Krakatoa, the great volcano that erupted in 1883 and (theoretically) caused a near-extinction event long before that? Java, source of the English slang for coffee (and a programming language)? The obscurity in most of the West is partly because, until after World War II, the area was known as the East Indies (to be precise, Indonesia was the Dutch East Indies, Malaysia the British East Indies, the Philippines the Spanish East Indies, etc.).
So "Indonesia" basically seemed to appear out of nowhere. In 1850, English ethnologist George Windsor Earl proposed, in his scientific paper "On The Leading Characteristics of the Papuan, Australian and Malay-Polynesian Nations", the terms as a synonym for "Indian Archipelago".
Straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, Indonesia has many magnificent islands waiting to be explored.
Start Your Journey Here Straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, Indonesia has many magnificent islands waiting to be explored.
You've also heard of the komodo dragon and orangutan, of course, both of which live in Indonesia.
History buffs know about the Spice Islands, the source of cloves and other spices for which 16th-century explorers set sail — today they are known as the Maluku Islands.
Of course, Indonesian nationalists found a way to bash the Dutch and adopted this name for their nation as a way of affirming themselves politically.
Unfortunately for the residents, not many in the country seem to be able to manage them well... Indonesia's major religion is Islam — it is in fact the largest Muslim-majority country in the world.
), is a collection of 17,508 islands located in Southeast Asia.
With a population of about 230 million, it is the fourth most populous country in the world, beaten only by the USA, India and China.
Indonesia is one of those places almost completely unknown to Westerners (at least until the Twitter era) despite its many tourist spots, as well as a major role in world history.
Australians are an exception to this, as both countries are (rather uneasy) neighbors, and likewise the Netherlands' colonial legacy has left enough Indonesians and Indonesian-born Eurasians in the larger Dutch cities to make a mark. It's one of Indonesia's many islands, and probably the only popular one.