Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia), is a nation of islands consisting of almost 18,000 islands located in the South East Asian Archipelago. It covers the distance from Sabang in the west to Merauke to east (about 5,000 kilometres [3,100 mi]) and from the island of Miangas in the north to the islands of Rote to south (about 1,000 kilometres [620 mi]). The country respects its diversity with the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or "Unity in Diversity". Jakarta, the nation's capital city, is located on island of Java, which is one of the five most populous islands in the nation, along with Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi and New Guinea.
Europeans first started visiting the archipelago in the Sixteenth Century. For example the famous British circumnavigator, Sir Francis Drake arrived in Ternate in the Moluccas Islands in November 1579. Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and British continued to arrive over the next century. Later, these countries demanded more than spices and began colonising the archipelago. The Dutch ruled the area for more than 300 years and, in 1942, the Japanese arrived in Indonesia and ruled for three years. Indonesia declared its independence on 17 August 1945. It is the world's fourth most populous country and the most populous Muslim-majority nation, with more than 250 million citizens.
Taman Sari is a site of a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It is located about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) south within the grounds of the Kraton, Yogyakarta. Built in the mid-18th century, the Taman Sari had multiple functions, such as a resting area, a workshop, a meditation area, a defense area, and a hiding place. Taman Sari consisted of four distinct areas: a large artificial lake with islands and pavilions located in the west, a bathing complex in the centre, a complex of pavilions and pools in the south, and a smaller lake in the east. Today only the central bathing complex is well preserved, while the other areas have been largely occupied by the Kampung Taman settlement. Since 1995 the Yogyakarta Palace Complex, including Taman Sari, has been listed as a tentative World Heritage Site. (Read more...)
Fakih Usman (1904–68) was an Indonesian Islamic leader and politician with the Masyumi Party. Born to a merchant and his wife in Gresik, Dutch East Indies, in 1925 he became involved with the modernist Islamic organisation Muhammadiyah, rising quickly through the leadership. When numerous Islamic organisations formed the Indonesian Islamic Assembly in 1940, Fakih became its treasurer. He continued to be involved in these Islamic groups and politics during the Japanese occupation and ensuing national revolution. During his two periods as minister of religious affairs he oversaw educational and institutional reform. He served as deputy chairman of Muhammadiyah under multiple leaders before being chosen as chairman of Muhammadiyah several days before his death. (Read more...)