West Papua (province)

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This article is about an Indonesian province. For the region, see West Papua (region). For the conflict, see Papua conflict.
West Papua Province
Provinsi Papua Barat
Manokwari, capital of West Papua
Manokwari, capital of West Papua
Flag of West Papua Province
Official seal of West Papua Province
Motto: Cintaku Negeriku (Indonesian)
(My love, my country)
Location of West Papua in Indonesia
Location of West Papua in Indonesia
Coordinates (Manokwari): 0°52′S 134°5′E / 0.867°S 134.083°E / -0.867; 134.083Coordinates: 0°52′S 134°5′E / 0.867°S 134.083°E / -0.867; 134.083
Country  Indonesia
Capital Manokwari
 • Governor Abraham Octavianus Atururi
 • Total 140,375.62 km2 (54,199.33 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 760,855
 • Density 5.4/km2 (14/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groups Melanesian, Papuan
 • Religion Protestantism (53.77%), Islam (38.4%), Roman Catholicism (7.03%), Hinduism (0.11%), Buddhism (0.08%)
 • Languages Indonesian (official)
Time zone Eastern Standard Time (UTC+09)
Website PapuaBaratProv.go.id

West Papua Province (Indonesian: Provinsi Papua Barat) is a province of Indonesia. It covers the western peninsula of the island of New Guinea. Its capital is Manokwari and the 2010 census recorded a population of 760,855.[1]

Prior to 2007, the province was known as West Irian Jaya (Indonesian: Irian Jaya Barat). The region covers the Bird's Head (Doberai) and Bomberai peninsulas and the surrounding islands of Raja Ampat.


With a population of 760,855,[1] it is the least populous province of Indonesia.

Administrative divisions[edit]

The capital of West Papua province is Manokwari. The province is administratively divided into twelve regencies (kabupaten) and one autonomous city (kota), listed below with their (provisional) populations at the 2010 Census.

Name Area (km2) Population
Estimate 2005
Census 2010
Arfak Mountains Regency
(Pegunungan Arfak)
* 23,877 Anggi
Raja Ampat Regency 6,084.50 35,948 42,471 Waisai
Sorong (city) 1,105.00 146,390 190,341 Sorong
Sorong Regency 19,736.25 86,870 70,635 Aimas
South Manokwari Regency * 18,564 Ransiki
South Sorong Regency 16,807.00 54,270 37,579 Teminabuan
Fak-Fak Regency 14,320.00 58,160 67,153 Fak-Fak
Kaimana Regency 18,500.00 36,714 46,243 Kaimana
Manokwari Regency 14,448.50 151,824 139,964 Manokwari
Maybrat Regency 13,203.00 * 33,735 Kumurkek
Tambrauw Regency[2] 5,587.75 * 11,465 Fef
Teluk Bintuni Regency 18,637.00 46,784 52,403 Bintuni
Teluk Wondama Regency 12,146.62 * 26,311 Rasiei
* The 2005 population of Arfak Mountains, Maybrat, South Manokwari, Tambrauw and Teluk Wondama Regencies are included in the figures for the regencies from which they were subsequently removed.

Subsequent to the 2010 Census, two new regencies - South Manokwari Regency (Manokwari Selantan) and Arfak Mountains Regency (Pegunungan Arfak) - were created from parts of the Manokwari Regency, while 4 districts of Manokwari Regency were added to Tambrauw Regency. The 2010 Census figures quoted above for all four of these regencies relate to their area as established in 2013.

Administrative history[edit]

Even after Indonesia's independence in 1949, Papua and Irian Jaya were retained by the Dutch for various reasons. However, Indonesia claimed all of the territory of the former Dutch East Indies, including the Dutch New Guinea holdings, so it invaded Irian Jaya in 1961. It was agreed that the UN should oversee a plebiscite of the people of Papua and West Papua, in which they would be given two choices: to remain part of Indonesia or to become an independent nation. This vote was referred to as the 'Act of Free Choice'. But, the vote was in fact conducted by musyawarah, or consensus of elders, numbering [a] 1,000 of these men had been selected by the Indonesian military. This body was coerced into unanimously voting to remain part of Indonesia; the territory was named as the province of Irian Jaya, later Papua.

The result of the compromised vote was rejected by Papuan nationalists, who established the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The independence movement for West Papua has continued, primarily through peaceful protest and international pressure, but also guerrilla warfare against Indonesian administration.[6]

Map of West Papua
Sunset, Raja Ampat

West Papua was created from the western portion of Papua province in February 2003, initially under the name of Irian Jaya Barat; it was later renamed Papua Barat (West Papua) on 7 February 2007. In November 2004, an Indonesian court agreed that the split violated Papua's autonomy laws. However, the court ruled that because the new province had already been created, it should remain separate from Papua. The ruling also prohibited the creation of another proposed province, Central Irian Jaya, as that division had not yet been formalised. The split is in line with the general trend of provincial splits that is occurring in all parts of Indonesia in the post-Suharto era. The new province has so far been widely supported by the province's inhabitants, as the new entity created more jobs and more government subsidies flowing into the province.[7]

The province changed its name to "West Papua" on 7 February 2007. The new name applies from that date, but a plenary session of the provincial legislative council is required to legalise the change of name, and the government needs to issue an implementing regulation.[8]


  1. ^ Different sources cite various figures, including 1,022,[3] 1,025[4] or 1,026.[5]


  1. ^ a b http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/08/23/population-growth-%E2%80%98good-papua%E2%80%99.html
  2. ^ Undang-Undang Nomor 56 Tahun 2008 tentang Pembentukan Kabupaten Tambrauw di Provinsi Papua Barat (Law Number 56 of 2008 regarding the Formation of Tambrauw Regency in West Papua Province). In Indonesian.
  3. ^ Brad Simpson, ed. (2004-07-09). "Indonesia's 1969 Takeover of West Papua Not by "Free Choice"". National Security Archive. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Breaking Free From Betrayal". New International. 1999-11-05. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  5. ^ Richard Samuelson. "About West Papua". International Parliamentarians for West Papua. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  6. ^ Li-ann Thio (2006), "International law and secession in the Asia and Pacific regions", in Marcelo G. Kohen, Secession: International Law Perspectives, Cambridge University Press 
  7. ^ "Papua Barat Peroleh Dana Otsus", Suara Pembaruan Daily, 2009-01-27, archived from the original on 2010-02-07, retrieved 2013-01-17 
  8. ^ "Papuan province changes name from West Irian Jaya to West Papua". Radio New Zealand International. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 

External links[edit]