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Obverse of 1987 Indonesian Silver Proof 10,000 Rupiah
Obverse of 1987 Indonesian Silver Proof 10,000 Rupiah

Babirusa on Reverse of 1987 Indonesian Silver Proof 10,000 Rupiah
Reverse of 1987 Indonesian Silver Proof 10,000 Rupiah
A Brief History of Indonesia
Indonesia is an archipelago nation and former Dutch colony in South East Asia. Its capital is Jakarta.

Early History
Indonesia was a collection of different islands and peoples prior to Dutch colonisation, although Austronesians form the majority of present-day Indonesia's population. The Srivijaya Kingdom, based around the island of Sumatra, was one notable power in ancient Indonesia, existing from the 7th Century until the 13th Century. During the 16th and 17th Centuries, the Sultanate of Mataram dominated Indonesia's largest island, Java.

Colonial History
The earliest European contact with Indonesia was made by the Portuguese, who arrived in the early 16th Century, attracted by the valuable spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and mace that were native to the islands. The Dutch East India Company (or VOC) was founded in 1602 and proceeded to occupy and dominate the islands that would come to be known as the Dutch East Indies.
Cash crops introduced by the Dutch, such as coffee, tea, rubber, opium, tobacco, sugar and cacao also thrived in the archipelago, and the VOC made a fortune. However, during the late 18th Century, the profitability of the VOC was degraded thanks to corruption, mismanagement and war, and in 1800, the VOC was dissolved and its holdings taken over by the Dutch Government, who ruled it directly thereafter.
However, the size of the Dutch East Indies made control of its remoter parts a problem, and piracy was rife within the archipelago until the middle of the 19th century, long after the problem had been eliminated in the French and British Caribbean territories in the early 18th Century.
However, after a series of colonial wars lasting into the early 20th Century, the colony was brought more firmly under Dutch control. However, the strengthening of Dutch rule in Indonesia coincided with a rising feeling of pan-Indonesian nationalism amongst the native peoples.

World War II
The Netherlands was overrun and occupied by the Nazis in 1940, cutting the colony off from its motherland. In December 1941, Japan invaded Indonesia, and by March the following year, had defeated Dutch colonial forces there.
In the dying days of World War II, Japan tried to foster Indonesian nationalism in order to make it more difficult for the Dutch to re-occupy the colony as Japan faced defeat. The Japanese intention to announce Indonesian independence was preceded by the Japanese surrender in August 1945, however, Sukarno, an Indonesian nationalist and pro-Japanese collaborator, made a unilateral declaration of independence that same month.

Indonesian Revolution
The Allied request that Japanese troops 'maintain order' within Indonesia until a Dutch garrison could be installed was largely ignored by the defeated Japanese, who allowed Indonesian nationalist forces to occupy many strategic positions such as railway stations before the Dutch could get there. Many of those Japanese who avoided capture by the British and Dutch joined the nationalists in fighting the British and Dutch.
After a long and bloody war lasting 4 years, public opinion around the world turned against Dutch attempts to re-establish their authority over the colony, and Indonesian independence was recognised in December 1949.

Sukarno took control as Indonesia's first president, but his policy of aggression towards the former British Malaysian colonies led to the loss of financial aid from the US. By the middle of the 1960s, inflation was at 1,000%, exports had dropped and the economy was on the verge of collapse.

After a turbulent decade of revolts, economic stagnation and rebellion, General Suharto, the head of Indonesia's armed forces, launched a coup against Sukarno, who was arrested and held under house arrest until his death in 1970. Suharto was officially appointed president in 1968 and effectively governed Indonesia as a military dictator until 1998.
Suharto's rule was marked with brutality, oppression and military aggression. He forcibly annexed Dutch Western New Guinea in 1963, having deployed troops to pressure the Dutch into accepting the annexation.
In 1975, Suharto ordered Indonesian troops into former Portuguese Timor, leading to years of brutal oppression within the former Portuguese colony. However, in 1998, Suharto was forced to resign after prolonged protests and strikes made his position untenable. A plebiscite voted for East Timor to separate from Indonesia.

Since Suharto's resignation, Indonesia has made great strides towards democracy and has had several elections, including a peaceful transfer of power when incumbent president Megawati Sukarnoputri was defeated by opposition candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the 2004 presidential election. He remains president to this day at the time of writing (Feb 2012).

Coins of Indonesia
Due to the historic importance of trade in certain parts of the archipelago, coins have a long history in Indonesia. Coins of the Sailendra dynasty, dating back to the 9th Century AD are the earliest known coins to have been manufactured and used within Indonesia. During the 16th Century, Portuguese and Spanish coins were introduced and became a popular medium of exchange and trade.
The Dutch East India Company, which was granted a monopoly on trade within the Dutch East Indies in 1602, issued silver coins of 1, 2, and 6 stuiver, as well as their own version of the Spanish dollar. These were supplemented by tin coins issued for use as small change. These tin coins were later replaced with copper.
In 1854, a decimalised Netherlands Indies guilder (plural gulden) was issued, subdivided into cents, with coins of as low as a half cent issued. In addition to lower denominated coins specific to the Dutch East Indies, larger denominated Dutch coinage of , 1 and 2 gulden (in silver) and 5 and 10 gulden (in gold) also saw circulation in the Dutch East Indies.
The Japanese occupation of 1941-1945 saw coins largely disappear from circulation, replaced by Japanese-issue paper money that became increasingly worthless as the war dragged on.
The Indonesian Rupiah was introduced in 1951, and coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 sen (cents) were issued, in addition to a gold version of the 50 sen that was officially valued at 25 Rupiah.
However, no coins were issued between 1961 and 1971.
When coinage was reintroduced, aluminium 1, 2 and 5 rupiah, along with cupro-nickel 10, 25 and 50 rupiah were issued. Several coinage reforms followed over the years, reflecting the heavy inflation that plagued Indonesia for the rest of the century. The last coin reforms were made in 2003. Today coins of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 rupiah are issued and used in circulation. The oldest coins in circulation date from 1991.

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