The Road to Independence

Monumen Nasional‎

Situated below Monas, the Indonesian National History Museum has a display of 51 dioramas around the walls and in the centre of the hall, depicting important milestones in Indonesian history. Created by Edhi Sunarso, a lecturer at  Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa ASRI Yogyakarta (ISI Yogyakarta) and of the pioneers of Indonesian modern sculpture. Included in the dioramas is a history of the struggle for independent Indonesia.


The European Years
The arrival of Europeans in South East Asia is often regarded as the watershed moment in Indonesian history, as it started the path to colonization. 

Beginning in the 16th century, successive waves of Europeans—the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and British—sought to dominate the spice trade at its sources, and an important source of nutmeg and other precious spices was the 'Spice Islands' (Maluku) of Indonesia.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Indonesia, but it was the Dutch, at first through its Dutch East-India Company, who managed to colonize the majority of Indonesia and stayed the longest.

Wars against the colonial forces were waged by the then-separate kingdoms to varying degrees of success.

The costly suppression of uprisings lead to more extreme exploitation of natural resources, leading to devastating results.

By the start of 20th century, a nationalist movement was formed and kept getting momentum despite setbacks.

Japanese Occupation
The Japanese invasion and subsequent 3-year occupation during World War II ended Dutch rule, but continuous oppression did not dampen the struggle for independence.
A step closer to independence
Nearing August 1945, after a decades-long journey, the nationalists were finalising the concept of independent Indonesia.
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