Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Republic of Indonesia's 17,000 islands form a 5,120-kilometer archipelago bordering India's Nicobar Islands to the west and Papua New Guinea to the east. Its ethnically diverse population of 210 million has a long history of interaction with maritime powers, generating a rich legacy of Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Dutch cultural and religious influences. Indonesia inherited its current boundaries and administrative structures from the Netherlands East Indies, the colonial empire that lasted until the Japanese occupation (1942–1945). After four years of revolution, Indonesia won its independence in 1949, establishing first a federal, then a unitary republic with a parliamentary system. In 1959, President Sukarno brought the parliamentary system to an end when he revived the illiberal “1945 Constitution,” ushering in a presidential system that survives today. Sukarno was deposed in 1966 by General Soeharto, whose military-backed “New Order” regime ruled until May 1998. Soeharto's fall precipitated an outpouring of reform ...