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
Most Recent Indonesia Posts
We spotlight the festivals and folktales of Southeast Asia as the region celebrates the new year this week with water festivals Songkran and Thingyan.
The April 10 UH CSEAS Newsletter spotlights Indonesia and Gamelan Dance & Music.
Join the UH Gamelan Ensemble on April 18 for a special performance honoring the memory of Pak Hardja Susilo (1934 – 2015)