Sulawesi

Flag of IndonesiaGeneral
Indonesia is located in Asia and consists of many islands. The island that I visited was Sulawesi, which was called Celebes until 1949. There are an estimated 16 million people and is with 189000 km2 about 5 times larger than Netherlands. It is situated between Borneo and the Maluku islands. It is one of the larger islands of Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo and Papua are larger. Worldwide, Sulawesi is the 11th island in size. The form is striking and is described as an orchid.

The currency is the Rupiah. At the time of my trip 15.000 Rupiah was equal to 1 Euro. The note of 100.000 Rupiah is the highest one. Food is relative cheap, in restaurants you pay between 30.000 to 100.000 Rupiah. A beer (Bintang or Anker) costs 30.000 to 50.000 Rupiah per large bottle.

Geography
The island consists of 6 provinces. Most tourist areas are South Sulawesi (with the capital Makassar), Central Sulawesi (Poso lake and Pula) and North Sulawesi (with Manado as main place). South East Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and Gorontalo are much less frequently visited. The northern part of the island is North of the equator, the rest to the South.

History
The first settlers on the island were the Portuguese in 1512 that were especially active in Central Sulawesi. In 1605, the Dutch and later the English arrived. In 1667 the Dutch conquered the island and Admiral Speelman forced in 1669 the ruler of South Sulawesi, Sultan Hasanuddin, to the sign an agreement that the Dutch could set up a trading post there. In Makassar (Ujung Pandang) the Dutch build a fort. Later the Dutch conquered more land and remained there, with some interruptions, until 1949, when Indonesia became independent.

As colonist the Dutch had no good reputation, because also on Sulawesi the Dutch committed actions that could be labeled as war crimes acts. Netherlands has only offered its apologies in 2013.

Sulawesi is derived from sula besi what means 'Island of Iron'. This name applies since 1949, but before then it was called Celebes, which was derived from the Portuguese naming 'Ponto dos Celebres', which means 'Place of notorious'. This refers to the inhabitants who committed piracy, but also fishing and trade were among their objectivity. In the interior (Toraja) attended headhunters and those were only colonized at the beginning of the 19th century.

Archaeology
The oldest life form that is found goes to 30,000 years BC, but the oldest archaeological material is from after 4000 BC. There are not many museums on the island where this material can be seen. Well there are traces in the landscape.

Religion
It is estimated that 70% of the residents are Muslim, 25% Christian and 5% depends on other faiths. There is no specific geographical breakdown of religion and sometimes they live next to each other. In general, there is no animosity between the religions.

Nature
In terms of nature there is also diversity. Still, there are only 8 national parks, half of which are under water. There are many more natural parks. Of the 127 known mammals, there are 62 only living on Sulawesi. There are an estimated 350 species of birds, of which there are only a few on the island. Many of the original rainforest is already gone and there are now programs set up to improve nature protection. The underwater world is also very diverse.






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