A lot of people have taken up the asinine notion that any country in Asia has automatically got to be poor. But when it comes to the nation of Indonesia, that could not be further from the truth. After all, Indonesia (which is composed of over 17,000 individual islands) ranks number 18 among the world’s economies. And as far as the relative spending power of the people, Indonesia ranks 15th in the world. And with a population of about 238 million people, they are not exactly a small country, either. But the best thing that Indonesia has going for it is that it has been a major economic powerhouse since the 7th century. Throughout that period, there has definitely been plenty of strife thrown into the mix. But ultimately, natural resources and the ability to adapt have allowed this archipelago nation to thrive, no matter who may rule the world.
While the world was definitely far different in the 7th century CE, Indonesia was still a rich hotbed of trade. Trading with India and China was how they got their start originally. But in time, other nations followed suit. After all, you can not have a country that has so many natural resources (such as the spice islands of maluku) without attracting ample amounts of attention from those who would love to keep all of the profits from those resources for themselves.
What is really interesting is that even living beneath the Dutch’s thumb was not enough to break the spirit of the Indonesian people. Where at one time (or more accurately, three hundred years worth of time) there was a Dutch aristocracy above all of the native Indonesians, in 1945 the Indonesians declared their independence. And on December 27th, 1949, the Dutch government finally got the message and recognized Indonesia as a nation in its own right. For over 13 centuries, this trade dynamo has been humming along. Maybe it will keep on permanently.