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Definition of NIAS
island Indonesia in Indian Ocean off W coast of Sumatra area 1569 square miles (4064 square kilometers), pop 314,829
geographical name(Concise Encyclopedia)
Island, western Indonesia, in the Indian Ocean. The largest island in a chain along the western coast of Sumatra, it has an area of 1,842 sq mi (4,772 sq km). Most of the people are animists (seeanimism) and speak dialects of the Austronesian language family. The chief village is Gunungsitoli on the northeastern coast. Megalithic monuments and wooden sculptures honouring the dead or representing fertility are common on the island. Tourism (notably surfing) has become important. Coastal areas were devastated by an earthquake-generated tsunami in 2004.