2000 BCE Jan 1
, Indonesia

Austronesian people form the majority of the modern population. They may have arrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE and are thought to have originated in Taiwan.[81] During this period, parts of Indonesia participated in the Maritime Jade Road, which existed for 3,000 years between 2000 BCE to 1000 CE.[82] Dong Son culture spread to Indonesia bringing with it techniques of wet-field rice cultivation, ritual buffalo sacrifice, bronze casting, megalithic practises, and ikat weaving methods. Some of these practices remain in areas including the Batak areas of Sumatra, Toraja in Sulawesi, and several islands in Nusa Tenggara. Early Indonesians were animists who honoured the spirits of the dead believing their souls or life force could still help the living.

Ideal agricultural conditions, and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE,[83] allowed villages, towns, and small kingdoms to flourish by the 1st century CE. These kingdoms (little more than collections of villages subservient to petty chieftains) evolved with their own ethnic and tribal religions. Java's hot and even temperature, abundant rain and volcanic soil, was perfect for wet rice cultivation. Such agriculture required a well-organized society, in contrast to the society based on dry-field rice, which is a much simpler form of cultivation that does not require an elaborate social structure to support it.

The fine brickwork on the base of Batujaya Buddhist stupa in Karawang, dated from late Tarumanagara period (5th–7th century) to early Srivijaya influence (7th–10th century).


450 Jan 1 - 669
, Jakarta

Indonesia like much of Southeast Asia was influenced by Indian culture. From the 2nd century, through the Indian dynasties like the Pallava, Gupta, Pala and Chola in the succeeding centuries up to the 12th century, Indian culture spread across all of Southeast Asia.

Tarumanagara or Taruma Kingdom or just Taruma is an early Sundanese Indianised kingdom, located in western Java, whose 5th-century ruler, Purnawarman, produced the earliest known inscriptions in Java, which are estimated to date from around 450 CE. At least seven stone inscriptions connected to this kingdom were discovered in Western Java area, near Bogor and Jakarta. They are Ciaruteun, Kebon Kopi, Jambu, Pasir Awi, and Muara Cianten inscriptions near Bogor; Tugu inscription near Cilincing in North Jakarta; and Cidanghiang inscription in Lebak village, Munjul district, south of Banten.

Kalingga Kingdom

Kalingga Kingdom

500 Jan 1 - 600
, Java

Kalingga was a 6th-century Indianized kingdom on the north coast of Central Java, Indonesia. It was the earliest Hindu-Buddhist kingdom in Central Java, and together with Kutai, Tarumanagara, Salakanagara, and Kandis are the oldest kingdoms in Indonesian history.

The Sundanese royal party sailed to Majapahit by Jong sasanga wangunan ring Tatarnagari tiniru, a type of junk, which also incorporates Chinese techniques, such as using iron nails alongside wooden dowels, the construction of watertight bulkhead, and addition of central rudder.

Sunda Kingdom

669 Jan 1 - 1579
, Bogor

The Sunda Kingdom was a Sundanese Hindu kingdom located in the western portion of the island of Java from 669 to around 1579, covering the area of present-day Banten, Jakarta, West Java, and the western part of Central Java. The capital of the Sunda Kingdom moved several times during its history, shifting between the Galuh (Kawali) area in the east and Pakuan Pajajaran in the west. The Kingdom reached its peak during the reign of King Sri Baduga Maharaja, whose reign from 1482 to 1521 is traditionally remembered as an age of peace and prosperity among Sundanese people. The kingdom's inhabitants were primarily the eponymous ethnic Sundanese, while the majority religion was Hinduism.

The gilded costume of South Sumatran Gending Sriwijaya dance invoked the splendour of the Srivijaya Empire. | ©Sinandoh

Srivijaya Empire

671 Jan 1 - 1288
, Palembang

Srivijaya was a Buddhist thalassocratic[5] empire based on the island of Sumatra, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. Srivijaya was an important centre for the expansion of Buddhism from the 7th to the 12th century AD. Srivijaya was the first polity to dominate much of western Maritime Southeast Asia. Due to its location, the Srivijaya developed complex technology utilizing maritime resources. In addition, its economy became progressively reliant on the booming trade in the region, thus transforming it into a prestige goods-based economy.[6]

The earliest reference to it dates from the 7th century. A Tang dynasty Chinese monk, Yijing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in year 671 for six months.[7] [8] The earliest known inscription in which the name Srivijaya appears also dates from the 7th century in the Kedukan Bukit inscription found near Palembang, Sumatra, dated 16 June 682.[9] Between the late 7th and early 11th century, Srivijaya rose to become a hegemon in Southeast Asia. It was involved in close interactions, often rivalries, with the neighbouring Mataram, Khmer and Champa. Srivijaya's main foreign interest was nurturing lucrative trade agreements with China which lasted from the Tang to the Song dynasty. Srivijaya had religious, cultural and trade links with the Buddhist Pala of Bengal, as well as with the Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East.

Before the 12th century, Srivijaya was primarily a land-based polity rather than a maritime power, fleets were available but acted as logistical support to facilitate the projection of land power. In response to the change in the maritime Asian economy, and threatened by the loss of its dependencies, Srivijaya developed a naval strategy to delay its decline. The naval strategy of Srivijaya was mainly punitive; this was done to coerce trading ships to be called to their port. Later, the naval strategy degenerated to raiding fleet.[10]

The kingdom ceased to exist in the 13th century due to various factors, including the expansion of the competitor Javanese Singhasari and Majapahit empires.[11] After Srivijaya fell, it was largely forgotten. It was not until 1918 that French historian George Cœdès, of l'École française d'Extrême-Orient, formally postulated its existence.

Borobudur, the largest single Buddhist structure in the world, one of the monuments constructed by the Shailendra dynasty of the Mataram Kingdom

Mataram Kingdom

716 Jan 1 - 1016
, Java

The Mataram Kingdom was a Javanese Hindu–Buddhist kingdom that flourished between the 8th and 11th centuries. It was based in Central Java, and later in East Java. Established by King Sanjaya, the kingdom was ruled by the Shailendra dynasty and Ishana dynasty.

During most of its history the kingdom seems have relied heavily on agriculture, especially extensive rice farming, and later also benefited from maritime trade. According to foreign sources and archaeological findings, the kingdom seems to have been well populated and quite prosperous. The kingdom developed a complex society,[12] had a well developed culture, and achieved a degree of sophistication and refined civilisation.

In the period between the late 8th century and the mid-9th century, the kingdom saw the blossoming of classical Javanese art and architecture reflected in the rapid growth of temple construction. Temples dotted the landscape of its heartland in Mataram. The most notable of the temples constructed in Mataram are Kalasan, Sewu, Borobudur and Prambanan, all quite close to present-day city of Yogyakarta. At its peak, the kingdom had become a dominant empire that exercised its power—not only in Java, but also in Sumatra, Bali, southern Thailand, Indianized kingdoms of the Philippines, and the Khmer in Cambodia.[13] [14] [15]

Later the dynasty divided into two kingdoms identified by religious patronage—the Buddhist and Shaivite dynasties. Civil war followed. The outcome was that the Mataram kingdom was divided into two powerful kingdoms; the Shaivite dynasty of Mataram kingdom in Java led by Rakai Pikatan and the Buddhist dynasty of Srivijaya kingdom in Sumatra led by Balaputradewa. Hostility between them did not end until 1016 when the Shailendra clan based in Srivijaya incited a rebellion by Wurawari, a vassal of the Mataram kingdom, and sacked the capital of Watugaluh in East Java. Srivijaya rose to become the undisputed hegemonic empire in the region. The Shaivite dynasty survived, reclaimed east Java in 1019, and then established the Kahuripan kingdom led by Airlangga, son of Udayana of Bali.

King Airlangga depicted as Vishnu mounting Garuda, found in Belahan temple.

Kahuripan Kingdom

1019 Jan 1 - 1045
, Surabaya

Kahuripan was an 11th-century Javanese Hindu-Buddhist kingdom with its capital located around the estuarine of Brantas River valley in East Java. The kingdom was short-lived, only spanning the period between 1019 and 1045, and Airlangga was the only raja of the kingdom, which was built out of the rubble of the Kingdom of Mataram after the Srivijaya invasion. Airlangga later in 1045 abdicated in favour of his two sons and divided the kingdom into Janggala and Panjalu (Kadiri).  Later in 14th to 15th century, the former kingdom was recognised as one of Majapahit's 12 provinces.

Chola invasion of Srivijaya | ©Anonymous

Chola invasion of Srivijaya

1025 Jan 1 - 1030
, Palembang

Throughout most of their shared history, ancient India and Indonesia enjoyed friendly and peaceful relations, thus making this Indian invasion a unique event in Asian history. In the 9th and 10th centuries, Srivijaya maintained close relations with the Pala Empire in Bengal, and an 860 CE Nalanda inscription records that Maharaja Balaputra of Srivijaya dedicated a monastery at the Nalanda Mahavihara in Pala territory. The relation between Srivijaya and the Chola dynasty of southern India was friendly during the reign of Raja Raja Chola I. However, during the reign of Rajendra Chola I the relations deteriorated, as the Cholas naval raids on Srivijayan cities.

The Cholas are known to have benefitted from both piracy and foreign trade. Sometimes Chola seafaring led to outright plunder and conquest as far as Southeast Asia.[16] Srivijaya controlled two major naval choke points (Malacca and the Sunda Strait) and was at that time a major trading empire that possess formidable naval forces. The Malacca Strait's northwest opening was controlled from Kedah on the Malay Peninsula side and from Pannai on the Sumatran side, while Malayu (Jambi) and Palembang controlled its southeast opening and also Sunda Strait. They practiced naval trade monopoly that forced any trade vessels that passed through their waters to call on their ports or otherwise be plundered.

The reasons of this naval expedition are unclear, the historian Nilakanta Sastri suggested that the attack was probably caused by Srivijayan attempts to throw obstacles in the way of the Chola trade with the East (especially China), or more probably, a simple desire on the part of Rajendra to extend his digvijaya to the countries across the sea so well known to his subject at home, and therefore add luster to his crown. The Cholan invasion led to the fall of the Sailendra Dynasty of Srivijaya.

Vajrasattva. Eastern Java, Kediri period, 10th–11th century CE, bronze, 19.5 x 11.5 cm

Kediri Kingdom

1042 Jan 1 - 1222
, Kediri

The Kingdom of Kediri was a Hindu-Buddhist Javanese Kingdom based in East Java from 1042 to around 1222. Kediri is the successor of Airlangga's Kahuripan kingdom, and thought as the continuation of Isyana Dynasty in Java. In 1042, Airlangga divided his kingdom of Kahuripan into two, Janggala and Panjalu (Kadiri), and abdicated in favour of his sons to live as an ascetic.

The Kediri kingdom existed alongside the Srivijaya empire based in Sumatra throughout 11th to 12th-century, and seems to have maintained trade relations with China and to some extent India. Chinese account identify this kingdom as Tsao-wa or Chao-wa (Java), numbers of Chinese records signify that Chinese explorers and traders frequented this kingdom. Relations with India were cultural one, as numbers of Javanese rakawi (poet or scholar) wrote literatures that been inspired by Hindu mythology, beliefs and epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana.

In 11th-century, Srivijayan hegemony in Indonesian archipelago began to decline, marked by Rajendra Chola invasion to Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. The Chola king of Coromandel conquered Kedah from Srivijaya. The weakening of Srivijayan hegemony has enabled the formation of regional kingdoms, like Kediri, based on agriculture rather than trade. Later Kediri managed to control the spice trade routes to Maluku.

Islam was introduced through Arab Muslim traders. | ©Eugène Baugniès

Islam in Indonesia

1200 Jan 1
, Indonesia

There is evidence of Arab Muslim traders entering Indonesia as early as the 8th century.[19] [20] However, it was not until the end of the 13th century that the spread of Islam began.[19] At first, Islam was introduced through Arab Muslim traders, and then the missionary activity by scholars. It was further aided by the adoption by the local rulers and the conversion of the elites.[20] The missionaries had originated from several countries and regions, initially from South Asia (i.e. Gujarat) and Southeast Asia (i.e. Champa),[21] and later from the southern Arabian Peninsula (i.e. Hadhramaut).[20]

In the 13th century, Islamic polities began to emerge on the northern coast of Sumatra. Marco Polo, on his way home from China in 1292, reported at least one Muslim town.[22] The first evidence of a Muslim dynasty is the gravestone, dated AH 696 (AD 1297), of Sultan Malik al Saleh, the first Muslim ruler of Samudera Pasai Sultanate. By the end of the 13th century, Islam had been established in Northern Sumatra.

By the 14th century, Islam had been established in northeast Malaya, Brunei, the southwestern Philippines, and among some courts of coastal East and Central Java, and by the 15th century, in Malacca and other areas of the Malay Peninsula.[23] The 15th century saw the decline of the Hindu Javanese Majapahit Empire, as Muslim traders from Arabia, India, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, and also China began to dominate the regional trade that was once controlled by Javanese Majapahit traders. Chinese Ming dynasty provided systematic support to Malacca. Ming Chinese Zheng He's voyages (1405 to 1433) is credited for creating Chinese Muslim settlement in Palembang and north coast of Java.[24] Malacca actively encouraged the conversion to Islam in the region, while Ming fleet actively established Chinese-Malay Muslim community in northern coastal Java, thus creating a permanent opposition to the Hindus of Java. By 1430, the expeditions had established Muslim Chinese, Arab and Malay communities in northern ports of Java such as Semarang, Demak, Tuban, and Ampel; thus, Islam began to gain a foothold in the northern coast of Java. Malacca prospered under Chinese Ming protection, while the Majapahit were steadily pushed back.[25] Dominant Muslim kingdoms during this time included Samudera Pasai in northern Sumatra, Malacca Sultanate in eastern Sumatra, Demak Sultanate in central Java, Gowa Sultanate in southern Sulawesi, and the sultanates of Ternate and Tidore in the Maluku Islands to the east.

Singhasari temple built as a mortuary temple to honour Kertanegara, the last king of Singhasari.

Singhasari Kingdom

1222 Jan 1 - 1292
, Malang

Singhasari was a Javanese Hindu kingdom located in east Java between 1222 and 1292. The kingdom succeeded the Kingdom of Kediri as the dominant kingdom in eastern Java. Singhasari was founded by Ken Arok (1182–1227/1247), whose story is a popular folktale in Central and East Java.

In the year 1275, King Kertanegara, the fifth ruler of Singhasari who had been reigning since 1254, launched a peaceful naval campaign northward towards the weak remains of the Srivijaya[17] in response to continuous Ceylon pirate raids and Chola kingdom's invasion from India which conquered Srivijaya's Kedah in 1025. The strongest of these Malaya kingdoms was Jambi, which captured the Srivijaya capital in 1088, followed by the Dharmasraya kingdom, and the Temasek kingdom of Singapore.

The Pamalayu expedition from 1275 to 1292, from the time of Singhasari to Majapahit, is chronicled in the Javanese scroll Nagarakrtagama. Singhasari's territory thus became Majapahit territory. In the year 1284, King Kertanegara led a hostile Pabali expedition to Bali, which integrated Bali into the Singhasari kingdom's territory. The king also sent troops, expeditions and envoys to other nearby kingdoms such as the Sunda-Galuh kingdom, Pahang kingdom, Balakana kingdom (Kalimantan/Borneo), and Gurun kingdom (Maluku). He also established an alliance with the king of Champa (Vietnam).

King Kertanegara totally erased any Srivijayan influence from Java and Bali in 1290. However, the expansive campaigns exhausted most of the Kingdom's military forces and in the future would stir a murderous plot against the unsuspecting King Kertanegara. As the centre of the Malayan peninsula trade winds, the rising power, influence, and wealth of the Javanese Singhasari empire came to the attention of Kublai Khan of the Mongol Yuan dynasty based in China.

Ternatean galleys welcomed the arrival of Francis Drake.

Sultanate of Ternate

1256 Jan 1
, Ternate

The Sultanate of Ternate is one of the oldest Muslim kingdoms in Indonesia besides Tidore, Jailolo, and Bacan. The Ternate kingdom was established by Momole Cico, the first leader of Ternate, with the title Baab Mashur Malamo, traditionally in 1257. It reached its Golden Age during the reign of Sultan Baabullah (1570–1583) and encompassed most of the eastern part of Indonesia and a part of southern Philippines. Ternate was a major producer of cloves and a regional power from the 15th to 17th centuries.

Majapahit Empire

Majapahit Empire

1293 Jan 1 - 1527
, Mojokerto

Majapahit was a Javanese Hindu-Buddhist thalassocratic empire in Southeast Asia that was based on the island of Java. It existed from 1293 to circa 1527 and reached its peak of glory during the era of Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 was marked by conquests that extended throughout Southeast Asia. His achievement is also credited to his prime minister, Gajah Mada. According to the Nagarakretagama (Desawarñana) written in 1365, Majapahit was an empire of 98 tributaries, stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea; consisting of present-day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, Timor Leste, southwestern Philippines (in particular the Sulu Archipelago) although the scope of Majapahit sphere of influence is still the subject of debate among historians. The nature of Majapahit relations and influences upon its overseas vassals, and also its status as an empire are still provoking discussions.

Majapahit was one of the last major Hindu-Buddhist empires of the region and is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. It is sometimes seen as the precedent for Indonesia's modern boundaries.Its influence extended beyond the modern territory of Indonesia and has been the subject of many studies.

Battle scene from the main temple of Penataran temple complex, 1269 saka or 1347 AD.

Mongol invasion of Java

1293 Jan 22 - Aug
, East Java

The Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan attempted in 1292 to invade Java, an island in modern Indonesia, with 20,000[18] to 30,000 soldiers. This was intended as a punitive expedition against Kertanegara of Singhasari, who had refused to pay tribute to the Yuan and maimed one of their emissaries. According to Kublai Khan, if the Yuan forces were able to defeat Singhasari, the other countries around it would submit themselves. The Yuan dynasty could then control the Asian sea trade routes, because of the strategic geographical position of the archipelago in trading. However, in the intervening years between Kertanegara's refusal and the expedition's arrival on Java, Kertanegara had been killed and Singhasari had been usurped by Kediri. Thus, the Yuan expeditionary force was directed to obtain the submission of its successor state, Kediri, instead. After a fierce campaign, Kediri surrendered, but the Yuan forces were betrayed by their erstwhile ally, Majapahit, under Raden Wijaya. In the end, the invasion ended with Yuan failure and victory for the new state, Majapahit.

Portuguese carrack. The Portuguese fleet provided fire support to the landing troops with its powerful artillery

Capture of Malacca

1511 Aug 15
, Malacca

The Capture of Malacca in 1511 occurred when the governor of Portuguese India Afonso de Albuquerque conquered the city of Malacca in 1511. The port city of Malacca controlled the narrow, strategic Strait of Malacca, through which all seagoing trade between China and India was concentrated.[26] The capture of Malacca was the result of a plan by King Manuel I of Portugal, who since 1505 had intended to beat the Castilians to the Far-East, and Albuquerque's own project of establishing firm foundations for Portuguese India, alongside Hormuz, Goa and Aden, to ultimately control trade and thwart Muslim shipping in the Indian Ocean.[27]

Having started sailing from Cochin in April 1511, the expedition would not have been able to turn around due to contrary monsoon winds. Had the enterprise failed, the Portuguese could not hope for reinforcements and would have been unable to return to their bases in India. It was the farthest territorial conquest in the history of mankind until then.[28]

Shooting on the city of Bantam and attack of the prahus.

First Dutch Expedition to East Indies

1595 Jan 1
, Indonesia

During the 16th century the spice trade was extremely lucrative, but the Portuguese Empire had a stranglehold on the source of the spices, Indonesia. For a time, the merchants of the Netherlands were content to accept this and buy all of their spice in Lisbon, Portugal, as they could still make a decent profit by reselling it throughout Europe. However, in the 1590s Spain, which was at war with the Netherlands, was in a dynastic union with Portugal, thus making continued trade practically impossible.[29] This was intolerable to the Dutch who would have been glad to circumvent the Portuguese monopoly and go straight to Indonesia

The First Dutch Expedition to East Indies was an expedition that took place from 1595 to 1597. It was instrumental in opening up the Indonesian spice trade to the merchants that eventually formed the Dutch East India Company, and marked the end of the Portuguese Empire's dominance in the region.

The Dutch East India Company.

Company rule in the Dutch East Indies

1610 Jan 1 - 1797
, Jakarta

Company rule in the Dutch East Indies began when the Dutch East India Company appointed the first governor-general of the Dutch East Indies in 1610,[30] and ended in 1800 when the bankrupt company was dissolved and its possessions were nationalized as the Dutch East Indies. By then it exerted territorial control over much of the archipelago, most notably on Java.

In 1603, the first permanent Dutch trading post in Indonesia was established in Banten, northwest Java. Batavia was made the capital from 1619 onward.[31] Corruption, war, smuggling, and mismanagement resulted in the company's bankruptcy by the end of the 18th century. The company was formally dissolved in 1800 and its colonial possessions were nationalized by the Batavian Republic as the Dutch East Indies.[32]

The romantic depiction of De Grote Postweg near Buitenzorg.

Dutch East Indies

1800 Jan 1 - 1949
, Indonesia

The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia. It was formed from the nationalised trading posts of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Dutch government in 1800.

During the 19th century, the Dutch possessions and hegemony expanded, reaching the greatest territorial extent in the early 20th century. The Dutch East Indies was one of the most valuable colonies under European rule, and contributed to Dutch global prominence in spice and cash crop trade in the 19th to early 20th centuries.[33] The colonial social order was based on rigid racial and social structures with a Dutch elite living separate from but linked to their native subjects. The term Indonesia came into use for the geographical location after 1880. In the early 20th century, local intellectuals began developing the concept of Indonesia as a nation state, and set the stage for an independence movement.

An episode of the Padri War. Dutch and Padri soldiers fighting over a Dutch standard in 1831.

Padri War

1803 Jan 1 - 1837
, Sumatra

The Padri War was fought from 1803 until 1837 in West Sumatra, Indonesia between the Padri and the Adat. The Padri were Muslim clerics from Sumatra who wanted to impose Sharia in Minangkabau country in West Sumatra, Indonesia. The Adat comprised the Minangkabau nobility and traditional chiefs. They asked for the help of the Dutch, who intervened in 1821 and helped the nobility defeat the Padri faction.

Captain Robert Maunsell capturing French Gunboats off the mouth of the Indramayo, July 1811

Invasion of Java

1811 Aug 1 - Sep 18
, Java

The Invasion of Java in 1811 was a successful British amphibious operation against the Dutch East Indian island of Java that took place between August and September 1811 during the Napoleonic Wars. Originally established as a colony of the Dutch Republic, Java remained in Dutch hands throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, during which time the French invaded the Republic and established the Batavian Republic in 1795, and the Kingdom of Holland in 1806. The Kingdom of Holland was annexed to the First French Empire in 1810, and Java became a titular French colony, though it continued to be administered and defended primarily by Dutch personnel.

After the fall of French colonies in the West Indies in 1809 and 1810, and a successful campaign against French possessions in Mauritius in 1810 and 1811, attention turned to the Dutch East Indies. An expedition was dispatched from India in April 1811, while a small squadron of frigates was ordered to patrol off the island, raiding shipping and launching amphibious assaults against targets of opportunity. Troops were landed on 4 August, and by 8 August the undefended city of Batavia capitulated. The defenders withdrew to a previously prepared fortified position, Fort Cornelis, which the British besieged, capturing it early in the morning of 26 August. The remaining defenders, a mixture of Dutch and French regulars and native militiamen, withdrew, pursued by the British. A series of amphibious and land assaults captured most of the remaining strongholds, and the city of Salatiga surrendered on 16 September, followed by the official capitulation of the island to the British on 18 September.

Lord Castlereagh Marquess of Londonderry

Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814

1814 Jan 1
, London

The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 was signed by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in London on 13 August 1814. The treaty restored most of the territories in the Moluccas and Java that Britain had seized in the Napoleonic Wars, but confirmed British possession of the Cape Colony on the southern tip of Africa, as well as portions of South America.  It was signed by Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, on behalf of the British and diplomat Hendrik Fagel, on behalf of the Dutch.

Submission of Dipo Negoro to De Kock. | ©Nicolaas Pieneman

Java War

1825 Sep 25 - 1830 Mar 28
, Central Java

The Java War was fought in central Java from 1825 to 1830, between the colonial Dutch Empire and native Javanese rebels. The war started as a rebellion led by Prince Diponegoro, a leading member of the Javanese aristocracy who had previously cooperated with the Dutch.

The rebel forces laid siege to Yogyakarta, a move that prevented a quick victory. This gave the Dutch time to reinforce their army with colonial and European troops, allowing them to end the siege in 1825. After this defeat, the rebels continued fighting a guerrilla war for five years.

The war ended in a Dutch victory, and Prince Diponegoro was invited to a peace conference. He was betrayed and captured. Due to the cost of the war, Dutch colonial authorities implemented major reforms throughout the Dutch East Indies to ensure the colonies remained profitable.

Collecting natural rubbers in plantation in Java. Rubber tree was introduced by the Dutch from South America.

Cultivation System

1830 Jan 1 - 1870
, Indonesia

Despite increasing returns from the Dutch system of land tax, Dutch finances had been severely affected by the cost of the Java War and Padri Wars. The Belgian Revolution in 1830 and the resulting costs of keeping the Dutch army at a war footing until 1839 brought the Netherlands to the brink of bankruptcy. In 1830, a new governor general, Johannes van den Bosch, was appointed to increase the exploitation of the Dutch East Indies' resources.

The cultivation system was primarily implemented in Java, the center of the colonial state. Instead of land taxes, 20% of village land had to be devoted to government crops for export or, alternatively, peasants had to work in government-owned plantations for 60 days of the year. To allow the enforcement of these policies, Javanese villagers were more formally linked to their villages and were sometimes prevented from traveling freely around the island without permission. As a result of this policy, much of Java became a Dutch plantation. Some remarks while in theory only 20% of land were used as export crop plantation or peasants have to work for 66 days, in practice they used more portions of lands (same sources claim nearly reach 100%) until native populations had little to plant food crops which result famine in many areas and, sometimes, peasants still had to work more than 66 days.

The policy brought the Dutch enormous wealth through export growth, averaging around 14%. It brought the Netherlands back from the brink of bankruptcy and made the Dutch East Indies self-sufficient and profitable extremely quickly. As early as 1831, the policy allowed the Dutch East Indies budget to be balanced, and the surplus revenue was used to pay off debts left over from the defunct VOC régime.[34] The cultivation system is linked, however, to famines and epidemics in the 1840s, firstly in Cirebon and then Central Java, as cash crops such as indigo and sugar had to be grown instead of rice.[35]

Political pressures in the Netherlands resulting partly from the problems and partly from rent seeking independent merchants who preferred free trade or local preference eventually led to the system's abolition and replacement with free-market Liberal Period in which private enterprise was encouraged.

The platform of the first station of Nederlands-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (Dutch-Indies Railway Company) in Semarang.

Rail transport in Indonesia

1864 Jun 7
, Semarang

Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) is the second country in Asia to establish a rail transport, after India; China and Japan were next to follow. On 7 June 1864, Governor General Baron Sloet van den Beele initiated the first railway line in Indonesia on Kemijen village, Semarang, Central Java. It began operations on 10 August 1867 in Central Java and connected the first built Semarang station to Tanggung for 25 kilometers. By 21 May 1873, the line had connected to Solo, both in Central Java and was later extended to Yogyakarta. This line was operated by a private company, Nederlandsch-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (NIS or NISM) and used the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge gauge. Later construction by both private and state railway companies used the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge. The liberal Dutch government of the era was then reluctant to build its own railway, preferring to give a free rein to private enterprises.

Sorting tobacco leaves in Java during colonial period, in/before 1939.

Liberal Period

1870 Jan 1 - 1901
, Java

The Cultivation System brought much economic hardship to Javanese peasants, who suffered famine and epidemics in the 1840s, attracting much critical public opinion in the Netherlands.

Prior to the late 19th century recession, the Liberal Party had been dominant in policy making in the Netherlands. Its free market philosophy found its way to the Indies where the cultivation system was de-regulated.[36] Under agrarian reforms from 1870, producers were no longer compelled to provide crops for exports, but the Indies were open up to private enterprise. Dutch businessmen set up large, profitable plantations. Sugar production doubled between 1870 and 1885; new crops such as tea and cinchona flourished, and rubber was introduced, leading to dramatic increases in Dutch profits.[37]

Changes were not limited to Java, or agriculture; oil from Sumatra and Kalimantan became a valuable resource for industrialising Europe. Frontier plantations of tobacco and rubber saw the destruction of jungle in the Outer Islands.[36] Dutch commercial interests expanded off Java to the outer islands with increasingly more territory coming under direct Dutch government control or dominance in the latter half of the 19th century.[37] Tens of thousands of coolies were brought to the Outer Islands from China, India, and Java to work the plantations and they suffered cruel treatment and a high death rate.[36]

Liberals said the benefits of economic expansion would trickle down to the local level.[36] However, the resulting scarcity of land for rice production, combined with dramatically increasing populations, especially in Java, led to further hardships.[37] The world wide recession of the late 1880s and early 1890s saw the commodity prices on which the Indies depended collapsed. Journalists and civil servants observed that the majority of the Indies population were no better off than under the previous regulated Cultivation System economy and tens of thousands starved.[36]

Artist's depiction of the Battle of Samalanga in 1878.

Aceh War

1873 Jan 1 - 1913
, Aceh

The Aceh War was an armed military conflict between the Sultanate of Aceh and the Kingdom of the Netherlands which was triggered by discussions between representatives of Aceh and the United States in Singapore during early 1873.[39] The war was part of a series of conflicts in the late 19th century that consolidated Dutch rule over modern-day Indonesia. The campaign drew controversy in the Netherlands as photographs and accounts of the death toll were reported. Isolated bloody insurgencies continued as late as 1914[38] and less violent forms of Acehnese resistance continued to persist until World War II and the Japanese occupation.

Dutch cavalry at Sanur.

Dutch intervention in Bali

1906 Jan 1
, Bali

The Dutch intervention in Bali in 1906 was a Dutch military intervention in Bali as part of the Dutch colonial suppression, killing over 1,000 people, most of whom were civilians. It was part of the Dutch campaign for the suppression of most of the Netherlands East-Indies. The campaign killed the Balinese rulers of Badung and their wives and children, as well as destroying the southern Bali kingdoms of Badung and Tabanan and weakening the kingdom of Klungkung. It was the sixth Dutch military intervention in Bali.

Dewa Agung of Klungkung, nominal ruler of all Bali, arriving in Gianyar to negotiate with the Dutch.

Budi Utomo

1908 Jan 1
, Indonesia

Budi Utomo is considered the first nationalist society in the Dutch East Indies. The founder of Budi Utomo was Wahidin Soerdirohoesodo, a retired government doctor who felt that native intellectuals should improve public welfare through education and culture.[40]

Budi Utomo's primary aim was at first not political. However, it gradually shifted toward political aims with representatives in the conservative Volksraad (the People's Council) and in the provincial councils in Java. Budi Utomo officially dissolved in 1935. After its dissolution, some members joined the largest political party of the time, the moderate Greater Indonesian Party (Parindra).

The use of Budi Utomo to mark the inception of modern nationalism in Indonesia is not without controversy. Although many scholars agree that Budi Utomo was likely the first modern indigenous political organization,[41] others question its value as an index of Indonesian nationalism.

The Kauman Great Mosque became the background for the founding of the Muhammadiyah movement


1912 Nov 18
, Yogyakarta

On November 18, 1912, Ahmad Dahlan— a court official of the kraton of Yogyakarta and an educated Muslim scholar from Mecca—established Muhammadiyah in Yogyakarta. There were a number of motives behind the establishment of this movement. Among the important ones are the backwardness of Muslim society and the penetration of Christianity. Ahmad Dahlan, much influenced by Egyptian reformist Muhammad Abduh, considered modernization and purification of religion from syncretic practices were very vital in reforming this religion. Therefore, since its beginning Muhammadiyah has been very concerned with maintaining tawhid and refining monotheism in society.

D. N. Aidit speaking at a 1955 election meeting

Communist Party of Indonesia

1914 Jan 1 - 1966
, Jakarta

The Indies Social Democratic Association was founded in 1914 by Dutch socialist Henk Sneevliet and another Indies socialist. The 85-member ISDV was a merger of the two Dutch socialist parties (the SDAP and the Socialist Party of the Netherlands), which would become the Communist Party of the Netherlands with Dutch East Indies leadership.[42] The Dutch members of the ISDV introduced communist ideas to educated Indonesians looking for ways to oppose colonial rule.

Later on, ISDV saw the events of the October Revolution in Russia as an inspiration for a similar uprising in Indonesia. The organization gained momentum among Dutch settlers in the archipelago. Red Guards were formed, numbering 3,000 within three months. In late 1917, soldiers and sailors at the Surabaya naval base revolted and established soviets. Colonial authorities suppressed the Surabaya soviets and the ISDV, whose Dutch leaders (including Sneevliet) were deported to the Netherlands.

Around the same time, ISDV and communist sympathizers began infiltrating other political groups in the East Indies in a tactic known as the "block within" strategy. The most apparent effect was the infiltration committed on a nationalist-religious organization Sarekat Islam (Islamic Union) which advocated a pan-islam stance and freedom from colonial rule. Many members including Semaun and Darsono were succeessfully influenced by radical leftist ideas. As a result, communist thoughts and ISDV agents were successfully planted in the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia. After the involuntary departure of several Dutch cadres, combined with the infiltration operations, the membership shifted from majority-Dutch to majority-Indonesian.

The Jombang Mosque, birthplace of the Nahdlatul Ulama

Nahdlatul Ulama

1926 Jan 31
, Indonesia

Nahdlatul Ulama is an Islamic organization in Indonesia. Its membership estimates range from 40 million (2013)[43] to over 95 million (2021),[44] making it the largest Islamic organization in the world.[45] NU is also a charitable body funding schools and hospitals as well as organizing communities to help alleviate poverty.

The NU was founded in 1926 by the ulema and merchants to defend both traditionalist Islamic practices (in accordance with Shafi'i school) and its members' economic interests.[4] NU's religious views are considered "traditionalist" in that they tolerate local culture as long as it doesn't contradict Islamic teachings.[46] By contrast the second largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, the Muhammadiyah, is considered "reformist" as it takes a more literal interpretation of the Qur'an and Sunnah.[46]

Some leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama are ardent advocates of Islam Nusantara, a distinctive variety of Islam that has undergone interaction, contextualization, indigenization, interpretation, and vernacularization according to socio-cultural conditions in Indonesia.[47] Islam Nusantara promotes moderation, anti-fundamentalism, pluralism, and, to a degree, syncretism.[48] Many NU elders, leaders, and religious scholars, however, have rejected Islam Nusantara in favor of a more conservative approach.[49]

Japanese commanders listening to the terms of surrender

Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies

1942 Mar 1 - 1945 Sep
, Indonesia

The Empire of Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) during World War II from March 1942 until after the end of the war in September 1945. It was one of the most crucial and important periods in modern Indonesian history.

In May 1940, Germany occupied the Netherlands, and martial law was declared in the Dutch East Indies. Following the failure of negotiations between the Dutch authorities and the Japanese, Japanese assets in the archipelago were frozen. The Dutch declared war on Japan following the 7 December 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies began on 10 January 1942, and the Imperial Japanese Army overran the entire colony in less than three months. The Dutch surrendered on 8 March. Initially, most Indonesians welcomed the Japanese as liberators from their Dutch colonial masters. The sentiment changed, however, as between 4 and 10 million Indonesians were recruited as forced labourers (romusha) on economic development and defense projects in Java. Between 200,000 and half a million were sent away from Java to the outer islands, and as far as Burma and Siam.

In 1944–1945, Allied troops largely bypassed the Dutch East Indies and did not fight their way into the most populous parts such as Java and Sumatra. As such, most of the Dutch East Indies was still under occupation at the time of Japan's surrender in August 1945.

The occupation was the first serious challenge to the Dutch in their colony and ended the Dutch colonial rule. By its end, changes were so numerous and extraordinary that the subsequent Indonesian National Revolution became possible. Unlike the Dutch, the Japanese facilitated the politicisation of Indonesians down to the village level. The Japanese educated, trained and armed many young Indonesians and gave their nationalist leaders a political voice. Thus, through both the destruction of the Dutch colonial regime and the facilitation of Indonesian nationalism, the Japanese occupation created the conditions for the proclamation of Indonesian independence within days of the Japanese surrender in the Pacific.

Javanese revolutionaries armed with bamboo spears and a few Japanese rifles, 1946

Indonesian National Revolution

1945 Aug 17 - 1949 Dec 27
, Indonesia

The Indonesian National Revolution was an armed conflict and diplomatic struggle between the Republic of Indonesia and the Dutch Empire and an internal social revolution during postwar and postcolonial Indonesia. It took place between Indonesia's declaration of independence in 1945 and the Netherlands' transfer of sovereignty over the Dutch East Indies to the Republic of the United States of Indonesia at the end of 1949.

The four-year struggle involved sporadic but bloody armed conflict, internal Indonesian political and communal upheavals, and two major international diplomatic interventions. Dutch military forces (and, for a while, the forces of the World War II allies) were able to control the major towns, cities and industrial assets in Republican heartlands on Java and Sumatra but could not control the countryside. By 1949, international pressure on the Netherlands, the United States threatening to cut off all economic aid for World War II rebuilding efforts to the Netherlands and the partial military stalemate became such that the Netherlands transferred sovereignty over the Dutch East Indies to the Republic of the United States of Indonesia.

The revolution marked the end of the colonial administration of the Dutch East Indies, except for New Guinea. It also significantly changed ethnic castes as well as reducing the power of many of the local rulers (raja). It did not significantly improve the economic or political fortunes of the majority of the population, although a few Indonesians were able to gain a larger role in commerce.

Liberal democracy period

Liberal democracy period

1950 Aug 17 - 1959 Jul 5
, Indonesia

The Liberal Democracy period in Indonesia was a period in Indonesian political history, when the country was under a liberal democracy system which began on 17 August 1950 following the dissolution of the federal United States of Indonesia less than a year after its formation, and ended with the imposition of martial law and President Sukarno's decree, which resulted in the introduction of the Guided Democracy period on 5 July 1959.

Following more than 4 years of brutal fighting and violence, the Indonesian National Revolution was over, with the Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference resulting in the transference of sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia (RIS). However, the RIS government lacked cohesion inside and was opposed by many republicans.

On August 17, 1950, the Republic of the United States of Indonesia (RIS), which was a form of state as a result of the Round Table Conference agreement and the recognition of sovereignty with the Netherlands, was officially dissolved. The government system was also changed to a parliamentary democracy and based on the Provisional Constitution of 1950.

However, divisions in Indonesian society began to appear. Regional differences in customs, morals, tradition, religion, the impact of Christianity and Marxism, and fears of Javanese political domination, all contributed to disunity. The new country was typified by poverty, low educational levels, and authoritarian traditions. Various separatist movements also arose to oppose the new Republic: the militant Darul Islam ('Islamic Domain') proclaimed an "Islamic State of Indonesia" and waged a guerrilla struggle against the Republic in West Java from 1948 to 1962; in Maluku, Ambonese, formerly of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, proclaimed an independent Republic of South Maluku; Permesta and PRRI rebels fought the Central government in Sulawesi and West Sumatra between 1955 and 1961.

The economy was in a disastrous state following three years of Japanese occupation and the following four years of war against the Dutch. In the hands of a young and inexperienced government, the economy was unable to boost production of food and other necessities to keep pace with the rapidly increasing population. Most of the population were illiterate, unskilled, and suffered from a dearth of management skills. Inflation was rampant, smuggling cost the central government much needed foreign exchange, and many of the plantations had been destroyed during the occupation and war.

The period of liberal democracy was marked by the growth of political parties and the enactment of a parliamentary system of government. The period saw the first free and fair elections in the country's history, as well as the first and only free and fair election until the 1999 legislative elections, which was held at the end of the New Order regime. The period also saw a long period of political instability, with governments falling one after another.[70]

President Sukarno reading his decree of 5 July 1959.

Guided Democracy

1959 Jul 5 - 1966 Jan 1
, Indonesia

The liberal democracy period in Indonesia, from the re-establishment of a unitary republic in 1950 until the declaration of martial law[71] in 1957, saw the rise and fall of six cabinets, the longest-lasting surviving for just under two years. Even Indonesia's first national elections in 1955 failed to bring about political stability.

Guided Democracy was the political system in place in Indonesia from 1959 until the New Order began in 1966. It was the brainchild of President Sukarno, and was an attempt to bring about political stability. Sukarno believed that the parliamentarian system implemented during the liberal democracy period in Indonesia was ineffective due to its divisive political situation at that time. Instead, he sought a system based on the traditional village system of discussion and consensus, which occurred under the guidance of village elders. With the declaration of martial law and the introduction of this system, Indonesia returned to the presidential system and Sukarno became the head of government again.

Sukarno proposed a threefold blend of nasionalisme (nationalism), agama (religion), and komunisme (communism) into a co-operative Nas-A-Kom or Nasakom governmental concept. This was intended to satisfy the four main factions in Indonesian politics—the army, the secular nationalists, Islamic groups, and the communists. With the support of the military, he proclaimed Guided Democracy in 1959 and proposed a cabinet representing all major political parties including the Communist Party of Indonesia, although the latter were never actually given functional cabinet positions.

30 September Movement

30 September Movement

1965 Oct 1
, Indonesia

From the late 1950s, President Sukarno's position came to depend on balancing the opposing and increasingly hostile forces of the army and the PKI. His "anti-imperialist" ideology made Indonesia increasingly dependent on the Soviet Union and, particularly, China. By 1965, at the height of the Cold War, the PKI extensively penetrated all levels of government. With the support of Sukarno and the air force, the party gained increasing influence at the expense of the army, thus ensuring the army's enmity. By late 1965, the army was divided between a left-wing faction allied with the PKI and a right-wing faction that was being courted by the United States.

In need of Indonesian allies in its Cold War against the Soviet Union, the United States cultivated a number of ties with officers of the military through exchanges and arms deals. This fostered a split in the military's ranks, with the United States and others backing a right-wing faction against a left-wing faction leaning towards the PKI.

The Thirtieth of September Movement was a self-proclaimed organization of Indonesian National Armed Forces members who, in the early hours of 1 October 1965, assassinated six Indonesian Army generals in an abortive coup d'état. Later that morning, the organisation declared that it was in control of media and communication outlets and had taken President Sukarno under its protection. By the end of the day, the coup attempt had failed in Jakarta. Meanwhile, in central Java there was an attempt to take control over an army division and several cities. By the time this rebellion was put down, two more senior officers were dead.

Indonesian mass killings

Indonesian mass killings

1965 Nov 1 - 1966
, Indonesia

Large-scale killings and civil unrest primarily targeting members of the Communist Party (PKI) were carried out in Indonesia from 1965 to 1966. Other affected groups included communist sympathisers, Gerwani women, ethnic Chinese, atheists, alleged "unbelievers", and alleged leftists. It is estimated that between 500,000 to 1,000,000 people were killed during the main period of violence from October 1965 to March 1966. The atrocities were instigated by the Indonesian Army under Suharto. Research and declassified documents demonstrate the Indonesian authorities received support from foreign countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.[50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55]

It began as an anti-communist purge following a controversial attempted coup d'état by the 30 September Movement. According to the most widely published estimates at least 500,000 to 1.2 million people were killed,[56] [57] [58] with some estimates going as high as two to three million.[59] [60] The purge was a pivotal event in the transition to the "New Order" and the elimination of PKI as a political force, with impacts on the global Cold War.[61] The upheavals led to the fall of President Sukarno and the commencement of Suharto's three-decade authoritarian presidency.

The abortive coup attempt released pent-up communal hatreds in Indonesia; these were fanned by the Indonesian Army, which quickly blamed the PKI. Additionally, the intelligence agencies of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia engaged in black propaganda campaigns against Indonesian communists. During the Cold War, the United States, its government, and its Western allies had the goal of halting the spread of communism and bringing countries into the sphere of Western Bloc influence. Britain had additional reasons for seeking Sukarno's removal, as his government was involved in an undeclared war with the neighbouring Federation of Malaya, a Commonwealth federation of former British colonies.

Communists were purged from political, social, and military life, and the PKI itself was disbanded and banned. Mass killings began in October 1965, in the weeks following the coup attempt, and reached their peak over the remainder of the year before subsiding in the early months of 1966. They started in the capital, Jakarta, and spread to Central and East Java, and later Bali. Thousands of local vigilantes and Army units killed actual and alleged PKI members. Killings occurred across the country, with the most intense in the PKI strongholds of Central Java, East Java, Bali, and northern Sumatra.

In March 1967, Sukarno was stripped of his remaining authority by Indonesia's provisional parliament, and Suharto was named Acting President. In March 1968, Suharto was formally elected president.

Despite a consensus at the highest levels of the U.S. and British governments that it would be necessary "to liquidate Sukarno", as related in a CIA memorandum from 1962,[62] and the existence of extensive contacts between anti-communist army officers and the U.S. military establishment – training of over 1,200 officers, "including senior military figures", and providing weapons and economic assistance[63] [64] – the CIA denied active involvement in the killings. Declassified U.S. documents in 2017 revealed that the U.S. government had detailed knowledge of the mass killings from the beginning and was supportive of the actions of the Indonesian Army.[65] [66] [67] U.S. complicity in the killings, which included providing extensive lists of PKI officials to Indonesian death squads, has previously been established by historians and journalists.[66] [61]

A top-secret CIA report from 1968 stated that the massacres "rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930s, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist bloodbath of the early 1950s."[37] [38]

General Suharto

Transition to New Order

1966 Jan 1 - 1998
, Indonesia

The New Order is the term coined by the second Indonesian President Suharto to characterise his administration as he came to power in 1966 until his resignation in 1998. Suharto used this term to contrast his presidency with that of his predecessor Sukarno.

Immediately following the attempted coup in 1965, the political situation was uncertain, Suharto's New Order found much popular support from groups wanting a separation from Indonesia's problems since its independence. The 'generation of 66' (Angkatan 66) epitomised talk of a new group of young leaders and new intellectual thought. Following Indonesia's communal and political conflicts, and its economic collapse and social breakdown of the late 1950s through to the mid-1960s, the "New Order" was committed to achieving and maintaining political order, economic development, and the removal of mass participation in the political process. The features of the "New Order" established from the late 1960s were thus a strong political role for the military, the bureaucratisation and corporatisation of political and societal organisations, and selective but brutal repression of opponents. Strident anti-communist, anti-socialist, and anti-Islamist doctrine remained a hallmark of the presidency for its subsequent 30 years.

Within a few years, however, many of its original allies had become indifferent or averse to the New Order, which comprised a military faction supported by a narrow civilian group. Among much of the pro-democracy movement which forced Suharto to resign in the 1998 Indonesian Revolution and then gained power, the term "New Order" has come to be used pejoratively. It is frequently employed to describe figures who were either tied to the Suharto period, or who upheld the practises of his authoritarian administration, such as corruption, collusion and nepotism.

Indonesian soldiers pose in November 1975 in Batugade, East Timor with a captured Portuguese flag.

Indonesian invasion of East Timor

1975 Dec 7 - 1976 Jul 17
, East Timor

East Timor owes its territorial distinctiveness from the rest of Timor, and the Indonesian archipelago as a whole, to being colonised by the Portuguese, rather than the Dutch; an agreement dividing the island between the two powers was signed in 1915. Colonial rule was replaced by the Japanese during World War II, whose occupation spawned a resistance movement that resulted in the deaths of 60,000 people, 13 percent of the population at the time. Following the war, the Dutch East Indies secured its independence as the Republic of Indonesia and the Portuguese, meanwhile, re-established control over East Timor.

Indonesian nationalist and military hardliners, particularly leaders of the intelligence agency Kopkamtib and special operations unit, Opsus, saw the 1974 Portuguese coup as an opportunity for East Timor's annexation by Indonesia.[72] The head of Opsus and close adviser to Indonesian President Suharto, Major General Ali Murtopo, and his protege Brigadier General Benny Murdani headed military intelligence operations and spearheaded the Indonesia pro-annexation push.

The Indonesian invasion of East Timor began on 7 December 1975 when the Indonesian military (ABRI/TNI) invaded East Timor under the pretext of anti-colonialism and anti-communism to overthrow the Fretilin regime that had emerged in 1974. The overthrow of the popular and briefly Fretilin-led government sparked a violent quarter-century occupation in which approximately 100,000–180,000 soldiers and civilians are estimated to have been killed or starved to death.[73] The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor documented a minimum estimate of 102,000 conflict-related deaths in East Timor throughout the entire period 1974 to 1999, including 18,600 violent killings and 84,200 deaths from disease and starvation; Indonesian forces and their auxiliaries combined were responsible for 70% of the killings.[74] [75]

During the first months of the occupation, the Indonesian military faced heavy insurgency resistance in the mountainous interior of the island, but from 1977 to 1978, the military procured new advanced weaponry from the United States, and other countries, to destroy Fretilin's framework. The last two decades of the century saw continuous clashes between Indonesian and East Timorese groups over the status of East Timor, until 1999, when a majority of East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence (the alternative option being "special autonomy" while remaining part of Indonesia). After a further two and a half years of transition under the auspices of three different United Nations missions, East Timor achieved independence on 20 May 2002.

Female soldiers of the Free Aceh Movement with GAM commander Abdullah Syafei'i, 1999

Free Aceh Movement

1976 Dec 4 - 2002
, Aceh

The Free Aceh Movement was a separatist group seeking independence for the Aceh region of Sumatra, Indonesia. GAM fought against Indonesian government forces in the Aceh insurgency from 1976 to 2005, during which over 15,000 lives are believed to have been lost.[76] The organisation surrendered its separatist intentions and dissolved its armed wing following 2005 peace agreement with the Indonesian government, and subsequently changed its name into Aceh Transition Committee.

Bali Bombings

Jemaah Islamiyah founded

1993 Jan 1
, Indonesia

Jemaah Islamiyah is a Southeast Asian Islamist militant group based in Indonesia, which is dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic state in Southeast Asia. On 25 October 2002, immediately following the JI-perpetrated Bali bombing, JI was added to the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 as a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

JI is a transnational organization with cells in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.[78] In addition to al-Qaeda, the group is also thought to have alleged links to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front[78] and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, a splinter cell of the JI which was formed by Abu Bakar Baasyir on 27 July 2008. The group has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Nations, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

On 16 November 2021, Indonesian National Police launched a crackdown operation, which revealed that the group operated in disguise as a political party, Indonesian People's Da'wah Party. The revelation shocked many people, as it was the first time in Indonesia that a terrorist organization disguised itself as a political party and attempted to intervene and participate in the Indonesian political system.[79]

A village near the coast of Sumatra lies in ruin.

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

2004 Dec 26
, Aceh

Indonesia was the first country to be seriously affected by the earthquake and tsunami created by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake on 26 December 2004, swamping the northern and western coastal areas of Sumatra, and the smaller outlying islands off Sumatra. Nearly all the casualties and damage took place within the province of Aceh. The time of arrival of the tsunami was between 15 and 30 minutes after the deadly earthquake. On 7 April 2005 the estimated number of missing was reduced by more than 50,000 giving a final total of 167,540 dead and missing.[77]

Joko Widodo.

Joko Widodo

2014 Oct 20 - 2023
, Indonesia

Jokowi was born and raised in a riverside slum in Surakarta. He graduated from Gadjah Mada University in 1985, and married his wife, Iriana, a year later. He worked as a carpenter and a furniture exporter before being elected mayor of Surakarta in 2005. He achieved national prominence as mayor and was elected governor of Jakarta in 2012, with Basuki Tjahaja Purnama as his deputy. As governor, he reinvigorated local politics, introduced publicised blusukan visits (unannounced spot checks)[6] and improved the city's bureaucracy, reducing corruption in the process. He also introduced years-late programs to improve quality of life, including universal healthcare, dredged the city's main river to reduce flooding, and inaugurated the construction of the city's subway system.

In 2014, he was nominated as the PDI-P's candidate in that year's presidential election, choosing Jusuf Kalla as his running mate. Jokowi was elected over his opponent Prabowo Subianto, who disputed the outcome of the election, and was inaugurated on 20 October 2014. Since taking office, Jokowi has focused on economic growth and infrastructure development as well as an ambitious health and education agenda. On foreign policy, his administration has emphasised "protecting Indonesia’s sovereignty", with the sinking of illegal foreign fishing vessels and the prioritising and scheduling of capital punishment for drug smugglers. The latter was despite intense representations and diplomatic protests from foreign powers, including Australia and France. He was re-elected in 2019 for a second five-year term, again defeating Prabowo Subianto.


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