> 17 August 1945, The Independence Day of Republic
Friday, 17 August 1945 was the most
historical day for all Indonesian people, when Ir.
Soekarno proclaimed the Independence of Indonesia.
After being under Dutch colonialism for more than
three and half century and Japanese colonialism
for three and half years, the people of Indonesia
finally achieved their aspiration to become an independence
Following are the highlights of Indonesia’s
long historical journey, since the Dutch colonialism
until the proclamation of Indonesia’s independence.
The Beginning of Dutch Colonialism
In their search for spices, the
Portuguese arrived in Indonesia in 1511, followed
by the Spaniards. Later, the Dutch also started
their search for spices in Indonesia, which they
sold in European markets with big profits, and established
the Dutch East India Company (VOC)
In 1605, Dutch colonialism began to have a foothold
over Indonesian territories. The capital of Sunda
Kelapa was named "Batavia"
by the Dutch.
War Against the Dutch
Sultan Hasanuddin of Goa fought
a war against the Dutch in 1666, but he was defeated.
Prince Trunojoyo of Madura also fought the Dutch.
He was defeated and killed in 1680. In 1740, the
Dutch suppressed a rebellion in Jakarta that was
sparked by dissatisfied Chinese, who were later
joined by Indonesians. Ten thousand Chinese were
British Temporary Rule
In 1714, the British came to Indonesia
and built Fort York in Bengkulu on the west coast
of Sumatera which was later renamed Fort Marlborough.
The British stayed in Bengkulu until 1825.
During the Napoleonic wars in Europe when Holland
was occupied by France, Indonesia fell under the
rule of the British East India Company (1811-1816).
Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles was appointed Lieutenant
Governor General of Java and dependencies.
After the fall of Napoleon, and the end of the French
occupation of Holland, the British and Dutch signed
a convention in London on 13 August 1814, in which
it was agreed that Dutch colonial possessions dating
from 1803 onwards should be returned to the Dutch
Administration in Batavia. Thus, the Batavian Republic
reclaimed the Indonesian archipelago from the British
Return of Dutch Colonialism
Soon the Dutch strengthened their
colonial rule. But this only sparked rebellions
to seize freedom. Thomas Matulessy (Pattimura)
staged a revolt against the Dutch in the Moluccas
Diponegoro of Mataram led a fierce struggle for
freedom which was known as the Java War from 1825-1830.
Tuanku Imam Bonjol led the Padri War in West Sumatera,
while Teuku Umar headed the Aceh War in North Sumatera
(1873-1903). King Sisingamangaraja
of the Bataks revolved against the Dutch in 1907.
An attempt by the Dutch troops to occupy Bali in
1908 was repelled by King Udayana. Revolts were
also erupting in Goa, South Sulawesi, and in South
When all those regional wars of
independence failed, Indonesian nationalists began
thinking of a more organized struggle against Dutch
colonialism. The move began with the founding of
Boedi Oetomo by Dr. Soetomo on 20 May 1908. This
organization of Indonesian intellectuals was initially
set up for educational purposes but later turned
In 1911, Sarekat Dagang Islam (the
Society of Moslem Entrepreneurs) was formed
by Haji Samanhudi and others. Its objective was
at first to motivate and to promote Indonesian business
in the Dutch East Indies. However, in 1912, this
organization turned into a political party and was
renamed Sarekat Islam.
In December 1912, Partai Indonesia was founded by
Douwes Dekker with Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo and Ki
Hajar Dewantoro (Suwardi Suryaningrat).
The aim of the party was to strive for complete
independence of Indonesia. All three leaders of
the party were exiled by the colonial government
In 1924, Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Indonesia (the
Indonesian Students Association) was formed
by Drs. Mohammad Hatta, Dr. Sukiman and others.
This organization became a driving force of the
nationalist movement to gain independence.
On 28 October 1928, delegates to Indonesian Youth
Congress in Jakarta pledged commitment to One Nation,
One Motherland and One Language. The "Indonesia
Raya" song was introduced for the first
time at the 2nd
Indonesian Youth Congress by its composer, Wage
In December 1929, the Dutch colonial authorities
arrested Ir. Soekarno which touched off widespread
protests by Indonesians. In 1934, Drs. Mohammad
Hatta, Sutan Syahrir and other nationalist leaders
were arrested by the Dutch and sent into exile.
The Japanese Occupation
After the Japanese attacks of Pearl
Harbor in Hawaii, Japanese Armed Forces occupied
several Southeast Asian countries. After the fall
of Singapore, Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies
and the Dutch colonial army surrendered in March
1942. Soekarno and Hatta were released from their
Due to the hardships suffered by the Japanese caused
by Indonesian rebellions, the Japanese occupation
forces in Indonesia finally gave in to recognize
the Indonesian Red and White colored flag as the
Indonesian national flag, which was followed by
the recognition of "Indonesia
Raya" as the national anthem and Bahasa
Indonesia as the national language.
final defeat of Japan after the dropping of the
atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th
and 9th of August
1945 prompted the Japanese to surrender unconditionally
to the Allies. This constitutes an ample opportunity
for Ir. Soekarno and Drs. Mohammad Hatta to proclaim
Indonesia's independence on 17 August 1945. The
draft was prepared only a few hours before earlier,
on the night of August 16, by Soekarno, Hatta, and
a student named Subarjo. Below Text of the Declaration
Kami, bangsa Indonesia, dengan ini
menjatakan kemerdekaan Indonesia.
Hal-hal jang mengenai pemindahan kekoeasaan d.l.l.,
diselenggarakan dengan tjara saksama dan dalam tempo
Djakarta, hari 17 boelan 8 tahoen 45
nama bangsa Indonesia
The Republic of Indonesia came into
being based on Pancasila under a constitution on
18 August 1945. The Red and White flag was officially
accepted as the National Flag of Indonesian and
the Bahasa Indonesia as the National Language.
Ir. Soekarno was elected as the first Indonesian
President and Drs. Mohammad Hatta as the Vice President.
On 5 September 1945, a Presidential Cabinet was
formed with President Soekarno as Premier.