Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation comprising as many as 17,000 islands spread over the same distance as Los Angeles to New York, or Perth to Sydney. Indonesia is also the most culturally diverse nation on the planet and its national motto had to be ‘Unity in Diversity’ as these islands are an extraordinary mixture of races, religions, languages and cultures.
Ian Burnet sets out on a journey across the archipelago to discover this rich cultural diversity. He describes how the early Malay people came to these islands and the inﬂuence of the Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali. He discovers the heritage of the Indians, Chinese and Arabs who came here to trade in spices and sandalwood, he follows the rise of Islam and the traces of the ﬁrst Europeans to enter Asia — particularly the early Portuguese traders and the priests who brought Christianity to these lands.
Travelling by bus, plane, train, ferry, boat, car and motorcycle from java to Timor, he hops from island to island across the Indonesian archipelago, following the smoking volcanoes that form its spine. Ian Burnet combines his love of adventure and travel with his knowledge of history to take us on a personal journey through geographic space and historical time, which will delight all armchair travellers.
About the author – Ian Burnet has spent thirty years, living, working and travelling in Indonesia and is fascinated by the rich history and diverse cultures of the archipelago. His ﬁrst book, Spice Islands, tells the 2000 year history of the spice trade from the Moluccas of Eastern Indonesia through China, India and the Middle East until the spices reached Europe. His second book, East Indies, begins in the port city of Malacca, and tells the story of the 200 year struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for trade supremacy in the Eastern Seas. It follows the rise of the world’s ﬁrst joint stock and multinational trading companies and their conversion to huge colonial states ruling over millions of people in Indonesia, India and Malaya. Ian lives with his family in Sydney, Australia, and is currently researching another book on Indonesia’s fascinating history.