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February 2014

Indonesia

Indonesia

Mount Kelud, on the island of Java, in Indonesia erupted, spewing ash over much of the eastern end of the island. The eruption caused airport closures and evacuations throughout the island. Java is only one of over 17,000 islands that make up the archipelago of Indonesia. The capital city, Jakarta, is also on Java; it is northwest of Mount Kelud.

The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence shortly before Japan's surrender, but it required four years of fighting and negotiations, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to transfer sovereignty in 1949. From 1967 until 1988, President Suharto ruled Indonesia with his "New Order" government. After rioting toppled Suharto in 1998, free and fair legislative elections took place in 1999. Indonesia is now the world's third most populous democracy, the world's largest archipelagic state, and the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.

This archipelago lies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Together the islands are slightly lest than three times the size of Texas, with a combined coastline of over 54,000km. The overall climate of Indonesia is tropical, hot and humid, but can be more moderate in the highlands. Along with volcanic eruptions, the country faces the threat of occasional floods, severe droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes, and forest fires. Indonesia's natural resources include: petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, coal, gold, and silver.

CIA World Factbook, 2/2014

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