The History of West Papua: A Geographical Approach

West Papua - webicdn.com

West Papua or former recognized as Irian Jaya located at the west end of Papua Island. On the north, this province bounded by the Pacific Ocean.  The west region is closely bordered by the Seram Sea and Maluku Province. The East area bounded by Papua Province and the south bounded by the Banda Sea. Papua Island also land-bordered with Papua New Guinea country.

The capital of West Papua is Manokwari. However, the largest city in this province is Sorong. West Papua is 99,671,63 square km large. Much of its northern area covered by rainforests, and the south vegetation dominated with mangroves, ebony, and sago palm. Unfortunately, nowadays deforestation has grown rapidly in this province. We need to take care the forest area in Papua.

West Papua is inhabited by 1,069,498 people in 2015. The indigenous people of this province called Melanesian. West Papua also home to 312 ethnic groups in Papua. History said that human habitation in this island began since 48,000 – 42,000 years ago. However, in the Misool Island has been found proof that human may inhabit Papua 50,000 years ago. The archeologists found a hand stamp that painted in the coral stone near the sea level. This red hand painting becomes hints of human spread track in Indonesia.

Papua is Indonesia

West Papua - 2.bp.blogspot.com
West Papua – 2.bp.blogspot.com

Papua is considered as a part of Indonesia since a long time ago. From Sriwijaya to Majapahit Kingdom era, Papua has been recognized as part of the kingdom territory. Even Sriwijaya kingdom, which existed during the 7th to 12th century, known has sent birds originated from West Papua to the Chinese Emperor.

Thus, also explained by Negara Kertagama Book written by Mpu Prapanca during the Majapahit Kingdom era, explicitly said that Papua is part of Majapahit Kingdom. And back to the year of 1660, an agreement made by Tidore –the Ternate Kingdom with Dutch East Indies Government mentioned that all Papua territory belonged to Tidore – Ternate Kingdom.

Furthermore, before the World War II, The Dutch East Indies Government has also declared that Papua territory is under the governance of Maluku, which becomes a solid proof that Papua never departed from the Dutch East Indies dominion areas.

So, we can say out loud that Papua is Indonesia since the beginning of Nusantara kingdom.

West Papua, however, started to separate from Irian Jaya province in 2003.  West Papua then built their own governance system. After they had a clear scoop area, government staff, provincial budget, and the people council, West Papua finally had their own Governor in 2006.  And since 18th April 2007 is officially bore the name of West Papua Province.

West Papua Landscape and Biodiversity Richness

West Papua - ksmtour.com
West Papua – ksmtour.com

West Papua has a beautiful landscape that ranging from islands, forest, lakes, to mountain. It is also recognized as a province with a rich biodiversity and has a lot of potencies due to its natural resources.

The most well-known mountainous area in this province namely The Arfak Mountain in Manokwari Regency, The Fak-Fak Mountain in the Fak-Fak Regency, and Tamarau Mountain in the Sorong Regency. And the top peak of the mountainous area claimed by the Kwoko Mountain that lie 3000 meters above the sea level in the Sorong Regency.

Many beautiful lakes also belong to this province, such as Ayamaru Lake in Maybrat, Yamur Lake in Manokwari, and Yawasi Lake in Sorong. West Papua also own the National Park of Cenderawasih Bay. This National Park spread from Kwatisore Peninsula to the north of Rumberpon Island and has the 80.000 ha acres of coral reef treasure.

You may not forget the Raja Ampat archipelago as well, the most wanted tourist destination in the world beside Bali. This is well-known as the producer of pearl and seaweed. Raja Ampat archipelago consists of four big islands namely Waigeo Islands, Misool Islands, Salawati Island, and Batanta Islands.

Furthermore, the unique geographical position of West Papua has made its animalia types is similar to Australia and New Zealand fauna. There are six Zoogeographic Region in the world. Indonesia fauna belongs to two regions, the Asia Zoogeographic and the Australasian Zoogeographic.

The Australasian Zoogeographic spreads from Sulawesi, Maluku, and East Nusa Tenggara until Papua. Therefore, common mammals that live in Papua such as marsupials, tree kangaroos, bats, and rats are also live in Australia.

It’s said that the richness of Australasian Zoogeographic in Indonesia consists of 223 originated mammal’s species, 700 types of unique birds, 222 species of reptile and amphibia, 310 species of Pisces, also 82 species of butterfly, and 109 species of beetle. However, in the year of 2003, the world conservation union has recorded that 147 species of mammals, 114 of bird species, 91 of Pisces species, and 2 species of invertebrate are including in world most endangered animal.

Therefore, please remember, the future of West Papua lies on our hand, our hand. Let’s preserve the forest sustainability, the endangered animal, also the good cooperation between ethnic groups in this province.