Indonesia, formally the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia [rpublik ndonesia]), is a sovereign transcontinental nation mostly situated in Southeast Asia but also including certain areas in Oceania. It is the world’s biggest island nation, with over thirteen thousand islands, located between the Indian and Pacific seas. It is the world’s fourth most populous country, the most populous Austronesian nation, and the most populous Muslim-majority country, with an estimated population of approximately 260 million people (September 2016). Java, the world’s most populated island, is home to more than half of the country’s inhabitants.
The republican system of government in Indonesia consists of an elected legislature and president. Indonesia is divided into 34 provinces, five of which are classified as Special Administrative Regions. Jakarta is the capital and most populated city. The nation is bounded on the land by Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern portion of Malaysia. Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian region of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also neighbors. Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and a G-20 member. Indonesia’s economy ranks 16th in terms of nominal GDP and 8th in terms of PPP GDP.
Since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and subsequently Majapahit traded with China and India, the Indonesian archipelago has been a significant trading area. From the early centuries CE, local monarchs increasingly adopted foreign cultural, religious, and political patterns, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms thrived. Foreign nations attracted to Indonesia’s natural riches have impacted its history. During the Age of Discovery, Muslim merchants and Sufi thinkers introduced the now-dominant Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and competed for monopoly commerce in the Spice Islands of Maluku. After three and a half centuries of Dutch colonization, beginning in Amboina and Batavia and ultimately encompassing the whole archipelago, including Timor and West Papua, and interrupted at times by Portuguese, French, and British control, Indonesia gained independence after World War II. Since then, Indonesia’s history has been tumultuous, with natural catastrophes, mass murder, corruption, secession, a democratic process, and times of fast economic development posing difficulties.
Indonesia is home to hundreds of unique indigenous ethnic and linguistic groups. The Javanese are the biggest – and politically most powerful – ethnic minority in Indonesia. A common identity has evolved, characterized by a national language, ethnic variety, religious plurality among a majority-Muslim population, and a history of colonization and resistance to it. The national motto of Indonesia, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (“Unity in Variety,” meaning “many, but one”), encapsulates the country’s diversity. Despite its huge population and highly inhabited regions, Indonesia maintains extensive expanses of wildness that sustain the second greatest amount of biodiversity on the planet. The nation is endowed with natural resources like as oil and gas, tin, copper, and gold. Agriculture is primarily responsible for the production of rice, tea, coffee, spices, and rubber. Japan, the United States, and the neighboring nations of Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia are Indonesia’s primary trade partners.