Indonesia derived its name from a Greek word Indos and Nesos interpreted as “the Indian Islands.” The country is composed of a chain of more than 18,000 islands covering over two million square kilometers (735,358 square miles) with a population of over 248 million people who speaks more than 300 languages. The Dutch colonized Indonesia from 1670 until the Second World War when Japan took over. In 1945, Indonesia was declared independent. The country neighbors Malaysia, Papa New Guinea, and East Timor. The country is located between the continents of Asia and Oceania making it debatable on where it belongs. To address this we have to look at the geography as well as administration and governance.
Geography of Indonesia
The Indonesia archipelago is located between the Indian and Pacific oceans. Although Indonesia is considered to be mainly situated within the continent of Asia, some of its territories are located within the continent of Oceania, making it a transcontinental country. Indonesia’s largest Islands are Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi. The most populous island is Java which is the home to the capital city of Jakarta. The highest point is Puncak Jaya Mountain at 4,884 meters above sea level. Various lakes and rivers are a common feature with Lake Toba being the largest and River Kalimantan being the longest.
Due to Indonesia's proximity to the equator, the climatic conditions do not vary much between summer and winter. The generally tropical climate brings forth adequate rainfall making farming a major activity in the fertile volcanic soils. Volcanic eruptions have been witnessed with the most recent in 1991. The flora and fauna of the country are extremely diverse with millions of coastal and mainland species.
Governance and Politics
A multiparty democracy since 1999, Indonesia is ruled by a president and his deputy who are elected every five calendar years. The cabinet ministers, who are appointees of the president, manage various ministerial dockets. The task of making and amending laws is executed by the parliament. Disputes are heard and determined by the state court. To make governance efficient, the country is divided into 34 units each under a governor. These are further subdivided into regencies and mayoral zones. Districts and villages are the smaller zones of governance.
Indonesia's Location In Asia
Out of the seven continents, Asia is the biggest, having incorporated various islands, among them the archipelagic islands of Indonesia. The early European explorers categorized the land in the northeastern hemisphere as one continent, making it the most populous and geographically vast, with Indonesia on the lower side. The continental boundaries extended southwards to the islands of Maluku in Indonesia making the country part of South Asia.
Indonesia has always participated in major events in the Asian continent such as games, sports, economic empowerment, and trade negotiations. In fact, the next edition of Asian Games held every four years will be held in Indonesia in September 2018. Indonesia is also part of trade blocks and economic integration under various umbrella bodies such as Asian-Pacific Trade agreements (APTA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ASCAP). These bodies seek to create free trade environment and remove trade barriers to the benefit of all members. Indonesia also offers the Asian system of education and participates in various continental celebrations and calendar events.
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