Getting to Know the Papua Meaning and Its History

Papua meaning

Papua Meaning – In the east of Indonesia, there is a beautiful island with nature and culture. However, there is a lot of history regarding its name and region.

Did you know that Papua comes from the Tidore language? Listen to learning about the Papua meaning in full here!

Facts About the Papua Meaning and the History of Papua

Stories about Papua meaning will never end. There’s always something new for people to know. Even researchers are continuing to research Cendrawasih Earth.

Nature holds a lot of beauty, from under the sea to the tops of the mountains. Hundreds of tribes have their own culture and customs.

Other historical relics still need to be researched. The following are facts about the meaning of Papua and its history:

1. From Papo-Ua Words

The name Papua comes from the word Papo-Ua in the Tidore language, which means not joining or not uniting. This naming by the Kingdom of Tidore means that there is no king who rules on this island.

The Papua region at that time was considered remote and not included in the main territory of the Sultanate of Tidore.

Even so, these areas remained subject to and under the Tidore trade alliance, Uli Shiva.

2. Theory of the Malay Language

Another theory says that the name Papua comes from the Malay word papuwah, which means “curly hair”.

However, this word entered the Malay language dictionary in 1812, created by William Marsden.

However, this name is not found in earlier dictionaries. This naming refers to the physical appearance of native tribes with curly hair.

3. Territory Division

Papua is often called West Papua because it can refer to the entire island of New Guinea, including the eastern half of the neighboring country, Papua New Guinea.

Regarding territorial division, Papua is divided into three regions: Korano Ngaruha or the Raja Ampat Islands, Papo Ua Gamsio (Papua has nine lands), and Mafor Soa Raha (Mafor Four Soa).

In 2004, the eastern Indonesian government divided Papua into two provinces.

Papua still uses the name Papua, while western Papua changes its name to West Irian Jaya. However, now it has changed to West Papua Province.

The development of the origin of the name of the island of Papua has a long journey along with the history of interactions between foreign nations and Papuan people,

Including with local languages in interpreting the name Papua.

4. The Name of Papua in the 16th Century

In Portuguese and Spanish 16th-century records, the word Papua refers to the inhabitants of the Raja Ampat Islands and the coast of Bird’s Head.

This name could have come from the Biak language ‘Sup I Babwa’, referring to the Raja Ampat Islands, the land below (sunset). Then it became ‘Papwa’ and finally ‘Papua’.

In addition, the name Irian Jaya comes from a meeting in Tobati, Jayapura, which was initiate by Atmoprasojo, head of the bestuur (public servant) school in the 1940s.

The committee leader coined the name Iri-an from the Biak language because it has a “hot land”.

It is because the weather in Papua is hot. As for Iryan, it means “heating process” as a metaphor for a region that is entering a new era.

5. Name Change

During the Dutch East Indies colonial administration, this area was known as the Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea or Dutch New Guinea.

After joining the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, this region was known as West Irian Province from 1963 to 1973.

Then, the name was change to Irian Jaya by Soeharto when he inaugurate the Freeport copper and gold mine.

The name that remains in official use until the issuance of Law no. 21 of 2001 concerning Special Autonomy for Papua mandate the name of this province be change to Papua.

The name West Papua is still often use by the Free Papua Organization, a separatist movement that wants to separate from Indonesia and form its state.

Papua has many stories and history, and so does the Papua meaning. The beauty of Papua’s nature, culture and traditions await you to come and explore it.