29 Jun /16

Indonesia – Facts and Trivia

IndonesiaIf Indonesia isn’t interesting, you’re not trying

Indonesia, being entirely an archipelago, has the second longest coastline in the world (following Canada). And while Indonesia is comprised of over 17,000 islands, only 6,000 are inhabited.

Religion in Indonesia is complicated. Only recognising 6 religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Confucianism), it remains illegal for people of 2 different religions to marry without one converting. Considering this strict nature and a population that is 87% Muslim (and the largest Muslim country in the world), this is hardly the place where you would expect to find the world’s largest Buddhist temple – the Borobudur temple in Central Java, which contains 2,672 statues and reliefs.

Much like, well, most of the world, the most popular sport in Indonesia is football (soccer). Aside from bidding on hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Indonesia has a long football history, being the first Asian nation to compete for the World Cup in 1938.

Being part of the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific, it is no surprise that Indonesia is full of volcanoes, both active and extinct. One of these volcanoes, the Toba, in North Sumatra, seems to appreciate size over quantity. Though its biggest eruption was around 70,000 years ago, that single eruption was the largest known explosive eruption in the last 25 million years, causing a climate-change event and depositing ash as far as East Africa. Today, the caldera is occupied by Lake Toba as well as a small island, occupied by former headhunters.

Though the Indonesian language is largely unimpeded by colonial influences, the name ‘Indonesia’ is completely an import. The name, originally coined in the 1850s by James Logan in a Singapore-based journal, comes from the Latin word for ‘Indian,’ Indus, and the Greek word for ‘island,’ nesos, as Indonesia was originally referred to as the ‘Indian Archipelago’ or ‘East Indian Islands.’