Topography of Java
|Coordinates||7°29′30″S 110°00′16″E / 7°29′30″S 110°00′16″E / -7.49167; 110.00444|
|Archipelago||Greater Sunda Islands|
|Area||138,793.6 km2 (53,588.5 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||3,676 m (12,060 ft)|
Special Capital Region of Jakarta,
Yogyakarta Special Region,
|Largest settlement||Jakarta (pop. 10,135,030)|
|Population||145 million (2015)|
|Pop. density||1,121 /km2 (2,903 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Javanese (inc. Tenggerese, Osing, Banyumasan, Cirebonese), Sundanese (inc. Bantenese, Baduy), Betawi, Madurese, Chinese etc.|
Java (Indonesian: Jawa; Javanese: ꦗꦮ; Sundanese: ᮏᮝ) is an island of Indonesia, bordered by the Indian Ocean on the south and the Java Sea on the north. With a population of over 141 million (Java only) or 145 million (including the inhabitants of its surrounding islands), Java has 56.7 percent of the Indonesian population and is the world's most populous island. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is located on its northwestern coast. Much of the well-known part of Indonesian history took place on Java. It was the centre of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally. Four of Indonesia's eight UNESCO world heritage sites are located in Java: Ujung Kulon National Park, Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and Sangiran Early Man Site.
Formed mostly as the result of volcanic eruptions from geologic subduction between Sunda Plate and Australian Plate, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest in Indonesia by landmass at about 138,800 square kilometres (53,600 sq mi). A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east–west spine along the island. Three main languages are spoken on the island: Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese, where Javanese is the most spoken; it is the native language of about 60 million Javanese people in Indonesia, most of whom live on Java. Furthermore, most residents are bilingual, speaking Indonesian (the official language of Indonesia) as their first or second language. While the majority of the people of Java are Muslim, Java's population comprises people of diverse religious beliefs, ethnicities, and cultures.
Java is divided into four administrative provinces, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Banten, and two special regions, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
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 jaú and its variations mean "beyond" or "distant". And, in Sanskrit yava means barley, a plant for which the island was famous. "Yavadvipa" is mentioned in India's earliest epic, the Ramayana. Sugriva, the chief of Rama's army dispatched his men to Yavadvipa, the island of Java, in search of Sita. It was hence referred to in India by the Sanskrit name "yāvaka dvīpa" (dvīpa = island). Java is mentioned in the ancient Tamil text Manimekalai by Chithalai Chathanar which states that Java had a kingdom with a capital called Nagapuram. Another source states that the word "Java" is derived from a Proto-Austronesian root word, meaning "home". The great island of Iabadiu or Jabadiu was mentioned in Ptolemy's Geographia composed around 150 CE in the Roman Empire. Iabadiu is said to mean "barley island", to be rich in gold, and have a silver town called Argyra at the west end. The name indicates Java, and seems to be derived from the Sanskrit name Java-dvipa (Yavadvipa).
The annual news of Songshu and Liangshu referred to Java as She-po (5th century CE), He-ling (640–818), then called it She-po again until the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), where they began mentioning Zhao-Wa. According to Ma Huan's book (the Yingya Shenlan), the Chinese called Java Chao-Wa, and the island was called She-pó (She-bó) in the past. When John of Marignolli returned from China to Avignon, he stayed at the Kingdom of Saba for a few months, which he said had many elephants and was led by a queen; Saba may be his interpretation of She-bó. Afanasij Nikitin, a merchant from Tver (in Russia), travelled to India in 1466 and described the land of java, which he call шабайте (shabait/šabajte).