Indonesia, officially known as the Republic of Indonesia, is situated in the Southeast Asia, between the Pacific and Indian Ocean. It is an archipelago of islands, which cover 735,358 square miles,
in total – thus making Indonesia the largest island country
in the world. It is the founder of numerous significant organizations such as: Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation, East Asia Summit and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. It has established its membership in the United Nations, G20, WTO and IMF.
It is the fourth most populous country, having more than 261 million people, as of 2016 estimate. The most populated island here is 'Java', containing 58% of the total population. It is also known for having the largest population of Muslims in the world. The spread of population is uneven, also owing to the vast development variation in different regions. While Jakarta is the capital and a well-developed metropolitan area, in Papua uncontacted tribes are inhabited. 8 million Indonesians have settled overseas, such as in Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, the United States, to name a few.
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.
The major cities of Indonesia are: Jakarta (capital),
Banjarmasin, Medan, Semarang and Jayapura
The Indonesian archipelago was inhabited 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.
The agriculture, especially wet-field rice cultivation was ideal in accordance to the environmental and geographical conditions of the region. This led to the
Owing to the strategic location of the Indonesian islands, they became important in the international trade with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties. The trade in the 4th century
shaped the history of Indonesia. Numerous cultural exchanges occurred, like the spread of religions such as: Hinduism and Buddhism.
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 most of present-day islands, under the rule of Gajah Mada.
The earliest arrival of Muslims can be traced to 13th century,
and the islands had mostly adopted the religion by the 16th century.
The first Europeans to have made contact with Indonesia, were the Portuguese. The traders led by Francisco Serrão arrived in 1512
, in search of the spices of Indonesia. By 1602
, the Dutch East India Company
was established, and became a major power in the region till the 1800. The Dutch colonized parts of Indonesia, expanding to cover modern-day boundaries, and thus, got involved in numerous wars against several native groups during the 19th century.
It ruled over the region until the World War II, when the Japanese occupied the country
– ending the reign of Dutch powers. It was reported by the United Nations, that the occupancy of Japan caused 4 million deaths.
When Japan surrendered in 1945, Indonesia declared independence, and Sukarno became the first President of Indonesia. However, during the 1950s, he moved from democracy to communism. Communist Party of Indonesia was formed by 1965. But, when Indonesia was hit by 1997 financial crisis, people showed their discontent with the government, with mass protests that brought down the communism. Democratic processes strengthened and Indonesia held its first elections in 2004.
flourishing of villages, towns and small kingdoms by the 1st century CE.
Indonesia is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia and Oceania, straddling the equator. Indonesia is made up of 17,504 islands, out of which 6,000 are inhabited. The largest islands are: 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 has 127 active volcanoes, including Krakatoa, Tambora, and Toba. And 76 of these have erupted in historical times. The archipelago is prone to earthquakes due to same reason. As a region with volcanic activity, Indonesia has mountain ranges as well, with its highest peak on Papua, with Puncak Jaya, standing at 16,024 feet
above sea level.
50,000 miles of coastline of Indonesia is surrounded by tropical seas. Major rivers in Indonesia include the Mahakam and Barito rivers, and the country's largest lake is Lake Toba in Sumatra. It is also one of the Coral Triangle countries, having more than 1,650 species of coral reef fish. The tropical climate of Indonesia also supports diverse flora and fauna. In fact, Indonesia is second to Australia in terms of endemic species.
As of 2016, the transport sector in Indonesia generated around 5.2% of GDP. The road transport system stretches to 334,197 miles. Most of the railways are in Java, owing to the large population concentrated there. The country has 673 airports, amid which the largest is Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. The second and third largest are Ngurah Rai International Airport and Juanda International Airport. These international airports offer service to major cities all around the world.
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.
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
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.
- World's largest lizard
The Komodo dragon can be found on five of the Indonesian islands naming, Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. Having a weight of 150lbs, they not only look scary but are indeed poisonous. They could kill animals, as well as human beings.
Last Updated on: February 20, 2019