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Historically Fakfak was a significant port town, being one of the few Papuan towns that had relations with the Sultanate of Ternate, being bound to it. The Sultanate later granted the Dutch colonial government permission to settle in Papua, including in Fakfak. The Dutch began settlement in 1898. The town still has some colonial buildings remaining from this settlement.
The Japanese 1st Detachment landed in Fakfak on April 1, 1942. The small KNIL garrison surrendered without a fight and later a small garrison of 67 men of the 24th Special Base Unit occupied the area.
Fakfak is now an isolated town, not often used for the import and export of goods.
Fakfak is located in West Papua, Indonesia, on the Bomberai Peninsula near Tambaruni Bay. It is situated in an area with many limestone hills, rivers and caves. As such, the streets twist and turn.
Fakfak has a small community of Muslim Arab and Indian Indonesians, descended from traders who came to Papua in the 19th century; this minority population has decreased recently due to Fakfak's diminishing role as a port town. It is the only place in West Papua with such a community.
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