Indonesia did not exist as yet
during the Palaeocene period (70 million years BC),
the Eocene period (30 million years BC). The
Oligacene period (25 million years BC) and the
Miocene period (12 million years BC). It is believed
that Indonesia must have existed during the
Pleistocene period (4 million years BC) when it was
linked with the present Asian mainland. It was
during this period that the Homonids made their
first appearance and Java Man inhabited the part of
the world now called Indonesia. Java Man, named
Pithecanthropus Erectus by Eugence Dubois who found
the fossils on the island of Java, must have been
the first inhabitant of Indonesia.
When the sea level rose as the result of
melting Ice north of Europe and the American
continent, many islands emerged. Including the
Indonesian archipelago. It was also during this
period (3000- 500 BC) that Indonesia was inhabited
by Sub-Mongoloid migrants from Asia who later
inter-married with the indigenous people. Later
still (1000 BC) inter-marriage occurred with
Indo-Arian migrants from the south-Asian
sub-continent of India.
The first Indian migrants came
primarily from Gujarat in South-east India during
the first Christian era.
The Caka period in Indonesia witnessed the
introduction of the Sanskrit language and the
Pallawa script by the Indian Prince Aji Caka (78
AD). The Devanagari script of the Sanskrit language
was also used, as shown in ancient stone and copper
inscriptions (paracasthles) which have been
unearthed. The language and script were adapted and
called the Kawi language and included words and
phrases derived from Javanese.
Early trade relations were established between South
India and Indonesia. Sumatra was then named Swarna
Dwipa of "the island of gold," Java was
called Java Dwipa or "the rice island,"
and a Hindu kingdom of Crivijaya in Sumatra and
Nalanda in South India were not confined to
religious and cultural exchanges. They later
developed diplomatic relations, and even covered a
wide range of trade.
The influx of Indian settlers continued during the
period from the first to the seventh century AD.
Peacefully and gradually the Hindu religion spread
throughout the archipelago. It was adopted by all
layers of the people of Java, but limited to the
upper classes on the other islands.