of the interior of the island erected scores of exquisite of religious monuments. in about the fourth millennium B. the first Islamic states were already established there. and Indonesia is today the world's largest Islamic nation. By the time Marco Polo visited North Sumatra at the end of the 13th century. Much later. leaving grand religious monuments such as Borobudur and Prambanan. Indian Muslim traders began spreading Islam in Indonesia in the eighth and ninth centuries. Soon afterwards. maintaining contacts with trading outposts as far away as the west coast of Papua New Guinea. Javanese and other MalayoPolynesian groups who now make up the bulk of Indonesia's population. On neighboring Java. serving as the hub of a trading network that reached to many parts of the archipelago more than a thousand years ago. rulers on Java's north coast adopted the new creed and conquered the Hindu-based Majapahit Empire in the Javanese hinterland. the ancestors of the present-day Papuans move eastward through these islands. China and the mainland of Southeast Asia brought outside cultural and religious influences to Indonesia..

This period is often referred to as a ―Golden Age‖ in Indonesian history Fossil remains of Homo erectus. and missions in different islands of the archipelago. Tarumanagara (358-732). Under Gajah Mada. Sukarno and Hatta were proclaimed president and vice-president by the Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP). forts. Early sovereignties that thrived include Srivijaya Empire (3rd-14th centuries). the Budi Utomo. The Dutch began its domination in the early 16th century through the creation of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Indonesia’s struggle for independence begun through the formation of its first nationalist movement. During the early 16th century. The effects of WWII and the Japanese offensives finally ended the Dutch era. It set up a land-based colonial territory in Java known as the Dutch East Indies. European (Spanish. In the early 1900’s. indicate that 500. . Sukarno and Hatta declared independence on August 17. Portuguese. British. The next day. The spread of Islam in the country started in the western region of the archipelago. Traders and royal families became the first to accept the new religion. By the end of the 16th century. Singhasari (1222). its influence stretched over much of Indonesia. Islam is the prevailing religion in Java and Sumatra. and Majapahit (1293-1500). the Kingdom of Mataram (752-1045). usually known as ―Java Man‖. Sailendra (800-900). They established trading places. 1945 2 days after the surrender of Japanese emperor in the Pacific.“Golden Age” Majapahit kingdom was founded in eastern Java in the late 13th century. But the Dutch imprisoned those who supported such political activities including Sukarno. Dutch) voyagers began exploring the archipelago. the country’s first president. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Indonesia in 1512. Kediri (1045-1221).000 years ago the Indonesian archipelago has already been inhabited. Sunda Kingdom (669-1579). The VOC engaged itself in various internal political affairs of Java and had fought different wars. It is believed that the modern population came from the Austronesian people who migrated to South East Asia from Taiwan.

that Srivijaya was replaced by the Sailendra and the Mataram who in turn were replaced by the Majapahit. helped bring about independence. During the first two decades of independence. (See my earlier article about Srivijaya. Habibie following bloody violence and riots. The article also makes no distinction between the shifts in centres of power between Sumatra (Srivijaya) and . officially proclaimed on August 17th. gained sovereignty four years later.Indonesia enjoyed prosperous economic status in the late 1960’s and lasted for almost 3 decades under the rule of president Suharto. paralyzed the Indonesian economy with the rupiah losing 80% of its value against the US dollar at the peak of the turmoil. But the 1997 East Asian Financial Crisis crippled the country resulting to mass protests and resignation of Suharto in 1998. In reality. brought about by nearly three centuries of oppressive colonial rule. In 2004. Today. the republic was dominated by the charismatic figure of Sukarno. 1945. which put Abdurrahman 'Gus Dur' Wahid in the role of president. almost exclusively by oil export. On May 21. The Asian financial crisis. 13 July 2007 (Brunei Times) – Perhaps the Brunei Times is running a series about writing the short histories of different countries in Southeast Asia.) Soeharto eased Sukarno from power in 1967. nationalist stirring. By the turn of the 20th century.) The Sailendra empire also had dynastic links with Srivijaya. it publishes a short history of Indonesia – not particularly accurate. along with successful diplomatic maneuverings abroad. The Republic of Indonesia. began to challenge the Dutch presence in Indonesia.J. which broke out in mid-1997. it gives a sense as if there were a series of empires that replaced one another. 1998. Indonesia had its first direct presidential voting and elected Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the new president. one of the early nationalists who had been imprisoned by the Dutch. Srivijaya lasted all the way to the 12th century before getting run out of Sumatra by the Majapahit. General (ret. Soeharto resigned after 32 years in power and was replaced by B. Indonesia's economy was sustained throughout the 1970's. A four-year guerilla war led by nationalists against the Dutch on Java after World War II. Indonesia held its first democratic election in October 1999.

Mataram and Majapahit).Java (Sailendra. You might also want to look up the Indonesian timeline featured earlier in this site. .

Sulawesi. only 6. The government. also claims an exclusive economic zone.000 of which are inhabited. Four of the islands are shared with other nations: Borneo is shared with Malaysia and Brunei. and other bodies of water).Geography of Indonesia Indonesia is an archipelagic island country in Southeast Asia. and New Guinea. two major archipelagos (Nusa Tengaara and the Maluku Islands). however. The country's variations in culture have been shaped—although not specifically determined—by centuries of complex interactions with the physical environment.094 mi) from north to south. It is in a strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean. shared with Malaysia. bays. Although Indonesians are now less vulnerable to the effects of nature as a result of improved technology and social programs. Regions Indonesia is an archipelagic country extending 5. Indonesia's total land area is 1.181 mi) from east to west and 1.508 islands. and sixty smaller archipelagoes. located eastern coast of Kalimantan.908 sq mi) of inland seas (straits. Borneo (known as "Kalimantan" in Indonesia).000 square kilometres (35.760 kilometres (1.120 kilometres (3. Timor is shared with East Timor. and the newly divided provinces of Papua and West Papua share the island of New Guinea with Papua New Guinea. .9 million square kilometers. The additional surrounding sea areas bring Indonesia's generally recognized territory (land and sea) to about 5 million square kilometers. to some extent their social diversity has emerged from traditionally different patterns of adjustment to their physical circumstances.317 square kilometres (741. It comprises five main islands: Sumatra.052 sq mi). Java. It encompasses an estimated 17. Also Indonesia is a pretty poor place. which brings the total to about 7. Included in Indonesia's total territory is another 93.919. lying between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Nusa Tenggara (also known as the Lesser Sunda Islands). and the Maluku Islands (or the Moluccas). The largest of these islands include Halmahera. This abrupt relief pattern from sea to high . Java.Geology Sumatra. Nusa Tenggara consists of two strings of islands stretching eastward from Bali toward Papua. Bali. which along with the Kai Islands and the Tanimbar Islands and other small islands in the Banda Sea are typical examples of the Wallacea mixture of Asian and Australasian plant and animal life. The outer arc of Nusa Tenggara is a geological extension of the chain of islands west of Sumatra that includes Nias. which lies on the Sahul Shelf.764 ft) in depth. and Kalimantan lie on the SundSahelf and geographers have conventionally grouped them. bounded by the Philippines to the north. (along with Sulawesi). Papua to the east. Volcanoes in Indonesia Borneo is the third largest island in the world and the original vegetation was mostly Borneo lowland rain forests although much of this has been cleared with wildlife retreating to the Borneo montane rain forests inland. Seram and Buru all of which rise steeply out of very deep seas and have unique Wallacea vegetation. Madura. and trailing off in the volcanic Banda Islands. Between these two shelves lie Sulawesi. Mentawai. At Indonesia's eastern extremity is western New Guinea. This chain resurfaces in Nusa Tenggara in the ruggedly mountainous islands of Sumba and Timor. The term "Outer Islands" is used inconsistently by various writers but it is usually taken to mean those islands other than Java and Madura. and Nusa Tenggara to the south. and Enggano. They are located in the northeast sector of the archipelago. The inner arc of Nusa Tenggara is a continuation of the chain of mountains and volcanoes extending from Sumatra through Java. The Maluku Islands (or Moluccas) are geologically among the most complex of the Indonesian islands.500 metres (14. and Flores. as the Greater Sunda Islands. which form a second island group where the surrounding seas in some places reach 4. Sea depths in the Sunda and Sahul shelves average 200 metres (656 ft) or less.

The country experiences two seasons—a wet season and a dry season—with no extremes of summer or winter. Indonesia's climate tends to be relatively even year-round. Climate The Lesser Sunda Islands. may once have been part of the Australian continent. . including the limestone islands of Biak. such as the Lombok and Sape straits.4 °F). The almost uniformly warm waters that make up 81% of Indonesia's area ensure that temperatures on land remain fairly constant. experience far more pronounced differences with droughts in the dry season. with monsoons usually blowing in from the south and east in June through October and from the northwest in November through March. experience only slight differences in rainfall and temperature between the seasons. a distinct rainforest ecoregion. Parts of Sulawesi and some islands closer to Australia.mountains means that there are very few level coastal plains. For most of Indonesia. such as Kalimantan and Sumatra. humid alluvial plains along the coasts. Indonesia Lying along the equator. the wet season falls between October and April with the dry season between May and September. however. and floods in the wet. the major danger comes from swift currents in channels. northwest Kalimantan. The breakup and tectonic action created towering. and the higher mountain regions. The islands of North Maluku are the original Spice Islands. Winds are moderate and generally predictable. A number of islands off the coast of New Guinea have their own distinctive habitats. The area's relative humidity ranges between 70 and 90%.8 °F). in the entrance to the large Cenderawasih Bay at the northwest end of the island. Typhoons and large scale storms pose little hazard to mariners in Indonesia waters. particularly in west Sumatra. the inland and mountain areas averaging 26 °C (78. Rainfall in Indonesia is plentiful. such as Sumba and Timor. west Java. The New Guinea Highlands range some 650 kilometres (404 mi) east to west along the island.4 °F). these are exceptions. Geomorphologists believe that the island of New Guinea. forming a mountainous spine between the north and south coasts. and western New Guinea. The coastal plains averaging 28 °C (82. whereas others. are drier. such as Nusa Tenggara. of which Papua is a part. 23 °C (73. snowcapped mountain peaks lining the island's central east-west spine and hot. Some regions.

Singapore. inland water: 93.2 km) .Environmental issues For centuries. more marginal sector consists of the upland forest farming communities which exist by means of subsistence swidden agriculture. and steady winds favoring the use of sailing vessels.830 km border countries: Malaysia 1.716 km Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi (230. a third.782 km. Coastline: 54. and fertile valleys and plains—at least in the Greater Sunda Islands—permitting irrigated rice farming. Java.8 mi. the geographical resources of the Indonesian archipelago have been exploited in ways that fall into consistent social and historical patterns.2 mi 370. and Bali. rice-growing peasants in the valleys and plains of Sumatra.826.919.9 million km2 Land boundaries: total: 2. another cultural complex is composed of the largely Islamic coastal commercial sector. To some degree. with abundant shoreline. Australia.193. One cultural pattern consists of the formerly Indianized. Papua New Guinea 820 km.440 km2. mountainous interior hinders overland communication by road or river. The heavily forested.4 km) territorial sea: 12 nmi (13.250 km2 total area (including exclusive economic zone): around 7. but fosters slash-and-burn agriculture.440 km2 (land: 1.000 km2) territorial area: 5. Area and boundaries Area: total land area: 1. generally calm seas. 22. Philippines. East Timor 228 km Other nearby countries: India NW of Aceh. Brunei. these patterns can be linked to the geographical resources themselves.

9% permanent crops: 7.2% other: 82. gold. copper. bauxite. Wetar Basin in east of Banda Sea at -7. natural gas.884 m Resources and land use Natural resources: petroleum. fertile soils. where subduction zone is highest point: Puncak Jaya (also known as Carstenz Pyramid) 4.9% (1998 est. silver Land use: arable land: 9. nickel.150 km2 (1998 est.) . timber.440 m (northwest of Tanimbar Islands & southeast of Ceram Island).Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m(sea surface level). coal.) Irrigated land: 48. tin.

Map of Geography: .




Different Charts of Indonesia: .

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