Author’s Preface

Producing the Historical Atlas of Indonesia was both a labour of love and a work of exploration. It was the first time, to my knowledge, that a working historian of Indonesia had applied new computer graphics technology to the task of bringing Indonesian history to life in a large range of thematic maps.

The Historical Atlas appeared in 2000, when Indonesia was in the midst of the dramatic political changes that followed the fall of Suharto and the end of the New Order regime. One colleague even suggested at the time that the book should be re-titled the Increasingly Historical Atlas of Indonesia.

This Digital Atlas of Indonesian History – which in many respects is a second, expanded edition of the Historical Atlas – responds to the recent changes in Indonesia with a new chapter covering the post-Suharto era and with over 150 new maps. It also corrects small errors that were identified in the Historical Atlas, and includes new maps relating to earlier periods, as well as a few detailed maps of colonial-era administrative boundaries that were drawn for the Historical Atlas but excluded because of space constraints.

The Digital Atlas also enables at least three important innovations in this edition:

  • Through a system of hyperlinks, it is possible to explore the atlas by means of a network of related maps.
  • Also included on the disk are images of the 10th edition of W. Van Gelder’s Schoolatlas van Nederlandsch Oost-Indië (Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1909). This atlas was widely used in the colonial education system and helped to shape the image of the world for generations of young, educated people in the Indies.
  • A separate section of the atlas provides hyperlinks to five collections of historic maps of Indonesia available online: the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam), the National Library of Australia, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, the Ryhiner Collection at the University of Berne, Switzerland, and the State Library of New South Wales.

Preparing and publishing the Digital Atlas – an interactive, electronic work based on traditional research and scholarship and available both digitally and online – has been a huge task. I am grateful to all those who have contributed to the task and I hope that the result is to your satisfaction.

Robert Cribb
Australian National University
December 2009