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The population of Indonesia is the fourth largest in the world, more than 200 million people, after the People's Republic of China, India and USA. The greater part of Indonesia's population consists of persons under 20 years of age. Indonesian policy on population since 1980 was to lengten life expectancy and to reduce both the birth and death rate.

Ethnic Diversification

Due to Indonesia's emergence into an archipelago where its inhabitants, though of one ancestry, were seperated by seas and therefore lost contact, have cause the individual development of cultures, including their languages and their growing into difersification.

Nevertheless, the population of Indonesia has been reclassified, not so much on the basis of their racial origins, but more so on on the basis of their lenguistic identities caused by mentioned diversifications, into 4 ethnic groups are :

  • The Melanesians (the mixture between the sub-Mongoloids with the Wajaks),
  • The Proto-Austronesians (including the Wajaks),
  • The Polynesians and
  • The Micronesians.

These Melanesians are again sub divided into the Acehnese of North Sumatra, the Bataks in the Northeast Sumatera, the Minangkabaus in the West Sumatra, The Sundanese in West Java, the Javanese in Central Java and East Java, the Madurese on the island of Madura, the Balinese, the Sasak on the island of Lombok and the Timorese on Timor island. On the island of Borneo in Indonesia's Kalimantan, one finds the Dayaks. On the island of Sulawesi in the north are the Minahasas and in the center the Torajas, and in the soutern part, the Makasares and Bugisnese. The Ambonese on the group of island in the Molucca and the Papua are classified into Polynesians and Proto-Austronesians. The Micronesians are to be found on tiny islets of Indonesia's easteren border.

Languages and Dialects

Languages and dialects spoken and written over the whole Indonesian archipelago, 200 to 250 in numbers are usually classified according to above-mentioned ethnic denominations. The main distinct local languages of Indoneia are among other : the Acehnese, the Bataks, Sundanese, Javanese, Tetun of the Timor, the Dayaks, the Minahasas, the Torajas, the the Bugisnese, the Halmaheras, the Ambonese, the Ceramese, several Papua languages and other such languages. In between these languages there exist many other different dialects.

Indonesia's Lingua Franca

Indonesia's National Language has been officialy introduced since Indonesia's independent and is called BAHASA INDONESIA. Its lexicon and structure is mainly base on the Malay languages enriched by Indonesia's lexicon of her multi-local languages and dialects. Although the Bahasa Indonesia has since been regarded as the lingua franca, yet local languages are equally valid and no attemp and intention exist to abolish these local languages and dialects. Therefore, the greater part of the Indonesian nationals are bilingual.

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web mister Ohari  2003.

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