Indianization and Islamic Kingdoms
In the first centuries AD, merchants and priests from the Indian subcontinent introduced the cult of Hindu deities (especially Shivas) and Buddhism to Indonesia. Small, mostly Hindu kingdoms emerged on Sumatra, Java and Borneo, which also adopted new production techniques (rice cultivation and irrigation methods) and administrative procedures from India.
The most important state structure, which subsequently developed into the Indonesian supremacy, was the great empire of Srivijaya, founded in the 7th century in East Sumatra (around the center of Palembang). In the course of its expansion policy, it brought the most important sea routes of Indonesia, v. a. the Strait of Malacca, under his rule, thus controlled the trade routes between India and China and extended his power over most of the islands – at times over part of Java – and part of the Malay Peninsula. Under the dynasty of the Shailendra (“Lords of the Mountains”), ruling central Java since the 8th century, who, unlike the Hindu local rulers of Java, were followers of Mahayana Buddhism, numerous cult buildings were built, including the temple of Borobudur. See localtimezone for population of Indonesia.
When the Shailendra were ousted from Java around 856 (as a result, they took over Sumatra – due to family ties to the dynasty there – rule over the Srivijaya empire), the political and economic focus on Java shifted further and further east. Indigenous cultural elements penetrated more and more the Indian cultural heritage and overlaid it. Under the Javanese King Erlangga (Airlangga, 1016–42) there was a demarcation of the spheres of interest between Sumatra (orientation to the west) and Java (to the east). In the 13th century the kingdom of Singhasari arose in East Java – through the union of several smaller empires – and in West Java the Empire Pajajaran. They were followed as the most powerful empire Majapahit (1293 to about 1520) in East Java as well as Central Java and Madura; it expanded its influence over most of what is now Indonesia, receiving tribute from almost all the islands, smashing the Pajajaran kingdom in 1350 and conquering Srivijaya in 1377. His influence on Bali was particularly strong. Two historical developments sealed the downfall of this extensive state structure: the rapid rise (since around 1400) of the port city of Malacca on the Malay Peninsula, which has been colonized by Malays from Sumatra since the 12th century, to the leading trading center of Southeast Asia and the Islam, which was conveyed especially from here by Arab, Persian and Indian merchants along the trade routes, which at the end of the 13th century gained a foothold in northern Sumatra, where Islamic settlements had already existed, and gradually all of Indonesia with the exception of Bali, the preserved and permeated Hinduism. At the beginning of the 16th century, most of the Javanese princes embraced Islam and founded sultanates: Demak (East Java, 1518), Bantam (West Java, first conquered by Demak, independent since 1552) and Mataram (1586). The latter was divided into the principalities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta in 1755. Gained a foothold in northern Sumatra in the mid-twentieth century, where Islamic settlements had already existed, and gradually penetrated all of Indonesia with the exception of Bali, which preserved Hinduism. At the beginning of the 16th century, most of the Javanese princes embraced Islam and founded sultanates: Demak (East Java, 1518), Bantam (West Java, first conquered by Demak, independent since 1552) and Mataram (1586). The latter was divided into the principalities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta in 1755.
With the discovery of the sea route to India (1497/98), the Europeans also advanced into the Southeast Asian region in order to take over the profitable spice trade previously maintained by the locals. This made Indonesia the scene of fierce competition and power struggles among western merchants. After the conquest of Malacca by the Portuguese under A. de Albuquerque (1511) and the establishment of trading establishments on North Sumatra, Timor and the Moluccas (Ternate and Tidore), the Spanish and English also followed, but were unable to assert themselves against the Dutch who also arrived. Cornelis de Houtman (* 1565, † 1599) , the head of the first Dutch trade expedition to the East Indies (1595–97), set up a base in Bantam (West Java).
In 1602 the Dutch United East India Company (VOC) was founded, which was given full powers to set up new and take over existing trading factories. Through skilful contract negotiations and taking advantage of the rivalries among the local princes, v. a. the governor general and (1619) founder of Batavias (now Jakarta) J. P. Coen the sphere of influence of the company and thus laid the foundation for the Dutch colonial empire in Indonesia. In 1799 the society, which was heavily indebted due to excessive spending, mismanagement and corruption, was dissolved. The Dutch government (then the government of the Batavian Republic) took over their possessions. The occupation of the Moluccas and Javas by the British (1811-16) during the Napoleonic Wars and the establishment of a new British administrative and taxation system remained episodes (the archipelago was returned to the Netherlands in 1816). In the course of the 19th century, Dutch rule over Indonesia (official name: Dutch East Indies), but there were repeated uprisings by local princes and long wars (Java War 1825–30, Aceh Wars 1873–1913). In 1830, the colonial administration replaced the earlier practices of taxes in kind and forced labor with a cultural system with regulations and compulsory quotas for agricultural cultivation, which, however, was abandoned after 1870 in favor of a free trade policy that opened the country to European capital and entrepreneurship. Towards the end of the 19th century, the “ethnic policy” was propagated, according to which the mother country wanted to promote the interests of the autochthonous population and their self-government.