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Introduction: The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan's surrender, but it required four years of intermittent negotiations, recurring hostilities, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to transfer sovereignty in 1949. Free and fair legislative elections took place in 1999 after decades of repressive rule. Indonesia is now the world's third most populous democracy, the world's largest archipelagic state, and home to the world's largest Muslim population. Current issues include: alleviating poverty, improving education, preventing...

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Economic Overview: The Indonesian economy withstood the global financial crisis better than many analysts expected, and has continued to grow strongly since. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast growth in Indonesia of 6.4 per cent in 2011. This growth is expected to be underpinned by consumption spending, the main driver of growth in ...

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History: By the time of the Renaissance, the islands of Java and Sumatra had already enjoyed a 1,000-year heritage of advanced civilization spanning two major empires. During the 7th-14th centuries, the Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya flourished on Sumatra. At its peak, the Srivijaya Empire reached as far as West Java and the Malay Peninsula. Also by the 14th century, the Hindu Kingdom of Majapahit had ...

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International Relations: Relations with Neighbours

As a founding member of ASEAN, and host to its Secretariat, Indonesia has traditionally been seen as the lynchpin of the organisation. Indonesia is keen to promote co-operation with ASEAN countries, and often takes the lead on political and human rights agendas. 2011 saw a successful Indonesian chairmanship with progress on a number of political and security issues. Despite occasional disputes with neighbouring countries, including over illegal immigration to Malaysia and overlapping maritime territorial claims, Indonesia’s relations with its ASEAN partners remain strong. President Yudhoyono's ...

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Beginning in the 1890s, paleontologists discovered fossil remains of creatures on the island of Java that, while probably not the direct ancestors of modern humans, were closely related to them. These Javan hominids, known by scientists as Homo erectus, lived 500,000 years ago and some possibly as long as 1.7 million years ago. Their remains are identified as Jetis -- the earlier specimens found ...

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Area Handbook Series
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