Of all the 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia, Java is king. It may not have the beaches of Bali, the jungles of Kalimantan, or the remoteness of Papua, but it’s the heart of the country. Java dominates Indonesian social, political and economic life. With a population of 136 million and home to 60% of Indonesia’s population, it is the world’s most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. The Indonesian capital city Jakarta is in west Java.
Formed mostly as the result of volcanic events, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east-west spine along the island.
Java lies between Sumatra to the west and Bali to the east and is divided into four provinces, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Banten, with two special districts, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
The highest volcano in Java is Mount Semeru, (3,676 m), and the most active volcano in is Mount Merapi (2,968 m). Further mountains and highlands help to split the interior into a series of relatively isolated regions suitable for wet-rice cultivation; the rice lands of Java are among the richest in the world. Java was the first place where Indonesian coffee was grown, starting in 1699.