Indonesia’s strategic position on the ancient trading routes greatly influenced its past as it was through the traders that the country was first introduced to Hinduism, Buddhism and later Islam. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to trade with the Indonesians followed by the Dutch and the British. The governing party’s immediate response was to launch an attack on all communists and their sympathisers in an effort to eradicate communism from Indonesia. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed during this period. Sukarno faced international criticism: his position as leader weakened and he resigned.
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