From the 5th to the 15th century, Java is the center of Indianized kingdoms. The kingdoms of Central Java from the 7th to the 10th century are still perfectly illustrated today by the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. In the 7th to 14th century, the great kingdom of Sriwijaya radiates from Sumatra. In the 10th century, the kingdom of Majapahit was established in East Java, prosperous under the reign of Hayam Wuruk, and extended its hegemony over the entire archipelago since the 14th century.

The development of Islamization and the arrival of Europeans in Java were observed in the 13th to the 17th century. The Portuguese took Malacca in 1511, and then begin the Dutch spice trade in 1596. The Dutch established a colonial state with Dutch Indies in 1816. Java became the center of revolts for independence including that of prince Diponegoro.

The area is an important site of the battle in the Pacific between the Allies and the Japanese during World War II. The Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed by Sukarno on August 17, 1945.