Iconic Indonesia

The Andaman Sea separates Burma from Sumatra, which is the closest of the chain of islands that has come to be known as the Republic of Indonesia, which is located across the sea. There are over 3,000 of these islands, some large and some small, but the most important ones, aside from Sumatra, are Java, Borneo, the Celebes, and Bali, which are all located in Southeast Asia. In total, the archipelago stretches for more than 5,000 kilometres (3,000 miles) along the Equator, and it serves as a connecting link between Asia and Australian civilizations. On the islands of Java, Madura, and Bali, the most densely populated areas of Indonesia can be found. Rice is the primary crop grown on this land, and it is the most intensively farmed in the world. Nobody can afford to waste land, which is why the hillsides have been meticulously terraced to ensure that even their rice crop can be supported. The rice is generally grown on the'sawah' principle in these three regions of the world. When the fields are flooded during the growing season, a small embankment is built around each field to prevent the water from draining away into the surrounding area. Farmer cooperation in the use of an irrigation system is required in areas where there is insufficient rainfall to keep the fields flooded, but in areas where water is abundant, farmers can produce two crops of rice per year under the'sawah' system. 

An Indonesian farmer
An Indonesian farmer ploughing a rice field

'Landing' system of cultivation is still practised in some parts of Central Sumatra and other remote areas. It is a type of shifting cultivation in which the forest is cleared by burning and then planted with different crops for two or three years before being left fallow again, in order to prevent the soil from becoming exhausted. In Indonesia, there are two types of farming. Apart from rice, the peasant farmers cultivate a variety of crops on their own small plots of land, including maize, cassava root, sweet potatoes, sago, peanuts, and soy beans, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables. Rubber, sugar, coffee, and tobacco are all manufactured in small quantities as well. On the other hand, there are large government-run estates that specialise in a single crop, such as rubber, tobacco, sugar, palm oil, hard fibres, coffee, tea, cocoa, or cinchona, among other things. Almost all of the produce produced by these estates is destined for exportation. Java, an elongated island with a central backbone of volcanic mountains, some of which are still active, is home to 70% of Indonesia's total population. Java is the most populous province in the country. There is a fertile alluvial plain in the area between the mountains and the coast, which is watered by a network of rivers. The abundant rainfall and rich volcanic soil contribute to the growth of lush vegetation. In addition to the more common crops of rice, tea, and maize that can be grown here, the milder climate of the uplands can also be used to grow roses, strawberries, and other fruits and flowers that are typically associated with temperate climates.

Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city, is located on the island of Java and has a population of approximately 6 million people. The distance between the northern and southern parts of the city is well over 15 kilometres (1o miles). It is clogged with traffic, as is the case in any large, modern city, but here the cars, buses, and lorries coexist with the distinctive 'betjak,' a hybrid of a tricycle and a taxi that is the most popular mode of transportation for short distances in Djakarta, Indonesia. A number of vibrant markets, selling a diverse range of goods, can be found scattered throughout the city. Yes, there are department stores and ordinary shops, but the majority of buying and selling takes place at the open-air stalls that the traders set up on the sidewalks. Aside from that, there are salesmen who go from door to door, offering anything and everything for sale, including fruit and vegetable tables, picture frame frames, ice cream, and furniture. During this period of time, one of the most impressive and destructive volcanic explosions on the planet took place in this region of the world. Krakatoa is a volcanic island located in the Sunda Strait, between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. It was in August 1883 that the island exploded, leaving only a submarine cavity and a thick layer of fragmentary matter across the seabed.

The museum of Pematang in North Sumatra, built in the local style
The museum of Pematang in North Sumatra, built in the local style

The debris from the explosion covered the forests on the surrounding islands, and the floating Jarva was carried hundreds of miles across the ocean's surface by the currents. The effect of the dust, which was released into the atmosphere as a result of the explosion, was perhaps the most notable aspect. Despite the fact that Djakarta is 150 kilometres (100 miles) away from Krakatoa, the dust that blanketed the city at midday on the day of the explosion was so dense that the lamps had to be turned on. For a brief period of time, the sun was obscured at Bandung, which is 100 kilometres (70 miles) away and 10 metres (2,30 feet) above sea level. It is possible that some of the dust was blown high into the upper atmosphere, and the tiny particles were responsible for the spectacular sunrise and sunsets that could be seen throughout Europe at the time. When the explosion occurred, the sound could be heard nearly 5000 kilometres (3,000 miles) away, with many people reporting hearing it as far away as Bangkok in Thailand, Manila in the Philippines, Ceylon, and Western and Southern Australia. The explosion resulted in a series of massive waves, some of which reached as far away as the English Channel in some cases.