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United States of Indonesia

Republik Indonesia Serikat

Last modified: 2015-05-20 by ian macdonald
Keywords: indonesia | east sumatra | south sumatra |
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After the WWII the Republic of Indonesia, based in Java, proclaimed its independence from Netherlands (17 August 1945). Its claim to represent the entiere Indonesian archipelago was challenged by the Dutch, who assisted local regimes opposed to Javanese rule to create their own states.
In [e.g.] Sumatra were proclaimed the states of East Sumatra and South Sumatra.
In 1949 the states became part of the United States of Indonesia (27 December 1949) but in 1950 the federal system was supressed and the flags were abolished, after a small resistence in South Moluccas. The flags of the short-lived states are interesting. Jan M. Pluvier in "Historical Atlas of South East Asia" give the list of states (flag colours are reported by Jaume Ollé - all are horizontally striped):

  • East Sumatra (capital Medam)
  • South Sumatra (Negara Sumatera Selantan, capital Palembang; the great part of the island is under the rule of the Republic of Indonesia), yellow-green
  • Bangka
  • Billiton
  • Riau
  • West Borneo (capital Pontianak)
  • Kotawaringin (in the South West of Borneo, I don't know the capital)
  • Greater Dajak (central South Borneo, I don't know the capital)
  • Bandar (capital Bandjarmasin)
  • South East Borneo
  • East Borneo (capital Samarinda)
  • Djakarta
  • Pasundan (capital Bandung), green-white-green or green-white
  • East Java (capital Surabaja)
  • Madura (center and west of the island of Java was under the rule of the republic Indonesia in two parts separated for the state of Pasundan)
  • East Indonesia (including Bali, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, [West] Timor, Molucas and Celebes), yellow-red-white-green

Jaume Ollé, 15 September 1996

East Sumatra

[Flag East Sumatra] image by Jaume Ollé, 15 September 1996

South Sumatra

[Flag South Sumatra] image by Jaume Ollé, 15 September 1996

Indonesia Timur (East Indonesia)

[Flag East Indonesia] image by Antonio Martins, 19 May 1998

In Flag Master *079*:8 there is a report about the flags of the native states of the Indonesian Federation (1945-1949) which bear no relation (except for Aceh and Riau) to the current provinces. A four stripped flag of yellow-red-white-green (horizontally) is given for a state called Indonesia Timur (meaning East Indonesia), a "Federation of East Indonesian States", according to D. Rühl: "Flag and Arms of the Indonesian Republic" Indonesië *4-2*:104-105.

It should be noted that in Indonesia Timur federal state was included only West Timor, the formerly Dutch half. (Note that "timur" is Malay for "east"; the toponym "Timor" comes from it. Radical and poetically inclined resistants, fighting also the Indonesian language and culture oppression, react prefering the autonym "Mauberia"). West Timor (capital Kupang) was largely under the "empire" (or rather "tribe" federation) of Surviam, while the Portuguese part (East Timor, capital Dili) was mostly the Belos "empire".
Antonio Martins, 19 May 1998

Also the daerah South Moluccas was part of the Federation of East Indonesian States (Negara Indonesia Timur [NIT], established in December 1946).
On 27 December 1949 the Republik Indonesia Serikat (United States of Indonesia) was established. On 4 April 1950 of the 16 original states and territories only four remained: the Republik Indonesia, the NIT and the states East Sumatra and West Borneo. On 15 August 1950 the unitary Republik Indonesia was proclaimed.

During the Linggadjati conference in August 1946 the idea of a United States of Indonesia was accepted by both the Republik Indonesia [based at Yogjakarta, MS] and the Netherlands. Three states were recognised in the treaty: the Republik Indonesia, Borneo and the "Grote Oost" (Great East). Other states were soon established by Lt. Governor-General Van Mook. During the conference in Den Pasar (Bali) on 23 December 1946 the Negara Indonesia Timur (NIT, state East Indonesia) was established.
The national anhtem of the NIT was the "Wilhelmus" (the Dutch anthem) and the flag of the new state was the red-white-blue.

Source: (Dutch only; link no longer active)

Mark Sensen, 21 May 1998