Indonesia is the largets archipelago in the world. Consisting of five main islands and 30 smaller archipelagoes, it has a total of 17.677 islands of which about 6.000 are in habitet. Stretching over a spon of 3,200 miles bwtween Australia and the Asia mainland, it is comparabel in extent to the continent of europe or abaut as long as America coast to coast. Geographically, indonesia lies bertween 950 and 1410 east longitude, traversed by the equator. Its geological characteristics is marked by the volcanic belt which stretches as the backbone oh mountains along sumatra and java islands,made up of not less than 300 volcanoes including 128 active one-of which the legendary krakatau is one of them. The coastline of mangrove swamps with an inter change of coconut plantations and natural forest,while the inner highlands and lowlands are characterized by wilderness or plantations,especially rice fields. In some places hills and mountins are carved into scenic rice fields, creating beautiful scenerise. Indonesia’s crystal-clear seas treasure colorful marine lofe,presenting some oh the most enchanting sea gardends in the world.
Indonesia in influenced by the generous monsoon wind,with comend with humidity and rain. The westren part of the archipelago enjoys more rainfall,which accounts for the abundant,lush greeneries as compared to the drier areas is the east. If things go reguler, the rainy seaso lasts between november and april, leaving the rest oh the year to the dry season. The average temperatur in the coastal areas fluctuates between 28 0 and 320c-although in extreme cases it can be as high 360 and as low as 32 0 . only in the mountains the temperaturee may be as cool as 200c. normally the wind blows at an avarage speed of 20 km/hour.
Indonesia’s present populations comes close to 185 milions-the fifth largest in the world next to china, india, the USSR and USA.with indonesia’s notable succes in family planning program however , indonesia’s population burden may be eased down to the position of 6th or probably 7 th in the world by the next decade. Indonesia’s population is unevely distributed;65% of the population is cincentrated is overcrowded java island, which forms only 7% oh the total land area, while the rest is spread out is
Sumatra.the second densely populated island, and in kalimantan ,sulawesi,irian jaya ect. Indonesians of foreign descendants are mainly chinese,who constitute about 3% oh the population are farmers, although a huge influx of urbanization is taking place at an alarming rate. Jakarta ,indonesia’s capital city chalks uo a staggering 7 milion population by the 1980’s.
Form the anthrropogicalview point, the indonesia naives may be described as belonging to proto-malay or deutero-malay race,with mixtures of malanesoid and negritos races. The cultural charateristics of most indonesia ethicgroups basically evolved form abcient malay civilzation. The art of land-cultivation, cloth-weaving, bamboo craftsmanship are all characteristics of old malay culture. But it is also a culture which has been continuously infuenced by hindu civilzation throghout the first milenium-which is cleary reflencted in The javanese philosophy and way of life, although the hindu temples ruins have lost their meaning except to a number of hindu minority. Sumatra , on the other hand . shows indications of more deep-rooted islamic influence, in spite of the once-glorious sriwijawa empiree in palembang. The fact that the javanese-balinese gamelan music is pentatonic in contrast that there is a fundamental difference of culture between the two regions, the spicy, persian-like sumatra food is different form the sweetish javanese cooking, just as the religious sumatrans differfrom the philosophical javanese. The people of madura, banten and makassar are sea-faring people jusy as the balinese re artistic and the ambonase are musical. These differences make indonesia an interesting mosaic of diversifiled cultures.
Over 330 ethnic groups throughout the archipelago speak their own languanges, which sholuldd be more appropriately defined as ethnic languages rather than dialects. In some coastal areas like medan, riau, jakarta, the language spoken in malay or smething malay-based, while on other areas like padang, makassar, manado and maluku ethnic languages that sound very close to malay prevail. Of these languages bahasa indonesia, the national languages evolved throough the decades. Having undergone continuous development-and with the enrichment of vocabulary from other languages such as sanskrit arabic , chinese, portuguese, dutch, english, and even from its own domestic resources- bahasa indonesia is rapidly growing to become a modern language appblicable for even modern science and technology. On october 28, 1928, when the archipelago was still known as ‘ the netherland’s east indies”, youth organizations representing the ethnic groups form all over the islands met in jakarta to declare the famous” touth oath of october 1928” where they declared themselves as sharing ‘ one fatherland, one nation, one language’. This event was one of the mile stones which marked the existence of bahasa indonesia as the national language. Bahasa indonesia is today the official language and used as the standard teaching languages are studied for the purpose of tapping technology and as a medium of international communication. In 1972 the new standars of spelling system was officially applied not just in Indonesia but also in neighboring Malaysia, on the basis of Indonesia –malaysia common spelling agreement-thus strengthening the base of the language in the regional.
Islam is the most predominant, constituting 87 % of Indonesia’s 185 million population . by quantity Indonesia holds the largest muslim populations-larger that of any Islamic state in the middles east. Christianity firms about 7% of the population, mostly concentrated in the province of north Sumatra, north sulawesi, molluccas, east timor and irian jaya. Hinduism, together with Buddhism cone to about 3% of the population, whilst the rest belong to various forms of paganism and natural beliefs. Under the national ideology of pancasila, the freedom of worship is fully guaranteed and people of different religions share on common basis to live harmoniously.
Fossils the “ phitecantropus erectus, or Javaa Man found in the 19th century served as evidence that java holds one of the earliest traces of mankind. Although little is known of the conditions around 5.000 years B.C. and the mist of time beyond, scientists believe that the Indonesia ancestors were settlers from southeast asia mainland who migrated in a constant influx to the archipelago around 2500B.C. some traces from 500B.C. showed evidence of those settlers belonging to the bronze age, as indicated by the relics if the bronze culture now surviving in bali. The first century A.D marked the beginning of hindu-buddhist influence of the island of java –but is was not until the 5thcentury that the existence of tarumanegara the earliest hindhu kingdom, was unveiled and backed up by more tangible evidence. Since then power-centers flourished gradually from time on time in java, carving out names like singosari, kediri, and mataram kingdoms. Sriwijaya ,the only empire based outside java flourished in the 8th century AD and declined in 846 AD, preceeding the rise of majapahit kingdom in java. The arrival of islam posed as a chellenge to the hindu-buddhist strongholds, developing into conflicts which height in 1400 AD. Islamic influence was first in sumatera speading further to java and to the rest of the archipelago. The fall of pajajaran’ s sunda kelapa harbour in west java into the Islamic king fatahillah of. Banten –who changed the hands of the name to jayakarta (Jakarta today) in 1530 AD. Was ine clear example. European voyagers sailing to the east in quest of the famed spices initiated the area of western influence around the 16th century. Dutch, English, French and Portuguese voyagers compete to tap indonesia’s abundant natural resources and not without clashes. The Portuguese once managed to edge away its rivals by conquering the maluku islands, leaving today the influence of chiristianity. The dutch who set foot in 1596 gradually grew into a trading power which they officially established under the name og “vereenigde oost indische compagnie “ (VOC) which is the east indies company. Unfortunately, the VOC went bankrupt by the dawn of the 19th century and the dutch royal kingdom took over its power-marking the beginning of the dutch colonial era. In 1811 as the political table tumed in erope, the dutch had to submit its covereignty to England –so java was administered by sir Stamford raffles until 1816 when England agreed to return its subject the ducht in exchange of Malacca in the malay peninsula. Local wars broke out from time to between the dutch and the ethnic groups sporadivally through a period of 300 years, which made horoes and leaders know such as teuku umar, tjoet nyak dhien, imam bonjol, diponegoro, pattimura etc. the early 1900’s marked the emergence of the national awakening when some Indonesia intellectuals formed national schools , political, organizations of parties geared at consolidatimg the national’s dignity, resolution and patriotism. It was in October 28, 1928 when the ethnic youth club joined together to proclaim their oath of being one country, one nation and one language Indonesia. The Japanese invasion of world war II brought as end to the centuries-old dutch colonization-although their own presence was apparently a poor substitute. But when japan lost the war 3 ½ years later it was an opportune moment for the Indonesia to make a breakthrough : the freedom fighters proclaimed indonesia’s independence on august 17,1945. the dutch tried to come back to re-establish its rule, waging another 4 years of independence war before th final transfer of authority took place in desember 1949.
Flora and fauna
British naturalist A.R. Wallace (1823-1913) postulated an imaginary line-which was later called the Wallace line in his honor-as the diving line between the Asiatic and Australian fauna. It passed between bali and lombok islands and between Kalimantan and sulawesi , then continues to the south of the Philippines and north of Hawaii. This theory defines that the western and eastern part of Indonesia stand on two separate basins-one of asia and the other of Australia. Hence it explains the presence of fauna native to both asia and autralia in Indonesia. The sumatera tiger (panthera Tigris Sumatran) and the and horned rhinoceros of java (Rhinoceros Sondaica) are characteristically of the western basin, while the cendrawasih “bird of paradise” (parado adopa) of irian jaya represent a typical fauna of the eastern basin. Other animals that are native to the asian basin are the Javanese tiger (panthera tigris sondaica) and the two horned rhinoceros of Sumatra (diveorhinus sumatranensis), and the Sumatran elephant. Some of these animals are protected in wildlife and games reserves , such as the mertu bertiri in east java and ujung kulon in west java. Some animals however are supposed to be indigenous to Indonesia , such as the orang utans of Sumatra and Kalimantan, and the wild banteng oxen. But the most unique of them all is the giant komodo lizard, which are survivors of the prehistoric age now still found in the island of komodo , east of bali. Indonesia’s flora consists of a wide range of plantations, among them are various types of orchids, like the “candle Orchid” (aerides odorato lour ), Zebra orchids (thrixpermum arachnites)and “scorpion Orchids” (arachnis flos aeris) but the most unearthly og them all is the gigantic flower called “rafflesia arnoldis”, which at the peak of its boom extends to 3.2 feet in diameter, the largest flower there ever as in the world.
Indonesia treasures an abundant reserve of natural riches which has been the nation’s bread and butter for centuries. Agriculture and minery for example ,have been the backbone of the nation’s economy. Pepper ,clove and other spices are precious items that lured medieval voyagers from Europe to make expeditions that developed into a long history of colonialism. Indonesia’s agricultural products include rice, tapioca, corn, tea, coffee, sugar, coconut, cocoa and an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables. This is not mention fishery, shrimp cultivation and plantation industries like tobacco, rubber, kapok etc. petroleum lies on top of all mineral products an once over a periode of time constitutes a majority share of the entire export volumes. other mineral products include tin, nickel, bauxite, coal, copper, lead and a limited amount of precious metals and jewellery. In the last two decades, new items like liquid natural gas and timber have been added to the long list of natural resources in the world and the largest consumption of tropical hord woods -although their consumption generates concern among ecologists and environmentalists. The total area of state – controlled forest cover bout 58% of the entire timbale exports .some woods like rattan are not permitted to be exported, in the effort to sustain domestic furniture and handicraft industries. In the effort to minimize dependency on oil, Indonesia has made serious strides to diversity its export commodities. New export commodities sprang into the front line since 1986 which included also assembling and industrial manufacturing items like types , textile , garments, electronics, F&B, automotive & parts, furnitures, frozen shrimps and some agro-business products. Today raw materials and semi processed goods of colonial days are no longer to outlook of indonesia’s export the nation is gradually into a newly industrialized state