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L.J. Institute of Engineering & Technology
Batch Year: 2010-12
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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.

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

“Golden Age”

Majapahit kingdom was founded in eastern Java in the late 13th century. Under Gajah Mada, its influence stretched over much of Indonesia. This period is often referred to as a ―Golden Age‖ in Indonesian history

Fossil remains of Homo erectus, usually known as ―Java Man‖, indicate that 500,000 years ago the Indonesian archipelago has already been inhabited. It is believed that the modern population came from the Austronesian people who migrated to South East Asia from Taiwan. Early sovereignties that thrived include Srivijaya Empire (3rd-14th centuries), Tarumanagara (358-732), Sailendra (800-900), Sunda Kingdom (669-1579), the Kingdom of Mataram (752-1045), Kediri (1045-1221), Singhasari (1222), and Majapahit (1293-1500).

The spread of Islam in the country started in the western region of the archipelago. By the end of the 16th century, Islam is the prevailing religion in Java and Sumatra. Traders and royal families became the first to accept the new religion. During the early 16th century, European (Spanish, Portuguese, British, Dutch) voyagers began exploring the archipelago. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Indonesia in 1512. They established trading places, forts, and missions in different islands of the archipelago. The Dutch began its domination in the early 16th century through the creation of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It set up a land-based colonial territory in Java known as the Dutch East Indies. The VOC engaged itself in various internal political affairs of Java and had fought different wars.

In the early 1900’s, Indonesia’s struggle for independence begun through the formation of its first nationalist movement, the Budi Utomo. But the Dutch imprisoned those who supported such political activities including Sukarno, the country’s first president. The effects of WWII and the Japanese offensives finally ended the Dutch era. Sukarno and Hatta declared independence on August 17, 1945 2 days after the surrender of Japanese emperor in the Pacific. The next day, Sukarno and Hatta were proclaimed president and vice-president by the Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP).

Indonesia enjoyed prosperous economic status in the late 1960’s and lasted for almost 3 decades
Indonesia enjoyed prosperous economic status in the late 1960’s and lasted for almost 3
decades under the rule of president Suharto. But the 1997 East Asian Financial Crisis
crippled the country resulting to mass protests and resignation of Suharto in 1998. In 2004,
Indonesia had its first direct presidential voting and elected Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as
the new president.
By the turn of the 20th century, nationalist stirring, brought about by nearly three centuries of
oppressive colonial rule, began to challenge the Dutch presence in Indonesia. A four-year
guerilla war led by nationalists against the Dutch on Java after World War II, along with
successful diplomatic maneuverings abroad, helped bring about independence. The Republic
of Indonesia, officially proclaimed on August 17th, 1945, gained sovereignty four years later.
During the first two decades of independence, the republic was dominated by the charismatic
figure of Sukarno, one of the early nationalists who had been imprisoned by the Dutch.
General (ret.) Soeharto eased Sukarno from power in 1967. Indonesia's economy was
sustained throughout the 1970's, almost exclusively by oil export.
The Asian financial crisis, which broke out in mid-1997, paralyzed the Indonesian economy
with the rupiah losing 80% of its value against the US dollar at the peak of the turmoil.
On May 21, 1998, Soeharto resigned after 32 years in power and was replaced by B.J.
Habibie following bloody violence and riots. Indonesia held its first democratic election in
October 1999, which put Abdurrahman 'Gus Dur' Wahid in the role of president.
13 July 2007 (Brunei Times) – Perhaps the Brunei Times is running a series about writing the
short histories of different countries in Southeast Asia. Today, it publishes a short history of
Indonesia – not particularly accurate, it gives a sense as if there were a series of empires that
replaced one another, that Srivijaya was replaced by the Sailendra and the Mataram who in
turn were replaced by the Majapahit. In reality, Srivijaya lasted all the way to the 12th
century before getting run out of Sumatra by the Majapahit. (See my earlier article about
Srivijaya.) The Sailendra empire also had dynastic links with Srivijaya. The article also
makes no distinction between the shifts in centres of power between Sumatra (Srivijaya) and
Java (Sailendra, Mataram and Majapahit). You might also want to look up the Indonesian timeline
Java (Sailendra, Mataram and Majapahit). You might also want to look up the Indonesian
timeline featured earlier in this site.
Geography of Indonesia Indonesia is an archipelagic island country in Southeast Asia, lying between the
Geography of Indonesia
Indonesia is an archipelagic island country in Southeast Asia, lying between the Indian Ocean
and the Pacific Ocean. It is in a strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from Indian
Ocean to Pacific Ocean. The country's variations in culture have been shaped—although not
specifically determined—by centuries of complex interactions with the physical environment.
Although Indonesians are now less vulnerable to the effects of nature as a result of improved
technology and social programs, to some extent their social diversity has emerged from
traditionally different patterns of adjustment to their physical circumstances.
Indonesia is an archipelagic country extending 5,120 kilometres (3,181 mi) from east to west
and 1,760 kilometres (1,094 mi) from north to south. It encompasses an estimated 17,508
islands, only 6,000 of which are inhabited. It comprises five main islands: Sumatra, Java,
Borneo (known as "Kalimantan" in Indonesia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea; two major
archipelagos (Nusa Tengaara and the Maluku Islands); and sixty smaller archipelagoes. Four
of the islands are shared with other nations: Borneo is shared with Malaysia and Brunei,
located eastern coast of Kalimantan, shared with Malaysia, 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. Indonesia's total land area is 1,919,317 square kilometres (741,052
sq mi). Included in Indonesia's total territory is another 93,000 square kilometres (35,908
sq mi) of inland seas (straits, bays, and other bodies of water). The additional surrounding sea
areas bring Indonesia's generally recognized territory (land and sea) to about 5 million square
kilometers. The government, however, also claims an exclusive economic zone, which brings
the total to about 7.9 million square kilometers. Also Indonesia is a pretty poor place.
Geology Sumatra, Java, Madura, and Kalimantan lie on the SundSahelf and geographers have conventionally grouped
Sumatra, Java, Madura, and Kalimantan lie on the SundSahelf and geographers have
conventionally grouped them, (along with Sulawesi), as the Greater Sunda Islands. At
Indonesia's eastern extremity is western New Guinea, which lies on the Sahul Shelf. Sea
depths in the Sunda and Sahul shelves average 200 metres (656 ft) or less. Between these two
shelves lie Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara (also known as the Lesser Sunda Islands), and the
Maluku Islands (or the Moluccas), which form a second island group where the surrounding
seas in some places reach 4,500 metres (14,764 ft) in depth. The term "Outer Islands" is used
inconsistently by various writers but it is usually taken to mean those islands other than Java
and Madura.
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.
Nusa Tenggara consists of two strings of islands stretching eastward from Bali toward Papua.
The inner arc of Nusa Tenggara is a continuation of the chain of mountains and volcanoes
extending from Sumatra through Java, Bali, and Flores, and trailing off in the volcanic Banda
Islands, 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, Mentawai, and Enggano. This chain resurfaces in
Nusa Tenggara in the ruggedly mountainous islands of Sumba and Timor.
The Maluku Islands (or Moluccas) are geologically among the most complex of the
Indonesian islands. They are located in the northeast sector of the archipelago, bounded by
the Philippines to the north, Papua to the east, and Nusa Tenggara to the south. The largest of
these islands include Halmahera, Seram and Buru all of which rise steeply out of very deep
seas and have unique Wallacea vegetation. This abrupt relief pattern from sea to high
mountains means that there are very few level coastal plains. The islands of North Maluku
mountains means that there are very few level coastal plains. The islands of North Maluku
are the original Spice Islands, a distinct rainforest ecoregion.
Geomorphologists believe that the island of New Guinea, of which Papua is a part, may once
have been part of the Australian continent. The breakup and tectonic action created towering,
snowcapped mountain peaks lining the island's central east-west spine and hot, humid alluvial
plains along the coasts. The New Guinea Highlands range some 650 kilometres (404 mi) east
to west along the island, forming a mountainous spine between the north and south coasts. A
number of islands off the coast of New Guinea have their own distinctive habitats, including
the limestone islands of Biak, in the entrance to the large Cenderawasih Bay at the northwest
end of the island.
The Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia
Lying along the equator, Indonesia's climate tends to be relatively even year-round. The
country experiences two seasons—a wet season and a dry season—with no extremes of
summer or winter. For most of Indonesia, the wet season falls between October and April
with the dry season between May and September. Some regions, such as Kalimantan and
Sumatra, experience only slight differences in rainfall and temperature between the seasons,
whereas others, such as Nusa Tenggara, experience far more pronounced differences with
droughts in the dry season, and floods in the wet. Rainfall in Indonesia is plentiful,
particularly in west Sumatra, northwest Kalimantan, west Java, and western New Guinea.
Parts of Sulawesi and some islands closer to Australia, such as Sumba and Timor, are drier,
however, these are exceptions. The almost uniformly warm waters that make up 81% of
Indonesia's area ensure that temperatures on land remain fairly constant. The coastal plains
averaging 28 °C (82.4 °F), the inland and mountain areas averaging 26 °C (78.8 °F), and the
higher mountain regions, 23 °C (73.4 °F). The area's relative humidity ranges between 70 and
90%. Winds are moderate and generally predictable, with monsoons usually blowing in from
the south and east in June through October and from the northwest in November through
March. Typhoons and large scale storms pose little hazard to mariners in Indonesia waters;
the major danger comes from swift currents in channels, such as the Lombok and Sape straits.
Environmental issues For centuries, the geographical resources of the Indonesian archipelago have been exploited in
Environmental issues
For centuries, the geographical resources of the Indonesian archipelago have been exploited
in ways that fall into consistent social and historical patterns. One cultural pattern consists of
the formerly Indianized, rice-growing peasants in the valleys and plains of Sumatra, Java, and
Bali; another cultural complex is composed of the largely Islamic coastal commercial sector;
a third, more marginal sector consists of the upland forest farming communities which exist
by means of subsistence swidden agriculture. To some degree, these patterns can be linked to
the geographical resources themselves, with abundant shoreline, generally calm seas, and
steady winds favoring the use of sailing vessels, and fertile valleys and plains—at least in the
Greater Sunda Islands—permitting irrigated rice farming. The heavily forested, mountainous
interior hinders overland communication by road or river, but fosters slash-and-burn
Area and boundaries
total land area: 1,919,440 km 2 (land: 1,826,440 km 2 , inland water: 93,000 km 2 )
territorial area: 5,193,250 km 2
total area (including exclusive economic zone): around 7.9 million km 2
Land boundaries:
total: 2,830 km
border countries: Malaysia 1,782 km, Papua New Guinea 820 km, East Timor 228 km
Other nearby countries: India NW of Aceh, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei.
Coastline: 54,716 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi (230.2 mi 370.4 km)
territorial sea: 12 nmi (13.8 mi; 22.2 km)
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m(sea surface level), Wetar Basin in east of
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m(sea surface level), Wetar Basin in east of Banda Sea at -7,440
m (northwest of Tanimbar Islands & southeast of Ceram Island), where subduction zone is
highest point: Puncak Jaya (also known as Carstenz Pyramid) 4,884 m
Resources and land use
Natural resources: petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile
soils, coal, gold, silver
Land use:
arable land: 9.9%
permanent crops: 7.2%
other: 82.9% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 48,150 km 2 (1998 est.)
Map of Geography:
Map of Geography:
Different Charts of Indonesia:
Different Charts of Indonesia: