Established in the fourth century, the city became an important trading port for the Kingdom of Sunda. It was the de facto capital of the Dutch East Indies (known as Batavia at that time) and has continued as the capital of Indonesia since the country’s independence was declared in 1945.
Located on the northwest coast of Java, Jakarta is the country’s economic, cultural and political centre. The official metropolitan area, known as Jabodetabek (a name formed by combining the initial syllables of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi), is the second largest in the world, yet the metropolis’ suburbs still continue beyond it.
Jakarta is listed as a global city in the 2008 Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) research. In 2011 the growth of the economy of Jakarta was ranked 17th among the world’s 200 largest cities, a jump from its 2007 ranking of 171. Jakarta has grown more rapidly than Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Bangkok.
Many domestic immigrants bring their various languages, dialects, foods and customs, adding to the cultural mix of the city. Its population comprises all the ethnic groups in the Indonesian archipelago, living under the national motto: Bhineka Tunggal Ika, meaning: Unity in Diversity
The city is the seat of the ASEAN Secretariat. Jakarta is served by the Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, and Tanjung Priok Harbor; it is connected by several intercity and commuter railways, and served by several bus lines running on reserved busways.
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