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Indonesia, (/ - , - /,) officially the Republic of Indonesia, (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia) is a nation in Southeast Asia. It is part of the Malay Islands. It has 18,108 islands. People live on about 6,000 of these islands. The most important islands of Indonesia are Java, Bali, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Sumatra. The capital of Indonesia is Jakarta, on Java. The president now is Joko Widodo. Modern Indonesia began on the 17th of August 1945. At 10 o'clock on that Friday morning, Sukarno read Indonesia's Declaration of Independence. Indonesia's Independence Day is a national holiday.
Republic of Indonesia
Republik Indonesia (Indonesian)
and largest city
|Official languages||Indonesian (national and official language)|
|Recognized languages||English |
and over 700 languages
|Ethnic groups |
or unspecified 29.9%
|Government||Unitary presidential constitutional republic|
|Legislature||People's Consultative Assembly|
|Regional Representative Council|
|People's Representative Council|
from the Netherlands
|1,919,440 km2 (741,100 sq mi) (15th)|
• 2011 estimate
• 2011 census
|123.76/km2 (320.5/sq mi) (84th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|$1.126 trillion (15th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
|$834.331 billion (17th)|
• Per capita
|HDI (2011)|| 0.617|
medium · 124th
|Time zone||UTC+7 to +9 (various)|
|ISO 3166 code||ID|
Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world with 238,452,952 people (2004 est.) Half of the population lives in Java, There are 111 people per km2. The land area is 1.904 million km2, or slightly smaller than Mexico. The official language of Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia, but a total of 737 languages are spoken in different parts of Indonesia. Most of these many languages are only spoken among remote tribal groups. Other languages widely spoken in Indonesia include Javanese, Balinese and Sundanese. Indonesia's neighbors are Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and East Timor which share land borders with Indonesia. Other nearby countries are Australia to the south, Singapore to the Northwest, and Philippines to the Northeast.
Most people in Indonesia follow Islam, but Indonesia is not an Islamic country by law. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population on earth. Other religions Indonesians follow include Christianity (Protestant and Roman Catholic), Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Pre World War II
Indonesia has a written history as far back as the 7th century and a much longer oral history. Before the colonial Dutch came in the 1596, much of what is now Indonesia was many different kingdoms. Often they were fighting each other.
Indonesia was colonized by the Netherlands in the 17th century and renamed the Dutch East Indies. During this time, the Dutch captured thousands of Malagasy people from Madagascar and forced them to work on pepper plantations in their colonies as slaves. The Dutch treated the islands like their property until World War II.
During World War II, the Japanese drove out the Dutch and took control of Indonesia. After Japan surrendered in the war, Indonesia claimed its independence on the 17th of August 1945. The proclamation was read by Sukarno in Jakarta. Sukarno later became Indonesia's first President.
British troops came into Indonesia to restore peace and to rescue Europeans who had been prisoners of the Japanese. The British troops also had the job of shipping home 300,000 Japanese troops. The Indonesian Republicans fought the British troops, because it was expected that the British would give Indonesia back to the Dutch. The Indonesian Republicans killed many of the Japanese prisoners, before they could be sent home. They also began killing people from minority groups who might be against the new Republic. Many European and Indonesian European people were killed. Many Chinese business people and other minority groups were killed or made homeless. In Java there were many thousands of homeless people.
In 1946, the Dutch came back. When the British left in 1947, there were 55,000 Dutch soldiers in Indonesia. The Dutch action was called "Operatie Product" or "Politionele Acties". The Indonesian Republicans fought the Dutch until 1949. But the Indonesian Republicans were badly organised and often fought among themselves. As the Dutch forced the Republican soldiers out of different areas, they moved in more troops until there were 100,000 Dutch troops. The Dutch refused to obey the United Nations who said they should stop the fighting in Indonesia. The United States of America organised for meetings between Dutch and Indonesian leaders. The Dutch finally agreed to recognise Indonesia's independence in November 1949.
Because of the fighting and the bad organisation, it took a long time for the country to become peaceful, and for the economy to get better. Many Indonesian soldiers had died, between 45,000 and 100,000. Also, a very large number of civilians, Indonesians, Europeans and Chinese, had died; perhaps as many as 200,000.
Suharno, Sukarno, Sarwo Edhie Wibowo/Slaughter of Indonesian "Communists"
The balance of power was shifted in favour of anti-Communists in December 1965, when personnel from both the Army Para-commando Regiment and 5th Brawijaya Military Region units arrived in Bali after having carried out killings in Java. Led by Suharto's principal troubleshooter, Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, Javanese military commanders permitted Balinese squads (led by Anwar Congo, Adi Zulkadry, Safit Pardede) to kill until reined in.  In contrast to Central Java where the Army encouraged people to kill the "Gestapu", Bali's eagerness to kill was so tremendous and spontaneous that, having provided logistic support initially, the Army eventually had to step in to prevent chaos. Sukarno's choice of Bali's provincial governor, Suteja, was recalled from office and accused of preparing a communist uprising, and his relatives were tracked down and killed. A series of killings similar to those in Central and East Java were led by black-shirted PNI youth. For several months, militia death squads went through villages capturing suspects and taking them away. Hundreds of houses belonging to communists and their relatives were burnt down within one week of the reprisal crusade, with occupants being butchered as they ran from their homes. An early estimate suggested that 50,000 people, including women and children, were killed in this operation alone. The population of several Balinese villages were halved in the last months of 1965. All the Chinese shops in the towns of Singaraja and Denpasar were destroyed and many of their owners who were alleged to have financially supported the "Gestapu" killed. Between December 1965 and early 1966, an estimated 80,000 Balinese were killed, roughly 5% of the island's population at the time, and proportionally more than anywhere else in Indonesia. Most of the people killed had little to do with Communist Party or other allegations thrown at them.
Sukarno continued to command loyalty from large sections of the armed forces as well as the general population, and Suharto was careful not to be seen to be seizing power in his own coup. For eighteen months following the quashing of the 30 September Movement, there was a complicated process of political manoeuvres against Sukarno, including student agitation, stacking of parliament, media propaganda and military threats.
In January 1966, university students under the banner of KAMI, begin demonstrations against the Sukarno government voicing demands for the disbandment of PKI and control of hyperinflation. The students received support and protection from the army. Street fights broke out between the students and pro-Sukarno loyalists with the pro-Suharto students prevailing due to army protection.
In February 1966, Sukarno promoted Suharto to lieutenant-general (and to full general in July 1966). The killing of a student demonstrator and Sukarno's order for the disbandment of KAMI in February 1966 further galvanised public opinion against the president. On 11 March 1966, the appearance of unidentified troops around Merdeka Palace during a cabinet meeting (which Suharto had not attended) forced Sukarno to flee to Bogor Palace (60 km away) by helicopter. Three pro-Suharto generals, Major-General Basuki Rahmat, Brigadier-General M Jusuf, and Brigadier-General Amirmachmud went to Bogor to meet Sukarno. There, they persuaded and secured a presidential decree from Sukarno (see Supersemar) that gave Suharto authority to take any action necessary to maintain security.
Using the Supersemar letter, Suharto ordered the banning of PKI the following day and proceeded to purge pro-Sukarno elements from the parliament, the government and military, accusing them of being communist sympathisers. The army arrested 15 cabinet ministers and forced Sukarno to appoint a new cabinet consisting of Suharto supporters. The army arrested pro-Sukarno and pro-communist members of the MPRS (parliament), and Suharto replaced chiefs of the navy, air force, and the police force with his supporters, who then began an extensive purge within each service.
In June 1966, the now-purged parliament passed 24 resolutions including the banning of Marxism–Leninism, ratifying the Supersemar, and stripping Sukarno of his title of President for Life. Against the wishes of Sukarno, the government ended the Konfrontasi with Malaysia and rejoined the United Nations (Sukarno had removed Indonesia from the UN in the previous year). Suharto did not seek Sukarno's outright removal at this MPRS session due to the remaining support for the president among some elements of the armed forces.
By January 1967, Suharto felt confident that he had removed all significant support for Sukarno within the armed forces, and the MPRS decided to hold another session to impeach Sukarno. On 22 February 1967, Sukarno announced he would resign from the presidency, and on 12 March, the MPRS session stripped him of his remaining power and named Suharto acting president. Sukarno was placed under house arrest in Bogor Palace; little more was heard from him, and he died in near seclusion in June 1970.
Indonesia has 34 provinces. Five of them have special status. Each province has its own legislature and governor. The provinces are divided into regencies (kabupaten) and cities (kota). These are further divided into districts (kecamatan), and again into village groupings (either desa or kelurahan).
Indonesian provinces and their capitals – listed by region
(Indonesian name in parentheses if different from English)
* are provinces with Special Status
People and culture
There are people of many different cultural groups living in Indonesia, has more than 700 ethnic groups. It is affected by Indians, Chinese people, Arabs, Malays and Europeans. The Javan hawk-eagle is the national bird.
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- Vickers, Adrian (2005). A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-54262-6.
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- Taylor (2003), p. 358; Robinson (1995), pp. 299–302; Vittachi (1967), p. 143
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- Vittachi (1967), p. 143
- Friend (2003), p. 111; Taylor (2003), p. 358; Vickers (2005), p. 159; Robinson (1995), p. ch. 11.
- Vickers (2005), page 160
- Ricklefs (1991), pages 288 - 290
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- Hughes 2002, pp. 267–270 harv error: no target: CITEREFHughes2002 (help)
- Hughes 2002, p. 107 harv error: no target: CITEREFHughes2002 (help)
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- McDonald, Hamish (1980). Suharto's Indonesia. Fontana Books. pp. 60. ISBN 0-00-635721-0.