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June 2015

Indonesia

Indonesia

On June 10th, the stratovolucano, Sinabung erupted in the Sumatra Utara province of Indonesia. The volcano lies south of Medan, in the northwestern section of the island of Sumatra. Sinabung is the largest volcano of its type known on Earth. Its caldera contains a lake that is 100 km in length.

Indonesia is now the world's third most populous democracy, the world's largest archipelagic state, and the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. 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 sometimes brutal fighting, intermittent 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.

More than 700 languages are used in Indonesia. The official language is a modified form of Malay (Bahasa Indonesia); English, Dutch and local dialects are also used. More than 87% of Indonesians identify as Muslim, less than 15% are Christian, Hindu, or other.

Slightly less than three times the size of Texas, Indonesia's water boundaries cover 93,000 sq km. Its climate is tropical´╝îhot & humid, with more moderate temperatures in the highlands. It's terrain is characterized as mostly coastal lowlands and interior mountains on the larger islands. The country's natural resources include: petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, coal, gold, and silver.

CIA World Factbook; Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, 6/2015; 6/2015

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