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Buton Island, The Only One Area That Was Never Colonized in Indonesia

Buton Island, The Only One Area That Was Never Colonized in Indonesia

Although Buton Island in Indonesia has historical interactions with European traders and missionaries, Buton Island was never formally colonized by European nations. Buton never established itself as a formal colony, despite the island's rulers making agreements with Dutch and British colonial authority in the 19th century. The Dutch East Indies and later the Indonesian Republic both included it.

Kesultanan Buton. Photo Source: Radio Republik Indonesia/ 

Despite being situated in a region that was greatly touched by European colonialism, Buton Island in Indonesia has a unique history in that it was never formally conquered by European forces. This is thought to be caused by a number of variables.

One explanation is that European colonial powers did not view the island as being strategically or economically significant. Sultana and cloves, which were already supplied by other islands, were the island's principal sources of food.

Another factor was the island's solid local government and well-managed military force. The Buton kings were successful in thwarting attempts by European nations to impose control over the island and its populace.

The island was also remote and challenging to reach, which detracted from its appeal to European invaders. The island is situated southeast of Sulawesi, which is divided from the main island by a strait.

Finally, the island was able to maintain its independence because of its strong economic ties with Makassar, a nearby island that was a strong independent kingdom.

Overall, geological, economic, and political circumstances allowed the island of Buton to maintain its independence, making it the only uncolonized island in Indonesia.


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