Understanding Colonialism: Development, Arrival and Consequences

Understanding Colonialism – Reader, have you ever imagined the condition of Indonesia during colonialism? Surely at that time the people of Indonesia felt the suffering and misery very much. This is what caused the development of colonialism in Indonesia to be rampant. So what happened at that time?

So what are the consequences of colonialism in Indonesia? Well, let’s read the article below for more details. Reader will also learn the reasons why foreign nations create a colonialism system. Until the territorial changes affected by colonialism.

Understanding Colonialism

Well, before we discuss further, it would be good if Reader understood the meaning of colonialism itself. Colonialism is a term derived from the word “colonus” , which means to dominate. Because of this, colonialism can be interpreted as an effort made by a country to dominate certain regions outside its country.

The purpose of a country’s colonialism is to achieve dominant power in various areas of life, both politics, economy, natural resources and human resources. This happens because a country that wants to do colonialism does not have the necessary land wealth. In addition, a country that wants to do colonialism is a superior country than other countries.

The main characteristic of colonialism is the domination of a region with abundant natural resources to be brought to the colonial country of origin. Usually this power process lasts quite a long time due to strong military support. Examples of countries that managed to dominate other regions are the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and England.

Time and Development of Colonialism

Colonialism has long developed in the world since the 15th century. In the beginning, the European nation controlled the entire region with power, political system, and a strong military. However, a few centuries later there was an upheaval between nations with differences in culture, culture, beliefs as well as a dominant nature that wanted to dominate the entire region making war unstoppable.

The fall of the western empire as a symbol of power, namely Constantinople in the hands of the Ottoman Turks is one example of the impact of the collapse of the European nation. Until finally the economy and trade suffered a decline. This is also supported by the industrial revolution with the aim of developing the economy.

It was the industrial revolution that made the European nation build naval fleets like large ships that could be used to sail across the ocean. This voyage is done with the purpose of finding other abundant resources in a country. It turns out that this happened because of the Crusade mission.

The effort finally made the European nation find countries with high natural products but did not have a strong system. This is what then made the European nation become ambitious to dominate the entire region in order to seize as much profit as possible as well as success in the political field. That was the beginning of colonialism beginning to develop and become a system beyond human control.

The Arrival of Colonialism in Indonesia

Reader, our country is a producer of spices, lol. Almost all natural resources in Indonesia have been the target of foreign nations since the beginning. Spices are the main ingredients that can be used as preservatives and warming agents. In addition, spices have a very high value, so that people in the past called them a symbol of success.

Therefore, European nations compete with each other to find regions that produce spices, one of which is Indonesia. In addition, it should be known that there are several things that encourage Europeans to come to Indonesia. For example: (a) Advancement of knowledge and technology with the discovery of compasses, binoculars, maps; (b) The existence of Marcopolo’s book Imago Mundi about the journey to the East; (c) The development of the spirit of seeking power with the symbol of 3G, namely Gold (seeking profit by owning valuable materials and goods), Gospel (the spread of the Christian religion believed by western nations), and Glory (gaining success by having a lot of power); and (d) The fall of Constantinople in 1453.

That is what drove the Europeans to come and create colonialism in Indonesia. Then there are some countries that are defeated by other countries that want to take over. That was the Reader that our nation experienced before, here is a list of countries that successfully explored the ocean:

1. Portuguese

The Portuguese sent someone named Bartholomeus Diaz to explore the ocean for valuable goods, namely spices. Bartholomeus Diaz managed to land at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa in 1488. Vasco da Gama continued his ocean exploration, reaching Gowa, until he finally returned with spices.

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The experience of these two figures made the Portuguese more ambitious to dominate a region. To continue the expedition, the Portuguese sent Alfonso d’Albuquerque. He managed to conquer Malacca on August 10, 1511.

2. Spain

Christopher Columbus was the first Spaniard to successfully explore in 1942. He sailed to the American continent until he reached his destination, India. Then Magellan’s exploration continued, where he managed to conquer the Philippines in 1521.

Further, in 1521, Sebastian del Cano explored until he successfully anchored in Tidore. However, del Cani’s exploration is considered a violation of the Tordesillas agreement, which is an agreement made by Spain with Portugal. Until finally the Treaty of Zaragoza was made in 1529 to solve the problem of power struggle.

3. The Netherlands

Ocean exploration by the Dutch was carried out by Cornelis de Houtman in 1956. Cornelis de Houtman managed to land in Banten, but because the Dutch attitude was less friendly and seemed to monopolize, it made the Sultan of Banten angry. Until there was resistance from the people of Banten, and the expedition was considered a failure.

Further in 1598-1600, the arrival of the Dutch in Indonesia led by Jacob van Neck. He managed to dominate the Maluku region. Making more and more Dutch traders come to Indonesia.

4. England

Various countries that tried to find spices in Indonesia, made the British take part in a race to sail to Indonesia. Sir Henry and James Cook are two famous figures in ocean voyages carried out by England. Henry Middleton obtained spices such as pepper and cloves in Banten, Tidore, Ternate and Ambon.

The voyage was carried out in 1604. While James Cook started his voyage from the direction of Australia. Until finally in 1770, it arrived in Batavia.

The Development of European Power in Indonesia During Colonialism

Indonesia has suffered from European colonialism for a long time. This is felt starting from the Dutch, British, Japanese, and other governments. Here is an explanation related to the topic above:

1. The Reign of the Bataaf Republic

Indonesia experienced colonization by the Dutch Government under the leadership of Louis Napoleon. He is the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1808, Louis Napoleon appointed a governor to defend and lead the island of Java. The figure is Governor General Herman Willem Daendels, with the aim of improving the fate of the people according to the French revolution.

During Daendels’ leadership, many policies were implemented to regulate the lives of the Indonesian people. For example, such as the construction of the Anyer-Panarukan road, issuing banknotes, the implementation of preangerstelsel , appointing regents as government officials, and dividing the island of Java into 9 prefectures. However, there is also a negative side of Daendels’ rule, namely the rampant practice of slavery and poor relations with the kingdoms in Indonesia at that time.

That caused the Daendels government to get a lot of resistance from the Indonesian people. Then his reign ended, and he was replaced by a new governor, namely Janssens, in 1811. Unfortunately, Janssens’ reign did not last as long as Daendels, because the British forces came to attack and made him retreat and sign the Tuntang Agreement.

2. Time of British Rule

After successfully conquering Indonesia in 1811, the British leader in India, namely Lord Minto, ordered Thomas Stamford Raffles to conquer the island of Java. Many policies were made by Raffles. For example in the field of government, Raffles divided the island of Java into 16 regions and prohibited forced labor as well as slavery.

While in the economic field, Raffles obliged the farmers to pay tax on the use of land (land rent) . Then in the field of science, Raffles tried to establish the Bogor Botanical Garden, in addition to that he also wrote a book entitled “History of Java” and discovered an endemic flower in Indonesia, Rafflesia Arnoldi. But in 1816, Raffles’ rule ended, so the British returned the rule of Indonesia to the Dutch.

3. The time of Dutch rule

The end of the British rule, made Indonesia suffer for quite a long time under the Dutch rule. A governor general appointed to rule in Indonesia is Van der Capellen. He made policies such as eliminating the role of traditional rulers (the government), applying taxes that made the people suffer, and at the same time the slavery system was reinstated.

But because during the reign of Capellen, the Netherlands felt that its economy began to decline due to wars with the Europeans and the Indonesian people. This led to the appointment of a new governor named Van den Bosch. Its main mission is to increase the acceptance of the Dutch nation.

For this reason, Van den Bosch implemented a system of forced cultivation (cultuur stelsel) in 1830. This policy was very burdensome for the people, because the people had to pay taxes on the land planted, the enforcement of forced labor for people who did not own land, planting beyond the age of planting , as well as the harvest that must be sold to the government. This is what causes the people to suffer because of the forced cultivation system implemented by the Dutch government.

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Consequences Of Colonialism

Reader, have you ever imagined how Indonesian people lived during colonialism? Must be suffering a lot, Reader. Living in the shadow of colonialism and experiencing both physical and mental torture every day.

The consequences of the colonization have long been felt by the people of Indonesia. Not just in politics, but in all aspects of life. Here are the details of the consequences of colonialism in Indonesia:

1. In the Political Field

  1. There is the application of indirect government, where power is led by regents or governors in the name of colonialism.
  2. The emergence of various Indonesian people’s resistance against the unjust policies of the colonial government.
  3. Government power was taken over and depended on colonial rule. Because of this, the people rebelled and became divided.
  4. Java became the center of government and was divided into several perfect regions.
  5. Customary law was changed into modern law by western nations.

2. In the field of economics

  1. There was a trade monopoly by the colonists against the Indonesian people.
  2. Agriculture as the main source of the people’s economy shifted to the plantation industry.
  3. Trade monopoly practices by the VOC made trade in the archipelago experience setbacks in the international arena.
  4. There is a land tax system and the handover of land products to the colonial government.
  5. The implementation of the forced cultivation system that makes the people suffer losses and suffering.
  6. The emergence of money as a new means of payment during the colonial rule.

3. In the Social Field

  1. There is a change in social strata in society.
  2. The amount of social mobility that occurred as a result of colonial rule that required energy in other regions.
  3. The emergence of the labor class consisting of natives and the employer class, namely the colonials.
  4. The emergence of an educated elite at the request of the colonial government to meet the government’s needs.
  5. The formation of a social status that tends to bring down the natives.
  6. There are brutal acts of violence and extortion against the people of Indonesia.
  7. Indonesian regions that are isolated and make their people experience backwardness.

4. In the field of culture

  1. There are many absorbed languages ​​from colonial nations that are used by Indonesian people until now.
  2. The entry of the colonial nation made an increase in insight into musical instruments and international dance.
  3. There are relict buildings with typical colonial characteristics as well as western architecture in Indonesia.
  4. There are historic colonial relics that can be evidence of conditions in the past.

5. In the field of education

  1. The emergence of educated groups who have high vision in Indonesia.
  2. More and more Indonesians can read and write to be employed by the colonial government. But it will be a valuable value for Indonesia’s independence in the future.
  3. Indonesian people become knowledgeable and open to the development of the outside world.
  4. The people of Indonesia become motivated to achieve their country’s independence after gaining insight and education.
  5. The people of Indonesia finally know what is right and wrong in the conditions that happened at that time.


Reader, certainly the people of Indonesia at that time suffered a lot due to the colonization of the colonial nation. This is what ultimately led our nation to dare to do various struggles. As for the resistance that has been carried out for quite a long time since the Portuguese controlled the archipelago until the Dutch rule.

However, if you look at the story line in the existing history, initially the people of Indonesia accepted the arrival of foreigners with open arms. Indonesian people are also friendly and warm towards anyone who is present in their area. Even thought that the arrival of the foreign nation had good intentions for the development of the region.

Unfortunately, that is not true, because the Europeans came to Indonesia only to get valuable goods, namely spices. The emergence of this motif began when Constantinople was successfully controlled by the Ottoman Turks. Where Constantinople is the largest and most prosperous strategic trading center of Europe.

This causes the commodity of spices to be no longer available at a cheap price while many are needed by various people. Until finally, the European nation explored to find a new region producing spices. One of them is Indonesia.

After successfully occupying Indonesia, the people experienced a lot of misery. Where all the policies that are made are detrimental to the natives and more beneficial to foreigners. The people experienced torture, slavery, forced labor, and were forced to pay taxes on their own land.

Attempts to dominate a region to obtain the greatest possible profit, both in the form of natural wealth and others, is called the practice of colonialism. Therefore, colonialism has both negative and positive consequences for the Indonesian nation. It’s just that living in a colonized condition must not be good, right, Reader?