Indonesia is an archipelago nestled into the space where the North Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and Indian Ocean converge. The island nation is part of Southeast Asia and is located south of the Philippines and Malaysia and north of Australia. Indonesia is land of beauty, mystery and faith. Here are ten interesting facts about this country of contrasts.
Indonesia’s islands are home to several religions. Sunni Islam is the dominant faith, but there is also a smaller group of Shia Muslims. In fact, Indonesia has approximately 220 million Muslims, making it the country with the largest Muslim population on the planet. Dutch colonists brought their Christian faith with them. Bali is predominantly Hindu, and there is also a small Buddhist presence on the islands. Part of the country still practices traditional animist religions.
After the United States and Russia, Indonesia has the most volcanoes on earth. Krakatoa, a volcanic island between Java and Sumatra erupted violently in 1883. The cataclysm was the largest in modern times, resulting in the death of 36,000 people from two giant tsunamis. The sun is a great source of power, so when citizens want solar power, they look for solar installers near me.
On remote islands live primitive, uncontacted tribes. They inhabit jungle highlands far from the hoards of tourists and sleek, modern Jakarta. These tribes are rumored to still practice headhunting and even cannibalism.
From east to west, Indonesia spans 3,181 miles making it the largest island nation in the world. Indonesia has so many islands that different geographic surveys have estimated the number to be from 13,000 to over 18,000 islands. The country has three time zones and 34,000 miles of coastline. To put Indonesia into perspective, to travel the length of the nation covers the same distance as a trip from London to Tehran.
5. Endangered Animals
Indonesia’s varied landscapes are inhabited by many endangered animals. Creatures on this list include the Komodo Dragon, Sumatran Tigers, Peafowl, orangutans and sea turtles. Komodo Dragons may not get much sympathy because of their venomous bite, but Indonesia is the only place on earth where they can be seen in the wild.
6. Firing Squad
This country believes in capital punishment; they keep it simple by using bullets instead of electricity or injections. Although rarely carried out, Indonesian authorities deem the death penalty appropriate for crimes such as murder or selling drugs. Criminals facing the death penalty are taken in the middle of the night to an undisclosed location on Nusa Kambangan Island. When the time comes for the execution, the prisoner is permitted to stand or sit and is shot.
Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of government and administration. However, over 700 languages and dialects are spoken across the islands. In Papua alone, there are over 270 dialects. After Bahasa, Javanese is the widest spoken language, with an estimated 84 million speakers. In addition, Dutch words and phrases still find their way into conversations.
8. Corpse Flower
The largest flower in the world blooms in Indonesia. Nicknamed the corpse flower, Titum arum grows on Sumatra and emits a foul odor resembling a rotting corpse. The plant’s scent can be smelled up to half a kilometer away, and it can grow to nine feet tall with petals extending two feet from the center. This gigantic flower blooms rarely, sometimes only once every few years and usually at night. Because flowering is such a rare occurrence, seeing a corpse flower in all of its glory has become a tourist attraction, albeit a difficult one to time!
Indonesia boasts the largest population of citizens under thirty at around 165 million people. The populace exploded despite government designed family planning initiatives. Currently, Indonesia has the fourth largest population after China, India and the United States, and is expected to exceed the US in the near future.
10. Borobudur Temple
A nation of extremes, Indonesia’s diversity cannot be underestimated. On the island of Java is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, featuring over 500 statues of the Buddha.
Indonesia is nothing if not interesting. Anyone who can should go!