Civilopedia entry Edit
Serving as the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is both the largest and richest city in the Southeast Asian country. Since the first settlements in the area of Jakarta were laid by Hindu pilgrims in the 4th Century AD, the city has been known by many names, and controlled by an equally large number of would-be empires. For nearly 1000 years, Jakarta was part of the Kingdom of Sunda, which ruled a number of surrounding territories along the Indian Ocean. When meandering Portuguese explorers showed up in the islands in the 16th Century, the lucrative spice trade was quickly established with Jakarta being the primary port.
The Kingdom of Sunda eventually fell to the Muslim Sultanate of Fatahillah, who also expelled the Portuguese from the region. However, trade routes were reestablished soon after with the arrival of Dutch and English traders, including the influential English East India Company. After repeated conflicts between the two colonial powers vying for trade dominance, the Dutch and their own East India Company (shockingly) emerged victorious. The Dutch East India Company remained the dominant power in the Spice Islands until its eventual dissolution in 1800, when the Dutch formally declared the formation of the Dutch East Indies, their very own colony.
In 1950, the efforts of Indonesian nationalists succeeded in gaining full independence for Indonesia, with Jakarta established as its capital. Although the city and its residents (some 9.58 million of them in 2010) have often been enveloped in political unrest and instability, the economy of Jakarta continues to grow. These days Jakarta’s wealth depends primarily on the money-service sectors: banking, financial investing, stock and commodities trading, real estate, and the like. Although export of spices and other luxuries continues to be important, the almighty rupiah has come to be the primary focus.