Indonesia (Republic of Indonesia), is a country in Southwest Asia and Oceania. Indonesia comprises 17,508 islands and 33 provinces, with over 238 million peoples, it is the world's fourth most populous country in the world. The nation's capital city is Jakarta. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Malaysia. Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and a member of the G-20 major economies. The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulel gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished.
Across its many island, Indonesia consist of distinct ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. The Javanesse are the largest. 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 nation motto 'Bhinneka Tunggal Ika' (Unity in Diversity), articulate 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 povert remains widespread in contemporary Indonesia.
Among the most well known island are Sumatera, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), Maluku Island (the better known as Moluccas, the original spice island) and Papua. Then there is Bali 'the world's best island resort' with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dance and music. Indonesia still has many unexplored island with grand mountain views, green rain forest to trek through, rolling waves to surf and deep blue pristine seas to dive in where one can swim with dugong,s dolphins and large mantarays.
Indonesia's moderate climate throughout the year, its fertile soil brought about by lava, and its minerals found on land and in the sea caused by volcanic eruptions, have made this the ideal habitat for a large number of unique and endemic flora and fauna. Indonesia has among the most variety diversity of species of animal life on land and in the seas found anywhere in the world. Indonesia's flora and fauna is divided by the 'Wallace Line' that runs between Bali and Lombok, continuing north between Kalimantan and Sulawesi. West of the line vegetation and wildlife are Asia in nature, whereas east of the line these resemble those of Australia.
Vegetation found in different parts of the archipelago varies according to rainfall, soil and altitude. On the wetter islands, on Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua, ancient rainforests cover large areas. These forests are rich in valuable hardwood, aromatic and spice trees, as well as exotic fruit trees. Lately, however, through illegal logging and human settlements, large tracts of forests have been decimated leaving infertile land that cause flooding and erosions.
To preserve these unique flora and fauna Indonesia has designated 50 National Parks throughout the archipelago, covering both land and sea, a large number of protected reverses offering ecotourism opportunities, as well as botanic gardens and zoos.
On the island east of Bali known as the Nusatenggara Island (or once known as the Small Sunda Island), there are savannahs, while on other mountain top such as in the Mount Gede Pangrango National Park only 100 kms from Jakarta, one find edelweiss, more reminiscent of Switzerland.
The majority of the population embraces Islam, while in Bali the Hindu religion is predominant. Whereas in areas like the Minahasa in North Sulawesi, the Toraja highlands in South Sulawesi, in the East Nusatenggara island and in large parts of Papua, in the Batak highlands as well as on Nias Island in North Sumatra, the majority are either Catholics and Protestans. On the whole the Indonesian peopes are religious in nature.