The name Indonesia has its roots in two Greek words: "Indos" meaning Indian and "Nesos" which means islands.
It is an appropriate description of the archipelago as there are estimated to be a total of 17,508 islands, of which
only about 6,000 are inhabited, stretching for 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continental mainlands
and dividing the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator. Five main islands and 30 smaller archipelagoes are home
to the majority of the population. The main islands are Sumatra (473,6O6 sq.km), Kalimantan 1539,400 sq.km),
Sulawesi l 189,216 sq. km), Irian Jaya (421,981 sq. km), and last but not leastJava (132,187 sq.km), home to 70
percent of the country's population. Indonesia shares Irian Jaya with Papua New Guinea and two thirds of the island
of Kalimantan with Malaysia and Borneo.
The strategic position of Indonesia, has had distinctive influences on both the political and economic history
of the islands. Fossils of "Java Man" (Pithecanthropus Erectus) which date back some 500,000 years, were discovered
near the village of Trinil in East Java by Dr. Eugene Dubois in 1809. This discovery was followed by other finds in
later years which are evidence of Java's earliest inhabitants. Major migration movements to the Indonesian archipelago
have been traced as far back as 3,000- 500 B.C. These first migrants were of Mongoloid stock from China and Tonkin
and have been credited with introducing new Stone, Bronze and Iron Age cultures as well as the Austronesian language.
The nation's capital, Jakarta, has a fascinating and significant history. It started as a small harbour town
called Sunda Kelapa, but its founding dates back to the year 157 when it was named Jayakarta by Fatahillah of the
neighbouring Sultanate of Banten. The name Jayakarta means City of Great Victory but this was later changed to
Batavia under the Dutch. Now as Jakarta, the centre of government, business and industry, it spreads over an area
of more than 650 sq.km 1410 sq miles) and has a population of over eight million people. It is also designated as
a special territory, (Daerah Khusus Ibukota - DKI), which means that is is administered by a governor and enjoys
the same status of a province.
Distance to Archipelago
- London, United Kingdom to Jakarta : 6,557 miles (10,552 km)
- Paris, France to Jakarta : 6,483 miles (10,432 km)
- Rome, Italy to Jakarta : 6,038 miles (9,716 km)
- Stockholm, Sweden to Jakarta : 5,812 miles (9,353 km)
- Berlin, Germany to Jakarta : 5,979 miles (9,622 km)
- Madrid, Spain to Jakarta : 6,885 miles (11,079 km)
- New York, USA to Jakarta : 9,400 miles (15,126 km)
- Los Angeles, USA to Jakarta : 8,790 miles (14,144 km)
- Vancouver, Canada to Jakarta : 7,944 miles (12,783 km)
The majority [about 85%) of the population follows Islam. Freedom of religion is implemented by the
Indonesian Constitution, however, which is defined in the First Principle of the State Philosophy' "Pancasila",
which upholds a "Belief in One Supreme God"
The time in Indonesia is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 hours GMT).