|Indonesia is an archipelagic island country in Southeast Asia, lying between the Indian Ocean and thePacific Ocean. It is in a strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean. The country's variations in culture have been shaped—although not specifically determined—by centuries of complex interactions with the physical environment. Although Indonesians are now less vulnerable to the effects of nature as a result of improved technology and social programs, to some extent their social diversity has emerged from traditionally different patterns of adjustment to their physical circumstances.
Lying along the equator, Indonesia's climate tends to be relatively even year-round. The country experiences two seasons—a wet season and a dry season—with no extremes of summer or winter. For most of Indonesia, the wet season falls between October and April with the dry season between May and September. Some regions, such as Kalimantan and Sumatra, experience only slight differences in rainfall and temperature between the seasons, whereas others, such as Nusa Tenggara, experience far more pronounced differences with droughts in the dry season, and floods in the wet. Rainfall in Indonesia is plentiful, particularly in west Sumatra, northwest Kalimantan, west Java, and western New Guinea.
Parts of Sulawesi and some islands closer to Australia, such as Sumba and Timor, are drier, however, these are exceptions. The almost uniformly warm waters that make up 81% of Indonesia's area ensure that temperatures on land remain fairly constant. The coastal plains averaging 28 °C (82.4 °F), the inland and mountain areas averaging 26 °C (78.8 °F), and the higher mountain regions, 23 °C (73.4 °F). The area's relative humidity ranges between 70 and 90%. Winds are moderate and generally predictable, with monsoons usually blowing in from the south and east in June through October and from the northwest in November through March. Typhoons and large scale storms pose little hazard to mariners in Indonesia waters; the major danger comes from swift currents in channels, such as the Lombok and Sape Strait.
|Flora and Fauna|
The plant life of the archipelago reflects a mingling of Asiatic and Australian forms with endemic ones. Vegetation ranges from that of the tropical rain forest of the northern lowlands and the seasonal forests of the southern lowlands, through vegetation of the less luxuriant hill forests and mountain forests, to subalpine shrub vegetation. The bridge between Asia and Australia formed by the archipelago is reflected in the varieties of animal life. The fauna of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Java is similar to that of Peninsular Malaysia, but each island has its peculiar types. The orangutan is found in Sumatra and Kalimantan but not in Java, the siamang only in Sumatra, the proboscis monkey only in Kalimantan, the elephant and tapir only in Sumatra, and the wild ox in Java and Kalimantan but not in Sumatra. In Sulawesi, the Maluku Islands, and Timor, Australian types begin to occur; the bandicoot, a marsupial, is found in Timor. All the islands, especially the Malukus, abound in great varieties of bird life, reptiles, and amphibians. The abundant marine life of Indonesia's extensive territorial waters includes a rich variety of corals.
|Throughout the history of India, religion has been an important part of the country's culture. The vast majority of Indians associate themselves with a religion, and religious tolerance is established in both law and custom.
Indian census has established that Hinduism accounts for 80.5% of the population of India. The second largest religion is Islam, at about 13.4% of the population. The third largest religion is Christianity at 2,3%. The fourth largest religion is Sikhism at about 1.9% of India's population. Stating the hospitality of Hinduism towards all other religions, John Hardon writes, "However, the most significant feature of current Hinduism is its creation of a non-Hindu State, in which all religions are equal ..."
Other native Indian religions are Buddhism, Jainism. Ancient India had two philosophical streams of thought, the Shramana religions and the Vedic religion, parallel traditions that have existed side by side for thousands of years. Both Buddhism and Jainism are continuations of Shramana traditions, while modern Hinduism is a continuation of the Vedic tradition. These co-existing traditions have been mutually influential.
Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the official language of Indonesia. Indonesian is a normative form of the Riau Islands dialect of Malay, an Austronesian language which has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. Of its large population the number of people who fluently speak Indonesian is fast approaching 100%, thus making Indonesian one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are often fluent in another regional language (examples include Javanese, Minangkabau and Sundanese) which are commonly used at home and within the local community. Most formal education, as well as nearly all national media and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian. In East Timor, which was an Indonesian province from 1975 to 1999, Indonesian is recognised by the constitution as one of the two working languages (the other is English, alongside the official languages of Tetum and Portuguese).
The Indonesian name for the language is Bahasa Indonesia (literally "the language of Indonesia"). This term can sometimes still be found in written or spoken English. In addition, the language is sometimes referred to as "Bahasa" by English speakers, though this simply means "language" and thus does not technically specify the Indonesian language.
Indonesian cuisine reflects the vast variety created by the people who live on the 6,000 populated islands that make up the modern nation of Indonesia. There is not a single "Indonesian" cuisine, but rather, a diversity of regional cuisines formed by local Indonesian cultures and foreign influences. Indonesian cuisine reflects its complex cultural history. Cooking varies greatly by region and combines many different influences.
Throughout its history, Indonesia has been involved in trade due to its location and natural resources. Additionally, Indonesia’s indigenous techniques and ingredients were influenced by India, the Middle East, China, and finally Europe. Spanish and Portuguese traders brought New World produce even before the Dutch came to colonize most of the archipelago. The Indonesian islands The Moluccas (Maluku) which are famed as "the Spice Islands", also contributed to the introduction of native spices, such as cloves and nutmeg, to Indonesian and global cuisine
Indonesia is an archipelagic country of 17,508 islands (6,000 inhabited) stretching along the equator in South East Asia. The country's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade; trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history. The area of Indonesia is populated by peoples of various migrations, creating a diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and languages. The archipelago's landforms and climate significantly influenced agriculture and trade, and the formation of states.
Fossilised remains of Homo erectus, popularly known as the "Java Man", suggest the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited two million to 500,000 years ago. Austronesian people, who form the majority of the modern population, were originally from Taiwan and arrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE.
The theories presented above could be refuted and in need of revision due to new scientific evidence presented by HUGO (Human Genome Organization) through genetic studies of the Asian races that points to a single Asian migration from South East Asia traveling northwards and slowly populating East Asia instead of the other way around which as popularly depicted above. From the scientific discovery which has been a silent evidence, it has pointed out that the South East Asian civilizations are a of much older civilization compared to the widely researched and well documented east Asians' ancient civilisations
From the 7th century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished bringing Hindu and Buddhist influences with it. The agricultural Buddhist Sailendra and Hindu Mataram dynasties subsequently thrived and declined in inland Java. The last significant non-Muslim kingdom, the Hindu Majapahit kingdom, flourished from the late 13th century, and its influence stretched over much of Indonesia. The earliest evidence of Islamised populations in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northernSumatra; other Indonesian areas gradually adopted Islam which became the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century. For the most part, Islam overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and religious influences.
Europeans arrived in Indonesia from the 16th century seeking to monopolise the sources of valuable nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku. In 1602 the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the dominant European power. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the government of the Netherlands established theDutch East Indies as a nationalised colony. By the early 20th century Dutch dominance extended to what was to become Indonesia's current boundaries. The Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation during WWII ended Dutch rule, and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement. Two days after the surrender of Japan in August 1945, nationalist leader, Sukarno, declared independence and was appointed president. The Netherlands tried to reestablish their rule, but a bitter armed and diplomatic struggle ended in December 1949, when in the face of international pressure, the Dutch formally recognised Indonesian independence.
An attempted coup in 1965 led to a violent army-led anti-communist purge in which over half a million people were killed. General Suharto politically out-manoeuvred President Sukarno, and was formally appointed president in March 1968. His New Order administration garnered the favour of the West whose investment in Indonesia was a major factor in the subsequent three decades of substantial economic growth. In the late 1990s, however, Indonesia was the country hardest hit by the East Asian Financial Crisis which led to popular protests and Suharto's resignation on 21 May 1998. The Reformasi era following Suharto's resignation, has led to a strengthening of democratic processes, including a regional autonomy program, the secession of East Timor, and the first direct presidential election in 2004. Political and economic instability, social unrest, corruption, natural disasters, and terrorism have slowed progress. Although relations among different religious and ethnic groups are largely harmonious, acute sectarian discontent and violence remain problems in some areas.
|Text from Lonely Planet Web Site www.lonelyplanet.com and www.wikipedia.com|