By Colin Brown
This succinct paintings of background charts the expansion of Indonesia, a amazing country of greater than 6,000 inhabited islands. With lucid originality, the textual content contains greater than 2 million years of historical past with intensity and brevity-particularly concentrating on Indonesia's improvement right into a microcosm of a multi-ethnic sleek global. Many present matters are perceptively addressed, equivalent to the legacy of European-Asian exchange, Dutch colonialism, and the emergence of what has develop into the biggest Muslim inhabitants on the planet.
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Additional info for A Short History of Indonesia: The Unlikely Nation?
The first Europeans to travel in Indonesia during the age of commerce reported 38 T h e a g e o f c o m m e r c e 1 4 0 0 –1 7 0 0 finding cities that were substantial by European standards. It seems likely that cities such as Aceh, Banten, Demak, Surabaya and Makasar all had populations exceeding 50 000 in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, on a par with many European cities of the day. Indonesian ships, especially those of the Javanese, were by the global standards of the day also substantial: the Portuguese, when they first arrived early in the sixteenth century, routinely remarked on the size of the vessels they encountered.
This in turn encouraged a host of smaller ports in the archipelago, from Aceh in northern Sumatera across to Ternate and Tidore in the Maluku islands, to establish direct trading links with foreign purchasers. The trade boom brought prosperity for those Indonesians who participated in it, and certainly changed their societies. But it also brought, or at least substantially strengthened, the presence in the archipelago of two forces which were to play leading roles in the events of the succeeding centuries: Islam and Europe.
Early in the eighth century, Ho-ling merged—it is not clear precisely under what circumstances—with a state based on the Kedu plain that was called Mataram, the first of two such-named states based in central or eastern Java which were to emerge in the pre-colonial era. Both Hinduism and Buddhism were represented in Mataram, the balance of religious authority tending to swing between them. Mataram produced the oldest temples still in existence in Indonesia, located on the Dieng plateau northwest of the city of Yogyakarta, and dating back to the fourth century.
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