The Javanese are an ethnic group native to the Indonesian island of Java. With approximately 100 million people, they form the largest ethnic group in Indonesia and they are predominantly located in the central to eastern parts of the island. There are also significant numbers of people of Javanese descent in most Provinces of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Suriname, Saudi Arabia, the Javanese ethnic group has many sub-groups, such as the Mataram, Cirebonese, Osing, Tenggerese, Samin, Naganese, Banyumasan, etc. A majority of the Javanese people identify themselves as Muslims, with a minority identifying as Christians, Hindu and Buddhist influences arrived through trade contacts with the Indian subcontinent. Hindu and Buddhist - traders and visitors, arrived in the 5th century, the Hindu, Buddhist and Javanese faiths blended into a unique local philosophy. The cradle of Javanese culture is described as being in Kedu. The earliest Sanjaya and Sailendra dynasties had their base there. The move was most likely caused by the eruption of Merapi and/or invasion from Srivijaya. The major spread of Javanese influence occurred under King Kertanegara of Singhasari in the late 13th century, the expansionist king launched several major expeditions to Madura, Bali in 1284, Borneo and most importantly to Sumatra in 1275. Following the defeat of the Melayu Kingdom, Singhasari controlled trade in the Strait of Malacca, Singhasari dominance was cut short in 1292 by Kediris rebellion under Jayakatwang, killing Kertanegara. However, Jayakatwangs reign as king of Java soon ended as he was defeated by Kertanegaras son-in-law, Raden Wijaya would later establish Majapahit near the delta of the Brantas River in modern-day Mojokerto, East Java. Kertanegara policies were continued by the Majapahits under King Hayam Wuruk. Various kingdoms of Java were actively involved in the trade in the sea route of the Silk Road. Although not major producers, these kingdoms were able to stockpile spice by trading for it with rice. Majapahit is usually regarded as the greatest of these kingdoms and it was both an agrarian and a maritime power, combining wet-rice cultivation and foreign trade. The ruin of their capital can be found in Trowulan, Islam gained its foothold in port towns on Javas northern coast such as Gresik, Ampel Denta, Tuban, Demak and Kudus. The spread and proselytising of Islam among the Javanese was traditionally credited to Wali Songo, Java underwent major changes as Islam spread. Following succession disputes and civil wars, Majapahit power collapsed, after this collapse, its various dependencies and vassals broke free
Image: Traditional Javanese marriage costume
Javanese adapted many aspects of Indian culture, such as the Ramayana epic.