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By M.C. Ricklefs

Famous because the so much authoritative normal account of Indonesia, the world's fourth so much populous kingdom, from the arrival of Islam c.1200 to at the present time, this publication covers the wealthy heritage of the Indonesian archipelago with a spotlight on indigenous affairs. Merle Ricklefs poses the query of the way different yet comparable linguistic and ethnic groups got here to shape the unitary Republic of Indonesia, and sheds very important gentle at the crises and demanding situations dealing with this substantial country. For this 3rd variation, Ricklefs has additional chapters at the Soeharto interval after 1975, on Indonesia given that Soeharto, and on western Indonesia within the seventeenth and 18th centuries. different revisions are came across during the publication, and the bibliography has been completely up to date.

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Java thus consisted of pockets of population which were relatively isolated from one another. The population of Java in these early centuries is unknown. Reid has estimated that it might have been as high as 4 million in 1600, reaching 5 million by 1800, but there is much room for argument on this matter. Even if there was a population as high as this before the nineteenth century, Java was still extremely underpopulated by twentieth-century standards, and vast areas must have been uninhabited, thereby enhancing the isolation of the populated districts.

The greatest and most lasting effects of the arrival of the Portuguese were two: the disruption and disorganisation of the trade network caused by their conquest of Malacca, and the planting of Christianity 29 The Emergence of the Modern Era in some parts of eastern Indonesia. The second, however, was less the work of the Portuguese empire than of a few devoted priests. After the Portuguese came the Dutch, who inherited the aspirations and strategy of the Portuguese. The Dutch brought better organisation, better guns, better ships, better financial backing, and the same combination of courage and brutality.

In all areas of Indonesia, Islamisation was the beginning, not the end, of a major process of change. Eight centuries later, this process is still continuing. One final point needs to be made. The debates about the relative importance of traders and Sufis, and about the foreign sources of Indonesian Islam, have obscured an important aspect of Islamisation. It is often thought of as a peaceful process, since there is no evidence of foreign military expeditions imposing Islam by conquest. But once an Indonesian Islamic state was founded, Islam was sometimes spread from there to other areas by warfare.

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