The Indonesian archipelago has been inhabited up to 1.5 million years ago by Homo erectus, and 45,000 years ago by Homo sapiens. Modern Indonesians arrived in the region from Taiwan in about 2000 BC, replacing the Melaneasians.
With the strategic location of the Indonesian islands, they became important in the international trade with India. This trade brought cultural exchanges as well, namely the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism expanded to Indonesia in the 4th century.
The archipelago was ruled by the Srivijaya kingdom beginning around the 7th century, which grew as a trade power with Buddhist and Hindu communities. Over the 13th century, the Hindu kingdom of Majapahit stretched across the islands.
The Muslims arrived in the 13th century, and the islands had mostly adopted the religion by the 16th century. Europeans arrived, with the Portuguese, in 1512, in search of the spices of Indonesia. The Dutch East India Company became a major power in the region from about 1602 to 1800. The Dutch colonized parts of Indonesia, expanding to cover modern-day boundaries, which it held until World War II when the Japanese occupied the country. When Japan surrendered in 1945, Indonesia declared independence, though the Dutch attempted to regain control.
After achieving independence, Indonesia became ruled by a Communist party, but democratic processes were later strengthened and Indonesia held its first elections in 2004.
Neighboring Countries :
Though it is an island nation, Indonesia shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia, and is close to Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, and Palau.
Major Cities :
- Jakarta (capital)
Indonesia is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia and Oceania, straddling the equator. Indonesia is made up of 17,508 islands and islets. Of the 6,000 inhabited islands, the largest include Java, Sumatra, Borneo, New Guinea, and Sulawesi. The island of Borneo is also shared with neighboring nations, Brunei and Malaysia, while New Guinea is also home to the country of Papua New Guinea. The island of Timor was once completely included within Indonesia's territory, but East Timor seceded from the country.
Indonesia has a equatorial tropical climate, and 150 active volcanoes, including Krakatoa, Tambora, and Toba. As a region with volcanic activity, Indonesia has mountain ranges, with its highest peak on Papua, with Puncak Jaya, standing 4,884 meters (16,024 feet) above sea level. Major rivers in Indonesia include the Mahakam and Barito rivers, and the country's largest lake is Lake Toba in Sumatra.
Points of Interest :
Indonesia is known for its culture, influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism, Islam, Chinese, and Dutch cultures, reflecting its varied historical influences. The markets of Indonesia are a great place to explore Indonesian culture, with handicrafts and local foods.
The capital, Jakarta, is a bustling and crowded city with architectural wonders like its old town, the national monument, Monas, government buildings like the Presidential Palace, and several major theme parks, including the country's largest, Jungleland Sentul City. Jakarta has cultural sites like museums, mosques, churches, and open air markets.
Natural sites in Indonesia include the second largest tropical forests in the world, including those on Sumatra, Borneo and Papua. The rainforests on Borneo are 130 million years old, and are some of the oldest in the world. The beaches of Bali are the most popular destination in Indonesia, with water recreation like surfing, and historical and architectural sites.
Indonesia has three major airports: Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta, Ngurah Rai, and East Java's Juanda. These international airports offer service to major cities all around the world. Domestic flights are the best way to get around Indonesia, as they are fast and inexpensive, getting across the islands quickly for under $100.
As an island nation, boat is an important way of getting around, and can be used to travel from Singapore or Malaysia. Ferries are also available for island hopping. Cars can be used to get around and between some of the islands as well, and can be used to travel to East Timor, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
To get around cities, a few options are the Becak, or pedicab, and ojek, which are motorcycle taxis. Buses and taxis are available in many cities in Indonesia.
Last Updated on : July 25 ,2015