Indonesia has a diverse culture and ethnicity. This diversity was known before this country became independent and was founded. This plurality is woven into the bonds of the one and sovereign Indonesian nation. Diversity is an infinite wealth and blessing for the Indonesian people.

Data from the census of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in 2010, there were around 1,340 ethnic groups in Indonesia. So, what causes Indonesia to have a diverse culture and ethnicity?

1. Different Ancestors

The ancestors of the Indonesian nation came from two ancestors with different races. The ethnic groups living in the western part of Indonesia are descended from the Mongoloid race, while those living in the eastern part are descendants of the Australomelanesid race. The ancestors of the tribes in eastern Indonesia came first to the archipelago from Africa 100,000-300,000 years ago. The ancestors of the ethnic groups in western Indonesia only came 5,000 years ago from southern Taiwan.

The ancestors of the Mongoloid Race and the Australomelanesid Race lived together in peace. Some experienced racial mixing through marriage, especially those in the Wallacea region, such as Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi. Over time, there was a learning process that triggered the evolution of culture and language which eventually formed different ethnic groups.

2. The Influence of Foreign Culture

Diversity can also arise from the influence of foreign cultures which combine and form the acculturation of two cultural elements to create a new culture with different characteristics. For example, Javanese culture after the Islamic Mataram Sultanate was heavily influenced by Arabic culture brought by traders from the Arabian Peninsula. The Javanese calendar system is even closely related to the Islamic Hijri calendar from Arabic.

3. Climate conditions and a good location to support agriculture and trade

Indonesia’s climate conditions are tropical, nature is fertile and has a variety of wealth and has a very strategic location as a trade route and international market that affects the diversity of ethnic groups. In Indonesia also has several ethnicities of foreign descent such as ethnic Chinese, Tamils, Arabs, Europeans and some mix of people of various races,

4. Geographical Location

Indonesia’s vast territory consisting of thousands of islands with different landscapes has a big role in influencing the diversity of the nation. Local communities will always adapt to the environment in which they live, indirectly this will also influence their customs, beliefs and customs little by little. Different landscapes in the place of residence will lead to diversity.

For example, in one island, community groups living in coastal areas will have cultural customs and beliefs that are closely related to the sea. Meanwhile, community groups living on the slopes of the mountains will tend to have cultural customs and beliefs that are closely related to mountains. More different conditions can be found in community groups on other islands with far different geographic conditions.

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