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Indonesia country profile

[Press center5] time:2023-05-28 20:42:32 source:ABC News author:Press center9 click:16order

Spread across a chain of thousands of islands between Asia and Australia, Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population and Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Ethnically it is highly diverse, with more than 300 local languages. The people range from rural hunter-gatherers to a modern urban elite.

Sophisticated kingdoms existed before the arrival of the Dutch, who colonised the archipelago but gave in to an independence struggle in 1949.

Indonesia has become one of the world's major emerging economies, but faces demands for independence in several provinces and increasing attacks by Islamist armed groups.

President: Joko Widodo

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo won the elections of July 2014, one of a new breed of politician that emerged in the fledgling democracy.

He was seen by many as relatively untainted by the county's endemic corruption and in touch with ordinary Indonesians as a result of his humble background - he was a furniture maker and his father a wood seller.

Since taking office, he has focused on economic growth and infrastructure development as well as an ambitious health and education agenda. He was re-elected in 2019 for a second five-year term, again defeating Prabowo Subianto

Television is the main medium, but online media are catching up.

Facebook is hugely popular, and Indonesians are among the world's most active users of Twitter.

Reporters Without Borders says many journalists self censor because of legislation governing blasphemy and online content.

Some key dates in Indonesia's history:

1670-1900 - Dutch colonists bring the whole of Indonesia under one government as the Dutch East Indies.

1942 - Japan occupies Dutch East Indies.

1949 - The Dutch recognise Indonesian independence after four years of guerrilla warfare. Sukarno is president.

1950s - Maluku (Moluccas) declares independence from Indonesia and fights an unsuccessful separatist war

1962 - Western New Guinea, or West Papua, held by the Netherlands, is placed under UN administration and subsequently occupied by Indonesian forces.

1963-66 - The Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation or Konfrontasi; an armed conflict between UK and Commonwealth forces against Indonesian troops, stemming from Indonesia's opposition to the creation of the Federation of Malaysia. After Indonesian president Sukarno loses power in 1966, the dispute is resolved.

1965 - Failed coup: In the aftermath, hundreds of thousands of suspected Communists are killed in a purge of leftists which descends into vigilantism.

1966 - Sukarno hands over emergency powers to General Suharto, who becomes president in March 1967.

1969 - West Papua formally incorporated into Indonesia.

1975 - Portugal grants East Timor independence. Indonesia invades the following year and annexes it as a province.

1997 - Asian economic crisis: Indonesian rupiah plummets in value. Protests and rioting topple Suharto the following year.

1999 - Free elections are held in Indonesia. East Timor votes for independence, and comes under UN administration.

2002 - Jihadist bomb attack on the Kuta Beach nightclub district on Bali kills 202 people, most of them tourists.

2004 - First-ever direct presidential elections.

2004 December - More than 220,000 people are dead or missing in Indonesia alone after a powerful undersea earthquake off Sumatra generates massive tidal waves. The waves devastate Indian Ocean communities as far afield as Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and Somalia.

(editor-in-charge:Press center3)

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