Papua Tengah – Central Papua

History of Central Papua

Tidore Sultanate period

Since the 18th century, the western area of Mimika has been the furthest reach of the Tidore Sultanate’s “Uli Siwa” influence on the south west coast of Papua Island. This region is influenced by three large groups, the Koiwai Tribe, the Kamoro Tribe, and the Asmat Tribe. The trade relations for slaves, iron equipment, cloth and body ornaments that were formed had a lot of influence on the local population, marked by the use of Maluku titles (king, major, captain and elder) and also the community’s Islamic culture such as the use of turban-shaped hats and customs. did not eat pork until the 1950s.

The trade center in this region was centered in Kipia, led by a person who received the title of king from the Namatota (Koiwai) Kingdom named Naowa. Kipia leads a confederation of Kamoro villages called Tarya We, together with Poraoka, Maparpe, Wumuka, Umar and Aindua. They cooperated because the area lacked sago and intimidated the more fertile areas to the east with canoes and minaki (firearms) received from trade. Meanwhile in the east there was a major war called the Tipuka War where the Tipuka village was destroyed by Koperapoka assisted by a coalition of Mware, Pigapu, Hiripau and Miyoko which was thought to be in revenge for Tipuka kidnapping residents for trafficking. These trade relations and influence from Maluku gradually disappeared with the increasing strength of Dutch colonialism, and the entry of Catholic missionaries and traders from China.

Dutch East Indies period

Colonial officer J.V. de Bruyn with the Ekari (Mee) Tribe in Wisselmeeren circa 1945
The interior of Central Papua is inhabited by tribes such as the Mee (Ekari) and Moni. The Mee people live traditionally by clearing fields and planting tubers, raising pigs, fishing in lakes and feasting. They also use mege currency which is made from shells. The outside world (in the sense of inland tribes in Papua) discovered these inland tribes for the first time in the 1930s. A pilot named Frits Wissel flew over this area and discovered three large lakes where the Mee tribe lived. The lakes consist of Lakes Paniai, Tigi, and Tage. By the Dutch, this area was given the name Wisselmeeren (Wissel lakes). After the colonial era, the name Paniai became more popular than Wisselmeeren.[18]

During the Round Table Conference on 27 December 1949, the Dutch East Indies government issued a proclamation stating that the Papua region controlled by the Dutch East Indies would be under the jurisdiction of a governor known as the New Guinea governorate. Then in 1952 New Guinea was designated as an overseas province of the Netherlands. Dutch New Guinea was officially divided into four subdistricts on 10 May 1952. Central New Guinea Regency was one of the four subdistricts and included Wisselmeren as an onderafdeling. However, unlike other districts, Afdeling Central New Guinea does not have a capital city. The New Guinea Governorate underwent further reorganization in 1954 and Central New Guinea Afdeling was temporarily placed directly under the supervision of the Resident of Geelvinkbaai (now Teluk Cenderawasih).