Indonesian History

Although hundreds of ethnic groups have been known as the indigenous of Indonesia for hundreds and thousands of years, Indonesia did not exist in its present form until the turn of the 20th century.

Of the so-called natives of Indonesia, archaeologists have speculated that the first people to populate Indonesia migrated from mainland China some 1,000 years ago and inhabited a stretch of islands along the equator, later known as Nusantara.

Over the centuries they built and refined their statecraft in the form of kingdoms and principalities. Sharing similar characteristics with other Southeast Asian kingdoms, these Nusantara kingdoms based their conception of state more on people than on space or territory. But intercourse with the western world changed the course of history in Nusantara.

In 1511, the Portuguese conquered Malacca, located on the Malay peninsula, which was then still an inseparable part of Nusantara. The Dutch followed in 1512 and landed on Banten shore in Java. At first, the Dutch came more as traders under the trading umbrella of the Royal East Indies Company (Vereniging Oost Indische Compagnie, VOC). For the next two centuries, the Dutch conducted business with the natives, although in many cases the trade was not on equal terms. Often, trade was accompanied by violent pacification processes. 

Then the VOC went bankrupt and the Dutch government took over the business in Nusantara (called the East Indies by the Dutch). Starting from about the mid-seventh century and lasting until the arrival of the Japanese in 1942, was the "real colonization" called "high colonialism" in literature. The period was disrupted briefly when the British took over colonial rule in 1811 to 1814. Among other things that the natives learned from colonization was statecraft based on territorial conception rather than on people. 

In the early 20th century, the natives of Nusantara learned that as diverse as their ethnicities were, they could imagine themselves as a unified community. A nationalism had grown in a process that Benedict Anderson, a doyen of Indonesian studies, calls an "imagined community". During the first half of 20th century Nusantara, its people built an imaginary nation called Indonesia -- the name itself was borrowed from the West. By the end of the 1930s, it was clear that the end of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia was only a matter of time. 

During World War II, 1942-1945, the Japanese occupied Indonesia. Although short-lived, the occupation enabled Indonesians to arm themselves for the very first time. Shortly after Japan's defeat in WWII, Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed Indonesia an independent state, and they became the founding fathers of the new country. The largest archipelago in the world, with over 17,000 islands -- only 3,000 of which are inhabited -- has emerged into a new Indonesia. 

When the Dutch returned and tried to reestablish colonial rule, armed Indonesians resisted. The Dutch were forced to recognize an independent Indonesia in 1949.

Indonesia’s mountains of fire

While Indonesia’s volcanoes are often noted for the beauty of their spectacular peaks, steaming craters and view of the earth’s bubbling core, Mount Merapi, the country’s most active volcano, took centre stage this past October as a clear reminder of their deadly activity. Many of Indonesia’s volcanoes do erupt, sometimes with shocking consequences.

Due to Indonesia's placement on a significant segment of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", two large crustal plates (the Indian Ocean and western Pacific) are forced under the massive Eurasian plate, where they melt, approximately 100km beneath the surface. Some of the magma rises and erupts, forming the string of volcanic islands across Indonesia.

But with tectonic activity comes devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, such as those of Boxing Day 2004, off Java in July 2006 and Sumatra in 2009, and just recently around the surfer's paradise of the Mentawai Islands. Here is the lowdown on Indonesia's most beautiful, and its most volatile, volcanic monsters.
Volcano peaks, part of the huge Tengger Massif in Java 

Gunung Bromo, Java
A landscape of epic proportions and surreal beauty, Gunung Bromo is one of Indonesia's most breathtaking sights. Surrounded by the desolate Sea of Sands, its peak is sacred and eerie. It may not be Java's tallest volcano, but it is easily its most magnificent. From the summit you can see two other volcanoes (one in various stages of activity), all set in the vast caldera of yet another volcano.

Compared with Java's other major peaks, Gunung Bromo is a midget. But this volcano's beauty is in its setting, not its size. Rising from the guts of the ancient Tengger caldera, Bromo is one of three volcanoes to have emerged from a vast crater that stretches 10km across. Flanked by the peaks of Kursi and Batok, the steaming cone of Bromo stands in a sea of ashen, volcanic sand, surrounded by the towering cliffs of the crater's edge. Nearby, Gunung Semeru, Java's highest peak and one of its most active volcanoes, throws its shadow - and occasionally its ash - over the whole scene.

The beauty of Raja Ampat (Island Archipelago)

Raja Ampat Islands
Raja Ampat is a group of islands in West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) and consists of 610, mostly uninhabited islands. The four largest islands are Waigeo in the north, Salawati (southwest of the second largest city in West Papua, Sorong) Batanta (north of Salawati) and Misool in the southwest. The name Raja Ampat is also based on these four islands and literally means "the four kings.

Raja Ampat is a relatively unknown area in Indonesia, but this destination among divers enjoy great fame. This is due to the large supply of various species of fish and amazing coral reefs, ranging from hard to soft coral. But the islands themselves are impressive. The Raja Ampat islands have hidden lagoons with crystal white sand and water that varies from bright green to bright blue colors.

The Raja Ampat islands are so well known among divers. Some lovely dive sites are:
Pulau Wai
The coral reefs around this small island off the north coast of Batanta home to rare species such as the recently discovered Raja epaulette shark, wobbegong shark, crocodile fish and great mantras. Also here is an old American fighter plane wreck from World War II.

Teluk Kabui
Between Waigeo and the smaller island of Pulau Gam are many small jungle islands of limestone. The Nudibranch Rock is definitely one of the highlights of this location, as this rock an overwhelming population lives on ... brightly colored nudibranchs.

Bali is the most popular island of Indonesia

Bali is the most popular island of Indonesia. Denpasar is the capital of Bali. If you fly you fly to Bali generally always Denpasar (DPS). Bali is 5561 square kilometers and has approximately 3.5 million inhabitants. The Balinese speak mostly Indonesian (Bahasa), Balinese or English. The island is largely Hindu.

Sanur Beach
Bali was formerly dominated by several independent principalities. When the Dutch first entered the island (1597) that changed. There are still found in Bali Dutch influences. Since the inception of the republic in 1945 Bali is part of the Republic of Indonesia.

In Indonesia, everyone generally or predominantly practicing Muslim. In Bali it is not so, there is the majority of the population to a form of Hinduism. The Hindu Dharma, Agama Hindu consists of a combination of existing mythologieeen and Balinese influences of Hinduism in South and Southeast Asia.

Bali is an island where you ever once must have been, especially the diversity speaks many tourists. In the south of the island (around Kuta and Sanur) is the tourist area, with all the comforts of that. In the extreme south, however, is still plenty to explore. Think of the area around Jimbaran Pecatu-Ungasan-Balangan, where many idyllic and unspoilt beaches adorn the coastline. The cultural center of the "Island of Thousand Temples" is Ubud. Here visitors can enjoy the Barong and Kris dance performances. From Ubud, you can easily explore the rest of the island.

The main port of Bali, which is about 6 kilometers from Denpasar is located, is the gateway for many tourists who come by boat or leaving the island. Here one can enjoy water sports, boat races and other events.

Sanur Beach
This beach is a short distance from Denpasar. The long stretch of beach can be reached easily by public transport. Sanur beach is especially popular with older tourists (50 +) because of the quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
Sanur has many beautiful hotels, delicious (fish) restaurants and is ideal for water sports.

Kuta Beach
Among surfers and sun worshipers one of the finest beaches in the world. The strong waves make it ideal for water sports, but also make it too difficult to swim. Here you can see at night in the most fashionable restaurants, cafes and enjoy the sunset.

The amazing sea-gardens of Maluku Indonesia

The province of Maluku is one of the provinces in the archipelago of about 1,027 large and small islands. Therefore, the province also known as the "province of thousand islands". Most of the mainland of the Moluccas is covered with lush tropical forest. The deepest ocean trench in Indonesia lies in the province, namely Banda, at 6,500 meters below sea level. The islands are administratively divided into two provinces, Maluku and North Maluku.

The amazing sea-gardens of Maluku
Maluku is famous for its spectacular sea-gardens, and one can enjoy directly from there by snorkeling or scuba diving classes. According to some researches 

The islands in Maluku 
The islands consist of two provinces: in Ambon and Maluku and North Maluku capital of Ternate as capital. Maluku is famous for its natural beauty and spice since ancient times. Its hundreds of islands each have a unique panorama. Apart nature, should be well preserved legacies of the colonial era as the main tourist attraction. 

One of the prominent tourist destinations in Ambon is Marthafon or Martha Alfons peninsula. The island lies opposite the city of Ambon and is accessible by ferry or through the wooden boats which you can bring locals. Really special is the beautiful unspoilt sandy beach and barricaded a meter high walls. 

Banda Naira
Of marine tourism to enjoy, please go to Banda Naira. The beauty of the sea garden and the diversity of plant and animal species that live under the clear water are its main attractions. You do not know what you see. Finally, there is still much to admire in history Banda Naira. Old buildings in Banda Naira is still solid and well preserved. The narrow streets of the city not more than four meters wide, and large shady trees along some strategists give it an air of a fun little town from the early 20th century.