History of Indonesian Names

In ancient times, the islands of our homeland is called by various names. In a note Tionghoa archipelago nation we named Nan-hai (the South Sea Islands). Various ancient records of India named the archipelago nation Dwipantara Islands (Land Opposite) name derived from the Sanskrit word Dwipa (island) and between (outside, opposite). Valmiki Ramayana story of a famous poet that tells the search for Sprott, Ravana kidnapped Rama's wife, came to Suwarnadwipa (Island of Gold, which is now Sumatra) located in Dwipantara Islands.

Arabs called our homeland Jaza'ir al-Jawi (Javanese Islands). Latin name for frankincense is benzoe, derived from the Arabic luban jawi (frankincense of Java), because Arab traders obtained from incense trees Styrax sumatrana who once grew only in Sumatra. To this day pilgrims we still often called "Java" by Arabs. Even though people outside Java, Indonesia. Samathrah, Sholibis, Sundah, kulluh Jawi (Sumatra, Sulawesi, Sundanese, Javanese everything), "said a trader in the Market Seng, Mecca.

Then came the time of arrival of the Europeans to Asia. European nations who first came to assume that Asia was only composed of Arabs, Persians, Indians and Chinese. For them, the area stretching between Persia and China, everything is "Indian". South Asian peninsula they called "Ocean Front" and mainland Southeast Asia was named "Rear Indies." While we get the name of homeland "Indian Archipelago" (Archipel Indies, the Indian Archipelago, l'Archipel Indien) or "East Indies" (Oost Indies, East Indies, Indes Orientales). Another name used is "Malayan Archipelago" (Maleische Archipel, Malay Archipelago, l'Archipel Malais).

When our country colonized by the Dutch, the official name used is the Nederlandsch-Indie (Dutch Indies), while the government used the term occupation of Japan from 1942 to 1945 To-Indo (East Indies). Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887), known by the pseudonym of Multatuli, never proposed a specific name for the islands to mention our homeland, namely Insulinde, which means also "Indian Archipelago" (the Latin insula meaning island). But apparently my name is now popular Insulinde. For the people of Bandung, Insulinde probably just known as a bookstore that ever existed on the Road Otista.


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