History of Indonesia

Indonesia Map
The history of Indondesia is longer and more complex than many people may realize. It is a country that, over milleniums, has seen the rise and fall of many kingdoms. Perhaps it's the lasting impressions of each of Indonesia's incarnations that makes it such a fascinating destination.

Early Kingdoms

As early as 200 BC, the Jawa Dwipa Hindu kingdom occupied parts of Indonesia now known as Java and Sumatra. This and other early kingdoms were mainly Hindu and Buddhist and lasted throughout most of the first millenium. Many of the relics left behind, such as the Prambanan and Borobudur, can still be visited today.

Muslim Influence

From 1200 until around 1600, Islam began to leave its mark o­n Indonesia. Through the persistence of missionaries, the country's Muslim population spiked, especially in the Java region. Today, there is still a strong Islamic presence in the country.


The biggest culture shift in Indonesia began after the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th century. The Portuguese, Dutch, and British empires all put their flags down. The spice trade at that time was in full swing and Indonesia was at the center. Delicacies like nutmeg, which were native to the country, became the prize behind many battles.

Independent Indonesia

It was not until the 1940s that Indonesia achieved independence. Up until the start of World War II it had been still occupied by the Dutch, but this ended after the Japanese take-over. After the war, with some help from the United Nations, Indonesia was finally declared its own unitary Republic.

Current day Indonesia has its own parliament, and its people elect a president and vice president to 5-year terms. Although the country has acheived independence, the system is still new and there's no doubt that there are still many chapters to be written o­n the history of Indonesia.