Java is one of the largest and most populated islands in Indonesia. The local language spoken in Java is Javanese, which is a modification of the Indonesian language. However, there are some other local languages spoken in Java such as Sundanese, Betawi, and Madurese.The capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is located here in West Java while the second largest city of Indonesia, Surabaya is located in the east. Java is the largest economy and cultural center of Indonesia. The population in Jakarta city itself is 8 million while its suburbs is home to 12 million others. The main ethnic group here is Javanese except in the West Java where people are mostly Sundanese. There is also about 20% of the population in East Java that is Madurese, where half of them lives in Madura.
Moreover, the train transport in Java is well connected from west to east, being the only reliable train network among the archipelagos of Indonesia. Javanese are well known for their friendliness and hospitality while the food along with the Sundanese ones has a lot of delicious variety.
Java is a popular destination worldwide, thanks to its stable and supporting economy, its unique natural significant attractions, its historic sites, and its rich culture brought about by several tribes dwelling in the island.
With a population of over 141 million (the island itself) or 145 million (the administrative region), Java is home to 56.7 percent of the Indonesia population and is the most populus island on Earth. 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 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally.The UNESCO world heritage site, Ujung Kulon, is located on the westernmost tip (West Java).
Formed mostly as the result of volcanic eruptions, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest in Indonesia by landmass. A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east–west spine along the island. Three main languages are spoken on the island: Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese. Of these, Javanese is the dominant; it is the native language of about 60 million people in Indonesia, most of whom live on Java. Furthermore, most residents are bilingual, speaking Indonesian (the official language of Indonesia) as their first or second language. While the majority of the people of Java are Muslim, Java's population is a diverse mixture of religious beliefs, ethnicities, and cultures.
Java is divided into four provinces, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Banten, and two special regions, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
Java lies between Sumatra to the west and Bali to the east. Borneo lies to the north and Christmas Island is to the south. It is the world's 13th largest island. Java is surrounded by the Java Sea to the north, Sunda Strait to the west, the Indian Ocean to the south and Bali Strait and Madura Strait in the east.
Java is almost entirely of volcanic origin; it contains thirty-eight mountains forming an east–west spine that have at one time or another been active volcanoes. The highest volcano in Java is Mount Semeru (3,676 metres (12,060 ft)). The most active volcano in Java and also in Indonesia is Mount Merapi (2,930 metres (9,610 ft)).
More mountains and highlands help to split the interior into a series of relatively isolated regions suitable for wet-rice cultivation; the rice lands of Java are among the richest in the world. Java was the first place where Indonesian Coffee was grown, starting in 1699. Today, Coffea Arabica is grown on the Ijen Plateau by small-holders and larger plantations.
The area of Java is approximately 150,000 square kilometres (58,000 sq mi).It is about 1,000 km (620 mi) long and up to 210 km (130 mi) wide. The island's longest river is the 600 km long Solo River. The river rises from its source in central Java at the Lawu volcano, then flows north and eastward to its mouth in the Java Sea near the city of Surabaya. Other major rivers are Brantas, Citarum, Cimanuk and Serayu.
The average temperature ranges from 22 °C (72 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F); average humidity is 75%. The northern coastal plains are normally hotter, averaging 34 °C (93 °F) during the day in the dry . The south coast is generally cooler than the north, and highland areas inland are even cooler. The wet season begins in November and ends in April. During that rain falls mostly in the afternoons and intermittently during other parts of the year. The wettest months are January and February.
West Java is wetter than East Java and mountainous regions receive much higher rainfall. The Parahyangan highlands of West Java receive over 4,000 millimetres (160 in) annually, while the north coast of East Java receives 900 millimetres (35 in) annually.
The natural environment of Java is tropical rainforest, with ecosystems ranging from coastal mangrove forests on the north coast, rocky coastal cliffs on the southern coast, and low-lying tropical forests to high altitude rainforests on the slopes of mountainous volcanic regions in the interior. The Javan environment and climate gradually alters from west to east; from wet and humid dense rainforest in western parts, to a dry savanna environment in the east, corresponding to the climate and rainfall in these regions.
Male Javan Rhino shot in 1934 in West Java. Today only small numbers of Javan rhino survive in Ujung Kulon; it is the world's rarest rhino.
Originally Javan wildlife supported a rich biodiversity, where numbers of endemic species of flora and fauna flourished; such as the Javan rhinoceros, Javan bull, Javan warty pig, Javan hawk-eagle, Javan peafowl, Javan silvery gibbon, Javan langur, Java mouse-deer, Javan deer, and Javan leopard . With over 450 species of birds and 37 endemic species, Java is a birdwatcher's paradise.There are about 130 freshwater fish species in Java. There are also severalendemic amphibian species in Java , including 5 species of tree frogs.
Since ancient times, people have opened the rainforest, altered the ecosystem, shaped the landscapes and created rice paddy and terraces to support the growing population. Javan rice terraces have existed for more than a millennium, and had supported ancient agricultural kingdoms. The growing human population has put severe pressure on Java's wildlife, as rainforests were diminished and confined to highland slopes or isolated peninsulas. Some of Java's endemic species are now critically endangered, with some already extinct; Java used to have Javan tigers and Javan Elephants, but both have been rendered extinct. Today, several national parks exist in Java that protect the remnants of its fragile wildlife, such as Ujung Kulon, Mount Halimun-Salak, Gede Pangrango, Baluran, Meru Betiri and Alas Purwo. Java is divided into four provinces and two special regions:
- Banten, capital: Serang
- West Java, capital: Bandung
- Central Java, capital: Semarang
- East Java, capital: Surabaya
- Special Capital Region of Jakarta
- Special Region of Yogyakarta
Java has been traditionally dominated by an elite class, while the people in the lower classes were often involved in agriculture and fishing. The elite class in Java has evolved over the course of history, as cultural wave after cultural wave immigrated to the island. There is evidence that South Asian emigres were among this elite, as well as Arabian and Persian immigrants during the Islamic eras. More recently, Chinese immigrants have also become part of the economic elite of Java.Though Java is increasingly becoming more modern and urban, only 75% of the island has electricity. Villages and their rice paddies are still a common sight. Unlike the rest of Java, the population growth in Central Java remains low. Central Java however has a younger population than the national average.The slow population growth can in part be attributed to the choice by many people to leave the more rural Central Java for better opportunities and higher incomes in the bigger cities. Java's population continues to rapidly increase despite many Javanese leaving the island. This is somewhat due to the fact that Java is the Business, Academic, and Cultural hub of Indonesia, which attracts millions of non-Javanese people to its cities. The population growth is most intense in the regions surrounding Jakarta and Bandung, which is reflected through the demographic diversity in those areas.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Java
Interesting Facts About Java
- With a population of 143 million and counting, Java is the most densely inhabited island in the world.
- More than 90 percent of the island's inhabitants are Muslim.
- The island was home to the controversial Pithecanthropus erectus, the so-called Java man, which some scientists considered the "missing link" in the evolution between apes and humans.
- The coffee cup is a symbol of the island, whose strong, black, and very sweet coffee gained global popularity in the early 20th century.
- The interior of the island is home to some dangerous wild animals, including tigers, crocodiles, and rhinoceroses.