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Indonesia did not exist as yet during the Palaeocene period (70 million years BC), the Eocene period (30 million years BC), the Oligacene period (25 million years BC) and the Miocene period (12 million years BC). It is believed that Indonesia must have existed during the Pleitocene period (4 million years BC) when it was linked with the present Asian mainland. It was during this period that the Homonids made their first appearance and Java Man inhabited the part of the world now called Indonesia. Java Man, named Pithecanthropus Erectus by Eugence Dubois who found the fossils on the island of Java, must have been the first inhabitant of Indonesia.

When the sea level rose as the result of the 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 occured with Indo-Arians migrants from the south Asian sub-continent of India.

The first indian migrants came primarily 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 adopted and called the Kawi language and included words and phrases derived from Javanese.

Early trade relations were established between South India and Indonesia. Sumatra was then named Swarna Dwipa of "the island of gold, " Java was called Java Dwipa or "the Rice island," and a Hindu kingdom of Crivijaya in Sumatra and Nalanda in South India were not comfirmed to religious and cultural exchanges. They later developed diplomatic relations, and even covered a wide range of trade.

The influx of Indian settlers continued during the period from the first to the seventh century AD. Peacefully and gradually the Hindu religion spread throughout the archipelago. It was adopted by all layers of the people of Java, but limited to the upper classes on the other islands



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. It lasted from ancient times to the 16th Century AD. Because the culture and civilization, which emanated from the Hindu and Buddhist religions, were syncretized with the local cultural elements, the period was 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 practices 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. The latter became 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. On their way, some stopped and temporarily stayed in Indonesia to learn more about Buddhism. 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 named Kudungga. Kutai, on the island of Borneo, was successively ruled by the Hindu kings Devawarman, Aswawarman and Mulawarman.

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 system of government and advanced agriculture, navigation and astronomy. There was even mention of the "batik" printing process of cloth that the people already knew. They also made metalware, used the metric system and printed coins.

Chinese chronicles of 132 AD described the existence of diplomatic regions between Java-Dwipa and China.

Ink and paper had already been in use in China since the 2nd Century AD. Around 502 AD Chinese annals mentioned the existence of the Buddhist Kingdom, Kanto Lim in South Sumatra, presumably in the neighborhood of present-day Palembang. It was ruled by king Gautama Subhadra, and later by his son Pyrawarman of Vinyawarman who established diplomatic relations with China. Because of a spelling or pronunciation difficulty, what the Chinese called "Kanto Li" was probably Crivijaya, a mighty Buddhist kingdom. On his way to India, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, I Tsing, visited Crivijaya in 671 AD to study the Sanskrit language. He returned 18 years later, in 689 AD Crivijaya was then the center of Buddhist learning and had many well-known philosophy scholars like Sakyakirti, Dharmapala and Vajabudhi.

The kingdom had diplomatic relations with the south Indian kingdom of Nalanda. The Crivijaya mission built a school on its premises where Indians could learn the art of molding bronze statues and broaden their knowledge of the Buddhist philosophy. With the spread of Buddhism, Crivijaya's influence reached out to many other parts of the archipelago.

Another known Buddhist kingdom was Cailendra in Central Java. It was ruled by the kings of Cailendra Dynasty. During their rule (750-850 AD) the famous Buddhist temple, Borobudur, was built. In 772 AD other Buddhist temple were also build. They include the Mendut, Kalasan and Pawon temples. All of these temples are now preserved as tourist objects near the city of Yogyakarta. The Cailendra kingdom was also known for its commercial and naval power, and its flourishing arts and culture. A guide to team singing, known as the Chandra Cha-ana, was first written in 778 AD.

One of the Pallawa language-stone inscriptions of 732 AD mentioned the name of King Sanjaya, who was later identified as the king of Mataram, a kingdom that replaced Cailendra in Central Java.

The Prambanan temple, which was dedicated to Lord Civa, was started in 856 AD and completed in 900 AD by King Daksa. Earlier Civa temples were built in 675 AD on the Dieng mountain range, southwest of Medang Kamolan, the capital of the Mataram Kingdom.

In West Java were 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 the 13th Century, the Crivijaya Empire began to fall as a result of severance by its vassal states and frequent attacks by the south Indian kingdom of Chola and by the Majapahit Kingdom. In the end, Crivijaya was completely conquered by 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 came under Majapahit's rule.

Meanwhile, for unknown reasons, the mighty kingdoms of Central Java disappeared from historic records and new prosperous kingdom 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 12 translations of the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavat Gita.

Meanwhile, the island of Bali was ruled by King Airlangga, known as a wise and strong ruler. He had water-works built along the Brantas River that are still in use today. Before his death in 1409 AD he divided his kingdom into the kingdoms of Janggala and Daha or Kediri. These were to be ruled by his two sons.

Under Airlangga's rule literary works flourished. The Panji novels written during this period are still popular today. They are even taught in the art faculties of the universities in Thailand, Kampuchea and Malaysia.

King Jayabaya of Kediri 1135-1157 wrote a book in which he foretold the downfall of Indonesia. Subsequently, so he wrote, the country would be ruled by a white race, to be followed by a yellow race. His prediction turned out to be Dutch colonial rule and the Japanese occupation of the country during World War. 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, including the Javanese version of the Mahabharata by Mpu (saint) Sedah and his brother Mpu Panuluh. This work was published in 1157.

The kingdoms of East Java were later succeeded by the Majapahit Kingdom, first ruled by Prince Wiiaya 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 become a powerful empire, it conquered the kingdom of Crivijaya in South Sumatra. As mentioned earlier, this kingdom has once been attacked by the Indian kingdom of Chola.

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 Champa in North Vietnam, Kampuchea and the Philippines (1331-1364). King Hayam Wuruk, with his able premier Gajah Mada, succeeded in gradually uniting the whole archipelago under the name of Dwipantara.

During this golden period of Majapahit many literary works were produced. Among them was "Negara Kertagama," by the famous author Prapancha (1335-1380). Parts of the book described the diplomatic and economic ties between Majapahit and numerous Southeast Asian countries including Myanmar, Thailand, Tonkin, Annam, Kampuchea and even India and China. Other works in Kawi, the old Javanese language, were "Pararaton," "Arjuna Wiwaha," "Ramayana," and "Sarasa Muschaya." These works were later translated into modern European languages for educational purposes.



Moslem merchants from Gujarat and Persia began visiting Indonesia in the 13th Century and established trade links between this country and India and Persia. Along with trade, they propagated Islam among the Indonesians people, particularly along the coastal areas of Java, like 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 eastward 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 to where the sultanates of Bone and Goa in Sulawesi were established. Also under the influence of Islam, were the sultanates of Ternate and Tidore in the Maluku.

North of Java, the religion spread to Banjarmasin in Borneo and further west to Sumatra, where Palembang, Minangkabau (West Sumatra), Pasai and Periak were converted.

Meanwhile, descendants of the Majapahit aristocracy, religious scholars and Hindu Ksatriyas retreated through the East Java peninsula of Blambangan to the island of Bali and Lombok. In a later period, however, the eastern part of Lombok was converted to Islam, which entered the island from the southern Sulawesi city of Makassar, now named Ujungpandang.

The capital of the West Java Kingdom of Pajajaran was Sunda Kelapa (1300 AD). It was located in the present capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta. In 1527 Sunda Kelapa was conquered by Falatehan, and Islamic troop commander of the sultanate of Demak. After his conquest the city was renamed Jaya Karta, meaning "the great city," this was the origin of the present name, Jakarta. Falatehan also defeated the Portuguese, who had also tried to seize the city.



In their search for 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, also known as the Moluccas.



Meanwhile, the Dutch had started their quest for Indonesia spices to sell on the European market at big profit. For the purpose of more efficient and better organized merchant trade they established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602. To protect the merchants fleet from frequent pirate attacks on the high seas, Dutch warships were ordered to accompany it.

After the nationalization of the VOC in 1799, the Dutch Government had a firm grip on the vital territories of the country. People in those territories were forced to surrender their agricultural produce to the Dutch merchants. It was the beginning of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia. Sunda Kelapa was renamed Batavia.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram converted to Islam and was ruled by the Muslim, 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 they were repulsed by the troops of Governor General Jan Pieterszoon 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 indigenous inter-island trade, like that between Makassar, Aceh, Mataram and Banten, as well as overseas trade, was gradually paralyzed. Indonesia was reduced to an agricultural country to supply European markets. At the some time, the Dutch adopted a so-called open- door policy toward 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 became a vassal state of the VOC under the treaty of Bunggaya of 1667.

Prince Trunojoyo of Madura also fought the Dutch. He was defeated and killed in 1680.

To reinforce their spice monopoly in the Moluccas, the Dutch undertook their notorious Hongi expeditions, whereby they burned down the clove gardens of the people in an effort to eliminate overproduction, which brought down the prices of cloves on the European markets. In these outrageous expeditions countless atrocities were commifted against people who defended their crops.

In 1740 the Dutch suppressed a rebellion in Jakarta that was sparked by dissatisfied Chinese, who were later joined by Indonesians. Ten thousand Chinese were massacred.

The Kingdom of Mataram began to see its downfall after it 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 its territories in Indonesia were taken over by the Dutch Administration in Batavia.



In 1814 the British come to Indonesia and built Fort York in Bengkulu on the west coast of Sumatra. It was later renamed Fort Marlborough.

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. He was subordinated 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.

Borobudur and other temples were restored and research conducted. Raffles wrote his famous book, "The History of Java," in which he described Java's high civilization and culture.

During the British stay in Sumatra (1814-1825), William Marsden wrote a similar book on the history of Sumatra, which was published in 1889.

After the fall of Napoleon, and the end of the French occupation of Holland the British and 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. Thus, 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 the other.

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 until 1830. Again, it was fierce struggle for freedom. Tuanku Imam Bonjol led the Padri War in West Sumatra, while Teuku Umar headed the Aceh War in North Sumatra (1 873-1903). King Sisingamangaraja of the Bataks revolved against the Dutch in 1907. An attempt by the Dutch troops to occupy Bali in 1908 was repelled by King Udayana. Revolts were also staged in Goa, South Sulawesi, and in South Kalimantan.



When all these regional wars of independence failed, Indonesian nationalists began thinking of a more-organized struggle against Dutch colonialism.

The move 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 to politics. It was inspired by Japan's victory over Russia 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 of train Indonesian medical officers. Dr. Soetomo was greafly influenced by Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo and supported by Gunawan and Suradji.

In 1912 Sarekat Dagang Islam, the Association of Moslem Merchants, was formed by Haji Samanhudi and others. Its objective was at first to stimulate and promote the interest of 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, Muhammadiyah, was established by K.H. Akhmad Dahlan in Yogyakarta for the purpose of social and economic reforms.

In December of the some year 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 of Indonesia. All three leaders of the party were exiled by the colonial government in 1913.

In 1914 communism was introduced in the East Indies by three Dutch nationals-Sneevliet, Baars and Brandsteder.

In May 1920 Sarikat Islam split into a right and a left wing, the later 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 or Volksraad

In 1916 Sarikat Islam held its first convention in Bandung and resolved the demand self-government for Indonesia in cooperation with the Dutch. When Sarikat Islam demanded a share in the legislative power in 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 some of the other members were 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, and Soekardjo Wiryopronoto.

Under the pressure of the social unrest in the Netherlands at the end of World War 1, the Dutch promised to grant self-government to Indonesians. This was known as the "November promise." It was a promise that never met.

Besides the Volksraad, there was another body called Raad van Indie, "the Council of the Indies," whose the members were appointed by the Government Achmad Djajadiningrat and Sujono were among the very few Indonesian members of this council.

Restrictions of Civil Liberties

In 1923 deteriorating economic conditions and increasing labor strikes prompted the colonial government to put severe restrictions on Indonesian civil liberties and make amendments to the colonial laws and penal codes. Freedom of assembly, speech and expression in writing was restricted.

Further Growth of Indonesian Organizations

Despite the political restrictions, on July 3, 1922 Ki Hajar Dewantoro founded Taman Siswa, an organization to promote national education.

In 1924 the Indonesian Students Association, "Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Indonesia," was formed by Drs. Mohammad Hatta, Dr. Sukiman and others. This organization became a driving force of the nationalist movement to gain independence.

The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) staged revolts against the colonial government in November 1926 in West Java, and in January 1927 in West Sumatra. After their suppression the Government exiled many non-communist nationalist leaders to Tanah Merah, which the Dutch called "Boven Digul" in Irian Jaya. Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo was exiled to Bandaneira.

In February 1927 Mohammad Hatta, Achmad Soebardjo and other members of lndonesia's Movements attended the first international convention of the "League Against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression" in Brussels, together with Jawaharlal Nehru and many other prominent nationalist leaders from Asia and Africa.

In July 1927, Soekarno, Sartono and others formed the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), which adopted Bahasa Indonesia as the official language. This party adopted a militant policy of noncooperation with the Government as the result of a fundamental conflict of interest between Indonesian nationalism and Dutch colonialism.

In the same year, and all-Indonesia nationalist movement was organized by Indonesian youth and women to replace earlier organizations, which had been based regionalism, such as "Young Java," "Young Sumatra" and "Young Ambon."

On October 28, 1928, delegates to the second Indonesian Youth Congress in Jakarta pledge allegiance to "one country, one nation and one language, Indonesia."

Meanwhile, the Technical Faculty was set up in Bandung in1920, and the Law Faculty was opened 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 in the University of Indonesia in 1964 in independent Indonesia.

Concerned about the growing national awareness of freedom, the colonial authorities arrested the PNI leader, Soekarno, in December 1929. This touched off widespread protests by Indonesians.

In 1930 the world was in the grip of an economic and monetary crisis. The severe impact of the crisis was felt in the Indies, a raw material producing country. The colonial government responded with a strict balance budget policy that 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. Soekarno 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 Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia, the Indonesian Unity Party. Its objective was to improve the social status of the Indonesian people.

In April of the same year, PNI was abandoned. A new party was formed by Sartono, LLM and named Partai Indonesia, the Indonesian Party. Its basis was nationansm, its line was independence.

Also in 1931, Sutan Syahrir formed Pendidikan Nasional Indonesia. Known as the new PNI, it 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 until1942.

In 1935, Soetomo merged Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia and Boedi Oetomo to form Partai Indonesia Raya (Parindra). Its fundamental goal was the independence of Great Indonesia.

The Indonesian Petition

In July 1936, Sutardio 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 started the Indonesian People's Movement, 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 Holland 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 time, there were widespread movements for fundamental and progressive reforms in the colonies and dependencies in Asia.



After their attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the Japanese forces moved southwards to conquer several Southeast Asian countries. After 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 Coprosperity". But Indonesians soon realized that it was a camouflage for Japanese imperialism in place of Dutch colonialism.

To further the cause of Indonesia's independence, Soekarno and Hatta appeared to cooperate with the Japanese authorities. In reality, however, Indonesian nationalist leaders went underground and masterminded insurrections in Blitar (East Java), Tasikmalaya and Indramayu (West Java), and in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Under the pressure of the 4th Pacific war, where their supply lines were interrupted, and the increasing of Indonesian insurrections, the Japanese ultimately gave into allow the red-and-white flag to fly as the Indonesian national flag. Recognition of "Indonesia Raya" as the national anthem and Bahasa Indonesia as the national language followed. Hence, the youth's pledge of 1928 was fulfilled.

After persistent demands, the Japanese finally agreed to place the civil administration of the county into Indonesian hands. This was a golden opportunity for nationalist leaders to prepare for the proclamation of lndonesia's independence.



The Republic of Indonesia first saw light on August 17, 1945, when its independence was proclaimed just 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 the Constitution, the country is headed by a President who is also the Chief Executive. He is assisted by a Vice-President and a cabinet of ministers.

The sovereignty of the people rests with the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR). Hence, the President is accountable to the MPR. The legislative power is vested in the House of Representafives (DPR).

Other institutions of the state are the Supreme Court, the Supreme Advisory Council and the 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 with military threats to its very existence. British troops landed in Indonesia as a contingent of the Allied Forces to disarm the Japanese. Dutch troops also seized this opportunity to land in the country, but for a different purpose, - namely, to regain control of the former East Indies. At the beginning they were assisted by British troops under General Christison, a fact later admitted by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Commander of the Allied Forces in Southeast Asia based in Myanmar. In fact, the British troops were officially only assigned to the task of repatriating 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. As a result, the British turned to all-out combat from the sea, air and land. The newly-recruited army of the Republic soon realized the superiority of the British forces and withdrew from urban battles. They subsequently formed guerrilla 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 they undertook two military actions.

Diplomacy and Fighting

Meanwhile, on November 11, 1945, Vice-President Hatta issued a manifesto that outlined the basic policy of the new Republic. It was a policy of good neighborhood and peace 22 with the rest of the world.

On November 14 of the same year, the newly-appointed Prime Minister, Sutan Syahrir, introduced a parliamentary system, with party representation, in the Republic.

On December 22, Sutan Syahrir announced Indonesia's acceptance of the British proposal to disarm and confine to internment camps 25,000 Japanese troops throughout the country. This task was successfully carried out by TNI, the Indonesian National Army. Repatriation of the Japanese troops began on April 28, 1946.

Because fighting with Dutch troops continued, the seat of the Republican Government was moved from Jakarta to Yogyakarta on January 4, 1946.

The Indonesian Question in the United Nations

The war in Indonesia posed a threat to international peace and security. In the spirit of article 24 of the United Nations' Charter, the question of Indonesia was officially brought before the Security Council by Jacob Malik of the Soviet Unions. 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.

But the freedom fight continued and Dutch military aggressions met with stiff resistance from Indonesian troops. The Indonesian Government conducted a diplomatic offensive against the Dutch.

With the good offices of Lord Killearn of Great Britain, Indonesian and Dutch representatives met at Linggarjati in West Java. The negotiations resulted in the de facto recognition by the Dutch of lndonesia's sovereignty over Java, Sumatra and Madura. The Linggarjati Agreement was initiated on November 1946 and signed on March 25, 1947.

But the agreement was a violation of Indonesia's independence proclamation of August 17, 19A5, which implied sovereignty over the whole territory of the Republic. As such, it met with the widespread disapproval of the people. Hence, guerrilla fighting continued, bringing heavy pressure on Dutch troops.

In July 1947 the Dutch launched a military offensive to reinforce their urban bases and to intensify their attacks on guerrilla strongholds. The offensive was, however, put to end by the signing of the Renville 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 these critical moments that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) stabbed the newly- proclaimed Republic of Indonesia in the back by declaring the formation of the "Indonesian People's Republic" in Madiun, East Java. Muso led an attempt to overthrow the Government, but this was quickly stamped out and he was killed.

In violation of the Renville agreement, on December 19, 1948, the Dutch launched their second military aggression. They invaded the Republic capital of Yogyakarta, arrested President Soekarno, Vice-President Mohammad Hatta and other leaders, and detained them on the island of Bangka, off the east coast of Sumatra. A caretaker Government, with headquarters in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, was set up under Syafruddin Prawiranegara.

On the initiative of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru of India, a meeting of 19 nations was convened in New Delhi that produced a resolution for submission to the United Nations, pressing for total Dutch surrender of sovereignty to the Republic of Indonesia by January 1, 1950. It also pressed for 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 Yogyakarta.

The Dutch, however, were adamant and continued to occupy the city of Yogyakarta in ignorance 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, now 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 lndonesia's history as "the first of March all-out attack" to show to the world at the time that the Republic and its military were not dead.

Consequently, on May 7, 1949, an agreement was signed by Mohammad 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.

World Recognition and Indonesia's Sovereignty

The Round Table conference was opened in the Hague on 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. It now became the sovereign Federal Republic of Indonesia with a federal constitution. The constitution, inter alia, provided for a parliamentary system in which the cabinet was responsible to Parliament. The question of sovereignty over Irian Jaya, formerly West New Guinea, was suspended for further negotiations between Indonesia and the Netherlands. This issue remained a perpetual source of conflict between the two countries for more than 13 years. On September 28, 1950, Indonesia became a member of the United Nations.

The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia

On August 17, 1950 the Unitary State of the Republic on Indonesia, as originally proclaimed, was restored. However, the liberal democratic system of government was retained whereby the cabinet would be accountable 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 any development program.

With the return of the unitary state, the President once again assumed the duties of Chief Executive and the Mandatary of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly. He is assisted by a Vice-President and a cabinet of his own choosing. The Executive is not responsible to the House of Representatives.

Challenges to " 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. This was obviously the answer to the Dutch colonial practice of divide and rule. Hence, the national motto was "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" as referred to earlier.

However, no sooner was the Unitary State re-established then 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. It took years to stamp them out. Then there was the terrorist APRA band of former Dutch army captain Turco Westerling, which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people.

Outside Java, demobilized ex-colonial arm 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 lbnu Hadjar lead another armed revolt. Sumatra could also account for a number of separafist movements. And, to complete the list, the Indonesian Communist Party again staged an abortive coup under the name of 30th September movement, when they kidnaped and killed six of the country's top army generals in the early hours of October 1, 1965.

The Asian-African Conference

President Soekamo had to his credit the holding of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, West Java, from April 1 8 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 became known as the "Dasa Sila", or "The Ten Principles," of Bandung. It strives for world peace, respect for one another's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for non-interference in each other's internal affairs. The resolution also seeks to uphold the human rights principles of the United Nations.



Over-confident 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) attempted another coup on September 30, 1965. The uprising, however, was abrupt and quickly stamped out by the Armed Forces under Major General Soeharto, then Chief of the Army's Strategic Command.

On the night of September 30, or more precisely in the early hours of October 1, 1965, armed PKI men and members of Cakrabirawa, the President's security guard, set out to kidnap, torture and kill six top Army Generals. Their bodies were dumped in an abandoned well at Lubang Buaya, on the outskirts of Jakarta. The coup was staged in the wake of troop deployments to Kalimantan, at the height of Indonesia's confrontation with Malaysia. Moreover, at the time, many cabinet members were attending a celebration of the Chinese October Revolution in Beijing. It was during this power vacuum that the communists struck again.

Under instructions from General Soeharto, crack troops of the Army's 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," that aimed to ban the PKI, replace Soekamo's cabinet ministers, and reduce the prices of basic necessities. They set up a "street parliament" to gather the demands of the people.

Under these explosive conditions, President Soekarno eventually 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 "the 11th of March order" of 1966. Soon afterwards, on March 12, 1966, General Soeharto banned the PKI. This decision was endorsed and sanctioned by virtue of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly Decree No XXV/MPRS/1966. He also formed a new cabinet, but Soekarno remained as Chief Executive. This brought dualism into 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 7-12, 1967. The Assembly resolved to relieve Soekarno of his presidential duties and appointed Soeharto as Acting President, pending the election of a new President by an elected People's Consultative Assembly.



Ever since taking office in 1967, the New Order Government of President Soeharto was determined to return 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 legacy of Soekarno'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 normalize diplomatic relations with Malaysia.
  5. To return to the United Nations, which Indonesia had quit in January 1965.
  6. To consistently pursue an independent and active foreign policy.
  7. To resolve the West Irian question.
  8. To regain lndonesia's economic credibility overseas.
  9. To hold general elections once every five years.

Much of the implementation of these policies has been described in the foregoing pages. It remains here to mention some of the more notable achievements of the New Order during the first few years of its existence. Results of national development are presented in this book under the heading "Development Achievements" and are updated each year.

With regard to Malaysia, not only were relations normalized but Indonesia together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand joined to establish the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On achieving independence in 1984, Brunei Darussalam become the sixth member of ASEAN.The objective of the association is the establishment of regional cooperation in the economic, social and cultural fields, but ASEAN also operates in the political area.

To prepare for national development, in addition to economic rehabilitation, Indonesia secured an agreement with creditor countries to reschedule an overseas debt of US$ 5 billion. With the recovery of the country's 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 (IGGI) and includes the United States, 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.

East Timor's Integration

History recorded that in 672 AD Timor was part of the Crivijaya Kingdom. Later the island belonged to the Majapahit Kingdom for 200 years, until 1520.

In the last quarter of the 16th Century the Portuguese subjugated Sultan Baabullah of Ternate, then the overlord toTimor.

In 1651 the Dutch invaded 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 - UDT (Uniao Democratica Timorese), FRETILIN (Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste lndependent), APODETI (Associacao Popular Democratica de Timor),KOTA (Klibur Oan Timur Aswain) and TRABALHISTA (Labor Party).

Through lack of popular support, FRETILIN resorted to terror tactics, threats and blackmail 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 FRETILIN free to continue its reign of terror. FRETILIN was even supplied with arms from the Portuguese army arsenal.

On November 28 of the some year, FRETILIN unilaterally "declared the independence" of East Timor and announced the formation of "the Democratic Republic of East Timor".

In the light of these developments, on November 30, 1975, at Balibo, 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 duly 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 Representatives 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 under the 1945 Constitution of the Republic.



Pancasila Democracy is a system of life for the state and society on the basis of people's sovereignty. It is inspired by the noble values of the Indonesian nation. Pancasila itself, which means the five principles, is the name given to the foundation of the Indonesian Republic. The five principles of Pancasila are Belief in the One and Only God; A 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.

Thus Pancasila Democracy means democracy based on people's sovereignty which is inspired by and integrated with the other principles of Pancasila. This means that the use of democratic rights should always be in line with the sense of responsibility towards God Almighty according to the respective faith; uphold human values in line with human dignity; guarantee and strengthen national unity; and be aimed at realizing social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia.

In a democrafic life based on Pancasila, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), being the highest state institution, has a very important role to play. As an institution which fully exercises the sovereign rights of the Indonesian people MPR should always reflect the aspirations and the wishes of the people with all its decisions or decrees. And as the holder of the highest power in the state, the Assembly appoints the President and Vice-President and determines the Guidelines of State Policy for implementation by the President.

The House of Representatives (DPR), the members of which are from the people and are elected by the people, has the function of exercising control over the conduct of the administration by the President. The mechanism of this control by the House of Representatives constitutes a means to prevent constitutional deviation or deviations from the people's wish by the government.



The Govemment Manifesto of November 3, 1945, opened the way to a rapid growth of political parties. Soon a multi-party system emerged with parties of different ideologies, ranging from nationalism to socialism, religion and even Marxism/Leninism. Hence, the political structure developed into a liberal democracy that 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 a stable Government was out of the question. With a total of 24 political parties and their fractions, cabinets could only be formed on the basis of a shaky compromise between the strongest parties. In point of fact, coalition cabinets were formed and dissolved very often. The administration was a complete shambles and development was a far cry.

The first and only general election ever held during the rule of the Old Order took place in 1955. Even that election did not produce a strong cabinet with a solid back-up in Parliament. On the contrary, because political conditions continued to deterioate, the President ordered the formation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new consfitufion. However, as mentioned earlier, this only ended up in a total deadlock which led the president to take all the power of the state into his own hands under the pretext of guided democracy.

Having learned from the experience of the unlimited multiparty system of the post, the New Order Government, which came into office in 1967, decided to simplify the political system along the following lines:

  1. In order to minimize ideological conflicts between political organizations, all political organizations shall adopt Pancasila as their sole basis 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 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.

Furthermore, the large number of organizations has been reduced by the fusion of parties and their affiliated organizations into two political parties - Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (The United Development Party or Partai Persatuan) and Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (the Indonesian Democracy Party or PDI), and one Functional Group or Golongan Karya (Golkar).

Partai Persatuan is a fusion of Nahdlatul Ulama (the Moslem Scholars Party), Parmusi (the Moslem Party), PSII (the Islamic Confederation) and PERTI (the Islamic Union).

PDI is a fusion of the former PNI (the Nationalist Party), the Catholic Party, the Christian (Protestant) Party, the Indonesian Independence Party, and Partai Murba (the People's Party).

Golkar accommodates the aspirations and political rights and duties of functional groups that are not affiliated with either party, namely civil servants, retired members of the Armed Forces, women's organizations, professional groups, farmers, student, etc.

By virtue of the 1983 Guidelines of State Policy and on the basis of Act No. 3 of 1985, Pancasila has finally been adopted as the one and only ideological principle upon which all political organizations base their activities.