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Indonesia (/ˌɪndəˈnʒə/ (About this sound listen) IN-də-NEE-zhə, /-ziə/ -zee-ə; Indonesian: [ɪndoneˈsia]), officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia [rɛpublik ɪndoneˈsia]),[lacks stress] is a transcontinental unitary sovereign state located mainly in Southeast Asia, with some territories in Oceania. Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is the world's largest island country, with more than thirteen thousand islands. At 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles), Indonesia is the world's 14th largest country in terms of land area and the 7th largest in terms of combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Austronesian and Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, contains more than half of the country's population.

Indonesia's republican form of government includes an elected parliament and president. Indonesia has 34 provinces, of which five have special status. Its capital is Jakarta, which is the second most populous urban area in the world. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil, tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are China, the United States, Japan, Singapore and India.

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Barongsai Pasar Baru 2.JPG

Chinese Indonesians (barongsai pictured) are Indonesians descended from various Chinese ethnic groups. Their population grew rapidly during the colonial period when workers were contracted from their home provinces in southern China. Indonesia's 2010 census reported more than 8.8 million self-identified ethnic Chinese: 3.7 percent of the country's population. Evidence of discrimination against Chinese Indonesians can be found throughout the history of Indonesia, although government policies implemented since 1998 have attempted to redress this. The Chinese Indonesian population of Java accounts for nearly half of the group's national population. Although they are generally more urbanized than Indonesia's indigenous population, significant rural and agricultural communities exist throughout the country. Among the overseas residents, their identities are noticeably more Indonesian than Chinese. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Maria Ulfah Santoso.jpg

Maria Ulfah Santoso (1911–88) was an Indonesian women's rights activist and politician. The daughter of a politician, she became interested in women's rights after seeing numerous injustices in her youth. She graduated with a degree in law from Leiden University in 1933; while in the Netherlands she also became involved in the Indonesian nationalist movement. Upon returning to the Dutch East Indies, Santoso began teaching and working towards marriage reform. She was a member of the Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence, and later became the Social Minister. Chosen for the cabinet post in part for her emancipatory activities, Santoso paved the way for other female cabinet members. After her term, she continued to work with the government in various capacities. (Read more...)

Did you know

Cigarette factory

  • ... that Indonesia is the fifth largest tobacco market (tobacco factory pictured) in the world, and that in 2008 over 165 billion cigarettes were sold there?
  • ... that Batak Toba's funeral ceremonies include the second burial (mangongkal holi) of which the deceased bones are reinterred several years after the death?
  • ... that the native Borneo snake species, known as the Kapuas mud snake, is the only snake that can change its skin color spontaneously?

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The proclamation being read

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Monas view from Gambir Bus Terminal.JPG
The National Monument in Gambir, Jakarta; it stands 132 metres (433 ft) tall

Photographer: Sakurai Midori; License: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA

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