Asal Usul Nama Indonesia

Sejarah asal usul nama Indonesia bermula pada tahun 1847 ketika James Richardson Logan, seorang penulis jurnal asal Skotlandia, menerbitkan jurnal “Of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia” di Singapura. Logan merasa bahwa sebutan “Hindia” yang digunakan untuk kepulauan ini sangat rancu dan
membingungkan dengan sebutan India yang lain. Dia berpendapat bahwa penduduk kepulauan ini membutuhkan nama khas yang lebih tepat.

Pada tahun 1849, etnolog Inggris, George Samuel Windsor Earl, menulis artikel tentang ciri-ciri utama bangsa Papua, Australia, dan Melayu-Polinesia. Earl berpendapat bahwa orang-orang di kepulauan ini seharusnya memiliki nama khas, dan dia memilih nama “Malayunesia” daripada “Indunesia” karena nama itu lebih tepat untuk ras Melayu.

Meskipun Earl memilih nama Malayunesia, Logan memilih untuk menggunakan nama Indunesia dalam tulisannya tentang etnologi di kepulauan Hindia. Logan mengubah huruf U menjadi O agar pengucapannya lebih mudah dan akhirnya lahirlah nama Indonesia.

Pada awalnya, sebagian kalangan Eropa masih mempertahankan julukan “Indian” untuk penduduk di kepulauan ini karena sudah terlanjur akrab. Namun, seiring waktu, istilah Indonesia menyebar di kalangan ilmuwan bidang etnologi dan geografi.

Nama Indonesia pertama kali digunakan oleh Suwardi Suryaningrat (Ki Hajar Dewantara), seorang pribumi yang dibuang ke Belanda pada tahun 1913. Ia mendirikan pers dengan nama Indonesische Persbureau, dan nama Indonesische diperkenalkan sebagai pengganti Indische (Hindia) oleh Prof. Cornelis Van Vollenhoven pada tahun 1917. Sejalan dengan itu, istilah “inlander” (pribumi) diganti dengan sebutan “Indonesier” yang berarti orang Indonesia.

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