Lesson 8 Indonesia and New Guinea

Lesson 8 Indonesia and New Guinea - LESSON 8: Indonesia,...

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LESSON 8: Indonesia, New Guinea Reading Assignment: Chapter 8 [The Minangkabau] and Chapter 7 [The Kaluli] Lecture Notes: This week we’ll be looking at a selection of indigenous peoples living on islands located in regions of the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. In this lesson we’ll first talk about some of the important characteristics of the region. You’ll then read your chapters in Culture Sketches and answer the questions in the Homework Template for Week 3. Indonesia The modern nation of Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 13,000 islands (of which about 7000 are uninhabited). The largest of these islands are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Bali, the Moluccas (“Spice Islands”), and New Guinea. The Indonesian islands were once colonized by the Dutch, the Germans, the Portuguese, and the British, and before that traders and explorers came to this region from India, the Arab world, Malaysia, and China, all of which has had profound cultural, religious, and linguistic influences on the indigenous peoples over many centuries of contact and occupation. It also makes today’s national borders somewhat complicated. Today the western half of the island of New Guinea belongs to Indonesia, and is called Irian Jaya (see map below). The eastern half is an independent nation, Papua New Guinea. The island of Borneo is shared by three nations: Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The southern and largest section belongs to Indonesia and is called Kalimantan. For simplicity I will refer to the whole archipelago as “Indonesia” in the following discussion. The island of New Guinea: the eastern half (not shown on map) is the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. The island of Borneo
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Indonesia is located between Asia proper and Australia. Part of the Pacific “ring of fire,” this particular region happens to be where three tectonic plates meet, which has built up the islands and pushed up rugged mountain ranges. The whole area is highly active volcanically and in fact Indonesia alone has about 220 active volcanoes, 80 of which have erupted in historic times. Volcanic activity means that there is now much fertile soil (think Mt. Vesuvius in Italy, which has farms and vineyards all over its slopes), making some of the most active areas desirable for farming despite the potential danger. The most famous Indonesian volcano was Krakatoa, which erupted in 1883 and killed tens of thousands of people, either directly or from resulting tidal waves. Clouds of ash from this massive eruption circled the earth for more than a year! http://www.nature-blog.com/2008/06/krakatoa-eruption-1883.html?showComment=1219883040001 (Check out this link [one of many] to learn more—scroll down on the webpage to see maps and pictures) Being located in the equatorial regions, rainfall in Indonesia tends to be heavy. The coastal plains are often swampy, and surrounded by shallow seas with coral reefs. The mountains are generally covered with dense tropical forests, which slope down to the
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Lesson 8 Indonesia and New Guinea - LESSON 8: Indonesia,...

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