There were many Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms formed in the early history of what is now Indonesia. There origins relate to trade with South Asia and Souteast Asia. Little information is available on these kingdoms. We also see Islamic kingdomes being established (13th century). And the Islamic rulers gradually became the dominant force on the islands by the time the Europeans arrived attracted by the spices and other products (16th century). European traders with their superior fire power gradually gaining influence in the Indonesia. Eventually the Dutch took control. Some of the mostly Islamic royal houses fouught the Dutch. Most made peace with them. The Dutch integrated the various royal houses into the colonia political system. The Dutch unified the islands politically for the first time as the Dutch East Indies (DEI). Tge monaries were mostky Islamic, except on Bali where Hindism was still prominant. The DEI was a major objective of the Japanese when they launched the Pacific War because of oil (1941). The Indonesians nationalists and royal houses largely cooperated with the Japanese even though Japanese imperial policies resulted in a horific famine. After the War the Nationalists resisted tge reimposition of Dutch colonial control. The Dutch granted Indonesians independence (1949). With the victories of the Nationalists, the traditional leaders lost their political power, but continue to exert influence.
This is members of the royal family of Karangasem, the Bali royal family (figure 1). We believe they are all children of Anak Agung Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, the last Raja of the Kingdom of Karangasem. He abdicated when the Kingdom was incorporated in newly independent Indonesia (1950). The Raja had 10 wives and a great number of children. The photo is undated, but it was probably taken in the 1950s.
A reader tells us, "When I lived in Indonesia I had the pleasure to get acquainted with some Javanese royalty. I worked in a Dutch bookstore on the island of Java and some of the native rulers paid our business a visit. I met and served the Sultan of Jogyakarta, Hamengkubuwono IX, who spoke excellent Dutch. He had studied in Leiden. Also some of his wives and children visited sometimes. They all spoke Dutch. That did not mean that they were in favor of Dutch colonial rule, because the sultan worked closely together with Sukarno. The Dutch had granted him a certain amount of self determination as far as affairs with his own subjects were concerned. I also knew Pakubuwono XII, the Susuhunan of Surakarta, who had a title one step lower than sultan. All these people were charming and well-educated. Mohammed Hatta was a regular customer and even Sukarno once came himself to look at books and had some sent to the palace."
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