Thursday, May 23, 2019

Republic of Indonesia

Indonesia, in Southeast Asia is an archipelago between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  There are 17.000 islands and shares borders with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste.  The capital and largest city is Jakarta which is located on Java, the world's most populous island.

It's huge!  Almost three times bigger than Texas and it's the world's largest island country.  Indonesia is home to more than 267 million people making it the fourth most populous country in the world.  It's also the most populous Muslim-majority country.

Archaeologists estimate that the islands were inhabited some two million to 500.000 years ago.  There were Buddhist and Hindu dynasties between the 8th and 13th centuries.  Islam came in the 8th century and became the dominant religion by the end of the 16th century.

Europeans came in 1512.  The Dutch were the dominant European power here for about 200 years which is why is used to be known as the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands East Indies.

WWII and the Japanese invasion put an end to Dutch rule.  Following the war, Indonesia declared indolence in 1945 and it was recognised internationally in 1949.

In 1975 Indonesia invaded East Timor but in 1999 it successfully seceded from Indonesia.

Today the Republic of Indonesia is a presidential republic and it was a founding member of ASEAN.

The country is very diverse.  There are about 300 distinct ethnic groups with the largest being Javanese at 40% of the population.

There are six officially recognised religions - Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.  There are 227 million Muslims mostly Sunnis.  Only about 10% of the population is Christian.  Like several Muslim countries, it does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

The Rupiah (Rp) is the official currency.
The official language is Indonesian which is a standardised version of Malay.    Due to the country's population this makes it one of the world's most widely spoken languages.  But there are over 700 local languages.  700!

The flag is almost identical to that of Monaco.  The Indonesian flag is a bit larger and a slightly different shade of red.  I wonder how often this becomes a "thing".

In 2012 the Czech Export Bank and the Indonesia Exim Bank signed an agreement to support import/export activities between the two countries.  Czechland imports textiles, clothes, footwear, and rubber from Indonesia.  Indonesia imports machinery, chemicals, electrical and power generation and telecommunications equipment from Czechland.  It's about $500 million of bilateral trade.

Here's a 2016 video I found on YouTube about how powerful Indonesia is.

©Test Tube News

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