Indonesia – Island nation of Southeast Asia
The Republic of Indonesia consists of a group of islands lying between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the largest country, both in area and in population, in Southeast Asia. Its area is 1,919,440 square kilometers. Its capital is Jakarta on the island of Java.
Indonesia is made up of about 13,670 islands. The largest island is New Guinea, which Indonesia shares with Papua New Guinea. Parts of Borneo, the second largest island in the group, belong to Malaysia and Brunei. Sumatra, Java, and Celebes are the other major islands of Indonesia. Indonesia has many active volcanoes. The area is also known for earthquakes.
The country produces many things made of palm oil and is a major supplier of natural rubber.
The climate in Indonesia is hot and humid.
Indonesia has more than 300 different ethnic groups. The largest group is the Javanese. About 250 languages are spoken, but Indonesian is the main language.
The country is the second-largest exporter of natural gas. Other natural resources include gold, copper, tin, and oil. Indonesia’s agricultural products include rice, tea, coffee, spices, and rubber.
The people of Indonesia practice special decorative arts. Perhaps the most popular art with tourists is batik. Puppetry is one of the favorite arts of the islanders.
The ancestors of modern Indonesians migrated to the islands from mainland Asia thousands of years ago. From the 600s to the 1500s Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms existed in Indonesia. In the 1200s Muslim traders from India brought Islam to Sumatra. The Portuguese arrived in Indonesia in the early 1500s. The Dutch and the English followed. By the late 1600s the Dutch controlled almost all the islands. During World War II the Japanese invaded. In 1949, the Dutch granted Indonesia independence.
In late 2004 one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded struck off the northwestern coast of Sumatra. It caused a tsunami, that killed more than 200,000 people.
Komodo dragon is the national animal of Indonesia and the largest lizard in the world.
Indonesians are the smallest nation in the world. The average height of local men is 158 cm.