Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population
of 135 million, Java is the world’s most populous island, and one of the most densely-populated
places on the globe. Java is the home of 60 percent of the Indonesian population. The
Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in located on western Java. Much of Indonesian history took place on Java.
It was the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, and the core
of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle
for independence during the 1930s and 40s. Java was also occupied by the Imperial Japanese
Army from 1942 through the defeat of the Japanese Empire in 1945, and this put a temporary end
to all thoughts of independence. Java dominates the Indonesian social, political, and economic
life. Formed mostly as the result of volcanic eruptions,
Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in Indonesia.
A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east-west spine along the island. It has three main
languages, though Javanese is dominant, and it is the native language of about 60 million
people in Indonesia, most of whom live on Java. Most ot its residents are bilingual,
with Indonesian as their first or second languages. While the majority of the people of Java are
Muslim, Java has a diverse mixture of religious beliefs, ethnicities, and cultures. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is located
on the northwest coast of Java. Surabaya (the second largest city in Indonesia), is located
in East Java. This is a quite remarkable island geographically with no less than 121 active
volcanoes. Add to that a host of major national parks and, despite its very crowded nature,
the island has lots to offer the visitor who appreciates outdoor attractions.