Indonesia officially the Republic of Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia comprises 17,508 islands and thirty three provinces. With over 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. The nation’s capital city is Jakarta. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, Philippines, Australia, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and a member of the G-20 major economies. The Indonesian economy is the world’s eighteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and fifteenth largest by purchasing power parity.
The population of Indonesia according to the 2010 national census is 237.6 million, with population growth still high at 1.9 percent. 58% living on the island of Java, the world’s most populous island. Despite a fairly effective family planning program that has been in place since the 1960s, the population is expected to grow to around 254 million by 2020 and 288 million by 2050.
Most Indonesians are descended from Austronesian-speaking peoples whose languages can be traced to Proto Austronesian (PAn), which possibly originated in Taiwan. Another major grouping are Melanesians, who inhabit eastern Indonesia. There are around 300 distinct native ethnicities in Indonesia, and 742 different languages and dialects. The largest ethnic group is the Javanese, who comprise 42% of the population, and are politically and culturally dominant. The Sundanese, ethnic Malays, and Madurese are the largest non-Javanese groups. A sense of Indonesian nationhood exists alongside strong regional identities. Society is largely harmonious, although social, religious and ethnic tensions have triggered horrendous violence. Chinese Indonesians are an influential ethnic minority comprising 3-4% of the population. Much of the country’s privately owned commerce and wealth is Chinese-Indonesian-controlled, which has contributed to considerable resentment, and even anti-Chinese violence.
The official national language, Indonesian, a form of Malay, is universally taught in schools, and consequently is spoken by nearly every Indonesian. It is the language of business, politics, national media, education, and academia. It is based on the prestige dialect of Malay, that of the Johor-Riau Sultanate, which for centuries had been the lingua franca of the archipelago, standards of which are the official languages in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. It was promoted by Indonesian nationalists in the 1920s, and declared the official language under the name Bahasa Indonesia on the proclamation of independence in 1945. Most Indonesians speak at least one of the several hundred local languages and dialects, often as their first language. Of these, Javanese is the most widely spoken as the language of the largest ethnic group. On the other hand, Papua has over 270 indigenous Papuan and Austronesian languages, in a region of about 2.7 million people.
While religious freedom is stipulated in the Indonesian constitution, the government officially recognizes only six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Although it is not an Islamic state, Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, with 86.1% of Indonesians were Muslim according to the 2000 census. At May 21, 2011 the Indonesian Sunni-Shia Council (MUHSIN) has been established for the first in the world. The council aims to hold gatherings, dialogues and social activities, but not to attempt to mix both teaching. It was the answered of violence committed in the name of religion. Majority of Muslim in Indonesia are Sunni. 9% of the population was Christian, 3% Hindu, and 2% Buddhist or other. Most Indonesian Hindus are Balinese, and most Buddhists in modern-day Indonesia are ethnic Chinese. Though now minority religions, Hinduism and Buddhism remain defining influences in Indonesian culture. Islam was first adopted by Indonesians in northern Sumatra in the 13th century, through the influence of traders, and became the country’s dominant religion by the 16th century. Roman Catholicism was brought to Indonesia by early Portuguese colonialists and missionaries, and the Protestant denominations are largely a result of Dutch Calvinist and Lutheran missionary efforts during the country’s colonial period. A large proportion of Indonesians—such as the Javanese abangan, Balinese Hindus, and Dayak Christians—practice a less orthodox, syncretic form of their religion, which draws on local customs and beliefs
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