[an error occurred while processing this directive]

1670-1900 Dutch colonists extend their control over the archipelago, creating the Dutch East Indies.

1942 Japan invades the Dutch East Indies.

1945 August 17th Indonesia proclaims independence and begins to fight against Dutch colonial rule. The Dutch respond by sending troops into the country, which battle forces led by the nationalist leader Achmed Sukarno for the next four years. Under pressure from the United Nations, a settlement is reached with the Dutch granting full independence to Indonesia.

Photo of Sukarno

1949 December 27th The Dutch officially grant independence to the Republic of Indonesia. Sukarno becomes President.

1963 September 30th Malaysia is founded by the British without consulting Indonesia. Sukarno sends troops against Malaysia.

1964 March 25th Sukarno, at a public rally, tells the U.S. Ambassador to "go to hell with your aid."

Photo of a man yelling

April 24th - Sukamo nationalizes all foreign-owned enterprises.

January 7th Indonesia withdraws from the United Nations to protest the UN's acceptance of Malaysia.

August 17 Sukarno promotes an anti-imperialist alliance with Beijing and other Asian communist regimes.

September 30th Six senior Indonesian generals are killed in an anti-Sukarno coup. Questions remain about the true character of the attempted coup -- some see it as an attempt by the Communist Party to seize control of the country, while others suspect the plot was designed by the armed forces to take control of the nation.

Photo of a murdered man  

October 1st General Suharto takes emergency control of the army and arrests the rebel leaders. He orders the army to organize a total purge of the Communist Party from Indonesia. During the next two years, between 500,000 and three million people accused of Communist sympathies are killed.

1966 March 11th Suharto assumes emergency powers from Sukarno. During the following months, he ends hostilities with Malaysia, reenters the United Nations, and establishes close ties with the United States.

1968 March 28th Suharto is unanimously elected President of Indonesia.

Photo of Suharto


December - Indonesia invades East Timor.

Portugal grants East Timor independence.

Map of Timor

1997 Asian economic crisis begins and quickly spreads to Indonesia. The value of the Indonesian currency plummets by 80 percent, banks and businesses close, and millions of workers lose their jobs. The cost of food and basic necessities skyrockets.

1998 May Suharto responds to the growing economic and social unrest by cracking down, and on May 12, 1998, four university students are shot dead after a nonviolent protest. Within a week, antigovernment rioting breaks out in Indonesia's six largest cities, and more than a thousand people occupy the legislature in Jakarta, calling for a new government. Under extreme pressure, Suharto resigns from the presidency after 32 years. Vice President B. J. Habibie takes over as President.

Photo of Suharto Hundreds of thousands cheer and celebrate in the streets as Suharto delivers his resignation, handing control of the government to his Vice President, B. J. Habibie.


September 20th -- UN Peacekeeping forces arrive in East Timor to halt the violence.

June 7th Election is held for the People's Consultative Assembly. This is the first free election in Indonesia in 44 years.

August 30th Eighty percent of the population of East Timor votes for independence in a UN-sponsored referendum. Almost immediately, pro-Indonesian militias rampage, killing thousands and devastating major cities.

Photo of a fire  

October Abdurrahman Wahid is elected President by the Assembly. Ethnic violence breaks out in Maluku.

2000 August 3rd Suharto is charged with corruption. Some claim he drained between $500 million and $15 billion from state-run foundations. His lawyers claim that Suharto has suffered two strokes and is unable to testify. His case will be dismissed a year later, when a judge rules that Suharto is too ill to stand trial.

2001 July Wahid is accused of corruption and incompetence and removed from the presidency.

July 23rd Magawati Sukarnoputri becomes President of indonesia.

2002 March Tommy Suharto, son of former President Suharto, is charged with planning the murder of an Indonesian Supreme Court judge.

Print this page
Email this page to a friend.

© 2002 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Real Player 56k T1 Real Player 56k T1 General Suharto History Speaks Timeline of Events