Indonesia is a country that has suffered through a prolonged history of subjugation. Over the centuries, power in the archipelago has switched hands between local kings, European colonists, and long-standing dictators, and it was only in 1998 that the country moved forth into life as a democracy.
Having long been eyed by colonial powers, Indonesia found itself caught in Europe’s struggle to conquer Asia from the inception of the 17th century. While both the Portuguese and the British were able to leave substantial footprints in the nation, colonial rule was defined primarily by Dutch control even though the reins of control were exchanged between British and Dutch hands more than once. As in many Asian countries, nationalist sentiment began to spread like wildfire in the early 20th century but the struggle for independence was strenuous for after a century of Dutch rule Indonesia came to be occupied by Japan during the 2nd World War. Three years of occupation came to an end in 1945 with Japan’s surrender, and Indonesia was declared an independent republic.
But even in independence Indonesia wasn’t completely free because the next five decades witnessed the rule of just two leaders – President Sukarno and President Suharto – who were considered by many foreign observers to be dictators.
Finally, in 1998, President Suharto’s rule came to an end and with this momentous occasion the country of Indonesia was reborn.
Despite all the struggles, Indonesia has developed itself into one of the most attractive emerging markets of the world and this speaks volumes about the character of its people, and the resilience of the nation as a whole.
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