Indonesia is an archipelago in Southeast Asia consisting of 17,000 islands (6,000 inhabited) and straddling the equator. Its neighbor to the north is Malaysia and to the east is Papua New Guinea. The major islands are:
- Jawa (Java is the most populous),
- Bali (The island of gods),
- Kalimantan (Indonesia's part of Borneo),
- Sulawesi (Celebes),
- The Nusa Tenggara islands,
- The Maluku (Moluccas) Islands,
- Irian Jaya (West Papua).
The 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia were home to a diversity of cultures and indigenous beliefs when the islands came under the influence of Hindu priests and traders in the first and second centuries A.D. Muslim traders began in the 13th century, and most of the archipelago had converted to Islam by the 15th century. Portuguese invasion began early in the next century. Then the Dutch colonize this country around 1595. India Company established posts on the island of Java, in an effort to control the spice trade.The British ever colonize the islands but returned them to the Dutch in 1816. During World War II, Japan take control the islands. After Japan's surrender, Indonesian represented by Sukarno and Hatta, proclaimed Indonesian independence on Aug. 17, 1945.