West Papua (province)

This article is about an Indonesian province. For the region, see West Papua (region). For the conflict, see Papua conflict.
West Papua
Papua Barat


Motto: Cintaku Negeriku (Indonesian)
(My love, my country)

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
Largest city Sorong
  Governor Abraham Octavianus Atururi
  Vice Governor Irene Manibuy
  Total 140,375.62 km2 (54,199.33 sq mi)
Area rank 5th
Population (2014)
  Total 877,437
  Density 6.3/km2 (16/sq mi)
  Ethnic groups Melanesian, Papuan (51.5%), Javanese (14.8%), Bugis (5.3%), Ambonese (4.4%), Butonese (4.1%), Makassar (2.3%), Kei (2.2%), Toraja (1.8%), Minahasa (1.8%), Seram (1.3%), Flores (1%), Sundanese (0.95%), Batak (0.95%), Ternate (0.9%), Others ( Gebe, Tobelo, ... etc ) (6.8%)
  Religion Protestantism (53.77%), Islam (38.4%), Roman Catholicism (7.03%), Hinduism (0.11%), Buddhism (0.08%)
  Languages Indonesian (official)
Time zone EIT (UTC+09)
Vehicle registration PB
HDI Decrease 0.612 (Low)
HDI rank 32nd (2014)
Website www.papuabaratprov.go.id

West Papua (Indonesian: Papua Barat) is a province of Indonesia. It covers the two western peninsulas of the island of New Guinea. Its capital is Manokwari, although the largest city is Sorong, and the 2010 census recorded a population of 760,855;[1] the latest official estimate (as at January 2014) is 877,437.

West Papua Province was created from the western portion of Papua (province) in February 2003, initially under the name of West Irian Jaya (Indonesian: Irian Jaya Barat); it received its current name in 2007. The province covers the Bird's Head (Doberai) and Bomberai peninsulas and the surrounding islands of Raja Ampat. With a population of 877,437 in 2014,[1] it is the least populous province of Indonesia except for the newly created province of North Kalimantan.


Even after Indonesia's independence in 1945, 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 by 1969 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 consensus decision-making, or consensus of elders, numbering [lower-alpha 1] 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.[5]

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 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.[6]

Administrative divisions

In 2000 the areas now forming (since 2003) West Papua province consisted of three regencies (kapubaten) – Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak. By 2010 the province was administratively divided into ten regencies (kabupaten) and one autonomous city (kota), which together were subdivided into 155 districts (kecamatan) at the 2010 Census.[7] Two new regencies have since been created; all the existing regencies and city are listed below with their populations at the 2010 Census and according to the latest official estimates (for January 2014).

Name Area (km2) Population
Census 2010
Estimate 2014
Capital Number of
Sorong (city)656.64190,625219,958 Sorong 6
Fakfak Regency11,036.4866,82877,112 Fakfak 9
Kaimana Regency16,241.8446,24953,366 Kaimana 7
Manokwari Regency 14,250.94187,726216,614 Manokwari 29
Manokwari Selatan Regency
(South Manokwari)
18,564* Ransiki
Maybrat Regency5,461.6933,08138,067 Kumurkek 11
Pegunungan Arfak Regency
(Arfak Mountains)
2,773.7423,877* Anggi
Raja Ampat Regency8,034.4442,50749,048 Waisai 17
Sorong Regency7,415.2970,61981,486 Aimas 18
Sorong Selatan Regency
(South Sorong)
3,946.9437,90043,898 Teminabuan 14
Tambrauw Regency[8]5,179.656,1447,028 Fef 7
Teluk Bintuni Regency
(Bintuni Bay)
20,840.8352,42260,489 Bintuni 24
Teluk Wondama Regency
(Wondama Bay)
3,959.5326,32130,371 Rasiei 13
* The areas and 2014 population of Arfak Mountains and South Manokwari Regencies are included in the figures for Manokwari Regency, from which they were 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 2010.

On 25 October 2013 the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) began reviewing draft laws on the establishment of 57 prospective regencies/cities (and 8 new provinces).[9] This included a new province of Southwest Papua to be created out of the existing West Papua province, together with eight new regencies and one city to be formed within the existing West Papua Province – Malamoy and Maibratsau (both taken from Sorong Regency), North Raja Ampat and South Raja Ampat (both from Raja Ampat Regency), Raja Maskona (from Teluk Bintuni Regency), Okas (from Fakfak Regency), West Manokwari (from Manokwari Regency) and Imeo (from South Sorong Regency), while the new city is Manokwari (from Manokwari Regency).

Historical population
1971 192,146    
1980 283,493+47.5%
1990 385,509+36.0%
2000 571,107+48.1%
2010 760,422+33.1%
Source: Statistics Indonesia 2010. West Papua part of Papua Province until 2004


  1. Different sources cite various figures, including 1,022,[2] 1,025[3] or 1,026.[4]


  1. 1 2 http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/08/23/population-growth-%E2%80%98good-papua%E2%80%99.html
  2. Brad Simpson, ed. (9 July 2004). "Indonesia's 1969 Takeover of West Papua Not by "Free Choice"". National Security Archive. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  3. "Breaking Free From Betrayal". New International. 5 November 1999. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  4. Richard Samuelson. "About West Papua". International Parliamentarians for West Papua. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  5. 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
  6. "Papuan province changes name from West Irian Jaya to West Papua". Radio New Zealand International. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2008.
  7. Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  8. 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.
  9. Jakarta Post, 14 November 2013


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