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(ĭn'dənē`zhə), officially Republic of Indonesia, republic (2015 est. pop. 258,162,000), c.735,000 sq mi (1,903,650 sq km), SE Asia, in the Malay Archipelago. The fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia comprises more than 15,000 islands extending c.3,000 mi (4,830 km) along the equator from the Malaysia mainland toward Australia; the archipelago forms a natural barrier between the Indian and Pacific oceans. The capital and largest city is JakartaJakarta
or Djakarta
, city and special district (1990 pop. 8,227,746), capital and largest city of Indonesia, NW Java, at the mouth of the canalized Ciliwung River, on Jakarta Bay, an inlet of the Java Sea.
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, on Java.

Land and People

Consisting of the territory of the former Netherlands East Indies, Indonesia's main island groups are the Greater Sunda IslandsSunda Islands
, mainly in Indonesia, between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, comprising the western part of the Malay Archipelago. It includes two main groups: the Greater Sunda Islands, to which belong the largest islands of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi; and
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, which include JavaJava
, island (1990 pop. 107,525,520), c.51,000 sq mi (132,090 sq km), Indonesia, S of Borneo, from which it is separated by the Java Sea, and SE of Sumatra across Sunda Strait.
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, SumatraSumatra
, island (1990 pop. 36,471,731), c.183,000 sq mi (473,970 sq km), Indonesia, in the Indian Ocean along the equator, S and W of the Malay Peninsula (from which it is separated by the Strait of Malacca) and NW of Java (across the narrow Sunda Strait).
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, central and S BorneoBorneo
, island (1990 pop. 9,102,906), c.287,000 sq mi (743,330 sq km), largest of the Malay Archipelago and third largest island in the world, SW of the Philippines and N of Java.
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 (Kalimantan), and SulawesiSulawesi
, formerly Celebes
, island (1990 pop. 12,511,163), c.73,000 sq mi (189,070 sq km), largest island in E Indonesia, E of Borneo, from which it is separated by the Makasar Strait.
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; the Lesser Sunda Islands, consisting of BaliBali
, island and (with two offshore islets) province (1990 pop. 2,777,356), c.2,200 sq mi (5,700 sq km), E Indonesia, westernmost of the Lesser Sundas, just E of Java across the narrow Bali Strait. The capital is Denpasar.
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, FloresFlores
, island, 6,627 sq mi (17,164 sq km), E Indonesia, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Flores is heavily wooded, rugged, and mountainous, rising to 7,872 ft (2,399 m); there are active volcanoes.
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, SumbaSumba
or Soemba
, island (1990 pop. 444,777), 4,305 sq mi (11,150 sq km), Indonesia, one of the Lesser Sundas, in the Indian Ocean, S of Flores across Sumba Strait. The chief town and port is Waingapu. The island is noted for horse breeding.
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, LombokLombok
, island (1990 pop. 2,403,025), c.1,825 sq mi (4,725 sq km), E Indonesia, one of the Lesser Sundas, separated from Bali by the Strait of Lombok. Mataram, with the port of Ampenan nearby, is the chief town.
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, and the western part of TimorTimor
[Malay,=east], island (1990 est. pop. 3,900,000), c.13,200 sq mi/34,200 sq km, largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sundas, in the Malay Archipelago. Timor is divided politically between Indonesia and East Timor (Timor-Leste).
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; the MoluccasMoluccas
or Spice Islands,
Bahasa Indonesia Maluku, Du. Molukken, island group and prov. (1990 pop. 1,856,075), c.32,300 sq mi (83,660 sq km), E Indonesia, between Sulawesi and New Guinea. The capital of the province is Ambon, on Ambon island.
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 (Maluku), with AmbonAmbon
, island, c.300 sq mi (775 sq km), E Indonesia, one of the Moluccas, in the Banda Sea. It is mountainous, well watered, and fertile. Corn and sago are produced, and hunting and fishing supplement the diet.
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, SeramSeram,
formerly Ceram
, island, c.6,600 sq mi (17,100 sq km), E Indonesia, W of New Guinea, second largest of the Moluccas; also called Seran or Serang. Its chief port and town is Masohi. Traversed by a central mountain range rising to 9,905 ft (3,019 m) at Mt.
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, and HalmaheraHalmahera
or Jailolo
, island (1990 pop. 138,000), c.7,000 sq mi (18,100 sq km), E Indonesia, between New Guinea and Sulawesi, on the equator. The largest of the Moluccas and irregular in shape, it consists of two intersecting mountain ranges (rising to c.
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; and the Riau ArchipelagoRiau Archipelago
, island group (1990 pop. 568,019), 2,280 sq mi (5,905 sq km), Indonesia, at the entrance to the Strait of Malacca, separated from Malaya by the Strait of Singapore.
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. After years of dispute with the Dutch, W New Guinea (now PapuaPapua
or Irian Jaya
, province (2014 est pop. 3,486,000), 123,180 sq mi (319,036 sq km), Indonesia. Comprising most of the western half of New Guinea and a number of offshore islands, it is Indonesia's largest province; the extreme western peninsulas and offshore
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 and West Papua) was formally annexed by Indonesia in Aug., 1969. The most important islands, culturally and economically, are Java, Bali, and Sumatra.

All the larger islands have a central volcanic mountainous area flanked by coastal plains; there are more than 100 active volcanoes. Earthquakes are frequent and, although not usually severe, can sometimes cause devastation. The islands of W Indonesia are subject to heavy rains during the rainy season (Dec.–Mar.), which often cause flooding and landslides. The animal life of Indonesia roughly forms a connecting link between the fauna of Asia and that of Australia. Elephants are found in Sumatra and Borneo, tigers as far south as Java and Bali, and marsupials in Timor and New Guinea. Crocodiles, snakes, and richly colored birds are everywhere. The tropical climate, abundant rainfall, and remarkably fertile volcanic soils permit a rich agricultural yield.

The population falls roughly into two groups, the Malayan and the Papuan, with many of the inhabitants east of Bali representing a transition between the two types. Within each group are numerous subdivisions, and cultural development ranges from the modern Javanese and Balinese to traditional tribes in Borneo, Sumatra, and New Guinea. The complex ethnic structure is the result of several great migrations many centuries ago, largely from Asia. The Chinese constitute by far the greatest majority of the nonindigenous population; they number about 2 to 3 million and play an important role in the country's economic life. There are smaller minorities of Arabs and South Asians.

More than 300 languages are spoken in Indonesia, but an official language, Bahasa Indonesia (a form of Malay), was adopted after independence and is now understood in all but the most remote villages. English is considered to be the country's second language, and Dutch is also spoken. Almost 90% of the population is Muslim, making Indonesia the largest Islamic nation in the world. Slightly less than 10% of the population is Christian, and about 2% is Hindu and 1% Buddhist. Hindus are concentrated principally on Bali, which is known for its unique culture. Animism, sometimes combined with Islam, is common among some groups.


Crude oil and natural gas are Indonesia's most valuable natural resources and were long its major source of export revenue, but production has declined and domestic use increased since the 1990s. Agriculture accounts for about 13% of the GDP and employs over 40% of the labor force. Indonesia is one of the world's major rubber producers; other plantation crops include cocoa, coffee, palm oil, coconuts, sugarcane, tea, tobacco, cinchona, cloves, sisal, and spices. Despite plantation cultivation, Indonesia has a wide landholding base; the majority of the people are largely self-sufficient in food. Rice is the major crop; cassava, corn, yams, soybeans, peanuts, and fruit are also grown. Horses and cattle are raised on some of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Fish are abundant, both in the ocean and in inland ponds.

In natural-resource potential, Indonesia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It has great timberlands; vast rain forests of giant trees (among the world's tallest) cover the mountain slopes, and teak, sandalwood, ironwood, camphor, and ebony are cut. Palm, rattan, and bamboo abound, and a great variety of forest products is produced. Indonesia is a major exporter of timber, accounting for nearly half of the world's tropical hardwood trade, but the rapid deforestation of Indonesia's hardwoods, mainly due to its expanding population's need for farmland, the clearing of land for palm oil plantations, and growing timber-related industries, has caused concern among international environmental groups and sparked ethnic conflict (particularly between immigrants and native Dyaks on Borneo). In addition, enormous out-of-control brush and peat fires, started illegally during the dry season to clear land, have caused significant health, navigation, and economic hazards in some years.

Tin, nickel, bauxite, copper, coal, manganese, gold, and silver are mined, and salt is available in large quantities from shallow enclosed seashore lagoons. Iron and uranium are believed to exist in quantity but have not yet been exploited. Primarily a supplier of raw materials, the country began to industrialize and developed rapidly in the 1990s. The industrial sector includes the manufacture of textiles and clothing, building materials, chemical fertilizers, rubber tires, and electrical and electronic goods; there is also food, mineral, and wood processing. Tourism is also important to the economy; Bali is an especially popular tourist destination.

Indonesia has attracted increased foreign investment in recent years, but corruption is widespread. Labor unrest has been a persistent problem due to the tensions between the predominantly ethnic Chinese business owners and a workforce made up almost entirely of ethnic Malays. The country's economy was severely impacted by the 1997–98 Asian financial crisis and it continues to experience high unemployment and inflation, although the nation began to rebound in 2000. The main exports are natural gas and petroleum, electrical appliances, textiles, wood and wood products, and rubber. Imports include machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, and foodstuffs. Indonesia's main trading partners are Japan, Singapore, the United States, China, and South Korea.


Indonesia is governed under the constitution of 1945 (which was restored in 1959) as amended. The president, who is both head of state and head of government, is popularly elected for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The vice president is similarly elected. The unicameral legislature consists of the 550-seat House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat; DPR), whose members are popularly elected (by proportional representation) from multimember constituences. This body plus 195 indirectly selected members make up the People's Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat; MPR), which meets every five years to determine national policy and annually to consider constitutional amendments and other changes. Prior to 2004 the president and vice president were chosen by the MPR. For over 30 years, until 1999, the government was essentially controlled by the quasi-official Golkar party. Administratively, the country is divided into 31 provinces, 1 autonomous province, 1 special region, and the special capital city district of Jakarta; these are subdivided into regencies (districts) and municipalities.


Early History and Colonial Rule

Some of the oldest hominid fossils outside of Africa have been found in Indonesia, including Homo erectus remains as old as 1.8 million years. Modern humans were present in the region at least 60,000 years ago and perhaps earlier. Early in the Christian era, Indonesia came under the influence of Indian civilization through the gradual influx of Indian traders and Buddhist and Hindu monks. By the 7th and 8th cent., kingdoms closely connected with India had developed in Sumatra and Java; the spectacular Buddhist temples of BorobudurBorobudur
or Boroboeder
, ruins of one of the finest Buddhist monuments, in central Java, Indonesia. Built by the Sailendras of Sumatra, this magnificent shrine dates from about the 9th cent.
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 date from this period. Sumatra was the seat (7th–13th cent.) of the important Buddhist kingdom of Sri Vijaya. In the late 13th cent. the center of power shifted to Java, where the fabulous Hindu kingdom of Majapahit had arisen; for two centuries it held sway over Indonesia and large areas of the Malay Peninsula. A gradual infiltration of Islam began in the 14th and 15th cent. with the arrival of Arab traders, and by the end of the 16th cent. Islam had replaced Buddhism and Hinduism as the dominant religion. The once-powerful kingdoms broke into smaller Islamic states whose internecine strife made them vulnerable to European imperialism.

Early in the 16th cent. the Portuguese, in pursuit of the rich spice trade, began establishing trading posts in Indonesia, after taking (1511) the strategic commercial center of Malacca (see MelakaMelaka
or Malacca
, state (1991 pop. 504,502), 640 sq mi (1,658 sq km), Malaysia, S Malay Peninsula, on the Strait of Malacca. Formerly one of the Straits Settlements, it was constituted a state of Malaya in 1957 (see Malaysia).
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) on the Malay Peninsula. The Dutch followed in 1596 and the English in 1600. By 1610 the Dutch had ousted the Portuguese, who were allowed to retain only the eastern part of Timor, but the English competition remained strong, and it was only after a series of Anglo-Dutch conflicts (1610–23) that the Dutch emerged as the dominant power in Indonesia.

Throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th cent. the Dutch East India Company steadily expanded its control over the entire area. When the company was liquidated in 1799, the Dutch government assumed its holdings, which were thereafter known in English as the Netherlands (or Dutch) East Indies. Dutch rule was briefly broken (1811–14) during the Napoleonic Wars when the islands were occupied by the British under T. Stamford RafflesRaffles, Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley,
1781–1826, British East Indian administrator. He was one of the founders of Britain's empire in East Asia. Beginning his career (1795) as a clerk in the British East India Company, he was sent to Pinang, Malaya (Malaysia), in 1805 as
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. The Dutch exploited the riches of the islands throughout the 19th cent., but their rule did not go unchallenged by the Indonesians. In 1825, Prince Diponegoro of Java launched a long and bloody guerrilla war against the colonists, and in 1906 and again in 1908 the native rulers of Bali led their subjects in suicidal charges against Dutch fortifications.

Nationalism, Independence, and Sukarno

The Indonesian movement for independence began early in the 20th cent. The Indonesian Communist party (PKI) was founded in 1920; in 1927 the Indonesian Nationalist party (PNI) arose under the leadership of SukarnoSukarno
, 1901–70, Indonesian statesman, first president of Indonesia. A leader of the radical nationalist movement founded in 1927, he was jailed and exiled by the Dutch at various times in the 1930s.
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. It received its impetus during World War II, when the Japanese drove out (1942) the Dutch and occupied the islands. In Aug., 1945, immediately after the Japanese surrender, Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta, another nationalist leader, proclaimed Indonesia an independent republic. The Dutch bitterly resisted the nationalists, and four years of intermittent and sometimes heavy fighting followed. Under UN pressure, an agreement was finally reached (Nov., 1949) for the creation of an independent republic of Indonesia. A new constitution provided for a parliamentary form of government. Sukarno was elected president, and Hatta became premier.

Although Sukarno had achieved a major accomplishment in uniting so many diverse peoples and regions under one government and one language, his administration was marked by inefficiency, injustice, corruption, and chaos. The rapid expropriation of Dutch property and the ousting of Dutch citizens (late 1950s) severely dislocated the economy; the country's great wealth was not exploited, and soaring inflation and great economic hardship ensued. A popular revolt, stemming from a desire for greater autonomy, began on Sumatra early in 1958 and spread to Sulawesi and other islands; the disorders led to increasingly authoritarian rule by Sukarno, who dissolved (1960) the parliament and reinstated the constitution of 1945, which had provided for a strong, independent executive (Hatta had resigned in 1956 following a conflict with Sukarno). The army, whose influence was strengthened by its role in quickly quelling the revolts, and the Communist party, whose ranks were growing very rapidly, constituted two important power blocs in Indonesian politics, with Sukarno holding the balance of power between the two.

In early 1962, Sukarno dispatched paratroopers to Netherlands New Guinea—territory claimed by Indonesia but firmly held by the Dutch—forcing the Dutch to agree to transfer that area to the United Nations with the understanding that it would pass under Indonesian administration in May, 1963, pending a referendum that was to be held by 1970. After the referendum, in Aug., 1969, Netherlands New Guinea was formally annexed by Indonesia, and its name was changed to West Irian (Irian Barat), then Irian Jaya, and later Papua. A guerrilla war was begun soon after by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM; Free Papua Movement), a group seeking Papua's independence.

Meanwhile, Sukarno made (1963) a major propaganda issue of Indonesian opposition to the newly created Federation of Malaysia and staged guerrilla raids into Malaysian territory on Borneo, beginning a conflict that was waged intermittently for three years. Sukarno began to lean increasingly toward the left, openly summoning Communist leaders for advice, exhibiting hostility toward the United States, and cultivating the friendship of Communist China. In 1965 he withdrew Indonesia from the United Nations. He may have known in advance of the abortive army coup that began in Sept., 1965, with the assassination of six high army officials.

The Suharto Regime

The coup was swiftly thwarted by army forces under General SuhartoSuharto
or Soeharto
, 1921–2008, president of Indonesia (1967–98). A veteran of the war for independence (1945–49) against the Dutch, he became army chief of staff in 1965.
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, who blamed the coup on the PKI (the degree of its involvement is unclear); Suharto may have known of the plot in advance. Suharto gradually assumed power (although retaining Sukarno as symbolic leader). Thousands of alleged Communists were executed; people everywhere took the law into their own hands and a widespread massacre ensued (Oct.–Dec., 1965). Estimates of the number of people killed range from 500,000 to 1 million; many ethnic Chinese died, and in E and central Java and in Bali entire villages were wiped out. In 2012 Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights called the events a gross violation of human rights.

The new government steadily increased its power, aided by massive student demonstrations against Sukarno. General Suharto brought an end (1966) to hostilities against Malaysia, banned the PKI, reestablished close ties with the United States, and reentered (1966) the United Nations. Indonesia became one of the founding countries of the Association of Southeast Asian NationsAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN), organization established by the Bangkok Declaration (1967), linking the nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
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 (ASEAN) in 1967. On Mar. 12, 1967, the national assembly voted Sukarno out of power altogether and named General Suharto acting president.

Suharto was elected president in 1968, and reelected in 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, and 1998. His government reinstated an earlier Dutch colonial policy of "transmigration," in which farmers from the overpopulated islands of Java and Bali were moved to underpopulated areas such as Kalimantan, Sumatra, and Indonesian New Guinea. The policy has had mixed results; though more than six million had moved by the 1990s, Java and Bali continue to be heavily populated. The economy began to grow rapidly in the 1970s, due mainly to expanded oil, gas, and timber exports; in the 1980s and 90s manufacturing for export became important.

In 1975–76, Indonesia annexed East TimorEast Timor
or Timor-Leste
, Tetum Timor Lorosae, republic, officially Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (2015 est. pop. 1,241,000), 5,950 sq mi (15,410 sq km), in the Lesser Sundas, Malay Archipelago, off the SE Asia mainland.
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 (a former Portuguese colony), and incorporated it as a province of the country; the takeover was not recognized by the United Nations. Following the annexation, separatists in the largely Roman Catholic province resisted Indonesian control, suffering substantial loss of life. Indonesia came under increasing criticism from the United States and international organizations for human-rights abuses in the area.

During Suharto's regime, his family held sway over much of Indonesia's economic life, and government corruption increased. While the economic conditions of many Indonesians improved, opposition to his policies continued to be suppressed. In Oct., 1997, the country was plunged into economic upheaval when its currency plummeted. The stock market followed soon after, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to provide the country with a $40 billion aid package in exchange for economic reforms. Struggling under a huge foreign debt and Suharto's reluctance to implement the IMF reforms, Indonesia's economy continued to worsen in 1998. Student protests and riots over rising prices broke out across the country, with increasing demands for Suharto to resign. Suharto stepped down in May, 1998, and his vice president, B. J. HabibieHabibie, B. J.
(Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie), 1936–2019, Indonesian aeronautical engineer and political leader. Educated in Germany, he worked as an aerospace engineer for Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm in Germany, becoming a vice president in 1973.
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, assumed the presidency, pledging reform, clean government, and economic responsibility. In June, the government reached an agreement with foreign bankers on the rescheduling of nearly $80 billion in debt.

Early in 1999, Indonesia and Portugal reached an agreement permitting the people of East Timor to choose between limited autonomy within Indonesia and independence in a referendum. Fighting in East Timor between government security forces and anti-independence militias on one side and separatist guerrillas on the other increased in mid-1999 as the vote approached. In August, voters chose independence, but the territory descended into chaos as pro-Indonesian militias and the army engaged in a campaign of terror and brutality, killing proindependence Timorese and causing thousands to flee their homes. In Sept., 1999, after intense international pressure, President Habibie asked the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to the area, and in October the United Nations agreed to take full control of East Timor until independence, which was achieved in 2002. Even as the situation in East Timor quieted down, however, calls for independence rose in other provinces, particularly Aceh, in N Sumatra, and Papua.

Meanwhile, in the June, 1999, parliamentary elections, the Indonesian Democratic party of Struggle of Megawati SukarnoputriMegawati Sukarnoputri
, 1947–, Indonesian political leader, president of Indonesia (2001–4). The daughter of former president Sukarno, she is seen by many as her father's political heir.
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, the daughter of Sukarno, came in first with 34% of the vote; President Habibie's Golkar party came in second, with 22%. In the Oct., 1999, presidential elections, Abdurrahman WahidWahid, Abdurrahman,
1940–2009, Indonesian religious and political leader popularly called Gus Dur, president of Indonesia (1999–2001). A Muslim scholar and political moderate who supported separation of religion and state and rights for women and minorities, Wahid
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, of the National Awakening party, became the country's first democratically elected president after Megawati failed to build the coalition needed to win; she was chosen by parliament as vice president. A Muslim theologian and religious leader, as well as a defender of human rights and religious tolerance, Wahid moved to increase civilian control over the military, which lost influence and prestige following Suharto's fall and the East Timor debacle. He also was forced to deal with often vociferous opposition in parliament. The economy began to revive in 2000, although the currency (rupiah) suffered a sharp loss in value.

In Feb., 2001, the parliament censured the president, who was implicated in two corruption scandals. Wahid, who had alienated Megawati and suffered a drop in popularity, was censured again in April. Although he was subsequently cleared of wrongdoing in the scandals, the parliament voted in July to remove him from office. Megawati succeeded Wahid as president. Subsequently the parliament passed laws granting limited autonomy (including substantial control over natural resources) to Aceh and Papua, in the hope of undercutting local secessionist movements, but violence in both provinces has continued. An agreement was signed with the Aceh rebels in Dec., 2002, raising hopes for peace that were dashed six months later when Indonesia ended what it regarded as fruitless talks and resumed military action.

Relations were strained with Malaysia in 2002 when as many as 400,000 Indonesians were forcibly deported under a tough new anti-illegal-immigrant law. Constitutional amendments passed in the same year called for the direct election of the president and the elimination of the seats reserved for the military in the national legislature. Both amendments took effect in 2004. In Oct., 2002, a terrorist bombing at a night club in Bali that was frequented by foreigners killed more than 200 people. The bombing was apparently by Indonesian Islamic radicals linked to Al QaedaAl Qaeda
or Al Qaida
[Arab.,=the base], Sunni Islamic terrorist organization with the stated goals of uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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. Terror bombings continued to be a sporadic problem in subsequent years, though none were as deadly as the Bali night club attack. A proposal in 2003 to split Papua into three provinces sparked new unrest there, and after legals appeals Papua was divided (2004) into Papua and West Irian Jaya (now West Papua).

Legislative elections in Apr., 2004, were a setback for Megawati's party, which came in second to Golkar; the latter won slightly more than a fourth of the seats. Seven parties secured significant blocks of seats. Megawati subsequently lost the presidency (Sept., 2004) to Susilo Bambang YudhoyonoYudhoyono, Susilo Bambang
, 1949–, Indonesian army officer and political leader, popularly known as SBY, president of Indonesia (2004–), b. Pacitan, Java. A military officer who was trained both in Indonesia and the United States, in the 1990s he came to support a
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, a former general and security minister and the candidate of the Democrat party, after a runoff in Sept., 2004. The election was the first time that Indonesians were able to elect a president directly.

In Dec., 2004, a huge tsunami caused by an earthquake off NW Sumatra devastated Aceh, killing some 167,000 people, and a subsequent earthquake in March, caused much destruction on the islands of Simeulue and Nias, west of Sumatra. There was a polio outbreak in Java in May, 2005, that was linked to the persistence of the disease in W Africa and was believed to have been transmitted to Muslim pilgrims at Mecca. Indonesia began a massive immunization campaign that ultimately brought the outbreak under control. Acehnese rebels signed a peace agreement with the government in Aug., 2005, and subsequently disarmed in exchange for the establishment of local self-government. In May, 2006, an earthquake centered S of Yogyakarta in central Java killed some 5,800 people; a July quake off W Java caused a tsunami that killed some 400 people. Heavy rains caused massive flooding in the Jakarta area in Feb., 2007, forcing as many as 400,000 people from their homes. A series of severe earthquakes in Sept., 2007, caused caused much damage in W Sumatra.

In the parliamentary elections in Apr., 2009, the president's Democratic party won 148 seats; Golkar came in second (108 seats), followed by Megawati's party (93), and six other parties won seats. The July presidential elections were contested by Yudhoyono, Megawati, and, running as Golkar's candidate, Vice President Jusuf Kalla; the president secured a majority, avoiding a runoff election. An earthquake off the coast of W Sumatra in Sept., 2009, caused significant destruction and more than a thousand deaths in Padang and the surrounding area. In Nov., 2009, a scandal concerning attempts by high-ranking law-enforcement officials to damage the reputation of Indonesia's anticorruption agency by bringing false charges against two of its top officials hurt Yudhoyono when he failed to dismiss the law-enforcement officials. Subsequently, the president and his party were hurt by corruption investigations involving party members, including the party chairman in 2013.

In the Apr., 2014, parliamentary elections Megawati's party placed first with 109 seats, Golkar placed second with 91, and Gerinda, the party led by former general Prabowo Subianto, placed third with 73. Ten parties in all won seats. In the subsequent presidential election (July), Subianto was supported by a coalition of parties (including Golkar) that had won more than 60% of the seats in April, but his opponent, Joko WidodoJoko Widodo
, 1961–, Indonesian businessman and politician. The son of a furniture maker, he studied forestry at Gadjah Mada Univ. and ran a furniture exporting business before entering politics in 2005 as a member of Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic party of
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, known as Jokowi and nominated by a coalition led by Megawati's party, was a popular anticorruption candidate and governor of Jakarta and won with 53% of the vote. In Sept., 2018, an earthquake and tsunami killed more than 4,300 people in W Sulawesi, and in December a tsunami caused by the partial collapse of the island volcano of Anak Krakatau (see KrakatoaKrakatoa
or Krakatau
, volcanic island, c.5 sq mi (13 sq km), W Indonesia, in Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra; rising to 2,667 ft (813 m). A momentous volcanic explosion on Aug.
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) killed hundreds in nearby Java and Sumatra.

In the Apr., 2019, presidential election, the president again faced Subianto, and again defeated him, with 55% of the vote. Subianto accused the government of fraud, but the evidence for the allegations proved flimsy and the result was affirmed. Joko Widodo subsequently proposed moving Indonesia's capital to East Kalimantan prov. on Borneo, but plans to develop a new capital were suspended in 2020 amid the covid-19 pandemic. A racial incident in Aug., 2019, involving Papuan students in Surabaya sparked several weeks of recurring protests and rioting by Papuans, beginning in West Papua but spreading to other parts of Indonesia. In Oct., 2019, the president named Subianto defense minister. Extremely heavy rains in W Java in Jan., 2020, led to flooding that displaced nearly 400,000 people in the Jakarta metropolitan area. Later in 2020 the country experienced its first recession since the 1998 financial crisis due to the effects of COVID-19; the important tourism sector was especially hard hit. Corruption and attacks by Islamic extremists have been significant problems in the early 21st cent.


See G. M. Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia (1952, repr. 1970); C. A. Fisher, South-east Asia (1964); G. Coedès, The Indianized States of Southeast Asia (1968); B. Dahm, History of Indonesia in the Twentieth Century (tr. 1971); H. R. Heekeren, The Stone Age of Indonesia (2d ed. 1972); W. T. Neill, Twentieth-Century Indonesia (1973); L. Palmier, ed., Understanding Indonesia (1985); D. Wilhelm, Emerging Indonesia (1986).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Republic of Indonesia (Republik Indonesia).

Table 1. Administrative division of Indonesia
 Area (sq km)Population (1961)Administrative center
Java and Madura   
Greater Jakarta .....6002,973,000
Western Java......46,30017,614,600Bandung
Central Java......34,20018,407,500Semarang
Eastern Java ......47,90021,823,000Surabaya
Aceh (Atjeh)......55,4001 ,628,900Banda Aceh
Northern Sumatra......70,8004,964,700Medan
Western Sumatra......49,8002,319,000Padang
Riau......94,6001 ,234,900Pakanbaru
Djambi......44,900744,400Jambi (Telanaipura)
Southern Sumatra......158,2004,777,200Palembang
Lampong......Teluk Betung
Western Kalimantan......14,8001,581,000Pontianak
Central Kalimantan......152,600496,500Palangkaraya
Southern Kalimantan......37,7001,473,200Bandjermasin
Eastern Kalimantan......202,400550,800Samarinda
Northern Sulawes......88,6002,003,200Manado
Central Sulawesi......Palu
Southern Sulawesi....100,5005,076,100Ujung Pandang
Eastern Sulawesi......Kendari
Bali (island)......5,6001,782,500Denpasar
Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sunda Islands)   
Western Nusa Tenggara..20,2001 ,807,800Mataram
Eastern Nusa Tenggara..47,9001 ,967,300Kupang
Maluku (Molucca Islands)..74,500789,500Ambon
West Irian (now Irian Jaya; western part of New Guinea)......412,900758,400Jayapura

Indonesia is a state in Southeast Asia. It is situated on the Malay (Indonesian) Archipelago, which stretches between mainland Asia and Australia and consists of the Greater Sunda Islands (Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java, and Madura), the Lesser Sunda Islands, and the Molucca Islands. Indonesia also includes the western half of the island of New Guinea, or West Irian, and the surrounding small islands to the west and north. Area, 1,904,300 sq km; population, about 126 million (1971). The capital is the city of Jakarta.

Administratively Indonesia is divided into provinces. The capital, Jakarta, and the city of Jogjakarta form separate administrative units (see Table 1).

Indonesia is a republic. The present constitution was adopted in 1945 (from Dec. 27, 1949, to July 5, 1959, other constitutions were in effect). The head of state and of the government is the president, who is also the supreme commander in chief of the armed forces; he is elected for a five-year term by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR).

According to a 1969 law the MPR is the supreme body of state power; the assembly is composed of 460 members of the parliament, who form the House of Representatives, and 460 representatives from regions delegated by local houses of representatives and by so-called functional groups, such as the military, the national bourgeoisie, officials, religious groups, peasants, workers, and youth and women’s organizations. The representatives of the functional groups in the MPR and the House of Representatives are appointed by presidential decree, whereas all the other members of these bodies are confirmed by the president. After the events of Sept. 30,1965 (see below: Historical survey), Communists and left nationalists were removed from the MPR and the House of Representatives, and many of them were killed or arrested.

The first, partially elected, People’s Consultative Assembly was to convene in March 1973. All the members of the present assembly were appointed by the president.

The House of Representatives exercises legislative functions. In the 1971 elections the SEKBER GOLKAR (Joint Secretariat for Functional Groups), the political organization supported by the government, won 261 seats, or a majority. The law grants 75 seats in the House of Representatives to the military. In addition, 25 representatives of the army were delegated by other functional groups.

According to the 1969 law on universal suffrage, all persons considered by the government to have been implicated in the events of Sept. 30, 1965, are deprived of the right to vote. All citizens who have attained the age cf 17, and younger persons who are married, have the right to vote.

The governors of the provinces are appointed by the president. The kabupaten (regencies) and cities have bupati (regency chiefs) and mayors appointed by the minister of internal affairs or elected by the local houses of representatives. Four-fifths of the members of the local houses of representatives are elected by universal suffrage, and one-fifth are appointed by the minister of internal affairs on behalf of the president.

The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court (whose members are appointed by the president), provincial courts, and so-called state courts, whose members are appointed by the minister of justice. In addition to the regular military courts, there are also extraordinary military tribunals, which hear cases of persons implicated in the events of Sept. 30, 1965. There are also Muslim religious courts, which try cases on the basis of the Koran, the sharia, and the adat.


Indonesia is located in the equatorial latitudes, in the zone of monsoonal atmospheric circulation. The equatorial and island location results in a continuously warm climate. The seas of Indonesia are characterized by high water temperature (never below 27°C), seasonal alternation of currents, and an abundance of species of marine animals.

The coasts are weakly indented, and many sections are inaccessible because of rocky bluffs, mangrove thickets, and sandbars. The major types are high, steep abrasion shores or low, flat alluvial shores. Almost the entire shoreline is swampy, and there are few good harbors.

Terrain. More than one-half of the area is occupied by medium and low mountains; there are some high mountains in West Irian (the maximum elevation is 5,029 m). Almost the entire eastern part of the country, up to the Makassar Strait, and most of the southern and southwestern part consists of fault and volcanic mountains, with deeply and sharply dissected terrain. From the southwest of Sumatra to Halmahera Island, over a distance of about 5,000 km, there are as many as 400 volcanoes, of which about 80 are active, including Kerintji (3,800 m), Rind-jani (3,726 m), and Semeru (3,676 m). The number of volcanoes is especially great on Java. Most of Kalimantan, Bangka, and Belitung are occupied by mountains with gentler, smoothed-out slopes. The parts of the islands of Sumatra, Java, and Kalimantan that face the inner Indonesian seas, as well as the western part of New Guinea (West Irian), are characterized by vast alluvial plains (1,500 km in eastern Sumatra and 1,000 km in southern and southwestern Kalimantan).

Geologic structure and mineral resources. A large part of Indonesia is in a region of Cenozoic tectogenesis; northeastern Sumatra and southwestern Kalimantan belong to a region of Mesozoic folding, and southern New Guinea and the Aru Islands belong to a region of pre-Mesozoic folding. Tectonic activity has been preserved; it is manifested in intense volcanic activity, high seismicity (deep-focus earthquakes), and large gravitational anomalies.

The geologic structure of Indonesia is characterized by meta-morphic rock and Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleocene-Neocene extrusive-sedimentary rock of various composition, as well as by Anthropogenic volcanic formations. Intrusive acid, basic, and ultrabasic rocks date from the Mesozoic, Cenozoic, and less frequently, Paleozoic periods. The characteristic elements of the contemporary geologic structure of Indonesia are island arcs and the deep ocean troughs associated with them.

Minerals include petroleum, which is associated with Neocene deposits on Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Seram and in West Irian; coal, in Paleocene and Neocene rock on Sumatra and Kalimantan; lateritic iron ores, on Kalimantan and Sulawesi; manganese, in volcanic and sedimentary Paleocene rock on Java; tin, with large deposits associated with Mesozoic granites on the islands of Bangka, Belitung, and Singkep; aluminum, in lateritic bauxites and bauxitic rock on Bintan Island; and nickel, in lateritic iron ores on Sulawesi. Phosphates are found in grotto formations on Java.

Climate. The climate is equatorial in most of Indonesia and subequatorial on eastern Java and the Lesser Sundas. In the lowlands in almost all areas, the average monthly temperatures are 25°;-27°C. Although the temperature is generally lower in the mountains, the amplitude of monthly average temperature variation remains low (less than 3°C). There are frosts at elevations over 1,500 m. Regional climatic differences are manifested mainly in the precipitation conditions. The equatorial climatic zone has abundant precipitation in all months, with an annual total of 2,000-4,000 mm; the subequatorial climatic zone has sharply marked seasonal alternation, a rainy summer and a dry winter, with an annual total of less than 2,000 mm and almost no precipitation from May to October. These conditions are related to the seasonal alternation of the equatorial monsoons. The precipitation is in the form of torrential rains and is accompanied by thunderstorms, of which there are up to 322 a year (at Bogor).

Rivers and lakes. Almost everywhere, except in the southeast, the rivers form a dense network and, as a rule, have high water almost all year around; in the southeast they dry up in the winter. There are many rapids in the mountain rivers on Kalimantan and West Irian. The biggest rivers are the Kapuas and Barito on Kalimantan; the Hari (Djambi), Kampar, and Musi on Sumatra; and the Mamberamo and Digul in West Irian. The rivers carry an extremely large quantity of silt, which is deposited in their lower courses. Abundant deposits make the channels of the lowland rivers variable in many parts.

Soils. About four-fifths of Indonesia, mainly on the Greater Sundas and West Irian, is covered with reddish yellow lateritic or mountainous lateritic soils of permanently moist forests. In the lowlands there are also many tropical boggy soils (on Sumatra and Kalimantan) and lateritic gley soils (in West Irian); and there are bog mangrove soils in many areas of low-lying shores. The southeast is dominated by red lateritic soils of seasonally moist tropical forests and tall-grass savannas and by reddish brown dry savanna soils.

Flora. Most of Indonesia—the lowlands and the mountain slopes up to about 1,300-1,500 m—is covered by moist evergreen equatorial forest. The major tree species of this type of forest are the rubber plant, trees of the family Dipterocarpaceae, rasamala, screw pine, breadfruit tree, palms, tree ferns, and bamboo. In the belt between 1,300-1,500 m and 2,600-3,000 m there are tropical mountain forests, in which the predominant species are evergreens (evergreen oak), broad-leaved trees (oak, beech, and chestnut), and conifers (podocarps). Dwarf mountain forests, shrubs, and grasses are found above 2,600-3,000 m.

The main types of vegetation in the southeast are deciduous tropical forests (teak and casuarinas) and savannas (often as a secondary formation) of alang-alang grass and wild sugarcane. Mangroves grow on low, sloping snores, especially on eastern Sumatra and western and eastern Kalimantan and in West Irian.

Fauna. Most of Indonesia belongs to the Malayan subregion of the Indo-Malayan zoogeographic region, whereas West Irian, the Moluccas, and some of the Lesser Sunda Islands (for example, Timor) belong to the Papuan subregion of the Australian region. Sulawesi is sometimes separated into the Celebes subregion of the Indo-Malayan region.

The most typical animals of western Indonesia are apes, including the orangutan (on Kalimantan and Sumatra), gibbon, leaf monkeys, and macaque; the one-horn and two-horn rhinoceros; elephants; sun bear (on Sumatra and Kalimantan); the Indian tapir (on Sumatra); the banteng; the argus pheasant; the hornbill; parrots; the estuarine crocodile (up to 7 m long); snakes (the cobra, boa constrictor, and reticulated python); and large monitor lizard. Eastern Indonesia is inhabited by marsupials, especially cuscuses, which are common up to and including Sulawesi; fruit bats; birds of paradise; and cockatoos. Throughout Indonesia there are numerous varieties of insects, which are noted for their large size and beautiful coloration (particularly butterflies). The fauna becomes sparser from west to east. Fish are abundant in the inner and surrounding seas of Indonesia; among them are flying fish, tuna, swordfish, sailfish, sardines, and mackerel. The coastal waters are inhabited by brightly colored fish of the coral reefs and mud-skippers in the mangrove thickets. Freshwater fish include various species of carp, catfish, and cyprinodonts.

Preserves. Natural parks have been established for the protection of rare animals and for regulating their population: Gunung Loser on Sumatra, Kotawaringin, Sampit, and Kutai on Kalimantan, Komodo on Komodo Island, and Pulau Panaitan on Java.

Natural regions. The equatorial region, with evergreen forests and small variations in atmospheric precipitation, accounts for most of Indonesia. The subequatorial region, with savannas and deciduous forests and sharp seasonal variations in precipitation occupies the eastern half of Java, southeastern Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas, and part of the Moluccas.


Vitvitskii, G. N. Klimaty zarubezhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1960.
Wende, Juan. “V strane trekh tysiach ostrovov: Zhivotnyi i rastitel’nyi mir Indonezii.” Priroda. 1960, NO. 2, PP. 39-44.
Zabrodskaia, M. P., and D. S. Sharets. Priroda Indonezii. Moscow, 1961.
Pavlov, N. V. Botanicheskaia geografiia zarubezhnykh stran, parts 1-2. Moscow, 1965.

P. A. SHEIAPUTIN (physical geography) and IV. ARKHIPOV (geological structure and mineral resources)

More than 150 peoples inhabit Indonesia. Most of them, 96 percent of the country’s population, are related in language, culture, and mores and belong to the Indonesian group of the Austronesian language family.

The largest peoples of the Indonesian group are (1) the Javanese and the related Sundanese and Madurans (total population, 75 million), who live on Java and Madura and in the plantation regions of Sumatra and Kalimantan; (2) the so-called Malayans, (about 14 million), including the Riau, Palembang, and Djambi, the Malayans of Kalimantan, and the closely related Bandjari, Minangkabau, Lebong, Redjang, and Lampong, who live on Sumatra and in the coastal regions of Kalimantan and all the other islands of Indonesia; (3) the Jakartans (3 million), who live on Java and also speak a Malayan dialect; (4) the Atjehnese, or Aceh (1.8 million), who live in northern Sumatra; and (5) the Batak (2.7 million), who live in the central regions.

The inner regions of Kalimantan are inhabited by numerous peoples, such as the Ngadju, Kayan, Kenjah, Bahau, Kleman-tan, Murut, and Kalabit (about 2 million), who are known by the common name “Dayak.” The Bugi, Makassarese, Toradja, Minahasa, and Mandarans (8.5 million total) live on Sulawesi. On the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas, the names of the peoples correspond in most cases to the names of the islands they inhabit: Balinese (2.2 million), Sumbawanese, Alorese, Buruese, Seramese, and so on. The central, inaccessible parts of the islands are inhabited by small tribes, such as the Badui and Tenggerese on Java; the Kubu, Lubu, Ulu, Mamak, and Benua on Sumatra; and the Punan on Kalimantan. The nomadic Orang Laut (People of the Sea) live on the small islands. In addition to the peoples of the Indonesian group, the Melanesians, who also belong to the Austronesian language family, live on the northern coast of West Irian. The Papuans, who live in the inner regions of West Irian, and the related group of peoples who live in northern Halmahera Island, speak languages of other families (about 1 million).

About 3 million Chinese, 100,000 Arabs, 90,000 emigrants from India and Pakistan and 10,000 Dutch live in Indonesia, mainly in the cities and the plantation regions. Indonesian is the state language, and Islam is the major religion. Muslims (Shafii and, to a lesser extent, Hanafi Sunnis) constitute about 84 percent of the population; Christians (Catholics and Protestants), about 6 percent; Hindus, about 2 percent; and Buddhists and Confucianists, 3 percent. The rest of the population, including some Batak and Dayak, have local traditional faiths. Christianity is practiced by the Minahasa and some of the Javanese and Batak; Hinduism by the Balinese, Tenggerese, and Badui; and Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism by the Chinese.

The official calendar is the Gregorian, but the Muslim calendar, the Hegira, is also used.

The annual population increase is 2.8 percent (average for 1963-70). Two-thirds of the population lives on Java, which together with Madura accounts for 7 percent of the country’s area and has a population density of more than 500 per km. The lowest population density is on Kalimantan (less than 10 per sq km), on the Moluccas (11 per sq km), and in West Irian (about 2 per sq km).

In 1965, about 70 percent of Indonesia’s population lived in rural areas. In 1961 the proportion of the urban population by islands was 16 percent on Java, 16 percent on Sumatra, 19 percent on Kalimantan, 16 percent on Sulawesi, 7 percent on the Lesser Sundas, and 21 percent on the Moluccas. Indonesia has 21 cities with a population of more than 100,000, including Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung, with more than 1 million, and Medan, Palembang, and Semarang, with more than 500,000.

According to 1964—65 data, the economically active population constitutes 35.2 percent, of which 67.2 percent are engaged in agriculture, fishing and hunting, and forestry; 5.8 percent in industry, including 0.2 percent in mining; 1.3 percent in construction; 10.2 percent in trade, banking, and insurance; 1.2 percent in transportation and communications; and 10.9 percent in the service industries.


Narody Iugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1966.

S. I. BRUK (ethnic composition) and V. I. ANTIPOV

Primitive communal system (to the second century A.D.). Indonesia is one of the sites of the development of modern man, (Pithecanthropus and Javanthropus, and then Wadjak man). Lower Paleolithic sites (Patjitanian industry) have been discovered. In the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods Indonesia was the site of a southern variant of the continental Bac Son-Hoa Binh culture. The cultural and economic system of the Neolithic period was already different from the mainland cultures. The Dong Son culture of the Bronze Age apparently came to Indonesia from Indochina in about the fifth century B.C. The transition to the Bronze Age took place in the main regions from the second century B.C. to the second century A.D., and the transition to the Iron Age began in the more developed coastal regions in the second century A.D. The population was engaged mainly in agriculture (especially in the valleys of the large rivers), fishing, and, to a lesser extent, hunting. The clan and the tribe were the basic units of social organization.

Origin of class society and early states (second through mid-seventh centuries). From the second to fifth centuries the development of the productive forces, primarily iron implements, improvements in irrigation, and the development of crafts, led to the formation of the first class societies in Indonesia. Several states formed in the coastal regions: on Java, Taruma (west), Kalinga (central), and an eastern Javanese state whose name is unknown; on Sumatra, Malayu in the center and Srivijaya in the southern part of the eastern coast; and on Kalimantan, a state under the Kundunga dynasty on the eastern coast and a little-known state on the western coast. The Indian religions of Shiva Hinduism and Buddhism were spreading. The communal peasants practiced mainly irrigated farming. The ruling class was composed of sm aristocracy in the service of the rulers and of Brahmin priests; the rulers bore the Indian title of varman. Available evidence is insufficient to permit certain classification of Indonesian society of that time as slave-holding or feudal.

Early feudalism (mid-seventh to 11th centuries). By the mid-seventh century feudal relations close to Indian feudalism had formed in Indonesia. The further development of the productive forces was manifested in the expansion of the rice-producing regions and the growth in the number of cities. Indonesian sailors and merchants became a major group among the commercial middlemen in the Orient. No later than the mid-seventh century, several principalities united into the mighty Srivijaya empire on Sumatra, which in the second half of the eighth century became firmly established on the Malacca Peninsula. The Mataram state formed on central Java in the first half of the eighth century.

The Srivijaya empire flourished during the ninth and tenth centuries. After its defeat in 1025 by the Chola state of India in the struggle for control of the trade routes, the center of economic and political life shifted to Java, where Mataram extended its rule over the fertile valleys and all the large commercial cities of central and eastern Java and Bali in the mid-11th century. An effort to unite all of Java into one state was made under Air-langga in the 11th century.

Developed feudalism (11th through 16th centuries). The history of Indonesia during the period beginning with the 11th century is associated with the golden age of the Javanese state of Kediri, which formed in the 1040’s after Mataram split into two states, Kediri and Djanggala. By about 1120, Kediri covered almost the entire territory of the former Mataram state. With the growing economic unity of Indonesia and the economic and political consolidation of Java, Madura, and Bali, the Javanese states extended their influence over the other islands, above all the Moluccas.

Under Kertanagara (reigned 1268-92) the state of Singhasari, as Kediri came to be called in the 13th century, established its control over part of Sumatra, the southern part of the Malacca Peninsula, the western part of Kalimantan, and other regions. In the late 13th century, the Singhasari state disintegrated, and the Majapahit empire (1293-1520) grew up on Java. The Majapahit empire was the largest medieval state, ruling over all of Indonesia. The unification of most of Indonesia around Java, with its well-developed feudal relations, was promoted not only by the rapid growth of intra-Indonesian trade and cultural relations but also by the development of Java into the rice supplier of the majority of the islands that produced export crops. The struggle for the unification of Indonesia produced the brilliant statesman Gadjah Mada, the de facto ruler of Majapahit from 13 31 to 1364.

In the 14th century the development of feudalism on Java led to a clear division of lands into communal lands, lands of the imperial court, temple lands, and granted and private lands (owned by the major feudal lords). A group of major landowners—who held high positions at court and who were, as a rule, related by kinship to the ruling house—was also formed. This group was privileged in comparison to the mass of service noblemen, with their conditional land grants. Islam began spreading to Indonesia from India and Malacca in the 14th century, and independent Muslim principalities formed on northern Java. The Majapahit empire began to weaken in the mid-15th century and disintegrated into several Muslim principalities in the second decade of the 16th century. By 1575 the struggle among the principalities into which Majapahit had disintegrated ended with the unification of most of central and eastern Java into the new Mataram state. The Banten Sultanate on western Java remained independent. The further independent development of Indonesian feudal society was interrupted by the invasion of the Europeans.

Colonial period (16th century to 1945). In the early 16th century the Portuguese seized Malacca (1511) and several areas on the Moluccas and established their control over spice export and naval trade routes. The Dutch began penetrating into Indonesia in the 1590’s. The merger in 1602 of several Dutch companies trading with the Orient into the United East India Company (VOC), which had a large capital stock, enabled Holland to displace the Portuguese and to establish itself in Indonesia. In the early 17th century the VOC drove the Portuguese out of the Moluccas, and the Dutch colonialist Jan Pieterszoon Coen founded the first Dutch fort on Java. The new city of Batavia (present-day Jakarta) grew around the fort on the ruins of Jakarta, which had been destroyed by the Dutch, and became the capital of the Dutch colonial possessions in Indonesia, called the Dutch Indies. The monopoly position of the VOC in Indonesia became supreme after the seizure of Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641. At the beginning the company did not aim at seizing any territory beyond Java but limited itself to imposing commercial treaties and strict control over foreign relations on the rulers and tribes of the other islands of the archipelago. However, on Java itself the VOC was enlarging its territorial possessions. The Dutch colonial system, with features characteristic of the period of primitive accumulation of capital, was formed in the 17th century, at the height of the VOC’s power. The company widely applied methods of indirect administration of the conquered territories through the intermediary of their former feudal rulers. It derived enormous profits from compulsory deliveries of traditional crops and the introduction of new crops, such as coffee in the 18th century. The Indonesian people’s struggle against the Dutch colonialists was intertwined with the antifeudal struggle and with attempts of some rulers of Mataram and Banten to rid themselves of VOC domination. The Dutch suppressed large-scale popular uprisings, such as the 1674-79 uprising led by Trunajaya (Trunodjojo), the uprising in the late 17th and early 18th century led by the former slave Surapati, and the uprising of Chinese merchants and artisans in 1740–41, which was supported by the peasants.

In the 18th century the weakening of Holland led to the decline of the VOC as well, but even in the period of its decline the company expanded its possessions on Java. In 1755, taking advantage of the struggle for the throne in Mataram, the company incorporated new Mataram territories. The remnants of Mataram, divided into two principalities, Surakarta and Jogjakarta, became vassals of the VOC. However, the Anglo-Dutch war of 1780-84 was the final blow for the company. It ceased to exist in 1800, and its possessions were taken over by the Dutch state (the Netherlands).

In 1811, Indonesia was conquered by the British. Stamford Raffles, who was appointed governor of Indonesia and represented the interests of the British industrial bourgeoisie, strove to promote the production of agricultural raw materials in Indonesia and to make it into a market for British goods. To this end he abolished compulsory deliveries, introduced a money tax, and promoted private enterprise and trade. The rule of Great Britain in Indonesia was short, and an Anglo-Dutch agreement of 1814 returned the country to the Netherlands.

A dispute over the most effective methods for exploiting Indonesia broke out in the Netherlands between the partisans of the monopoly practices of the VOC and the industrial and commercial bourgeoisie, which demanded freedom of action in the colony. The attempts of the Dutch authorities to eliminate the freedom of private enterprise in Indonesia and their policy prohibiting Europeans from renting land in the “self-governing” principalities on central Java affected the interests of the Indonesian feudal lords, some of whom joined the broad popular anti-Dutch uprising of 1825-30 led by Prince Dipo Negoro. The Dutch were able to suppress this popular war only with difficulty. Dutch military expeditions (1812-25) led to the conquest of Palembang on Sumatra and strengthened colonial rule on Sulawesi.

In 1830, compulsory crop cultivation became the basis of colonial exploitation on Java. When the system was introduced, the land tax on the peasants was abolished, but they were compelled to cultivate export crops, such as coffee, sugarcane, indigo and tobacco, and to deliver all the produce to the government at extremely low prices. The system of compulsory crop cultivation was introduced with the assistance of Javanese feudal lords, who became a link in the colonial administration. The exploitation system based on state serfdom doomed the Javanese to extremely hard labor and prevented them from planting the food crops they needed. The misery of the population was exacerbated by other policies, such as high duties on imported goods and a state salt monopoly. Private capital, including Dutch capital, was virtually barred from agriculture and industry. By such exploitation of the Javanese peasantry through the system of compulsory crop cultivation, the Netherlands pumped hundreds of millions of guldens out of the country, accelerating the capitalist industrial development in the mother country. By the 1870’s the Dutch extended their rule to the island of Sumatra, except for the Atjeh Sultanate. The Sugar Law, the Agrarian Law, and other laws that the Dutch government adopted in 1870 under pressure from the Dutch industrial bourgeoisie gradually eliminated compulsory crop cultivation, and foreign capital rushed into the burgeoning plantation economy and mining industry. The Agrarian Law declared the greater part of the land in Indonesia to be state property, and peasant communes and individual farms were granted hereditary possession of the lands they worked. All free lands could be given in hereditary lease to private individuals of any nationality as well as to companies. Planters could also, “with the consent of the residents,” rent lands of peasant communes for a period of up to 25 years.

The peasant farms, deprived of a considerable part of the communal lands and burdened by taxes and requisitions, had limited opportunities for development. Feudal and bureaucratic social strata, usurers, and the rural elite seized or bought peasant land and usually leased it at exorbitant rents. The dispossession of the peasants from the land provided the colonialists with a cheap labor force.

In 1873 the Netherlands began the conquest of Atjeh. It took more than 30 years to subdue this courageous people, who produced several brilliant leaders of the national liberation struggle, among them Teuku Umar. By 1904 the Netherlands had established its rule over Atjeh, but the partisan struggle continued until 1913. By the early 20th century Dutch expeditions had completed the subjugation of the remaining independent territories throughout Indonesia. Militarily and economically weak, the Netherlands were compelled to pursue an “open door” policy in their colony and to permit the capital of other imperialist countries to participate in the exploitation of the Indonesian peoples. The import of foreign capital and the intrusion of monopolies and foreign banks was constantly increasing. Next to the Netherlands, Great Britain was most powerful in Indonesia. Royal Dutch Shell, an extremely large Anglo-Dutch oil monopoly, was founded in Indonesia in the early 20th century. Under conditions of imperialist exploitation the emergence and development of capitalist relations took grotesque forms in Indonesia. Capitalist and precapitalist relations were intertwined.

A national bourgeoisie developed extremely slowly, even in comparison with the other colonial countries. Nevertheless, the conditions were created in Indonesia for the development of the Indonesian nationalities into nations, and a sense of all-Indonesian identity was developing. Representatives of the petit bourgeois intelligentsia were the chief spokesmen for this process in Indonesia.

The formation of the first national organizations in Indonesia was accelerated by the upsurge of the national liberation movement in other colonial and semicolonial countries at the turn of the 20th century and by the Revolution of 1905-07 in Russia, which aroused Asia. The first enlighteners, among them Kartini, appeared in the country. Budi Utomo, the first national organization, was founded in May 1908, at first as a cultural and educational society. The growth of national consciousness was expressed in the attempts of the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie to unite for the defense of their interests. The Union of Islamic Merchants (founded on Java in 1911) rapidly became a mass organization, Sarekat Islam (Islamic Union), which gradually came to reflect the nationwide democratic interests of the people. The National Indies Party, which was founded in 1912 by Indo-Europeans (Eurasians) and advanced Indonesian intellectuals and was headed by D. Dekker, adopted an all-Indonesian program and was the first to demand the country’s independence.

The working class in Indonesia was forming more quickly than the national bourgeoisie. It arose mainly at foreign enterprises, and the growth of its class-consciousness was inseparable from the struggle against imperialism. The first trade unions formed in Indonesia in the early 20th century. The influx of workers, peasants, and artisans into Sarekat Islam imparted to it an increasingly popular character. In the article “The Awakening of Asia,” V. I. Lenin pointed out that “the revolutionary democratic movement has now spread to the Dutch Indies.” He believed that the carriers of the movement were above all “the masses of Java, where a nationalist movement has arisen under the banner of Islam” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23, p. 145).

World War 1(1914-18) caused a deterioration in the situation of the toilers and the growth of the anticolonial movement, which was manifested both in spontaneous peasant actions and in the activity of the national organizations. Sarekat Islam was becoming more revolutionary under the influence of left-wing Dutch Social Democrats—the Tribunists—who in 1914 founded the Social Democratic Union on Java.

The Great October Socialist Revolution had a tremendous impact on Indonesia, above all on the revolutionary elements of the Social Democratic Union, among whose membership the number of Indonesians was increasing. A sharp division took place in the union between the revolutionary and reformist elements, and the opportunists left the union and set up the reformist Social Democratic Party. In 1918-19 the strike movement reached considerable proportions. New trade unions were formed, and a large trade union center was set up in 1919. The Communist Party of Indonesia (CPI), which was formed from the Social Democratic Union, was formally founded on May 23, 1920. A leadership struggle broke out in Sarekat Islam between bourgeois and Communist leaders, reflecting the struggle for hegemony in the national liberation movement. A split took place in Sarekat Islam in 1921-23, and the sections of the group that were under the influence of the Communist Party soon formed the Sarekat Rakjat (People’s Union). Sarekat Islam, which had become a political party, was losing its mass base.

There was a new upsurge in the strike movement in the early 1920’s. In 1923 a general strike of the railroad workers, prepared by the Communists, took place. The Dutch authorities suppressed the strike, and special criminal laws against the labor and anti-imperialist movement were enacted. As relentless reprisals continued and the mass movement waned, an armed uprising led by the Communists broke out in November 1926 in Batavia, on western Java, and in several central regions of the island. The uprising on Java was cruelly suppressed. The armed uprising that broke out on western Sumatra in January 1927, after the reprisals on Java, was also quickly suppressed. The CPI was disbanded, and the trade unions and organizations connected with it were outlawed.

Between the two world wars the exploitation of Indonesia by foreign capital increased, encompassing many more regions. The penetration of capital from the USA and Japan was growing. Anglo-Dutch oil fields were multiplying, and American and Japanese oil fields appeared. Tin mining was also developing, and by the beginning of World War II (1939-45), Indonesia produced more than one-fifth of the tin in the capitalist world. Foreign capital continued the seizure of land and the organization of new plantations to produce colonial raw materials (rubber and copra) and food crops (sugarcane, coffee, and tea). The growing and all-encompassing imperialist exploitation further depressed the living standards of most of the population.

The National Party (PNI), headed by Sukarno, formed in 1927. The party’s program of independence and improvement of the living conditions of the people, as well as its attempts to enlist the working people, rapidly expanded its influence over the masses. In 1929 the authorities arrested Sukarno and several of his followers. The PNI was disbanded in 1930, but it was revived in 1931 as the Indonesia Party (Partindo) and became the most popular party.

The world economic crisis of 1929-33 had a severe effect on Indonesia. The drastic reduction of the cultivation of export crops, the artificial limitation on the export of rubber, tin, and other products, and the closing of the majority of the Javanese sugar refineries caused mass unemployment and the ruin of the peasants, especially those engaged in the cultivation of export crops. During the crisis the labor movement was stepped up again, and peasant demonstrations took place. The mutiny on the battleship De Zeven Provincien in 1933, which was suppressed by force of arms, for the first time united Dutch and Indonesian sailors in the struggle. In 1932-33, Partindo adopted a more socially oriented program (its demands included “land to those who cultivate it” and the defense of workers’ interests). In the pamphlet For a Free Indonesia (1933), Sukarno, who had been released from prison in 1931, set forth the basis for the future Pantja Sila (Five Principles) and the theory of Mar-haenism (from marhaen, “common man”). The ideology of Mar-haenism was a populist interpretation of socialism inseparably linked with the struggle for Indonesian independence.

In 1937 revolutionary representatives of the national and petite bourgeoisie and the Communists created a patriotic mass organization, the Movement of the Indonesian People (Gerakan Rakjat Indonesia, or Gerindo), which, together with other political parties and organizations, formed the Indonesian Political Union (Gabungan Politik Indonesia, or GAPI). Faced with the growing fascist danger in Europe and Asia and the threat of a Japanese invasion of Indonesia, GAPI, while defending the national interests and demanding self-government and democracy, was willing to cooperate with the Netherlands in the fight against fascism and the defense of Indonesia against Japanese aggression. However, the Dutch imperialists did not want to make even minimal concessions to the national movement. In March 1942 the Dutch authorities capitulated to the Japanese armed forces that had occupied Indonesia. The Japanese occupation authorities disbanded all political parties but, in an attempt to create a reliable political base, organized the Pusat Tenaga Rakjat (Concentration of Popular Forces, or Putera), which was to be the only party in the country, and the Pembela Tanah Air (Volunteer Army of Defenders of the Fatherland, or Peta), in which Indonesians were admitted to command positions.

The anti-Japanese movement was spurred on by the unlimited violence of the Japanese military occupation, the export of food products, the undisguised plunder of the inhabitants, the introduction of labor services, and the elimination of branches of agriculture that were not necessary to the Japanese war economy. A peasant uprising broke out in Tapanuli on Sumatra as early as 1942, and in subsequent years the resistance continued to increase (uprisings in Indramaju and Tasikmalaja in 1944 and the uprising of a Peta battalion in Blitar in 1945). Secret resistance organizations arose. Although the clandestinely reconstituted CPI was small, Communists were in the front ranks of the resistance movement. The work of the patriots in Peta units caused them to rise up repeatedly against the occupation forces.

The victories of the Soviet Army over German fascism, portending the imminent collapse of Hitler’s Germany, as well as the Allied offensive in the Pacific, forced Japan to engage in political maneuvers in Indonesia. It broadened the participation of Indonesians in the administration and set up the Committee for the Study of Independence in March 1945. The patriots took advantage of the new situation for legal demonstrations, demanding immediate independence for Indonesia. At the first plenary session of the Committee for the Study of Independence in June 1945, Sukarno delivered a major program speech, which was later called the birth of Pantja Sila. Sukarno coupled the demand for immediate independence with a presentation of the five principles for organizing the future independent state: setting up a unified state on the entire territory of Indonesia (the “principle of nationalism”), peaceful and friendly relations with all peoples (the “principle of internationalism”), the democratic solution of all state questions by representatives of the people (the “principle of democracy”), provision for the material welfare of the people (the “principle of social welfare”), and religious tolerance (the “principle of religiosity”). These principles became a platform uniting all the patriotic forces of Indonesia. The Japanese authorities were forced to set up the Committee for the Preparation of Independence, headed by Sukarno. Two days after the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan, the Japanese high command in Southeast Asia announced that Indonesia would receive the “gift” of independence on Aug. 24, 1945. However, the defeat of the Kwangtung Army by the Soviet troops and Japan’s surrender on August 14 made it possible for the representatives of the Indonesian patriotic forces, as early as August 17, to proclaim the country’s independence in the name of the people.

After the proclamation of independence. The proclamation of independence was supported by all the people. The Committee for the Preparation of Independence elected Sukarno president and M. Hatta vice-president on August 18, and a constitution was adopted. However, the threat of imperialist military intervention arose as early as September 1945. British and Indian troops landed in Jakarta (Batavia), formally to disarm the Japanese armed forces but in effect assisting in every possible way the restoration of the Dutch colonial administration and the landing of Dutch armed detachments. In November 1945 the population of Surabaya heroically resisted British aggression. In January 1946 the government of the republic was forced to move from Jakarta to Jogjakarta, which became the temporary capital. The struggle for independence united all the major social forces. Nevertheless, the united front was composed of various classes and groups that tried to gain the leading position in the republic. The Masjumi Party, founded in November 1945, was based on Islamic principles and brought together several Muslim parties and organizations of Indonesia, such as Nahdatul Ulama. Elements associated with the right wing of the bourgeoisie and the landowners gradually gained control over the party’s leadership. The National Party, reconstituted in January 1946, gained considerable influence. Its leadership was in the hands of representatives of the national bourgeoisie and petit bourgeois social strata. The right-wing socialist Sutan Sjahrir founded the People’s Socialist Party in November 1945 and became prime minister at the end of that year.

The CPI was a small party at the time the republic was proclaimed. The Socialist Party of Indonesia (headed by A. Sjarifuddin) and the Workers’ Party of Indonesia (headed by Setiadjit), which were both founded in 1945, as well as youth and other organizations, acted under the leadership of the PKI. In December 1945 the Socialist Part of Indonesia and the People’s Socialist Party merged to form the Socialist Party.

The Netherlands did not abandon its desire to restore its rule in Indonesia. However, not yet feeling ready for a colonial war and forced to consider democratic world opinion (in January 1946 the USSR was the first to protest at the UN against the colonialists’ actions in Indonesia), it accepted negotiations, and the Linggadjati Agreement was initialed in November 1946 and signed in March 1947. According to the agreement the Netherlands recognized a de facto republic within the limits of Java, Madura, and Sumatra. The occupied regions of these islands were to be returned to the republic. Together with the autonomous “states” created under imperialist control on other islands, the republic was to form a federal state, to be called the United States of Indonesia (USI), which in turn would be part of a Netherlands Indonesian Union.

Sjahrir’s further concessions to the Netherlands were opposed by parties of both the right and left, and the Sjahrir government was forced to resign in June 1947. Sjarifuddin formed a government that included five Communists. In July 1947 the Netherlands started an open war against the Republic of Indonesia.

The just struggle of the Indonesian people was increasingly supported by the world’s democratic forces. At the UN the socialist countries advocated radical solutions aimed at ending the colonial war and recognizing Indonesia’s independence. The colonial powers blocked these decisions and forced the UN to organize the Good Services Commission on Indonesia. Under the pressure of this commission, which was composed of representatives of Australia, Belgium, and the USA and in which the USA played a dominant role, the Sjarifuddin government was compelled on Jan. 17, 1948, to sign the extremely onerous Renville Agreement. The reactionary Masjumi Party and the right-wing socialists demagogically accused Sjarifuddin of being “conciliatory” and brought down his government. The next government, headed by Vice-President Hatta, was dominated by right-wing forces, and the Hatta government’s antidemocratic policy left the working people dissatisfied. In February 1948 the Socialist Party split into two socialist parties: a right-wing party headed by Sjahrir and a revolutionary party headed by Sjarifuddin. In August 1948 the CPI adopted the “New Path for the Republic of Indonesia” platform resolution and a resolution calling for the merger of the CPI, Sjarifuddin’s Socialist Party, and the Workers’ Party. The resolution was not free from sectarian mistakes, which made it easier for reactionary forces to stage provocations and to fight the Communists. In the course of the September 1948 armed clashes at Madiun, the result of a provocation by right-wing forces, many CPI leaders were killed, among them Musso, Sjarifuddin, Maruto Darusman, Setiadjit, and Harjono. The Netherlands took advantage of the republic’s difficulties and weakness in the wake of the Madiun events to take new aggressive actions. In December 1948 the temporary capital and the major centers of the republic were captured and President Sukarno and most members of the government were arrested and exiled from Java. However, this provoked increased resistance on the part of the Indonesian people, who began a guerrilla war; the indignation of democratic society in all countries; and vigorous actions of the progressive forces at the UN. The Netherlands was forced to return the government to Jogjakarta and to agree to the Round Table Conference, which met in The Hague from August to November 1949, with representatives of the Republic of Indonesia and delegations of the states created under imperialist control in some areas of Indonesia. The conference decided to make Indonesia a federal state, the Republic of the United States of Indonesia (USI), which included the Republic of Indonesia and 15 puppet states. The Netherlands was compelled to announce the transfer of sovereignty to the independent USI state. However, upon the Netherlands’ insistence the agreements adopted at the conference included several restrictive clauses that limited the USI’s sovereignty in foreign policy, foreign economic relations, and defense. The question of West Irian remained open because the Netherlands refused to agree to its reunification with Indonesia.

The imperialists’ hope of making permanent the oppressive agreements of the Round Table Conference was dashed. The desire of the Indonesian people to create a unified independent state led to the voluntary merger of the states with the republic. In August 1950 the USI became a unitary state, called the Republic of Indonesia, and a provisional constitution was adopted. The first cabinets of the unitary republic, which were dominated by the Masjumi Party and the right-wing socialists, leaned strongly toward the imperalist powers and delayed the establishment of diplomatic relations with the socialist countries that had recognized the republic. However, the national democratic forces were constantly intensifying their fight against the proimperialist policy of the reactionary cabinets. The working people resolutely fought the foreign monopolies, which tried to restore and expand their position in Indonesia. In 1950 more than 700,000 people on Java and Sumatra were involved in the struggle of plantation workers and peasants against the return of lands to foreign planters. The 1951 antilabor laws of the Suki-man government (1951-52) could not break the growing labor movement. Not only did the working people struggle against the proimperialist orientation of the reactionary cabinets, but a large portion of the bourgeoisie became convinced that economic development and the strengthening of independence were impossible as long as foreign monopolies continued to dominate the country and the oppressive political and economic agreements of the Round Table Conference remained in force. Nahdatul Ulama, a Muslim party reflecting the interests of the national bourgeoisie, left the Masjumi Party in 1952. The reactionary Masjumi Party leaders sabotaged the progressive policies of the Wilopo government (1952-53) and maintained secret contacts with the bandit detachments of Darul Islam, groups of armed Muslim extremists who resorted to terror and violence in an attempt to make Indonesia a theocratic Muslim state. This policy of the Masjumi Party caused it to lose its influence.

In July 1953 the left-wing nationalist Ali Sastroamidjojo formed the first government without the Masjumi and right-wing socialists. The foreign and domestic policy of the Sastroamidjojo cabinet (1953-55) reflected the trend toward the unification of the democratic forces in the struggle against the reactionary parties. Expanding direct political and economic relations with different countries, the government exchanged embassies with the USSR in 1954, signed an agreement on credits and deliveries with France and Italy, dropped the previous policy of embargo against the socialist countries, and concluded the first trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China in 1953. It halted the return to foreigners of plantations that had been occupied by peasants and tried to curb foreign capital by raising taxes on profits and limiting the right to transfer profits abroad. By 1954 the government had taken over 70 percent of the electric power plants.

The All-Indonesian People’s Congress, which met after the Bandung Conference of 1955, created a national front for the struggle for West Irian. The CPI played an ever increasing role, especially after its fifth congress (March 1954), at which 165,000 Communists were represented. The reactionary forces did not succeed in thwarting the parliamentary elections of 1955, and the democratic parties polled about 70 percent of the votes. The new parliament met in March 1956 and formed the second Ali Sastroamidjojo cabinet (1956-57). With the support of the CPI and several mass organizations associated with it, Sastroamidjojo was able to enact several progressive measures despite the resistance of reactionary forces and their representatives in government. The law on the unilateral abrogation of the agreements of the Round Table Conference was enacted in May 1956. Indonesia stopped payment of the colonial debt to the Netherlands and broadened relations with the socialist countries. In 1956, Sukarno visited the USSR and other socialist countries and concluded a number of agreements, including the first General Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation with the USSR and a trade agreement between Indonesia and the USSR.

The reactionary parties, especially the Masjumi Party and the right-wing socialists, combined subversive activity within the government with clandestine support for counterrevolutionary plots and rebellions. Colonel Lubis’ unsuccessful coup d’etat on Java in November 1956 was followed by rebellions by several military commanders on Sumatra and Sulawesi. Although not openly supporting the rebellions, the Masjumi Party left the government, taking with it several small parties. In February 1957, at the height of the governmental and parliamentary crisis, Sukarno officially announced the concept of guided democracy as against the Western bourgeois parliamentary system. Under the latter, Sukarno declared, Indonesia could not fulfill the tasks of the 1945 Revolution and create a just society. Sukarno viewed guided democracy as a way to curb the right-wing parties, to enhance his personal authority, and to implement the ideas of petit bourgeois socialism. The president proposed the formation of a National Council in which all strata, or “functional groups,” of Indonesia would be represented, and of a government of Go-tong Rojong (mutual cooperation), composed of all parties in proportion to their representation in parliament. The national and democratic forces and the CPI supported this concept, regarding it above all as a way to fight the reaction and to strengthen the country’s national independence and economy. The CPI hoped that by supporting Sukarno it would help “push” Indonesia’s development toward socialism and could come to power through peaceful means. At the same time the bourgeois parties and part of the army, headed by Nasution, considered guided democracy a means to prevent the increase of the CPI’s influence. The opposition of the reactionary parties made it impossible to organize a Gotong Rojong cabinet with Communist participation, -n April 1957 Sukarno formed an “extraparlia-mentary practical cabinet” headed by Djuanda, without the Masjumi Party and the CPI.

In November 1957 the government set the task of creating a guided economy, with the role of the state sector predominant. After the reactionaries’ hopes of seizing power in Jakarta and limiting the president’s power were dashed, several prominent Masjumi Party leaders openly sided with the rebels. Despite the support that the rebels received from the imperialists, the separatist rebellions were essentially eliminated in the course of several years. In mid-1957 the Djuanda government stepped up the struggle for the return of West Irian, and in December of the same year the trade unions began seizing Dutch enterprises as part of the struggle for the liberation of West Irian. The government sanctioned the establishment of state control over the enterprises and placed them under military administration.

Supported by the democratic forces, above all the CPI, Sukarno restored the 1945 constitution by the decree of July 5, 1959. The president himself headed the new cabinet, with Djuanda as prime minister, and the National Council became the Supreme Consultative Council.

Sukarno’s program speech of Aug. 17, 1959, called for the struggle for the ideals of the 1945 Revolution. Entitled “Political Manifesto” (Manipol), the speech was adopted by the Supreme Consultative Council as the official state program. Manipol contained five principles: the 1945 constitution, Indonesian socialism, guided democracy, guided economy, and Indonesian originality.

The Sixth Congress of the CPI, held in September 1959, also approved Manipol. On March 5, 1960, invoking the 1945 constitution, Sukarno disbanded the elected parliament, which was replaced by a Gotong Rojong parliament appointed by the president. In addition to the three major parties (the National Party, Nahdatul Ulama, and the CPI), the new parliament included representatives of workers’, peasants’, and other mass organizations and of the armed forces. The reactionaries were blocking the implementation of the government measures. In March 1960 representatives of the Masjumi and Socialist parties and of several other right-wing organizations formed the so-called Democratic League, which opposed the implementation of the government’s measures, declaring that guided democracy would work in favor of the Communists. On Aug. 15, 1960, President Sukarno formed the Provisional People’s Consultative Congress, and on Aug. 17, 1960, he issued a decree disbanding the Masjumi and Socialist parties. A charter for the National Front was drawn up, based on the principle of Nasakom (cooperation of nationalist, religious, and Communist organizations).

The government carried out all its measures under the banner of Manipol, Nasakom, and the return of West Irian. The nationalization of the Dutch enterprises was completed in the spring of 1961; diplomatic relations with the Netherlands had been broken off as early as August 1960. The threat of the liberation of West Irian by force was accompanied by military preparations and large-scale propaganda. The reinforcement of the Indonesian armed forces with Soviet assistance and Indonesia’s preparation for military actions forced the Netherlands to make concessions. In 1962 an agreement was reached with the Netherlands on the gradual transfer of West Irian under the republic’s administration, and the transfer took place in 1963. According to the Dutch-Indonesian agreement, the referendum conducted by Indonesia in August 1969 definitively resolved the incorporation of West Irian into the Republic of Indonesia.

The struggle for West Irian corresponded to the national aspirations of the Indonesian people, but it was also used by the ruling circles to divert the attention of the popular masses from the difficult economic situation. After the return of West Irian, the fight against the formation of Malaysia, which began in 1963, was used for the same goal. The lack of technical and managerial skill to run the nationalized Dutch enterprises drastically reduced their efficiency. Corruption, currency speculation, and bribery were on the increase, producing a peculiar stratum of capitalist bureaucrats that included many leaders of the National and other parties. The president’s closest advisers were drawn into the corruption, and the implementation of many progressive measures, such as the 1960 agrarian reform and the fulfillment of the eight-year development plan for 1961-69, was held up.

Sukarno was interested in retaining the support of the CPI and the organizations associated with it and in maintaining a balance of power within the National Front, which he tried to use to maintain and strengthen his supreme power in Indonesia. The CPI, in turn, mindful of the balance of power in the country, considered the strengthening of Sukarno’s authority a condition for preserving the national democratic course and for widening its own influence. But the Communist Party’s unconditional support of all the major government policies made it difficult for the party to fight for the interests of the working people or to lead the popular masses in the struggle to improve their difficult conditions.

Sukarno, who on the one hand wanted to receive aid from the socialist countries and on the other tried to take advantage of the contradictions among the imperialist powers in the hope of a rapprochement with some of them, at the same time politically gravitated more and more toward a one-sided orientation toward China. The constantly increasing pro-Peking course was manifested in the exclusion of the Soviet Union from the Afro-Asian Conference of Journalists in 1963 in Jakarta on the grounds that it was a “non-Asian country” and in the attempts of Indonesia and several other countries to exclude the Soviet Union from the proposed second Afro-Asian Conference in Algiers. In January 1965, when Malaysia was elected to the UN Security Council, Sukarno announced that Indonesia was leaving the UN (it returned to the UN in 1966). At the same time left-opportunist and adventurist ideas were gaining ground among the leaders of the CPI, under the influence of the Communist Party of China.

The nationwide celebration of the 45th anniversary of the CPI, which was held in May 1965 on Sukarno’s instructions and with his participation, was to be a demonstration of the allegedly firm cooperation between the president and the CPI and of the solidity of Nasakom. However, the constantly deteriorating economic situation, the disappointment of the masses in guided democracy, and the activation of reaction and opposition among the higher ranks of the army were creating a deep polarization of the country. The military leadership consolidated its forces against the CPI and Sukarno and prepared for a seizure of power. The CPI leadership feared that the forces of reaction would use the army to suppress the revolutionary and democratic organizations, but it did not prepare the party and the masses for resistance. The influence of the CPI in the army was small. In September 1965, against the background of this development, Lieutenant Colonel Untung, commander of President Sukarno’s bodyguard battalion, staged a counterplot of left-wing army officers. This plot, which came to be called the September 30 Movement, was aimed at removing several high commanders of the ground forces. A narrow group of the CPI leadership decided to support Untung’s action, without informing the party’s Central Committee of its decision. The September 30 Movement became a palace revolution; it was not supported by the popular masses and was defeated. The military, headed by General Suharto, the commander of the country’s strategic reserve forces, became the master of the situation. The reactionaries, fanning Muslim fanaticism, using right-wing youth organizations, and accusing the Communists of organizing the plot, threw all their forces toward the destruction of the CPI. Hundreds of thousands of Communists and progressive leaders of other democratic organizations, not prepared to resist, were brutally killed. The majority of the CPI leaders, including Aidit and Njoto, died in belated attempts to fight back in several regions of Java that did not receive sufficient mass support. For the time being the military command headed by Suharto formally left Sukarno as president but took all power in preparation for Sukarno’s removal. A presidential decree by Sukarno transferred the functions of head of the executive branch to Suharto in March 1966. In March 1967 the Provisional People’s Consultative Congress deprived Sukarno of the presidential mandate and appointed Suharto acting president of Indonesia. In April 1968, Suharto was appointed president of Indonesia.

In March 1966, Suharto issued a decree in the name of the president officially outlawing the CPI. The Provisional People’s Consultative Congress confirmed the decree in June 1966 and adopted a resolution prohibiting any activity toward the dissemination of Marxist-Leninist ideas in Indonesia. The influence of all the remaining parties and public organizations in the country was greatly curtailed. This was shown, in particular, in the results of the 1971 elections to the country’s legislative bodies, when an overwhelming majority was won by candidates of functional groups, such as the army, which had been set up according to occupational criteria, as distinct from parties, and which were linked with the regime. In foreign policy matters the Suharto government declared that it would pursue an “active and independent” policy of nonalignment. In questions such as the struggle for peace and the relaxation of international tensions, the prohibition of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, the solution of the Middle East crisis, and the struggle against apartheid and racism, Indonesia’s policy has been the same as that of most other nonaligned countries. At the same time, the position of Indonesia with respect to a number of other issues (such as the national liberation movement) became contradictory and inconsistent as a result of its strong dependence on imperialist powers in economic and financial matters.

In the mid-1970’s the Indonesian government, although not entirely abandoning the course of development of the national economy with the help of foreign capital (mostly from the West), began to show an inclination toward a certain activation of its relations with the USSR and other socialist states and also with the countries of the third world.

D. V. DEOPIK (to the 16th century) and A. A. GUBER (after the 16th century) [Section updated]


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Political parties. The Democratic Party of Indonesia (Partai Demokrasi dan Pembangunan Indonesia) formed in 1973 as a result of the fusion of several parties: the National Party of Indonesia (founded in 1927), the Catholic Party of Indonesia (founded in 1949), the Christian Party of Indonesia (founded in 1945), the Murba Party, and the League of Defenders of Indonesian Independence. The party expresses the interests of the national bourgeoisie.

The Party of Unity and Development of Indonesia (Partai Persatuan dan Pembangunan) was formed in 1973 after the fusion of the Nahdatul Ulama (founded in 1926), the Muslim Party of Indonesia (founded in 1968), the Muslim Union of Indonesia (founded in 1923), and the Movement for Muslim Education. It expresses the interests of the rural exploiters and the Muslim faction of the national bourgeoisie.

The Functional Groups (GOLKAR) are a progovernment political organization (founded in 1964) that includes more than 200 organizations of various types—military, professional, youth, women’s, and religious organizations, as well as unions of free-lance professionals that are not involved in any political party.

The Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Komunis Indonesia; CPI) was founded in 1920. After the events of 1965 the party was officially banned (in March 1966), and the Indonesian Communists are working in the deep underground.

Trade unions. In 1973 all trade unions were united by the government into the Federation of Workers of Indonesia (FBSI), which has about 18 million members. Since the leaders of the federation stand for “peace among classes,” workers’ strikes are held independent of the FBSI. [section updated]

General state of the economy. During colonial rule Indonesia had an agrarian and raw-materials economy. By the late 19th century it had Asia’s largest plantation economy and a considerable mining industry. Indonesia became an important supplier of agricultural and mineral raw materials for the world market (in 1938, Indonesia accounted for 90 percent of the world production and export of quinine, 85 percent of the pepper, 64 percent of the kapok, 33 percent of the rubber, 29 percent of the copra and coconut oil, 25 percent of the hard fibers, 22 percent of the palm oil and kernels, 17 percent of the tea, and 5 percent of the cane sugar). Foreign investments in the prewar period were estimated at $2.1 billion (excluding loans to local government agencies), of which 70 percent came from the Netherlands, 12.5 percent from Great Britain, 10 percent from the USA, and 5 percent from France and Belgium. The Japanese occupation (1942-45) during World War II (1939-45) and the Dutch aggression against the Republic of Indonesia (1945-49) severely damaged the plantation economy, industry, and transportation.

After the proclamation of independence steps were taken toward the restoration and development of the national economy and the reduction of dependence on the imperialist powers. The state sector, which was based on the nationalized property of the Dutch colonial authorities, was greatly developed. This sector became particularly strong after the nationalization of the Dutch private enterprises in 1957-61. The economy was developing against the background of a continuous struggle against domestic and foreign enemies of the republic. The reactionary elements in the state apparatus were thwarting progressive transformations, and the bourgeoisie, which held power, used the state sector for its own enrichment.

The country’s economic situation deteriorated after September 1965, when the Indonesian democratic forces were crushed. Production dropped, inflation increased, and the foreign debt rose (reaching $3.7 billion in 1970). Indonesia’s economic dependence on foreign capital also increased. After the coup d’etat the USA, Japan, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and other creditor countries set up an international consortium to regulate the debt problem. The Indonesian government made great concessions in exchange for deferral of payments and new financial “aid” from the imperialist powers. In 1967 the government adopted a foreign-investment law that opened wide opportunities for private foreign capital in Indonesia and approved a plan of foreign capital investments from early 1967 to February 1971 of over $1.4 billion, one-third of it to be American. Foreign enterprises that had previously been placed under state control, as well as almost all British plantations, were returned to their former owners. The returned enterprises included a tire plant of the American Goodyear Company, tobacco-curing factories of the British-American Tobacco Company and Unilever, and almost all the British plantations. American, Japanese, Dutch, West German, French, and other foreign banks opened branches in Jakarta.

Table 2. Sown area and harvest of food crops
Rice.......570,0006,980,0008,237,00011,571,00016,192,000 (unpolished)16,839,000
Sweet potatoes.....222,000622,000322,00011 ,422,0003,958,0001,904,0001

The government particularly supports the entrepreneurial activity of the Indonesian bourgeoisie. The great influx of foreign investments and various types of foreign “aid” have further intensified the uneven development and disproportions in the country’s economy. The inordinate concentration of foreign capital in the mining industry, for instance, made this industry grow faster than the manufacturing industry, some branches of which have had to ovecome a capital shortage in their development. The condition of the toiling masses has deteriorated. In 1970 there were 3 million fully unemployed and 14 million partly unemployed. The economic development plan for the period from 1969-70 to 1973-74 lays prime emphasis on agriculture, transportation, electric power engineering, and the mining industry.

Agriculture. Agriculture is the main branch of the economy, accounting for 47 percent of the gross national product in 1968 (in 1960 prices). Agriculture is characterized by interlocking of capitalist relations with vestiges of feudalism and, in some cases, even with remnants of the clan system. Capitalist plantations coexist with a large number of small semisubsistence peasant farms.

A considerable part of the land is owned by landlords and usurers, who usually lease it to peasants. According to data of the 1963 agricultural census there were 12.2 million small peasants, who cultivated 12.9 million hectares (ha) of plowed land and of whom about 65 percent cultivated only their own land. Leased land accounted for 17.2 percent of the plowed land. Most of the peasant farms are small: on Java about 70 percent of the peasants have allotments of less than 0.5 ha, more than 20 percent between 0.5 and 1 ha, about 10 percent up to 2 ha, and only 3 percent more than 2 ha. Most of the plantations, which are concentrated mainly on Java and northern Sumatra, are owned by the state; there are also British, American, and other foreign plantations. The plantations employ more than 400,000 permanent and 100,000 seasonal workers annually. There were 3,100 tractors in agriculture in 1965.

Farming accounts for 84 percent of the total income derived from agriculture; animal husbandry, 9 percent; fishing, 5 percent; and forestry, 2 percent (1967 data, in 1960 prices).

FARMING. Farmland covers 9.5 percent of the country’s territory, or about 18 million ha, of which about 5 million ha is irrigated, 2.5 million ha is peasants’ household gardens and truck gardens, and 1.7 million ha is large plantations.

In 1967 the production of food crops accounted for 76.4 percent of the total income derived from agriculture; industrial crops of peasant farms, 18 percent; and plantation output, 5.6 percent. Domestic food production is insufficient; the deficit is covered mainly by rice imports. In addition to food crops, the peasant farms also cultivate industrial crops for export and for the domestic market, whereas the plantations cultivate industrial crops mainly for export. Rice, the major food grain crop, occupies four-fifths of the irrigated land. More than 50 percent of the rice fields and more than 75 percent of the other food-crop fields are on Java. Some crops are harvested twice a year. (See Table 2 for sown area and harvest of food crops.)

The major export crops are rubber plants, coconut and oil palms, tea, coffee, cacao, sugarcane, tobacco, pepper, cinchona, kapok, and sisal. In 1965 rubber plants covered 505,000 ha on the plantations and about 1.5 million ha on the peasant farms; the peasant farms produced two-thirds of the rubber and the plantations one-third (the plantation output was of higher quality). Sumatra produces about two-thirds of the country’s rubber, out of a total output of 800,000 tons (1971, estimate).

Indonesia is the world’s second largest copra producer, after the Philippines. Coconut palms are grown in all areas of the country, but most of the export production comes from the eastern regions. Coconut palms are cultivated mainly on peasant farms (1,553,000 ha in 1963; plantations occupied only 17,400 ha). Oil palms are grown only on plantations, mainly on northern Sumatra (93,400 ha in 1966). The export of palm oil and kernels is considerable. Indonesia is the world’s fourth largest palm-oil producer (214,000 tons in 1970), after Malaysia, Nigeria, and Zaire. Indonesia ranks with India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) as a major producer and exporter of tea. The plantations of western Java and northern and central Sumatra, which planted tea on 67,000 ha in 1965, account for more than one-half of the tea-leaf harvest; peasant farms planted tea on 61,000 ha in 1963.

Indonesia has lost its status as a major producer of sugarcane, of which 2.9 million tons were produced in 1930. Sugarcane is grown on the same fields as rice, mainly on Java. Indonesia is a major supplier of cinchona bark and quinine (the quinine factory in Bandung is the chief producer). Cinchona is grown in mountain regions, mainly on Java, in the same regions where tea plants are grown. Coffee trees are grown on plantations (chiefly in the mountain regions of central and eastern Java) and on peasant farms (mainly on Sumatra) on the plateaus and slopes of the Bukit-Barisan mountains. High-quality tobacco is cultivated on the plantations of northern Sumatra, including Deli, one of the world’s best cigar-wrapper tobaccos; other strains of tobacco are cultivated on the peasant farms of Java, Sumatra, Bali, Lombok, Sulawesi, and other islands. (See Table 3 for the production of individual industrial crops.) French, and other foreign banks opened branches in Jakarta.

Table 3. Production of industrialcrops (tons)
1Including production from raw materials purchased from peasant farms2Export3Estimate
 Type of farm19381955196519701
1 46.6002
. . .
Palm oil.Plantations223,700165,200156,600195,000
Palm kermelsPlantations48,00041,90032,50045,000
Cinchona bark..Plantations11,0002,7001,7001,800
Copra ..Plantations
Pepper ..Peasant

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY. Animal husbandry is of secondary importance. In 1969-70 there were 9.7 million head of cattle (including 2.7 million water buffalo), 2.7 million pigs, 7 million goats, 3.7 million sheep, and 600,000 horses. Poultry (chickens, geese, and ducks) amounts to about 90 million. Cattle and water buffalo are used chiefly as draft animals, and the herd of dairy livestock is small.

FISHING. In 1970 the fish catch was 1.2 million tons, two-thirds of which was caught in the seas (sardine, mackerel, and bonito) and one-third in inland bodies of water (mainly varieties of carp). The most important regions for marine fishing are the eastern coast of Sumatra (the major fishing ports are Bagansiapi-api and Bengkalis), the northern coast of Java (Tandjungpriok, Semarang, and Surabaya), and the coasts of Kalimantan (Sukadana and Kotabaru) and Sulawesi (Ujung Pandang). On Java there is widespread raising of fish in ponds, irrigated rice fields, and enclosed sections of coastal mangrove swamps (tam-bak). Lobster, shrimp, and trepang are caught in the seas; agar is also raised. Pearls and mother-of-pearl shells are gathered in the eastern part of the Indonesian Archipelago (the Aru, Kai, and Tanimbar islands).

FORESTRY. Forests cover 122 million ha (1961), or 65 percent of Indonesia. Twenty-three percent of Java, 60 percent of Sumatra, 77 percent of Kalimantan, 52 percent of Sulawesi, 20 percent of the Lesser Sundas, and 75 percent of the Moluccas and West Irian (together) is covered by forests. The procurement of workable lumber was 7.4 million cu m in 1968, including fine woods such as teak, ironwood, mahogany, ebony, rosewood, camphor tree, sandalwood, and rattan. Dammar, benzoin, copal, guttapercha, and other resins are extracted.

Industry. In 1968 mining accounted for 4 percent of the gross national product and manufacturing for 9 percent (in 1960 prices). Despite the wealth and variety of minerals, the branches of Indonesia’s mining industry that have been developed are mainly those whose products can be sold at especially high profits on the world market: petroleum extraction and the mining of tin and nickel (and their concentrates) and bauxites.

EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY The main branch of extractive industry is petroleum extraction. The American oil company Caltex (Stancal and Texaco) produces more than two-thirds of the petroleum (29.4 million tons in 1969). The main oil fields on central Sumatra are Minas (where about 70 percent of Caltex’ oil is produced), Bekasap, Duri, Pematang, and Lirik-Ukui. The American company Stan vac, which produces about 10 percent of the oil, has fields in central and southern Sumatra. The main oil fields on southern Sumatra are in the Palembang region (centers include Talang Jimar, Kenali-Asam, and Talang Akar). The rest of the oil is produced by the Indonesian state oil company Pertamina and numerous foreign companies that have the status of contractors, such as the Japanese North Sumatra Oil Development Corporation Company (Nosodeko) and the American-Canadian Asamera Oil (which exploits deposits on northern, central, and southern Sumatra, in the southeastern and eastern regions of Kalimantan, and on Tarakan and Bunju islands). In 1970,36 American, Japanese, and other foreign oil companies and groups were exploring mainly offshore oil deposits off Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, and West Irian. There are refineries in Sungaigerong, Pladju, Dumai, Pangkalanberandan, Sungai-pakning (Sumatra), Balikpapan (Kalimantan), and Wono-kromo (Java).

Tin mining is the most important branch of the mining industry. A state company mines tin on the islands of Bangka (two-thirds of all the production). Belitung, and Singkep (in 1967 a state tin foundry was built at Muntok on Bangka Island). The Indonesian state company Perusahaan Nasional Tambang Bok-sit Indonesia mines bauxites on Bintan Island (Riau Archipelago), and the Japanese Sulawesi Nickel Development Corporation mines nickel on Sulawesi. The right to exploit bauxite, nickel, and copper deposits has been granted to the Canadian firm International Nickel Corporation of Canada (INCO) and to other monopolies, including Alcoa, Freeport Sulphur, and Pacific Nickel Development. (See Table 4 for the production of most important minerals.)

Table 4. Output of most important minerals (tons)
1 Cu m2Content of metal3 19694kg
Natural gas’1.....1000,000,0001,900,000,0002,600,000,000
Tin concentrates2..27,700,00033,900,00019,100,000
Manganese ore2...9,70039,100-
Nickel ore2......20,0007.0003
Salt..... 91,00046,100180.0003
Gold4......2, 3782373

POWER ENGINEERING. The output of electric power in 1969 was 2.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kW-hr), 55 percent of which was produced by hydroelectric power plants. The hydroelectric power potential is estimated at 20 million kW. More than 70 percent of the electric power plants have a capacity of less than 1,000 kW. More than 75 percent of the electric power is produced on Java.

MANUFACTURING. The food and condiment industry (rice-polishing, tobacco, sugar, tea, and butter) and the textile industry (production of cotton thread and fabrics and of knitwear; the processing of kapok, sisal, and other fiber crops; and the production of hemp and jute goods) account for about 70 percent of the industrial enterprises and two-thirds of the people employed in manufacturing. (See Table 5 for the structure of manufacturing.)

Indonesia has branches of industry associated with the primary processing of rubber and the production of rubber goods, building materials, and pharmaceuticals; saw milling; and wood processing; as well as a printing industry. Along with the further development of traditional branches of industry, the new branches of metalworking and machine building began to form in the years of independence; in addition to mechanical repair enterprises and the production of metal household articles and farm implements, shipbuilding and motor-vehicle assembly (from imported parts) also appeared. The chemical industry has developed, particularly the production of mineral fertilizers. Large state enterprises built after liberation include a spinning factory in Cilacap, tire plants built with foreign aid in Jakarta and Palembang, motor-vehicle assembly plants in Jakarta and Surabaya, a chemical plant in Waru (Surabaya), a nitrogen-fertilizer plant in Palembang, a cement plant in Gresik (Surabaya), a sugar refinery in Jogjakarta, and a fish-canning plant in Kotabaru (island of Sebuku). French, and other foreign banks opened branches in Jakarta.

Table 5. Structure of the manufacturing industry1
1According to data of 1964 industrial census covering enterprises using mechanical motors or having more than ten employees2 Conventional net output
 Value of output2 (percent)Proportion of workers (percent)
Chemical-pharmaceutical and perfume ......2.9
Glass, ceramics, and building materials......4.63.9
Metalworking, machine building,
and metal repair.....

In 1964 there were 17,200 industrial enterprises based on manual labor with ten or more employees, employing a total of about 500,000 people, and 16,400 enterprises using mechanical or electric motors, with a total labor force of over 600,000. Only 131,000 people worked in the 70 largest enterprises (those with more than 1,000 workers.) The small-handicrafts industry, which employs more than 800,000 people, supplies food products (sugar), fabrics, clothing, footwear, and household articles (and, to some extent, produces these items for export); it also produces woven articles of bamboo and palm fibers (baskets, hats, and mats), umbrellas, pottery, objects d’art of wood, bone, leather, and silver (in the regions of Jogjakarta, Padang, and Ujung Pandang, as well as on Bali), and batik (in the regions of Jogjakarta, Surakarta, Pekalongan, Garut, Tjirebon, Tjiamis, and Tasikmalaja). (See Table 6 for the output of some types of industrial goods.) French, and other foreign banks opened branches in Jakarta.

Table 6. Output of most important industrial goods
Cigarettes (billion units)..19.160.4
Cotton yarn (tons)....4,50029,000
Lumber (million cu m)....1.71.8
Nitrogen fertilizers (tons)..43,000
Cement (tons).....149,000536,000
Cast tin (tons).....6009,0001
Motor vehicles2 (units)
passenger cars.....


Transportation. Indonesia’s island structure has made sea transportation dominant. The total annual freight turnover of all the seaports is 34 million tons (1969 data), two-thirds of which consists of shipments of petroleum and petroleum products. The largest ports are Tandjungpriok, which serves Jakarta (freight turnover, more than 3 million tons), and Surabaya (about 2.5 million tons) on Java; Palembang (more than 10 million tons) and Belawan, which serves Medan and the surrounding plantation region (more than 1 million tons), on Sumatra; Balikpapan (more than 2 million tons) on Kalimantan; and Ujung Pandang (about 500,000 tons) on Sulawesi. A state company handles most interisland shipments, and foreign shipping companies handle almost all international shipments. The tonnage of the merchant marine is 711,500 gross registered tons (1968 data), half of which is state-owned. In several regions—for example, Kalimantan, West Irian, and eastern Sumatra—rivers are the main, and in some parts the only, transportation routes between the coast and the interior regions. The total length of the railroads is 8,596 km (1967 data), including 6,640 km on Java and 1,956 km on Sumatra. Only 54 km of the railroads are electrified (Jakarta-Bogor). The railroads have various gauges.

The length of the motor highways is 83,300 km, of which 20,800 km are asphalted; about 80 percent of the roads are on Java and Sumatra. The roads on Kalimantan were built in 1966 with the participation of the USSR. Indonesia has 325,300 motor vehicles (1970 data), including 210,000 passenger cars. The country’s oil pipelines are Minas-Duri (65 km), Minas-Dumai (85 km), Duri-Dumai (48 km), Minas-Perawang (25 km), Tand-jung-Balikpapan (280 km), Tempino-Pladju (265 km), and Talang Akar-Sungaigerong (125 km). Air routes of the state-owned Garuda company link Indonesia’s major cities with the capitals of the states of Southeast Asia. Kemajoran International Airport is located near Jakarta.

Foreign trade. An average of up to one-fourth of the country’s entire commodity production is sold on the foreign market, including almost the entire output of rubber, bauxites, and tin and manganese ore and a large part of the petroleum and petroleum products and palm oil. At the same time, Indonesia depends wholly or partially on the import of metals, machines and industrial equipment, means of transportation, cement, thread, textiles, and other manufactured goods, as well as food products, such as rice. The following figures characterize the country’s export structure in 1969 (in percent of the total): rubber and rubber products, 24.3 percent (33 percent of the total value of export in 1966); petroleum and petroleum products, 45 percent; tin and tin ore, 5 percent; copra, 2.7 percent; tea, 1.0 percent; coffee, 6.4 percent; tobacco, 0.7 percent; palm oil, 1.9 percent; and lumber, 3.2 percent. The corresponding figures for the import structure for the same year are: consumer goods, 30.5 percent; raw materials and semifinished goods, 40.9 percent; and means of production, 28.6 percent (including machines and equipment, 9 percent). Indonesia’s major trade partners (1969 data) are Japan (31.4 percent of exports; 29.4 percent of imports), the USA (14.5 and 20.0 percent, respectively), the Federal Republic of Germany (4.5 and 8.7 percent), the Netherlands (6.2 and 5.1 percent), Great Britain (1.3 and 3.4 percent), and the Commonwealth of Australia (7.7 and 2.6 percent).

The monetary unit of Indonesia is the rupiah. At the rate of exchange set by the State Bank of the USSR in May 1972, 1,000 rupiahs are worth 2.00 rubles.

Economic regions. Java, together with Madura, is economically the most developed region. Although it is only 7 percent of Indonesia’s territory, two-thirds of the country’s population and about one-half of all the cultivated area is concentrated there. The region accounts for the harvest of more than 50 percent of rice and sweet potatoes, more than 70 percent of cassava, more than 75 percent of corn and peanuts, about 85 percent of soybeans, 75 percent of tea, and almost the entire production of sugar, kapok, and cinchona bark. Java contains about two-thirds of the cattle, including water buffalo, more than 80 percent of the sheep and goats, the entire teak procurement, and about one-fourth of the fish catch. Java is distinguished by its relatively high development of the manufacturing industry, with about 80 percent of the entire population employed in industry, about 70 percent of the enterprises, and more than 85 percent of all the people working in factories and plants (1964 data). The major centers of the manufacturing industry are Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Bandung, Tjirebon, Jogjakarta, Surakarta, Malang, and Madiun. Oil is extracted near Tjepu and Surabaya, manganese at the deposits of Karangnunggal and West Progo on western and central Java, phosphorites near Tjirebon, sulfur on western and eastern Java, and gold and silver at the Tjikotok deposit. Java accounts for about one-sixth of Indonesian exports and two-thirds of the imports.

Sumatra is Indonesia’s second region, after Java, in economic development. It is an important producer of mineral and agricultural raw materials for export (up to two-thirds of the country’s exports). More than 10 percent of the island’s area is under cultivation. Sumatra is the chief region of plantation economy, with 60 percent of the area under plantations in Indonesia. This region accounts for two-thirds of the entire output and export of rubber, more than nine-tenths of the production and the entire export of palm oil and palm kernels, two-thirds of the production and export of coffee and hard fibers, one-half of the copra exports, one-fourth of tea exports, and nine-tenths of the production and exports of pepper. Sumatra is Indonesia’s chief mining region. Almost all the tin ores and bauxites, up to 90 percent of the petroleum, and about 80 percent of the coal are extracted there. The major industrial and commercial centers are the cities of Medan, Palembang, and Padang.

Kalimantan, Indonesia’s largest region, is poorly developed. With one-fourth of Indonesia’s territory, it contains only 4 percent of the country’s population. Less than 3 percent of the island’s area is under cultivation, and tropical forests cover 75 percent. Kalimantan is a lumber-procurement region; it accounts for up to one-third of the lumber export and 40 percent of the rattan and dammar export. Petroleum is extracted in Tanjung, coal at the Parapatan deposit, and diamonds in the region of Pelaihari.

Sulawesi is an agrarian region with some mining centers. Less than 10 percent of the island’s area is under cultivation, tropical forests covering 50 percent. Nickel ore, asphalt, and sulfur are extracted. The chief commercial center and seaport is the city of Ujung Pandang, which has close economic relations with the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas.

West Irian (the western part of New Guinea) is the least developed and least populated region of Indonesia. Its economy includes oil production (on the Doberai Peninsula) and logging and timber procurement.


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The armed forces consist of land troops, an air force, and a navy, with a total strength of about 350,000 (1971); there are also about 130,000 military police. The president is the supreme commander in chief. The army is made up of draftees and volunteers. The land troops (about 250,000 men) consist of 15 infantry brigades and separate infantry, paratroop, and tank battalions. Most of the armament is foreign-made. The air force (about 50,000 strong) has aviation wings and squadrons of bomber, fighter, and auxiliary aircraft, with a total of 200 airplanes and helicopters, including more than 30 bombers. Most of the airplanes are obsolete. The navy (about 50,000 men) consists of the fleet, aviation, and marines. It has about 170 warships and auxiliary vessels, as well as about 20 airplanes and helicopters.

Medicine and public health. In 1968 the birthrate was 48.3 and general mortality 19.4 per thousand; there are no exact statistics on infant mortality. Infectious diseases are the most widespread and are the chief cause of general mortality.

Indonesia is one of the most malaria-infested regions of the world. Before World War II the disease killed an average of 120,000-130,000 people per year. The fight against malaria had virtually eradicated it by the 1950’s on Java, Madura, and Bali, but it is still widespread on other islands, such as Sumatra and Kalimantan. Tuberculosis is very widespread (more than 2 million people have open tuberculosis). Since 1952 children in the cities have been inoculated against tuberculosis with BCG vaccine. By 1965, 534,400 cases of leprosy had been recorded. In the early 1950’s about 15 percent of the rural population was afflicted with yaws, mainly children up to the age of 15, who account for 75 percent of all the cases. An all-out campaign against yaws has reduced its incidence to 0.6 percent on Java and Madura, but it remains endemic on the other islands. From 1910 to 1952, 6,000 people died of the plague each year, but the incidence of plague began declining rapidly after 1953 and no cases have been recorded since 1961. There was a large smallpox epidemic in 1948-52 and epidemic outbreaks in 1961 on western Java, in 1965 on Madura, and in 1966 on southern Sumatra. An endemic center of El Tor cholera arose on Sulawesi in 1937-38 and on Java in 1961; since then cholera has been recorded in various regions of the country. Typhoid fever, paratyphoid, and bacillary and amoebic dysentery are encountered everywhere, and trachoma, blenorrhea, and other eye diseases are widespread. There were more than 250,000 blind people in Indonesia in the 1960’s.

Medical services are rendered by private and state medical institutions and by private practitioners. In 1968, Indonesia had 1,052 hospitals with 76,900 beds, or 0.7 beds per thousand, not including 53 leper colonies. Outpatient services are provided by 463 polyclinic departments of hospitals, 7,400 polyclinics, and nine health centers. In 1967 there were 3,900 doctors, or one per 28,000 inhabitants; 700 dentists; 800 pharmacists and assistant pharmacists; and about 19,000 secondary medical personnel; there are 17 medical schools for training doctors and 85 schools for training midwives and assistant midwives. In 1963 the USSR gave a hospital in Jakarta, with 200 beds and a polyclinic, as a gift to the Indonesian people.


Veterinary services. Because of the great number of transmitters and wild disease carriers, trypanosomiasis and piroplasmosis are very widespread among cattle. All types of farm animals are affected by helminthiases (cestodiases, nematodiases, and trema-todiases), rabies, and anthrax. Newcastle disease of fowl, melioidosis, buffalo pasteurellosis, and leptospirosis are enzootic. Foot-and-mouth disease, glanders, and streptotrichosis have been recorded in some regions. There were 177 veterinarians in 1969. A veterinary college in Jogjakarta trains veterinarians.


As a result of the policy of the Dutch colonialists, only 6 percent of Indonesia’s native population was literate in 1940. Since independence some gains have been made in eradicating illiteracy and expanding the network of educational institutions, and a law on universal education was adopted in 1950. Although the law provided for the introduction of compulsory six-year elementary education in 1961, one-half of the children of school age were unable to attend school in 1971.

The public education system consists of the following levels: kindergartens (mainly private), state and private (mainly church) six-year elementary schools, and first- and second-level secondary schools, with three years of study in each. Instruction is in the native language in the first grades of the elementary school and in the official Indonesian state language beginning in the third grade. Students begin specializing in the humanities, the natural sciences, or a commercial discipline in the third year of the first-level secondary schools, and the specialization becomes more intense in the second-level secondary schools. Graduates of these schools may enter higher educational institutions. There were about 330,000 children in preschool institutions in 1968. In the 1968-69 academic year there were more than 12 million students in elementary schools and more than 1.2 million in secondary schools.

Vocational training is provided at technical, commercial, and home economics schools of the first and second level, which operate on the basis of elementary and first-level secondary schools, respectively. The term of study is two to four years, depending on the specialization. There were more than 325,000 students in vocational schools in the 1967-68 academic year. Elementary-school teachers are trained at three-year pedagogical schools on the basis of elementary education; teachers of first-level secondary schools, at four-year teachers colleges; and teachers of second-level secondary schools, at universities. In the 1967-68 academic year there were more than 106,000 students in pedagogical institutions.

The number of higher schools increased greatly since independence. Although there were only five higher educational institutions in 1938, in 1970 the country had 38 state and 124 private higher educational institutions, as well as educational institutions of governmental departments. The largest higher educational institutions are the Indonesian University in Jakarta, Gadjah Mada University in Jogjakarta, and Padjadjaran University and a technological institute in Bandung. In the 1967-68 academic year there were more than 192,000 students in Indonesia’s higher educational institutions.

The largest libraries in Indonesia are the Central Library of Natural Sciences in Bogor (founded in 1842; 300,000 volumes) and the library of the Museum of Indonesian Culture in Jakarta (350,000 volumes). The Museum of Indonesian Culture in Jakarta (founded in 1778) contains ethnographic, archaeological, and other collections.


Natural and technological sciences. The first scientific institutions were established at the turn of the 19th century. The world-famous botanical gardens in Bogor (formerly called Buitenzorg), which were founded in 1817, have an immense collection of tropical and subtropical plants of the world. The Bogor Herbarium (1817), the Institute for Botanical Research (1884), and the Bogor Zoological Museum (1894) are part of the botanical gardens. The Geodetic Institute in Bandung was founded in 1855, the Meteorological and Geophysical Institute in Jakarta in 1866, the experimental agricultural station in Bogor in 1876, and the experimental sugar industry station in Pasuruan, which studies the cultivation of sugarcane, in 1887. The Eijkman Medical Institute and the Institute of Military Hygiene in Jakarta were founded in 1888 and the Pasteur Institute and the geological survey in Bandung in 1890. Research was conducted mainly by Dutch scientists and specialists; Indonesians were used only for auxiliary jobs. The nature and orientation of research in Indonesia were determined by the needs of the colonial economy and the Europeans living in Indonesia.

In the first half of the 20th century the increasing exploitation of the country’s natural and human resources led to an expansion of research. The Central Institute of Forestry (1913) and the Veterinary Research Institute (1908) were organized in Bogor; the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering was founded in 1914 in Bandung. The planters’ association of the province of the eastern coast of Sumatra organized an agricultural experimental station in Medan in 1916, and in 1918 the colonial authorities organized a central agricultural experimental station in Bogor from several separate institutes. A mixed (state and private) central association of agricultural experimental stations was organized in Jakarta in 1933. The Institute for Rubber Research and Development was founded in Bogor in 1941. The Institute for Marine Research in Jakarta was founded in 1919.

The network of medical research institutions was enlarged through the founding of institutes for combating the plague (1911) and for research on malaria (1920) and leprosy (1935) in Jakarta and laboratories of technological hygiene (1920) in Bandung and of sanitation in Medan and Ujung Pandang (1931).

Applied research in biology, climatology, geology, and medicine developed rapidly in the colonial period. Work on the techniques and technology of industrial production (particularly in the chemical industry) was conducted at several small scientific research institutes and laboratories.

After the formation of the republic the number of research institutions increased and the sphere of their activity widened. Several old research institutions were reorganized, some laboratories and small experimental stations were made into institutes, and new research organizations were created in physics, chemistry, atomic energy, electrical engineering, and the study of various branches of industry. Research is also conducted at university departments.

The government-affiliated Council for Sciences of Indonesia (CSI) was organized in 1956 to coordinate scientific research. The Ministry of Scientific Research, which was set up in 1962, was transformed in 1966 into the government-operated National Research Institute and in 1967 into the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (IIS), which absorbed the former ministry and the CSI. The IIS has jurisdiction over the National Scientific Documentation Center; national institutes of metallurgy, testing and measuring instruments, chemistry, geology, and mining; the National Biological Institute (which includes the Botanical Gardens of Indonesia, the Institute of Botanical Research, the Bogor Herbarium, and the Bogor Zoological Museum); the National Electrotechnical Institute; and the National Physical Institute. The IIS also directs several research organizations in the humanities. Studies in solid-state physics, particularly magnetism and luminescence, are conducted at the National Physical Institute, and research on electronics technology and power equipment is under way at the National Electrotechnical Institute (with the electrical engineering department of the Bandung Technological Institute). Objects of study at the Biological Institute are the taxonomy, ecology, pathology, anatomy, cytology, and biochemistry of plants; microbiology; and the taxonomy and ecology of animals.

A second government-affiliated national scientific research organization, the National Atomic Energy Agency, was organized in 1958; it has an atomic reactor in Bandung and a research institution in Pasardjumahat on the use of radioactive isotopes in biology, agriculture, medicine, and industry and on nuclear physics, biology, and chemistry.

Research organizations of ministries and departments also conduct research. The Ministry of Agriculture and Plantations has research institutes on rice, animal husbandry, mixed agriculture (farming and animal husbandry), and animal diseases; the Soil Institute; and research institutes on the coconut palm and other oil crops and on fiber and other industrial crops. The construction research institute of the Ministry of Public Works studies construction in the humid tropics. The research institute on road construction and the hydraulics laboratory are also part of the ministry.

Departmental research organizations serving the needs of various branches of industry have been organized. Geologic and hydrogeographic services were organized in the early 1950’s. In the 1950’s and 1960’s institutes on pharmacotherapy, radiology, microbiology, venerology, and pharmacology were founded within the system of the Ministry of Health. Several research organizations of the Defense Ministry also conduct research in the natural and technical sciences.


Research di Indonesia 1945-1956, vols. 1-2. Jakarta, 1965.
Social sciences.PHILOSOPHIC AND SOCIAL THOUGHT. Philosophic and religious thought began to develop in Indonesia in the second century, simultaneously with the formation of a class society. By that time, religious systems based on animism and ancestor worship had developed. In the same period Hinduism (with Shiva and Vishnu cults) and Mahayana Buddhism were spreading, the former mainly on Java and the latter mainly on Sumatra. In the early feudal states from the sixth to tenth centuries specific religious cults arose in which Hinduism and Buddhism were greatly modified.
A still greater reinterpretation of India’s cultural heritage began in the tenth century. In the 12th to 14th centuries the religious and philosophic system underwent a crisis caused by the need for a more widely accessible religion. Distinctive syncretic cults (of Shiva-Buddha and others) arose on Java, and secular (state) and religious principles merged into the cult of the deified monarch.
In the 14th century western Indonesia became the site of an intensive acceptance of Islam, which was spread first by Iranian merchants and then by Arab traders. The preaching of the jihad played a smaller role in the ideology of Islam in Indonesia, and the Shafiite school, which was more tolerant toward local traditions, became the chief doctrine (madhab) in religious life. Islam spread rapidly and merged with local beliefs but did not penetrate deeply among the popular masses, particularly in the developed Hinduized regions. In the 15th and 16th centuries Islam had been accepted by the peoples of the agricultural regions, and by the late 19th century, by almost all the basic peoples of Indonesia. Christianity took root at the same time on Ambon and northern Sulawesi. Under conditions of Dutch colonial rule, the enlightenment in Indonesia as a whole began only in the late 19th century. The educated intelligentsia, which had appeared at that time mainly on Java, turned to the ideas of the European enlightenment, Utopian socialists, and leaders of the national liberation movement (G. Mazzini). Muhammadia, an organization of religious and philosophic enlightenment associated with the political organization Sarekat Islam (founded in 1912), arose under the influence of the ideas of M. Abdo, a leader of Egyptian religious enlightenment.
The development of the ideological struggle in the 1930’s and 1940’s gave rise to several trends in modern Indonesian social thought. Part of the rural elite and the bourgeoisie accepted a modernized version of Islam; others remained faithful to conservative Indonesian Islam. The progressive part of the petite and middle national bourgeoisie shared the ideas of Marhaenism (from marhaen, “common man”) created by Sukarno (see above: Historical survey). The ideology of the national liberation movement was increasingly influenced by the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, which the Communist Party began disseminating as early as the 1920’s. The works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin were repeatedly published in Indonesia and formed the basis for a large-scale propaganda by the CPI. Several Marxist works on the history and social and economic structure of present-day Indonesia were published.
HISTORY. Medieval Indonesian historiography treated chronicles as works of literature, in which reality was often not separable from fantasy and fiction. Prapantja, the author of the historical poem Nagarakrtagama, and Mpu Tantular, the author of the poetic chronicle Pararaton, are well-known Javanese poets and historians of the 14th century. Babad Tanah Djawi, the most important chronicle of the Muslim period, narrates the history of Mataram in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was begun by Sunan Kalijaga between 1641 and 1646 and then continued by Panggeran Adi Langu II and Garik Bajar. The prominent 19th-century Javanese historian Dipo Negoro wrote Babad Dipanagara when he was in exile on Sulawesi. In addition to personal recollections about the Java uprising of 1825-30, the book presents a history of the sultanate of Jogjakarta. Historiography in Malay, which was more strongly influenced than Javanese historiography by the Muslim thought of India, Iran, and Arabia, became highly developed. Ali bin Ahmad of Riau was an outstanding 19th-century historian writing in Malay.
Although local historiographic traditions were preserved in Indonesia almost until the late 19th century, they declined after the Dutch conquest. In the early 20th century the intelligentsia again showed a greater interest in national history, and historians who had received a Western education appeared; the best known of them was R. H. Djajadiningrat.
The growth of the national consciousness and the upswing of the national liberation movement after the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia further spurred Indonesians’ interest in their country’s history. Several pamphlets and articles by Indonesian Communists on the national and revolutionary movement (for example, Semaun and S. Dinggli) were published abroad in the 1920’s. In the 1930’s Indonesian historiography was dominated by a tendency to idealize and glorify the precolonial past (Sukarno), which is typical of nascent historiographies in colonial countries. After the proclamation of independence in 1945, this tendency developed hand-in-hand with the official Pantja Sila ideology. In numerous works M. Yamin glorifies the “golden age” of Majapahit and its leaders, exaggerates the degree of centralization of Indonesia in the Middle Ages, and idealizes the situation of the people. This trend is also manifested in general works on Indonesian history, such as those by Sanusi Pané. Historians of this school, such as Yamin and Hasil, devote a great deal of attention to the glorification of the heroes of the anticolonial struggle. These works are essentially patriotic and nationalist interpretations of facts and sources circulated among scholars by Dutch historians. However, independent work on sources has also begun. Numerous works on the history of the Revolution of 1945 interpret events from the point of view of representatives of various social strata and parties. Yamin’s publications and Ruslan Abdulgani’s works are apologias for Sukarno’s ideas and Sukarno himself.
The most serious works published after 1965, those of Slamet Muljono and Sukmono, are on the country’s ancient and medieval history. The works on contemporary history are clearly propagandistic. Their authors, among them Nugroho Notosu-santo, attempt to vilify the CPI and to justify the crushing of the democratic forces and the establishment of the military dictatorship.


Korobkov, A. V. Burzhuaznaia obshchestvenno-politicheskaia i filosofskaia mysl’ Indonezii. Moscow, 1972.
Hall, D. G. E. Historians of South East Asia, 3rd ed. London [and other cities] 1968.
An Introduction to Indonesian Historiography. Edited by Soedjatmoko, Mohammud Ali, G. J. Resink, and G. McT. Kahin. Ithaca, N.Y., 1965.


In 1974, Indonesia had about 100 newspapers and magazines. Sixteen newspapers were published in Jakarta. The largest newspapers in Indonesian are Merdeka (since 1945; circulation 100,000), an independent nationalist paper expressing the views of the national bourgeoisie; Kompas (since 1965; circulation 150,000), which expresses the orientation of the country’s Catholic circles; Sinar Harapan (since 1961; circulation 90,000), which expresses the position of the adherents of the Protestant Church; Angkatan Bersenjata (since 1965; circulation 25,000), the organ of the Ministry of Defense and Security; Berita Yudha (since 1971; circulation 30,000), the organ of the army; Berita Buana (since 1965; circulation 80,000), which reflects the interests of the armed forces; Suara Karya (since 1971; circulation 50,000), the organ of GOLKAR; Pelita (since 1971; circulation 25,000), which reflects the position of Muslim circles close to the government; Sinar Pagi (since 1970; circulation 22,000), which is close to GOLKAR circles; and Media Indonesia (circulation 20,000), which is related to GOLKAR. The most popular newspapers in English are Indonesian Observer (since 1954; circulation 15,000), which is oriented toward the “technocratic” circles, and New Standard (since 1971; circulation 15,000), a weekly that is close to GOLKAR. The Chinese-language newspaper Harian Indonesia has a circulation of 100,000.

The first radio broadcasting organization in Indonesia was established by the Dutch in 1934. In September 1945 the formation of the Indonesian organization Radio of the Republic of Indonesia (RRI) was officially announced. In April 1946 the RRI was declared a state organization and placed under the Ministry of Information. The Voice of Indonesia broadcasts to foreign countries in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Urdu, and other languages. The Television of the Republic of Indonesia (TVRI), a state organization under the Department of Information, has been broadcasting since 1962.

B. P. GOLOVANOV [section updated]

The first written monuments discovered in Indonesia, which date from the late seventh and eighth century, are stone and copper inscriptions in Old Malay and Old Javanese executed in local variants of Indian scripts. In the past Javanese literature was the most developed. This literature includes the narrative poem (kekawin) Ramayana (c. ninth century; a revision of the Sanskrit narrative poem Rawanabadha by the Indian poet Bhatta), Kanwa’s narrative poem Arjuna’s Wedding (11th century), and many other works written on the basis of the Sanskrit metric system. The kekawin reached its zenith on eastern Java (in the state of Kediri). In the 14th to 17th centuries, Javanese writers, although they did not lose interest in the Indian classics, particularly in the Mahabharata (an interest maintained by the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism), created works on the basis of their native mythological heritage and history, such as the prose works Tantu Panggelaran and Pararaton and Prapant-ja’s narrative poem Nagarakrtagama. In the 15th century a new metric system, the matjapat, and forms of poetry closely associated with mystical folklore sources began developing on Java and Bali. The narrative poem Dewarutji and the romantic narratives Panji Anggreni and Damar Wulan are examples of this type of literature. The Javanese literary tradition also became a model for the nascent Sunanese and Maduran literature from the 16th through 18th centuries. The Buginese and the Makassarese (Sulawesi) began writing historical and didactic literature and heroic epics, such as / La Galigo (in written form no earlier than the 18th century). By the 16th century an intermediary Malay literature was becoming increasingly widespread in the maritime cities, since Malay was the language of intercourse and of the propaganda of Islam in Indonesia. Works written in Malay include The Tale of the Pasai Rajahs (eastern Sumatra, 15th century), The Tale of the Land of Hitu (Ambon, 17th century) by Imam Ridjali, The Tale of Hasanuddin (western Java, 17th century), and The Poem of the Makasar War by Entjir Amin (Maka-sar, 17th century). In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Sufi Hamzah Fansuri, the greatest Malay poet, and the more orthodox mystics Nuruddin ar-Raniri (died 1658) and Abdurrauf lived and worked in the Atjehnese Sultanate. Malay literature has contributed a great deal to the Islamization of other literatures of Indonesia.

In the 18th century the increasing Dutch control over Indonesian trade weakened the links between the Islamized states of Indonesia and temporarily relegated Malay-language literature into the background. In Atjeh, for example, Atjehnese became the main literary language, giving rise to narrative poems written in popular rhythmic verse (the sanja), such as Hikayat Malem Dagang and Hikayat Pucut Muhammad. There was a new resurgence in Javanese literature in the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th century, producing the court poets Yasadipura I (1729–1802) and Ronggowarsito (1802–84), the last Javanese classical writer, whose work already shows familiarity with modern European culture. Trends of enlightenment are even more pronounced among some other writers, among them the Sundanese writer Muhammad Musa (1822–84) and the Batak writer Willem Iskander (1838–77).

With the rise of the national liberation movement in Indonesia, Malay became the language of political and cultural unification of the country. The Malay-language press originated in the late 19th century and promoted the development of a new literature in Indonesia. The proletarian writers Marko Kartodik-romo (1878–1928) and Semaun (died 1971) were the first to try writing novels in Malay (now called Indonesian). However, the adat novel, which advocated a reexamination of the local (mainly Sumatran) way of life in the spirit of cautious reform, became predominant in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Representatives of this genre included Marah Rush (1889–1968) and Nur Sutan Iskandar (born 1893). S. T. Alisjahbana (born 1908) and Hamka (born 1908) wrote novels on romantic and sentimental subjects inspired by enlightenment. In the 1930’s the patriotic poetry of Rustam Effendi (born 1902) and Muhammad-Yamin (1903–63) gave way to the more introspective lyricism of poets partly inspired by the Dutch Movement of the Eighties, who were grouped around the journal Pudjangga Baru (including Sanusi Pané, 1905–68; J. Tatengkeng, born 1907; and Intojo, 1912–71). The work of Amir Hamzah (1911–46), a subtle lyric poet and one of the founders of the journal, is marked by the influence of Sufism.

The colonial period of development of Indonesian literature produced works that were essentially accusatory: the novel A Wrong Upbringing by Abdul Muis (1886–1959) and the poems of Asmara Hadi (born 1914). By the late 1930’s realist trends became more pronounced among a number of writers: the novel Bondage by Armijn Pané (1908–70), the short stories of H. B. Jassin (born 1917), and the poems of H. Bandaharo (born 1917).

The proclamation of Indonesia’s independence in 1945 gave an incentive to literary development. The most significant achievements of the literature of the “1945 Generation” are the intense expressiveness of the poetry of Chairil Anwar (1922–49), the merciless irony of the short stories of Idrus (born 1921), the deeply humane short stories and novellas of Pramoedya Ananta Toer (born 1925), the philosophical and social novel The Atheist by Achdiat K. Mihardja (born 1911), and the plays of Utuy Tatang Sontani (born 1920). In the early 1950’s some of the greatest writers and playwrights began moving closer to the Society of People’s Culture, or Lekra (Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Utuy Tatang Sontani), and other progressive cultural organizations (the poet Sitor Situmorang, born 1923). Others withdrew into personal problems (Trisno Sumardjo, 1916–69, and Asrul Sani, born 1926) or emigrated (Idrus; Muhammad Balfas, born 1922; and Achdiat K. Mihardja). After the events of 1965, Lekra was smashed, and many men of letters, among them Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Rivai Apin (born 1927), and Sitor Situmorang, were persecuted. Several writers left Indonesia.

An idiosyncratic regional patriotism with clear elements of humanism that began developing as early as the middle 1950’s is one of the most significant phenomena of contemporary Indonesian literature. The poems and short stories of W. S. Rendra (born 1935), Ramadan Kartahadimadja (born 1927), and Ajip Rosidi (born 1938) and the prose of Toha Mohtar (born 1926) are representative of this trend. The latest novels of Motinggo Busje and the short stories of Gerson Pojk show these authors’ interest in the acute social problems of contemporary Indonesia. The novels of Iwan Simatupang (1928–70), which were published in the late 1960’s, show the influence of existentialism.


Sikorskii, V. Indoneziiskaia literatura: Kratkii ocherk. Moscow, 1965.
Gonda, J. Letterkunde van de Indische archipel. Amsterdam, 1946.
Poerbatjaraka, R. M. Ng. Kepustakan Djawi. Jakarta, 1952.
Pigeaud, T. G. T. Literature of Java,vols. 1–3. The Hague, 1967–70.
Rosidi, A. Kesusastran Sunda dewasa ini. Jakarta, 1966.
Teeuw, A. Modern Indonesian Literature. The Hague, 1967.
Ratfel, B. The Development of Modern Indonesian Poetry. Albany, N.Y., 1967.
Jassin, H. B. Kesusasteraan Indonesia modern dalam kritik dan esei, vols. l–4. Jakarta, 1967.


Schematic line drawings of animals in caves on southern Sulawesi, eastern Java, Sumatra, and the Lesser Sundas and rock drawings in West Irian date from the Mesolithic period (seventh to fifth millennia B.C.) The art of the Neolithic period, which began at the end of the fifth millennium B.C. and, in a number of areas, continued until the 20th century, is represented by pottery, primarily with incised ornamentation. The late Neolithic and the introduction of metal (late second to the mid-first millennium B.C.) is the age of megalithic structures: menhirs, step-shaped mounds, dolmens and vaults (the complexes of Pasemah on eastern Sumatra and Lebak-Sibedug on western Java and in the Iyang Mountains of eastern Java), stone sarcophagi, and static figures of ancestors. In the mid-first millennium B.C. a well-developed Bronze Age culture, with ritual drums and axes, was brought over from the Asian mainland.

In the first centuries of the Common Era the first states formed on Java, whose culture has been the most developed since ancient times. Under Indian influence these states accepted Hinduism and Buddhism, and Indian and local traditions combined to form the classical art of Java, including stone architecture. The small, elegant Hindu temples (tjandi) of the seventh and early eighth century on the Dijeng Plateau on central Java, dry-faced with andesite, are compact cubic massifs on terraced foundations, topped by pyramidal roofs. An expressive silhouette and flexible composition are combined with a simple and severe appearance, clear and precise tectonics, and laconic decor. This is also true of the first Indonesian Buddhist temple, the cross-shaped Kalasan temple (778-mid-ninth century), which is distinguished by fine decor and classic equilibrium. The Mendut temple of the late eighth century is imposing, with its severe forms and crystalline composition; the severe bulk of the walls is softened by figures of bodhisattvas surrounded by elegant lace-patterned carvings. The architectural complex of the Sewu temple (early ninth century) is a large, intricate ensemble of Buddhist sanctuaries, with the main temple in the center and 240 small chapel-temples forming four concentric squares.

Sculpture (statues, heads, and reliefs) is in close association with the architecture; its richness and softness of modeling, integrated quality of composition, and wealth of plastic nuances are remarkable. Deep spirituality and concentration of images are combined with a feeling of plenitude of vital forces. The Borobudur sanctuary on Java, which was built in the late eighth and early ninth century, has the most elegant and elaborate composition. It is a natural mound faced with andesite blocks in the shape of a terraced, gently sloping pyramid crowned by a large stupa. The countless reliefs on the galleries of the Borobudur terraces and the statues of Buddha in the ornamental stupas and niches present a graphic cosmology of Buddhism and at the same time are a deeply lyrical and leisurely narration of the earthly life of Buddha and his reincarnations. The episodes of the Buddhist legends often merely serve as a pretext for depicting real life—the mores of the era and the animal and plants of Indonesia. The reliefs and statues exude a feeling of happy harmony and self-confident energy.

With the founding of the Mataram state in the first half of the eighth century, Hinduism became the official religion. The Lara Djonggrang Hindu temple in Prambanan (late ninth to early tenth century), built on a high mound, consists of three large temples and five smaller sanctuaries enclosed in a square of numerous chapels. The elegance and upward thrust of the main temple of Shiva, which is 47 m high, and the splendor of the decor crowning the steep pyramid indicate that the decorative principle had become more important. Dramatic emotional tension and dynamism dominate the reliefs on themes from Ramayana, and battle scenes and the figures following each other in an endless flow are freely and forcefully executed. The images have become more complex, refined, and individualized.

The art of eastern Java reached its zenith in the states of Singhasari (13th century) and Majapahit (late 13th to early 16th century). The Hindu Panataran temple complex (14th to first half of the 15th century) has a free and asymmetrical plan, and in its main temple of Shiva (1369) the low pedestal is over-whelmed by a massive, many-stepped roof. The Panataran reliefs are executed in an ornamental graphic style: flat openwork carving, similar to embroidery, occupies the entire surface of the relief; the figures, with distorted proportions and exaggerated gestures, are schematic and grotesque. The reliefs of the temples of Djago (1280) and the Djawi (1300) are exquisite and overly refined. The temples on Bali of that time are generously decorated with sumptuous ornamental carving. A considerable part of the sculpture is of fantastic and monstrous figures: the elephant-shaped deity Ganesha, demons, and the lionlike monster Kala. The small terra-cotta women’s heads and figures from Trawulan and the stone figures of girls with pitchers at the tombs in Modjokerto (c. 14th century) capture the beholder’s eye with the natural beauty of the movements, the rich plastic quality of their robes, and the spirituality of their faces.

After the 16th century the traditions of Hindu culture began to die out in Indonesia, which was then divided into small Muslim principalities. The traditions were maintained mainly on Bali, to which Islam did not penetrate. Temple complexes from the 18th and 19th centuries with two or three yards, high gates, and steplike towers have been preserved.

Decorative and applied folk art developed on numerous islands among many peoples of Indonesia. The ancient centers of artistic handicrafts on central Java are famous for gold and silver articles (items of the 14th and 15th centuries have been preserved) with intricately woven and elegant ornamentation and for daggers (kris) of original forms and ornamentation; articles of ancient Javanese bronze-casting art of the 14th through 16th centuries have been found. They include statuettes of deities, little bells, salvers, incense vessels, and lamps. Java is the homeland of batik, whose traditional patterns and colors are particularly beautiful. Java and Bali are centers of the processing of buffalo hide, which is used to make dolls for the shadow theater and parts of costumes for women dancers and actors of the classical drama. Fans, mats, hats, kitchen utensils, and bags are woven of bamboo and coconut-palm leaves on all the islands. The traditions of weaving are maintained on Sulawesi, Sumatra, and the Moluccas. Ancient types of religious statuettes of wood and terra-cotta are made on many islands. On Bali artistic handicrafts, traditional painting, and mat weaving became highly developed. Dwellings show great diversity. They range from huts (West Irian and Timor) and light frame pile houses of wood or bamboo to large longhouses (which are especially long among the Dayaks on Kalimantan), sometimes with a tall large-span saddle-shaped roof (among the Toba-Bataks and Minangkabau on Sumatra), often placed on large pillars.

After Dutch rule was established in Indonesia the national art came to a standstill, and cities were built on the European model. However, Muslim architectural motifs of the Asian countries remained dominant in the mosques and palaces (kraton) of local rulers. In the early 20th century large buildings with galleries, loggias, penthouses, and lattices for protection from the sun, some of reinforced concrete, were built in Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya. However, large-scale urban construction remained unplanned, and urban amenities were poor.

Realistic painting using national and patriotic themes (Raden Saleh) appeared in Indonesia in the mid-19th century; romantic landscape painting (S. S. Abdullah), at the turn of the 20th century. The struggle for independence created a progressive national realist art imbued with love of man and patriotic fervor, and the Association of Artists of Indonesia was founded in 1937—38, with S. Sudjojono, A. Djaya, K. Affandi, H. Ngantung, and B. Resobowo as members. This trend became dominant after the establishment of independence in 1945, coexisting with the tradition of exotic romanticism (B. Abdullah) and modernism. Realist sculpture is represented by G. Hendra and graphic art by O. Effendi and Suromo. Balinese painting is original, cheerful, and ornamental (A. A. G. Sobrat and I. B. Made). New cities were built, such as Sumberdjaya on Sumatra and Kebajoran, a satellite city of Jakarta, and new boroughs were built in Jakarta, Jogjakarta, and Bandung. Soviet specialists aided in the construction of public buildings and industrial, educational, and sports complexes, including the sports complex in Jakarta. After the events of 1965, progressive artistic organizations were smashed, a number of artists were persecuted, and modernistic trends gained the upper hand in art and artistic education.


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Indonesian music is the result of the development and modifications of the Indo-Javanese cultural traditions and the cultures of the other peoples of Indonesia. It reached its apogee on Java at the turn of the second millennium and extended its influence to southern Sumatra, part of Kalimantan, Bali, Madura, western Lombok, and other islands of the archipelago.

Music existed in Indonesia from most ancient times in the oral tradition and as part of popular customs. The modal basis of Indonesian music is the five-tone sléndro, a variant of the penta-tonic scale, which expands into the seven-tone pelog. The characteristic traits of Indonesian music are strongly developed heterophony and polyphony. Despite the specific differences between the vocal and instrumental styles, with the wealth of rhythms in the latter, both are dominated by the melody. The melody is expressively called the trunk (pokok), and the melodic and rhythmic figurations that develop it are called flowers (kantilari). The classical musical art of Indonesia reached its pinnacle in the gamelan orchestra of popular instruments that has existed since the early Middle Ages. The krontjong, a song genre that formed in the 16th century, is close to European music but has also absorbed popular traditions. The oral tradition has been prevalent in Indonesian music, although rudimentary neumes have been used since ancient times. Contemporary Indonesian music also uses European notation.

Professional Indonesian music has been influenced by European sacred music, which was cultivated by Catholic missionaries. Some works written in the 1930’s and 1940’s are similar to the Gregorian chants, although their content is entirely secular (for example, Simandjutak’s vocal pieces to texts by Sanusi Pané and Usmar Ismail and K. Sinsu’s works, which are still closer to church hymns).

The formation of the independent Republic of Indonesia (1945) opened new opportunities for the creation of an all-Indonesian national culture. The increasingly numerous professional and amateur musical groups wanted not only to preserve the popular traditions but also to develop them creatively. Sudjasmin, A. Pasaribu, Susbini, and other composers have become famous. Radio chamber orchestras were founded in Jogjakarta and later in Jakarta. A state music school has been in operation in Jogjakarta since 1952. A conservatory and a school of Indonesian classical music were founded in Surakarta in 1960. After 1965 the development of music was retarded, the progressive musical associations ceased to exist, several musicians were persecuted, and some of them—for example, Pasaribu—had to leave the country. A symphony orchestra directed by Adidharma was organized in Jakarta in 1968. It performs European music and, less frequently, works of Indonesian composers.


Sachs, C. Die Musikinstrumente Indiens und Indonesiens. Berlin-Leipzig, 1923.
Kunst, J. Music in Java, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. The Hague, 1949.


A traditional theater with distinctively Indonesian means of theatrical expression has developed in Indonesia over a long historical period. Its sources lie in ancient dramatized acts that were part of popular festivities or religious ceremonies. The most typical traditional types of theater are the wayang topeng (wayang, “theater” or “spectacle”; topeng, “mask”), in which the actors wear masks and perform pantomime and dance (it is mentioned in ninth-century Javanese chronicles); the wayang purwo, or shadow theater, which formed in the 11th century, according to ancient Javanese chronicles; the wayang kelitik, or theater of two-dimensional wood puppets; the wayang golek, or theater of three-dimensional puppets; the wayang beber, or picture theater accompanied by narration; the topeng babakan, or farce theater; and the wayang orang, which has absorbed a great variety of strictly codified theatrical methods. Traditional spectacles were based on various episodes from the ancient Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and from Indonesian tales and chronicles. As a rule, the performances are accompanied by a gamelan orchestra (see above: Music). At the turn of the 20th century a modern theater, called ketoprak and ludruk, formed in addition to the traditional theater. The ketoprak and ludruk combine traditional and European types of expression. The Mar-haen and Trisnokanten troupes were famous in the 1950’s and played in various regions of the country. There were also troupes closer in type to the modern European theater, which produced works of national playwrights, such as Utuy Tatang Sontani, Abu Hanifah, Ali Muhammad, and Sanusi Pané, as well as plays by Ibsen, Chekhov, and Gogol. Various groups appear at the Hotel Indonesia and Ketjija theaters in Jakarta.

The National Theater Academy and Lembaga Drama Indonesia (National Drama Division) began working in Indonesia in the 1950’s.

After 1965 progressive theatrical figures were persecuted, several troupes were disbanded, including part of the ludruk troupes, and the performance of works by progressive contemporary playwrights was prohibited.


Mervart, A. M. “Malaiskii teatr.” In the collection Vostochnyi teatr. Leningrad, 1929.
Demin, L. M. Iskusstvo Indonezii. Moscow, 1965.
Brandon, J. The Theatre in Southeast Asia. Cambridge, Mass., 1967.


The first motion pictures were filmed in Indonesia in the 1920’s by Dutch directors. In the early 1930’s naturalized Chinese entrepreneurs, together with Indonesian directors (for example, Andjar Asmara), began producing sound films in Indonesian (mainly imitations of Hollywood and Chinese films). The most important films on modern Indonesian life are Pareh (1935), directed by M. Franken, and The Clear Moon (1937), directed by A. Balink, with the actors Mochtar and Rukiah. During the Japanese occupation the motion-picture industry served Japanese propaganda. However, since Dutch and Chinese entrepreneurs were kept away from movie production, national cadres began to form during that period. During the struggle for independence the production of newsreels increased. The first state motion-picture firm, PFN, and Perfini, a large private firm, were established in Jakarta in 1950 and the production of films increased. Motion pictures were also made that expressed progressive social tendencies, such as The Cripple (1952), directed by Kotot Sukardi (shown in the Soviet Union under the title Giman); Turang (1954), directed by Bahtiar Siagian; Return to the Homeland (1954), directed by Basuki Effendi; After Curfew (1955), directed by Asrul Sani; and The Fighter (1961), directed by Usmar Ismail. In the early 1960’s the invasion of films produced in Hollywood and Hong Kong led to a drastic decline in local motion-picture production. Several steps taken to promote the national motion-picture industry and to reduce the import of films had no appreciable effect.

The repression after the events of 1965 affected film-makers as well. National motion-picture production began to expand again by the late 1960’s. The films made in that period include The Seven Knights (1969), directed by Wim Umboh; The Ineffaceable Sin and Breathing in the Mud (both 1971), directed by Turino Djunaidi; What Are You Looking for, Palupa? (1971), directed by Asrul Sani; and Samiun and Dasima (1971), directed by Nawi Ismail. Motion-picture actors include Tjitra Dewi, Rima Melati, Faruk Afero, Farida Arriani, Sukarno M. Nur, Mila Karmila, and Bambang Hermanto. In 1971,25 films per year were being produced.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Republic of Indonesia

Capital city: Jakarta

Internet country code: .id

Flag description: Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white; similar to the flag of Monaco, which is shorter; also similar to the flag of Poland, which is white (top) and red

National anthem: “Indonesia Raya” (Great Indonesia) by Wage Rudolf Supratman

Geographical description: Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean

Total area: 736,000 sq. mi. (1,919,440 sq. km.)

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands

Nationality: noun: Indonesian(s); adjective: Indonesian

Population: 234,693,997 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Javanese 45%, Sundanese 14%, Madurese 7.5%, coastal Malays 7.5%, others 26%

Languages spoken: Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects (the most widely spoken of which is Javanese)

Religions: Muslim 86.1%, Protestant 5.7%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 1.8%, Buddhist, other, or unspecified 3.4%

Legal Holidays:

Christmas DayDec 25
Independence DayAug 17
New Year's DayJan 1
Wafat Isa AlmasihApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in SE Asia, in the Malay Archipelago, consisting of the main islands of Sumatra, Java and Madura, Bali, Sulawesi (Celebes), Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, the Moluccas, part of Timor, part of Borneo (Kalimantan), Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), and over 3000 small islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans: became the Dutch East Indies in 1798; declared independence in 1945; became a republic in 1950; East Timor (illegally annexed in 1975) became independent in 2002. Parts of Sumatra suffered badly in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Official language: Bahasa Indonesia. Religion: Muslim majority. Currency: rupiah. Capital: Jakarta. Pop.: 222 611 000 (2004 est.). Area: 1 919 317 sq. km (741 052 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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