Meaning of INDONESIA, FLAG OF in English


horizontally divided red-white national flag. Its width-to-length ratio is 2 to 3. Indonesia's flag was officially adopted on August 17, 1945, three days after the conclusion of World War II. It remained the national flag when Indonesia won recognition of its independence from The Netherlands in 1949. The flag, a simple design of red and white stripes, has a long history. It was first associated with the Majapahit empire, which flourished from the 13th to the 16th century in eastern Java, and it incorporates traditional colour symbolism: red for courage and white for honesty. More recently, it was adopted in 1922 by the Indonesian Union, a nationalist organization of Indonesian students studying in The Netherlands. In 1928 the Indonesian Nationalist Party also adopted the flag. Coincidentally, the flag of Indonesia is identical, except in dimensions, to the flag of Monaco. Whitney Smith History The archipelago and its early historical records Sites associated with early Indonesian history. The Indonesian archipelago stretches for more than 3,000 miles east to west and is the largest island complex in the world. The sea has inevitably influenced Indonesian history. Not surprisingly, the boat became a pervasive metaphor in literary and oral tradition and in the arts in Indonesia. Monsoon winds, blowing north and south of the equator, have facilitated communication within the archipelago and with the rest of maritime Asia; the warm rainfall has nourished rich vegetation. In early times the timber and spices of Java and the eastern islands were known afar, as were also the resins from the exceptionally wet equatorial jungle in the western islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Not long after the beginning of the Christian era, goods were already being shipped overseas, and navigable rivers brought the Indonesian hinterland into touch with distant markets. Easy overseas communication did not, however, result in the formation of territorially large kingdoms. The many estuaries of Sumatra and Borneo, facing the inland seas, possessed an abundance of nutritious seafood that made possible a settled mode of life, and the contacts between the people of one estuary and their neighbours were more important to them than those they could make with overseas lands. Indonesian maritime history is the story of the efforts of local groups, endowed with more or less comparable resources, to protect their separate identities. The same local interests prevailed on the island of Java, where the lava-enriched soil, watered by gently flowing rivers, encouraged wet-rice production and a patchwork pattern of settled areas in the river valleys separated by mountains and jungle. Long before records begin, many of these coastal and riverine groups were evolving an elementary form of hierarchy, accompanied by the craftsmen's tokens of rank. No single group was large enough to overrun and occupy neighbouring territories; its energies were absorbed rather by an ever more intensive exploitation of its own natural resources. Those living on or close to the sea knew that geographic isolation was out of the question but regarded their maritime environment as a means of enhancing their well-being through imports or new skills. Looking outward, far from inculcating a sense of belonging to larger communities, encouraged the pursuit of local interests. Thus, the structure of Indonesian written and oral sources suggests to historians that the origins of kingdoms on the coasts of the Java Sea were associated with the success of local heroes in turning the arrival of foreign trading treasure to their advantage. Indonesian place-names have frequently remained unchanged since the beginning of documented history. In these often nearby places, each leader saw himself at the centre of the world that mattered to him, which was not, until later, the archipelago or even a single island but his own strip of coast or river valley. Some centres achieved local hegemony but never to the extent of extinguishing permanently the pretensions of rival centres. Thus, the early history of Indonesia is compounded of many regional histories that only gradually impinge on each other. The historical fragmentation of the archipelago, sustained by its rich climate and accentuated rather than offset by easy access to the outside world, is reflected in its languages. Scholars have debated the location of the areas outside Indonesia from which the speakers of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) languages originally came: the Asian mainland and the Pacific islands have been proposed. What is significant for the historian, however, is that the speakers of these languages almost certainly drifted into the region in small groups over long periods of time and did not suddenly assume a common identity when they reached the coasts and rivers of the archipelago. On the contrary, they remained scattered groups, sometimes coexisting with descendants of earlier Pleistocene populations, who, in their turn, had also learned to make economic use of their environment over an immense span of cultural time. The perhaps 200 languages within the Western, or Indonesian, branch of the Austronesian family are an index of the manner in which the peoples of the Indonesian archipelago submitted to the realities of their landscape. The historian, examining stone or metal inscriptions, which, together with surviving copies of early religious texts, are the important sources of documentary information, must remember that the evidence is always concerned with specific places. Comprehensive narrative histories of extensive areas cannot be written. The reality behind interregional relationships must often remain a riddle. The historian's task is the study of cultural history in widely scattered groups of society rather than narrative accounts of still very indistinct kingdoms; it is the investigation of beliefs shared by the ruling classes and the peasantry and of the points of contact between them. The ideas of men of rank were articulated in architecture and literature, reflecting varying degrees of exposure to influences outside the archipelago, but all groups of the population subscribed to basic assumptions concerning dependence of people on the goodwill of the gods. Indonesian "Hinduism" It may one day be shown by students of prehistory that Indonesians were sailing to other parts of Asia long ago. Records of foreign trade, however, begin only in the early centuries AD. A study of the Roman historian Pliny the Elder's Natural History suggests that, in the 1st century AD, Indonesian outriggers were engaged in trade with the east coast of Africa. Indonesian settlements may have existed at that time in Madagascar, an island with distinct Indonesian cultural traits. The geographer Ptolemy, in the following century, incorporated information from Indian merchants in his Guide to Geography concerning Iabadiou, presumably referring to Java, and Malaiou, which, with its variants, may refer to Malayu in southeastern Sumatra. Regular voyages between Indonesia and China did not begin before the 5th century AD. Chinese literature in the 5th and 6th centuries refers to western Indonesian tree produce, including camphor from northern Sumatra, and also to two resins that seem to have been added to the seaborne trade in western Asian resins and were known in China as Persian resins from the south ocean. Indonesian shippers were probably exploiting the economic difficulties southern China was suffering at the time because it had been cut off from the ancient Central Asian trade route. Certain small estuary kingdoms were beginning to prosper as international entrepts. Their location is unknown, though Palembang's commercial prominence in the 7th century suggests that the Malays of southeastern Sumatra had been active in the Persian trade with southern China. History Toward independence The rise of nationalism Indonesian nationalism in the 20th century must be distinguished from earlier movements of protest: the Padri War, the Java War, and the many smaller examples of sporadic agrarian unrest had been prenationalistic movements, the products of local grievances. By contrast, the nationalism of the early 20th century was the product of the new imperialism and was part of wider currents of unrest affecting many parts of Africa and Asia. In Indonesia nationalism was concerned not merely with resistance to Dutch rule but with new perceptions of nationhood, embracing the ethnic diversity of the archipelago and looking to the restructuring of traditional patterns of authority in order to enable the creation of Indonesia as a modern state. It derived in part from specific discontents, the economic discriminations of colonial rule, the psychological hurt arising from the slights of social discrimination, and a new awareness of the all-pervading nature of Dutch authority. Important, too, was the emergence of the new elite, educated but lacking adequate employment opportunities to match that education, Westernized but retaining still its ties with traditional society. The formation in 1908 of Budi Utomo (High Endeavour) is often taken as the beginning of organized nationalism. Founded by Wahidin Sudirohusodo, a retired Javanese doctor, Budi Utomo was an elitist society, the aims of whichthough cultural rather than politicalincluded a concern to secure an accommodation between traditional culture and the modern world. Numerically more important was Sarekat Islam (Islamic Association), founded in 1912. Under its charismatic chairman, Omar Said Tjokroaminoto, the organization expanded rapidly, claiming a membership of 2,500,000 by 1919. Later research suggests that the real figure was likely to have been no more than 400,000, but even with this greatly reduced estimate Sarekat Islam was clearly much larger than any other movement of the time. In 1912 the Indies Party (Indische Partij)primarily a Eurasian partywas founded by E.F.E. Douwes Dekker; banned a year later, it was succeeded by another Eurasian party, Insulinde. In 1914 the Dutchman Hendricus Sneevliet founded the Indies Social Democratic Association, which became a communist party in 1920 and adopted the name Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia; PKI) in 1924. By the end of World War I there was, thus, a variety of organizations in existence, broadly nationalist in aim, though differing in their tactics and immediate goals and in the sharpness of their perceptions of independent nationhood. In the absence of firm party discipline, it was common for individuals to belong simultaneously to more than one organization and, in particular, the presence of Indonesian Social Democratic Association members in Sarekat Islam enabled them to work as a bloc within the larger movement. The idea that the time was not yet ripe for communist parties to assume independent leadership of colonial nationalism later led the Comintern to formulate the strategy of cooperation with anti-imperialist bourgeois parties. At the end of World War I the Dutch, in an effort to give substance to their promise to associate the Indonesian community more closely with government, created the People's Council (Volksraad). Composed of a mixture of appointed and elected representatives of the three racial divisions defined by the governmentDutch, Indonesian, and foreign Asiaticthe People's Council provided opportunities for debate and criticism but no real control over the government of the Indies. Some nationalist leaders were prepared to accept seats in the assembly, but others refused, insisting that concessions could be obtained only through uncompromising struggle. In 1921 the tension within Sarekat Islam between its more conservative leaders and the communists came to a head in a discipline resolution that insisted that members of Sarekat Islam belong to no other party; this, in effect, expelled the communist bloc within, and there followed a fierce rivalry between the two for control of the grass-roots membership of the organization. The PKI, once it had committed itself to independent action, began to move toward a policy of unilateral opposition to the colonial regime. Without the support of the Comintern, and even without complete unanimity within its own ranks, it launched a revolt in Java at the end of 1926 and in western Sumatra at the beginning of 1927. These movements, which had elements of traditional protest as well as of genuine communist insurrection, were easily crushed by the Indies government, and communist activity was effectively ended for the remainder of the colonial period. The defeat of the communist revolt and the earlier decline of Sarekat Islam left the way open for a new nationalist organization, and in 1926 a general study club was founded in Bandung, with a newly graduated engineer, Sukarno, as its secretary. The club began to reshape the idea of nationalism in a manner calculated to appeal to Indonesia's new urban elite. After the failure of the ideologically based movements of Islam and communism, nationalist thinking was directed to the idea simply of a struggle for independence, without any precommitment to a particular political or social order afterward. Such a goal, it was believed, could appeal to all, including Muslims and communists, who could, at least, support a common struggle for independence, even if they differed fundamentally about what was to follow. Nationalism, in this sense, became the idea that the young Sukarno used as the basis of his attempt to unify the several streams of anticolonial feeling. The ideas of the Bandung Study Club were reinforced by currents of thought emanating from Indonesian students in Holland. Their organization, reorganized in 1922 under the name of the Indonesian Union (Perhimpunan Indonesia), became a centre of radical nationalist thought and, in the mid-1920s, students returning from Holland joined forces with like-minded groups at home. The new nationalism required a new organization for its expression, and in July 1927 the Indonesian Nationalist Association, later the Indonesian Nationalist Party (Partai Nasional Indonesia; PNI), was formed under the chairmanship of Sukarno. The PNI was based on the idea of noncooperation with the Indies government and was thus distinguished from those groups, such as Sarekat Islam, that were prepared to accept People's Council membership. Sukarno, however, while seeking to create a basis of mass support for the PNI, also attempted with some success to work together with more moderate leaders and succeeded in forming a broadly based, if rather precarious, association of nationalist organizations. At the end of 1929 Sukarno was arrested with some of his colleagues and was tried, convicted, and sentenced to four years' imprisonment. He was released at the end of 1931, but by then the united movement he had helped to create had begun to disintegrate. The PNI dissolved itself and reformed as Partindo. A number of other groups came to join in a new organization, the Indonesian National Education Club, known as the New PNI. While Partindo saw itself as a mass party on the lines of the old PNI, the New PNI, under the leadership of Mohammad Hatta and Sutan Sjahrir, aimed at training cadres who could maintain a continuing leadership of the movement and who could thus prevent it from being so easily immobilized by the arrest of its leaders. In 1933 Sukarno was arrested again and exiled to Flores and later to Bencoolen (Bengkulu) in southern Sumatra. Repressive action followed against other party leaders including Hatta and Sjahrir, who were also exiled. In the later 1930s nationalist leaders were forced to cooperate with the Dutch, and such moderate parties as Parindra accepted People's Council membership. In 1937 a more radical party, Gerindo, was formed, but it considered support of The Netherlands against the threat of Nazism more important than the question of independence. War in Europe and the Pacific changed the situation. The fall of the Indies to the Japanese onslaught early in 1942 broke the continuity of Dutch rule and provided a completely new environment for nationalist activity. Japanese occupation Japanese military authorities in Java, having interned Dutch administrative personnel, found it necessary to use Indonesians in many administrative positions, thus giving them opportunities that had been denied them under the Dutch. In order to secure popular acceptance of their rule, the Japanese sought also to enlist the support of both nationalist and Islamic leaders. Under this policy Sukarno and Hatta both accepted positions in the military administration. Though initially welcomed as liberators, the Japanese gradually established themselves as harsh overlords. Their policies fluctuated according to the exigencies of the war, but, in general, their primary object was to make the Indies serve Japanese war needs. Nationalist leaders, however, felt able to trade support for political concessions. Sukarno was able to convince the administration that Indonesian support could only be mobilized through an organization that would represent genuine Indonesian aspirations. In March 1943 such an organization, Putera (Pusat Tenaga Rakjat; Centre of the People's Power) was inaugurated under his chairmanship. While the new organization enabled Sukarno to establish himself more clearly as the leader of the nation and while it enabled him to develop more effective lines of communication to the people, it also placed upon him the responsibility of trying to sustain Indonesian support for Japan through, among other things, the romusha (forced-labour) program. Later in the year Indonesian opinion was given a further forum in a Central Advisory Council and a series of local councils. At a different level, Indonesian youths were able to acquire a sense of corporate identity through membership in the several youth organizations established by the Japanese. Of great importance, also, was the creation in October 1943 of a volunteer defense force composed of and officered by Indonesians trained by the Japanese. The Sukarela Tentara Pembela Tanah Air (Peta) was to become the core of the republic's army during the revolution. In March 1944 the Japanese, feeling that Putera had served Indonesian rather than Japanese interests, replaced it with a people's loyalty organization (Djawa Hokokai), which was kept under much closer control. Six months later the Japanese premier announced the Japanese intention to prepare the Indies for self-government. In August 1945, on the eve of the Japanese surrender, Sukarno and Hatta were summoned to Saigon, Vietnam, where Terauchi Hisaichi, commander of Southeast Asia, promised an immediate transfer of independence. On their return to Djakarta (Jakarta; formerly Batavia), Sukarno and Hatta were under pressure to declare independence unilaterally. This pressure reached its climax in the kidnapping of the two men, for a day, by some of Djakarta's youth leaders. After the news of the Japanese surrender had been confirmed, Sukarno proclaimed independence on the morning of Aug. 17, 1945. The economy Indonesia has played a modest role in the world economy since independence, and its importance has been considerably less than its size, resources, and geographic position would seem to warrant. The country is a major exporter of petroleum, natural gas, and tin. In addition, Indonesia is one of the world's main suppliers of rubber and a less significant producer of a wide range of other commodities, such as coffee, tea, tobacco, copra, spices (cloves and nutmeg), and oil-palm products. Nearly all commodity production comes from large estates. Widespread exploration for deposits of oil and other minerals has resulted in a number of large-scale projects that have contributed substantially to general development funds. The projects have, however, tended to reinforce the general position of Indonesia as a supplier of raw materials to world markets. The corollary of the primary economy is that the country has remained a major importer of manufactured goods and of the technical skills and knowledge required for development. In spite of the substantial domestic market, there has been relatively little industrial development, and the industrial base is somewhat small, mostly concerned with mineral and forestry production and with food processing. There is little evidence of much growth in indigenous entrepreneurial activity in manufacturing. Domestic economic resources are limited, and there is a heavy dependence on inflows of foreign aid and private capital to finance large-scale development. Nonetheless, there has been a dramatic increase in the industrial sector that has caused agriculture's contribution to the national income to decline; agriculture, however, still constitutes the largest single element of the economy. Indonesia's labour force has remained predominantly agricultural. Independent peasant farmers account for the larger part of productionnotably of rice and other food cropsand a major proportion of export crops; the estate sector is responsible for the rest of production, which is mainly for export. Organized labour has been weak and still suffers from the repressions of early years in which the main trade union, the All-Indonesia Labour Federation (since 1985 the All-Indonesia Union of Workers), was tied to the Communist Party of Indonesia. Large, politically motivated associations of farmers were loosely knit and did little to promote the welfare of their members. Some Indonesian businessmen have banded together to agitate against the advantages allegedly given to nonnationals, but their organizations are of negligible importance. The government has sought to incorporate functional groups such as those of farmers and fishermen into a quasi-governmental political party, and many organizations and associations (including minority religious groups, such as the Buddhists, and women's organizations) have joined. Economic mismanagement and the subordination of development to political ideals during the first 16 years of independence led to financial chaos and to a serious deterioration in the capital stock. With a major change of economic direction after Suharto assumed power in the mid-1960s, some measure of stability was regained, and the conditions for an orderly policy of rehabilitation and economic development were established. Since the mid-1960s the government has played a crucial role in development, but the private sector has become more influential. The overall goal has been the creation of a mixed economy. A series of five-year plans has emphasized the government's role in developing the economic infrastructure of the country, notably in agriculture, irrigation, transportation, and communications. Thus, the government, together with foreign aid, has remained a major force in projects where private enterprise has not been forthcoming. These have included the state-owned oil company Pertamina, fertilizer production that supports agriculture, and the cement, chemical, paper, and textile-spinning industries. The emphasis in the public sector increasingly has been on independent, self-financing state enterprises. The remainder of major investments in exploration and exploitation of natural resources or in new manufacturing industry has been left to the private sector, subject to overall government supervision and contracts. Defense, though given low priority, has been a substantial drain on the country's resources. This consistent approach to development has carried its own risks. Its emphasis has been on soundness, and it has been heavily dependent on foreign aid and foreign technical assistance. One problem with such an orthodox emphasis on the role of private enterprise has been that it has led to an increasingly inequitable distribution of income. It has not been possible to implement the policies with sufficient force because powerful military interests and a vast inefficient bureaucracy distort the economic structure. A major restraint on development has been a swollen and ill-paid bureaucracy. The government's ability to organize and implement development projects has also been limited by lack of experience and the unreliability and inadequacy of statistical and other information. A large inflow of foreign technical assistance has been necessary to help devise economic programs and projects, often as a condition of external capital aid. Low pay and poor working conditions have fostered corruption that has distorted development and imposed a substantial burden. Resources Indonesia has a large, mostly unprospected variety of mineral deposits, including those of petroleum, tin, manganese, copper, nickel, bauxite, and coal. Tin deposits are found on the islands of Bangka, Singkep, and Billiton (Belitung) and off the southwestern shore of Kalimantan. Nickel occurs on Celebes, Halmahera, and other islands of the Moluccas and in Irian Jaya. Manganese deposits are located in central Java and on Sumatra, Kalimantan, Celebes, and Timor. There are copper deposits in the Jayawijaya Mountains of Irian Jaya. The Riau Islands, Bangka and Singkep islands, and Kalimantan have bauxite, and coal occurs on Sumatra and Kalimantan. There are also deposits of iron, sulfur, gold, and silver. Large-scale coal and petroleum deposits provide ready raw material for thermal energy generation. The land Mount Agung, the highest volcano on Bali, Indonesia. The major Indonesian islands are characterized by rugged volcanic mountains, covered by dense tropical forests, which slope down to coastal plains often covered by thick alluvial swamps and bordered by shallow seas and coral reefs. Cultivated land is mainly devoted to rice, which in many areas is grown on mountain terraces, or to such cash crops as rubber. In the highly populated areas palm-shaded villages are scattered among green rice terraces, which are overlooked by the forest-clad cone of an active volcano. Geologic framework The physical structure of Indonesia is unique and complicated because it encompasses the junction of three major sections of the Earth's crust and involves a complex series of shelves, volcanic mountain chains, and deep-sea trenches. The island of Borneo and the arc of islands including Sumatra, Java, Bali, and the Lesser Sunda chain sit on the Sunda Shelf, a southward extension of the continental mass of Asia. The shelf is bounded on the south and west by deep-sea trenches such as the Java Trench (24,442 feet deep at its lowest point) that form the true continental boundary. The island of New Guinea and adjacent islands, possibly including Halmahera Island, sit on the Sahul Shelf, which is a northwestern extension of the Australian continental mass; the shelf is bounded to the northeast by a series of deep-sea troughs and to the northwest by troughs, a chain of coral reefs, and a series of submarine ridges. The third major unit of the Earth's crust in Indonesia is an extension of the belt of mountains of Japan and the Philippines that runs south between Borneo and New Guinea. It includes a series of mountain volcanoes and deep-sea trenches on and around Celebes and the Moluccas. The interrelation of these units is not clearly understood. The present land-sea relations are somewhat misleading, because the seas that lie on the Sunda Shelf and on the Sahul Shelf are shallow and of geologically recent origin; they rest on the continental mass rather than on a true ocean floor. The Sunda Shelf in the vicinity of the Java Sea has relatively low relief, contains several coral reefs, and is not volcanic. The mountain system that is welded along the South China and Celebes seas of this shelf and which comprises the outer edge of the continental mass of Asia, however, is an area of strong relief and is perhaps the most active volcanic zone in the world. The outer, or southern, side of the chain of islands from Sumatra through Java and the Lesser Sundas forms the active leading edge of the Southeast Asian landmass. It is characterized by active volcanoes, bounded on the south and west by a series of deep-sea trenches and grading off on the north, or inner, edge to swamps, lowlands, and the shallow Java Sea. This sheltered sea was formed at the close of the Pleistocene Epoch (the Pleistocene lasted from about 1,600,000 to 10,000 years ago), and there is evidence of former land bridges that facilitated the migration of plants and animals from the Asian continent. The people Batak market on the shore of Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia. The Indonesian motto, Bhinneka tunggal ika (Unity in diversity), is illustrated by the fact that within the Indonesian population there are more than 300 different ethnic groups and 250 distinct languages and that most of the major world religions are practiced there, in addition to a wide range of indigenous ones. Within this diversity there are certain groupings and concentrations; thus, most of the people are of Malay ancestry, speak languages that have an Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) base, and profess Islam. The largest of the subgroups is the Javanese, whose language is also the most dominant. Indonesia is situated at the meeting point of two geographic races, the Asiatic in the west and the Melanesian in the east. The great majority of Indonesians are related to the peoples of East Asia, although over the centuries there has also been considerable mixing with Arabs, Indians, and Europeans. In the eastern islands, however, most of the people are of Melanesian origin. Ethnic groups The western islands The diverse ethnic populations of western Indonesia may be grouped into three broad groups: an inland wet-rice society, coastal peoples, and tribal groups. The first group, the strongly Hinduized wet-rice growers of inland Java and Bali, make up more than two-thirds of the national population. With an ancient, highly sophisticated culture of strong social and agricultural traditions, it includes the Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, and Balinese peoples. The second group of Islamic coastal peoples is ethnically heterogeneous, including the Malays from Sumatra and, from southern Celebes, the Makasarese, who are found in all coastal towns but are a stronger influence outside Java. The third group, the tribal peoples, including the Toraja and Dayak, has developed in inland areas where the climate will not support wet-rice cultivation and where shifting cultivation is practiced; these various groups tend to be small and isolated and have developed a wide range of cultures. There are also a number of other major ethnic groups that do not fit into this cultural categorization. They include the Batak and Minangkabau in Sumatra and the Minahasa in northern Celebes.

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