Papua Barat Daya – Southwest Papua

Histori of Southwest Papua

Traditional government in this region was also influenced by the Bacan Sultanate and the Tidore Sultanate through their relationship with Gurabesi (from Biak) in order to expand the territory of the Tidore Sultanate and adopt the kolano (kingdom) system of government and was marked by the appointment of four kings called Kalano Muraha or Kolano Ngaruha[ 12] which in Malay means “Raja Ampat”.[13][14]

The four kings were appointed to help with the collection of tribute and trade relations between various regions on the coast of Tanah Besar with the Tidore Sultanate. Based on community stories recorded by Mansoben, Fun Giwar became the ancestor of the king in Waigeo, Fun Malaban became the ancestor of the king in Salawati, Fun Bis became the ancestor of the king in Lilinta (Misool). Subsequently, Tuidahe was appointed king in Waigama (Misool), whose descendants united with the local ‘Jaja’ descendants from the Matbat tribe. Meanwhile, Fun Mo, a Moi tribe from the Malyat River (located south of Sorong City) became the ancestor of the king in Sailolof who later married the daughter of King Waigeo. According to local people, Waigama is not one of the ‘Raja Ampat’, while according to the Tidore Sultanate, Sailolof is not one of the four kingdoms in question.[14]

Colonial Period

Caterpillar tractor on the Kasim-Sele road used for oil and gas exploration in the 1930s
The Sultanate of Tidore fell into Dutch hands in the 17th century so that all of Tidore, including the western part of Papua Island, was included in the Dutch East Indies. During the Dutch East Indies era, Papua was considered to have little economic value compared to other islands, so it tended to be forgotten. However, the Dutch government realized that the colonization of Papua could prevent other European nations from approaching other islands in the Dutch East Indies which would disrupt the monopoly of trade, especially spices in the Maluku Islands. Until the end of the 19th century the main commodities in Papua were slaves and bird of paradise feathers.[15] At the beginning of the 20th century, Europeans began to find signs of mineral potential in Papua. In 1935, the Nederlandsch Nieuw Guinee Petroleum Maatschappij (NNGPM) was founded to conduct oil and gas exploration. Finally, oil was found in various places, for example in Klamono and the Sele Strait (strait between Papua Island and Salawati Island), both of which are in the Sorong Regency area.[16]

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Dutch divided the island of Papua into several divisions. One of them is Afdeeling Noord Nieuw Guinea (Northern New Guinea) which is based in Manokwari. This afdeeling is divided into several onderafdeelings, one of which is the Sorong onderafdeeling which is centered on Doom Island. The Dutch then built offices, churches and residential areas and organized urban areas on this island so that it became a trade center and port. Residents who lived at that time told how Doom Island was brightly lit at night even though Sorong was still completely dark.[17]

Doom Island in 1955

Papua fell into Japanese hands in 1942. This region became one of the locations of fighting in World War II. Allied troops under General Douglas MacArthur implemented an island hopping strategy by breaking the Japanese logistics chain. One by one, the allied troops took control of the northern coast of Papua starting from Jayapura, Biak, and the following islands until finally Sausapor in Tambrauw Regency. The Allies sent spies to look for a suitable place to land and then Sausapor beach was chosen. Sausapor, whose defenses were weak, was successfully controlled by allied troops during Operation Globetrotter in July-August 1944. An airfield was then built in Sausapor so that it became the allied base for attacking Maluku and the Philippines. Japanese troops in Manokwari and Sorong who were cut off from other units fled into the forest and hid until the war was over. The Sausapor operation marked the liberation of Papua from Japan. Sausapor now has many traces of the war.[18]

Allied troops landed in Sausapor, Tambrauw in July 1944

The Raja Ampat Islands witnessed various Indonesian battles during the Trikora operation. The first infiltration into the Raja Ampat islands was the PG 200 effort on September 14 1961, numbering 39 people under Lieutenant Jamaluddin Nasution. Unfortunately Lieutenant Nasution and two Papuans, Gerson Esuru (from Warwasi Village, Arguni) and Wos Rumaserang (both from the Youth Fugitive Movement) died in this attempt. Then the PG 300 troops, Company Command 191261 under Lieutenant Nana who attempted to infiltrate Gag Island in this effort, around 29 local residents joined this command, and KI 191260 under Serma Boy Thomas who came from Yu Island headed to Tanjung Dalpele on Waigeo Island after successfully taking cover. on Bala-Bala Island. This effort was continued by PG 400 (surviving members of KRI Macan Tutul) led by Charles Papilaya and PG 500 (former Permesta rebels) led by Jonkey Robert Komontoy who departed from Gebe to Waigeo. There they managed to join Herlina Kasim and also PG 200 who had arrived earlier. The presence of these troops in Waigeo until the end of the conflict with the New York agreement was because Dutch troops rarely visited this area.[19][20][21]

In the end, Papua Island was successfully controlled by Indonesia in 1963. In 1969, the Government began to arrange administrative divisions in this region. The former Sorong onderafdeeling was changed to Sorong Regency whose coverage area is similar to the current Southwest Papua Province.[22] Doom Island, which has a narrow land area, is starting to be abandoned, while Sorong City on the mainland of Papua Island is gradually becoming busier and more densely populated because of its strategic location. Doom Island is now the capital of the Sorong Islands sub-district, while the old buildings there have been restored to become government offices or left abandoned. The population in Sorong also increased with the opening of the transmigration program by the government.[17][23] Because Sorong was growing rapidly, the local government proposed increasing the status of Sorong to an Administrative City which was then approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1996.

In 1999, Sorong City was legalized and separated from Sorong Regency.[24] The existence of regional autonomy has caused the number of expanding districts to increase rapidly. Over time, Sorong Regency’s area has become smaller due to regional expansion. In 2002, South Sorong and Raja Ampat were expanded, then Maybrat and Tambrauw were expanded in 2008. The effort to expand Southwest Papua was based on the conflict over determining the capital of West Papua at that time between Manokwari and Sorong. ‘Manokwari Kubu’ argued that Manokwari was a mnukwar (old village), because it was the location of the original Dutch residents. Apart from that, it is also John Piet Wanane’s vision to develop Sorong Raya into an independent government area in accordance with the ethnic groups in the area, who then prepare and coordinate the expansion of the Sorong Raya area.[25] The entire former Sorong Regency or also called Sorong Raya was then formalized in law as Southwest Papua Province in 2022.

The expansion of this region was marked by a lot of controversy. In Maybrat Regency there is a debate about the location of the district capital, between Kumurkek and Ayamaru. Kumurkek is supported by the Aifat community while Ayamaru is supported by the Ayamaru and Aitinyo communities. This struggle for the capital occurred until the Constitutional Court decided that the capital was in Ayamaru in 2013. Community divisions still occurred, so a traditional meeting was held and finally it was agreed that the capital was in Kumurkek in 2019. After the capital was moved, the people of Ayamaru planned seceded by forming Maybrat Sau Regency.[26][27] Another controversy is the sub-district loan problem that occurred in Tambrauw Regency. After being formed, Tambrauw Regency which was expanded from Sorong borrowed 4 sub-districts belonging to Manokwari Regency. The Constitutional Court approved the transfer of the sub-district in 2013 which resulted in protests from the community. The people of Kebar, Amberbaken, Mubrani and Senopi, who felt they had been forced to move to Tambrauw, then declared West Manokwari Regency. With the expansion of Southwest Papua, the community requested that these 4 districts which later became 11 districts become West Manokwari Regency and be excluded from this new province because they tend to be closer in distance and custom to Manokwari than Sorong and are the traditional territory of the Arfak tribe. However, this was not realized until this new province was formed.[28][29]

Southwest Papua was passed into law on 17 November 2022 by the DPR and inaugurated on 9 December 2022 by the Ministry of Home Affairs. On the day of the inauguration, Muhammad Musa’ad was also appointed as acting governor.