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Indonesia: Peoples and Histories

Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world. It comprises more than 17,000 islands inhabited by 230 million people who speak over 300 different languages. Now the world's largest Muslim nation, Indonesia remains extraordinarily heterogeneous due to the waves of immigration-Buddhist, Hindu, Arab, and European-that have defined the region's history.Fifty years after the collapse of Dutch colonial rule, Indonesia is a nation in the midst of dramatic upheaval. In this broad survey, Jean Gelman Taylor explores the connections between the nation's many communities, and the differences that propel contemporary breakaway movements.Drawing on a broad range of sources, including art, archaeology, and literature, Taylor provides a historical overview from the prehistoric period to the present day. The text is enlivened by brief "capsule" histories on topics ranging from pepper to Maharajas to smallpox.This ambitious book-the first new history of Indonesia written in over twenty years-will be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Southeast Asia and the future stability of the region.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12808-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Capsules
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. List of Illustrations and Maps
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xxi)
  6. [Map]
    (pp. xxii-xxii)
    (pp. 1-4)

    Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world. It is important as exporter of petroleum, natural gas, and manufactured goods, as consumer of Western and Japanese aid and investment funds, and as the world’s largest Muslim nation. It is an archipelago country, made up of 17,506 islands, populated by 230 million people speaking more than three hundred languages. It has been an independent republic for more than fifty years, before that a colony of the Dutch and a zone of Islamic monarchies. The world’s largest Buddhist temple survives from the ninth century in the heart of Java, and a...

  8. 1 EARLY BEGINNINGS: Histories Through Material Culture
    (pp. 5-26)

    In the beginning there was no Indonesia. Land bridges connected the islands of Java, Sumatra, and Borneo to the Eurasian land mass. Bones discovered in the Solo valley are the only clue that ancestors lived 1.5 million years ago in Java. Human society reveals itself faintly from around 40,000 B.C.E. Descendants of early communities today live on the fringes of the Indonesian archipelago, in New Guinea, on the Melanesian islands, in Australia, and in the highlands of the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines. Until recent times they were tropical forest hunters, gatherers of tubers, and producers of flaked stone tools....

  9. 2 COMMUNITIES AND KINGDOMS: Histories Through Writing and Temples
    (pp. 27-59)

    Indonesian landscapes are the invention of modern times: densely settled cities and plains, hills stripped of forest, bird, and animal life to make way for farming, mining, factories, and housing complexes; suburban landscapes of high-rise office and apartment blocks; countryside crisscrossed by toll roads and telephone lines and dotted with Internet booths. The archipelago’s humid climate and centuries of natural and human cataclysms have obliterated most vestiges of ancient pasts. Urban Indonesians may briefly confront a past they would never suspect was around them, by reading in the newspaper of old objects turned up in the plowing of a field...

  10. 3 SULTANS AND STATES: Histories Through Islam
    (pp. 60-87)

    Indonesian communities located at stopping points on the sea highways connecting China, India, and Arabia were best placed to pick up new world trends in thinking, making, and doing. Leaders of these strategically placed archipelago communities called themselves rajas. The India they consciously connected themselves to was not a fossilized museum of ancient Sanskrit culture. Religious scholars and professional writers at Indonesian courts were in touch with Indian religious trends. They were familiar with Hindu devotional sects that rejected the practice of making gods visible through sculptures in stone and substituted the worship of one unseen god in place of...

  11. 4 MONARCHS, MENTORS, AND MOBILE MEN: Embedding Islam in Indonesian Histories
    (pp. 88-114)

    Two events of great importance for Indonesian histories occurred in the closing years of the thirteenth century. In northeast Sumatra a ruler, Merah Silau, employed Muslim professionals to inaugurate Islamic government in Pasai, and took the reign name of Sultan Malik al-Saleh (r. ?–1297). In east Java Prince Wijaya employed professionals who were Hindu and Buddhist to administer the state he founded, Majapahit, and took the reign name of Sri Maharaja Kertarajasa (r. 1294–1309). At opposite ends of the archipelago, then, and at the same time, Islamic and Hindu-Buddhist monarchies embarked on separate civilizing programs. In Indonesian histories,...

  12. 5 NEWCOMERS IN THE MUSLIM CIRCLE: Europeans Enter Indonesian Histories
    (pp. 115-141)

    Indonesian ships and shippers had a history of long journeys. They perfected the techniques of sailing within hours or days of land, and specialized in interisland routes. Shippers used knowledge of winds, currents, stars, and landmarks on coasts to navigate through reefs, shoals, along coastlines, and inner waters such as the Java Sea. Journeys between ports took days or weeks to accomplish. Archipelago sailors did not develop oceangoing navigation skills to carry them on journeys of many months across vast expanses of open water, and so they did not reach Europe. They did not establish Indonesian trading communities in European...

  13. 6 INSIDE INDONESIAN SULTANATES: Dutch Vassals, Allies, Recorders, Foes, and Kafirs
    (pp. 142-173)

    In the seventeenth century Indonesian sultans sought to expand their power. Rulers of international ports extended their authority inland by attack and by installation of vassals. They saw conversion to Islam as a means to shape their subjects’ thoughts and to solidify bonds between ruler and ruled, and so promoted Islamic institutions in town and countryside. Fringe scholars traveling the highways of the Islamic network were welcome in their capitals. Sultans controlled their subjects’ time by requiring them to pay taxes through free labor and produce, and in so doing stimulated the flow of goods to markets where they taxed...

  14. 7 NEW AND OLD STATES: Freelancers, Prophets, and Militias at Large
    (pp. 174-208)

    Alliances and rivalries between sultans and the Dutch set archipelago peoples on the move. Men displaced by the new ruling classes regrouped under charismatic leaders as militias for hire. Buginese, Balinese, Madurese, Chinese, and Dutch mercenaries jostled with roving bands of land and sea robbers for a share in battles and the spoils. Ambitious men hired them to launch challenges to established kings. Monopoly agreements between sultans and the VOC produced a class of traders who operated off-limits, without licenses or passes. The cargo they shipped into small bays and up rivers—firearms, ammunition, opium, and slaves—fueled political changes...

  15. 8 MAPS AND MENTALITY: European Borders Within Indonesian Worlds
    (pp. 209-237)

    The western archipelago of Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, the Kalimantan coasts, and the Riau islands functioned as one world for its inhabitants. To outsiders this was a shifting world of sea peoples and river-mouth societies perched on the edge of mangrove swamps and mountain ranges, with no one great power keeping order. The importance of the western archipelago to outsiders was that it straddled the sea route connecting India, the Arab world, and Europe to the huge China market. Malays, Buginese, Chinese, Indians, Arabs, English, and Dutch crowded its sea-lanes and river markets, evading the decrees of sultans and governors-general,...

  16. 9 MANY KINGDOMS, ONE COLONY: Bringing Indonesian Histories Together
    (pp. 238-278)

    During the nineteenth century Indonesian lives became fused in the Netherlands East Indies. Within the archipelago’s many communities there developed an overlay of shared experience. More people than ever before became aware of Europeans living and working in the archipelago, and more came under Dutch political and military control. Greater numbers of Indonesians inhabited space influenced by men with foreign customs, new work machines, and new ways of organizing daily life. Towns multiplied. There were more Javanese on Java and across the archipelago. There were more Chinese and more Indonesians circulating. There were Chinese coolies in Sumatra, Buginese traders in...

    (pp. 279-309)

    During the first fifty years of the twentieth century, as Indonesia’s ruling classes diversified in composition and outlook they experimented with new alliances. Sultans tried cautiously to relaunch themselves by patronizing the new cultural clubs and political organizations of young men freshly graduated from European and Middle Eastern schools. They lent their covert support to groups the Dutch perceived as “troublemakers,” while feigning partnership with the Dutch. Young reformers found adat chiefs and sultans to be in their way; like Dutch men, the protected rulers monopolized top honors and positions in the colony. New graduates formed associations whose Dutch or...

  18. 11 REARRANGING MAP AND MIND: Japan and the Republic in Indonesian Histories
    (pp. 310-339)

    Indonesian politicians viewed the sweep of Japanese armies across mainland Asia in the 1920s and 1930s with mixed feelings. They admired Japan’s independence, modernization, and military prowess and wondered if Japan could hasten the overthrow of Western colonialism in Asia. The Dutch and Chinese living in Indonesia viewed Japanese expansion with alarm. Invasion, when it came, was sudden and complete. By March 1942 the colonial state had vanished. In places such as Bali, where no Dutch soldiers were stationed in 1942, there was no fighting. The fiercest fighting for the defense of the colony took place at invasion points in...

  19. 12 MAJAPAHIT VISIONS: Sukarno and Suharto in Indonesian Histories
    (pp. 340-386)

    From January 1950 the Republic of Indonesia occupied the space of the Dutch colonial state, excepting its West New Guinea territory. From Jakarta President Sukarno surveyed the archipelago state. The solid core of Java contained half of the new nation’s population, most of the nation’s men with modern educations, and the highest concentration of politicians committed to a unitary state. Java was also the region most damaged by guerrilla warfare and most divided within itself. Two civil wars had been fought there, pitting republican troops against Muslim soldiers and communist partisans. Java’s inhabitants had been most galvanized by the years...

    (pp. 387-390)
    (pp. 391-412)
  22. INDEX
    (pp. 413-420)