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Indonesia (/ˌɪndəˈnʒə/ (About this soundlisten) IN-də-NEE-zhə or /ˌɪndˈnziə/ IN-doh-NEE-zee-ə; Indonesian: [ɪndonesia]) is a sovereign state and transcontinental country located mainly in southeast Asia, with some territories in Oceania. Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands. At 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles), Indonesia is the world's 14th-largest country in terms of land area and world's 7th-largest country in terms of combined sea and land area. It has an estimated population of over 261 million people and is the world's fourth most populous country, the most populous Austronesian nation, as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. The world's most populous island, Java, contains more than half of the country's population.

Indonesia's form of government includes an elected legislature and president. Indonesia has 34 provinces, of which five have Special Administrative status. Its capital and most populous city is Jakarta, which is also the most populous city in Southeast Asia. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's third highest level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil, tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are Japan, the United States, China and neighbours Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

The Indonesian archipelago has been an important region for trade since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders and Sufi scholars brought the now-dominant Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism starting from Amboina and Batavia, and eventually all of the archipelago including Timor and Western New Guinea, at times interrupted by Portuguese, French and British rule, Indonesia secured its independence after World War II.

Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups, with the largest—and politically dominant—ethnic group being the Javanese. The population is unevenly spread throughout the islands within a variety of habitats and levels of development, ranging from the megalopolis of Jakarta to uncontacted tribes in the Papua. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Indonesia's economy is the world's 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 7th largest by GDP at PPP. Indonesia is a member of several multilateral organizations, including the UN, WTO, IMF and G20 major economies. It is also a founding member of Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, East Asia Summit, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.


Selected article

Indonesia held legislative elections on 5 April 2004 for both houses of the People's Consultative Assembly, the country's national legislature. This included all 550 seats in the People's Representative Council and 128 seats of the new Regional Representative Council. Final results of the popular vote tally showed that Golkar received the largest number of votes. It had lost to the Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle in the 1999 legislative election. The Democratic Party and the Prosperous Justice Party, two of the newest parties to participate in the elections, received a combined 14.8 percent of the popular vote. Based on the final allocation of seats in the People's Representative Council, five parties were qualified to submit candidates for the country's first direct presidential election later in the year. The election has been described as the most complicated election in the history of democracy. (Read more...)

Selected picture

Traditional indonesian instrument being played at the indonesian embassy.jpg
A man playing the gendér, an instrument used in gamelan

Photographer: Fir0002; License: Dual (GNU Free Documentation License [1.2 only] or Creative Commons CC-BY-NC)

Selected biography

Amir Hamzah portrait edit.jpg

Amir Hamzah (1911–46) was an Indonesian poet and National Hero of Indonesia. Born into nobility in Langkat, Sumatra, Amir studied in both native- and European-operated schools. He began writing poetry whilst studying in Java, where he fell in love with one of his classmates, Ilik Sundari. His first poems were published in March 1932, and later that he worked together with Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana and Armijn Pane to establish the literary magazine Poedjangga Baroe, which published nearly all of his subsequent works. He was recalled to Langkat in 1937 and married to the sultan's daughter, despite not loving her. For the last years of his life Amir served as a prince of the court, and after Indonesia proclaimed its independence in August 1945, Amir was selected as the nascent nation's representative in Langkat, only to be killed the following year in a social revolution. Amir's oeuvre includes fifty original poems and eighteen pieces of lyrical prose, much of it found in two original poetry collections, Nyanyi Sunyi (1937) and Buah Rindu (1941). Themes vary, but mostly center on a sense of loss and longing, with inspirations found in Islam, traditional Malay literature, and Amir's lost love. (Read more...)

Did you know

Babi Rusa

  • ... that the Babirusa (pictured), an endangered pig-like animal native to Sulawesi and surrounding islands, has two pairs of tusks? The upper canines of the male babirusa are so curved and enlarged that they emerge through the flesh, by way of holes, to pass through the top of the snout.
  • ... that on Flores island there are two archeological finds of different insular dwarfism species, including "hobbits"?
  • ... that one of the active volcanoes in the Banda Sea is named the Emperor of China?

In this month

Albertus Soegijapranata

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Selected cuisine

2013 Angeles Philippines Trip Day 5 - Lumpiang Ubod.jpg

Lumpia is a spring roll originating from China and commonly found in Indonesia and the Philippines. It is a savoury snack made of thin crepe pastry skin called "lumpia wrapper" enveloping a mixture of savoury fillings, consists of chopped vegetables (carrots, cabbages, green beans, bamboo shoots and leeks) or also minced meat (chicken, shrimp, pork or beef). It is often served as an appetizer or snack, and might be served deep fried or fresh (unfried). Lumpia is quite similar to fresh popiah or fried spring rolls popular in Southeast Asia. Read more...

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