The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century. Indonesia's history has been strongly influenced by foreign cultures since the early centuries AD - Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished before traders introduced Islam, which saw the rise of various sultanates in the region. Indonesia was colonized by the [[Netherlands|Dutch]] from around the 17-18th centuries to the mid 20th century, and was occupied by the [[Japan]]ese from 1942 to 1945 during World War II. After the war, Indonesia declared independence from the Dutch and secured its Independence by late 1949. Indonesia's history has since been turbulent, with challenges posed by natural disasters, corruption, separatism, a democratization process, poverty, and periods of rapid economic change.
== Spanking in Indonesia ==
Islamic law (Sharia law, also spelled Syariah law) was introduced in Aceh in 2002, and proposals for [[caning]] errant Muslims first emerged in September that year. The first reported canings took place in June 2005. This form of punishment is applicable to only Muslims and may be administered to both men and women. Offenses punishable by Sharia caning include consumption of alcohol, inappropriate behavior with the opposite gender, and others.
The offender is usually punished in [[public]] (outside a mosque) and receives strokes from a [[rattan]] [[cane]] on his/her upper [[back]] over clothing. Men stand when they receive the punishment while women are seated. This form of caning is much less severe in its effects as compared to the judicial canings applied to male criminals in Indonesia's neighboring countries -
Sharia caning is also practiced in Malaysia but not as common as in Aceh.