Indonesia islands



Republic of Indonesia is a country in which population of around 238 million people, it is the world's fourth most populous country, and has the world's largest population of Muslims. Indonesia is a republic, with an elected legislature and president.

Across its many islands, Indonesia consists of distinct ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. The Javanese are the largest—and the politically dominant—ethnic group, beside Indonesia has developed a shared identity defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a majority Muslim population, and a history of colonialism including rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity. The country is richly endowed with natural resources, yet poverty remains widespread in contemporary Indonesia.

Indonesia is often referred to as the world's largest archipelago, a name which aptly represents its 17,000 or so islands which span more than 5000 km (around 3,200 miles) eastward from Sabang in northern Sumatra to Merauke in Irian Jaya. If you superimpose a map of Indonesia over one of Europe, you will find that it stretches from Ireland to Iran; compared to the United States, it covers the area from California to Bermuda. 

There are eight major islands or island groups in this enormous chain. The largest landmasses consist of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes) and Irian Jaya (the western half of Papua New Guinea). The smaller islands fall into two main groups: the Molluccas to the northeast, and the lesser Sunda chain east of Bali. Bali is a unique island, which for a number of reasons can be put into a class of its own. 

The territory of the Republic of Indonesia stretches from 6o08' north latitude to 11o15' south latitude, and from 94o45' to 141o05' east longitude. The Indonesian sea area is four times greater than its land area, which is about 1.9 million sq. km. The sea area is about 7.9 million sq. km (including an exclusive economic zone) and constitutes about 81% of the total area of the country.

The five main islands are: Sumatra, which is about 473,606 sq. km. in size; the most fertile and densely populated islands, Java/Madura, 132,107 sq. km; Kalimantan, which comprises two-thirds of the island of Borneo and measures 539,460 sq. km; Sulawesi, 189,216 sq. km; and Irian Jaya, 421,981 sq. km, which is part of the world's second largest island, New Guinea. Indonesia's other islands are smaller in size.