Republic of Indonesia
Republik Indonesia
Timeline: Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum

OTL equivalent: Indonesia
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag National emblem
Location of Republic of Indonesia
Location of Indonesia

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Old Javanese)
("Unity in Diversity")

Anthem "Indonesia Raya"
(and largest city)
  others Javanese; Sundanese; Madurese; Minangkabau; Musi; Buginese; Banjarese; Acehnese; Balinese; Betawi
Religion Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Traditional folk religions
Ethnic Group Javanese; Sundanese; Malays; Chinese; Madurese; Bugis; Minangkabau; Banjars
Demonym Indonesian
Government Federal state; Presidential republic
  legislature People's Consultative Assembly of Indonesia
President Joko Widodo
Prime Minister Siti Rabyah Parvati
Population 238,000,000 
Established August 17, 1947
Independence from the Netherlands
  declared August 17, 1950
Currency Rupiah (Rp) (IDR)
Time Zone various (UTC+7 to +9)
Calling Code +62
Internet TLD .id

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia), is a country in South East Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 17,508 islands. It is populated by over 238 million people and is the world's fourth most populous country. The nation's capital city is Jakarta.

The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, North Borneo and the Portuguese overseas province of Portuguese Timor. Other neighboring countries include MalayaMoroland, Australia, and the British overseas territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Indonesia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation. Across its many islands, there are over 300 ethnic groups and more than 700 living languages are spoken in Indonesia. The largest - and politically dominant - ethnic group are the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a majority Muslim population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity.


Netherlands East Indies (1800–1950)

main page: Dutch East Indies (Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum)

Territorial consolidation (1800–1910)

The nutmeg plant was once one of the world's most valuable commodities and drew the first European colonial powers to Indonesia.

The first regular contact between Europeans and the peoples of Indonesia began in 1512, when Portuguese traders, led by Francisco Serrão, sought to monopolize the sources of nutmeg, cloves and cubeb pepper in the Moluccas. Dutch and British traders followed. In 1602 the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the dominant European power. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the government of the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalized colony.

From the arrival of the first Dutch ships in the late sixteenth century, to the independence of Indonesia in 1950, Dutch control over the Indonesian archipelago was always tenuous. Although Java was dominated by the Dutch, many areas remained independent throughout much of this time including Aceh, Bali, Lombok and Borneo. There were numerous wars and disturbances across the archipelago as various indigenous groups resisted efforts to establish a Dutch hegemony. It was not until the early 20th century, that Dutch dominance was extended across to the future territory of modern-day Indonesia.

From about 1840, Dutch national expansionism saw them wage a series of wars to enlarge and consolidate their possessions in the outer islands. Although Indonesian rebellions broke out, direct colonial rule was extended throughout the rest of the archipelago from 1821 to 1910 and control taken from the remaining independent local rulers. The Bird's Head Peninsula (Western New Guinea), was brought under Dutch administration in 1920. This final territorial range would form the territory of Indonesia.

Ethical policy (1901–14)

Dutch imperial imagery representing the Dutch East Indies, 1916

In 1901, Queen Wilhelmina announced that the Netherlands accepted an ethical responsibility for the welfare of their colonial subjects that could be summarized in the 'Three Policies' of Irrigation, Transmigration and Education. Upgrading the infrastructure of ports and roads in the Indies was a high priority for the Dutch, with the goal of modernizing the economy, facilitating commerce, and speeding up military movements. The policy on education, however, brought the Western political ideas of freedom and democracy and a small elite of native intellectuals began to articulate a rising anti-colonialism and a national consciousness.

In October 1908, the first native emancipation movement, Boedi Oetomo (Javanese: "Primary Endeavor"), was founded by Soetomo, a government doctor who felt that native intellectuals should improve education and culture among the public. The membership, however, was limited to the upper class Javanese, confined very largely in Java. In 1912, the Islamic Union (Malay: Sarekat Islam, SI) was founded by Oemar Said Tjokroaminoto to empower native merchants in competition with the Chinese business community. In comparison, the SI was more egalitarian in nature and expanded outside Java which it had reached the membership of 37 millions.

Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo and Soewardi Soerjaningrat who were disillusioned with the BO, joined the Indies Party (Dutch: Indische Partij, IP) that led by Indo Ernest Douwes Dekker. The IP sought the unity of all natives in a struggle for independence, a very radical notion at that period. The IP was banned in 1913 after a subversive pamphlet by Soewardi and the triumvirate were exiled. The growth of international socialism, on other hand, had resulted to the founding of Indies Social Democratic Association (Dutch: Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereeniging, ISDV) by Henk Sneevliet in 1914 at Semarang. Semaun, who had understudying with Tjokroaminoto, joined the radical ISDV in 1915 and established a Marxist bloc within the SI.

In 1919, the Marxist wing of SI that involved in anti-colonial activites was cracked down, resulting the number of SI members dropped drastically. In 1920, the ISDV became the Communist Union in the Indies (Malay: Perserikatan Komunis di Hindia, PKH) with Semaun as its chairman. The PKH was the first Asian communist party to become part of the Communist International. In the aftermath of 1919 crackdown, the SI faced a factional split between the Marxist-oriented Merah ("red") and anti-Communist Putih ("white") factions. Agus Salim, a Putih leader from West Sumatra, successfully pushed for a ban for SI members from dual membership in other parties, which expelled the SR members from the SI in 1921.

Opening of the Volksraad in Batavia, May 18, 1918.

In the 20th century, the colony gradually developed as a state distinct from Metropolitan Netherlands with treasury separated in 1903, public loans being contracted by the colony from 1913, and quasi-diplomatic ties were established with Hejaz to manage the Hajj pilgrimage from the Dutch East Indies. In 1922 the colony came on equal footing with the Netherlands in the Dutch constitution, while remaining under the Ministry of Colonies.

World War I (1914–18)

A proto-parliament, the Volksraad (Indonesian: Dewan Rakjat; People's Council), was also established in 1916 and convened in 1918. The Volksraad was limited to an advisory role and only small portions of the indigenous population were able to vote for its members. Nevertheless, the Volksraad was used as the medium of political struggle by the Indonesian nationalists to achieve the goal of independence or, at least, a self-government.

Interbellum era (1918–41)

Sukarno (1901–1975), the founding father of Indonesia.

Soewardi returned to Java in 1919 and quit politics to dedicate himself in education activism. With new name Ki Hajar Dewantara, he founded the Taman Siswa ("Students' Garden") in Yogyakarta in 1922 that providing public education for the Indonesians. After released in 1922, Dekker followed Dewantara's steps and founded the Ksatrian Institute in Bandung. Tjipto, however, would remained active politically until his arrest in 1927. Sukarno, a young Javanese engineer who had understudying with Tjokroaminoto in Surabaya, was then became an understudy both to Dekker and Tjipto in Bandung during this period.

In 1924, the PKH changed its name into the Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI). As SI decided to focus on religious matters, leaving the PKI as the only active native political organisation. In 1926, the PKI attempted a revolution throughout Indonesia through isolated insurrections in Java and Sumatra that panicked the Dutch, who arrested and exiled thousands of communists, effectively neutralizing the PKI for the remainder of the Dutch rule. However, another secular nationalist force soon emerged with the absence of PKI.

Maturing under Tjipto and Dekker's mentorships, Sukarno developed his own political ideology, a Pan-Indonesian identity beyond ethnicity, religion or social class. Sukarno's concept signified a new notion of Indonesian nationalism. In the Netherlands, another young Minangkabau student, Mohammad Hatta, became the leader of Indonesian Association (Perhimpoenan Indonesia, PI) in Rotterdam in 1926. Under Hatta, the PI became a genuine nationalist movement at overseas and participated in several anti-colonial congress all over Europe. In 1927, the Indonesian Nationalist Party (Partai Nasional Indonesia, PNI) was established in Bandung with Sukarno as its leader.

Mohammad Hatta (1902–1980), the founding father of Indonesia.

Both Sukarno and Hatta emerged as leaders of a new generation of Indonesian nationalists. The PI's growth alarmed the Dutch authorities. Hatta and other PI leaders were arrested in 1927. During his trial, Hatta made a nationalist speech, titled Indonesia Vrij (Free Indonesia). Similarly, the rapid growth of PNI and its popular support in Western and Central Java alerted the colonial government. Sukarno and other PNI leaders were arrested in 1929. During his trials, Sukarno delivered a series of defense speeches, titled Indonesia Menggoegat (Indonesia Accuses), that gained extensive coverage by the press. By this time, both had become popular heroes widely known throughout Indonesia.

However, during Sukarno's imprisonment, the PNI had been dissolved and split off into two groups. The Indonesia Party (Partai Indonesia, Partindo), led by Sukarno's associate Sartono, was promoting mass agitation similar to the PNI's old tactics. Sukarno would took over its leadership after he released in 1931. On other hand, Hatta's associate Sutan Sjahrir, who recently returned from studies in the Netherlands, organized the Indonesian Nationalist Education (Pendidikan Nasional Indonesia, PNI Baru) in 1932. Similarly, Hatta assumed the PNI Baru's leadership after he released in 1932. Unlike Sukarno, Hatta wanted to promote the development of native intellectual class by providing modern education to the uneducated Indonesians.

M.H. Thamrin, E. Gobée and Koesoemo Oetojo (centre, 1st row) and other elected native members of Volksraad, ca.1935

In 1933, Sukarno was arrested again on the charge of subservient activities, while Hatta and Sjahrir were arrested in 1934 with similar charges and they were sent to internal exiles. To avoid similar fate, others chose to cooperate with the Dutch. The Grand Indonesian Party (Partai Indonesia Raja, Parindra) was established in 1935 by Soetomo. One of its leaders and a prominent Betawi politician, Mohammad Hoesni Thamrin, was the leading nationalist at that time in the place of exiled Sukarno. Thamrin actively pushed for nationalist agenda in the Volksraad, such the use of Indonesian language in the legal documents

In July 1936, Soetardjo Kartohadikoesoemo, a Volksraad member, submitted a petition called for an imperial conference to arrange Indonesian autonomy within the Kingdom of the Netherlands over a ten-year period. However, the proposal was rejected in November 1938. As a respond, the nationalist parties, including the Parindra, formed the Indonesian Political Federation (Gaboengan Politiek Indonesia, GAPI) with Thamrin as its main leader on May 21, 1939. In December, the GAPI convened the First Indonesian People’s Congress to campaign for autonomy status albeit the strong antipathy from the government of the Netherlands.

The First Indonesian People Congress convened by the GAPI, 1939

The invasion of Poland by Germany in September 1939 signaled the start of World War II in Europe. East Asia itself was succumbed under a then-separate conflict between Japan and China. Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and the government-in-exile was established in London. After the invasion, the martial law was implemented in the Indies. All public meetings were banned and several political figures, such as Thamrin, Soetardjo, Sam Ratulangi and Ernest Douwes Dekker, were arrested in January 1941. Thamrin, already ill of malaria, died after five days in custody, while Dekker was sent to a labor prison in Suriname.

By 1940, the Dutch government-in-exile was still in control of the East Indies, the third largest oil producer at the time. Under this condition, Tokyo pressured Batavia in late 1940 for an exclusive access to oil supply on the islands which rejected by the Dutch. When China occupied Indochina in February 1941, Japan invaded the East Indies from the Philippines in March 1941. Within three months, the Dutch forces were quickly overwhelmed and finally capitulated to Japan in June 1941. The Japanese Tamiikusa Army occupied Sumatra and Borneo where key oil fields located and left the rest of islands to the Dutch under the status quo.

World War II (1941–45)

Bombs from a Japanese aircraft falling near the Dutch light cruiser Java in the Gaspar Strait east of Sumatra, 1941

The capitulation showed how powerless the Dutch were. In July 1941, new leader of Faction Nationaal in the Volksraad, Koesoemo Oetojo, delivered a speech criticizing the colonial defense efforts. He was then expelled from the Volksraad for this speech. As a sign of solidarity, all native members resigned en masse, resulting the Volksraad was not convened until 1943. Situation was quickly changed when Japan decided to join the Allies and merged the conflicts in Asia with the European ones. The Dutch reluctantly had to accept Japan as the "superior" partner, establishing the Japanese de facto control over the East Indies.

The martial law was lifted on March 3, 1942, a day after Japan declared war on Germany, Spain and Italy. The ban on nationalist symbols was lifted and the exiled activists, such Soekarno, Hatta, Sjahrir, and Tjipto, were pardoned after the pressures from the Japanese. With the release of its leaders, the PNI was re-established on June 1, 1942. Sukarno and Hatta were elected as the PNI's joint Supreme Leaders (Pemimpin Besar). Amir Sjarifuddin, an underground PKI member, followed the Comintern's "united front" strategy by bringing the Communists into the PNI's rank. On other hand, Sudjono, a Javanese expatriate in Japan who had brought home by the Japanese, also joined and provided the PNI financial and technical supports from the Pan-Asian Association in Tokyo.

Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta (1-2R) aboard a Japanese warship, 1943.

To avoid the Dutch intelligence, the PNI leaders moved to the Japanese-occupied Borneo and Sumatra. Sukarno and several others stayed at Banjarmasin, while Hatta and the rest went to Padang. The PNI convened the Second Indonesian People's Congress in Padang on September 30, 1942, demanding complete Indonesian independence following the principles laid in the 1941 Atlantic Charter. When the Dutch government simply ignored the resolution, the PNI leaders launched the Merdeka Movement on November 10, 1942.

Inspired by the Quit India Movement months earlier, Sukarno called for massive civil disobedience against the colonial government. In Java and Sulawesi, large protests and demonstrations were held all over and labor strikes were organized. Unlike in India, the Merdeka Movement was hard to be suppressed since its leaders stayed under Japanese protection and provided by the Soviet and Japanese aids. Although mass detentions occurred in Java, the colonial government was unable to arrest its key leaders. The success of Merdeka Movement was ensured when moderate nationalists, such as Oetojo and Ratulangi, joined in 1943 and demanded the Dutch to negotiate with the PNI leaders.

Governor-General Van Mook delivered a speech before the attendants of Conference of Rulers

With the rising nationalist movement, Governor-General Hubertus J. van Mook softened his stance and the Volksraad was re-convened on August 1, 1943. Sam Ratulangi pushed for the creation of Indonesische Weerbaar (Dutch: "Indonesian Militia") as demanded by the Tamiikusa to enlist the Indonesians in the Allied war effort. Oetojo, on other hand, demanded a post-war imperial reorganization that will grants the Indonesians rights of self-determination (zelfbeschikking) and self-government (zelfbestuur).

Represented a reformist wing within the colonial government, Van Mook accepted Ratulangi's proposal, but contemplated on Oetojo's own. Formed in February 1944, the Indonesische Weerbaar, participated in the battles with the Tamiikusa and the South Seas Legion in southern China and Indochina. The local rulers (raja) soon followed the call for self-government echoed within the Volksraad. The Conference of Insular Rulers (Dutch: Conferentie van Insulaire Vorsten) was convened in Bandung on December 2, 1944. Attended by the local rulers, such as Sjarif Kasim II of Siak, Andi Mappanyuki of Bone and Iskandar of Ternate, it repeated the Oetojo's proposal for self-government right.

Post-war reforms (1945–47)

Sutan Sjahrir, Amir Sjarifuddin and Hubertus J. van Mook on their first meeting in Batavia, 1945.

Following the liberation of the Netherlands on May 5, 1945, Van Mook and the delegation of Volksraad, such as Koesoemo Oetojo, Sam Ratulangi, Soetardjo Kartohadikoesoemo, Oto Iskandar Dinata, Ignatius J. Kasimo Hendrowahjono, and Johannes Latuharhary, met the returned Dutch government in The Hague. After several negotiations, it was agreed Indonesia to be granted self-government within the Kingdom of the Netherlands no later than 1946 with a democratically-elected parliament. In preparation to self-government, Van Mook reformed the administrative divisions of the colony and allowed free elections of local councils.

With the Japanese withdrawal in August 1945, the PNI decided to tone down its wartime agitation. Hatta, Sjahrir and Amir were the leading advocates to work with Van Mook's plan. Appointed personally by Sukarno, Sjahrir and Amir met Van Mook for the first time in Batavia on November 24, 1945. Sjahrir wanted Van Mook to ensure the PNI's political activities in exchange for the support needed to Van Mook's self-government plan. As he wanted for an orderly and gradual political evolution to achieve his plan, Van Mook was more than pleased with the offer. The PNI quickly emerged as the strongest political party after the 1946 local elections

By 1946, the colony was divided into three Gouvernementen (Sumatra, Borneo and the Great East), three Provincies (West, Central and East Java) and four Vorstenlanden (Surakarta, Yogyakarta, Mangkunegaran and Pakualaman). Van Mook initially planned to transform them into ten federal states, but soon faced demands for greater autonomy from local populations. In the process, Sumatra was broke up into ten states and Borneo into five states. Mangkunegaran would joined Surakarta and Pakualaman joined Yogyakarta, rather than became their owns. In 1947, the Great East was divided into six states. Cirebon would also separated from West Java and Madura from East Java to form states of their owns.

Self-government (1947–50)

On March 12, 1947, the Constituent Assembly of Indonesia (Dutch: Constituante; Indonesian: Konstituante) was inaugurated; about two-thirds of its composition were from the PNI. Sukarno and several PNI leaders were elected to the Federal Council. By purpose, the Federal Council (Dutch: Federaal Raad) acted as a transitional cabinet. As the Deputy-President of the Council, Sukarno was to all intents Prime Minister, although he was still subject to a veto by Governor-General Van Mook, the Council president. On August 17, 1947, the Federation of Indonesia (Indonesian: Federasi Indonesia; Dutch: Federatie van Indonesië) was established within the Netherlands-Indonesian Union.

Papua remained stood as a separate entity since the local chiefs and the Dutch settlers were hesitant to join the Federation. The pro-Federation Free Indonesian Party (Partai Indonesia Merdeka) only gained one seat (Frans Kaisiepo) in the New Guinea Council. In Minahasa, the Twapro Party (Dutch: Twaaflde Provincie, "Twelfth Province") wanted the region to join the Netherlands, instead of the Federation. In 1946, it was defeated by the nationalist coalition there, led by Sam Ratulangi and local PNI leader Arnold Mononutu, but got the third place in the Minahasa Council, showing its political potentials against the nationalists.

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