|Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia), is a nation of islands that consists of 18,110 islands in the South East Asian Archipelago. The capital is Jakarta, formerly known as Batavia. Indonesia (from Greek: indus = India nesos = islands) is the world's largest archipelagic nation, and it is bordered by the nations of Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Malaysia. With a population of over 200 million, it is the world's fourth most populous country and most populous Muslim-majority nation.
The region was an important trade route to China, thriving in trade of spices. Regional Hindu kingdoms expanded religious and cultural influences of Hinduism as well as Buddhism, and in the Middle Ages, the islands came under the influence of Islam. The region was colonized by the Netherlands as the Dutch East Indies. The people across many islands rebelled in the early 20th century against Dutch control. After a brief occupation by Imperial Japan during World War II, nationalists declared independence in 1945, and a united and independent Indonesia was recognized in 1949. It was also recognized by the United Nations in 1950.
Indonesia is a unitary state, and for most of its post-independence history, was first governed by Sukarno, leader of the national independence struggle, and then under controversial and authoritarian Suharto. Democracy was restored following the revolution of 1998. Although the national language is Indonesian and the population is overwhelmingly Muslim, there are several hundred diverse linguistic and ethnic groups across the country, as well as other religious communities. Although Indonesia's economy is progressive and regionally important, the problems of widespread corruption, poverty, illiteracy, political instability and regional separatism remain major issues hindering national development.