A Timeline Of The Indonesian History

This article is an attempt to summarize the whole history of Indonesia before it became independent in a single and readable chart. It was largely inspired from the horizontal history article from Tim Urban.

Disclaimer : this way of presenting events implies huge oversimplification of local realities and often misleading depictions of the history. Among the many caveats to this approach one can mention :

  • The fact that the history of Indonesia before roughly the 15th century has been largely reconstructed based on the relatively few available evidence.
  • Kingdoms, Sultanates or even free cities did only very seldomly represent a centralized power able to dominate and administrate large territories. The history of Indonesia is closer to an intricate web of crossed influences and exchanges between several group of people, some heading towards the open sea and trade and others mostly focused on their life in the interior.
  • Modern Indonesia (and even late colonial Indonesia) presents huge differences with what has most likely been Indonesia for centuries : a fragmented and sparsely populated land. Communication and transport were very difficult and often impossible even within a given island.

Despite those obvious shortcomings, I think that the following global chronology is helpful on many aspects :

  • It offers a good way to visualize the actual scale of the periods of the Indonesian history : the colonial era once put in perspective seems very short especially for the last additions to the Dutch empire such as Aceh, Bali or Papua.
  • It also meant to highlight the various zones of influence of key regions (like the Javanese, the Bugi/Makassarese, the Malukan Sultantes, Bali, Sumbawa …).
  • It helps to understand that the current administrative division of Indonesia is mostly based on a rich and often badly known historical past.

In a nutshell, please don’t take this timeline as perfect truth but use it instead as a tool to learn more about the fascinating Indonesian history.

Timelines of Indonesian history

The final output is pretty large, so I guess it’s best to view it in full screen. HD version available.

Key dates of Sumatra

General

  • 3rd century BC : Indian Ramayana epic mentions a Svarnadvipa or “Gold Island” which is thought to be Sumatra.
  • 4th century : Southern China start to trade with Western India through the Strait of Malacca.
  • 441-563 : Chinese maintains diplomatic ties with a port of the southeast coast known by them as Gantoli.
  • Early 7th century : evidence of another port called Malayu on the Batang Hari river.
  • By 700 : seems that Srivijaya has forced all other ports in the region to submit.
  • 700-1000 : Srivijaya seems to dominate the Strait of Malacca.
  • 9th : Srivijaya is ruled by a Sailendra prince (same dynasty that ruled over Central Java in the 8th).
  • From the 10th century : foreign powers fight for the control of the straits of Malacca (Chola that oversee commerce in the western waters of the Bay of Bengal, and the Javanese in Java and eastwards).
  • 1025 : Sack of Srivijaya capital by the Chola kings of India. Decline of Srivijaya.
  • 1080 : Malayu seems to have succeeded in reversing the relationship with Srivijaya that became a vassal.
  • 12th-13th century : date of archeological remains near Muara Jambi.
  • 1278 : Singhosari Pamalayu expedition on Malayu.
  • 13th-14th century : both Majapahit and Sukothai expand military operations to the Strait of Malacca.
  • 1377 : a Malay prince Paramesvara establishes in Tumasik (Singapore) to escape the Javanese overlordship.
  • 15th century : rise of Malacca sponsored by the Ming fleet. Melaka dominate both side of the Strait. They develop relationships with Gujarati and Tamil merchants (for western merchandise), and north Javanese ports (for spices).
  • 15th century : conversion of Malacca to Islam. Start of the classical Malay annals.
  • 1511 : conquest of Malacca by the Portuguese.
  • 1641 : Malacca is taken by the Dutch allied to Johor from the Portuguese.
  • [1819] : the British establish themselve in Singapore.
  • 1824 : first Anglo-Dutch treaty about Sumatra : British leave Bengkulu to the Dutch which in return accept their presence in Singapore.
  • 1871 : Anglo-Dutch Sumatra treaty : Sumatra is accepted as fully under Dutch influence by the British.

Aceh

  • 9th century : dating of a buddhist stone head found in Aceh.
  • 1292 : Marco Polo sojourns in the port of Sumadra. Attests presence of Islamic kingdom in the region (> Peurlak = present days Langsa).
  • 1323 : Arab traveler Ibn Battuta visits Samudra which has become Pasai and is Muslim.
  • 1509 : Portuguese reaches Sumatra. They report independent states at Barus, Deli, Aru (North Sumatra), Lamri [Banda Aceh], Pidië/Pedir [Sigli], Pasai (Aceh).
  • [1511] : Portuguese take Malacca and then attempted to gain influence in Pasai and Pidië by intervening in their frequent succession disputes.
  • 1514-1530 : reign of the first Sultan of Aceh Ali Mughayat Syah : submits Daya, Pidië, Pasai from 1520
  • 1536/39-1571 : Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah al-Kahar (2nd generation after 1st Sultan) : a warrior, sacked Johor but failed to take Malacca.
  • 1571 – 1607 : period of assassinations, failed military adventures and coups.
  • 1607 – 1636 Iskandar Muda, apogy of Aceh. Aceh emerges for a time as the most powerful, wealthy and cultivated state of the area.
  • 1612 : Aceh defeats Johor.
  • 1623 : Aceh sacks again Johor.
  • 1639 : Aceh fleet of 19’000 men and several hundred ships was trapped and destroyed by a Portuguese fleet which arrived unexpectedly from Goa in India. Aceh never fully recovered from this blow.
  • 1641-1699 : 4 queens ruled and royal authority became restricted to the capital city itself.
  • Outlying districts are under the authority of the uleëbalang (local elite or orang kaya).
  • 1838-1870 Aceh ruled by Tuangku Ibrahim as Sultan Ali Alauddin Mansur Syah. Restore the power and authority of the Sultanate.
  • 1873 : Dutch attack Aceh.
  • 1874 : Aceh is annexed and the Sultanate abolished. Palace complex and the great mosque are destroyed.
  • 1910-1912 : true pacification of the region.
  • Dec 1945 – March 1946 : the leading uleebalang and their families are imprisonned or killed. The uleebalang aristocracy is replaced by Islamic leaders.
  • May 1959 : Aceh is given Special District status to close the Darul Islam rebellion.
  • 76-82 period of rebel activity.
  • 1989 : GAM attacked ABRI posts and captured weapons.
  • 1990-1998 Aceh under martial law.
  • 2004 : a tsunami devastates Aceh.

North Sumatra

  • 11th : presence of the port of Barus North of Sibolga is attested. But could be much older based on obscure foreign sources [Wikipedia]. Best camphor in the world.
  • 13th century : first trace of Aru kingdom.
  • 1509 : Portuguese reaches Sumatra. They report independent states at Barus, Deli, Aru (North Sumatra), Lamri [Banda Aceh], Pidië/Pedir [Sigli], Pasai (Aceh).
  • 1539 : Aru loses its port of Kota Rendang to Aceh. Influence declines under Aceh pressure.
  • 1586 beginning of the hereditary line of the future sultan of Langkat (by then Panglima).
  • // Reign of Iskandar Muda 1607-1636 //
  • 1630 : Asahan Sultanate is founded by the son of Iskandar Muda.
  • 1632 – 1669 : Deli as an Aceh protectorate. 1632 : Sri Paduka Tuanku Gocah Pahlawan was appointed the vice of Sultan Iskandar Muda to rule the former territory of Aru.
  • 1669-1854 Deli as Siak protectorate.
  • 1720 : Sultanate of Serdang Separates from the Sultanate of Deli.
  • 1839 : Singkil and Barus occupied by the Dutch.
  • 1861 : Dutch intervention and contract that signify Deli independence from Aceh and Siak.
  • 1862 a Dutch entrepreneur Jacob Nienhuys persuaded the Sultan of Deli to grant a concession for growing tobacco.
  • 1872 : Batak War with the Dutch.
  • 1883 : first concession granted by the sultan of Langkat to the ancestor of Royal Dutch Shell.
  • 1895 : Batak resistance finally crushed.
  • 1907 : the priest-king of the Toba Batak Si Singamangaraja 12th is shot dead by the Dutch authorities.
  • 1847, 1855, 1863 : military expedition establish Dutch authority over Nias.
  • 1910 : occupation of the Mentawai islands.

West Sumatra

  • 1183 – 1347 : Mauli dynasty rules territories in Jambi and West Sumatra from its capital Dharmasraya. Padang Roco inscriptions (1286) suggest that they are the heirs of Malayu.
  • 1347 : king Adityawarman moves to Minangkabau. His mother is a Dharmasraya princess and his father a noble from Majapahit. So he has ties with Java.
  • 1347-1375 : Adityawarman’s reign.
  • 16th : conversion to Islam.
  • 1651 : Dutch bought gold in Pariaman for the first time.
  • 1663 : Dutch established themselves in Padang.
  • 1797 : Padang is destroyed by an earthquake.
  • 1803 : start of the Padri movement in Agam.
  • 1815 : end of the Minangkabau kingdom.
  • 1821 : Dutch attack the Padri.
  • 1837 : Imam Bonjol is captured. End of the Padri movement.

Riau

  • 11th-12th century : date of archeological remains near Muara Takus
  • 1528 : foundation of Johor in Bintan island (near Tanjung Pinang). Keeps attacking the Portuguese in Malacca.
  • 1666-1679 : Jambi-Johor war.
  • 1673 : foundation of the port of Riau by Johor.
  • 1722-1787 Riau is the capital of Johor Sultanate.
  • 1725 : foundation of Siak Sri Indapura by Sultan Abdul Jalil Rahmad Shah.
  • 1788 : the capital of Johor is moved to Lingga island (hence the name Johor-Riau-Lingga Empire).
  • 1824-1911 : partition of the Johor-Riau sultanate under the Anglo-Dutch treaty.
  • 1858 : Siak becomes Dutch territory.
  • 1911 : the Dutch annexes the Sultanate of Riau
  • 1945 : Sultan Syarif Qasim II sent a cable to President of the Republic of Indonesia declaring allegiance to the newly created Government of the Republic of Indonesia. Not only that, the Sultan also handed over his property for the struggle of independence of the Republic of Indonesia

Note : I’m interested in a reliable source about the Riau sultanates (Siak, Indragiri, Lingga …) in the 18th and 19th century. Please get in touch if you know of any reference work.

South Sumatra

  • By 700 : seems that Srivijaya [capital thought to be near present day Palembang] has forced all other ports in the region to submit.
  • 700-1000 : Srivijaya seems to dominate the Strait of Malacca.
  • 9th century : Srivijaya is ruled by a Sailendra prince (same dynasty that ruled over Central Java in the 8th).
  • From the 10th century : foreign powers fight for the control of the straits of Malacca (Chola that oversee commerce in the western waters of the Bay of Bengal, and the Javanese in Java and eastwards).
  • 1025 : Sack of Srivijaya capital by the Chola kings of India. Decline of Srivijaya.
  • 1080 : Malayu seems to have succeeded in reversing the relationship with Srivijaya that became a vassal.
  • 12th-13th century : date of archeological remains near Muara Jambi.
  • 1278 : Singhosari Pamalayu expedition on Malayu.
  • From the 11th to late 14th Palembang remained an important port. 14th several attempts of Palembang nobles to break free from Java (cf Parameswara prince below).
  • 1377 : punitive expedition of Majapahit against Palembang. A Palembang prince [of malay ethnicitiy] named Parameswara fled, first founded Singapore, then Malacca c.1400.
  • Early 15th, Palembang is controlled by Chinese pirates and is a Chinese enclave. Chinese capture the pirate leader and brings him back to Beijing for trial and hang him.
  • Early 16th : Palembang is described by Portuguese Tomé Pires as a major port dominated by Javanese culture.
  • Mid 17th : Johor controls Palembang and Jambi.
  • 1659 : VOC destroy Palembang.
  • 1662 – 1706 : rule of Sultan Abdul Rahman of Palembang : ideal ruler in the tradition. Prosperous period for Palembang.
  • 1706 – 1724 succession disputes.
  • 1724 – 1757 Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin. Palembang’s pepper declined but tin has been found on Bangka.
  • 1817 : Belitung occupied by the Dutch.
  • 1823 : Palembang placed under direct Dutch rule.
  • 1849 : last rebellion of the sultanate of Palembang.

Jambi

  • Plentiful archeological remains from Muara Jambi on the Batang Hari testify to Malayu’s political and economic domination of Sumatra during the 12th and 13th centuries. By contrast there are few remains at Palembang from this period.
  • 1550-1615 : Sultan of Jambi enrich itself through pepper. Jambi is viewed by the VOC as the second richest port of Sumatra.
  • 1666-1679 : Jambi-Johor war
  • 1673 : sack of Johor by Jambi
  • 1679 Johor allies with the Bugis to defeat Jambi.
  • 17th to early 18th Jambi controls the fertile Kerinci valley.
  • Mid 17th up to 18th : rising Minangkabau influence : the prince of Paggaruyung approves the Sultan. Upper Batanghari has become a Minangkabau region. Sultan only has influence on the lower Batang Hari river.
  • 1768 : VOC post is attacked and abandonned until the 19th. For several decades Jambi is a pirates’den.
  • 1899 : last sultan retired and was never replaced. Jambi placed under the autorithy of the Resident of Palembang.

Bengkulu

  • 1685 : the English establish a garnison in Bengkulu.
  • 1714 : erection of Fort Malbourough in Bengkulu.
  • 1824 : Bengkulu is ceded to the Dutch by treaty.

Lampung

  • 1512-1515 : Tomé Pires’ account : rulers south of Palembang and around the tip of Sumatra up to the west coast > most rulers were not Muslim.
  • 1905 : Dutch set up the first Javanese colonies.

Key dates of Java

Banten / West Java

  • 4th century : Tarumanagara kingdom.
  • 7th century : probable Sriviajaya expedition (based on the Kota Kapur inscription).
  • 7th century : the kingdoms of Galuh and Sunda emerges on each bank of the Citarum river.
  • 14th-15th : the interior state of Pajajaran dominates : 2 main ports Banten and Sunda Kelapa
  • Early 16th : Pajajaran declines, growth of Banten (benefits from the fall of Malacca).
  • 1523-1524 : Sunan Gunungjati with an army of Demak takes Banten. Sunda Kelapa is renamed Jayakerta (synonymous Javanese names of Sanskrit origin meaning ‘Victorious and Prosperous’). Gunungjati rules Demak as a vassal of Banten.
  • 1552 : Gunungjati moves to Cirebon and establish a royal line that rules independantly.
  • 1552-1570 : second ruler of Banten (Hasanuddin), spreads Banten authority over Lampung (pepper producing region). Solidifies Banten’s prosperity as a pepper port.
  • 1579 : 3rd ruler conquer Pajajaran, Islamization of the Sundanese elite.
  • 1596 : first visit of the Dutch in the Indies (De Houtman, loads pepper in Banten and caused troubles in every ports of call).
  • //1602 : foundation of the VOC//.
  • 1602 : Sir James Lancaster of England built a trading post in Banten. Presence until 1682
  • 1603 : Dutch starts to trade in Banten
  • 1611 : Dutch have a post in Jayakerta (Jakarta) then ruled by a prince vassal of Banten.
  • 1619 : VOC takes full control of Batavia (Jayakerta).
  • 1651-1682 : golden age of Banten under Sultan Ageng.
  • 1656 : war against Batavia.
  • 1680 : Sultan Ageng’s declares war against Batavia but his son (a supporter of the VOC) succeeds in a palace coup.
  • 1682 : the crown prince must accept VOC help because he is about to loose control of Banten.
  • 1682 : Banten is submitted by the VOC.

Pasisir (Java’s north coast)

  • 6th – 7th century : Chinese source and very scarce inscriptions evokes an Hindu kingdom on the north coast of Jepara (Central Java).
  • Early 11th century : emergence of maritime trading centers in north Java.
  • Late 15th : foundation of Demak.
  • Early 16th century : Surabaya is a major trading port
  • 1523 or 1524 : Sunan Gunungjati with an army of Demak takes Banten. Sunda Kelapa is renamed Jayakerta (synonymous Javanese names of Sanskrit origin meaning ‘Victorious and Prosperous’). Gunungjati rules Demak as a vassal of Banten.
  • 1527 : Demak destroys Majapahit capital
  • 1546 : Demak stopped at Panarukan (Hindu kingdom of East Java).
  • 1591 : Senopati triumphs over Demak.
  • Early 17th : Surabaya emerges as the leading coastal power.
  • 1625 : Surabaya is taken by Mataram.
  • 1743 : the north coast of Java is fully leased to the VOC that rules it alone

Central Java (interior)

  • First half 8th century : a Saivite king Sanjaya established himself at Mataram in south central Java (Willis – Merapi – Merbabu valley) [erection of Dieng complex]
  • Mid 8th-Mid 9th : Sanjaya’s dynasty is the vassal of the Mahayana Buddhist Sailendra dynasty [Borobudur construction]
  • Mid 9th : Sailendra expelled from Java in the mid-9th. Sailendras controls only Srivijaya [Prambanan construction]
  • Mid  9th : Sailendra expelled from Java in the mid-9th. Sailendras controls only Srivijaya.
  • Late 9th – Early 10th : Sanjaya builds Prambanan.
  • 10th century : development of Hindu-Buddhist Javanese culture. Translation of Sanskrit texts to Javanese.
  • Mid 10th-century : royal seat shifted eastwards into the Brantas river plain (modern Kediri > Mojokerto area). State of disorder ensues in Central Java.
  • Mid 11th-Late 16th : it’s probable the population of the region region quite low until the return of Mataram.
  • Second half of the 16th century : Pajang (based in Central Java) takes over Demak.
  • 1588 : Senopati (Mataram) triumphs over Pajang.
  • 1591 : Senopati triumphs over Demak, Madiun and Kediri.
  • 1613 – 1645 : Sultan Agung of Mataram. 1st attempt to reconciliate Javanese royal traditions and Islamic identities.
  • 1625 : Surabaya is taken by Mataram.
  • 1628 and 1629 : failed assault on Batavia from Sultan Agung.
  • 1633 : Agung pilgrimage in Muslim Tembayat, abandon the Saka calendar > symbolic attempt to reconciliate Muslim & Hindu-Javanese culture.
  • 1624 : conquest of Madura.
  • 1640 : conquest of the eastern crescent.
  • 1646 – 1677 : rules of Agung’s son Amangkurat I. Tyranny and murders.
  • 1675-1676 : first phase of the rebellion between the alliance of Amangkurat II (the crown prince) and Trunajaya from Madura. In the end Trunajay becomes the leading figure.
  • 1677 : Trunajaya seize the court of Mataram. Amangkurat I dies, Amangkurat II must ask the VOC for help if he wants his kingdom back.
  • 1678-1681 : VOC forces intervenes on the coast and the interior and install Amangkurat II on the throne.
  • 1704-1708 : First Javanese War of Succession.
  • 1719-1723 : Second War of Succession.
  • 1726-1749 : reign of Pakubuwana II of Mataram. New campaign of reconciliation between Javanese courts and Islam.
  • 1746 : Pakubuwana II moves his new court to Surakarta from Yogyakarta.
  • 1746-1747 : Third War of Succession.
  • 1755 : rebellion of Prince Mangkubumi against Pakubuwama III. He is proclaimed Sultan Hamengkubuwana I and establish a new court in Yogyakarta. The kingdom of Mataram is cut in half.
  • 1757 : prince Mangkunagara I is given an independent territory taken from Surakarta’s domain.
  • 1799 : VOC goes bankrupt. All the territories controlled by the company, came under the direct control of the Dutch colonial government :

East Java

  • 1020-1046 : Airlangga (one of the great king of early Java) has its capital near Kediri. Close an alliance with Srivijaya, emergence of maritime trading centers in north Java. Golden age of Javanese literature.
  • 11th-12th-1310s : very few evidence. Kingdom of Airlangga is divided between his two sons (Janggala > East of Kediri / and Panjalu > Madiun + Kediri).
  • Late 12th : Panjalu becomes Kediri and absorbs Janggala. Writings of the Mahabharata.
  • 1222 : Kediri is overthrown by Singhasari (posing as the champion of Janggala).
  • 1227 : founder of Singhasari dies. Cultural basis of the future Majapahit era is achieved.
  • 1268-1292 : rule of Kertanagara (still Singhasari) that endeavour to assert Javanese supremacy over a decline Srivijaya. Get control of Java + Bali + Madura ?
  • 1292 : Kertanagara is murdered and supplanted by a vassal.
  • 1293 : Kertarajasa (Kertanagara’s son) uses a Mongol expeditionary force to depose the vassal, they drives back the Mongol in the sea and establishes its capital at Majapahit.
  • 1294 : start of the reign of the first Majaphit ruler
  • 1293 – 1309 : Kertarajasa
  • 1309 – 1328 : his son Jayanagara. By then fight to control eastern Java.
  • 1328 – 1350 : daughter of Kertanagara / wife Kertarajasa = Queen Tribhuwana Wijayottunga Dewi, his daughter is regent.
  • 1330s-1364 : leadership of prime minister Gaja Mada
  • 1343 : conquest of Bali
  • 1350 – 1389 : Hayam Wuruk / Rajasanagara
  • 1365 : writing of Nagarakertagama
  • Late 13th – early 16th : Majapahit : dominates eastern Java, Bali, Madura / exercise a punitive influence over western Java, portion of southern Borneo, Celebes and Sumbawa / For a time over the Straits of Malacca.
  • From 1389 : rapid decline > internal warfare and challenged by Malacca for control of regional entrepôt trade.
  • Between 1486-1515 : the remains of Majaphit capital is moved to Kediri. Advance state of collapse.
  • 1527 : Demak destroys Majapahit capital
  • 1546 : Demak stopped at Panarukan (Hindu kingdom of East Java).
  • Second half of the 16th century : Pajang (based in Central Java) takes over Demak.
  • Late 16th-1625 : unresolved conflict between Surabaya and Mataram for the hegemony in East and Central Java.

Java (colonial era)

  • 1811 – 1816 : British Interim period on Java.
  • 1812 : principality of Pakualam is hived off Yogyakarta’s domain.
  • 1816 : after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Java is returned to the Dutch under the terms included in the Convention of London in 1816.
  • 1825-1830 : Javanese revolt of Diponegoro.
  • 1830 – 1860 : Culture System.
  • 1908 : establishment of first non-traditional Javanese organization : Budi Utomo.
  • 1928 : Indonesian Youth vowed to adopt Bahasa Indonesia as the national language.
  • 1911 : foundation of the Sarekat Islam.
  • 1912 : foundation of Muhammadiyah in Yogyakarta.
  • 1926 : foundation of Nahdlatul Ulama at Surabaya.

Madura

  • 1528 : according to the local tradition, Islamization of Madura under the expansion of Demak.
  • Before 1624 : various local princes.
  • 1624 : Sultan Agung of Mataram conquers Madura and unifies the the Madurese princely line.

Eastern crescent

  • 1292 : First ruler of Blambangan is Wiraraja, that had helped Raden Wijaya to found Majapahit in 1292 and in return was granted Blambangan in the esternmost part of Java.
  • Mid 16th-1767 : Balinese kingdoms of Gelgel, Buleleng and Mengwai acted in turn as Blambangan’s protector, sometimes its overlord.
  • 1633-1640 : Sultan Agung of Mataram raids the region and eventually conquers it.
  • 1647 : seems that Mataram no more attempted to control the region.
  • 1655-1691 : independent reign of Tawan Alung (1655-1691) that is considered kind of a golden age.
  • 1767 Dutch establish control over Blambangan, because it is regarded as a haven for enemies (Surapati) and also they fear that Brits establish an entrepot there.
  • 1767 : foundation of Banyuwangi by the Dutch.

Key dates of the Sunda Islands (from Bali to Timor)

Bali

  • 1343 : conquest of Bali by Majapahit
  • 16th century : golden age of Gelgel kingdom but few sources to confirm it but local legends. Gelgel would have expanded in Lombok, Sumbawa and the Eastern Crescent.
  • c.1650 : Gelgel collapsed. Various local kingdoms emerged.
  • 1845 : alliance of Buleleng and Karangasem to conquer other Balinese states.
  • 1846 : in response Dutch attacked Buleleng. Balinese military coalition starts to organize.
  • 1848 : Dutch attack again but are defeated.
  • 1849 : third attack succesful in the north.
  • 1853 : domestic rebellion in Buleleng, Dutch takes direct control of North and West Bali (Buleleng and Jembrana).
  • 1882 : Bali and Lombok are united under a single residency of the Netherlands East Indies.
  • 1883 : intern conflicts everywhere in Bali.
  • 1891 : king of Mengwi is defeated and his kingdom taken over by Badung.
  • 1906 : Dutch attack.
  • 1908 : final puputan of the Dewa Agung of Klungkung.

Lombok

  • Before 13th century : feudal kingdoms
  • 14th : Lombok mentioned in the Negarakertagama. Selaparang kingdom.
  • 1550 : Balinese Karangasem controlled East Lombok and introduced sawa. East was impenetrable forest.
  • Early 16th : Islam introduced in Lombok from Java.
  • 16th-17th century : rise of Islamic kingdoms : Pejanggik and Selaparang.
  • 1678 : Balinese defeat Selaparang and other Sasak kingdoms ; divide Lombok between themselves and local figure.
  • 1740-1894 : Balinese colonize Lombok, meeting occasional resistance.
  • Late 17th, 1830s : Balinese, Sumbawan and Makassarese forces contest control over Lombok.
  • 1775-1838 : internal feuds between Balinese, Sasak regain some independence.
  • 1838 : emergence of the Balinese kingdom of Mataram (Lombok, different from Mataram in Java).
  • 1850-1890 : golden age of Mataram.
  • 1894 : Dutch invasion. The palace of Mataram is looted.

Sumbawa

  • 14th : Bima, Dompu, Sape and Taliwang listed as tributaries of Majaphit in the Nagarakertagama.
  • Few pre-Islamic writings found in Sumbawa island.
  • 1513 : Tomé Pires describes the port of Bima on the road from Malacca to Maluku.
  • 1619 : Makassar expedition that defeats Bima.
  • 1621 : first Sultan of Bima (previously Hindu kings).
  • 1640-1660 : Islamization of east Sumbawa.
  • 1668 : VOC defeats Makassar but only defines contracts with the Sultanate of Bima.
  • 1701 : VOC establishes a trading port in Bima.
  • 1727 : through a marriage between Makassar and Bima royal family, Bima obtains the overlordship over Manggarai & Komodo.
  • 18th century : Bima is the dominant kingdom on Sumbawa.
  • 1815 : Tambora eruption.
  • 1905 : Bima incorporated in the Netherlands East Indies.

Flores

  • 1596 : invasion by Goa.
  • 1637 : Ternate destroys the Portuguese’s fortress in Ende.
  • 1815 : Tambora eruptions, the Ngada takes opportunity to attack the Bimanese and their allies and defeat them in Flores.
  • 1843 and 1846 : Dutch expeditions against Flores.
  • 1907-1908 : colonial military force send in Flores that puts down all resistance.
  • 1905 : Manggarai and Komodo are removed from Bimanese control and placed under the jurisdiction of the resident of Timor.
  • 1907 : Ngada resistance is finally crushed.

East of Flores

  • 1562 Portuguese Dominican priests established in Solor and commence Christianization.
  • 1613 Portuguese are expelled from Solor by the Dutch.
  • 1618 : VOC signs its first treaty with local Solor authority.
  • 1646 : Dutch treaty with Solor is renewed.
  • 1851 : Dili treaty, the Portuguese hands over Larantuka and Adonara to the Dutch

Sumba

  • 18th century : claimed by the Sultan of Bima.
  • 18th century : slave trade primarily run by Endenese merchants and rising horses export.
  • Late 19th : involvement of the Dutch that pick local rajas.
  • 1886-1898 : Catholic post in western Sumba.
  • 1907 : first permanent Calvinists missionaries.

Timor + Rote + Savu

  • 17th century : Timor was a limited source of sandalwood but Flores, Sumba, Savu and Roti were of little commercial interest.
  • 1613 : VOC arrives in Timor (after the Portuguese but they had abandonned their fortress in Kupang).
  • 1653 : VOC occupies Kupang.
  • 1681 : VOC campaign in Roti, to ensure a steady supply of slaves. Put allies in power.
  • 18th : Rotinese convert to Christianity. 1729 : first Rotinese ruler to convert.
  • 1749 : failed attacked of Portuguese speaking Floreses on Kupang.
  • 1859 : Treaty of Lisbon defines the border between Dutch West Timor and Portuguese East Timor.
  • 1860 : Savu forced opened to the world.
  • 1869 : smallpow epidemics in Savu killing 1/3 to ½ of the population.

Key dates of Sulawesi

South Sulawesi

  • 14th century : writing of La Galigo.
  • 15th century : dominated by Luwu.
  • 1509 : devasting defeat of Luwu against Bone.
  • 16th century : powers shift to Makassar and Gowa
  • 1605 – 1611 : conversion of South Sulawesi to Islam
  • Mid 17th : Gowa is still a major centre of what the Dutch regarded as ‘illegal’ trade in spices.
  • 1667 : Makassar is defeated by the Dutch allied to Arung Palaka. Treaty of Bungaya.
  • Until 1669 (Arung Palakka’s death) : Bone is the main kingdom of South Sulawesi.
  • 1726 : a descendant of Wajo royal family (Bugi) conquer Kutai and Pasir in East Kal. 1733 fails to take Banjarmasin.
  • 1735 : Arung Singkang (the Wajo) returns to Sulawesi. Takes control of Wajo. Marches against Makassar, court of Bone is burned.
  • 1740 : punitive expedition of the VOC against Wajo. Wajo continued his war against Bone until 1765 (Singkang death).
  • 1825 : Dutch and Makassarese force of Gowa defeat Bone.
  • 1858-1860 new colonial campaign to crush rebellions.
  • 1905-1906 : resistance of Makassar and Bugis states are broken.
  • 1950 – 1965 Islamic Rebellion. From 1952 joined with Darul Islam.

Highlands & Central Sulawesi

  • Late 17th : first invasion by lowlanders, Duri and Enrekang becomes Islamized
  • Late 19th : lowland kingdoms of Sindenreng and Luwu fight in the highland for the control of the coffee trade. 20 years period. 15-20% of the population is taken as slaves.
  • 1905-1906 : Dutch takeover
  • 1953 and 1958 clashes against the Darul Islam.

Southeast Sulawesi

  • 1327-1541 : pre-Islamic kingdom of Buton.
  • 1541-1960 : Sultanate of Buton.
  • 16th : influence of Ternate.
  • 16th : influence of Makassar.

North of Sulawesi

  • 1563 : a Jesuit father is sent from Ternate to Manado and convert the king of Manado and the king of Siau at their request.
  • 1535-1583 : Under reign of Sultan Hairun and latter Babullah the North Sulawesi area becomes associated with Ternate.
  • Early 17th : came under Goa’s domination.
  • 1658 : VOC establishes a fortress in Manado.
  • 1667 : Makassar is defeated by the Dutch. Makassarese claims to Minahasa are abandonned.
  • 1677 : VOC establishes in Gorontalo, Limboto, Talaud and Sangihe.
  • 19th : mass conversion to Christianism.

Note : I’m interested in a reliable source about the links between North Sulawesi + northern islands and the southern Philippines Sultanates + the extent of the Spanish influence in the 17th century. Please get in touch if you know of any reference work.

Key dates of Kalimantan

West Kalimantan

  • 1609 : establishment of the Sultanate of Sambas
  • 1771 : establishment of the Malay Sultanate of Pontianak
  • 1778 : start of the VOC presence in Pontianak
  • 1777-1884 : Lanfang Republic (Chinese kongsi federation) allied to the Sultanate of Pontianak.
  • 1820s-1830s : Dutch concluded treaties with Pontianak, Sambas and other small west coast states.
  • 1835 : Rheinische Mission start to work in South Borneo.
  • 1884 : Dutch occupation

South Kalimantan

  • 1520-1546 : Sultan Suriansyah founds the Sultanate of Banjarmasin.
  • 1526 : Raden Samudra converts to Islam and becomes Sultan Suriansyah.
  • 1787 : start of the VOC presence.
  • 1809 : Daendel withdraw the VOC post in Banjarmasin.
  • 1817 : Dutch returns to Banjamarsin.
  • 1859 : major rebellion in Banjarmasin.
  • 1860 : Dutch phase out the Sultanate of Banjarmasin and assume direct rule.
  • 1905 : last claimant to the throne dies.
  • 1906 : end of resistance to the Dutch.

East Kalimantan

  • 4th century : Seven stone pillars ‘Yupa’ found in the Kaman estuary mentions rulers of Kutai Martadipura
  • 13th century : kingdom of Kutai Kartanegara
  • 1732-1739 : first ruler with an Islamic name. Potentially influenced by Bugi refugees after the fall of Gowa.
  • 1731 : establishment of the Sultanate of Bulungan (Berau-North Borneo)
  • 1844 : Dutch defeat Sultan Aji Muhammad Salehudin and take direct control of Kutai.

Note : the north of Borneo was for a significant period under the influence of southern Philippines sultanates (like the Sulu Sultanate). If you have any reference work about that, please contact me.

Key dates of Maluku

  • Last quarter of the 15th century, ruler of Ternate embrace Islam
  • Early 16th ruler of Ternate adopts Islam too.
  • Late 1511 : Portuguese reaches Ternate.
  • By Tomé Pires (1512-1515) Ternate, Tidore and Bacan had Muslim kings
  • 1522 Portuguese build a fortress in Ternate.
  • 1529 : Saragosse’s treaty, Spain relinquish his claim on Maluku against a payment from Portugal.
  • 1575 Portuguese are expelled from Ternate
  • 1578 Portuguese established a new fortress in Tidore.
  • 1546-47 work of the Spaniard Saint Francis Xavier in Ambon, Ternate and Morotai. Foundation of a permanent order. Start of the Christianization of Maluku.
  • 1599 : Jacob van Neck reaches Maluku for the first time for Dutch.
  • 1605 Ambon is occupied by the VOC that expell the Portuguese.
  • 1606 : a Spanish fleet takes Ternate and Tidore.
  • 1606 – 1660s Spanish presence in Maluku.
  • 1604 : English reached Ternate, Tidore, Ambon and Banda.
  • 1623 : British (as well as Japanese and Porguese) agents are slaughtered in Ambon.
  • 1620s : virtually all the population of Banda is deported, driven away, starved to death or massacred.
  • 1633-1646 : VOC quelled the local resistance of Hitu (northern Muslim portion of Ambon) with the help of Ternate at Haomoal in West Seram and Makassar.
  • 1652 : Ternate fully under VOC’s control.
  • 1667 : Tidore accepts VOC overlordship
  • 1652-1658 – clearing of Ternate outpost in Hoamoal. All spice trees destroyed.
  • 1781 – 1783 : rebellion of Nuku, a noble from Tidore.
  • 1781 : with the help of the British Nuku takes Ternate and defeat the Dutch.
  • Oct 83 : Ternate allies with VOC and led a sucessful expedition against Tidore. Nuku continue to dominate eastern periphery of the area.
  • 1795 : amid fleeing Napoleon, king William V of the Netherlands instruced Dutch governors of overseas territories to turn them over to the British.
  • 1796 : Brittish took Banda and Ambon on the basis of this authority.
  • 1803 : Maluku returned to the Dutch.
  • 1803 – 1805 : state of hostility between Nuku and the Dutch until Nuku’s death.
  • 1810-1817 new period of British administration.
  • 1817 : rebellion of Pattimura on Saparua.
  • Early 18th : Tidore has dependencies in south-eastern Halmahera and Raja Ampat Islands.
  • 1882 : Aru and Tanimbar brought under Dutch administration.
  • 1950 : end of Ambonese rebellion.

Key dates of Papua

  • 1828-1836 : Fort de Bus established and latter abandonned because of malaria.
  • 1898 : Dutch occupation resumes.
  • 1910 : foundation of the city of Hollandia on site existing site of Numbay (today Jayapura).
  • 1938 : Archbold expedition, first contact with the Grand Valley Dani.

Key events outside Indonesia of relevant importance

  • 7th century : by the time of the 3rd caliph of Uthman (644-656) Muslim emissaries from Arabia began to arrive at the Chinese court.
  • 9th century : presence of thousands of Muslim merchants in Canton > such contacts between China and the Islamic world would have been maintained primarily via the sea routes through Indonesian waters.
  • 1453 : Constantinople taken by the Ottoman turks. The old spice route is controlled by Muslims.
  • 1488 : Dias finds the Cape of Good Hope
  • 1498 : Vasco de Gamma reaches India by sailing past Africa
  • 15th-17th great pepper boom exported from Sumatra
  • 1511 : the Portuguese take Malacca
  • 1528 : foundation of Johor
  • 1564 : Spain’s Legazpi expedition. Occupation of the Philippines.
  • 1577-1580 : Sir Francis Drake makes first English contact with Indonesian during his world tour
  • 1580 : unification of the crown of Spain and Portugal
  • 17th century : Dutch is fighting in Europe for its independence against Spain
  • 1602 : formation of the VOC
  • 1604 : East Indies Company (UK) reaches Maluku
  • 1641 : VOC allies with Johor and take Malacca against the promise of not competing for territories with Johor.
  • 1811-1816 : British takeover of Dutch East Indies
  • 1824 : Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1824
  • 1839 : James Brooke in Sarawak. > intensified intervention of the Dutch in West and East Kalimantan.
  • 1850 : the word Indonesia is coined by George Windson Earl and James Richardson Logan in the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia.
  • 1869 : opening of the Suez Canal.
  • 1881 : Brunei, Sarawak and British North Borneo (now Sabah) are declared British Protectorates.

Sources used

  • M.C. Rickliefs – A History of Modern Indonesia Since C.1200 (4th edition, 2008)
  • N. Tarling – The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia : Volume 1, From Early Times to c.1800
  • Leonard Y. Andaya – The World of Maluku. Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period (1993)
  • Andrew Beatty – Varieties of Javanese Religion (1999) [for Java Eastern Crescent]
  • Christine Dobbins – Islamic Revivalism in a Changing Peasant Economy. Central Sumatra 1784-1847 (1983) [for West Sumatra]
  • Christian Pelras – The Bugis (1996) [for South Sulawesi]
  • Terance W. Bigalke – Tana Toraja : A Social History of an Indonesian People (2005) [for South Sulawesi]
  • Michael Hitchcock – Islam and Identity in Eastern Indonesia (1996) [for Sumbawa]
  • Ali Rosdin, 2015, Buton, Islamization, and its Manuscripts Tradition, Faculty of Cultural Science, Halu Oleo University of Kendari [for Buton]
  • Tular Sudarmadi, 2014, Between colonial legacies and grassroots movements: exploring cultural heritage practice in the Ngadha and Manggarai Region of Flores, de Vrije University Amsterdam [for Flores].
  • Wikipedia pages, especially for old kingdoms, North Sumatra and Riau sultanates.

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