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Java island

Java (Jawa) is an island of Indonesia and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. Once the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies, Java now plays a dominant role in the economic and political life of Indonesia. Home to a population of 130 million in 2006, it is the most populous island in the world. Java is also one of the most densely populated regions on Earth.

Tropical eden
Varied nature and culture make it into a unique world

Java, with it's rich and varied nature and culture, is the undisputed political, trading and population center of Indonesia. Here lives sixty per cent of the population of the country of islands., while the land area is no more than seven per cent. It is not remarkable that the island carries the good and the bad things of the fifth most populous country in the world.

Java is an piece of art of nature. Massive volcanoes make a big variation in the landscape. The high points and low valleys compared to low alluvial plateaus, feed by the mighty rivers. Numerous eruptions created a fertile layer on the soil of the island. Much sunshine and heavy monsoon rains made the most wealthy tropical plants grow, the most wealthy the Earth has even known. A true Tropical Eden, around the equator.

The extraordinary fertility of the island has been a returning theme in historical sources for a very long time. Buddhist monks from China and traders from Arabia and Europe reported it. The famous Victorian natural scientist Alfred Russel Wallace declared Java "Undoubtedly the most fertile, densely populated and productive island in the tropic regions".

The blessing of nature were used to the utmost by generations of Javanese. On the cost of huge activity they built terraced rice fields and irrigation canals. Long before the Colonial time Java belonged to the richest farming areas in the world. Seen the yield of the rice fields it still is, although they still use mostly primitive tools.
The famous old civilization if Java, which made religious artifacts like Borobudur and Prambanan temples,also conquered the surrounding islands. In the 14th century the East-Javanese Kingdom of the Majapahit was the leader is an area the size of the current Indonesia. The agrarian rich Java could feed an bigger population than any Southeastern Asian country.

After 1800 an true population explosion occurred. The island, not bigger than four times The Netherlands, nowadays counts about 130 million people. The growing population has led to deforestation and the destruction of tropical rain forests, the soil and ecosystems, the base of the Javanese wealth.

Ironically the county-side, once the provider of enormous surpluses of rice, tea, coffee, sugar, rubber, quinine, tobacco and indigo, now is is remarkably poor. More than fifty per cent of the Javanese on the countryside produces products for own use. Although the rising living-standard one-third of the people on the countryside cannot cope with their problems.

The cities have grown from small colonial villages to confusing metropolis, which store a quarter of the Javanese people. The population of Jakarta, once a very small harbor village in the coastal swamps, has exploded two thousand per cent in the last five years.

But besides the problems Java has also enormous pulling factors. The landscape, culture, and surely also the warm and dignified Javanese, make it to a paradise for the traveler.

Last revised on December 27, 2009
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