Nederlands talige versie
History of Netherlands New Guinea
(Irian Jaya/West Papua)

Index:
1. Before 1828.
2. 1828-1941: Carved up.
3. 1941-1945: World War II.
4. 1945-1962: Netherlands New Guinea.
5. 1962-1963: UNTEA.
6. 1963-1969: Irian Barat/Irian Jaya.
7. After 1969: Irian Jaya.
8. Times Lines.

1. Before 1828.
Papuans occupied the Sahul continent (now partly submerged, see 1, 2, 3) at least 40,000 years ago. As hunting-and-gathering peoples whose ways of life were adapted to tropical rain forest, they occupied the equatorial zone that, after sea levels rose at the end of the Pleistocene glacial period, became the vast island of New Guinea.
Early civilization in Java and Sumatra was heavily influenced by India and dates back to 100 AD. The Borobudur (a huge Buddhist monument, outside Yogyakarta, Java) was built between about AD 778 and 850. In 1292 Marco Polo visits Sumatra and Java.
In 1509 the Portuguese visit Melaka (formerly Malacca, West Malaysia) for the first time, with the goal to take control of trade. Later trade empires would include Gowa (on Celebes), Banten (Bantam, former city and sultanate of Java), and the Dutch VOC or East India Company. The original goal of all of them was money before political power, but they did not always stick to their original goal.
New Guinea was probably first sighted by Portuguese Antonio d’Abreu aboard the Santa Caterina in the Fall of 1511. It was first visited either by the Portuguese Jorge de Meneses, driven on his way from Gowa to Ternate in 1526 to take shelter at "Isla Versija" (which has been identified with Warsia, a place on the N.W. coast, but may possibly be the island of Waigeo; he stayed till May 1527); or by the Spaniard Alvaro de S. Ceron Saavedra in April 1528, who stayed there for 30 days due to lack of wind. It was subsequently visited by Spanish, Dutch, German and English explorers. On June 13, 1545 the Spaniard Yńigo Ortiz de Retez sailed with his ship "San Juan" from Tidore to Mexico. He landed on 3 Northern islands which he named "La Selvillana" (Supiori Island), "La Callega" (Biak Island) and "Los Martyre" (Numfor Island). A few days later he landed at mouth of the River Bei (east of the Mamberamo River) which he named San Augustin. He thought the land to be similar to another Spanish possession, "Guinea" on Africa's west coast, hence the name "Nueva Guinea". Only 100 years later it was discovered that New Guinea was an island (in 1607 the Spaniard Luiz Vaez de Torres had remarked that, but the information was not made available to carthographers then. The Torres Strait is between Australia and New Guinea).
The Dutch East Indies Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC; 1602-1799) had been granted many of the powers of a sovereign state by the government of the Netherlands, partly because communication between the Netherlands and Asia was so slow that colonial activities simply could not be directed from Amsterdam. In 1605 the VOC send an expedition east from Bantam, the ship Duyfken poked about the southern side of New Guinea in search of sources of gold and in 1642 Abel Tasman explored its coasts for the VOC, on a voyage back from New Zealand. For the VOC New Guinea had little interest. They hoped that the Sultans of Tidore (like Ternate, an ancient and powerful sultanate, under Dutch rule since 1654 but recognizing the sultan's nominal power) would lessen piracy and stop Spain and England from using it as a base to reach the Spice Islands. (Spice trade is the merchandising of spices and herbs, an enterprise of ancient origins and great cultural and economic significance. The Spice Islands today consist of the Moluccas (Indonesian Maluku Propinsi), comprising about 1,000 islands between Celebes and West Papua: Ambon, Aru, Bacan, Banda, Barbar, Baru, Ceram, Gebe, Halmahera, Haruku, Kai, Leti, Mayu, Morotai, Obi, Saparua, Sula, Tanimbar, Ternate, Tidore and Wetar islands/island groups.)
In 1610 the VOC creates the post of Governor-General for the Dutch East Indies, a position which lasts till 1941.
The first European attempt at colonization of New Guinea was made in 1793 by Lieutenant John Hayes, a British naval officer, near Manokwari. Early attempts at settlement by British and Dutch failed due to disease and the hostility of the Papuan people.
March 17, 1824: The British and Dutch sign "Treaty of London" and divide the Indies. The Dutch claim Sumatra, Java, Maluku, Irian Jaya; the British claim Malaya and Singapore, and retain an interest in North Borneo. Aceh is supposed to remain independent. Many of the boundaries defined in this treaty would later become boundaries of the Republic of Indonesia.

2. 1828-1941 - Carved up.
The Dutch claimed the area West of 141° East longitude, on August 24, 1828, by proclamation. In 1895 the Eastern border was set at 141° 1'47" E.l. The first establishment was in Merkusoord/Fort Du Bus, in 1828 and abandoned in 1836. The first permanent administrative posts, at Fakfak and Manokwari, were not set up until 1898.
In 1884 Germany annexed the Northeast as Kaiser Wilhelmsland. In 1899 the German government gave exploitation rights to the "Neuguinea Compagnie".
The Southeast was claimed by England on November 6, 1884, with the establishment of Port Moresby. In 1906 British New Guinea was administered by Australia as "Papua". German New Guinea and the Solomon Islands formed the "New Guinea Territory" administered by Australia as a mandated territory of the League of Nations in 1921, after World War I. In 1945 Australia combined its administration of Papua and that of the mandate into the "Territory of Papua New Guinea", with the common capital at Port Moresby. From 1946 it became the "U.N. Australian Trust Territory of New Guinea". Self-government was achieved on December 1, 1973, and full independence from Australia on September 16, 1975.
Netherlands East Indies (present day Indonesia) was first named "Indonesia" by a German geographer in 1884, although this name is thought to derive from Indos Nesos, "Indian Islands," in the ancient trading language of the region.
When the island was carved up between the Netherlands, Britain and Germany, none of these nations had an administrative presence. Late in the century, spurred on by British and German activity in the east, Holland established an administrative post in Manokwari and Fakfak in 1898 and Merauke in 1902 and continued to maintain its 15 outposts in Dutch New Guinea until the Japanese invasion in 1941.
Haji Misbach, an Islamic Communist, was exiled by the Dutch to Irian in 1924. In 1927, about 1,300 Communists were imprisoned in Irian after an uprising in Java.

3. 1941-1945: World War II.
New Guinea dominates the Solomons and the western sea lanes to Australia. To control New Guinea is to control the Island Continent, so the battle for New Guinea is the battle for Australia. To regain control of New Guinea the Allies (Americans & Australians) had to eject the Japanese from 1,200 miles of fortified coastline. 13,000 Japanese died here; 2,100 Australians died and 3,500 were wounded; and 2,000 Americans died and 950 were wounded.
The Japanese invaded New Guinea from November 1941 till April 1942 and occupied the Dutch part (except for Merauke) and the northern Australian part (Fakfak fell April 1, Manokwari April 12). After the bombing of Australia's harbor Darwin in February 1942, they set up headquarters in Buna and the allied headquarters were in Port Moresby, divided by the steep slopes of the Owen Stanley Range, connected by the Kokoda trail (for which the Australian diggers cut out a 4,000 step staircase).
Besides the Japanese, malaria was a considerable enemy.
After the Battle of the Coral Sea, May 4-8, 1942, the battle went slowly westward to the Salamander's/Bird's head, for the jump off to the Philippines. Buna fell in January 23, 1943; Huon Bay September 4-22; Saidor January 2, 1944; Hollandia April 22; Biak, its Mokmer Airfield and Sansapor July 30, 1944.
America's secret weapon in the Pacific were Americans of Japanese ancestry: Issei (Japanese born Americans), Nisei (Americans of Japanese parents), Kisei (American born, educated in Japan).
In August 1944 the Japanese commander Lt. Gen. Hatazo Adachi retreated to jungle and guerilla warfare until Japan's surrender August 15, 1945.

4. 1945-1962: Netherlands New Guinea.
With the end of the Second World War in 1945, neighboring Indonesia quickly declared independence from the Netherlands in the same year and claimed West Papua, East Timor, Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo as part of its territory. On December 27, 1949 Indonesia gained full independence from Holland and attempted to claim and gain West Papua as part of its nationhood. Holland retained its colonial presence in West Papua and prepared to bring about its independence. Negotiations at this time between the Dutch and Indonesia included the active participation of West Papuans including the current Chairman of the OPM Mr Moses Werror. Through the 1950's Indonesia persistently maintained their claim to Papua and when invited to present their claim to an International Court of Law declined, given the fact that they had no legal claim on any part of Greater New Guinea. West New Guinea was under Dutch occupation from 1949 till 1962.
1956: New Guinea becomes part of "the Kingdom of the Netherlands" constitution.
Irian may be an abbreviation for ikut Republik Indonesia Anti Nederland ("join the Republic of Indonesia anti the Netherlands")
1957: Sukarno unifies power in his own person.
1957: Australia and Holland work closely together to define a blueprint for West Papuan independence. The principles were as follows:
1. The Netherlands and Australian Governments base their policies with regard to the territories of New Guinea, for which they are responsible, on the interests and inalienable rights of their inhabitants to conformity with the provisions and the spirit of the United Nation charter.
2. The territories of Netherlands New Guinea, the Australian Trust Territory of New Guinea and Papua, are geographically and ethnically related and future development of their respective populations must benefit from co-operation in policy and administration.
3. The Australian and Netherlands governments are therefore pursuing, and will continue to pursue, policies directed toward the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the peoples in the territories in a manner which recognizes this ethnological and geographical affinity.
4. At the same time, the two governments will continue, and strengthen, the co-operation existing between their respective administrations in the territories.
5. In so doing the two governments are determined to promote an uninterrupted development of this process. Unfortunately this positive statement toward self determination was never signed.
1961: a West Papuan Council (Nieuw Guinea Raad) is elected, a national anthem composed, a flag designed and 1970 set as the date for West Papuan independence. This infuriated Indonesia and it duly responded by sending in an invasion force of 1,419 guerilla soldiers, with the intention of sending in a main invasion force later. War between Holland and Indonesia appeared inevitable with the likelihood of Australia becoming involved.
1961 proclamation of independence by an armed nationalist group, the Free Papua Movement (OPM, Organisasi Papua Merdeka).

5. 1962-1963: UNTEA.
From October 1, 1962 till May 1, 1963, West New Guinea is part of UNTEA, United Nations Temporary Executive Authority.
1962: It was at this point that John F Kennedy intervened. The Soviet Union had brokered a billion dollar arms deal with Indonesia and the US countered this with a comparable deal viewing Indonesia as a prize too important to lose to the Communist Bloc. Scared of the possible threat of further communist expansion in SE Asia and the looming Vietnam conflict Kennedy pressured Holland and Australia to cease all involvement in granting West Papua independence, and offers West Papua to Indonesia. Secret negotiations ensued, which involved no West Papuans (unlike in 1949), to give West Papua to Indonesia. A proviso was included, that there would be a United Nations administrated 'Act of Free Choice' by 1969, where the West Papuan people could decide their own future. To remain with Indonesia, or be independent?
The issue is heading toward a crisis, and the stakes involved - Indonesia's potential swing to a pro Soviet stance - dictate cold realpolitik ... So to gain us time in Indonesia, and to fight what will be at best a protracted conflict for what at best will be a pro-western neutralism, West New Guinea is the price." Pemberton, Ref 8. p87. He further went to say; "We must sell them (Australia) the proposition that a pro-Bloc (if not Communist) Indonesia is an entirely greater threat to them (and us) than Indonesian possession of a few thousand square miles of cannibal land." Pemberton, Ref 8. p.101.
See The United nations in West New Guinea, An unprecedented story.

6. 1963-1969: Irian Barat/Irian Jaya.
On May 1, 1963, Indonesia became the new colonial power in West Papua New Guinea: the elected West Papuan Council is disbanded, West Papuan flags are banned and burnt, singing of the West Papuan national anthem 'O, My Land Papua' is banned, the founding of any new political parties is banned, and anything else to do with West Papuan independence is burnt and destroyed. The Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM resistance movement is founded to fight for West Papuan independence.
Suharto became President of Indonesia on March 12, 1967 (until 1998) and changed the name Sukarnapura to Jayapura (Djajapura), Irian Barat in Irian Jaya.
April 1967: Indonesia enters into agreements with Freeport (a New Orleans company and now Indonesia's largest single tax payer) for mining rights in West Papua's mountains.
It was transferred to Indonesia in 1963, with provision for the holding of a plebiscite by 1969 to decide Irian Barat's future.

7. After 1969: Irian Jaya.
July 15-August 2 1969: Village councils in Irian Jaya, under pressure from Opsus special forces in the region, vote in favor of joining Indonesia.
September 17, 1969: Irian Jaya is formally made a province of Indonesia.
In 1975 and 1977, some refugees from Maluku who had fought against the Republic of Indonesia as "Republik Maluku Selatan" (RMS) took hostages in terrorist incidents in the Netherlands. In spite of the heavy media coverage of these events, the actions drew little support inside Indonesia, partly because so many RMS supporters had fled to the Netherlands in the early 1950s.
August 26, 1975: UDT takes control in Timor by coup; the Portuguese (who had first arrived in 1515, with a continuous presence since 1700) simply left. In November Fretilin declares independence, demands withdrawal of Indonesian units. In December Indonesia launches a full invasion of East Timor. May 31, 1976: "People's Assembly" in East Timor declares for integration with Indonesia. July 17, 1976: East Timor officially becomes an Indonesian province.
September 16, 1975: Papua New Guinea gaines independence.
1991. The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is founded in by representatives of occupied nations, indigenous peoples, minorities, and other disenfranchised peoples who currently struggle to preserve their cultural identities, protect their basic human rights, safeguard the environment or regain their lost countries.
January 3, 2000. During a visit to Irian Jaya over the weekend, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid agreed that the easternmost province would revert to its former name of West Papua. "As for an independent Papua state ... I will not tolerate efforts to build a country within a country", he said.

koteka.net history
An Online Time-Line of Indonesia
Indonesia 1995: an official handbook - General info: read/copy; add to Indonesian timeline: (UN)
Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations

  • Republic of Indonesia - Bartleby.com, great books online: The :
    Irian Jaya Columbia Encyclopedia - Internet Modern History Sourcebook:




    Last updated March 1, 2005
    © 2000-2005 Peter van der Heijden. All rights reserved
    comments
    Legal
    Site Map
    Top