Indonesia is by far the largest nation in Southeast Asia and one of the largest countries in the world and is fourth largest in terms of population after the United States. Indonesian history and culture are especially relevant today as the Island nation is an emerging power in the region with a dynamic new leader. It is a land of incredible diversity and unending paradoxes that has a long and rich history stretching back a thousand years and more. Indonesia is the fabled "Spice Islands" of every school child's dreams one of the most colourful and fascinating countries in history. These are the islands that Europeans set out on countless voyages of discovery to find and later fought bitterly over in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. This was the land that Christopher Columbus sought and Magellan actually reached and explored. One tiny Indonesian island was even exchanged for the island of Manhattan in 1667!