Rajas Rule

  • Gerry van KlinkenEmail author


The colonial Dutch preferred to rule the Indonesian archipelago indirectly, through “traditional” rajas. Indirect rule rooted local authority in customary deference to authoritarian kings and sultans. Religion played its part to buttress their myths of rule. But in the years leading up to World War II, republican ideas began to spread even among subject peoples in poor, rural subsistence areas. Even after independence in 1945, authoritarian regimes in Indonesia have periodically sought to idealise decentralised, traditional rule. But republican protests inspired by the 1945 Revolution have repeatedly erupted against such rule. They demanded a central, democratic, republican state to deliver them from local tyranny.


Colonialism Dutch Raja Indirect rule Decentralised despotism Religion Republicanism Indonesia Flores 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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