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Indonesia - History



Indonesia - History
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.5

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    Akhmed, erectus, half-ape, half-man, nationalist, authoritarian, coup, corrupt, republic, destruction, resistance, starvation, independence, opposition, particularly, poverty
     content words:    Indian Ocean, Eugene Dubois, Southeast Asia, Dutch East India Company, By World War II, Akhmed Soekarno, General Soeharto, East Timor, East Timorese, BJ Habbie


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Indonesia - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
  

1     Indonesia is a country made up of hundreds of islands in the east Indian Ocean. The history of Indonesia has a surprising beginning, a beginning that wasn't discovered until a little more than 100 years ago! In 1890, the land of Java, one of Indonesia's big islands, gave up a 500,000-year-old treasure.
 
2     This treasure wasn't gold or silver. It wasn't diamonds or anything pretty. It was bones--old, broken, black bones. These bones belonged to an ancient relative of the human being, called the Homo erectus. A paleontologist from the Netherlands named Eugene Dubois set out in the late 19th century to find the remains of early humans in Southeast Asia. He believed, as many do, that modern humans are relatives of apes. He believed that humans had evolved over time. His search in Indonesia was to find proof of his beliefs. He wanted to find the "missing link," that is, the bones of a half-man, half-ape.
 
3     What he found on Java was a part of a skull, part of a leg bone, and some teeth. Scientists believe that the bones belonged to a kind of human being that lived at least 500,000 years ago. It wasn't the "missing link," but Dubois' discovery was an important step in learning human history and the history of Indonesia.
 
4     Early Indonesians were influenced by the culture and religion of nearby India. When the first Indians and Chinese migrated to the Indonesian islands around 3,000 BC, they brought with them their own culture. Empires based in the Buddhist and Hindu religions ruled Indonesia for hundreds of years. In the 14th century, the religion of Islam came to Indonesia, effectively ending Hindu and Buddhist rule.
 
5     But Islam's control of Indonesia wouldn't last long. Explorers from Portugal arrived in Indonesia and took control in 1511. However, Portuguese rule of Indonesia fell to the Dutch, who had great interest in the islands of Indonesia.

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