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De Groote Oost


On 25 May 1938 the Gouvernement Grote Oost (Great East Government) was established composed of the Governements Celebes en Onderhoorigheden and Molukken and the Residencies of Manado, Bali en Lombok and Timor en Onderhoorigheden. Its capital was Makassar.




The new Great East Government was occupied by Japan in March 1942 and placed under the jurisdiction of the 2nd South Fleet of the Japanese Navy, together with Borneo. The territories occupied by the Japanese Navy were subdivided in three parts each with its own administration, called Kaigun Minseibu. The three adminsitrative divisions were the Borneo Kaigun Minseibu, the Celebes Kaigun Minseibu and the Ceram Kaigun Minseibu. The emblem of the Imperial Japanese Navy consisted of an anchor per pale charged with a cherry blossom (sakura). This, amongst others, was printed on stamps issued by the three Kaigun Minseibu’s:


Emblem of Imperial Japanese Navy on stamps


The liberation of Borneo and Grote Oost was accomplished in 1944 - 1945 by the 6th US Army and the 7th and 9th Australian Division.



The badges of these armed forces were:

  • 6th US-Army: Vert, a six-pointed star Argent, charged with another six-pointed star Gules, charged with another six-pointed star Argent, charged with the letter A Gules.
  • 7th Australian Division: A boomerang and a kookaburra (Dacelo novæguineæ - Halcyonidæ)
  • 9th Australian Division: A boomerang and a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus - Ornithorhynchidæ)[1]


When their task was finished and Japan had capitulated on 16th of August 1945 they were replaced by Dutch troops under the command of the Grote Oost en Borneo Hoofdkwartier (Great East and Borneo Headquarters) residing in Makassar.



The emblem of the Headquarters consisted of a light-blue disc, surrounded by the Dutch red-white and blue and charged with the yellow cypher GOBH.

It was adopted by decision Clg. 283/GS/35 of 11 July 1946.



24.12.1946 - 17.08.1950


Two days after the Japanese capitulation the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed on 17 August 1945. In the new political constellation the Dutch and the Indonesians agreed that decolonization woould be the only possibility to resolve the problems between the Indonesian nationalists and the former colonizer. From the beginning the aim of the nationalists was a unitary state consisting of all the former territories in the east under Dutch rule. The Dutch on the other hand opted for a federal state. Anticipating this federal state the Staat Oost-Indonesië (State of East Indonesia), the successor of the Great East Government, was established on 24 December 1946 in Den Pasar. [2] 


The Act of Establishment reads as follows:









1946 No. 143







Artikel 1.


(1) Ingesteld wordt een Staat Oost-Indonesië.

(2) Het grondgebied van den Staat Oost-Indonesië omvat het territoir van het bij de ordonnantie van 19 Februari 1936 (Staatsblad No. 68), juncto het Gouvernementsblad van 25 Mei 1938 No. 28 (Staatsblad No. 264) ingestelde gewest De Groote Oost, behoudens, dat nader zal worden beslist omtrent de indeeling van het grondgebied van de huidige residentie Nieuw-Guinea en zijn verhouding tot den Staat Oost-Indonesië en de toekomstige Vereenigde Staten van Indonesië.

(3) De hoofdplaats van den Staat Oost-Indonesië is Makassar.


[Gedaan te Denpasar, den 24sten December 1946. H.J.van Mook]



The federal state consisted of Celebes, the Moluccas and the Smaller Sunda Islands, today the provinces of Gorontalo, Sulawesi Barat, Sulawesi Selatan, Sulawesi Tengah, Sulawesi Tenggara, Sulawesi Utara, Maluku, Bali, Nusa Tengara Barat, Nusa Tengara Timur and Timor Barat.       


On 27 December 1949 sovereignty of the former colony Nederlansch Indië was transferred to Republik Indonesia Serikat (Federal State of Indonesia). Spring 1950 the Federal State of East Indonesia declared itself ready to join a future unitary Republic of Indonesia and some other federals states were dissolved and united with the Republic of Indonesia. The former Ambon Residence disagreeing with this union, as a result proclaimed the Republic of the South Moluccas on 20 April 1950. On 15 August 1950 the Federal Republic Indonesia was dissolved itself and replaced by the Republic Indonesia, proclaimed before on 17 August 1945.


The federal state of East Indonesia has been able to adopt a flag and an emblem in spite of its short existence. The emblem consisted of a bird called Garuda sitting on a bundle of rods.[3] This emblem could be placed on a dull black shield. [4]


ð See illustration in the head of this essay



Emblem N.I.T. / S.O.I


This emblem was displayed as a badge on the cap of the East-Indonesian officials.


The flag was of four breadths yellow, red, white and green:



Flag of the Negara Indonesia Timur.


The President


Besides a national coat of arms and flag a presidential flag and flags for the members of the council of ministers were adopted. [5] The flag of the president was gironny of black, white, red and yellow charged in the middle with a white eight-leaved lotus-flower. Belonging to this flag was a light-blue pennon with a lotus-flower seen from the side.


Standard (45 Î 30 cm) and pennon (45 Î 15 cm)

  of  President  Tjokorde Gde Rake Sukawati of  East-Indonesia (24.12. 1946 - 17.08.1950).

Adopted on 2 August 1947  (Bijvoegsel van de Staatscourant van Oost-Indonesië 1947, No 8.)


The Prime Minister


Prime Ministers of East Indonesia


Nadjamuddin Daeng Malewa

10.01.1947 - 01.10.1947


11.10.1947 - 15.12.1947

Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung

15.12.1947 - 27.12.1949


27.12.1949 - 14.03.1950


14.03.1950 - 10.05.1950


10.05.1950 - 17.08.1950


On the flags of rank of the Prime Minister, the President of Parliament, the ministers and the vice-ministers there was the Garuda fom the emblem of state on a dark-green cloth and at the mast end six-pointed stars:



Flag of rank (45 Î 30 cm) of the Prime Minister of  East-Indonesia

Adopted on 2 August 1947 (Bijvoegsel van de Staatscourant van Oost-Indonesië 1947, No 8.)


·         For the President of the Provisional Council of Representatives of East Indonesia the central star omitted.

·         For the ministers of East Indonesia the lower star omitted.

·         For the Vice-ministers the two lower stars omitted.



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© Hubert de Vries 2006.07.14 / Updated 2010-08-30 / Updated 2010-11-22

[1] ) Source: Wikipedia and Digger History

[2] ) Staatsblad voor Nederlandsch Indië, 1946, n° 143 dd. 24 december 1946.

[3] ) For unknown reasons most birds in modern Indonesian heraldry are wrongly called Garuda even when a phoenix or a pigeon is meant. The East Indonesia bird most resembles a Sulawesi Serpent Eagle (Spilornis rufipectus - Accipitridae) and thus could refer to the fact that Garuda usually has a serpent in its claws.

[4] ) Besluit N° 28/PrB/47 dd. 2 Augustus 1947. In: Bijvoegsel Staatscourant van Oost-Indonesië 1947 N° 8, A. III   „……… een gouden garoeda-embleem omkranst met gekruiste padi-aren, het geheel op een dofzwart schild.” In this act the flags, uniforms and badges of rank of the government officials were adopted.

[5] ) Besluit N° 28/PrB/47 dd. 2 Augustus 1947. In: Bijvoegsel Staatscourant van Oost-Indonesië 1947 N° 8.

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