The world's largest archipelago, and the world's largest Muslim population, Indonesia archieved independence from the Netherlands in 1945. This cast polyglot nation - composed of 27 provinces, 2 special regions (Aceh and Yogyakarta), and 1 special capital city district (Jakarta) - recently began the transition to a popularly elected government after four decades of authoritarianism.
Indonsia's top industries include petroleum and natural gas production, textiles, apparel and footwear; mining, cement, chemical fertilizers, plywood and tourism mainly for Bali and Yogyakarta. Agriculture is still the top employer, utilizing 45% of the country's workforce to produce rice, cassava, peanuts, rubber, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, copra; poultry, beef, pork and eggs, while leading export commodities include oil and gas, electrical appliances, plywood, textiles and rubber.
Fast Fact Sheet:
6°08S, 106°45E (Jakarta)
54,716km of coastline, with 2,830km of shared borders with East Timor (228km), Malaysia (1,782km) and Papua New Guinea (820km).
Tropical; hot, humid: more moderate in highlands.
88% Muslim, 5% Protestan, 3% Roman Catholic, 2% Hindu, 1% Buddhist, 1% Other (1998).
Javanese 45%, Sundanese 14%, Maduranese 7.5%, Coastal Malays 7.5%, other 26%.
Bahasa Indonesia, English, Dutch, local dialects of which Javanese is the most widely spoken.
Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).