Sunday, October 15, 2006

Indonesia is the largest archipelago

Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the fourth most populous country in the world. Consisting of five main islands and 30 smaller archipelagoes, it has the total of more than 17,000 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited.
This necklacelike archipelago stretches more than 5,000 kilometers along the equator, between Australia and the Asian continents, dividing the Pacific and Indian Ocean. The outer limits of this stretch of islands - from Sabang to Merauke - is as far as California is to Bermuda or as far as Perth (Australia) is to Wellington (New Zealand). The total area of Indonesia is about 5 million sq. km. of which about 2 million sq. km. are land. Its sea area is 4 times larger than its land area. The Indonesians are the only nation in the world who called their country "Tanah Air" meaning "Land (and) Water".

The islands are inhabited by 300 ethnic groups with distinct cultures, speaking 365 languages and dialects.

Indonesia is rich in art and culture which are intertwined with religion
and age-old traditions from the time of early migrants to the Western
thoughts brought by Portuguese traders and Dutch colonialists. The
basic principles which guided life include the concepts of "gotong royong" (mutual assistance) and "musyawarah" (deliberations) to arrive at a "mufakat" (consensus). Derived from rural way of life, this system is still very much in use in community life throughout the country.

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