27

The most fundamental reason with respect to other parts of tropical Asia is the earlier adoption of wet rice cultivation in Java. Grigg points out that the only places in Asia that had greater population densities in the late 19th century were China and Japan. Wet rice is just an amazingly productive form of agriculture, especially by traditional standards, ...


26

The Muslim religion started making its way into modern Indonesia in the 13th century. That's when various rulers in North Sumatra, then Java, started converting to that religion, as a result of contact with Muslim traders, and converted their subjects. The religion got a big boost in the 15th century when the Sultan of Malacca (modern west Malaysia) ...


14

To fill out JK's answer: the VOC directly controlled very little except the shipping routes to Amsterdam (and a few other Dutch ports, but the majority of goods arrived at Amsterdam). Indirectly, through deals and influence at the local courts of the rulers of the islands, they controlled far more. By supplying those rulers with weapons, advisors, European ...


13

Yes. There was some controversy about that. But it was low-key and even time-delayed for a fait-accompli. The government would have been restricted to make such a deal, and violated it in secret. The press found out anyway. 'Twas one-time-only', as they promised then until the next deal of that kind came along. If it was in public debate, then at that time a ...


11

Te VOC was not interested in control of people or land, but trade. For example nutmeg; the dutch burned every bit of it except on an island of 1 square km so they could control all of it. IIRC the value would go from 1 in Indonesia to 50000 in Amsterdam. The VOC was the single most profitable company in history (according to my prof.). A journey would take a ...


11

It's an interesting question (although it has been 2 years without satisfying answer; maybe you've found the answer), because it is located between Jawa Timur (East Java) and Nusa Tenggara Barat (West Nusa Tenggara), both of them have about 96% muslim population [1, 2]. Usually people will follow their leader, especially before this modern era. They ...


11

SHORT ANSWER In 1901, there were two higher education institutes but neither was, at the time, truly comparable to Dutch universities. The first genuine university-level education was not available until 1920, the shortage of trained professionals having become apparent during WWI. DETAILED ANSWER Prior to 1800, the education system was in the hands of ...


10

As you mentioned, Java is the next island to the Southeast of Sumatra. It is not larger than Sumatra in square miles, but even in Polo's day had the heaviest concentration of population in all of what is now Indonesia. This made it the cultural center of the region. It had the largest population in 1AD, and contains the capital of Indonesia today. Australia ...


9

I will take this question: "Are the ancestors of Malays (of Malaysia) from Yunnan, China?" as: "Was the Neolithic (Early Holocene) expansion of (Pre-) Austronesian-speaking communities into Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) from Yunnan, China?" The only answer, at this point, is: we don't know. We don't know because they are competing ...


9

Yes, but this was a lot more complicated than in the Netherlands. During the war, the Dutch colonial government-in-exile in Australia founded the Temporal court-martials, who were tasked with persecuting war criminals and collaborators. The courts started their work as soon as the Dutch regained control over Indonesia and worked until the end of 1949. The ...


6

Definitely looks like a stabbing weapon. I think Europeans would call/would have called this a long dagger, but in Indonesia I think these were often called swords (short ones, but still). It bears a lot of resemblance to a kris, e.g. the length is about the same, and the handle being slightly curved, even pistol-gripped in some kris, is also a similar ...


6

Here is a better version of the graph (click to enlarge). As you can see, the first dip follows, and can be nicely explained by the 1973-4 oil shock as @sempaiscuba commented. The second period you highlighted, however, actually bottomed out only in 1991, four years after the 1987 stock market crash. The Hang-Seng Index for the Hong Kong stock market, where ...


6

WRT the Chinese in particular, perhaps they just didn't care. They could buy their trepang from the people who harvested it, just as the could sell silk to merchants, without caring where the trepang came from, or where the silk went. With very few exceptions (such as Zheng He) the Chinese didn't do exploration, and certainly not the organized "...


6

There are actually a number of placental mammals which can be found across the Wallace Line in Australia and New Guinea. The one which probably is most relevant to the question about deliberate human involvement in the process would be the dog (or dingo), which was most likely introduced and dispersed into New Guinea and Australia from South-East Asia by ...


5

Because it wouldn't have done either of them much good. Australia didn't house a settled agricultural society, with major population centers to trade with. Where it was closest to Indonesia, it was instead until quite recently very sparsely populated with roving bands of hunter-gatherers. According to McEvedy and Jones, there were in the neighborhood of 250,...


5

While @nic provides the crux of the answer, I thought I would elaborate a bit. The immediate event that triggered the mass killing was the kidnapping and murder of 6 generals in an apparent coup d'etat attempt against Sukarno by the so-called 30 September Movement. It is not known whether and to what extent the communist PKI (Communist Party of Indonesia) ...


4

In the GGS book, the NS orientation is appointed as only one of the reasons that Eurasia was more developed than America and Sub-Saharan Africa. It also considers narrow points and bottlenecks (e.g., panama) which hampers migration and technology spread; the fact that American corn was less efficient in calories-hour than Chinese rice or Eurasian wheat; ...


4

The problem with the Thesis in Gun, Germs, and Steel is that we have one example of an E-W megacontinent (Eurasia) and one example of a N-S one (the Americas). Africa is a bit small, and vague on E-W vs N-S. The Island comparison probably fails due to the small size of any island, so the different terrain zones are similar.


4

There were several reasons, many of which you listed. First, Bali was a relatively isolated part of the country, after Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, far from the main trade routes (near today's Malaysia). That meant that it was less susceptible to Muslim influences. (It's true that Bali is only a few miles from "Java," but that's east Java, the less accessible ...


4

Indeed the reasons are Oil In Liquid (oil) form: but the Iranian incident wasn't a reason for skyrocketing oil prices. For long anyway. But that is just the kicker, as Indonesia was an oil exporting nation! High prices for oil would have benefited the trade balance of that country: Src: Statista: Average annual OPEC crude oil price from 1960 to 2018 ...


3

In Clifford Geertz' classic volume Agricultural Involution: the Processes of Ecological Change in Indonesia (1963), the author argues that the Javanese form of wet rice cultivation has a very high potential to "absorb labor". While Geertz' view has been criticized – for an enlightening discussion see Wood (2020), Chapter 6 (preview available on Google Books) ...


3

The Indonesians did this in several parts of the country where people were used to "stronger" foreign currencies. For instance, in parts of Borneo that had formerly used British-Malayan currency, the Indonesians issued the Riau rupiah that was pegged to the U.S. dollar, and therefore a stronger currency than the Indonesian rupiah that was not so pegged. The ...


2

This LA Times article by Richard C. Paddock (currently at the New York Times) attests that the practice was revived around the turn of the Millenium. Dayak tribespeople, upset with their treatment by Madurese settlers, revived their century dormant headhunting traditions (my emphasis): Before their killing rampage ebbed, the Dayaks had slaughtered nearly ...


2

Not the Strait of Malacca per se; but the adjoining Singapore Strait, which any vessel must also traverse whether on an East-West or North-South passage: absolutely. Here's a comparison to Gibraltar at roughly the same scale: As can readily be seen, both straits are roughly the same width, a bit more than 10 km at their narrowest point, but the Singapore ...


1

Geographic discovery like that of Australia is also political and was done by states. We have to think in terms of political authority. Who would have been interested in Australia and what Australia would have meant to (and be called by) them. the Chinese themselves and other Asians never picked up any awareness of Australia's existence. There's no ...


1

I think the answer can best be understood by taking from the point of view of the people on the ground at the time: All they knew is that there were a few products of minor value to be gotten from a land located well beyond many other equally large (as far as they could tell) islands. We know they were knocking on the door of a whole continent. But as far ...


1

Marco Polo was travelling with a large and well armed Mongol diplomatic mission, with a Mongol Princess travelling to marry the Ilkhan in Iran. No doubt the leaders of the diplomatic mission would have access to high level Sumatran leaders with information about countries the Mongols might consider invading. I note that Sumatran leaders might want to give ...


1

In high school in the US, we generally learned that until Europeans started sailing the world, with Vasco Da Gama and Christopher Columbus, there was no long distance sailing. The impression I got was that Europeans were the first to figure out how to explore, and how to trade, and how to sail. This is not correct; many traders vied the seas for centuries ...


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