West Papua Etymology’s Theory That Surrounds It

West Papua Dairy - West Papua Etymology

The Indonesian province of West Papua, often known as Pabar or P.B. and formerly known as West Irian Jaya, is situated on the westernmost point of Papua Island. The Domberai Peninsula, Bomberai, Wandamen, and the Raja Ampat Islands are all part of West Papua. The central city in the province is Sorong, while the provincial capital is Manokwari. In 1999, Law No. 45 separated this province from Papua Province.

West Papua Dairy - West Papua Etymology


Change the Name of Irian Jaya to Papua

Along with the interactions between other countries and the Papuan people, the word Papua has a lengthy history. This region was Dutch New Guinea, Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea, or Dutch New Guinea. It happened during the Dutch East Indies colonial administration.

The Dutch had begun police action during the Indonesian Revolution to seize Papuan territory from the Republic of Indonesia. Due to the abundance of natural resources in Papua, the Dutch conquered the island.

Nevertheless, after colonizing Papua, the Dutch still desired its liberation since they had made significant investments in money and research from the early 19th century.

Unfortunately, Indonesia shared this Dutch objective and wished for West Papua to become a part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

Finally, the Round Table Conference took place on December 27, 1949. The Netherlands formally transferred Indonesia’s sovereignty to Indonesia during the meeting.

Based on Tidore Language and Its Development

The Tidore term Papo Ua translates as “not to unify,” or “not to join.” It indicates that, even though these regions are under the Tidore trading alliance, Uli Siwa, the Papua region is too remotely included in the Tidore Sultanate’s parent territory.

Mafor Soa Raha, Papo Ua Gamsio (Papua’s nine nations), and Korano Ngaruha, the Raja Ampat Islands (Mafor Four Soa) are the three part of Papua’s area.

Another explanation is that the word Papua, which means “curly hair” in Malay, is the derivation from the word Papuwah. However, William Marsden’s 1812 creation of the Malay language dictionary was the first to use this word, which was absent from earlier dictionaries. 

In contrast, the word Papua in Portuguese and Spanish records from the 16th century to refer only to the people living in the Raja Ampat Islands and on the Bird’s Head Peninsula. 

Using this additional hypothesis, according to F.C. The term “Papua” may have originated from the Biak Sup I Babwa language, which is also used to refer to the Raja Ampat Islands and means “the country below (sunset).”

After West Papua Joined the Republic of Indonesia

In 1963, this area became part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI), known as the Province of West Irian. Suharto later changed its name to Irian Jaya when he opened the Freeport copper and gold mine.

Until the passing of Law Number 21 of 2001 respecting Special Autonomy for Papua, the term Irian Jaya still official. By Law No. 21 of 2001, Irian Jaya must become Papua.

There were several rallies against the union of Central Papua and East Papua as 2003 got underway. Consequently, the Indonesian government split Papua into two provinces, with the western region taking the name Province of West Irian Jaya and the eastern province keeping the name Papua (West Papua).

Gus Dur’s Theory

Gus Dur’s tenure as president, from 1999 to 2001, had a significant impact on the people of Papua New Guinea. He visited Papua, then known as Irian Jaya, on December 30, 1999, two months after taking office. Indonesia’s 4th President established a conversation room for all locals. It includes the Free Papua movement’s leaders, as soon as he arrived in Irian Jaya.

The 4th president of Indonesia made an effort to win over the Irian Jaya populace. Gus Dur asked everyone to participate in the open discussion and voice their opinions. Additionally, from strong expressed viewpoint towards those praising the Indonesian government.

Gus Dur replied that he understood Papuan had expressed the viewpoints. Gus Dur also mentioned his choice to rename Irian Jaya as Papua in his comments. The name Irian, which Gus Dur claimed was inappropriate since it is Arabic for “bare,” was one of the explanations.

The second theory is that a newborn with a serious illness would traditionally be given a new name in order to speed his recovery. The same thing happened when Irian Jaya was renamed Papua. Gus Dur change the name of Irian Jaya to Papua as one of his strategies for regaining the respect of the Papuan people.

Bottom Line

According to various theories, “Papua” has several different origins. According to one explanation, the word “king” derives from the Tidore Sultanate’s designation “Papo-Ua,”. The word means “not joining” or “not being unified” and denotes the absence of a monarch on the island. 

The Tidore Sultanate ruled over a portion of the Bird’s Head Peninsula in what is now the province of West Papua before extending its dominance to encompass coastal areas in what is now the province of Papua. It was before the period of colonialism.