Jakarta, founded in the 15th century, began as a small harbor city located near the mouth of the Ciliwung river. Prior to this, several European writers reported a settlement called Kalapa. It was a major port for the Hindish kingdom of Sunda, with its capital Kalapa, about 40km to the south of Kalapa, near the modern city of Bogor. The Portuguese were reported to be the first Europeans to visit the port of Kalapa. The port is still called Sunda Kelapa today.
The city was attacked by a young warrior Fatahillah (or Faletehan) from a nearby kingdom. Fatahillah changed the name Kalapa into Jayakarta on 22 June 1527. This particular date is regarded as the official birth date of Jakarta. The Dutch came to Jayakarta at the end of the 16th century. In 1619 the forces of the Dutch East India Company, led by Jan Pieterszoon Coen, conquered the city and renamed Jayakarta to Batavia, the Roman name for Holland. Batavia was the capital of the colonial Dutch East Indies until the Dutch were forced from Indonesia during World War II.
Unlike other cities in Indonesia, Jakarta has a special province status. The city is headed by a governor, not by a mayor. Jakarta is divided into five districts of kotamadya headed by walikotamadya (now the term kotamadya has been changed to just kota).
- East Jakarta (Jakarta Timur)
- West Jakarta (Jakarta Barat)
- North Jakarta (Jakarta Utara)
- South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan)
- Central Jakarta (Jakarta Pusat)
Being the capital of Indonesia and the center of governance, politics, and economy, Jakarta attracts many immigrants, foreign and domestic. As a result, Jakarta has a decidedly cosmopolitan flavor and a diverse culture. Many of the immigrants are from other parts of Java, bringing along a mixture of dialects of Javanese and Sundanese, and their traditional foods and customs. A person born in Jakarta is called the Betawinese.
As the largest city Jakarta has attracted many regional talents to relocate in hopes of finding a better audience and more opportunities for their arts and crafts.
Foreign influence is also widespread, with the standard American licenses such as Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, Starbucks, and fast food providers such as McDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken available throughout the city. Many American-themed restaurants are also established domestically.
There are railways throughout Jakarta; however, they are inadequate in providing transportation for the citizens of Jakarta. In peak hours, the number of passengers simply overloads the capacity provided. The railroad tracks connect Jakarta to its neighboring cities: Depok and Bogor to the south, Tangerang and Serpong to the west, and Bekasi, Karawang, and Cikampek to the east. The major rail stations are Gambir, Jatinegara, Manggarai, and Jakarta Kota.
Buses and transport cars (local language: Angkot, angkutan kota) are also popular. Like trains, they also become overloaded during peak hours. In 2003, the government formed Busway; it serves the route from Jakarta Kota all the way to Blok M. Normally, it takes more than one hour from Jakarta Kota to Blok M during peak hours. On the busway, it now takes less than half an hour. The second phase of the busway will be constructed in 2005, serving the route from Pulogadung to Kalideres.
To reduce traffic jams, some major roads in Jakarta have the three in one rule. It is forbidden for any four wheeled vehicles carrying less than three passengers to enter any designated road during work hours. The roads that have the three in one rule include: Jalan Hayam Wuruk, Jalan Gajah Mada, Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Jalan M.H. Thamrin, Jalan Sudirman, Jalan Sisingamangaraja, Jalan Gatot Subroto. The three in one times are: 07:00 - 10:00 and 16:00 - 19:00 (Local time).
Jakarta's transportation also depends on tollroads. The major tollroad is the inner ring road from Tanjungpriok-Cawang-Grogol-Tanjungpriuk. The outer ring road is now being constructed and is partly operational from Cilincing-Cakung-Pasar Rebo-Pondok Pinang-Daan Mogot-Cengkareng. The tollroads also connect Jakarta to the International airport of Soekarno-Hatta to the northwest, to the port of Merak and Tangerang to the west, to Serpong to the southwest, to Depok and Bogor to the south, and to Bekasi, Cibitung and Karawang, Purwakarta and eventually to Bandung to the east.
The government is also considering waterbus (bahasa Indonesia: 'bus air') as a cheaper type of transportation along the canals in Jakarta.
Jakarta is the home of several universities:
- Universitas Indonesia (a big part of it is now relocated to Depok)
- Universitas Trisakti
- Universitas Tarumanagara
- Universitas Bina Nusantara
- Universitas Kristen Krida Wacana
- Universitas Kristen Indonesia
- Universitas Muhammadiyah Jakarta
- Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya
- Universitas Jayabaya
- Universitas Gunadarma
- Universitas Pembangunan Nasional
- Taman Impian Jaya Ancol
- Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
- Ragunan zoo
- Taman Ismail Marzuki
- Thousand Islands
Being the home of many of the country's political and economic elite, Jakarta boasts many shopping amenities, such as mega malls and chic boutiques. Recent development of satellite cities in the surrounding areas, usually built around their own mega malls, parks, entertainment centers, and in some instances schools, has significantly expanded what is considered to be the practical border of Jakarta.
Some of the shopping malls include:
- Mal Taman Anggrek
- Plaza Indonesia
- Mal Ciputra
- Mal Puri Indah
- Pondok Indah Mall
- Cilandak Town Square
- Plaza Senayan
- Kelapa Gading
Jakarta is the home of popular soccer team Persija Jakarta, which regularly plays its matches in the stadium of Lebak Bulus. The biggest stadium is Gelora Bung Karno. With a capacity of more than 100,000 seats, it is one of the biggest stadiums in the world.
The Senayan sports complex is comprised of several sport venues, which include: Gelora Bung Karno soccer stadium, Stadion Madya athletic stadium, Istora senayan, a shooting range, a tennis court, a golf driving range and several others.
Like many big cities in developing countries, Jakarta suffers from major urbanization problems. The population has sharply risen from 2.7 million in 1960 to 8.3 million in 2000. The rapid population growth has outgrown the government's ability to provide basic needs for its residents. As the biggest economy in Indonesia, Jakarta has attracted a large number of workers from its surrounding areas. The population during weekdays is almost double that of weeknights or weekends, due to the influx of workers residing in the surrounding areas. Because of government's inability to provide adequate transportation for its large population, Jakarta also suffers from severe traffic jams that occur almost every work day.
During the wet season, Jakarta suffers from floodings due to clogged sewage pipes and waterways. Depleting rainforest on the hill areas south of Jakarta near Bogor and Depok, due to rapid urbanization, has also contributed to the floods.