Java (Indonesian: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million (excluding the 3.6 million on the island of Madura which is administered as part of the provinces of Java), 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 located on western Java. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle for independenceduring the 1930s and 40s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally.
Formed mostly as the result of volcanic eruptions, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in Indonesia. It has three main languages, thoughJavanese is dominant, and it is the native language of about 60 million people in Indonesia, most of whom live on Java. Most of its residents are bilingual, withIndonesian 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.
The origins of the name “Java” are not clear. One possibility is that the island was named after the jáwa-wut plant, which was said to be common in the island during the time, and that prior to Indianization the island had different names.There are other possible sources: the word jaúh and its variations mean “beyond” or “distant”. And, in Sanskrit yava means barley, a plant for which the island was famous. “Yawadvipa” is mentioned in India‘s earliest epic, the Ramayana. Sugriva, the chief of Rama‘s army dispatched his men to Yawadvipa, the island of Java, in search of Sita. It was hence referred to in Indian, specifically Tamil literature by the Sanskrit name “yāvaka dvīpa” (dvīpa = island). Another source states that the “Java” word is derived from a Proto-Austronesian root word, meaning ‘home’.
The island is administratively divided into four provinces:
- Banten (capital: Serang )
- West Java / Jawa Barat (capital: Bandung)
- Central Java / Jawa Tengah (capital: Semarang)
- East Java / Jawa Timur (capital: Surabaya)
and two special regions:
- Jakarta / Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta Raya (DKI Jaya) or ‘Special Region of National Capital)
- Yogyakarta / Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY) or ‘Yogyakarta Special Region’
It is subdivised into 84 regencies and 34 cities (second most administrative divisions in the nation, only Sumatra Island has more regencies)
The Provinces’ seals