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August 2010



Indonesia, formally the Republic of Indonesia, includes more than 17,000 islands between the Indian Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean (2 million sq. km. or 736,000 sq. mi.). It is about three times the size of the state of Texas. With an overall population of 240.3 million people (July 2009) it is the world's fourth-most populous nation. The capital city of Jakarta has about 8.8 million people; other major cities include: Surabaya, Medan, and Bandung.

The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan's surrender, but it required four years of intermittent negotiations, recurring hostilities, and UN mediation to transfer sovereignty in 1949. Indonesia's first free parliamentary election took place in 1999. Indonesia is now the world's third-largest democracy, the world's largest archipelagic state, and home to the world's largest Muslim population.

The climate of Indonesia ranges from tropical to hot, humid to more moderate in highlands. The terrain is mostly coastal lowlands; the larger islands have interior mountains. The natural resources of Indonesia are: petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, coal, gold, and silver. Natural hazards include: occasional floods, severe droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and forest fires.

The Smithsonian - National Museum of Natural History maintains a web page on volcanoes of Indonesia within the Global Volcanism Program. Mount Sinabung is an inland volcanic peak in the Sumatra Utara province of Indonesia.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes; The Columbia Gazeteer, 8/2010; 8/2010; 8/2010

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