The world's largest archipelago, Indonesia achieved independence from the Netherlands in 1949. Current issues include: implementing IMF-mandated reforms of the banking sector, effecting a transition to a popularly-elected government after four decades of authoritarianism, addressing charges of cronyism and corruption, holding the military accountable for human rights violations, and resolving growing separatist pressures in Aceh and Irian Jaya. On 30 August 1999 a provincial referendum for independence was overwhelmingly approved by the people of Timor Timur. Concurrence followed by Indonesia's national legislature, and the name East Timor was provisionally adopted. On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state.
Because of Indonesia's location near the equator and its island geography, the climate along coastal areas is hot and humid year-round. The average daily temperature range of Jakarta is 21° to 33°C (69° to 92°F) and varies little from winter to summer. Temperatures in upland areas tend to be cooler.
Indonesia has two monsoon seasons: a wet season from November to March and a dry season from June to October. Between monsoons, the weather is more moderate. The northern parts of the country have only slight differences in precipitation during the wet and dry seasons.
Volcanic ash creates rich soil that is ideal for growing crops, but large areas of Indonesia cannot be cultivated because of swamps, soil erosion, or steep slopes.
Tropical forests cover 55 percent of the land, although this proportion has been shrinking due to deforestation. Trees of the Dipterocarp family, such as the meranti, are a valuable forest resource. Also important are ramin, sandalwood, ebony, and teak. Teak in particular is grown in plantation forests. The government has established many national parks to conserve the natural vegetation and native wildlife. Indonesia claims that little or no commercial development is permitted in about half its forests. The more important national parks include Gunung Leuser (in northwestern Sumatra), Kerinci Seblat (in central Sumatra), Bukit Barisan Selatan (in southern Sumatra), Ujung Kulon (in western Java), Tanjung Puting (in central Kalimantan), and Komodo Island (between Sumbawa and Flores).
Indonesia has significant deposits of oil and natural gas, most of which are concentrated along the eastern coast of Sumatra and in and around Kalimantan. Indonesia produces more than 80 percent of Southeast Asia's oil and more than 35 percent of the world's liquefied gas. Tin on Belitung and Bangka islands, bauxite on Bintan Island, copper in Papua, nickel on Sulawesi, and coal on Sumatra are Indonesia's major mineral resources. Small amounts of silver, gold, diamonds, and rubies are also found. Large parts of Indonesia, especially in Kalimantan and Papua, have not been intensively explored for minerals. The seas surrounding Indonesia yield abundant saltwater fish, pearls, shells, and agar (a substance extracted from seaweed).
Indonesia's estimated population in 2002 was 232,073,071, giving it an average population density of 122 persons per sq km (316 per sq mi). With an estimated population of 114,733,500 in 1995, Java contains well over half of Indonesia's people. The next most populous islands are Sumatra, with an estimated 40,830,400 people; Sulawesi, with 13,732,500; and Kalimantan, with 10,470,800. The remaining islands have much smaller populations, including 2,895,600 on Bali.
The Javanese, who live mainly in central and eastern Java, are the largest ethnic group, constituting 45 percent of Indonesia's population. On the western end of Java are the Sundanese, who make up 14 percent of the population and are the second largest group. Other significant ethnic groups include the Madurese, who hail from Madura, off the northeast coast of Java, and make up 8 percent of the population; and the ethnic Malay, who are dispersed throughout several areas, and make up 7 percent of the population. Among the ethnic groups on Sumatra are the Bataks, who cluster around Lake Toba; the Minangkabau, from the western highlands; the Acehnese, from the far north; and the Lampungese, who live in the south. On Sulawesi, the Minahasans live in the north, the Bugis and Makassarese cluster around the coasts in the south, and the Toraja inhabit much of the interior. Kalimantan is populated by more than 200 groups; most of these are tribes of the Dayak ethnic group in the interior or are ethnic Malay living on the coast. The people of Papua are of Melanesian descent, as are some residents from smaller eastern islands. Several million Indonesians of Chinese descent are concentrated in urban areas. Smaller numbers of Indians, Arabs, and Europeans are scattered around the archipelago.
About 300 languages and dialects are spoken in Indonesia, but Bahasa Indonesia is the official and most widely spoken tongue. Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects - the most widely spoken of which is Javanese
Muslim 88%, Protestant 5%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, Buddhist 1%, other 1% (1998)
Republic of Indonesia got its independence on 17 August 1945 from the Dutch. However, Indonesia still use legal system based on Roman-Dutch law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts and by new criminal procedures code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
International Organization Participation
APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Some information is taken from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/id.html
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