General issues: Republic 1948-1949, United States of Indonesia 1949-1950, Republic 1950-Present
Country name on general issues: Indonesia
Special issues: Regional issues Java 1945-1949, Sumatra 1945-1949, Riau Islands 1954-1964, Irian Barat 1963-1971
Currency: 1 Gulden = 100 Cent 1945-1949, 1 Rupiah = 100 Sen 1946-presentThe rupiah was introduced by the republican government in 1946. As a national currency, with international recognition, it has been used since 1949.
Population: 73 700 in 1948, 249 900 000 in 2013
Political history Indonesia
Indonesia is a group of islands located in southeastern Asia. Indonesia was colonized, from the 17th century, by the Dutch as the Netherlands Indies. Having effective control over only parts of the islands for a long time, in the early 20th century the Dutch established effective colonial rule in the entire country. During WWII, the Netherlands Indies were occupied by Japan from 1942 until 1945.
The first large independence movements in Indonesia date from the early 20th century. During the Japanese occupation, the strive for independence is fueled once again and preparations for the proclamation of an independent state are made with Japanese support. Independence is finally proclaimed in 1945 just after the Japanese capitulation as the Repoeblik Indonesia, the republic of Indonesia. Once the Netherlands Indies – occupied by the Allies after the Japanese capitulation – are transferred to the Netherlands in 1946, the Dutch aim to restore colonial rule, and a war of independence between the Dutch and the Repoeblik Indonesia is fought from 1946 until 1949. Parts of Indonesia are, at different times, under the control of the newly founded Repoeblik and the colonial Dutch regime. The Repoeblik has its strongholds mainly on Java and Sumatra. The Dutch form a number of states in the parts of the country they control, aiming at a federal structure for the administration of the country in which the Repoeblik Indonesia would be – just – one of the federal states. In 1948, they change the name of the country from Netherlands Indies to Indonesia. Gradually, international pressure through the United Nations is rising for the Netherlands to recognize an independent Indonesia. Finally, in 1949 the United States of Indonesia is founded, an independent federation formed officially in association with the Netherlands. After a year, the United States of Indonesia is transformed into the republic of Indonesia, a unitary state with a central government. The association with the Netherlands ends in 1956.
Netherlands New Guinea remains in Dutch possession after 1949. Indonesia claims the sovereignty over the territory, and in 1962 the dispute escalates into an armed conflict. Again, under international pressure, the Dutch agree to place Netherlands New Guinea under the control of the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority in the same year. In 1963, control is transferred to Indonesia and in 1969 Indonesia formally annexes Iran Barat or West Irian, as the territory is called by Indonesia.
Indonesia also holds a claim on the Portuguese part of Timor, East Timor. Indonesia invades East Timor in 1975 and annexes the territory in 1976. There is, however, both internal and international opposition to the Indonesian annexation. After a referendum in 1999, control is transferred to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor. In 2002, East Timor gains independence as Timor Leste.
The Indonesian government, since independence, is confronted with several uprisings in the multi ethnic country – most notably in Aceh, Irian Barat and the Moluccas. The government has suppressed these uprisings. Although in many aspects still a developing country, the Indonesian economy has recently shown strong growth, Indonesia outperforming other nations southeastern Asia.
Postal history Indonesia
The Netherlands Indies have issued stamps since 1864. During the occupation by Japan, stamps issued by the Japanese administration are used. The stamps of the colonial administration are used until 1949 – even in parts of the country that, after 1945, were controlled by the Repoeblik of Indonesia. From 1948 – following the name change of the country – the stamps issued by the colonial administration are inscribed ‘Indonesia’ rather than ‘Netherlands Indies’.
The Repoeblik Indonesia issues its first stamps in 1945. As the Repoeblik controls areas on Java and Sumatra, separated by areas controlled by the Dutch, stamps are issued regionally for both Java and Sumatra. The first stamps issued are overprints on stamps both from the Netherlands Indies and from the Japanese administration during WWII. The overprint reading ‘Repoeblik Indonesia’. Java subsequently issues definitives of local design and print. On Sumatra the subsequent issues are mainly overprints with a new face value in the new currency the Repoeblik has introduced in 1946. Aside from the local issues, the Repoeblik, from 1948, has issued stamps of a much more sophisticated design printed in Vienna, Austria and Philadelphia, USA. Small numbers of these stamps were actually used in Indonesia, most were sold to the collectors market.
The internationally recognized United States of Indonesia issued its first stamps in 1950, a set of overprints reading ‘RIS'Republik Indonesia Serekat, which translates to Republic of the United States of Indonesia. and two commemoratives with the same inscription. In the same year the issues of the United States of Indonesia are succeeded by those of the Republic of Indonesia, these being inscribed ‘Republik Indonesia’ and later ‘Indonesia’.
Special issues have appeared for the Riau Islands and for Irian Barat. The issues for the Riau Islands – Indonesian stamps with an overprint reading ‘Riau’ – were necessitated by the temporary use of the Singapore dollar on the islands located close to Singapore. These issues were used from 1954 until 1965. The issues for Irian Barat first appeared after the control over the territory had been handed over to Indonesia in 1963. The stamps for Irian Barat were withdrawn in 1971.
Since Indonesian independence, several insurgent movements have issued stamps. The most well known and widely available are stamps issued by the Republik Maluku Selatan or the Republic of the South Moluccas. None of these issues are recognized as legitimate by the catalogs. For more detailed information please refer to the page on these issues on the Dai Nippon site.