For a proper understanding of the rise of Indonesia national move­ment it is desirable to have an idea about the earlier struggle because it greatly helped in keeping alive the national conscience and moulded the nationalistic forces. The first to raise voice against the unfair and discrimi­natory policy of the Dutch was Prince Diponegoro, popularly known as Sultan Radja of Mataram (Jogjakarta).

Diponegoro lived a very simple village life and identified himself with the masses. He left greatly agitated over the Dutch malpractices and policy of discrimination in the field of politics, religion, social and cultural spheres. He wrote letter to the Dutch General de Kyck and warned him of the dire consequences of the policy of terrorism, depression and exploitation being pursued by the Dutch.

But when he found that the Dutch were not willing to mend their ways in 1825 he led the entire population of East and Central Java in a revolt against the Dutch and thus started the “war of independence”, which soon spread to various part of Java. He not only inflicted enormous loss of life in the Dutch but also succeeded in retaining control over the territory of Jogjakarta and Surakata (Solo).

The Dutch in spite of superior man­power and equipment could not crush the authority of Diponegoro. Ultimately, in 1830 they resorted to trickery. They announced a cease-fire and requested Prince Diponegoro to enter into negotiations aimed at a settlement. When Diponegoro reached Magelang (Central Java), the Dutch took him into custody in most treacherous way and exiled him to “Celebes.


This did not lead to Dutch supremacy over Indonesia. In 1875 the people of Atjeh (Norhternmost Sumatra) revolted against the Dutch. This revolt is often compared with the Revolt of 1857 in India. The Atjeh revolt continued for almost thirty years. In fact the Dutch could not bring this area under their effective control till the end of the Dutch colonial rule.

In addition to the above noted rising against the Dutch, during the early period there were numerous other uprising in various parts of the country which kept the anti-imperialist struggle alive.