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Sumatra is one of the
Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the ...

Sunda Islands
of western
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian territory, as well as the sixth-largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 (182,812 mi.2), not including adjacent islands such as the
Simeulue Simeulue is an island of Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It ...
,
Nias Nias ( id, Pulau Nias, Nias language: ''Tanö Niha'') is an island located off the western coast of Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands of western Indonesia. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian territory, as wel ...
, Mentawai,
Enggano Enggano Island is about 100 km (60 mi) southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is one of the 92 officially listed List of outlying islands of Indonesia, outlying islands of Indonesia. Enggano is about long from east to west and about wi ...
,
Riau Islands The Riau Islands ( id, Kepulauan Riau) is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level re ...
,
Bangka Belitung The Bangka Belitung Islands ( id, Kepulauan Bangka Belitung) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territoria ...
and
Krakatoa archipelago The Krakatoa Archipelago is a small uninhabited archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islan ...
. Sumatra is an elongated landmass spanning a diagonal northwest–southeast axis. The
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
borders the west, northwest, and southwest coasts of Sumatra, with the island chain of
Simeulue Simeulue is an island of Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It ...
,
Nias Nias ( id, Pulau Nias, Nias language: ''Tanö Niha'') is an island located off the western coast of Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands of western Indonesia. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian territory, as wel ...

Nias
, Mentawai, and
Enggano Enggano Island is about 100 km (60 mi) southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is one of the 92 officially listed List of outlying islands of Indonesia, outlying islands of Indonesia. Enggano is about long from east to west and about wi ...

Enggano
off the western coast. In the northeast, the narrow
Strait of Malacca id, Selat Malaka th, ta, hi, zh, , native_name_lang = , other_name = , image = Strait of malacca.jpg , alt = , caption = The Strait of Malacca connects the Pacific Ocean to ...
separates the island from the
Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
, which is an extension of the Eurasian continent. In the southeast, the narrow
Sunda Strait The Sunda Strait (Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants o ...

Sunda Strait
, containing the
Krakatoa Archipelago The Krakatoa Archipelago is a small uninhabited archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islan ...
, separates Sumatra from
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...

Java
. The northern tip of Sumatra borders the
Andaman Islands The Andaman Islands is an archipelago in the northeastern Indian Ocean about southwest off the coasts of Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Region. Together with the Nicobar Islands to their south, the Andamans serve as a maritime boundary between the Bay o ...

Andaman Islands
, while off the southeastern coast lie the islands of Bangka and Belitung,
Karimata Strait , native_name_lang = Indonesian , image = Straat Karimata.JPG , caption = Karimata Strait , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , depth = , max-depth = , i ...

Karimata Strait
and the
Java Sea Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#S ...
. The
Bukit Barisan Geological map of Bukit Barisan The Bukit Barisan or the Barisan Mountains are a mountain range on the western side of Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands of western Indonesia. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian ...
mountains, which contain several active volcanoes, form the backbone of the island, while the northeastern area contains large plains and lowlands with swamps, mangrove forest and complex river systems. The
equator The Equator is a circle of latitude, about in circumference, that divides Earth into the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Southern Hemisphere, Southern hemispheres. It is an imaginary line located at 0 degrees latitude, halfway between the N ...

equator
crosses the island at its centre in
West Sumatra West Sumatra ( id, Sumatra Barat) is a Provinces of Indonesia, province of Indonesia. On the west coast of the island of Sumatra, the province has an area of 42,012.89 km2, and it had a population of 4,846,909 at the 2010 Census and 5,534,472 ...
and
Riau Riau is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level region provinces or ). Provinces are ...
provinces. The climate of the island is
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to ...

tropical
, hot, and humid. Lush
tropical rain forest Tropical rainforests are rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape ...

tropical rain forest
once dominated the landscape. 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 ground cuckoo, the
Sumatran tiger The Sumatran tiger is a population of '' Panthera tigris sondaica'' on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This population was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2008, as it was estimated at 441 to 679 individuals, with no subpo ...

Sumatran tiger
, the
Sumatran elephant The Sumatran elephant (''Elephas maximus sumatranus'') is one of three recognized subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subd ...
, the
Sumatran rhinoceros The Sumatran rhinoceros, also known as the hairy rhinoceros or Asian two-horned rhinoceros (''Dicerorhinus sumatrensis''), is a rare member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant species of rhinoceros. It is the only Extant taxon, ...
, and the
Sumatran orangutan The Sumatran orangutan (''Pongo abelii'') is one of the three species of orangutan Orangutans are great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links= ...
.
Deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

Deforestation
on the island has also resulted in serious seasonal smoke haze over neighbouring countries, such as the
2013 Southeast Asian haze The 2013 Southeast Asian haze was a haze crisis that affected several countries in Southeast Asia, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Southern Thailand, mainly during June and July 2013. The haze period was caused by large- ...
which caused considerable tensions between Indonesia and affected countries
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
.


Etymology

Sumatra was known in ancient times by the
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
names of ('Island of Gold') and ('Land of Gold'), because of the gold deposits in the island's
highlands Highlands or uplands are any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) refers to ranges of hills, typically up to . Highland (or highlands) is usually reserved for ranges of low mountains. Highland ...
. The earliest known mention of the current form "Sumatra" was in 1017, when the
local Local may refer to: Geography and transportation * Local (train), a train serving local traffic demand * Local, Missouri, a community in the United States * Local government, a form of public administration, usually the lowest tier of administrati ...
king Haji Sumatrabhumi ("King of the land of Sumatra") sent an envoy to
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
.
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
geographers referred to the island as (''
Lamuri Lamuri or Lambri was a kingdom in northern Sumatra, Indonesia from the Srivijaya period until the early 16th century. The area was inhabited by Hindus, Hindu population around the seventh century. There is also evidence of Buddhism. The region is ...
'', ''Lambri'' or ''Ramni'') in the tenth through thirteenth centuries, in reference to a kingdom near modern-day
Banda Aceh Banda Aceh is the capital and largest city in the province of Aceh, Indonesia. It is located on the island of Sumatra and has an elevation of 35 meters. The city covers an area of 61.4 square kilometres and had a population of 223,446 people at t ...
which was the first landfall for traders. The island has also been known by other names, including ''Andalas'' or ''Percha Island''. In the late 13th century,
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; September 15, 1254January 8, 1324) was a merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in ' (also known as ''Book of the Marvels of the World '' and '' ...

Marco Polo
referred to the kingdom as , while his contemporary fellow Italian traveller
Odoric of Pordenone Odoric of Pordenone, (1286–1331), also known as Odorico Mattiussi/Mattiuzzi, Odoricus of Friuli or Orderic of Pordenone, was an Italian late-medieval Franciscan The Franciscans are a group of related Mendicant orders, mendicant Christianity ...
used the form . Later in the 14th century the local form "Sumatra" became popular abroad due to the rising power of the kingdom of Samudera Pasai and the subsequent
Sultanate of Aceh The Sultanate of Aceh, officially the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam ( ace, Keurajeuën Acèh Darussalam; Jawoë: كاورجاون اچيه دارالسلام), was a Sultanate centered in the modern-day Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially ...

Sultanate of Aceh
. From then on, subsequent European writers mostly used ''Sumatra'' or similar forms of the name for the entire island.


History

By the year
692 __NOTOC__ Year 692 ( DCXCII) was a leap year starting on MondayA leap year starting on Monday is any year with 366 days (i.e. it includes 29 February) that begins on Monday, 1 January, and ends on Leap year starting on Tuesday, Tuesday, 31 Decem ...

692
, the
Melayu Kingdom The Melayu Kingdom (also known as Malayu, Dharmasraya Kingdom or the Jambi Kingdom; , reconstructed Middle Chinese pronunciation ''mat-la-yu kwok'')Muljana, Slamet , (2006), ''Sriwijaya'', Yogyakarta: LKIS, . was a classical Malays (ethnic grou ...
was absorbed by
Srivijaya Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay langua ...
.
Srivijaya Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay langua ...
n influence waned in the 11th century after it was defeated by the
Chola The Chola dynasty ( ta, சோழ வம்சம்) was a Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysian ...

Chola
Empire of southern India. At the same time, Islam made its way to Sumatra through
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technica ...

Arabs
and
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
traders in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. By the late 13th century, the monarch of the
Samudra Samudra (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It a ...

Samudra
kingdom had converted to Islam.
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; September 15, 1254January 8, 1324) was a merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in ' (also known as ''Book of the Marvels of the World '' and '' ...

Marco Polo
visited the island in 1292, and his fellow Italian
Odoric of Pordenone Odoric of Pordenone, (1286–1331), also known as Odorico Mattiussi/Mattiuzzi, Odoricus of Friuli or Orderic of Pordenone, was an Italian late-medieval Franciscan The Franciscans are a group of related Mendicant orders, mendicant Christianity ...
in 1321.
Moroccan
Moroccan
scholar
Ibn Battuta Ibn Battuta (; 24 February 13041368/1369); fully: ; Arabic: was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an e ...
visited with the sultan for 15 days, noting the city of Samudra was "a fine, big city with wooden walls and towers", and another two months on his return journey. Samudra was succeeded by the powerful
Aceh Sultanate The Sultanate of Aceh, officially the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam ( ace, Keurajeuën Acèh Darussalam; Jawoë: كاورجاون اچيه دارالسلام), was a Sultanate centered in the modern-day Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially ...

Aceh Sultanate
, which survived to the 20th century. With the coming of the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
, the many Sumatran princely states gradually fell under their control. Aceh, in the north, was the major obstacle, as the Dutch were involved in the long and costly
Aceh War The Aceh War (Indonesian language, Indonesian: Perang Aceh), also known as the Dutch War or the Infidel War (1873–1904), was an armed military conflict between the Sultanate of Aceh and the Kingdom of the Netherlands which was triggered by di ...
(1873–1903). The
Free Aceh Movement The Free Aceh Movement ( id, Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or simply ''GAM'', ace, Geurakan Acèh Meurdèka, also: Gěrakan Aceh Měrdeka) was a separatist group seeking independence upright=1.0, Pedro I of Brazil, Pedro surrounded by a crowd in Sã ...
fought against Indonesian government forces in the Aceh Insurgency from 1976 to 2005. Security crackdowns in 2001 and 2002 resulted in several thousand civilian deaths. The island was heavily impacted by both the 1883
Krakatoa eruption
Krakatoa eruption
and the 2004
Boxing Day Tsunami The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami and, by the scientific community, the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake) occurred at 07:58:53 in local time ( UTC+7) on 26 December, with an epicentre The epicent ...
.


Demographics

Sumatra is not particularly densely populated, with 123.46 people per km2 – about 58.557 million people in total (in the 2020 Census). Because of its great extent, it is nonetheless the fifth most populous island in the world. File:Minangprocession.jpg, Minangkabau women carrying platters of food to a ceremony File:House in Nias North Sumatra.jpg, Traditional house in Nias North Sumatra


Languages

There are over 52
languages A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communicatio ...
spoken, all of which (except Chinese and Tamil) belong to the
Malayo-Polynesian The Malayo-Polynesian languages are a subgroup of the Austronesian languages, with approximately 385.5 million speakers. The Malayo-Polynesian languages are spoken by the Austronesian peoples outside of Taiwan, in the island nations of Southeast A ...
branch of the
Austronesian Austronesian may refer to: *The Austronesian languages *The historical Austronesian peoples who carried Austronesian languages on their migrations {{disambiguation ...
language family. Within Malayo-Polynesian, they are divided into several sub-branches:
Chamic The Chamic languages, also known as Aceh–Chamic and Achinese–Chamic, are a group of ten languages spoken in Aceh Aceh () is the westernmost province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, a ...
(which are represented by Acehnese in which its closest relatives are languages spoken by Ethnic Chams in Cambodia and Vietnam),
Malayic
Malayic
(
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
,
MinangkabauMinangkabau may refer to: * Minangkabau culture, culture of the Minangkabau people * Minangkabau Culture Documentation and Information Center * Minangkabau F.C., a football club based in Padang, West Sumatra * Minangkabau Highlands, West Sumatra * Mi ...
and other closely related languages), Northwest Sumatra–Barrier Islands (
Batak languages__FORCETOC__ The Batak languages are a subgroup of the Austronesian languages spoken by the Batak (Indonesia), Batak people in the Indonesian Provinces of Indonesia, province of North Sumatra and surrounding areas. Internal classification The Ba ...

Batak languages
, Gayo and others), Lampungic (includes Proper Lampung and Komering) and Bornean (represented by Rejang in which its closest linguistic relatives are Bukar Sadong and Land Dayak spoken in
West Kalimantan West Kalimantan ( id, Kalimantan Barat) is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level reg ...
and
Sarawak Sarawak (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Sarawak
(
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
)). Northwest Sumatra–Barrier Islands and Lampungic branches are endemic to the island. Like all parts of Indonesia,
Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants of the archipelago ** Indonesian ...

Indonesian
(which was based on Riau Malay) is the official language and the main lingua franca. Although Sumatra has its own local lingua franca, variants of Malay like Medan Malay and
Palembang Malay Palembang, also known as Palembang Malay or Musi, is a Malayic language primarily spoken in about two thirds of South Sumatra South Sumatra ( id, Sumatera Selatan) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a ...
are popular in North and South Sumatra, especially in urban areas. Minangkabau (Padang dialect) is popular in West Sumatra, some parts of North Sumatra, Bengkulu, Jambi and Riau (especially in
Pekanbaru Pekanbaru is the capital of Indonesian province of Riau Riau is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 largest subdivisions of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Ind ...
and areas bordered with
West Sumatra West Sumatra ( id, Sumatra Barat) is a Provinces of Indonesia, province of Indonesia. On the west coast of the island of Sumatra, the province has an area of 42,012.89 km2, and it had a population of 4,846,909 at the 2010 Census and 5,534,472 ...
) while Acehnese is also used as an inter-ethnic means of communication in some parts of Aceh province.


Religion

The majority of people in Sumatra are Muslims (87.1%), while 10.7% are Christians, and less than 2% are Buddhists and Hindus.


Administration

Sumatra (including its adjacent islands) was one province between 1945 and 1948. It now covers ten of Indonesia's 34 provinces, which are set out below with their areas and populations.


Geography

The longest axis of the island runs approximately northwest–southeast, crossing the equator near the centre. At its widest point, the island spans . The interior of the island is dominated by two geographical regions: the
Barisan Mountains Geological map of Bukit Barisan The Bukit Barisan or the Barisan Mountains are a mountain range on the western side of Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands of western Indonesia. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian ...
in the west and swampy plains in the east. Sumatra is the closest Indonesian island to mainland Asia. To the southeast is
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...

Java
, separated by the
Sunda Strait The Sunda Strait (Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants o ...

Sunda Strait
. To the north is the
Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
(located on the Asian mainland), separated by the
Strait of Malacca id, Selat Malaka th, ta, hi, zh, , native_name_lang = , other_name = , image = Strait of malacca.jpg , alt = , caption = The Strait of Malacca connects the Pacific Ocean to ...
. To the east is
Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java Is ...

Borneo
, across the
Karimata Strait , native_name_lang = Indonesian , image = Straat Karimata.JPG , caption = Karimata Strait , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , depth = , max-depth = , i ...

Karimata Strait
. West of the island is the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
. The
Great Sumatran fault The Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of more than L ...
(a
strike-slip In geology Geology (from the γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is a branch of concerned with both the liquid and , the of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over t ...
fault), and the
Sunda megathrust The Sunda megathrust is a fault (geology), fault that extends approximately 5,500 km (3300 mi) from Burma, Myanmar (Burma) in the north, running along the southwestern side of Sumatra, to the south of Java and Bali before terminating near ...
(a
subduction zone Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere is recycled into the Earth's mantle at convergent boundaries. Where the oceanic lithosphere of a tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tec ...
), run the entire length of the island along its west coast. On 26 December 2004, the western coast and islands of Sumatra, particularly
Aceh Aceh () is the westernmost province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivis ...
province, were struck by a
tsunami A tsunami ( ; from ja, 津波, lit=harbour wave, ) is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, t ...

tsunami
following the . This was the longest earthquake recorded, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds. More than 170,000 Indonesians were killed, primarily in Aceh. Other recent earthquakes to strike Sumatra include the 2005 Nias–Simeulue earthquake and the 2010 Mentawai earthquake and tsunami.
Lake Toba Lake Toba ( id, Danau Toba) is a large natural lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards ...

Lake Toba
is the site of a supervolcanic
eruption Several types of volcanic eruptions—during which lava, tephra (Volcanic ash, ash, lapilli, volcanic bombs and volcanic blocks), and assorted gases are expelled from a Volcano, volcanic vent or fissure vent, fissure—have been distinguished b ...
that occurred around 74,000 years ago, representing a climate-changing event. To the east, big rivers carry silt from the mountains, forming the vast lowland interspersed by swamps. Even if mostly unsuitable for farming, the area is currently of great economic importance for Indonesia. It produces oil from both above and below the soil –
palm oil Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substa ...
and
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...

petroleum
. Sumatra is the largest producer of
Indonesian coffee Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asi ...
. Small-holders grow Arabica coffee (''
Coffea arabica ''Coffea'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to ...

Coffea arabica
'') in the highlands, while Robusta (''
Coffea canephora ''Coffea canephora'' ( syn. ''Coffea robusta''), commonly known as robusta coffee, is a species of coffee that has its origins in central and western sub-Saharan Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous conti ...
'') is found in the lowlands. Arabica coffee from the regions of Gayo, Lintong and Sidikilang is typically processed using the Giling Basah (wet hulling) technique, which gives it a heavy body and low acidity. Sumatra is a highly seismic island, huge earthquakes have been recorded throughout history, in 1797 an 8.9 earthquake shook Western Sumatra, in 1833 a 9.2 earthquake shook Bengkulu and Western Sumatra both events caused large tsunamis. They are very common throughout the coastal area of the west and center of the island, tsunamis are common due to the high seismicity in the area.


Largest cities

By population, Medan is the largest city in Sumatra.Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta. Medan is also the most visited and developed city in Sumatra.


Flora and fauna

Sumatra supports a wide range of vegetation types that are home to a rich variety of species, including 17 endemic genera of plants. Unique species include the Sumatran pine which dominates the Sumatran tropical pine forests of the higher mountainsides in the north of the island and rainforest plants such as ''
Rafflesia arnoldii ''Rafflesia arnoldii'' is a species of flowering plant in the parasitic genus '' Rafflesia''. It is noted for producing the largest organisms, largest individual flower on Earth. It has a strong and unpleasant odor of decaying flesh. It is native ...
'' (the world's largest individual flower), and the
titan arum ''Amorphophallus titanum'', the titan arum, is a flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), orders, 416 Family (biolo ...
(the world's largest unbranched
inflorescence An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genus ''Prunus'') and of some ...
). The island is home to 201 mammal species and 580 bird species. There are nine endemic mammal species on mainland Sumatra and 14 more endemic to the nearby
Mentawai Islands Mentawai may refer to: * Mentawai IslandsMentawai may refer to: * Mentawai Islands * Mentawai Strait * Mentawai people Mentawai (also known as Mentawei and Mentawi) people are the native people of the Mentawai Islands, in Siberut, about 100 mil ...
. There are about 300 freshwater fish species in Sumatra. There are 93 amphibian species in Sumatra, 21 of which are endemic to Sumatra. The
Sumatran tiger The Sumatran tiger is a population of '' Panthera tigris sondaica'' on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This population was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2008, as it was estimated at 441 to 679 individuals, with no subpo ...

Sumatran tiger
,
Sumatran rhinoceros The Sumatran rhinoceros, also known as the hairy rhinoceros or Asian two-horned rhinoceros (''Dicerorhinus sumatrensis''), is a rare member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant species of rhinoceros. It is the only Extant taxon, ...
,
Sumatran elephant The Sumatran elephant (''Elephas maximus sumatranus'') is one of three recognized subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subd ...
, Sumatran ground cuckoo,
Sumatran orangutan The Sumatran orangutan (''Pongo abelii'') is one of the three species of orangutan Orangutans are great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links= ...
and Tapanuli Orangutan are all critically endangered, indicating the highest level of threat to their survival. In October 2008, the Indonesian government announced a plan to protect Sumatra's remaining forests. The island includes more than 10 national parks, including three which are listed as the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra World Heritage Site – Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. The Berbak National Park is one of three national parks in Indonesia listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.


Rail transport

Several unconnected railway networks built during Netherlands East Indies exist in Sumatra, such as the ones connecting
Banda Aceh Banda Aceh is the capital and largest city in the province of Aceh, Indonesia. It is located on the island of Sumatra and has an elevation of 35 meters. The city covers an area of 61.4 square kilometres and had a population of 223,446 people at t ...
-Lhokseumawe-Besitang-Medan-Tebingtinggi-Pematang Siantar-Rantau Prapat in Northern Sumatra (the Banda Aceh-Besitang section was closed in 1971, but is currently being rebuilt). Padang, Indonesia, Padang-Solok-Bukittinggi in
West Sumatra West Sumatra ( id, Sumatra Barat) is a Provinces of Indonesia, province of Indonesia. On the west coast of the island of Sumatra, the province has an area of 42,012.89 km2, and it had a population of 4,846,909 at the 2010 Census and 5,534,472 ...
, and Bandar Lampung-Palembang-Lahat-Lubuk Linggau in Southern Sumatra.


See also

* Architecture of Sumatra * Bukit Seguntang * Communism in Sumatra * Music of Sumatra


References


Further reading

* * William Marsden
''The History of Sumatra''
(1783); 3rd ed. (1811) freely available online.


External links

* {{Authority control Sumatra, Greater Sunda Islands Maritime Southeast Asia