Indonesia – Happy May 20th!

The Dutch laid claim to Indonesia in 1596 in order to capitalize on spices., but that was only the beginning of the mayhem the Dutch created in Indonesia.

The Dutch subjugated each Indonesian island they sailed to, and in 1859, interfered with the lines of succession from Sultan Adam to his chosen heir after the heir-apparent died. The Banjarmasin War started as a power struggle between two previous allies, Tamjid and Hidayat.

See this 1859, Dutch East Indies coin pendant necklace on Etsy.

Tamjid sided with the Dutch and incited rebellion in the street which caused Hidayat to resign in protest of his local government’s Dutch collusion. Dutch forces were sent to quell the disturbance (that they may have inspired in the first place).

The Dutch East India company was founded shortly after colonization, in 1602. The goal of the Dutch East India Company was to amass wealth for the Dutch and to decrease Dutch reliance on the Spanish.

Almost 50 years later, on May 20th 1908, a government doctor in the Dutch controlled East Indies named Budi Utomo set forth a Prime Philosophy that stated it was the responsibility of the Native elite, to increase and expand the education of all Native Indonesians.

His actions mark the beginning of the Indonesian National Awakening. The Awakening is seen by some as the spark that led to Indonesia’s eventual Independence. Although Budi Utomo was not originally political, he would develop political power and use it to try and further the education of Indonesians.

In 1935 with war looming on the horizon, and the Japanese threat increasing, the nationalist Budi Utomo political party disbanded, but the idea of quality education for Indonesians continued.

During the war, in 1943 the last Allied stand for control of the Indonesian islands came to an end. The Australian commandos who fought to repel the Japanese at Timor were evacuated and Japan remained in control of Indonesia until the war ended in 1945.

After the war, the Indonesians declared Independence, and proceeded to fight for it. The Indonesian and Dutch warring continued until the Dutch succumbed to the Indonesians, and recognized their Independence in 1949.

At that time, the spark of freedom that began with Budi Utomo and the Indonesian National Awakening, reached its desired aim. The Indonesians were free from Dutch control. They were free to educate the population, and able to pursue their own way, at home and on the world stage.

Read this tiny history of Indonesia from colonization to independence, and find out what happened on May 20th so many years ago.

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