One of the great centers of civilisation that is almost never discussed is Ancient Indonesia. Ask anyone, even an archaeologist or historian and unless they specialize in the region they will probably have very little information about the complex history of this part of the world where as they would know a lot more about others.
Indonesia had its first major colonization around 3000 BC. From then on, it has been a population center. Even now, Indonesia is the fourth largest country population wise in the world.
Indonesia is similar to other great islands like Ireland or Great Britain in that it has been ruled by many different invading cultures. This means you see vast differences in culture across the different parts of the country. For example, Bali is a majority Hindu island, while Indonesia as a whole, is majority Moslim. Christian and Buddhist traditions also have followers due to different conquests.
For the most part, Java has been the centre of power for Indonesia through out history. Besides Indonesias strategic location between Arabs and Indians and the Far East, Indonesia was coveted for it's wealth in gold and spices. Nutmeg, in particular was the draw. Now, coffee and tea are prized crops of the region, with Sumatran coffee being amongst the highest rated in the world.