West Papua Diary

A Brief History of West Papua



As an archipelagic country, Indonesia certainly has many exciting islands for us to explore its nature and cultural beauty. As we already know, from Sabang to Merauke, it has its own stories and natural peculiarities. One of them is West Papua. Offering natural beauty and cultural diversity, it turns out that West Papua also has a fascinating history for us to explore. Therefore, here we provide you with a brief history of West Papua.

West Papua and Konferensi Meja Bundar

It’s been a long time since West Papua followed the journey of Indonesia. From an empty land to be a country that everyone can see right now. From the KMB (Konferensi Meja Bundar) or Round Table Conferences in 1949 until today, West Papua still holds a vital role in Indonesia.

To know more about this, we need to remember how the declaration of Konferensi Meja Bundar on the 24th of December 1949. At this time, West Papua was still under Dutch rule and control as one of the countries colonised Indonesia. And finally, on the 27th of December 1949, the Netherland saved its sovereignty to the state of Indonesia. However, both the Indonesians and the Dutch still felt that they had the right to the land of West Papua. Therefore, with the complexity of the problem, the Dutch took this case to the United Nations. This was the beginning of the New York Agreement.

New York Agreement has made the Netherlands give all the authority of West Papua to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority or UNITEA. Following this event, the Netherland also proposed that they should hold a Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat (PEPERA) or Determination of People’s Opinion. It is voting for the West Papua’s citizens to choose if they want to be with the Netherland, which is being a new country. Or they want to be with Indonesia.

One year later, in 1969, the result of PEPERA came out. It shows that most West Papua’s citizens choose to stay with Indonesia and be a part of Indonesia’s archipelago.

1 Mei 1963

After a long journey to make West Papua part of Indonesia, finally, on the 1st of October 1962, the Netherlands handed over the administrative authority of Papua to UNTEA. And on the 31st of December 1962, Indonesia’s de jure rule over the land of Papua began under United Nations supervision.

Following this event, on the 1st of May 1963, the Netherlands’ national flag was replaced by Indonesia’s national flag, Sang Saka Merah Putih. And on that date, it was the first time we can see Indonesia’s national flag fluttered in West Papua.

Then, according to Law Number 21 of 2001 concerning Special Autonomy for Papua, the Province of West Irian or Irian Jaya was changed to Papua Province. Then, in 2004, Papua was divided into two provinces. It is the east, which was still called Papua. At the same time, the western part became the Province of West Irian Jaya or West Papua.

Now, we already know the history of West Papua and how this land finally became a part of Indonesia. Next, let’s talk about West Papua’s culture and tribes’ history.

Papua’s Culture and Tribes’ History

Looking back at history, the indigenous West Papuans are people who come from the Melanesian racial clump. It is consisting of indigenous tribes in the Papua Province. It also includes people accepted and recognised as indigenous Papuans by the Papuan indigenous peoples of the Doberay traditional territory. This consists of the Bomberay traditional environment of West Papua Province.

Meanwhile, for the tribes, there are around 466 tribes in West Papua. Yet, there are only seven tribes that are famous and common people know. They are Asmat, Amungme, Dani, Korowai, Muyu, Bauzi, and Huli Tribe. Each tribe has its unique tradition and culture. This makes West Papua a colourful province that everyone should visit at least once in their life.

So, that’s some information on a brief history of West Papua; the 102.946 km² land has many cultures and natural resources in Indonesia.







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