History of Indonesia: Starting From the Colonial Era to After Independence

Indonesia is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that has abundant natural resources. The formation of Indonesia must have been through a very long and not easy series of events. Indonesia’s history spans a long span of time that began when other nations colonized this country. This colonization was very painful but it further aroused the whole people to fight the invaders.

Historical Events of Indonesia

The history of Indonesia has basically begun in the royal days. Before and after the archipelago was united by the Palapa Gajah Mada Oath, in various parts of Indonesia there have been several kingdoms that became the forerunners of this nation.

At that time, in the Sumatra region there was the Srivijaya kingdom which became the maritime ruler and was used as a center for Buddhist education throughout the world. Srivijaya became one of the great kingdoms that became the center of trade and triumphed in the 7th to 13th centuries.

Meanwhile, in the 8th century – 19th century, there were 2 dynasties, namely Syailendra and Sanjaya which became evidence of a new history on the island of Java. The two dynasties had a major influence on the spread of Buddhism and Hinduism in Indonesia. The presence of these two dynasties has also left an extraordinary masterpiece, namely Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple.

However, the glory of the two dynasties did not last long, but the collapse of the two dynasties did not make the existence of the kingdom in Pula Java disappear. After that, the Majapahit kingdom appeared in East Java around 1293. And in 1294, the archipelago was formed thanks to the struggle of Mahapatih Gajah Mada from Majapahit.

The territory of the Majapahit kingdom is said to resemble the borders of present-day Indonesia even to parts of Malaysia. The collapse of the Hindu-Buddhist period was marked by the arrival of Middle Eastern trade which at the same time spread Islam in Indonesia. The history of Indonesia then continued during the colonial period which began with the arrival of Marcopolo followed by the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese.

Historical Events of Indonesia Before Independence

Several western countries had colonized  Indonesia  before Indonesia became independent. At that time, there were many countries that wanted to control Indonesia because they were interested in its natural wealth, especially spices. The exploration period began with the arrival of Marcopolo on the island of Sumatra.

Marcopolo was an explorer from Europe who first came to Indonesia. After his arrival, many western countries came to Indonesia ranging from Portuguese, Spanish, English, Dutch to Japanese.

Portuguese arrival in the Moluccas

Indonesia as one of the most spice producing countries is the main reason the Portuguese came. Before going to Indonesia, this country actually explored to find spices in several other countries.

The Portuguese country’s journey in search of spices began with Lisabon. Around 1486, Bartholomew Diaz made his voyage down the west coast of Africa which then planned to make service to the Indian state but failed.

In 1511, the Portuguese reached Malacca under the leadership of Alfonso da Albuquerque and succeeded in controlling Malacca and the state of Myanmar. Antonio de Abreu and Francisco Serao led the Portuguese to reach the Moluccas in 1512. After his arrival, the Portuguese then established spice trade relations with the Moluccas.

Along the way, the Portuguese almost conquered the kingdoms of Samudera Pasai and Ternate. It’s just that the colonization of this country only went very short because the Portuguese were successfully expelled by the Islamic kingdom in Indonesia.

Spanish occupation of Sulawesi

In 1522, the Spanish came to Indonesia and colonialized North Sulawesi. The peak occurred in 1560 when the Spanish established a post in Manado. Spain then expanded its colonization to Minahasa because the area was considered very tempting as a rice-producing region.

In 1617, the Minahasa people carried out a resistance movement with the aim of expelling the invaders. The resistance lasted a dozen years until finally in 1646 the Spanish were expelled from Sulawesi. Previously Spain attempted to persuade the kingdom in the surrounding region with the aim of re-colonizing Minahasa, but attempts failed. As various attempts were made to fail eventually in 1692, the Spanish withdrew from Indonesian territory.

VOC Colonialization Period

The establishment of the VOC became one of the early weapons of the Dutch controlling Indonesian territory. The company’s expedition began with the arrival of the Dutch sailor Cornelis de Houtman in 1596 in Banten Port. The arrival of Cornelis was followed by other expeditions by Dutch traders.

The increasing number of Dutch traders who come to Indonesian territory naturally causes a lot of unfair competition. Because of this, the VOC or Vereenigde Oost Compagnie was formed, also known as the East Indies Airline Union. The VOC was a combination of Dutch companies to overcome the Dutch trade in Indonesia.

The Trade Union was based in Jayakarta which at that time was used as an important port in the Java Island region. The placement of the headquarters in Jayakarta certainly aims to control Java which will be used as a traffic for merchants and wants to remove the Portuguese from Malacca.

Occupation of the Provisional Government of France and England

Around the 18th century, the VOC was finally disbanded because the Netherlands lost a European war. After the defeat of the Netherlands, Indonesia fell into French rule, only it was still under Dutch rule.

The fall of Indonesia into the hands of the French state certainly made the British very angry. Finally, there was a power struggle in several parts of Indonesia carried out by the Franco-Dutch with the British. The power struggle finally ended with the signing of a treaty, namely the Treaty of Amiens and the Capitulation of Tuntang,

This Dutch-French rule finally ended with the arrival of the British under the leadership of Lord Minto who managed to seize the territory of Java. After that, Lord Minto, who was then based in Indonesia, appointed Raffles as Lieutenant Governor.

British rule in Indonesia began around 1811. Lieutenant Governor Raffles changed the entire order in Java based on the system of government in his country. However, the British population in Indonesia did not last long, only until 1816.

Dutch Colonial Period

After the British withdrawal from Indonesia, the Dutch regained control of Indonesia. The return of the Dutch in Indonesia was recorded in 1814. In 1830, the allies began to implement a system of forced cultivation which certainly made the Indonesian people very poor and suffering. The system forces Indonesians to grow garden products such as nutmeg, the and coffee to meet export needs.

Not only that, the Dutch also forced the Indonesian people to do rodi work. One of rodi’s work projects is the construction of roads starting from Anyer to Panarukan. The Dutch system of government, which was very miserable for the Indonesian people, caused various rebellions such as the Diponegoro War, Paderi and other wars.

Nationalism Movement

The emergence of various rebellions carried out by the Indonesian people against Dutch colonialism also gave rise to nationalism movements. The movement arises due to the presence of internal as well as external factors. Internal factors that are the background of the movement are a sense of harmony, expansion of education, failure of struggle and development of regional ethnic organizations.

Meanwhile, the external factors behind the movement are due to the emergence of new understandings in the world. The victory of Japan or the Russian state as well as the development of national organizations in several countries became the driving factors for this movement.

The first nationalism movement in Indonesia was the Islamic Trade Union which was founded in 1905 which was followed by the establishment of Budi Utomo. The organization consisted of young men as well as students who demanded ilum in a school founded by the Dutch. The emergence of this movement also provoked the Dutch to carry out repression by imprisoning its members.

Japanese propaganda

The Japanese occupation of Indonesia began because of its victory over the Netherlands in 1942. Indonesia is considered one of the most strategic and lucrative trade routes for Japanese industrial marketing.

Japanese rule in Indonesia began from Palembang on February 16, 1942 then to Java. In order for the action to be smooth, Japan attracted the sympathy of the Indonesian people with 3A propaganda, namely Japan the Leader of Asia, Japan Protector of Asia and Japan Light Asia.

At that time, Japan formed a lot of social and military organizations everywhere the people were Indonesians solely for their own interests. In addition, Japan also implements a system of forced labor, namely romusha which is more cruel than rodi labor.

In fact, not only draining the people’s energy, Japan also exploited Indonesia’s natural resources on a large scale. The suffering of the people by the Japanese colonization led to starvation, disease and even death.

Japan’s Withdrawal from Indonesia

Japanese military atrocities against the Indonesian people certainly made Indonesian figures fight for independence. Indonesian historical figures today use Japanese-formed organizations as a stepping stone to fight for Indonesian independence.

Behind Indonesia’s struggle for independence, on September 6-9, 1945, the Allies managed to defeat Japan by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities. The defeat of Japan became an opportunity for Indonesian fighters to prepare for the proclamation of independence. Finally, Japan appealed to the allies and promised to give Indonesia independence.

On August 9, 1945, Indonesian figures Soekarno, Mohammad Hatta and Radjiman Widyodiningrat flew to Vietnam to meet with Marshal Terauchi. In the meeting, it was known that the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence could only be announced on August 24, 1945. But of course this was not approved by the Indonesian fighters because they wanted the disaster to be proclaimed as soon as possible.

Rengasdengklok event

After a meeting in Vietnam, on August 14, 1945 Soekarno, Moh Hatta and Radjiman Widyodiningrat (Old Golingan) returned to Indonesia. However, the young factions, namely Chaerul Saleh, Sutan Sjahrir, Darwis and Wikana, urged Soekarnp to immediately proclaim independence.

The old faction certainly rejected the proposal because they thought that if Japanese power had not completely disappeared so it was feared that there would be bloodshed. The differences between these groups led to the Rengasdengklok event.

On August 16, 1945, young people kidnapped Soekarno and Moh Hatta who were taken to Rengasdengklok. The kidnapping was intended to take the 2 figures to a safer place so as not to be affected by the Japanese.

The Rengasdengklok incident also aimed to force Soekarno and Moh. Hatta to immediately proclaim independence. Finally, Soekarno was willing to proclaim the independence after returning to Jakarta.

Sukarno and Moh. Hatta was taken to the home of Rear Admiral Maeda who had been willing to guarantee the safety of these two figures. In the house, the text of the proclamation was formulated and agreed upon by the participants.

The text of the proclamation was then typed by Sayuti Melik and signed by Soekarno and Moh. Hatta on behalf of the Indonesian nation. The text of the proclamation of independence was read at Soekarno’s residence, namely on Jl. Pengansaan Timur Number 56, Jakarta.

Historical Events of Indonesia After Independence

After centuries of civilized years when Indonesia was colonized by the Portuguese, Spanish, French, English, Dutch and Japanese, Indonesia finally began to show its fangs to the whole world. The leaders tried to fight for Indonesian independence to be free from the shackles of the invaders.

The struggle finally came to fruition on August 17, 1945, the leaders of the fighters, youth and the Indonesian people gathered at Soekarno’s residence at 10.00 WIB. Sukarno accompanied by Moh. Hatta proclaimed Indonesia’s independence by reading the text of the proclamation.

After the reading of the text of the proclamation was read, the ceremony continued with the raising of the Red and White which had previously been sewn by Mrs. Fatmawati. The raising of the Red and White flag was carried out by S. Suhud and Cudanco Latif accompanied by the song Indonesia Raya.

This event is certainly a very important moment for all Indonesians. Although simple, the ceremony was carried out with great reverence. This event brought a lot of extraordinary changes to the life of the nation because Indonesia became an independent country.

However, after Indonesia became independent, there were several very important events that witnessed the course of Indonesian history. Here are some of the events that occurred after indonesia’s diversity:

  • The events of November 10 are known as Heroes’ Day today.
  • Persitiwa Bandung Lautan Api.
  • Linggarjati Agreement.
  • Military Aggression I.
  • Military Ageresi II.
  • Round Table Conference.
  • G30S/PKI events.
  • Events of May 1998.

So that’s a glimpse of Indonesia’s history that you should know. There are so many Indonesian historical figures who are of course very instrumental in fighting for independence. As good citizens, of course, it is appropriate for us to honor the services of heroes who have died on the battlefield in fighting for Indonesian independence. May it be useful!