October 19, 2021
Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera) is an Indonesian island, one of the Greater Sunda Islands. With an area of 473,481 km², Sumatra is the sixth largest island in the world. It has 40 million inhabitants who speak 52 different languages. Most of them are of Malay origin. About 80% of the population are Muslims and 18% are Christians. The island stretches 1,700 kilometers in a northwest-southeast direction and is up to 370 kilometers wide. The equator passes through the middle of the island. Mount Kerinchi is the highest peak in Sumatra (3,805 meters). Sumatra is known for its intense volcanic activity, which is why the land is very fertile, and the landscapes are spectacular. The eastern half of the island is flat. About 40 kilometers from the south coast of Sumatra, on the other side of the Sunda Sea, is the island of Java. Borneo is 600 kilometers away, while the Malay Peninsula in the northeast is separated by the Malacca Sea. About 200-1,000 kilometers northwest of Sumatra lie groups of the islands of Andamani and Nikobari. A 16-meter tsunami caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake on the Richter scale hit the west coast of Sumatra on December 26, 2004, especially the province of Aceh. 170,000 Indonesians were killed then. Sumatra has significant oil resources. Coal, gold, bauxite and zinc are exploited. Among the agricultural products, rubber, pepper, coffee, palm oil and tobacco are important. Sumatra has a wide range of plant and animal species, but has lost almost 50% of its tropical rainforest in the last 35 years. Many species are now critically endangered, such as the Sumatran coward, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran rhino and Sumatran orangutan. Deforestation on the island has also resulted in a serious seasonal haze of smoke over surrounding countries, such as the 2013 Southeast Asian Mist, which has caused significant tensions between Indonesia and the affected countries of Malaysia and Singapore.