Friday, December 28, 2012

Battle of Surabaya

Battle os Surabaya;

The Battle of Surabaya was fought between pro-independence Indonesian soldiers and militia against British and Dutch troops as a part of the Indonesian National Revolution. The peak of the battle was in November 1945. Despite fierce resistance, British Indian troops managed to conquer Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia, on behalf of the Netherlands. The battle was the heaviest single battle of the revolution and became a national symbol of Indonesian resistance. Considered a heroic effort by Indonesians, the battle helped galvanise Indonesian and international support for Indonesian independence. 10 November is celebrated annually as Heroes' Day (Hari Pahlawan).
By the time the Allied forces arrived at the end of October 1945, the pemuda ('youth') foothold in Surabaya City was described as "a strong unified fortress". Ferocious fighting erupted when 6,000 Indian troops landed in the city to evacuate European internees. Following the killing on 30 October of the British commander, Brigadier A. W. S. Mallaby, the British retaliated with a punitive sweep that began on 10 November, under the cover of air attacks. Although the European forces largely captured the city in three days, the poorly armed Republicans fought for three weeks, and thousands died as the population fled to the countryside.
Despite the military defeat suffered by the Republicans and a loss of manpower and weaponry that would severely hamper Republican forces for the rest of the revolution, the battle and defence mounted by the Indonesians galvanised the nation in support of independence and helped garner international attention. For the Dutch, it removed any doubt that the Republic was not simply a gang of collaborators without popular support. It also had the effect of convincing Britain that wisdom lay on the side of neutrality in the revolution; within a few years, in fact, Britain would support the Republican cause in the United Nations

Death of Brigadier Mallaby

The burnt-out car of Brigadier Mallaby where he was killed on 31 October 1945.
On 30 October 1945, Brigadier A. W. S. Mallaby, the British brigade commander in Surabaya, was travelling about Surabaya to spread the news about the new agreement to his troops. When his car approached the British troops' post in the International building near the Jembatan Merah ("Red Bridge"), his car was surrounded by Indonesian Republican militia. Shortly after, Mallaby was shot and killed by the militia under confused circumstances.
Captain R.C. Smith, who was in the stationary car, reported that a young Republican shot and killed Mallaby after a short conversation. Smith then reported throwing a grenade from the car in the direction of where he thought the shooter had hidden. Although he was not sure whether or not it hit its target, the explosion caused the back seat of the car to ignite. Other accounts, according to the same source, stated that it was the explosion and not a shooter that killed Mallaby. Regardless of its exact details, Mallaby's death was a significant turning point for the hostilities in Surabaya, and a catalyst for the battle to come. The British ordered an Indonesian surrender, and on 10 November they rolled out a large retaliatory attack

Linggadjati Agreement

The Linggadjati Agreement, brokered by the British and concluded in November 1946, saw the Netherlands recognise the Republic as the de facto authority over Java, Madura, and Sumatra. Both parties agreed to the formation of the United States of Indonesia by 1 January 1949, a semi-autonomous federal state with the monarch of the Netherlands at its head. The Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra would be one of its states, alongside areas that were generally under stronger Dutch influence, including southern Kalimantan, and the "Great East", which consisted of Sulawesi, Maluku, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Western New Guinea. The Central National Committee of Indonesia (KNIP) did not ratify the agreement until February 1947, and neither the Republic nor the Dutch were satisfied with it.[2] On 25 March 1947 the Lower House of the Dutch parliament ratified a stripped down version of the treaty, which was not accepted by the Republic.[34] Both sides soon accused the other of violating the agreement

[edit] Renville Agreement

The Van Mook line in Java. Areas in red were under Republican control.
The United Nations Security Council brokered the Renville Agreement in an attempt to rectify the collapsed Linggarjati Agreement. The agreement was ratified in January 1948 and recognised a cease-fire along the so-called 'Van Mook line'; an artificial line which connected the most advanced Dutch positions.[38] Many Republican positions, however, were still held behind the Dutch lines. The agreement also required referenda to be held on the political future of the Dutch held areas. The apparent reasonableness of Republicans garnered much important American goodwill.
Diplomatic efforts between the Netherlands and the Republic continued throughout 1948 and 1949. Political pressures, both domestic and international, hindered Dutch attempts at goal formulation. Similarly Republican leaders faced great difficulty in persuading their people to accept diplomatic concessions. By July 1948 negotiations were in deadlock and the Netherlands pushed unilaterally towards Van Mook’s federal Indonesia concept. The new federal states of South Sumatra and East Java were created, although neither had a viable support base. The Netherlands set up the Bijeenkomst voor Federaal Overleg (BFO) (or Federal Consultative Assembly), a body comprising the leadership of the federal states, and charged with the formation of a United States of Indonesia and an interim government by the end of 1948. The Dutch plans, however, had no place for the Republic unless it accepted a minor role already defined for it. Later plans included Java and Sumatra but dropped all mention of the Republic. The main sticking point in the negotiations was the balance of power between the Netherlands High Representative and the Republican forces.
Mutual distrust between the Netherlands and the Republic hindered negotiations. The Republic feared a second major Dutch offensive, while the Dutch objected to continued Republican activity on the Dutch side of the Renville line. In February 1948 the Siliwangi Battalion of the Republican Army, led by Nasution, marched from West Java to Central Java; the relocation was intended to ease internal Republican tensions involving the Battalion in the Surakarta area. The Battalion, however, clashed with Dutch troops while crossing Mount Slamet, and the Dutch believed it was part of a systematic troop movement across the Renville Line. The fear of such incursions actually succeeding, along with apparent Republican undermining of the Dutch-established Pasundan state and negative reports, led to the Dutch leadership increasingly seeing itself as losing control.

 Internal turmoil

 Social revolutions

The so-called 'social revolutions' following the independence proclamation were challenges to the Dutch-established Indonesian social order, and to some extent a result of the resentment against Japanese-imposed policies. Across the country, people rose up against traditional aristocrats and village heads and attempted to exert popular ownership of land and otr resources. The majority of the social revolutions ended quickly; in most cases the challenges to the social order were quashed]
A culture of violence rooted in the deep conflicts that split the countryside under Dutch rule would repeatedly erupt throughout the whole second half of the twentieth century. The term 'social revolution' has been applied to a range of mostly violent activities of the left that included both altruistic attempts to organise real revolution and simple expressions of revenge, resentment and assertions of power. Violence was one of the many lessons learned during the Japanese occupation, and figures identified as 'feudal', including kings, regents, or simply the wealthy, were often attacked, sometimes beheaded, and rape became a weapon against 'feudal' women. In the coastal sultanates of Sumatra and Kalimantan, for example, sultans and others whose authority had been shored-up by the Dutch, were attacked as soon as Japanese authority left. The secular local lords of Aceh, who had been the foundation of Dutch rule, were executed, although most of Indonesia's sultanates fell back into Dutch hands.
Most Indonesians lived in fear and uncertainty, particularly a significant proportion of the population who supported the Dutch or who remained under Dutch control. The popular revolutionary cry 'Freedom or Death' was often interpreted to justify killings under claimed Republican authority. Traders were often in particularly difficult positions. On the one hand, they were pressured by Republicans to boycott all sales to the Dutch; on the other hand, Dutch police could be merciless in their efforts to stamp out smugglers on which the Republican economy depended. In some areas, the term kedaulatan rakyat ('exercising the sovereignty of the people') – which is mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution and used by pemuda to demand pro-active policies from leaders – came to be used not only in the demanding of free goods, but also to justify extortion and robbery. Chinese merchants, in particular, were often forced to keep their goods at artificially low prices under threat of death.

 Communist and Islamist insurgencies

On 18 September 1948 an 'Indonesian Soviet Republic' was declared in Madiun, east of Yogyakarta, by members of the PKI and the Indonesian Socialist Party (PSI). Judging the times as right for a proletarian uprising, they intended it to be a rallying centre for revolt against "Sukarno-Hatta, the slaves of the Japanese and America".[13] Madiun however was won back by Republican forces within a few weeks and the insurgency leader, Musso, killed. RM Suryo, the governor of East Java, several police officers and religious leaders were killed by the rebels. This ended a distraction for the revolution, and it turned vague American sympathies based on anti-colonial sentiments into diplomatic support. Internationally, the Republic was now seen as being staunchly anti-communist and a potential ally in the emerging global Cold War between the American-led 'free world' and the Soviet-led bloc.
Members of the Republican Army who had come from Indonesian Hizbullah felt betrayed by Indonesian Government. In May 1948, they declared a break-away regime, the Negara Islam Indonesia (Indonesian Islamic State), better known as Darul Islam. Led by an Islamic mystic, Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosuwirjo, Darul Islam sought to establish Indonesia as an Islamic theocracy. At the time, the Republican Government did not respond as they were focused on the threat from the Dutch. Some leaders of Masjumi sympathised with the rebellion. After the Republic regained all territories in 1950, the government took the Darul Islam threat seriously, especially after some provinces declared their joining of Darul Islam. The rebellion was put down in 1962.

 Transfer of sovereignty

Millions upon millions flooded the sidewalks, the roads. They were crying, cheering, screaming "...Long live Bung Karno..." They clung to the sides of the car, the hood, the running boards. They grabbed at me to kiss my fingers. Soldiers beat a path for me to the topmost step of the big white palace. There I raised both hands high. A stillness swept over the millions. "Alhamdulillah – Thank God," I cried. "We are free"
Sukarno's recollections of independence achieved.
The resilience of Indonesian Republican resistance and active international diplomacy set world opinion against the Dutch efforts to re-establish their colony.[46] The second 'police action' was a diplomatic disaster for the Dutch cause. The newly appointed United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson pushed the Netherlands government into negotiations earlier recommended by the United Nations but until then defied by the Netherlands. The Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference was held in The Hague from 23 August 1949 to 2 November 1949 between the Republic, the Netherlands, and the Dutch-created federal states. The Netherlands agreed to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over a new federal state known as the 'United States of Indonesia' (RUSI). It would include all the territory of the former Dutch East Indies with the exception of Netherlands New Guinea; sovereignty over which it was agreed would be retained by the Netherlands until further negotiations with Indonesia. The other difficult issue to which Indonesia gave concessions was Netherlands East Indies debt. Indonesia agreed to responsibility for this sum of £4.3 billion, much of which was directly attributable to Dutch attempts to crush the revolution. Sovereignty was formally transferred on 27 December 1949, and the new state was immediately recognised by the United States of America.
The United States of Indonesia, December 1949 – the Republic of Indonesia is shown in red
Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra together formed a single state in the sixteen-state RUSI federation, but accounted for almost half its population. The other fifteen 'federal' states had been created by the Netherlands since 1945. These states were dissolved into the Republic over the first half of 1950. An abortive anti-Republic coup in Bandung and Jakarta by Westerling's Legion of Ratu Adil (APRA) on 23 January 1950 resulted in the dissolution of the populous Pasundan state in West Java, thus quickening the dissolution of the federal structure. Colonial soldiers, who were largely Ambonese, clashed with Republican troops in Makassar during the Makassar Uprising in April 1950. The predominantly Christian Ambonese were from one of the few regions with pro-Dutch sentiments and they were suspicious of the Javanese Muslim-dominated Republic, whom they unfavourably regarded as leftists. On 25 April 1950, an independent Republic of South Maluku (RMS) was proclaimed in Ambon but this was suppressed by Republican troops during a campaign from July to November. With the state of East Sumatra now being the only federal state remaining, it too folded and fell in line with the unitary Republic. On 17 August 1950, the fifth anniversary of his declaration of Indonesian independence, Sukarno proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia as a unitary state.

 Impacts

Indonesian Vice-president Hatta and Dutch Queen Juliana at the signing ceremony in The Hague at which the Dutch recognised Indonesian sovereignty
Although there is no accurate account of how many Indonesians died, they died in far greater numbers than their enemies, and many died at the hands of other Indonesians. Estimates of Indonesian deaths in fighting range from 45,000 to 100,000 and civilian casualties exceeded 25,000 and may have been as high as 100,000. A total of 1,200 British soldiers were killed or went missing in Java and Sumatra in 1945 and 1946, most of them Indian soldiers. More than 5,000 Dutch soldiers lost their lives in Indonesia between 1945 and 1949. Many more Japanese died; in Bandung alone, 1,057 died, only half of whom died in actual combat, the rest killed in rampages by Indonesians. Tens of thousands of Chinese and Eurasians were killed or left homeless, despite the fact that many Chinese supported the revolution. Seven million people were displaced on Java and Sumatra.
The revolution had direct effects on economic conditions; shortages were common, particularly food, clothing and fuel. There were in effect two economies – the Dutch and the Republican – both of which had to simultaneously rebuild after World War II and survive the disruptions of the revolution. The Republic had to set up all necessities of life, ranging from 'postage stamps, army badges, and train tickets' whilst subject to Dutch trade blockades. Confusion and ruinous inflationary surges resulted from competing currencies; Japanese, new Dutch money, and Republican currencies were all used, often concurrently.
Indonesian independence was secured through a blend of both diplomacy and force. Despite their ill-discipline raising the prospect of anarchy, without pemuda confronting foreign and Indonesian colonial forces, Republican diplomatic efforts would have been futile. The revolution is the turning point of modern Indonesian history, and it has provided the reference point and validation for the country’s major political trends that continue to the present day. It gave impetus to communism in the country, to militant nationalism, to Sukarno's 'guided democracy', to political Islam, the origins of the Indonesian army and its role in Indonesian power, the country's constitutional arrangements, and the centralism of power in Indonesia.
The revolution destroyed a colonial administration ruled from the other side of the world, and dismantled with it the raja, seen by many as obsolete and powerless. Also, it relaxed the rigid racial and social categorisations of colonial Indonesia. Tremendous energies and aspirations were created amongst Indonesians; a new creative surge was seen in writing and art, as was a great demand for education and modernisation. It did not, however, significantly improve the economic or political fortune of the population’s poverty-stricken peasant majority; only a few Indonesians were able to gain a larger role in commerce, and hopes for democracy were dashed within a decade




Saturday, November 3, 2012

Indonesia - Counter Revolution


Allied counter revolution
The Dutch accused Sukarno and Hatta of collaborating with the Japanese, and denounced the Republic as a creation of Japanese fascism. The Dutch East Indies administration had just received a ten million dollar loan from the United States to finance its return to Indonesia.
Allied occupation
A soldier of an Indian armoured regiment examines a light tank used by Indonesian nationalists and captured by British forces during the fighting in Surabaya.
The Netherlands, however, was critically weakened from World War II in Europe and did not return as a significant military force until early 1946. The Japanese and members of the Allied forces reluctantly agreed to act as caretakers. As US forces were focusing on the Japanese home islands, the archipelago was put under the jurisdiction of British Admiral Earl Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command. Allied enclaves already existed in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Morotai (Maluku) and parts of Irian Jaya; Dutch administrators had already returned to these areas. In the Japanese navy areas, the arrival of Allied troops quickly prevented revolutionary activities where Australian troops, followed by Dutch troops and administrators, took the Japanese surrender (except for Bali and Lombok). Due to the lack of strong resistance, two Australian Army divisions succeeded in occupying eastern Indonesia.
The British were charged with restoring order and civilian government in Java. The Dutch took this to mean pre-war colonial administration and continued to claim sovereignty over Indonesia. British Commonwealth troops did not, however, land on Java to accept the Japanese surrender until late September 1945. Lord Mountbatten’s immediate tasks included the repatriation of some 300,000 Japanese, and freeing prisoners of war. He did not want, nor did he have the resources, to commit his troops to a long struggle to regain Indonesia for the Dutch. The first British troops reached Jakarta in late September 1945, and arrived in the cities of Medan (North Sumatra), Padang (West Sumatra), Palembang (South Sumatra), Semarang (Central Java) and Surabaya (East Java) in October. In an attempt to avoid clashes with Indonesians, the British commander Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison, diverted soldiers of the former Dutch colonial army to eastern Indonesia, where Dutch reoccupation was proceeding smoothly. Tensions mounted as Allied troops entered Java and Sumatra; clashes broke out between Republicans and their perceived enemies, namely Dutch prisoners, Dutch colonial troops (KNIL), Chinese, Indo-Europeans and Japanese.
The first stages of warfare were initiated in October 1945 when, in accordance with the terms of their surrender, the Japanese tried to re-establish the authority they relinquished to Indonesians in the towns and cities. Japanese military police killed Republican pemuda in Pekalongan (Central Java) on 3 October, and Japanese troops drove Republican pemuda out of Bandung in West Java and handed the city to the British, but the fiercest fighting involving the Japanese was in Semarang. On 14 October, British forces began to occupy the city. Retreating Republican forces retaliated by killing between 130 and 300 Japanese prisoners they were holding. Five hundred Japanese and 2,000 Indonesians had been killed and the Japanese had almost captured the city six days later when British forces arrived. The Allies repatriated the remaining Japanese troops and civilians to Japan, although about 1,000 elected to remain behind and later assisted Republican forces in fighting for independence.
Destruction in Bandung's Chinese quarter
The British subsequently decided to evacuate the 10,000 Indo-Europeans and European internees in the volatile Central Java interior. British detachments sent to the towns of Ambarawa and Magelang encountered strong Republican resistance and used air attacks against the Indonesians. Sukarno arranged a ceasefire on 2 November, but by late November fighting had resumed and the British withdrew to the coast. Republican attacks against Allied and alleged pro-Dutch civilians reached a peak in November and December, with 1,200 killed in Bandung as the pemuda returned to the offensive. In March 1946, departing Republicans responded to a British ultimatum for them to leave the city of Bandung by deliberately burning down much of the southern half of the city in what is popularly known in Indonesia as the "Bandung Sea of Fire". The last British troops left Indonesia in November 1946, but by this time 55,000 Dutch troops had landed in Java

Indonesian Republican government

Formation of the Republican government

By the end of August, a central Republican government had been established in Jakarta. It adopted a constitution drafted during the Japanese occupation by the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence. With general elections yet to be held, a Central Indonesian National Committee (KINP) was appointed to assist the President. Similar committees were established at provincial and regency levels.
Questions of allegiance immediately arose amongst indigenous rulers. Central Javanese principalities, for example, immediately declared themselves Republican, while many raja ('rulers') of the outer islands, who had been enriched from their support of the Dutch, were less enthusiastic. Such reluctance among many outer islands was sharpened by the radical, non-aristocratic, and sometimes Islamic nature of the Java-centric Republican leadership. Support did, however, come from South Sulawesi (including the King of Bone, who still recalled battles against the Dutch from early in the century), and from Makassarese and Bugis raja, who supported the Republican Governor of Jakarta, a Menadonese Christian. Many Balinese raja accepted Republican authority.
Fearing the Dutch would attempt to re-establish their authority over Indonesia, the new Republican Government and its leaders moved quickly to strengthen the fledgling administration. Within Indonesia, the newly formed government, although enthusiastic, was fragile and focused in Java (where focused at all). It was rarely and loosely in contact with the outer islands, which had more Japanese troops (particularly in Japanese naval areas), less sympathetic Japanese commanders, and fewer Republican leaders and activists. In November 1945, a parliamentary form of government was established and Sjahrir was appointed Prime Minister.

In the week following the Japanese surrender, the Giyugun (PETA) and Heiho groups were disbanded by the Japanese. Command structures and membership vital for a national army were consequently dismantled. Thus, rather than being formed from a trained, armed, and organised army, the Republican armed forces began to grow in September from usually younger, less trained groups built around charismatic leaders. Creating a rational military structure that was obedient to central authority from such disorganisation, was one of the major problems of the revolution, a problem that remains through to contemporary times. In the self-created Indonesian army, Japanese-trained Indonesian officers prevailed over those trained by the Dutch[citation needed]. A thirty year-old former school teacher, Sudirman, was elected 'commander-in-chief' at the first meeting of Division Commanders in Yogyakarta on 12 November 1945

Indonesian National Revolution

Background

Indonesian nationalism and movements supporting independence from Dutch colonialism, such as Budi Utomo, the Indonesian National Party (PNI), Sarekat Islam, and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), grew rapidly in the first half of the twentieth century. Budi Utomo, Sarekat Islam and others pursued strategies of co-operation by joining the Dutch initiated Volksraad ("People's Council") in the hope that Indonesia would be granted self-rule. Others chose a non-cooperative strategy demanding the freedom of self-government from the Dutch East Indies colony. The most notable of these leaders were Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, two students and nationalist leaders who had benefited from the educational reforms of the Dutch Ethical Policy.
The occupation of Indonesia by Japan for three and a half years during World War II was a crucial factor in the subsequent revolution. The Netherlands, under German occupation, had little ability to defend its colony against the Japanese army, and within only three months of their initial attacks, the Japanese had occupied the Dutch East Indies. In Java, and to a lesser extent in Sumatra (Indonesia's two dominant islands), the Japanese spread and encouraged nationalist sentiment. Although this was done more for Japanese political advantage than from altruistic support of Indonesian independence, this support created new Indonesian institutions (including local neighbourhood organisations) and elevated political leaders such as Sukarno. Just as significantly for the subsequent revolution, the Japanese destroyed and replaced much of the Dutch-created economic, administrative, and political infrastructure.
With Japan on the brink of losing the war, the Dutch sought to re-establish their authority in Indonesia and asked that the Japanese Army "preserve law and order" in Indonesia. The Japanese, however, were in favour of helping Indonesian nationalists prepare for self-government. On 7 September 1944, with the war going badly for the Japanese, Prime Minister Koiso promised independence for Indonesia, but no date was set. For supporters of Sukarno, this announcement was seen as vindication for his apparent collaboration with the Japanese.
Independence declared

Under pressure from radical and politicised pemuda ('youth') groups, Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed Indonesian independence, on 17 August 1945, two days after the Japanese Emperor’s surrender in the Pacific. The following day, the Central Indonesian National Committee (KINP) elected Sukarno as President, and Hatta as Vice President.[9]

Euphoria of revolution

PROCLAMATION
We, the people of Indonesia, hereby declare the independence of Indonesia.
Matters which concern the transfer of power and other things will be executed by careful means and in the shortest possible time.
Djakarta, 17 August 1945
In the name of the people of Indonesia,
sd/-
 Soekarno—Hatta
(Translation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 1948)
Bendera Pusaka, the first Indonesian flag, is raised on 17 August 1945.
It was mid-September before news of the declaration of independence spread to the outer islands, and many Indonesians far from the capital Jakarta did not believe it. As the news spread, most Indonesians came to regard themselves as pro-Republican, and a mood of revolution swept across the country. External power had shifted; it would be weeks before Allied Forces entered Indonesia, and the Dutch were too weakened by World War II. The Japanese, on the other hand, were required by the terms of the surrender to both lay down their arms and maintain order; a contradiction that some resolved by handing weapons to Japanese-trained Indonesians.
The resulting power vacuums in the weeks following the Japanese surrender, created an atmosphere of uncertainty, but also one of opportunity for the Republicans. Many pemuda joined pro-Republic struggle groups (badan perjuangan). The most disciplined were soldiers from the Japanese-formed but disbanded Giyugun (PETA) and Heiho groups. Many groups were undisciplined, due to both the circumstances of their formation and what they perceived as revolutionary spirit. In the first weeks, Japanese troops often withdrew from urban areas to avoid confrontations.
By September 1945, control of major infrastructure installations, including railway stations and trams in Java's largest cities, had been taken over by Republican pemuda who encountered little Japanese resistance. To spread the revolutionary message, pemuda set up their own radio stations and newspapers, and graffiti proclaimed the nationalist sentiment. On most islands, struggle committees and militia were set up.Republican newspapers and journals were common in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Surakarta, which fostered a generation of writers known as angkatan 45 ('generation of 45') many of whom believed their work could be part of the revolution.
Republican leaders struggled to come to terms with popular sentiment; some wanted passionate armed struggle; others a more reasoned approach. Some leaders, such as the leftist Tan Malaka, spread the idea that this was a revolutionary struggle to be led and won by the Indonesian pemuda. Sukarno and Hatta, in contrast, were more interested in planning out a government and institutions to achieve independence through diplomacy. Pro-revolution demonstrations took place in large cities, including one led by Tan Malaka in Jakarta with over 200,000 people, which Sukarno and Hatta, fearing violence, successfully quelled.
By September 1945, many of the self-proclaimed pemuda, who were ready to die for '100% freedom', were getting impatient. It was common for ethnic 'out-groups' – Dutch internees, Eurasian, Ambonese and Chinese – and anyone considered to be a spy, to be subjected to intimidation, kidnap, robbery, and sometimes murder, even organised massacres. Such attacks would continue to some extent for the course of the revolution. As the level of violence increased across the country, the Sukarno- and Hatta-led Republican government in Jakarta urged calm. However, pemuda in favour of armed struggle saw the older leadership as dithering and betraying the revolution, which often led to conflict amongst Indonesians

Indonesia - Budi Utomo


Budi Utomo (also Boedi Oetomo; "Prime Philosophy"), founded on May 20, 1908, was the first native political society in the Dutch East Indies. Today, the year 1908 is commemorated as the birth year of its "nationalist awakening." In 2008, the Indonesian government marked a centennial celebration of the modern birth of nationalist aspirations.
The founder of Budi Utomo was a pensioned government doctor who felt that native intellectuals should improve the masses in education and culture. The society held its first congress in May 1908. The congress was a gathering of students in Batavia. The first leader was Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo, but by the organization's first major gathering in Yogyakarta in October 1908, he stepped aside for younger organizers.
The membership was a very high class of natives, government officials and intellectuals, confined very largely in Java and the Javanese. The furtherance of popular education became the main activity. Few branches expanded the activity into native commerce and industry. Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, who would later found the more radical Indische Party, expanded the scope of the society to include more working classes, and also the rest of the Indïes outside of Java. The organization enjoyed a rapid growth; in 1910 the society had 10,000 members enrolled in 40 branches. At the same time, it received official recognition form the colonial government.
Budi Utomo's primary aim was first not political. However, it gradually shifted toward political aims with representatives in the conservative Volksraad (the People's Council) and in the provincial councils in Java. Budi Utomo officially dissolved in 1935, but it has marked the first nationalist movement in the early twentieth century. After dissolution, some of the members joined the largest political party its time, the moderate Greater Indonesian Party (Parindra). In keeping with the outlook of Budi Utomo, former members—whether in the Volksraad or Parindra—insisted on the Indonesian language for all public statements.
The use of Budi Utomo to mark the inception of modern nationalism in Indonesia is not without controversy. Although many scholars agree that Budi Utomo was likely the first modern indigenous political organization, others question its value as an index of Indonesian nationality. For example, in his novels Pramoedya Ananta Toer, pointed to the exclusively aristocratic and male composition of Budi Utomo. Ariel Heryanto questions the nationalism of Budi Utomo, given that its existence was permitted by the Dutch regime: "Because of [Budi Utomo's] remarkably conservative character, the Dutch colonial administration tolerated [it]." Heryanto points to a "more populist and egalitarian" Muslim association (Sarekat Dagang Islamiyah), born a few years prior, as a more genuinely nationalist organization: one which was banned by the Dutch. In enshining Budi Utomo as the first nationalist organization, the current government reiterates the colonial version of history

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Indonesia - History, Colonial Period


The first regular contact between Europeans and the peoples of Indonesia began in 1512, when Portuguese traders, led by Francisco Serrão, sought to monopolize the sources of nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku. Dutch and British traders followed. In 1602 the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the dominant European power. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the government of the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalized colony.
For most of the colonial period, Dutch control over the archipelago was tenuous outside of coastal strongholds; only in the early 20th century did Dutch dominance extend to what was to become Indonesia's current boundaries. Despite major internal political, social and sectarian divisions during the Indonesian National Revolution, Indonesians, on the whole, found unity in their fight for independence. Japanese occupation during World War II ended Dutch rule, and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement. A later UN report stated that four million people died in Indonesia as a result of famine and forced labor during the Japanese occupation. Two days after the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Sukarno, an influential nationalist leader, declared independence and was appointed president. The Netherlands tried to reestablish their rule, and the resulting conflict ended in December 1949, when in the face of international pressure, the Dutch formally recognized Indonesian independence (with the exception of the Dutch territory of West New Guinea, which was incorporated into Indonesia following the 1962 New York Agreement, and the UN-mandated Act of Free Choice of 1969).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Indonesia -History Pre-Colonial Period



A Borobudur ship carved on Borobudur, c. 800 CE. Indonesian outrigger boats may have made trade voyages to the east coast of Africa as early as the 1st century CE.
Fossils and the remains of tools show that the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, popularly known as the "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and as recently as 35,000 years ago. Homo sapiens reached the region by around 45,000 years ago. In 2011 evidence was uncovered in neighbouring East Timor, showing that 42,000 years ago these early settlers had high-level maritime skills, and by implication the technology needed to make ocean crossings to reach Australia and other islands, as they were catching and consuming large numbers of big deep sea fish such as tuna.
Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to South East Asia from Taiwan. They arrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE, and as they spread through the archipelago, confined the native Melanesian peoples to the far eastern regions. Ideal agricultural conditions, and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE, allowed villages, towns, and small kingdoms to flourish by the 1st century CE. Indonesia’s strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and China, which were established several centuries BCE.Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history.


The nutmeg plant is native to Indonesia's Banda Islands. Once one of the world's most valuable commodities, it drew the first European colonial powers to Indonesia.
From the 7th century, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that were imported with it. Between the 8th and 10th centuries, the agricultural Buddhist Sailendra and Hindu Mataram dynasties thrived and declined in inland Java, leaving grand religious monuments such as Sailendra's Borobudur and Mataram's Prambanan. The Hindu Majapahit kingdom was founded in eastern Java in the late 13th century, and under Gajah Mada, its influence stretched over much of Indonesia.

Although Muslim traders first traveled through South East Asia early in the Islamic era, the earliest evidence of Islamized populations in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra. Other Indonesian areas gradually adopted Islam, and it was the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century. For the most part, Islam overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and religious influences, which shaped the predominant form of Islam in Indonesia, particularly in Java.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Indonesia - Introduction

Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia  is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 17,508 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an elected legislature and president. The nation's capital city is Jakarta. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and a member of the G-20 major economies. The Indonesian economy is the world's sixteenth largest by nominal GDP and fifteenth largest by purchasing power parity.

The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders brought Islam, and European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolize trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism, Indonesia secured its independence after World War II. Indonesia's history has since been turbulent, with challenges posed by natural disasters, corruption, separatism, a democratization process, and periods of rapid economic change.

Across its many islands, Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups. The largest—and politically dominant—ethnic group are the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a majority Muslim population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources, yet poverty remains widespread.
It lies between the continents of Asia and Australiaand forms a land barrier between the pacific and Indian Oceans. The climate is hot with two monsoon periods, the dry ( June-Sept) and wet ((Oct-April).
Much of the countries is mountainous and volcanic, but abundant rainfall provides most of the islands with a highly fertile soil and about three quarters of the popu;lation work on land.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rank of Equitoriall Guinea

The rank of Equitorial Guinea from the poorest is 57th and from the richest is 148th with national average per capita income using atlas method is 930. ( India -530). and in other methods such as IMF, WB and CIA as per 2007,2007, and 2008 is
Rank/gdp....rank/gdp......rank/gdp
51/10,.....29/19,533....38/17,490.

Malabo Equatorial Guinea Public culture center

Equitorial Guinea - Education

Education in Equatorial Guinea is free and compulsory until the age of 14. In 1993, the gross primary enrollment rate was 149.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 83.4 percent. Late entry into the school system and high dropout rates are common, and girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school, with enrolment at about 24 percent of all age-eligible students.
Primary education is for five years followed by four years of secondary in the first stage and three subsequent years of secondary education in the second stage. In 2001, about 35% of children between the ages of three and six were enrolled in some type of preschool program.
It is estimated that about 45 percent of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 43:1 in 2000; the ratio for secondary school was about 23:1.
The National University of Equatorial Guinea is the primary institute of higher learning. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 84.2 percent, with 92.1 percent for men and 76.4 percent for women.
As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 0.6% of GDP, or 1.6% of total government expenditures

Monday, October 15, 2012

Equitorial Guinea - Politics

Republic of equitorial Guinea, formerly Spanish Guinea, has as its major components the mainland province of Rio Muni and the Island of Bioko. The Fang is the largest group inhabited in Rio Muni with its capital in Bata.
Malabo , the national capital, is on the island of Bioko, formerly called Fernando Po. Spain claimed the island in 1778, but it was not until 1910 that its Bubi inhatants recognized Spanish suzerainty. For most of the twentieth century
 In the period following Spain's grant of local autonomy to Equatorial Guinea in 1963, there was a great deal of political party activity. Bubi and Fernandino parties on the island preferred separation from Río Muni or a loose federation. Ethnically based parties in Río Muni favored independence for a united country comprising Bioko and Río Muni, an approach that ultimately won out. (The Movement for the Self-Determination of Bioko Island (MAIB) which advocates independence for the island under Bubi control, is one of the offshoots of the era immediately preceding independence).
Equatorial Guinea became officially independent from Spain on October 12, 1968. Since then, the country has had two presidents: Francisco Macías Nguema, the former mayor of Mongomo under the Spanish colonial government, and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Macías's nephew), who has ruled since 1979 when he staged a military coup d'état and executed Macías.
The 1982 constitution of Equatorial Guinea gives Obiang extensive powers, including naming and dismissing members of the cabinet, making laws by decree, dissolving the Chamber of Representatives, negotiating and ratifying treaties and calling legislative elections. Obiang retains his role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and minister of defense, and he maintains close supervision of the military activity. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and operates under powers designated by the President. The Prime Minister coordinates government activities in areas other than foreign affairs, national defense and security.
After the accession of Macías to power, political activity largely ceased in Equatorial Guinea. Opposition figures who lived among the exile communities in Spain and elsewhere agitated for reforms; some of them had been employed in the Macías and Obiang governments. After political activities in Equatorial Guinea were legalized in the early 1990s, some opposition leaders returned to test the waters, but repressive actions have continued sporadically.
With the prodding of the United Nations, the United States, Spain, and other donor countries, the government undertook an electoral census in 1995. Freely contested municipal elections, the country's first, were held in September. Most observers agree that the elections themselves were relatively free and transparent and that the opposition parties garnered between two-thirds and three-quarters of the total vote. The government delayed announcement of the results and then claimed a highly dubious 52% victory overall and the capture of 19 of 27 municipal councils. Malabo's council went to the opposition. In early January 1996 Obiang called presidential elections to be held in six weeks. The campaign was marred by allegations of fraud, and most of the other candidates withdrew in the final week. Obiang claimed re-election with 98% of the vote. International observers agreed the election was not free or fair. In an attempt to molify his critics, Obiang announced his new cabinet, giving minor portfolios to some people identified by the government as being opposition figures.
Since independence, the two Presidents (Macías and Obiang) have been the dominant political forces in Equatorial Guinea. Since 1979, President Obiang has been constrained only by a need to maintain a consensus among his advisers and political supporters, most of whom are drawn from the Nguema family in Mongomo, in the eastern part of Río Muni. The Nguema family is part of the Esangui subclan of the Fang. Alleged coup attempts in 1981 and 1983 raised little sympathy among the populace.
President Obiang's rule, during which schools were permitted to reopen and primary education expanded, and public utilities and roads restored, compares favorably with Macías' tyranny and terror. It has been criticized for not implementing genuine democratic reforms. Corruption and a dysfunctional judicial system disrupt the development of Equatorial Guinea's economy and society. In March 2001 the President appointed a new Prime Minister, Cándido Muatetema Rivas, and replaced several ministers perceived to be especially corrupt. However, the government budget still does not include all revenues and expenditures. The United Nations Development Programme has proposed a broad governance reform program, but the Equatorial Guinean Government has not moved rapidly to implement it.
Although Equatorial Guinea lacks a well-established democratic tradition comparable to the developed democracies of the West, it has progressed toward developing a participatory political system out of the anarchic, chaotic, and repressive conditions of the Macias years. In power since 1979, the Obiang government has made little progress in stimulating the economy. Extremely serious health and sanitary conditions persist, and the educational system remains in desperate condition. Although the abuses and atrocities that characterized the Macias years have been eliminated, effective rule of law does not exist. Religious freedom is tolerated.
On December 15, 2002, Equatorial Guinea's four main opposition parties withdrew from the country's presidential election. Obiang won an election widely considered fraudulent by members of the western press.
According to a March 2004 BBC profile  politics within the country are currently dominated by tensions between Obiang's son Teodoro (known by the nickname Teodorín, meaning Little Teodoro), and other close relatives with powerful positions in the security forces. The tension may be rooted in a power shift arising from the dramatic increase since 1997 in oil production.
A November 2004 report  named Mark Thatcher as a financial backer of a March 2004 attempt to topple Obiang organized by Simon Mann. Various accounts also name the UK's MI6, the US Central Intelligence Agency, and Spain as having been tacit supporters of the coup attempt. Nevertheless, an Amnesty International report  on the ensuing trial highlights the government's failure to demonstrate in court that the alleged coup attempt had ever actually taken place.
 Executive branchMain office holders Office Name Party Since
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea 3 August 1979
Prime Minister Vicente Ehate Tomi Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea 21 May 2012
The 1982 constitution of Equatorial Guinea gives the President extensive powers, including naming and dismissing members of the cabinet, making laws by decree, dissolving the Chamber of Representatives, negotiating and ratifying treaties and calling legislative elections. The President retains his role as commander in chief of the armed forces and minister of defense, and he maintains close supervision of the military activity. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and operates under powers designated by the President. The Prime Minister coordinates government activities in areas other than foreign affairs, national defense and security. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo seized power in a military coup. He is elected by popular vote to a seven-year term.
Another official branch of the government is the State Council. The State Council's main function is to serve as caretaker in case of death or physical incapacity of the President. It comprises the following ex officio members: the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the President of the National Assembly and the Chairman of the Social and Economic Council.
 Legislative branch This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2008)
The Chamber of People's Representatives (Cámara de Representantes del Pueblo) has 100 members, elected for a five year term by proportional representation in multi-member constituencies. Equatorial Guinea is a One party dominant state. This means that only one political party, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea, is in fact allowed to hold effective power. Although minor parties are allowed, they are de facto required to accept the leadership of the dominant party

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Equitorial Guinea - Economy

Economy


Subsistence farming is the predominant occupation in Equatorial Guinea, although only 5% of the land is arable. Prior to independence, the money economy was based on the production of cocoa (mostly on Bioko) and coffee and timber (in Río Muni). Following severe deterioration of the rural economy, the government has made efforts to increase production of these products to preindependence levels. Other agricultural products include rice, yams, cassava, bananas, and palm oil. Livestock are raised and there is a fishing industry. There is food processing, sawmilling, and the manufacture of basic consumer items. The discovery and exploitation of large offshore oil and natural gas deposits increased economic growth beginning in the late 1990s, but the oil and gas revenue, largely lost to government corruption, has not significantly improved the standard of living in the generally improverished nation. The country also has unexploited deposits of titanium, iron ore, manganese, uranium, and gold. Both Río Muni and Bioko have substantial road networks; there are no railroads. Malabo is the main port.
The value of Equatorial Guinea's exports is considerably higher than the cost of its imports. The United States is the country's largest trading partner, followed by China, Spain, Italy, and France. The main exports are petroleum, methanol, timber, and cocoa; the chief imports are petroleum equpment and other machinery, foodstuffs, and beverages. Equatorial Guinea continues to depend heavily on foreign investment
Equatorial Guinea is a small country off West Africa which has recently struck oil and which is now being cited as a textbook case of the resource curse - or the paradox of plenty.

Since the mid 1990s the former Spanish colony has become one of sub-Sahara's biggest oil producers and in 2004 was said to have the world's fastest-growing economy.
However, few people have benefited from the oil riches and the country ranks near the bottom of the UN human development index. The UN says that less than half the population has access to clean drinking water and that 20 percent of children die before reaching five.
The country has exasperated a variety of rights organisations who have described the two post-independence leaders as among the worst abusers of human rights in Africa.
Continue reading the main story
According to Human Rights Watch, the ''dictatorship under President Obiang has used an oil boom to entrench and enrich itself further at the expense of the country's people''.The corruption watchdog Transparency International has put Equatorial Guinea in the top 12 of its list of most corrupt states. Resisting calls for more transparency, President Obiang has for long held that oil revenues are a state secret. In 2008 the country became a candidate of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative - an international project meant to promote openness about government oil revenues - but failed to qualify by an April 2010 deadline.
A 2004 US Senate investigation into the Washington-based Riggs Bank found that President Obiang's family had received huge payments from US oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Amerada Hess.
Observers say the US finds it hard to criticise a country which is seen as an ally in a volatile, oil-rich region. In 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed President Obiang as a "good friend" despite repeated criticism of his human rights and civil liberties record by her own department. More recently President Barack Obama posed for an official photograph with President Obiang at a New York reception.
The advocacy group Global Witness has been lobbying the United States to act against the President Obiang's son Teodor, a government minister. It says there is credible evidence that he spent millions buying a Malibu mansion and private jet using corruptly acquired funds - grounds for denying him a visa.
Equatorial Guinea hit the headlines in 2004 when a plane load of suspected mercenaries was intercepted in Zimbabwe while allegedly on the way to overthrow President Obiang

Equitorial Guinea - Industry

Equatorial Guinea's manufacturing sector is very small. Sawmilling leads industrial production, followed by cement, bleach, and tuna canning plants. Small-scale soap manufacturing and food processing operations round out the industrial sector. The petroleum mining industry is growing rapidly, as large oil reserves have been discovered. Oil in 2002 accounted for over 60% of GDP and over 90% of exports. Proven oil reserves are estimated at 12 million barrels. Oil production increased from 17,000 barrels per day in 1996 to around 181,000 barrels per day in 2001. There is a methanol plant on Bioko island that processes natural gas. Proven natural gas reserves are estimated at1.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf)
The ministers of the energy industry of Central Africa will face the task of establishing common strategies to promote integral and sustainable development on the continent.


This was announced last week in Dakar by Abderrahim Doumar, Executive Director of the African Regional Center of Technology (ARCT), an organization created in 1977 promoted by the African Union whose aim is to provide the member countries with the necessary technological mechanisms to direct them towards integrated and sustainable development.

According to the Director himself, the forum will have the presence of scientists from the energy sector who, along with the engineers and ministers, will analyze the state of technology in national strategies of development, and in the region as a whole.

The meeting in Malabo will focus on renewable energies, and they will also analyze the results of the studies carried out on these matters. The objective is to direct the national policies towards the diversification of the energy resources in order to find alternatives in view of their shortages.

The ARCT is made up of 31 member countries and its projects are focused on the priority sectors such as food, energy and capital assets



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Equitorial Guinea- Agriculture

Agriculture is the main economic activity in Equatorial Guinea, involving about 71 percent of the economically active population.

An estimated 8 percent of the land is engaged in crop production. The island of Bioko has year-round rainfall, and the prevailing economic activity is cocoa cultivation. In Río Muni (on mainland Africa), where 80 percent of the population lives, food crops are the dominant economic activity, and cash crop cultivation is secondary.
Agriculture (including forestry and fishing) accounts for about 50 percent of GDP and 60 percent of exports. The main food crop is cassava, of which 45,000 tons were produced in 2004. Sweet potatoes are the second-largest food crop, with 36,000 tons in 2004, followed by bananas (20,000 tons).
Before independence, the main cash crops were cocoa, coffee, and palm kernels for palm oil. Guinean cocoa, of excellent quality, had an annual production of 38,000 tons in 1967. However, production experienced a sharp drop in the 1970s, falling to 4,512 tons in 1980. In 2004, production was estimated at 2,400 tons. Coffee of comparatively poor quality is grown in northern Río Muni, along the Cameroon border. The preindependence production of 8,959 tons in 1967 fell to 500 tons in 1978; the decline was mainly caused by forcible transfer of coffee farmers to the Bioko cocoa plantations. Coffee production was an estimated 3,500 tons in 2004. Actual cocoa and coffee production is higher, but official figures do not take into account quantities smuggled abroad rather than delivered to state marketing agencies
Equatorial Guinea Promotes Agricultural Sector
Agriculture Ministry Discusses Cooperation with China
As part of Equatorial Guinea’s (República de Guinea Ecuatorial) efforts to boost agricultural development and move the country toward an emergent economy, the government is seeking further cooperation with China. In a meeting between Gregorio Boho Camo, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea, and the manager of the Chinese Embassy in Malabo, the two discussed the possibility of creating a consortium for the agricultural sector.
During the meeting, Gregorio Boho Camo highlighted how the creation of the agriculture sector consortium with China will help Equatorial Guinea reach its Horizon 2020 objectives. The possibility of re-launching cacao cultivation with the help of Chinese companies will be another way of achieving these goals.
The Ministry of Agriculture, headed by Minister Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, disseminated information about the government’s agriculture sector objectives throughout the country. During the awareness tour for the agriculture sector, Sergio Osa Mongomo, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, talked about the activities of the MAECI program, a project focused on attaining food self-sufficiency in the country, with the purpose of achieving the goals set during the second National Economic Conference in 2007.
The tour previewed the activities Minister Nguema will carry out in the first quarter of 2011 and highlighted the importance of the agricultural associations and the promotion of coffee and cacao in the country. They also verified the state of the compliance with the repayment of loans, given by the state to various agricultural associations, as well as the distribution of seeds, fertilizers and plant health products

Equitorial Guinea- Geography

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is located in west central Africa. Bioko Island lies about 40 kilometers (24.9 mi) from Cameroon. Annobón Island lies about 595 kilometres (370 mi) southwest of Bioko Island. The larger continental region of Rio Muni lies between Cameroon and Gabon on the mainland; it includes the islands of Corisco, Elobey Grande, Elobey Chico, and adjacent islets.


Bioko Island, called Fernando Po until the 1970s, is the largest island in the Gulf of Guinea - 2,017 square kilometers (779 sq mi). It is shaped like a boot, with two large volcanic formations separated by a valley that bisects the island at its narrowest point. The 195-kilometer (121 mi) coastline is steep and rugged in the south but lower and more accessible in the north, with excellent harbors at Malabo and Luba, and several scenic beaches between those towns.

On the continent, Rio Muni covers 26,003 square kilometers (10,040 sq mi). The coastal plain gives way to a succession of valleys separated by low hills and spurs of the Crystal Mountains. The Rio Benito (Mbini) which divides Rio Muni in half, is unnavigable except for a 20-kilometer stretch at its estuary. Temperatures and humidity in Rio Muni are generally lower than on Bioko Island.

Annobon Island, named for its discovery on New Year's Day 1472, is a small volcanic island covering 18 square kilometers (6.9 sq mi). The coastline is abrupt except in the north; the principal volcanic cone contains a small lake. Most of the estimated 1,900 inhabitants are fisherman specializing in traditional, smallscale tuna fishing and whaling. The climate is tropical—heavy rainfall, high humidity, and frequent seasonal changes with violent windstorms.

Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Cameroon and Gabon.
INDEPENDENCE DAY OF EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Occasion

October 11, 2012, 9:26pm

TODAY is the Independence Day of Equatorial Guinea commemorating its freedom in 1968. Located in Central Africa, Equatorial Guinea is bordered to the north by Cameroon, to the south and east by Gabon, and to the west by the Gulf of Guinea.
The country comprises two parts: A continental region, which is composed of small offshore islands like Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico; and an insular region which includes Annobon and Bioko islands. The largest and capital city is Malabo.
Equatorial Guinea is the third-smallest country in continental Africa. The country’s population is around 676,000 with Spanish, French, and Portuguese as the official languages. The dominant religion is Christianity, accounting for 93% of the population.
Three main industries contribute to Equatorial Guinea’s economy: Forestry, fishing, and farming. In 1996, the country discovered substantial oil reserves which contribute significantly to government revenues. This discovery made the country the third largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2004.
We congratulate the people and government of Equatorial Guinea led by Their Excellencies, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Prime Minister Vicente Ehate Tomi, First Deputy Prime Minister Clemente Engonga Nguema Onguene, and Vice Presidents Ignacio Milam Tang and Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, on the occasion of its Independence Day. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY