Indonesia

Indonesia’s location on the edges of the Pacific, Eurasian, and Australian tectonic plates makes it the site of numerous volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. Indonesia has at least 150 active volcanoes. The eruption of the Toba super volcano, approximately 70,000 years ago, was one of the world’s largest eruptions and a global catastrophe. Recent disasters due to seismic activity include the 2004 tsunami and the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006. However, volcanic ash is a major contributor to the high agricultural fertility, which sustains the high populations of Java and Bali.

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The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence shortly before Japan’s surrender, but it required four years of sometimes brutal fighting, intermittent negotiations, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to transfer sovereignty in 1949. A period of sometimes unruly parliamentary democracy ended in 1957 when President SOEKARNO declared martial law and instituted “Guided Democracy.” After an abortive coup in 1965 by alleged Communist sympathizers, SOEKARNO was removed from power. From 1966 until 1988, President SUHARTO ruled Indonesia with his “New Order” Government. After rioting toppled Suharto in 1998, free and fair legislative elections took place in 1999. Indonesia is now the world’s third most populous democracy, the world’s largest archipelagic state, and world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. Current issues include: alleviating poverty, improving education, preventing terrorism, consolidating democracy after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing economic and financial reforms, stemming corruption, reforming the criminal justice system, holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations, addressing climate change, and controlling infectious diseases, particularly those of global and regional importance. In 2005, Indonesia reached a historic peace agreement with armed separatists in Aceh, which led to democratic elections in Aceh in December 2006. Indonesia continues to face low intensity armed resistance in Papua by the separatist Free Papua Movement. – CIA World Factbook

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Most Recent Indonesia Posts

Music & Dance from Yogyakarta, Indonesia will come to the Bakken Auditorium of Mid-Pacific Institute on 11/22

Di Timur Matahari (East of the Sun) follows young Papuan children as they struggle to get an education despite an ongoing tribal war in their midst.

The upcoming 2014 HIFF will feature 13 films from Southeast Asia, including the first commercial film to come out of Brunei in over 50 years.


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