Spread across a chain of thousands of islands between Asia and Australia, Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population and Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Ethnically it is highly diverse, with more than 300 local languages. The people range from rural hunter-gatherers to a modern urban elite.
Sophisticated kingdoms existed before the arrival of the Dutch, who colonised the archipelago but gave in to an independence struggle in 1949. Indonesia has become one of the world's major emerging economies, but faces demands for independence in several provinces and increasing attacks by Islamist armed groups.
Republic of Indonesia
Population 261 million
Area 1.9 million sq km (742,308 sq miles)
Major languages Indonesian, 300 regional languages
Major religion Islam
Life expectancy 67 years (men), 71 years (women)
UN, World Bank