Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list

Pencak Silat, Indonesia’s mesmerizing, highly effective and sometimes deadly martial art has received the honor of being added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

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Rewriting history: cave painting found in Sulawesi is earliest known figurative art by modern humans

Rewriting history: cave painting found in Sulawesi is earliest known figurative art by modern humans

The painting is a 4.5 meter-long rock art panel, featuring reddish-brown forms which appear to be human-like figures hunting local animal species of at least two pigs and four...

Fossil of prehistoric elephant tusk found in a septic tank excavation site in East Java

Fossil of prehistoric elephant tusk found in a septic tank excavation site in East Java

Residents in Ngawi, East Java were digging up a hole for a septic tank on Tuesday when they made an unexpected mammoth (figuratively, not literally) discovery.

Discarded statue turns out to be that of national hero, torn down 15 years ago over ‘idolatry’ concerns

Discarded statue turns out to be that of national hero, torn down 15 years ago over ‘idolatry’ concerns

This statue, which was recently fished out of a river in Indonesia, is actually that of national hero Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa. It was torn down 15 years ago by a local government...

Old Master? Indonesian cave paintings from 40,000 years ago are world’s earliest figurative art

Old Master? Indonesian cave paintings from 40,000 years ago are world’s earliest figurative art

A painting of an animal in an Indonesian cave dates from at least 40,000 years ago, making it the world's oldest piece of figurative art, new research has shown.

Elephants take the flag in Indonesian independence day ceremony

Elephants take the flag in Indonesian independence day ceremony

A trio of rare elephants led an unusual ceremony in the Sumatran jungle Friday, raising Indonesia’s red and white flag to help mark the country’s independence day....

Indonesian authorities dig up cemetery to search for bones of Dutch and British sailors from WWII

Indonesian authorities dig up cemetery to search for bones of Dutch and British sailors from WWII

Local officials, witnessed by representatives from the foreign affairs ministry and the Dutch embassy, dug up a cemetery at Brondong in East Java last week to search for the...

Indonesia urged to investigate reports of WWII Dutch sailors dumped in mass grave in Java

Indonesia urged to investigate reports of WWII Dutch sailors dumped in mass grave in Java

The Netherlands pressed Indonesia on Thursday to probe reports that the remains of Dutch sailors from illegally-salvaged WWII shipwrecks off its coast were dumped in a mass grave....

New mass graves containing about 5,000 suspected victims of Indonesia’s 1965 anti-Communist purges found: NGO

New mass graves containing about 5,000 suspected victims of Indonesia’s 1965 anti-Communist purges found: NGO

A new set of mass graves from Indonesia’s anti-communist purges has been discovered, a victim right’s group said Thursday, after recently declassified US documents...

In wake of declassified US files on 1965 mass killings, NU and Muhammadiyah say they’ll support reconciliation

In wake of declassified US files on 1965 mass killings, NU and Muhammadiyah say they’ll support reconciliation

"Reconciliation can be done, however it must begin with historical recognition."


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Coconuts Jakarta History

Indonesia has an incredible history that stretches all the way back to the very dawn of humankind, with some of the oldest humanoid fossils having being found in Java and Flores. Jumping ahead several thousand years, Indonesia’s early history has been heavily influenced by its location and its rich natural resources, which brought traders from across the region that in turn brought their cultures to be incorporated into Indonesia’s melting pot. Powerful dynasties, such as the Srivijaya Empire and later the Majapahit empire, dominated much of what we now call Indonesia from the 7th century BC until the late 13th century, when Islam was first introduced to the land and slowly become the dominant religious and cultural force. Europeans arrived in Indonesia from the 16th century, and in 1602 the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company which would eventually lead the Dutch Government to take control over what they called the Dutch East Indies and hold it as a colony until the Japanese invasion and occupation from 1942-45. This ended after the defeat of Japan and the declaration of Indonesian independence by Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. In 1965, an attempted coup by the Indonesian Communist Party led to the rise of General Suharto as Indonesia’s dictator and a violent anti-communist purge that historians believe led to the mass killings of around one million people, paving the way for Suharto’s new order which would last until he was forced to step down in 1998. Suharto’s downfall led to an era of democracy in Indonesia, one that has been characterized by increasing freedoms and prosperity but also old powerful elites clinging to the past in order to maintain their power. Nowhere is this more evident in the struggle to find truth over the 1965 mass killings, a historical issue that remains incredibly controversial today as activists fight to reveal what really happened so that Indonesia can move forward from its dark past.

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