History Spark Notes

This essay has a total of 2937 words and 15 pages.


Early empires
By the time of the European Renaissance, the islands of Java and Sumatra had already
enjoyed a thousand-year heritage of civilization spanning two major empires.

During the 7th to 14th centuries, the Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya flourished on Sumatra.
Chinese traveller I Ching visited its capital, Palembang, around 670. At its peak, the
Srivijaya Empire reached as far as West Java and the Malay Peninsula. Also by the 14th
century, the Hindu Kingdom of Majapahit had risen in eastern Java. Gajah Mada, the
empire's chief minister from 1331 to 1364, succeeded in gaining allegiance from most of
what is now modern Indonesia and much of the Malay archipelago as well. Legacies from
Gajah Mada's time include a codification of law and an epic poem. Reasons for the fall of
these empires remain obscure.

Islam arrived in Indonesia sometime during the 12th century and, through assimilation,
supplanted Hinduism by the end of the 16th century in Java and Sumatra. Bali, however,
remains overwhelmingly Hindu. In the eastern archipelago, both Christian and Islamic
missionaries were active in the 16th and 17th centuries, and, currently, there are large
communities of both religions on these islands.

Colonial era
Beginning in 1602 the Dutch gradually established themselves as rulers of what is now
Indonesia, exploiting the fractionalization of the small kingdoms that had replaced
Majapahit. The most notable exception was Portuguese Timor, which remained under
Portuguese rule until 1975 when it was invaded and occupied, becoming the Indonesia
province of East Timor. The Netherlands controlled Indonesia for almost 350 years,
excluding a short period of British rule in part of the islands after Anglo-Dutch Java War
and the Japanese occupation during World War II. During their rule the Dutch developed the
Dutch East Indies into one of the world's richest colonial possessions.

During the first decade of the 20th century an Indonesian independence movement began, and
it expanded rapidly between the two World Wars. Its leaders came from a small group of
young professionals and students, some of whom had been educated in the Netherlands. Many,
including Indonesia's first president, Sukarno (1945-67), were imprisoned for political

World War II
In May 1940 the Netherlands surrendered to Germany (see World War II). The Dutch East
Indies declared a state of siege and in July re-directed exports for Japan to the US and
Britain. Negotiations with the Japanese aimed at securing supplies of aviation fuel
collapsed in June 1941, and the Japanese started their conquest of Southeast Asia in
December of that year. That same month, factions from Sumatra sought Japanese assistance
for a revolt against the Dutch wartime government. The last Dutch forces were defeated by
Japan in March 1942.

In July 1942, Sukarno accepted Japan's offer to rally the public and form a government
also answerable to Japanese military needs. Sukarno, Mohammad Hatta, and Kyai were
decorated by the Emperor of Japan in 1943.

In March 1945 Japan organized an Indonesian committee (BPUPKI) on independence. At its
first meeting in May, Supomo spoke of national integration and against personal
individualism; while Muhammad Yamin suggested that the new nation should claim Sarawak,
Sabah, Malaya, Portuguese Timor, and all the pre-war territories of the Dutch East Indies.

On August 9 1945 Sukarno, Hatta, and Radjiman Wediodiningrat were flown to meet Marshal
Terauchi in Vietnam. They were told the Japanese forces were collapsing but that Japan
intended to announce Indonesian independence on August 24.

Post War
Informed that Japan no longer had the power to such make decisions on August 16, Sukarno
read out a brief unilateral "Proklamasi" (Declaration of Independence) on the following
day. Word of the proclamation spread by shortwave and flyers while the Indonesian war-time
military (PETA), youths, and others rallied to defend Sukarno's residence.

On August 29 the group appointed Sukarno as President and Mohammad Hatta as Vice-President
using a constitution drafted in the days before. The BPUPKI was renamed the KNIP (Central
Indonesian National Committee) and became a temporary governing body until elections could
be held. This group declared the new government on August 31 and determined that the new
Republic of Indonesia would consist of 8 provinces: Sumatra, Borneo, West Java, Central
Java, East Java, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Sunda Kecil.

Dutch efforts to reestablish complete control met strong resistance. On December 27, 1949,
after 4 years of warfare and negotiations, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands transferred
sovereignty to a federal Indonesian Government. In 1950, Indonesia became the 60th member
of the United Nations.

Shortly after hostilities with the Dutch ended in 1949, Indonesia adopted a new
constitution providing for a parliamentary system of government in which the executive was
chosen by and made responsible to parliament. Parliament was divided among many political
parties before and after the country's first nationwide election in 1955, and stable
governmental coalitions were difficult to achieve.

The role of Islam in Indonesia became a divisive issue. Sukarno defended a secular state
based on Pancasila while some Muslim groups preferred either an Islamic state or a
constitution that included preambular provision requiring adherents of Islam to be subject
to Islamic law.

Irian Jaya
At the time of independence, the Dutch retained control over the western half of New
Guinea, and permitted steps toward self-government and declaration of independence
December 1st 1961.

Negotiations with the Dutch on the incorporation of the territory into Indonesia failed,
an Indonesian paratroop invasion 18th December preceded armed clashes between Indonesian
and Dutch troops in 1961 and 1962. In 1962 the United States pressured Holland into secret
talks with Indonesia which in August 1962 produced the New York Agreement, and Indonesia
assumed administrative responsibility for Irian Jaya on May 1, 1963. Having rejected
United Nations supervision, the Indonesian government conducted an "Act of Free Choice" in
Irian Jaya in 1969 in which 1,025 Irianese representatives of local councils were selected
and after training in the Indonesian language and warned to vote in favor of Indonesian
integration agreed by consensus to remain a part of Indonesia. A subsequent UN General
Assembly resolution confirmed the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia. Opposition to
Indonesian administration of Irian Jaya (later known as Papua) gave rise to small-scale
guerrilla activity in the years following Jakarta's assumption of control. In the more
open atmosphere since 1998, there have been more explicit expressions within Irian Jaya of
a desire for independence from Indonesia.

East Timor
From 1596 to 1975, East Timor was a Portuguese colony on the island of Timor known as
Portuguese Timor and separated from Australia's north coast by the Timor Sea. As a result
of political events in Portugal, Portuguese authorities abruptly withdrew from East Timor
in 1975. In local elections in 1975, Fretilin, a party partly led by Marxists, and UDT, a
Party aligned with the local elite, emerged as the largest parties, having previously
formed an alliance to campaign for independence from Portugal.

On December 7, 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor. Probably Indonesia hoped, that in the
unclear sitation, it could annex the tiny country of (then) 680.000 people; and indeed, it
could do so de facto: it got material and diplomatic support, as well as the necessary
armaments from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. Reasons include oil
and gas reserves, a strategic location as well as various trade and cheap labor related
interests. In the early years of the occupation, the Indonesian military killed 200.000
people — through murder, forced starvation, and other means. The years of occupation
were riddled with massacres, programs of forced sterilization, hunger, and attempts at
cultural annihilation. Tens of thousands suffered tremendous hardships to survive and
resist the occupation.

On August 30 1999, the people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence in a
UN-conducted popular consultation. About 99 percent of the eligible population
participated; more than three quarteres chose independence despite months of systematic
terror and intimidation by the Indonesian military and its militia. After the result was
announced, the Indonesian military and its militia retaliated by destroying the country:
murdering some 2,000 East Timorese, displacing two-thirds of the population, raping
hundreds of women and girls, and destroying much of the country's infrastructure.

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