It sounds unbelievable, but from the tiny island of Sabang in the northwest down to West Papua one can find scattered some seventeen thousand (!) Indonesian islands. Distinctive geographical location of Indonesia, extended to some five thousand miles alongside the equator, makes this country one of the largest archipelago on the planet. The natural beauties of Indonesia are endless: from the hidden lagoons, tropical forests to the mountains and numerous volcanic peaks. Islands have a tropical climate with a rainy season that starts sometime in November and lasts until March and a dry season from April to October. With 230 million inhabitants, of which only ten percent is made of the Christians and Hindus, this is the largest Muslim country in the world. Dominant ethnic groups are comprised of Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese and Malays.
After more than three decades spent as the head of state, a wave of demonstrations and violence in late nineties marked the end of the Suharto regime.
In May 1998. he was forced to submit his resignation. In the years to come, the division on religious grounds between the Christians and Muslims alongside a huge gap in understanding between the central government in Jakarta and the authorities’ and people’s aspirations in remote provinces, have resulted in violence and many tragic incidents. The island and the provinces of Maluku, Aceh, West Kalimantan, Irian Jaya and East Timor were specially affected. However, the retirement of the long time dictator and the incidents did not cause dissolution of the country. Since Suharto departure, a few peaceful parliamentary and presidential elections were held. Over the past decade or so country witnessed orderly rotation of the presidents Abdurrahman Wahid, followed by Megawati Sukarnoputri, and the latest one being former security chief, general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyona, who was recently elected for his second term in office.
Unfortunately, this gorgeous country is frequently exposed to the natural disasters, earthquakes and tsunami phenomena. The catastrophic tsunami which occurred in the December 2004. has affected more than 2 million people and the recovery efforts are still ongoing.