Taken on: 1st April, 2011. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See jgronlund's page of Flickr

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The steaming capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, sits at the western end of Java on the northern coast. It's an immense city with incredible contrasts in wealth and modernity with sections seemingly more modern than many Western cities and other parts representing some of the worst poverty in Indonesia.

Jakarta was established as a trading port centuries ago and was primarily used by the Sundanese people to ship spices to the rest of the world, with local pepper in particular being highly sought after. Over the years, the city changed hands as a result of the constant battle for control of the lucrative spice trade. It eventually ended up in Dutch hands and was named Batavia, which stuck for hundreds of years, and resulted in a distinct culture and separate language from the surrounding Sundanese people.

With the onset of World War II and the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies, separatist activities increased in intensity and an agreement was ... Read our complete Jakarta travel guide

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