The city has three sections—the old town in the north, with Javanese, Chinese, and Arab quarters; central Jakarta, with high-rise buildings; and a modern residential garden suburb in the south. With its many canals and drawbridges, North Jakarta resembles a Dutch town. Landmarks include the architectural monuments built during President Sukarno's long rule—freedom statues, a huge sports complex (financed by the Soviet Union), and the Istiqlal Mosque. Jakarta is the seat of the Univ. of Indonesia. There are notable museums and several 17th-century houses and churches.
The Dutch founded (c.1619) the fort of Batavia near the Javanese settlement of Jakarta, repulsing English and native attempts to oust them. Batavia became the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company and was a major trade center in the 17th cent. It declined in the 18th cent., following rebellions against the Dutch, but prospered again with the introduction of plantation cultivation in the 19th cent. From 1811 to 1814, Jakarta was the center of British rule in Java. Batavia was renamed Jakarta in Dec., 1949, and was proclaimed the capital of newly independent Indonesia. In recent years Jakarta, especially North Jakarta, has been subsiding significantly, primarily as a result of groundwater depletion by well use, and the city has undertaken construction of a 20-mi (32-km) outer seawall to protect against flooding. Traffic congestion and pollution are also significant problems.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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