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Dutch East Indies

Dutch East Indies Links

Indisch informatie platform




The History of Indonesia

1910 - 1940

New Nationalism

Available period links :

  •   100 - 1500
  • Ancient Kingdoms and the Coming of Islam
  • 1500 - 1670
  • Great Kings and Trade Empires
  • 1670 - 1800
  • Court Intrigues and the Dutch
  • 1800 - 1830
  • Chaos and Resistance
  • 1830 - 1910
  • Dutch Imperialisme
  • 1910 - 1940
  • New Nationalism
  • 1940 - 1945
  • Perang Dunia II
  • 1945 - 1950
  • War of Independence
  • 1950 - 1965
  • The Sukarno years
  • 1965 - 1998
  • The Suharto years



    Abendanon publishes R. A. Kartini's letters with the title "Door Duisternis Tot Licht".

    Newspaper al-Munir begins publishing in Padang.

    Bubonic plague outbreak on Java.

    Throughout history, the bubonic plague had never before spread to Java. Tens of thousands died of the plague in 1911-1913, and it was twenty-five years before the disease was eradicated from Java again, after extensive campaigns against rats.


    September 10 Sarekat Dagang Islamiyah changes name to Sarekat Islam.

    Kyai Haji Ahmad Dahlan founds Muhammadiyah in Yogya.

    Indische Partij founded by Setiabudi (Douwes Dekker), Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo and Ki Hajar Dewantoro. All three are exiled within a year.

    Portuguese suppress revolt in East Timor.

    The Muhammadiyah remains one of the large, respected Islamic organizations in Indonesia today. It has been known for its "modernist" Islamic viewpoint.


    Kartini Fonds founded in Netherlands to support women's education on Java.

    Gov-Gen Idenburg recognizes Sarekat Islam as legal organization.

    Indische Partij banned; leaders go to Netherlands.

    Netherlands Indies government is given the power to borrow money without first receiving permission from the Netherlands.




    Hollandsch-Inlandsche schools are reorganized, become schools for Indonesian well-to-do.

    Paguyuban Pasundan organization founded as a social and cultural organization for Sundanese in western Java.

    May 9 Sneevliet founds Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereeniging, would become PKI (Indonesian Communist Party).

    War in Europe: Dutch government considers local militia for Indonesia.

    Great Colonial Exhibition in Semarang, attended by Pakubuwono X of Surakarta and entourage.

    KNIL organizes an airborne auxiliary.

    Nias comes under complete Dutch control.

    In the beginning, the ISDV and PKI would have mostly Dutch members.



    Haji Agus Salim joins Sarekat Islam, promotes Islamic modernism.

    Soedirman born.




    Delegation with members from Budi Utomo, Sarekat Islam, and other organizations tours the Netherlands.

    Netherlands Indies government organizes "Politiek Inlichtingen Dienst", a special police force for investigating political crimes (later renamed to "Algemene Recherche").

    Gov-Gen J.P. Count van Limburg Stirum until 1921.

    Young Sukarno attends school in Surabaya, lives with Tjokroaminoto.

    June Sarekat Islam holds first convention in Bandung; some members and traditional Javanese are unhappy with modernism.

    Mangkunegara VII takes rule of his house in Surakarta.

    December States-General in the Netherlands passes bill to create a Koloniale Raad (later Volksraad) for the Netherlands Indies.

    For more background on Sarekat Islam, the Muhammadiyah, and Nahdlatul Ulama, see the Notes on Islam in modern Indonesia.



    Sarekat Islam begins to take a more anti-government position.

    Leftists from Semarang gather in Sarekat Islam under Semaun; Tjokroaminoto does not oppose them.

    Netherlands considers conscripting Indonesians for military service; leftists in Sarekat Islam oppose this.

    Aisyiyah, women's auxiliary to Muhammadiyah, is founded.

    Modern port facilities are constructed at Surabaya.

    The Netherlands, and the Netherlands Indies, were neutral during World War I, but they still maintained military preparedness. The war disrupted trade between the Indies and Europe, but business with the United States and Japan increased.



    May 18 Volksraad meets for the first time. 39% of its members are Indonesian. Members are elected by local councils from kabupaten. most members are government officials or bupati. It consists of one house, and serves in an advisory capacity only.

    Gov.-Gen. van Limburg Stirum appoints Tjokroaminoto to Volksraad.

    ISDV starts to organize soviets in Surabaya.

    "Sarekat Islam B", secret revolutionary branch, starts organizing. It includes Musso (and possibly Tjokroaminoto).

    Sarekat Sumatra founded.

    Smallpox epidemic hits Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan.

    Jong Minahasa organization founded.

    Nederlands-Indië government starts to suppress ISDV soviets, drives Dutch members from communist movement.

    The "November Promise": Dutch government says that Indonesia will have self-government in the undetermined future.

    November 14 Indonesian members of the Volksraad condemn the Netherlands Indies government for favoring European interests.

    Nederlands-Indië government exiles Sneevliet.

    Labor shortages during wartime led to strikes and higher wages.

    Van Limburg Stirum in 1918 made statements that the Volksraad should prepare to take a greater role in government. However, he was not motivated by independence or nationalism--he was worried by rumors of a Socialist takeover in the Netherlands and was ready for the Indies to go its own way if that happened. Nevertheless, he was criticized in the Indies and in the Netherlands for being soft on Indonesian nationalists, and he was soon replaced.



    May-June Shooting in Garut; assassination of a Dutch official at Tolitoli, Sulawesi. Dutch use shootings as an excuse to suppress Sarekat Islam Section B.

    Indo-Europees Verbond founded to promote the cause of "Eurasians", while also supporting the Dutch.

    Haji Misbach preaches "Islamic Communism" in Surakarta

    December Sarekat Islam claims 2 million members; holds congress in Yogya.

    KLM opens long-distance air service from Amsterdam to Batavia.

    There was some confusion in Indonesia as to what "communism" really meant, which led to such unusual concepts as "Islamic Communism". Many common people joined such movements in the 1920s. They used the mass organizations that grew around Communist slogans to express their dissatisfaction with colonialism and the conditions of life. Some Islamic leaders were happy to see the Communists leave (or be thrown out) of organizations like Sarekat Islam. Other leaders, such as Sukarno, said that all organizations should cooperate in the struggle for independence; that Islam, Communism, and nationalism could work together as long as none of them upset the overall harmony of the movement.



    May 27 ISDV changes name to Perserikatan Komunis di Hindia (later PKI).

    PKH publishes works by Lenin.

    Technische Hoogeschool founded at Bandung (today's ITB: Institut Teknologi Bandung).

    Sarekat Ambon founded.

    Conflict between the Communists and Sarekat Islam grows.

    December 25 PKH joins the Communist International.




    Tjokroaminoto is arrested and jailed.

    Fock is Gov.-Gen. of Nederlands-Indië until 1926.

    Timorsch Verbond founded.

    October Sixth national congress of Sarekat Islam forbids SI members to belong to other parties, including PKI.

    Many Sarekat Islam branches split into "Red" (SI-Merah) factions after Semaun and "White" (SI-Putih) factions after Tjokroaminoto.

    Semaun leaves for Soviet Union.

    Tan Malaka tries to heal the split in Sarekat Islam.

    PKI denounces Tjokroaminoto.

    Young Sukarno begins studies at Technische Hoogeschool in Bandung.

    Soeharto born.

    Hamengkubuwono VIII becomes Sultan of Yogya.

    Street scene in Batavia (Jakarta), 1920s.



    Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Indonesia or Indonesian Students Association is founded in the Netherlands. Its membership would include Mohammed Hatta, Sutan Sjahrir, Sutomo, Ali Sastroamidjojo, and many others who would be prominent in the independence struggle (and in the government of the Republic of Indonesia in the 1950s).

    Tan Malaka is exiled from the Netherlands Indies.

    Tjokroaminoto is released from custody.

    Ki Hadjar Dewantoro founds Taman Siswa in Yogya, independent school with no gov support to promote Javanese arts as well as modern education (anti-modernist); invents term "guided democracy".

    Indische Vereeniging in the Netherlands changes name to Perhimpunan Indonesia. Mohammed Hatta and Sutan Sjahrir are members, Tan Malaka and Semaun speak to meetings.

    Semaun returns from the Netherlands.

    Marah Roesli publishes "Sitti Noerbaja", first Indonesian novel

    Strikes continue.

    Al-Islam congress is held at Cirebon.

    Pelgrimsordonnantie is passed, beginning government control of the hajj.

    Modern port facilities open at Belawan to serve northern Sumatra.




    February Partai Katolik is founded.

    Successful Communist led railroad strike; many unions become Communist dominated.

    Tjokroaminoto reorganizes Sarekat Islam as the new Partai Sarekat Islam. Communist supporters leave the organization, taking a significant number of the rank-and-file with them; "Red" SI branches become Sarekat Rakyat.

    Semaun exiled.

    Persatuan Islam, a hardline modernist group, is founded in Bandung.

    Pasteur Institute moves from Batavia to Bandung.

    Military service is made mandatory for Dutch citizens in the Indies.

    Prominent Communists in this period included:

    Sneevliet, a Dutchman, who originally introduced Communism to Indonesia.

    Tan Malaka who was not an unquestioning supporter of Moscow and Stalin, but was later executed by ABRI in 1949. He was exiled from Indonesia from 1924 to 1944.

    Musso led the PKI during the 1920s, and again during the 1940s independence struggle. He was a strong supporter of Stalin and the Communist International in Moscow, and spent the years 1936-1948 in the Soviet Union. He was executed by the Republic of Indonesia army in the wake of the Madiun incident of 1948.


    Darsono who later renounced Communism.



    Perserikatan Komunis di Hindia changes to Partai Komunis Indonesia, decides to turn to revolt. Musso joins PKI.

    "Sarekat Hijau" organized by Dutch, members are pro-Dutch local officials, criminals, police, etc.

    Dr. Sutomo founds Indonesian Study Club.

    First airmail service from Batavia to Amsterdam. The flight takes almost two months.

    Central Malaria Bureau is founded to coordinate eradication programs.

    In 1924, the Islamic caliphate ended, an event which caused much debate and concern in Islamic communities.

    Also around this time, the economy in Europe was very poor.



    New constitution: Council of the Indies becomes advisory, Volksraad gets limited legislative powers, Governor-General and bureaucracy are unaffected. Chinese are officially defined under "vreemde oosterlingen".

    Membership in the Volksraad is set at 60: 30 Dutch, 25 Indonesians, and 5 members of either Arab or Chinese descent.

    PKI-led strikes fail, Tan Malaka is in Singapore.

    Sukarno founds pro-independence General Studies Club in Bandung, advocates unity.

    Film censorship is instituted.

    First commercial radio station in Batavia.

    The Governor's Palace at Buitenzorg (now Bogor), flying a Dutch flag. This was used by the Netherlands Indies government from 1870 until 1942. (Years later, Sukarno used it as a Presidential retreat.)



    Dutch arrest more PKI members; Musso goes to Singapore. PKI receives instructions from Moscow to start a revolt, then cancels the instructions. Musso keeps the second instructions (the instructions not to revolt) secret.

    February Committee of Islamic scholars meets in Surabaya to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia to protest conditions for Indonesian pilgrims on the hajj. (This committee would later form the nucleus of Nahdlatul Ulama.)

    November 12 PKI revolts in Banten, Batavia, Bandung, Padang. PKI declares a republic. Revolt is crushed by the Dutch, who make over 13,000 arrests. Tan Malaka opposes revolt.

    Sukarno gets engineering degree in Bandung.

    De Graeff is Gov.-Gen. until 1931.

    December 31 Kyai Haji Hasjim Asjari founds Nahdlatul Ulama, a Muslim organization dedicated to schools, charity, and economic help.

    The 1926 unrest was the first of three ill-advised, unsuccessful revolts by the PKI. The second was in 1948 at Madiun, the third was in 1965.

    After these revolts, Communist activity lessened greatly or went underground. Many leftist leaders, including Tan Malaka and Musso, spent years overseas. Within a few years, the mass movements were gone, and instead the Communist presence consisted of a few cadre who were mostly loyal to orthodox Marxism and Stalin's Soviet Union.


    January PKI revolts in West Sumatra are destroyed.

    February Hatta and others attend anti-colonial convention in Brussels along with many nationalists from Asia and Africa.

    July 4 Sukarno founds Perserikatan Nasional Indonesia (PNI).

    September Hatta, Ali Sastroamidjojo and others in Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Indonesia are arrested.

    Netherlands Indies builds Boven Digul prison camp in West Irian to house political prisoners.

    Anti-narcotics campaign: Netherlands Indies bans the cultivation of coca and hemp.

    December PPPKI umbrella group of nationalist organizations (Permufakatan Perhimpunan Politik Kebangsaan Indonesia) is organized in Bandung.

    The Dutch used the communist unrest as an excuse to arrest many Indonesian leaders who were not communists.

    Sukarno in these days was a strong nationalist. He said that "neither an airplane from Moscow nor a caliph in Istanbul" could help Indonesia win independence--they had to do it themselves.



    PNI changes name to Partai Nasional Indonesia, adopts merah-putih flag, Bahasa Indonesia as national language, "Indonesia Raya" by Supratman as national anthem.

    March Hatta and supporters are acquitted; Hatta's speeches are convincingly anti-Dutch.

    October 28 Youth Congress in Batavia adopts "sumpah pemuda": one nation, one language.

    Muhammad Yamin writes poems "Indonesia tumpah darahku".

    KNILM is founded as official airline of the Netherlands Indies.

    Perti (Persatuan Tarbiyah Islamiyah) is founded at Bukittingi as an educational organization for traditionalist Minangkabau Muslims.

    Pakubuwono X of Surakarta poses with Gov.-Gen. de Graeff (center) in 1928.

    Many people see this time as the real beginning of Indonesian nationalism, the "kebangkitan bangsa" or "national awakening".



    August Netherlands Indies government warns PNI members to stop their activities.

    Indonesians gain a majority of seats in the Volksraad, still only an advisory body.

    Dutch restore former rulers of Bali to local self-rule under Dutch authority, in an elaborate ceremony at Besakih.

    December 29 Sukarno and followers are arrested.




    Sukarno sent to Bandung for trial. He gives rousing speeches in court, but is convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. PNI is declared dissolved by the Netherlands Indies government.

    Muhammad H Thamrin sets up nationalist faction in Volksraad; wants autonomy.

    June Pangeran Surjodiningrat founds Pakempalan Kawula Ngayogyakarta as a cultural organization for the people of Yogya, which becomes very popular.

    Japanese found Borneo Oil Company.

    Hok Liong, Chinese of Malang, invents clove cigarette or "kretek", later founds Bentoel company.

    Jamiyatul Washliyah is founded with strong Karo Batak participation.

    Around this time the effects of the worldwide economic depression began to hit. Exports of sugar and other cash crops to industrial nations dropped, and Japanese imports grew. There was some growth of industry in the cities in the 1930s as well, which was supported by the Netherlands Indies government as a counter to Japanese imports.



    Perhimpunan Indonesia is taken over by Communists; Sjahrir and Hatta are expelled.

    April PNI is dissolved and replaced by Partindo. Some PNI members, including Hatta, are disappointed.

    December Sjahrir founds Pendidikan Nasional Indonesia with Hatta ("PNI-Baru").

    Sukarno released by de Graeff.

    King of Bone is restored by the Dutch to govern with local self-rule.

    De Jonge is Gov.-Gen. until 1936.

    Netherlands Indies government tightens press censorship.

    Some important Dutch figures in Batavia were actually sympathetic to Sukarno during this period, including Van Mook, who wrote an anonymous newspaper article criticizing the treatment of Sukarno by the government. (Van Mook later served as Lieutenant-Governor of the Indies from 1945-48, during the independence struggle.)



    Sukarno joins Partindo; interest in Partindo rises.

    August Hatta returns from the Netherlands.

    Mohammed Natsir, age 24, takes charge of new Persatuan Islam schools, writes that Islam must be the basis of the new Indonesia.

    Dutch require independent schools to get permission from the government to operate; factions in the Volksraad unite against the idea.




    February 5 Mutiny of Dutch and Indonesian sailors on the Dutch naval vessel Zeven Provincien.

    Netherlands Indies suppresses independent schools and political leaders in Minangkabau.

    August Sukarno, Hatta, Sjahrir are arrested. Sukarno is exiled to Ende on Flores without a trial.

    Oost-Indische Leger is renamed KNIL (Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger).

    Meetings of the PPPKI umbrella group are banned.




    Dutch begin protectionist drive to keep out less expensive Japanese products in favor of more expensive Dutch ones.

    Dutch pressure PKN to renounce overt political activity.

    February Hatta and Sjahrir are arrested and sent to the Boven Digul concentration camp in West Irian.

    Dutch ban congress of Partindo.

    Nahdlatul Ulama youth wing, Ansor, is founded.

    Tjokroaminoto passes away.

    Around this time, there was a political crackdown on fascists and communists in the Netherlands, along with the attacks on nationalists in Indonesia.



    Al-Ittihadiah (modernist Islamic association) founded at Medan.

    Nahdlatul Wathan, an organization for Islamic education, is founded on Lombok.

    December Budi Utomo and Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia combine to form Partai Indonesia Raya or Parindra. Membership includes Thamrin and Dr. Sutomo; it also includes some pro-Japan members. The new party calls for independence through cooperation with the Dutch.




    Van Starkenborgh is named Governor-General; holds title at least until 1945.

    Hatta and Sjahrir are moved to Banda.

    September 29 Volksraad votes to support petition for autonomy for Indonesia within the constitution of the Netherlands.

    First becaks in Batavia.

    November Partindo disbands.

    Dutch pilots of KNILM, the colonial airline, in the late 1930s. Indonesians had almost no opportunity to rise to jobs at this level.

    However, by this time, half of the agricultural exports of Indonesia came from Indonesian-owned lands, rather than Dutch or other foreign-owned plantations. In 1900, almost none of the agricultural exports came from Indonesian-owned lands.


    May 24 Gerakan Rakyat Indonesia founded: Gerindo. It includes Yamin and Amir Sjarifuddin. As an organization it supports independence, but tends to cooperate with the Dutch against the Japanese.

    September MIAI founded: Majlis Islam A'laa Indonesia, umbrella group for cooperation between Muhammadiyah, NU, Persatuan Islam, and other groups.

    December 17 Antara news service founded.




    Sukarno, still under Dutch custody, is moved to Bengkulu.

    First outsiders reach Baliem Valley on Irian Jaya.

    Dutch hold council of Tapanuli to support Batak local rulers.

    Netherlands Indies institutes "adat law" in Minangkabau and Banjarmasin.

    Moscow tells PKI to stop anti-Dutch activities.

    Persatuan Arab Indonesia formed from existing Arab Muslim organizations.

    November 16 Netherlands government rejects the 1936 autonomy petition for Indonesia.

    By the late 1930s, the Dutch were building up their defenses at Surabaya, Amboina, Cilacap and other bases, in apprehension of Japanese expansion in the area. Yet, the Dutch resisted arming Indonesians for defense purposes.



    Pakubuwono X of Surakarta passes away, Pakubuwono XI is new Susuhunan.

    Japanese occupy Spratly Islands.

    May PUSA (Persatuan Ulama Seluruh Aceh) is founded by Muhammad Da'ud Beureu'eh to coordinate anti-Dutch activities in Aceh.

    Gabungan Politik Indonesia or GAPI is formed, an umbrella group of nationalist organizations. Thamrin is a major promoter.

    Kartosuwirjo and followers split from Partai Sarekat Islam, taking much of its support in West Java with them.

    December GAPI organizes Kongres Rakyat Indonesia, a large representative meeting in Batavia, which presents the demand for full elected parliament for the Indies.

    Pakubuwono X was a huge man, very much loved by the people of Surakarta, who predicted that after his rule there would be no more like him.



    February Dutch again reject autonomy for the Indies.

    February 13 Japan repudiates treaty of arbitration with the Netherlands.

    March 18 Hamengkubuwono IX becomes Sultan of Yogya.

    May Netherlands falls to Germany, Dutch government flees to London.


    ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only) ARCENGEL The History of Indonesia mirror site (text only)


    The automatic Tracking option of Copernic   found this excellent link.
    Together with all the connected links it includes more than 250 pages, describing the history of Indonesia. But I couldn't find any homepage or e-mail link. The last update was performed in April 1998, so I was afraid that in future maybe, all the information get lost, as I know from experience when returning to a site after some time.....
    So I decided to open a mirror site with only the text as is shown in the original link.

    Please give your  reaction  


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    Last update :

    16 June 2000