INDONESIA COUNTRY PROFILE
INDONESIA LONELY PLANET
The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders and Sufi scholars brought the now-dominant Islam,while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Malukuduring the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism starting from the East Indonesia ofWest Papua, Timor to eventually all of West Indonesia, at times interrupted by Portuguese, French and British rule, Indonesia secured its independence after World War II. Indonesia's history has since been turbulent, with challenges posed by natural disasters, mass slaughter, corruption, separatism, a democratisation process, and periods of rapid economic change.
Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups. The largest – and politically dominant – ethnic group are the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin,copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, tea, coffee, spices and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners areJapan, the United States and the surrounding nations of Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.