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The Republic of Indonesia is one of the world's largest and most populous countries. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it has long been a place where both physical goods and ideas have been traded. Frequently conquered and colonized, Indonesia has left as much of a mark on those who have come to the nation as the country itself has received.
Today's Indonesia is a distinct country with the world's sixteenth largest economy, participating in both the economic and diplomatic worlds as a vital player.
Quick Facts about Indonesia
- Indonesia was first known to westerners as the East Indies Islands.
- Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation on the planet.
- Indonesia is home to three of the ten largest islands in the world.
- Orangutans are native only to Indonesia.
- Indonesia exports more frog's legs than any other nation.
Despite being an island country, Indonesia actually shares land borders with three other nations. On the island of Borneo, it borders Malaysia. In New Guinea, it borders Papa New Guinea. It also borders East Timor on the island of Timor. In addition to its land borders, Indonesia also borders Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and Palau on the water.
Indonesia stretches over 2,106,447 square miles, making it the 14th largest nation in the world. Unlike many other nations, though, a significant portion of that area is made up of inland seas. Made up of 18,307 separate islands, Indonesia is the world's largest island nation.
Only about half of those islands are actually permanently inhabited, though, and even fewer than those are named. The main islands of Indonesia are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, and New Guinea.
Indonesia is home to an astonishing number of languages. In fact, over seven hundred different languages are spoken in the country. About eighty percent of the people in Indonesia speak Indonesian as a first language, though many more are proficient in Indonesian as a second or third language.
The next most spoken languages are Javanese and Sudanese. While there are several hundred languages spoken in the country, one is conspicuous by its absence - Dutch has no official status, and tends to be spoken only by older people despite the long relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia.
Weather & Climate
Indonesia has two real seasons - the wet season and the dry season. The wet season runs from October through April, while the dry season runs from May to September.
It's important to remember that some of the islands have somewhat different weather patterns, though, and the difference between the wet and dry seasons can often be smaller than many realize.
For the most part, Indonesia's weather patterns are dominated by these two different types of weather.
Indonesia's government is a presidential representative democratic republic. In this type of government, the President takes on the role of both the head of state and the head of the government. This means that the president not only serves as the head of the executive branch but that this is the position that tends to hold most of the authority in the government.
The legislature of Indonesia is the People’s Consultative Assembly. This bicameral legislature is made up of the Regional Representatives Council and the People’s Representative Council.
Indonesia is divided into thirty provinces and two special districts. Each of the provinces deal with local governmental matters. Most of these districts are set up to deal with traditional divisions between the different cultures of Indonesia.