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The name Dutch Indies is recorded in the Dutch East India Company's documents of the early 1620s.Centuries before Europeans arrived, the Indonesian archipelago supported various states, including commercially oriented coastal trading states and inland agrarian states (the most important were Srivijaya and Majapahit).Since the establishment of the VOC in the 17th century, the expansion of Dutch territory had been a business matter.
During the 19th century, the Dutch possessions and hegemony were expanded, reaching their greatest territorial extent in the early 20th century.
Smuggling, the ongoing expense of war, corruption, and mismanagement led to bankruptcy by the end of the 18th century.
The company was formally dissolved in 1800 and its colonial possessions in the Indonesian archipelago (including much of Java, parts of Sumatra, much of Maluku, and the hinterlands of ports such as Makasar, Manado, and Kupang) were nationalised under the Dutch Republic as the Dutch East Indies.
The Netherlands formally recognised Indonesian sovereignty at the 1949 Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference with the exception of the Netherlands New Guinea (Western New Guinea), which was ceded to Indonesia 14 years later in 1963 under the provisions of the New York Agreement at the United Nations center.
) was translated by the English as the Dutch East Indies, to keep it distinct from the Dutch West Indies.
This colony was one of the most valuable European colonies under the Dutch Empire's rule, The term Indonesia came into use for the geographical location after 1880.