Indonesia, formerly known as the Republic of Indonesia, is an island country spanning into both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Found off the coast of South East Asia, it lays claim to the unique title of being the world’s largest archipelago country. Its capital, Jakarta, is located on the island of Java, and is the country’s largest city, with more than 10 million residents. Jakarta is the 14th largest country in the world while being the 4th most highly populated country in the world.
Being a vast, sprawling archipelago, Indonesia shares a border with several countries. In the north, it borders Malaysia, and East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the south. Also, its maritime borders are shared with numerous countries, including Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, India, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Indonesia has a unique geography. The island nation consists of more than 14,000 islands, about half of which are uninhabited, and lies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and experiences higher than normal volcanic and seismic activity, which is mostly in part due to being located across the juncture of two massive tectonic plates. The country can be divided mainly into regions based on the shelves it finds itself located, the Sahul Shelf and the Sunda Shelf.
The geography is extremely varied, as there are so many islands across such a large area, but the largest islands generally share a common theme; they contain tall, heavily forested volcanic mountains that transition to plains, then swamps, and then finally to shallow seas that are filled with coral reefs. The waters are full of coral reefs and are shallow due to large swaths of the country’s seas resting on the continental shelves, as opposed to a usual ocean floor.
Unlike its geography, which can be varied, the climate of the country is relatively uniform across its islands. Located along the equator, the nearly the entire country enjoys a year-round tropical climate. Its seasons are divided into a relatively dry season and monsoon season, though the majority of the country receives a relatively large amount of precipitation year-round. Due to its proximity to the equator, Indonesia does not experience significant variation in the length of days throughout the year and avoids cyclones, as well as the vast majority of typhoons that its neighbors experience.
For being a country that is spread across a wide area across thousands of islands, India has a very dense population. The country’s entire population is more than 260 million inhabitants, but more than half of that population, about 145 million, lives on the island of Java, also home to Indonesia’s capital city. At only 660 miles long and around 125 miles wide, that population makes Java the most densely populated island in the world.
The fact that the population is largely concentrated into smaller areas likely contributes to the nation’s ability to maintain a healthy, stable, and centralized government. Even though more than 300 languages are spoken across the multitude of islands, the country has primarily one language: Bahasa Indonesia.