Have you asked yourself this question: is West Papua a country? What is the difference between West Papua and Papua New Guinea? You might be curious about the details of West Papua. If you are, then do not look anywhere else, we got you covered with this topic.
Is West Papua a Country?
West Papua has many names previously. During the era of colonization, the region was called West New Guinea (the British’s rule) and Nieuw Guinea (the Dutch’s rule). Then, the region changes its name to West Irian after the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia’s independence. After Indonesia successfully obtained the right to rule West Irian, during the establishment of the region, it was changed once again to West Papua Province.
So, to answer the question based on the explanation above, no. West Papua is not a country. Instead, the region is one of the provinces under the Indonesian administration. It is located in the eastern part of Indonesia and the province occupies the Domberai Peninsula or the Bird’s Head Peninsula of New Guinea Island.
What is New Guinea Island?
New Guinea is the world’s second biggest island, second to Greenland. It is 2,400 kilometers or 1,500 miles long from southeast to northwest. Its width is 650 kilometers or 400 miles from the south to the north part.
The land of New Guinea Island is divided into two. The western part of the land belongs to the Indonesian Papua Provinces. Meanwhile, the eastern part belongs to an independent country called Papua New Guinea (PNG) since 1975. At first glance, the two territories might share an identical identity. However, they are different due to the regions’ political status and geography.
The Difference between West Papua Province and Papua New Guinea
The Region’s Administration
Is West Papua a Country? No, West Papua is a province, formerly known as West Irian Jaya, which is the principal administrative division of Indonesia. The province areas include the Doberai (Bird’s Head), Bomberai (Bird’s Beak) Peninsulas, and Raja Ampat Islands. The region consists of several administrative regencies and one city. They are Regencies of FakFak, Kaimana, Bintuni Bay, Wondama Bay, South Sorong, Sorong, Manokwari (capital city), Tambrauw, Arfak Mountains, South Manokwari, and Raja Ampat. Meanwhile, the city is called Sorong. It comprises 162 districts, 74 sub-districts, and 1321 villages.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea (PNG) with the official name of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is an independent country that occupies the eastern half of New Guinea Island and several tiny offshore islands. It has 20 administrative provinces. Its capital city is Port Moresby, situated in the coastal area of the southeastern section. In 1975, the country claimed its independence and sovereignty. Then, it joined the group of Commonwealth Nations placing Elizabeth II as its queen, now King Charles III.
The People and Tourist Destinations
West Papua, together with Papua Province, is home to more than hundreds of native tribes and 300 local languages. The province has a total population of more than 551,000 people. The region is famous for its tourist destinations such as Raja Ampat Islands, Arborek Village, Sawinggrai Village, Saporkren Village, Cape Kri, Wayag Island, Manta Sandy, Pianemo Island, Pasir Timbul Beach, Harfat Peak, Yeben Island, and many more.
Whereas, Papua New Guinea is home to more than 830 local languages and a total of 8.4 million people. Thus, the country is rich in tribal culture and traditions. Papua New Guinea has many fascinating tourist destinations. They are the National Museum and Art Gallery, Varirata National Park, Parliament Haus, the Rainforest Habitat at the University of Technology, JK McCarthy Museum, Port Moresby Nature Park, Tari Basin, Volcanology Observatory, Lae War Cemetery, and Muschu Island.
Is West Papua a Country? The answer is no. West Papua is a part of Indonesia functioning as one of the country’s provinces.