Understanding Nusantara Theory as a Theory of the Origin of the Indonesian Nation

Until now, most of the Indonesian people may still not really understand the origins of our ancestors. But even so, an understanding emerged that most of the Indonesian people came from the Indochina region. Well, actually there are 4 theories of the origin of the Indonesian nation’s ancestors that were coined by several experts. Starting from those from within the country to those from abroad. In this article, we will discuss one theory of the origins of the Indonesian nation’s ancestors, namely the archipelago theory.

As we know that Indonesia is a large nation with various ethnicities, religions and races in it. That is why it is only natural that the Indonesian people also have various cultures. This includes natural wealth, ancestral property, and intellectual property. From the size of this nation, have you ever thought about how the theory of the origins of Indonesian ancestors existed?

As a nation’s generation, we must know the history of the theory of the origins of Indonesian ancestors. This is so that we can learn more about the development of the lifestyle of the Indonesian ancestors. We may also be more popular with the history of our own nation, starting from the Dutch colonization until finally this country became independent.

In fact, long before the colonial period, we also had a history of how we ended up having various ethnic groups and cultures spread across several regions. Starting from Sabang to Merauke, they have a long history until they finally became part of the Indonesian ethnic group. There are several origins of Indonesian ancestors which are quite popular among experts. However, in this article we will focus more on discussing the archipelago theory.

Understanding Archipelago Theory

The Nusantara theory is one of the theories in the distribution of humans in Indonesia. Where this theory says that the origins of humans who inhabit this archipelago do not come from outside, but they have lived and developed in the territory of Indonesia itself. This theory is also supported by scholars such as J. Crawford, K. Himly, Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, and Gorys Keraf. However, it seems that this theory is less popular and not widely accepted by Indonesian people. For the basic theory of the archipelago itself, namely:

a. Malay and Javanese have a very high level of civilization. This level can only be achieved after a long cultural development. This shows that the Malay people do not come from anywhere, but originate and develop in the archipelago.

b. K. Himly disagrees with the opinion that Malay is allied with the Champa or Kampuchea languages. For him, the similarities that apply in these two languages ​​is a phenomenon that is “accidental”.

c. Ancient Humans Homo Soloensis and Homo Wajakensis in Java. The discovery of these ancient humans on the island of Java shows that there is a possibility that the Malays descended from these ancient humans, that is, they came from the island of Java.
d. The language that developed in the archipelago is the Austronesian language family, which has a very large difference from the languages ​​that developed in Central Asia, namely Indo-European languages.

Weaknesses of the Archipelago Theory

Even though there is a lot of evidence that underlies this archipelago theory, this theory still has some weaknesses. Experts who support other theories have found several remains that strengthen the evidence that the Indonesian people came from outside Indonesia. For example, there are similarities in the remains of tools from ancient times and the massive migration of early humans to Indonesia.

Theory of the Origin of Indonesian Ancestors

As we have discussed above, that there are four theories that you must understand about the origins of the Indonesian nation’s ancestors. After we discussed one theory above, namely the archipelago theory, now we will discuss three other theories, including:

1. Greek theory

The Yunan theory is a theory that reveals the origin of the ancestors of the Indonesian nation from the Chinese region, to be precise in the Yunan region. They believe that Indonesia’s ancestors left the Yunnan region around the headwaters of the Salween River and also the Mekong River, which had fertile soil. It is estimated that due to natural disasters and also attacks from other ethnic groups, therefore they moved to change their place of residence.

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The ancestors of the Indonesian people had a fairly good maritime culture, namely as the inventor of the original outrigger boat model which was the hallmark of Indonesian ships at that time. The Austronesian people who were still included in the archipelago area then settled and were eventually referred to as the Indonesian Malay people.

These people are the direct ancestors of today’s Indonesian nation. Experts who agree with this theory are JR Logon, RH Geldern, JHC Kern, and JR Foster. The main basis of Yunan’s theory is the discovery of an old ax in the Indonesian archipelago which has the same characteristics as an old ax in the Southeast Asian region. This discovery indicates that there is a process of human migration in the Southeast Asian region to the Indonesian Archipelago. The existence of human migration is caused by the pressure factor of a stronger nation. Based on this incident, this Yunan theory indicates that there were three waves of arrival, namely, Proto Malay, Deutro Malay, and Melanesoid.

The things that underlie Yunan’s subsequent theory are the discovery of similarities in the language used by people in the archipelago with the language used by Cambodian people, namely Polynesian Malay. This phenomenon indicates that the people of Cambodia came from Yunnan by way of going down the Mekong River.

The flow of migration or movement was then continued when most of them continued the movement to the archipelago. Thus, the similarity of the Malay language with the Cham language in Cambodia indicates that there is a connection with the Greek plains. In addition, this theory is also supported by domestic experts, namely Moh. Ali who said that the theory of the origin of the ancestors of the Indonesian people was that humans came from Yunnan. This was based on allegations of displacement or migration of people in the Mongol area to the south because of pressure from other nations, especially nations that were stronger or those in power at that time.

The three displacement waves in the Greek theory are explained in more detail as follows:

a. Proto Malay

Proto Malays or old Malays are people from the archipelago who came from Asia who first came to the archipelago around 1500 BC. The Proto-Malays entered the archipelago through two routes, namely the land route through Malaysia-Sumatra and the eastern route through the Philippines-Sulawesi. Where the Proto-Malays have a higher culture than the previous ancient humans. This culture is a new stone or what is called the neolithic era where the stones have been refined. Based on Van Heekeren’s research in Kalumpang, there has been a combination of the square and oval ax traditions.

This tradition was brought down by Austronesian people who came from the north, namely through the Philippines-Sulawesi. It should be understood that the descendants of the original Proto Malay people are the Toraja and Dayak tribes who belong to the Indonesian ethnic group.

b. Deutero Malays

The Deutero Malays or known as Young Malays have succeeded in pushing and eventually assimilating with their predecessor nation, namely the Proto Malays. This happened in the period around 400 to 300 S, to be precise during the second wave of Indonesian ancestors coming to the archipelago. These young Malays entered the archipelago through the western route by taking the route from Yunnan, to be precise the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, and finally arrived in the archipelago. This nation already has a more advanced culture compared to its predecessor nation, namely the Proto-Malays. Because, they can already produce goods from bronze and iron.

For example, funnel axes, shoe axes, and also the shape of a nekara. Apart from metal culture, this nation has also begun to develop a megalithic culture. For example, making menhirs or stone monuments and terraced punden. The descendants of the Deutro Malays are the Javanese, Bugis and Malays who belong to the Indonesian ethnic group.

c. Melanesoid

This Melanesoid nation began to appear in the Papua region at the end of the ice age, namely 70,000 BC.

d. Primitive Nation

Prior to the arrival of various Malay groups in the archipelago, there were already several human groups who had lived in the archipelago. This group belongs to a primitive nation with a culture that is still simple. The following are some explanations about the primitive peoples in the archipelago, including:

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– Pleistocene (Ancient) Man

Early humans at that time always lived a nomadic life or moved from place to place with limited abilities. Likewise with the culture they have, so that their style of life cannot be followed again. Except for a few aspects, such as the technology which is still simple or what is known as paleolithic technology.

– The Wedoid tribe

The remnants of the Wedoid tribe still exist today, namely the Sakai tribe in Siak and the Kubu tribe on the border of Jambi and Palembang. This group of tribes survive by collecting forest products and cultivating in a simple way. That is why it is difficult for the Wedoid tribe to adjust to modern society.

– Negroids

In the territory of Indonesia, the remains of this Negroid tribe are no longer found. However, there are still people in the interior of Malaysia and the Philippines who are descended from the Negroid tribe. The tribes included in the Negroid Tribe are the Semang Tribe in Peninsular Malaysia and also the Negrito Tribe in the Philippines.

2. Out Of Africa Theory

This out of Africa theory is a theory of the origins of the Indonesian nation’s ancestors which is more different from other versions of the theory. Where this one theory reveals that the origin of the ancestors of the Indonesian people came from Africa. This assumption comes from the study of genetics through research on mitochondrial DNA of female genes and also male genes. They then migrated from Africa to Australia, which is already close to the archipelago. This theory then reveals an assumption that African peoples have migrated or made moves towards West Asia in 50,000 -70,000 years ago. Around this tofu, the Earth is entering the end of the glacial era, when the sea level becomes shallower because the water is still in the form of glaciers.

At that time, it was possible for humans to cross the sea using only simple boats. The migration of Africans to Asia was then split into several groups. There are groups who live temporarily in the Middle East or Southwest Asia and there are also groups who migrate past the coast of the Arabian Peninsula to East Asia, India, Australia, including Indonesia.

This phenomenon was reinforced by the discovery of a male fossil in the Lake Mungo region. Not only that, there are also two paths that are thought to be the areas traveled by Africans at that time, namely the route to the Nile River Valley. The region crosses the Sinai Peninsula, then northwards through the Arabian Levant and also the route through the Red Sea.

3. Out Of Taiwan Theory

The theory of the origin of Indonesian ancestors on this one is almost the same as the previous theory. Where the out of Taiwan theory reveals that the origin of the Indonesian nation comes from the Famosa Islands or the territory that is Taiwan. This theory is supported by an expert named Harry Truman Simanjuntak who underlies the argument in this theory. The main basis of the first out of Taiwan theory is the absence of the same genetic pattern between Indonesian human chromosomes and Chinese humans. Still based on this theory, the language used and developed in the archipelago is a language that belongs to the Austronesian language family.

The language of this Austronesian family was used by the ancestors of the Indonesian nation, especially for people who settled on Formosa Island. Thus, in terms of language, it is clear that the Indonesian nation adopted Austronesian culture and developed it to become the Indonesian nation it is today.

That is an explanation of the theory of the origins of Indonesian ancestors, especially the archipelago theory. Of the several theories described above, which theory do you believe in the most?

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