The Republic of Indonesia is a large archipelago located between the South East Asian peninsula and Australia, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Indonesia borders Malaysia on the island of Borneo, Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea and East Timor on the island of Timor.

Republik Indonesia
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Bhinneka Tunggal lka (Old Javanese: Unity in Diversity)
Official language Bahasa Indonesia
Capital Jakarta
President Megawati Sukarnoputri
 - Total:
 - % water:
Ranked 15th
1,919,440 kmē
 - Total (Year):
 - Density:
Ranked 4th
 - Declared:
 - Recognised:
From the Netherlands
August 17, 1945
December 27, 1949
Currency: Rupiah
Time zone: UTC +7 to UTC +9
National anthem: Indonesia Raya
Internet TLD:.ID
Calling Code62

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Provinces
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 Further reading
10 External link


Main article: History of Indonesia

Under influence of Buddhism, several kingdoms formed on the islands of Sumatra and Java from the 7th to 14th century. The arrival of Arab traders later brought Islam, which became the dominant religion.

When the Europeans came in the early 16th century, they found a multitude of small states. These were vulnerable to the Europeans, who were in pursuit of dominating the spice trade. In the 17th century, the Dutch emerged as the most powerful of the Europeans, ousting the British and Portuguese (except for Timor).

After the Dutch East India Company was liquidated, its possesions in Indonesia were taken over by the Dutch government. After Japanese occupation ended in 1945, the Indonesians declared independence, led by Sukarno. The Dutch finally accepted in 1949, and Sukarno became the country's first president.

After Sukarno's autocratic rule was almost overthrown, army leader Suharto became president in 1968. Suharto enriched himself, but the nation grew poorer, and he was forced to step down after massive demonstrations in 1998. The country currently suffers from internal religious struggles and several regions striving for independence (Aceh, Irian Jaya).


Main article: Politics of Indonesia

Executive power lies with the president and his/her advisers. The Indonesian parliament is bi-cameral, consisting of the People's Congress and the People's Representative Assembly, each elected for 5-year terms.


Main article: Provinces of Indonesia

Currently, Indonesia has 28 provinces, 2 special territories and 1 capital city territory. The provinces are subdivided in districts, which are in turn split up in sub-districts and municipalities. The provinces are:

Bali, Bangka-Belitung, Banten, Bengkulu, Gorontalo, Jambi, Jawa Barat, Jawa Tengah, Jawa Timur, Kalimantan Barat, Kalimantan Selatan, Kalimantan Tengah, Kalimantan Timur, Lampung, Maluku, Maluku Utara, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Papua (Irian Jaya), Riau, Riau Kepulauan, Sulawesi Selatan, Sulawesi Tengah, Sulawesi Tenggara, Sulawesi Utara, Sumatera Barat, Sumatera Selatan, Sumatera Utara

The special territories (daerah istimewa) are Aceh and Yogyakarta. The capital city territory is Jakarta.


Main article: Geography of Indonesia

Indonesia's 17,000 islands (ca. 6,000 are inhabited) are scattered around the equator, giving the country a tropical climate. The largest islands are Java, where about half of the population lives, Sumatra, Borneo (partially Malaysian), Irian Jaya (western half of New Guinea) and Sulawesi.

Its location on the edges of tectonic plates means Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes and the resulting tsunamis. Indonesia is also rich in volcanoes, the most famous being the now disappeared Krakatau (Krakatoa).

See also: Map of Asia


Main article: Economy of Indonesia

Indonesia suffered of major economic problems in the late 1990s, but economy has recently stabilised.

The country has extensive natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, tea, coffee, spices and rubber.

Indonesia's major trading partners are Japan, the United States and the surrounding nations of Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.


'\'Main article: Demographics of Indonesia''

The Indonesian population can be roughly divided into two groups. In the west of the country, the people are mostly Malay, while the people of the east are Papuan. However, the ethnic structure is rather diverse, with several traditional tribes still living in the inlands of Borneo and Irian Jaya. The Chinese form a large ethnic minority (2 to 3 million). Although important to Indonesian economy, they are generally disliked by indigenous Indonesians.

Islam is Indonesia's main religion, with almost 87% of the people adhering to it. The remainder of the population is Christian (9%), Buddhist (2%), and Hindu (1%), the latter mainly on the island of Bali. Religious conflicts have been numerous in recent years, especially in the Moluccas.

The official language, Bahasa Indonesia - a dialect of Malay - is spoken by almost everybody, although local dialects are usually the primary language.


Main article: Culture of Indonesia

Art forms in Indonesia have been influenced by several cultures. The famous Javanese and Balinese dances, for example, contain aspects of Hindu culture and mythology.

Also well-known are the Javanese wayang kulit shadow theatre shows, displaying several mythological events.

In the book Max Havelaar, Dutch author Multatuli criticised the Dutch treatment of the Indonesians, which gained him international attention.

Miscellaneous topics

Further reading

External link

Countries of the world  |  Asia