Temple in Indonesia in the distance with trees and grass.

Ancient History and the Current Status of Stunning Island Country, Indonesia

Indonesia is officially the Republic of Indonesia, a country which is located in Southeast Asia. It is located between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It includes more than 17,000 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, parts of Borneo and New Guinea. Indonesia is the largest island nation in the world and the 14th largest country in the world with 1,904,569 square kilometers (735,358 square kilometers). Almost over 270 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and the largest Muslim nation in the world. Java, the world’s most populous island, is home to more than half of its population.

An independent state is a state, a constitutional republic with an elected legislature. It has 34 provinces, five of which have special positions. The country’s capital, Jakarta, is the second most populous city in the world. The country shares international borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India. Although densely populated and densely populated, Indonesia has vast desert areas that support one of the world’s highest ecosystems.

The Indonesian island has been an important commercial region since at least the 7th century when Srivijaya and later the Majapahit traded with organizations from China and the Indian subcontinent. Local authorities gradually assimilated foreign influence from the first centuries and even the Hindu and Buddhist empires flourished. Sunni traders and Sufi scholars introduced Islam, and Christianity was introduced mainly by European explorers. Although the Portuguese, the French and the British were sometimes disturbed, the Dutch were the great colonial powers for most of their 350 years in existence on the islands. The idea of ​​”Indonesia” as a nation-state emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, culminating in the proclamation of Indonesian Independence in 1945. However, it was not until 1949 that the Dutch recognized the Indonesian monarchy after an armed conflict and communication between the two.

Indonesia has hundreds of indigenous and multilingual groups, the largest of which are Javanese. Shared identity is further enhanced by the motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (“Unity in Diversity” literally, “many, yet one”) defined in national language, racial diversity, religious diversity among the majority of Muslims and colonial history and rebellion. Indonesia’s economy is 15th in the world in terms of GDP and 7th in GDP in PPP. Indonesia is a regional empire in Southeast Asia  and is considered a central power in world affairs. The country is a member of various international organizations including the United Nations, World Trade Organization, G20, and a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Ancient history


Remains of Homo erectus it now better known as “Java Man” and suggests that the Indonesian islands were inhabited between two million and 500,000 years ago. Homo sapiens reached the region about 43,000 BCE. The Australian people who make up the majority of the modern population and migrated to southeastern Asia from what is now Taiwan. They arrived in the archipelago about 2,000 BCE and confined the Melanesian natives in the far east as they spread east. Appropriate agricultural conditions and careful study of rice cultivation in wetlands in the 8th century BCE allowed towns, cities, and small empires to flourish in the first century CE. The archipelago of maritime routes promoted trade between the islands and other countries, including the Indian empires and the Chinese emperors, from many centuries BCE. Since then trade has shaped Indonesian history.

Government and politics

Indonesia is a republic with a presidential system. Following the fall of the New Order in 1998, political and governmental structures undertook major reforms with four constitutional amendments. And  reviving the administrative, legal, and judiciary. At the core of them is the transfer of power and authority to various regional structures while the unity of the coalition remains. The President of Indonesia is the head of state and head of government, chief executive of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (National Tentara Indonesia, TNI), and director of state administration, policy making, and foreign affairs. The president can serve two consecutive years for two consecutive years.

The highest body represented at the national level is the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, MPR). Its main functions are to support, amend the constitution to open, replace the president in court, to formulate comprehensive national policy frameworks. MPR has two houses Representative Council of the People (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) consisting of 575 members and the Representative Council of the District (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, DPD) with 136 members.  The DPR passes legislation and monitors the responsible branch. Changes since 1998 have greatly expanded their role in national governance while the DPD is a new chamber for regional governance issues.

Many civil disputes arise before the State Court (Pengadilan Negeri). Appeals are heard in the High Court or Pengadilan Tinggi. The Indonesian Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung) is the highest court of the jurisdictional court and hears the final appeal and conducts a review of cases. Other courts include the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) which hears constitutional and political matters and the Religious Religion (Pengadilan Agama) which deals with combined cases of Islamic Law (sharia). In addition, the Judicial Service Commission (Judicial Commission) monitors the performance of judges.

Parties and elections

Since 1999, Indonesia has had a multi-party program. In all the legal elections since the fall of the New Order. No political party has been able to win a majority of seats. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which received the most votes in the 2019 elections. Also is the party of the acting president, Joko Widodo. Other prominent groups include the Working Group (Golkar), the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), the Democratic Party, and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

The first general election was held in 1955 to elect members of the DPR and the Constitution (Konstituante). The most recent 2019 elections have led to nine political parties in the DPR, with a parliamentary margin of 4% of the national vote. At the national level, the Indonesian people did not elect a president until 2004. Since then, the president has been elected for a term of five years, as DPR affiliated party members and non-party DPD. Since the 2015 local government elections, the election of managers and mayors has taken place on the same day. In 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that legal and presidential elections would be held simultaneously, starting in 2019.

Foreign relations

Indonesia maintains 132 foreign embassies including 95 embassies. The country adheres to what it calls a “free and effective foreign policy” seeking to participate in regional affairs in proportion to its size and location but to avoid involvement in conflicts between other countries.

Indonesia was a major battlefield during the Cold War. Many efforts by the United States and the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China to some extent, culminated in the 1965 coup attempt and the ensuing turmoil that led to the duplication of foreign policy. Silent alignment with the Western world while maintaining a non-violent standpoint has marked Indonesia’s foreign policy ever since. Today, it maintains a close relationship with its neighbors and is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) and the East Asia Summit. Like most Muslims, Indonesia has no relations with Israel and has supported Palestine. However, observers have pointed out that Indonesia has ties to Israel, although it cannot be done discreetly.

Indonesia has been a member of the United Nations since 1950 and is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Indonesia has signed an agreement with ASEAN Free Trade Area, Cairns Group, World Trade Organization (WTO) and OPEC member from time to time. During the conflict in Indonesia – and Malaysia, Indonesia withdrew from the UN as a result of the election of these to the United Nations Security Council, although it returned 18 months later. It is the first time in the history of the UN that a member state has tried to withdraw.  Indonesia has been a recipient of aid and development since 1966, and more recently, the country launched its first overseas aid program in late 2019.

Geography and Geology

Indonesia lies between 11 °S and 6 °N, 95 ° E and 141 °E. It is the largest island nation in the world and stretching 5,120 miles (3,181 mi) from east to west and miles 1,760 (1,094 mi) from north to south. The Ministry of Maritime Liaison and Investment estimates that Indonesia has 17,504 islands (16,056 registered at the UN)  scattered across the equator, about 6,000 of which are inhabited.  The largest are Sumatra, Java, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea).  Indonesia shares world borders with Malaysia on Borneo and Sebatik, Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea, and East Timor on the island of Timor, and maritime borders with Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Palau and Australia.

At 4,884 meters (16,024 ft), Puncak Jaya is the highest peak in Indonesia while Lake Toba in Sumatra is the largest lake with an area of ​​1,145 km2 (442 sq mi). The main rivers in Indonesia are in Kalimantan and New Guinea and include the Kapapuas, Barito, Cambamber, Sepik and Mahakam rivers. They serve as communication and transport links between the rivers of the island.

Occasionally, Indonesia is relatively unstable making it the scene of numerous volcanoes and earthquakes that are common. It lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire where the Indo-Australia Plate and Pacific Plate are placed at the bottom of the Eurasian plate, where they melt about 100 miles (62 miles) deep. A series of volcanoes cut through Sumatra, Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, and then to the cold Maluku Islands northeast of Sulawesi.  Of the 400 volcanoes, about 130 are active. Between 1972 and 1991, there were 29 volcanic eruptions, mainly in Java. Volcanic ash has made agricultural conditions unpredictable in some areas. However, it also led to fertile soil, which is a factor in historically supporting the overcrowding in Java and Bali.

A massive supervolcano erupted in present-day Lake Toba about 70,000 BCE It is believed to have created volcanic winters and cooling of the climate and to have led to the evolution of genes into human evolution, although this is still controversial. The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora and the Krakoa eruption in 1883 were among the largest in recorded history. The first one killed 92,000 people and made an umbrella of volcanic ash that spread and covered parts of the island and formed much of the Northern Hemisphere outside in the summer of 1816. The latter produced the largest noise in recorded history and resulted in the death of 36,000 people as a result of the actual explosions and tsunamis, which had an additional impact on the world in the years following the event. Recent disasters caused by earthquake activity include the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake.

Beginning in the seventh century CE, the sea-kingdom of Srivijaya flourished as a result of trade and the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism. Between the eighth and tenth centuries CE, Buddhist monarchs Sailendra and Hindu Mataram emperors prospered and settled in central Java, leaving great religious monuments such as Saoborur of Sailendra and Prambanan of Mataram. The Hindu empire Majapahit was established in eastern Java in the late 13th century, and under Gajah Mada, its influence pervaded many parts of present-day Indonesia. This period is often referred to as the “Golden Age” in Indonesian history.

The earliest evidence of Islamized people on the islands dates to the 13th century north of Sumatra. Other parts of the island gradually converted to Islam, and it was the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra in the late 16th century. For the most part, Muslims cover and mix with existing cultural and religious influences, forming a prominent Islamic state in Indonesia, especially in Java.

Current issues and Events in Indonesia

-Indonesia’s new criminal code. Indonesia has been working to renew its criminal code for the colonial period for decades.
-Growing discrimination and attacks on LGBT people.
-No UN access to West Papua.
-Increased religious intolerance.
-The Minister of Defense is involved in the harassment.

Problems include deforestation (many of which are illegal) and associated wildfires that cause heavy smoke in the western parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore,excessive exploitation of maritime resources and environmental problems associated with urbanization and economic development, including air pollution and traffic.

Leave a Reply