|Name:||Republic of indonesia|
|Main cities:||Jakarta, Surabaya, Yogyakarta|
|Form of government||Unitary presidential republic|
|Exchange rate:||€ 1 = 12,107.27 IDR|
|Religions:||Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhism|
|GDP:||$ 1,2 trillion (2010)|
|GDP per capita:||$ 4.300 (2010)|
|GDP real growth rate:||6%|
Fossilized remains of Homo erectus, popularly known as the “Java Man”, suggest the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited two million to 500,000 years ago. Austronesian peoplearrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE, and confined the native Melanesian peoples to the far eastern regions as they expanded. Ideal agricultural conditions, and the mastering of rice cultivation allowed villages, towns, and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE. Indonesian strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade. For example, trade links with both Indian kingdoms and China were established several centuries BCE. Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history. From the seventh century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism . Between the eighth and 10th centuries CE, the agricultural Buddhist Sailendra and Hindu Mataram dynasties thrived and declined in inland Java, leaving grand religious monuments such as Borobudur and Prambanan. Majapahit kingdom was founded in eastern Java in the late 13th century. Under Gajah Mada, its influence stretched over much of Indonesia. This period is often referred to as a “Golden Age” in Indonesian history. The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; the islands were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan’s surrender, but it required four years before the Netherlands agreed to relinquish its colony. Sukarno and Hatta were proclaimed president and vice-president by the Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP).Indonesia enjoyed prosperous economic status in the late 1960’s and lasted for almost 3 decades under the rule of president Suharto. But the 1997 East Asian Financial Crisis crippled the country resulting to mass protests and resignation of Suharto in 1998. In 2004, Indonesia had its first direct presidential voting and elected Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the new president.
Indonesian culturehas been shaped by long interaction between original indigenous customs and multiple foreign influences. Indonesia is central along ancient trading routes between the Far East and the Middle East, resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Islam, all strong in the major trading cities. The result is a complex cultural mixture very different from the original indigenous cultures.
Examples of cultural fusion include the fusion of Islam with Hindu in Javanese Abangan belief, the fusion of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism in Bodha, and the fusion of Hinduism and animism in Kaharingan; others could be cited.
Indonesian art-forms express this cultural mix. Wayang, traditional theater-performed puppet shows, were a medium in the spread of Hinduism and Islam amongst Javan villagers. Both Javanese and Balinese dances have stories about ancient Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms, while Islamic art forms and architecture are present in Sumatra, especially in the Minangkabau and Aceh regions. Traditional art, music and sport are combined in a martial art form called Pencak Silat.
Western culture has greatly influenced Indonesia in modern entertainment such as television shows, film and music, as well as political system and issues. India has notably influenced Indonesian songs and movies. A popular type of song is the Indian-rhythmical dangdut, which is often mixed with Arab and Malay folk music.
Despite the influences of foreign culture, some remote Indonesian regions still preserve uniquely indigenous culture. Indigenous ethnic groups Mentawai, Asmat, Dani, Dayak, Toraja and many others are still practising their ethnic rituals, customs and wearing traditional clothes.
Indonesia, a vast polyglot nation, has weathered the global financial crisis relatively smoothly because of its heavy reliance on domestic consumption as the driver of economic growth. Increasing investment by both local and foreign investors is also supporting solid growth. Although the economy slowed to 4.5% growth in 2009 from the 6%-plus growth rate recorded in 2007 and 2008, by 2010 growth returned to a 6% rate. During the recession, Indonesia outperformed most of its regional neighbors. The government made economic advances under the first administration of President Yudhoyono, introducing significant reforms in the financial sector, including tax and customs reforms, the use of Treasury bills, and capital market development and supervision. Indonesia's debt-to-GDP ratio in recent years has declined steadily because of increasingly robust GDP growth and sound fiscal stewardship, leading two of the three leading credit agencies to upgrade credit ratings for Indonesia's sovereign debt to one notch below investment grade. Indonesia still struggles with poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment, and unequal resource distribution among regions. Yudhoyono and his vice president, respected economist Boediono, have maintained broad continuity of economic policy, although the economic reform agenda has been slowed during the first year of their term by corruption scandals and the departure of an internationally respected finance minister. In late 2010, increasing inflation, driven by higher and volatile food prices, posed an increasing challenge to economic policymakers and threatened to push millions of the near-poor below the poverty line. The government in 2011 faces the ongoing challenge of improving Indonesia's infrastructure to remove impediments to growth, while addressing climate change concerns, particularly with regard to conserving Indonesia's forests and peatlands, the focus of a potentially trailblazing $1 billion REDD+ pilot project.
Indonesia is home to some of the rarest creatures in the world, including miniature deer, fish that climb trees to catch insects and spiders that catch and devour small birds in giant webs.
Indonesia comprises 17,508 islands.Three of the ten largest islands in the world are found here.The biggest island in Indonesia is Sumatra.
Indonesia is the fourth most heavily populated country in the world after China, India and the United States with 228 million people (2002), comprising some 300 ethnic groups who speak an estimated 583 languages and dialects.
The largest Buddhist temple in the world is Indonesia’s Borobudur. It even inspired the building of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The largest flower in the world, Rafflesia Arnoldi, is native to Indonesia. The flower was named from Sir Stamford Raffles. Even though it is huge, it doesn’t smell nice like roses or jasmine flowers, for Rafflesia is an insect-eating flower.