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Geography in Indonesia

Extras

Indonesia is an archipelagic island country in Southeast Asia, lying between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It is in a strategic location astride major sea lanes between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. 

Indonesia has a very complexed culture, it is not set, but is dynamic and varied. The culture has in some part been affected by centuries of complex interaction with the physical archipelagic environment. This is displayed in traditional dress, dances, cuisine, music and language. Being an archipelago of numerous different islands, many cultures developed initially unaware of one another. Through improvements in technology, these cultures eventually came together. As you’d imagine, there are still over 700 different languages present in the Indonesian archipelago, and 300 different ethnic groups, a people for every island.  

The archipelagic country of Indonesia extends 5,120 kilometres from east to west and 1,760 kilometres from north to south, over both land and ocean. There are around 17,508 islands, all in all, only 6,000 of them are inhabited by people. 

If you stuck all of the islands in Indonesia together, the total land area would be 1,919,317 square kilometres, roughly the same size as Mexico. Included in Indonesia’s total territory is another 93,000 square kilometres of inland seas (Strait, bays etc.). If you account for the additional surrounding sea area, it brings Indonesia’s total territorial size to 5 million square kilometres.  

The archipelago of Indonesia has thousands of different islands, but there are a few main islands where the majority populations reside. The majority of the Indonesian population, around 139 million people, reside on the island of Java. The capital city of the island and the capital city of the country is Jakarta, with a population of roughly 10 million people. The other major islands in the archipelago are Sumatra (47 million); Sulawesi (17 million); Kalimantan (15 million) - the Indonesian part of the Bornean island, and Irian Jaya (4 million) – the Indonesian part of Papua New Guinea.  

Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan lie in the Greater Sunda Islands, which means they lie on the Sunda shelf – an extension of the Malay Peninsula and the Southeast-Asian mainland. Papua, or Irian Jaya, lies in the extreme east of the archipelago, on the Sahul Shelf. 

There are various mountains throughout Indonesia. Larger mountains, ranging between 3,000 and 3,800 metres above the sea level, can be found on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok, Sulawesi, and Seram. The tallest mountains in the country can be found in the Jayawijaya Mountains and the Sudirman Mountains in Irian Jaya. Puncak Jaya, also known as Mount Carstensz, is found in the Sudirman Mountains of Papua, and is the highest mountain in all Indonesia, at around 4,884 metres. 

Nusa Tenggara consists of two chains of islands spanning from Bali east towards Papua. The inner arc of Nusa Tenggara is a continuation of the string of mountains and volcanoes extending from Sumatra through Java, Bali and Flores, and trails off in the Banda islands. The outer arc of Nusa Tenggara is a geological extension of the chain of islands west of Sumatra that includes Nias, Mentawai, and Enggano. This chain reappears in Nusa Tenggara in the rugged mountain islands of Sumba and Timor. 

Geographically, Indonesia has a lot to offer. There are thousands of unique islands dotted throughout these tropical waters, each with a different language and culture to get to know. 

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