|Background: The world's largest archipelago, Indonesia achieved
independence from the Netherlands in 1949. Current issues include:
implementing IMF-mandated reforms of the banking sector, effecting a
transition to a popularly elected government after four decades of
authoritarianism, addressing charges of cronyism and corruption, holding
the military accountable for human rights violations, and resolving
growing separatist pressures in Aceh and Irian Jaya. On 30 August 1999 a
provincial referendum for independence was overwhelmingly approved by the
people of Timor Timur. Concurrence followed by Indonesia's national
legislature, and the name East Timor was provisionally adopted. The
independent status of East Timor - now under UN administration - has yet
to be formally established.
Government type: republic
Currency: Indonesian rupiah (Rp) = 100 sen
Geography of Indonesia
Location: Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the
People of Indonesia
Indonesia's 228 million people make it the world's fourth-most populous nation. The island of Java is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with more than 107 million people living in an area the size of New York State. Indonesia includes numerous related but distinct cultural and linguistic groups, many of which are ethnically Malay. Since independence, Bahasa Indonesia (the national language, a form of Malay) has spread throughout the archipelago and has become the language of most written communication, education, government, and business. Many local languages are still important in many areas, however. English is the most widely spoken foreign language. Education is free and compulsory for children through grade 9. Although about 92% of eligible children are enrolled in primary school, a much smaller percentage attend full time. About 44% of secondary school-age children attend junior high school, and some others of this age group attend vocational schools.
Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom apply to the five religions recognized by the state, namely Islam (88%), Protestantism (5%), Catholicism (3%), Hinduism (2%), and Buddhism (1%). In some remote areas, animism is still practiced.
Population: 241,973,879 (July 2005 est.)
SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State
Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Indonesia > Map Economy History