About Java Island
Java is an island in Indonesia with a population of 136 million (2010), this island is the most populous island in the world and is one of the most populous regions in the world. The island is inhabited by 60% of Indonesia’s population. The capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, is located in western Java. Much of Indonesia’s history takes place on this island. Java was once the center of several Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, the Islamic sultanate, the Dutch East Indies colonial government, and the center of the Indonesian independence movement. This island has a huge impact on Indonesia’s social, political and economic life.
Java is an island that is largely formed from volcanic activity, is the thirteenth largest island in the world, and the fifth largest in Indonesia. Rows of volcanoes form a range that runs from east to west of the island. There are three main languages on this island, but the majority of the population uses Javanese. Javanese is the mother tongue of 60 million Indonesians, and most of its speakers live on the island of Java. Most of the population is bilingual, who speaks Indonesian as both the first and second language. Most Javanese residents are Muslim, but there are various streams of beliefs, religions, ethnic groups, and cultures on this island.
The origin of the name ‘Java’ is unclear. One possibility is that the island’s name is derived from the jáwa-wut plant, which was found on this island in ancient times, before the Indian influx of the island may have many names. There is also a suspicion that this island comes from the word jaú which means “far”. In Sanskrit Yava means barley plant, a plant that makes this island famous. Yawadvipa is called in the Indian epic Ramayana. Sugriwa, commander of wanara (ape man) from the Sri Rama army, sent his envoy to Yawadvipa (Java) to look for Dewi Shinta. Then based on Indian literature especially Tamil literature, called by the name Sanskrit yāvaka dvīpa (dvīpa = island). Another guess is that the word “Javanese” comes from the root word in the Proto-Austronesian language, which means ‘home’.
The island is part of the Greater Sunda archipelago and Sunda exposure, which in the period before the ice melted was the southeastern tip of the Asian continent. Homo erectus fossil remains, popularly nicknamed “The Java Man”, were found along the banks of the Solo River, and these relics date back to 1.7 million years ago. Sangiran site is an important prehistoric site in Java. Some megalithic structures have been found on the island of Java, for example menhirs, dolmen, stone tables, and terraced pyramids which are commonly called Punden Berundak. Punden terraces and menhirs are found at megalithic sites in Paguyangan, Cisolok, and Gunung Padang, West Java. The Cipari megalithic site, also found in West Java, shows monolithic structures, stone terraces and sarcophagi. This staircase punden is considered as the original structure of the archipelago and is the basic design of the temple building in the days of the Hindu-Buddhist Archipelago after the local population received the influence of Hindu-Buddhist civilization from India. In the 4th century BC to the 1st or 5th century AD Buni Culture is a clay pottery culture that developed on the north coast of West Java. This ancient history is the forerunner of the Tarumanagara kingdom.
The myth of the origin of the island of Java and its volcanic mountains are told in a kakawin, named Tangtu Panggelaran. The ethnic composition on the island of Java can be relatively homogeneous, despite having a large population compared to other large islands in Indonesia. There are two main ethnic groups native to the island, namely Javanese and Sundanese. The Madurese can also be considered as a third group; they originated from the island of Madura on the north coast of Java, and have migrated massively to East Java since the 18th century. The number of Javanese is about two-thirds of the island’s population, while Sundanese make up 20% and Madurese make up 10%.
Four main cultural regions are found on this island: central Javanese culture (kejawen) in the middle, Javanese coastal culture (coastal) on the north coast, Sundanese culture (pasundan) in the west, and Osing (blambangan) culture in the east. Madura culture is sometimes considered the fifth, given its close relationship with Javanese coastal culture. Kejawen is considered as the most dominant Javanese culture. The remaining Javanese aristocracy is located in this region, which is also the area of origin of most of the army, business people and political elites in Indonesia. Language, art and manners that apply in this region are considered the most delicate and are a role model of Javanese society. The most fertile and populated agricultural land in Indonesia stretches from Banyumas in the west to Blitar in the east.
Java is a meeting place of various religions and cultures. The influence of Indian culture is the first to come with Hindu-Siwadan Buddhism, which penetrates deeply and blends with the traditional traditions and culture of Javanese people. Royal brahmins and court poets endorsed the rule of Javanese kings, and linked Hindu cosmology to their political arrangements. Although later Islam became the majority religion, small bags of Hindus were scattered throughout the island. There is a significant Hindu population along the east coast near the island of Bali, especially around the city of Banyuwangi. While the Buddhist community is generally currently found in big cities, especially from Chinese-Indonesian circles.
In 1956, the Office of the Department of Religion in Yogyakarta reported that there were 63 sects of belief in Java that were not included in official religions in Indonesia. Of these, 35 are in Central Java, 22 in West Java and 6 in East Java. The various schools of belief (also called kejawen or kebatinan), among which are well-known are Subud, have an unpredictable number of members because many of their followers identify with one of the official religions.
Java has become the most developed island in Indonesia since the Dutch East Indies era until today. The road transportation network that has existed since ancient times is linked and perfected by the construction of the Jawa Pos Highway by Daendels in the early 19th century. The need for transportation of commercial products from plantations in the interior to ports on the coast, has spurred the development of a railroad network in Java. At present, industry, business and trade, as well as services, are developing in big cities in Java, such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang and Bandung, while traditional imperial cities such as Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Cirebon maintain the cultural heritage of the palace and become a center art, culture and tourism. Industrial estates also develop in cities along the north coast of Java, especially around Cilegon, Tangerang, Bekasi, Karawang, Gresik, and Sidoarjo.
The toll road network was built and expanded since the Soeharto era until now, which connects the city centers with the surrounding area, in various big cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Cirebon, Semarang and Surabaya. In addition to the toll road, there are also 16 national highways on the island.