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New Guinea (;
Hiri Motu Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most ...
: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the world's second-largest island, and with an area of , the largest island in the
Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (hemisphere Hemisphere may refer to: * A half of a sphere As half of the Earth * A hemispheres of Earth, hemisphere of Earth ** Northern Hemisphere ** Southern Hemisphere ** Eastern Hemisphere ** Western He ...

Southern Hemisphere
. Located in
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
in the southwestern
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents o ...

Pacific Ocean
, it is separated by the wide
Torres Strait The Torres Strait (), also known as Zenadh Kes, is a strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both s ...

Torres Strait
from
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
. Numerous smaller islands are located to the west and east. The eastern half of the island is the major land mass of the independent state of
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in Oceania ...

Papua New Guinea
. The western half, known as
Western New Guinea Western New Guinea, also known as Papua or Indonesian New Guinea, is the western portion of New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the ...
, forms a part of
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and is organized as the provinces of Papua and West Papua. The largest cities on the island are
Jayapura Jayapura is the capital and largest city of the Indonesian Provinces of Indonesia, province of Papua (province), Papua. It is situated on the northern coast of New Guinea island and covers an area of . The city borders the Pacific Ocean and Yo ...
(capital of Papua, Indonesia) and
Port Moresby (; Tok Pisin Tok Pisin (,Laurie Bauer, 2007, ''The Linguistics Student’s Handbook'', Edinburgh Tok Pisin ), often referred to by English speakers as "New Guinea Pidgin" or simply "Pidgin", is a creole language spoken throughout Papua New ...

Port Moresby
(capital of Papua New Guinea).


Names

The island has been known by various names: The name ''Papua'' was used to refer to parts of the island before contact with the West. Its etymology is unclear; one theory states that it derived from
Tidore Tidore ( id, Kota Tidore Kepulauan, lit. "City of Tidore Islands") is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called a ...
, the language used by the
Sultanate of Tidore Sultanate of Tidore (Indonesian: ''Kesultanan Tidore'', sometimes ''Kerajaan Tidore'') was a sultanate in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geog ...
, which controlled parts of the island's coastal region. The name appears to come from the words ''papo'' (to unite) and ''ua'' (negation), which means "not united" or, "territory that geographically is far away (and thus not united)". Anton Ploeg reports that the word ''papua'' is often said to be derived from the
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
word ''papua'' or ''pua-pua'', meaning "frizzly-haired", referring to the very curly hair of the inhabitants of these areas. Another possibility, put forward by Sollewijn Gelpke in 1993, is that it comes from the
Biak Biak is a small island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in_Lower_Saranac_Lake.jpg.html" ;"title=" ...
phrase ''sup i papwa'', which means 'the land below he sunset, and refers to the islands west of the
Bird's Head The Bird's Head Peninsula ( Indonesian: ''Kepala Burung'', nl, Vogelkop) or Doberai Peninsula is a large peninsula that makes up the northwest portion of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historica ...
, as far as
Halmahera Halmahera, formerly known as Jilolo, Gilolo, or Jailolo, is the largest island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe imag ...

Halmahera
. The name ''Papua'' came to be associated with this area, and more especially with Halmahera, which was known to the
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
by this name during the era of their colonization in this part of the world. When Portuguese and Spanish explorers arrived in the island via the
Spice Islands SPICE ("Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis")Nagel, L. W, and Pederson, D. O., ''SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis)'', Memorandum No. ERL-M382, University of California, Berkeley, Apr. 1973Nagel, Lauren ...

Spice Islands
, they also referred to the island as ''Papua''. However, Westerners, beginning with Spanish explorer
Yñigo Ortiz de RetezYñigo Ortiz de Retez (Floruit, ''fl.'' 1545) was a 16th-century Spanish Empire, Spanish list of maritime explorers, maritime explorer of Basques, Basque origin, who navigated the northern coastline of the Pacific Ocean, Pacific–Melanesian island o ...
in 1545, used the name ''New Guinea'', referring to the similarities of the features of the indigenous peoples to those of native Africans of the
Guinea region Guinea is a traditional name for the region of the African coast of West Africa which lies along the Gulf of Guinea. It is a naturally moist tropical forest or savanna that stretches along the coast and borders the Sahel belt in the north. Etym ...
of the continent. The name is one of several
toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt:toponym, toponyms'' (proper names of places, also known as ''place name'' or ''geographic name''), their origins and meanings ...
sharing similar
etymologies Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identif ...
, ultimately meaning "land of the blacks" or similar meanings, in reference to the
dark skin Dark skin is a type of human skin color that are rich in melanin pigments, especially eumelanin. People with very dark skin are often referred to as "black people Black people is a Racialization, racialized classification of people, usuall ...
of the inhabitants. The Dutch, who arrived later under
Jacob Le Maire Jacob Le Maire (c. 1585 – 22 December 1616) was a Dutch mariner who circumnavigated the earth in 1615 and 1616. The strait between Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los Estados was named the Le Maire Strait in his honor, though not without controver ...
and
Willem Schouten Willem Cornelisz Schouten ( – 1625) was a Dutch navigator for the Dutch East India Company The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company ( nl, Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie; VOC; id, Persatuan Perusahaan Hin ...
, called it ''Schouten island''. They later used this name only to refer to islands off the north coast of Papua proper, the
Schouten Islands The Schouten Islands (''Kepulauan Biak'', also Biak Islands or Geelvink Islands) are an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_nor ...
or Biak Island. When the Dutch colonized this island as part of the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administer ...
, they called it ''Nieuw Guinea''. The name ''Irian'' was used in the Indonesian language to refer to the island and Indonesian province, as ''Irian Barat'' (West Irian) Province and later ''Irian Jaya'' Province. The name was promoted in 1945 by Marcus Kaisiepo, brother of the future governor
Frans Kaisiepo Frans Kaisiepo (10 October 1921 – 10 April 1979) was a Papuan people, Papuan politician and Indonesian nationalist. He served as the fourth Governor of Papua (province), Papua Province. In 1993, Kaisiepo was posthumously declared a List of Nati ...
. It is taken from the
Biak language Biak (''wós Vyak'' or "Biak language"; ''wós kovedi'' or "our language"; Indonesian: ''bahasa Biak''), also known as Biak-Numfor, Noefoor, Mafoor, Mefoor, Nufoor, Mafoorsch, Myfoorsch and Noefoorsch, is an Austronesian language of the South Ha ...
of
Biak Island Biak is a small island located in Cenderawasih Bay near the northern coast of Papua (province), Papua, an Indonesian province, and is just northwest of New Guinea. Biak is the largest island in its small archipelago, and has many atolls, reefs, an ...
, and means "to rise", or "rising spirit". ''Irian'' is the name used in the Biak language and other languages such as Serui, Merauke and Waropen. The name was used until 2001, when ''Papua'' was again used for the island and the province. The name ''Irian'', which was originally favored by natives, is now considered to be a name imposed by the authority of
Jakarta Jakarta (; ), officially the Special Capital Region of Jakarta ( id, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the lette ...

Jakarta
.


Geography

New Guinea is an island to the north of the
Australian mainland Mainland Australia is the main landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region or area Area is the quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional region, shape, or planar lamina, in the plane. Surface area is its a ...

Australian mainland
, south of the equator. It is isolated by the
Arafura Sea The Arafura Sea (or Arafuru Sea) lies west of the Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to A ...
to the west, and the
Torres Strait The Torres Strait (), also known as Zenadh Kes, is a strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both s ...

Torres Strait
and
Coral Sea The Coral Sea () is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of Saline water, salt water that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of Earth and contains 97% ...

Coral Sea
to the east. Sometimes considered to be the easternmost island of the
Indonesian archipelago The islands of Indonesia, also known as the Indonesian Archipelago or Nusantara ''Nusantara'' is the Indonesian name of Maritime Southeast Asia (or parts of it). It is an Old Javanese Kawi or Old Javanese is the oldest attested phase ...
, it lies north of Australia's
Top End The Top End of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List o ...
, the
Gulf of Carpentaria The Gulf of Carpentaria () is a large, shallow sea enclosed on three sides by northern Australia and bounded on the north by the eastern Arafura Sea (the body of water that lies between Australia and New Guinea). The northern boundary is ge ...
and
Cape York Peninsula Cape York Peninsula is a large remote peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding w ...
, and west of the
Bismarck Archipelago The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an area of , t ...
and the Solomon Islands archipelago. Politically, the western half of the island comprises two
provinces of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level region provinces or ). Provinces are further divided into list of regenci ...
: Papua and West Papua. The eastern half forms the mainland of the country of
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in Oceania ...

Papua New Guinea
. The shape of New Guinea is often compared to that of a
bird-of-paradise The birds-of-paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. The majority of species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as ...
(indigenous to the island), and this results in the usual names for the two extremes of the island: the
Bird's Head Peninsula The Bird's Head Peninsula ( Indonesian: ''Kepala Burung'', nl, Vogelkop) or Doberai Peninsula is a large peninsula that makes up the northwest portion of the island of New Guinea and the major part of the West Papua (province), Province of West P ...
in the northwest (''Vogelkop'' in Dutch, ''Kepala Burung'' in Indonesian; also known as the Doberai Peninsula), and the Bird's Tail Peninsula in the southeast (also known as the
Papuan Peninsula The Papuan Peninsula, also known as the Bird's Tail Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from whi ...

Papuan Peninsula
). A spine of east–west mountains, the
New Guinea Highlands The New Guinea Highlands, also known as the Central Range or Central Cordillera, is a long chain of mountain ranges on the island of New Guinea, including the island's tallest peak, Puncak Jaya , the highest mountain in Oceania. The range is home t ...
, dominates the geography of New Guinea, stretching over across the island, with many mountains over . The western half of the island contains the highest mountains in
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
, with its highest point,
Puncak Jaya Puncak Jaya (; literally Glorious Peak) or Carstensz Pyramid, Mount Jayawijaya or Mount Carstensz on the island of New Guinea, with an elevation of , is the highest mountain in Indonesia. It is also the list of islands by highest point, highes ...
, reaching an elevation of 4,884 m (16,023 ft). The
tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing. It is found at high elevations and high latitudes. Beyond the tree line, trees cannot tolerate the environmental conditions (usually cold temperatures, extreme snowpa ...

tree line
is around elevation, and the tallest peaks contain equatorial
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
s—which have been retreating since at least 1936. Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both north and west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a warm humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season. Another major habitat feature is the vast southern and northern lowlands. Stretching for hundreds of kilometres, these include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and some of the largest expanses of mangrove forest in the world. The southern lowlands are the site of
Lorentz National Park Lorentz National Park is a national park located in Papua (Indonesian province), Papua, Indonesia, in the southwest of western New Guinea. With an area of 25,056 km2 (9,674 mi2), it is the largest national park in southeast Asia. In 1999 ...
, a
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
. The northern lowlands are drained principally by the
Mamberamo River The Mamberamo is the second longest river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course ...
and its tributaries on the western side, and by the
Sepik The Sepik River is the longest river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its cour ...
on the eastern side. The more extensive southern lowlands are drained by a larger number of rivers, principally the
Digul The Digul River () is a major river in southern Papua (province), Papua province, Indonesia, on the island of New Guinea. It is the fourth longest river in New Guinea after Sepik River, Mamberamo River and Fly River. With a total length of and h ...

Digul
in the west and the
Fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Lat ...
in the east. The largest island offshore, Dolak, lies near the Digul estuary, separated by a strait so narrow it has been named a "creek". New Guinea contains many of the world's ecosystem types: glacial,
alpine tundra Alpine tundra is a type of natural region A natural region (landscape unit) is a basic geographic unit. Usually, it is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scien ...

alpine tundra
,
savanna A savanna or savannah is a mixed woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ' woods), a low-density forming open s with plenty of sunlight and li ...

savanna
,
montane Montane ecosystems are found on the slopes of mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area ...
and lowland rainforest,
mangrove A mangrove is a shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. The term ('' per-'' + '' -ennial'', "through the years") is oft ...

mangrove
s,
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles ...

wetland
s, lake and
river ecosystem River ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These Biotic component, biotic and abiotic components are linked ...
s,
seagrass Seagrasses are the only flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anyt ...

seagrass
es, and some of the richest
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
s on the planet.


Relation to surroundings

The island of New Guinea lies to the east of the
Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago ( ceb, Kapupud-ang Malay, ms, Kepulauan Melayu, tgl, Kapuluang Malay, jv, Nusantara) is the archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of ...

Malay Archipelago
, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago. Geologically it is a part of the same
tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibriu ...
as Australia. When world sea levels were low, the two shared shorelines (which now lie 100 to 140 metres below sea level), and combined with lands now inundated into the tectonic continent of Sahul, also known as Greater Australia. The two landmasses became separated when the area now known as the Torres Strait flooded after the end of the last glacial period. Anthropologically, New Guinea is considered part of
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabi ...

Melanesia
. New Guinea is differentiated from its drier, flatter, and less fertile southern counterpart, Australia, by its much higher rainfall and its active volcanic geology. Yet the two land masses share a similar animal fauna, with marsupials, including and
possums Possum may refer to: Animals * Opossum, or possum, an order (Didelphimorphia) of marsupials native to the Americas ** Common opossum, native to Central and South America ** Virginia opossum, native to North America * Phalangeriformes, or possums, ...

possums
, and the egg-laying monotreme, the
echidna Echidnas (), sometimes known as spiny anteaters, are quill-covered monotremes Monotremes are one of the three main groups of living mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constitutin ...

echidna
. Other than bats and some two dozen indigenous rodent genera, there are no pre-human indigenous
placental mammals Placentalia is one of the three extant subdivisions of the class of animals Mammalia; the other two are Monotremata and Marsupial Marsupials are any members of the mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group ...

placental mammals
. Pigs, several additional species of rats, and the ancestor of the
New Guinea singing dog The New Guinea singing dog or New Guinea Highland dog is an ancient ( basal) lineage of dog found in the New Guinea Highlands on the island of New Guinea. Once considered to be a separate species in its own right, under the name ''Canis hallstrom ...
were introduced with human colonization. Prior to the 1970s, archaeologists called the single
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
landmass by the name ''Australasia'', although this word is most often used for a wider region that includes lands, such as
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, which are not on the same continental shelf. In the early 1970s, they introduced the term ''Greater Australia'' for the Pleistocene continent. Then, at a 1975 conference and consequent publication, they extended the name ''Sahul'' from its previous use for just the Sahul Shelf to cover the continent.


Political divisions

The island of New Guinea is divided politically into roughly equal halves across a north–south line: * The western portion of the island located west of 141°E longitude (except for a small section of territory to the east of the
Fly River The Fly River is the third longest river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its cours ...
which belongs to Papua New Guinea) was formerly a
Dutch colony The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies—mainly the Dutch West India Company and the Dutch East India Company—an ...
, part of the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administer ...
. After the
West New Guinea dispute The West New Guinea dispute (1950–1962), also known as the West Irian dispute, was a diplomatic and political conflict between the Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily loca ...
it is now two
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
n provinces: ** West Papua with
Manokwari Manokwari is a coastal town and the capital city, capital of the Provinces of Indonesia, Indonesian province of West Papua (province), West Papua. It is one of only four provincial capitals of Indonesia without a city status in Indonesia, city st ...

Manokwari
as its capital. ** Papua with the city of
Jayapura Jayapura is the capital and largest city of the Indonesian Provinces of Indonesia, province of Papua (province), Papua. It is situated on the northern coast of New Guinea island and covers an area of . The city borders the Pacific Ocean and Yo ...
as its capital. * The eastern part forms the mainland of
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in Oceania ...

Papua New Guinea
, which has been an independent country since 1975. It was formerly the
Territory of Papua and New Guinea The Territory of Papua and New Guinea, officially the Administrative Union of the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea, was established by an administrative union between the Australian-administered territories of Territory of Pap ...
governed by Australia, consisting of the Trust Territory of New Guinea (northeastern quarter, formerly
German New Guinea German New Guinea (german: link=no, Deutsch-Neuguinea) consisted of the northeastern part of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-larges ...

German New Guinea
), and the
Territory of Papua The Territory of Papua comprised the southeastern quarter of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an area of , ...

Territory of Papua
(southeastern quarter). The Papua New Guinea part encompasses three of four regions: **
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...
, consisting of
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
,
Gulf A gulf is a large inlet from the ocean into the landmass, typically with a narrower opening than a bay (geography), bay, but that is not observable in all geographic areas so named. The term gulf was traditionally used for large highly-indented ...
,
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
, Oro (Northern) and
Milne Bay Milne Bay is a large bay in Milne Bay Province Milne Bay is a province of Papua New Guinea. Its capital is Alotau. The province covers 14,345 km² of land and 252,990 km² of sea, within the province there are more than 600 islands, abo ...
provinces. **
Highlands Highlands or uplands are any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) refers to ranges of hills, typically up to . Highland (or highlands) is usually reserved for ranges of low mountains. Highland ...
, consisting of Southern Highlands,
Hela Province Hela is a province of Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini; tcs, Op Deudai), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen ...
,
Jiwaka Province Jiwaka is a Provinces of Papua New Guinea, province of Papua New Guinea. The provincial capital is temporarily located in Kurumul. Mostly all provincial matters are handled in Kurumul while few are handled in Banz, Papua New Guinea, Banz and Minj. ...
,
Enga Province Enga is one of the provinces in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is located in the north most region of the highlands of PNG, having been divided from the Western Highlands (Papua New Guinea), Western Highlands to become a separate province when the prov ...
, Western Highlands, Simbu and
Eastern Highlands :''"Eastern Highlands" also refers to Eastern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea, and part of the Great Dividing Range, Australia.'' Image:Eastern higlands fromnyanga.jpg, 300px, Northern part of the Eastern Highlands range as seen from Nyang ...
provinces. ** Momase, consisting of Morobe,
Madang Madang (old German name: ''Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen'') is the capital of Madang Province and is a town with a population of 27,420 (in 2005) on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. It was first settled by the Germany, Germans in the 19th century. ...
,
East Sepik East Sepik is a province in Papua New Guinea. Its capital is Wewak. East Sepik has an estimated population of 433,481 people (2010 census) and is 43,426 km square in size. History Cherubim Dambui was appointed as East Sepik's first premier by ...
and
Sandaun Sandaun Province (formerly West Sepik Province) is the northwesternmost Provinces of Papua New Guinea, province of Papua New Guinea. It covers an area of 35,920 km2 and has a population of 248,411 (2011 census). The capital is Vanimo. In July 1 ...
(West Sepik) provinces.


People

The current population of the island of New Guinea is about eleven million. Many believe human habitation on the island dates to as early as 50,000 BC, and first settlement possibly dating back to 60,000 years ago has been proposed. The island is presently populated by almost a thousand different tribal groups and a near-equivalent number of separate languages, which makes New Guinea the most linguistically diverse area in the world.
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicatio ...
's 14th edition lists 826 languages of
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in Oceania ...

Papua New Guinea
and 257 languages of
Western New Guinea Western New Guinea, also known as Papua or Indonesian New Guinea, is the western portion of New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the ...
, total 1073 languages, with 12 languages overlapping. They can be divided into two groups, the
Austronesian languages The Austronesian languages (, , , ) are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign ...
, and all the others, called
Papuan languages The Papuan languages are the non- Austronesian and non- Australian languages spoken on the western Pacific island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second ...
for convenience. The term ''Papuan languages'' refers to an areal grouping, rather than a linguistic one, since so-called Papuan languages comprise hundreds of different languages, most of which are not related. The separation is not merely linguistic;
warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violenc ...
among societies was a factor in the evolution of the ''men's house'': separate housing of groups of adult men, from the single-family houses of the women and children, for mutual protection from other tribal groups. Pig-based trade between the groups and pig-based feasts are a common theme with the other peoples of southeast Asia and Oceania. Most societies practice agriculture, supplemented by hunting and gathering. Current evidence indicates that the Papuans (who constitute the majority of the island's peoples) are descended from the earliest human inhabitants of New Guinea. These original inhabitants first arrived in New Guinea at a time (either side of the
Last Glacial Maximum The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Late Glacial Maximum, was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets In glaciology Lateral moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt">Gorner_Glac ...
, approx 21,000 years ago) when the island was connected to the Australian continent via a
land bridge In biogeography Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A sp ...
, forming the landmass of Sahul. These peoples had made the (shortened) sea-crossing from the islands of
Wallacea in blue has been used to separate Wallacea into a western part pertaining to Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Wallacea
and
Sundaland Sundaland (also called the Sundaic region) is a biogeographical Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an o ...
(the present
Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago ( ceb, Kapupud-ang Malay, ms, Kepulauan Melayu, tgl, Kapuluang Malay, jv, Nusantara) is the archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of ...

Malay Archipelago
) by at least 40,000 years ago. The ancestral Austronesian peoples are believed to have arrived considerably later, approximately 3,500 years ago, as part of a gradual seafaring migration from
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
, possibly originating in Taiwan. Austronesian-speaking peoples colonized many of the offshore islands to the north and east of New Guinea, such as New Ireland and
New Britain New Britain ( tpi, Niu Briten) is the largest island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on at ...

New Britain
, with settlements also on the coastal fringes of the main island in places. Human habitation of New Guinea over tens of thousands of years has led to a great deal of diversity, which was further increased by the later arrival of the Austronesians and the more recent history of European and Asian settlement through events like transmigration. Large areas of New Guinea are yet to be explored by scientists and anthropologists. The Indonesian province of West Papua is home to an estimated 44 .


Biodiversity and ecology

With some 786,000 km2 of tropical land—less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the Earth's surface—New Guinea has an immense
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
, containing between 5 and 10 percent of the total species on the planet. This percentage is about the same amount as that found in the United States or Australia. A high percentage of New Guinea's species are
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interact ...
, and thousands are still unknown to science: probably well over 200,000 species of insect, between 11,000 and 20,000 plant species, and over 650 resident bird species. Most of these species are shared, at least in their origin, with the continent of Australia, which was until fairly recent geological times part of the same landmass (see
Australia-New Guinea The continent of Australia, sometimes known in technical contexts by the names Sahul (), Australinea, or Meganesia to distinguish it from the Australia, country of Australia, consists of the landmasses which sit on Australia's plate tecton ...
for an overview). The island is so large that it is considered 'nearly a continent' in terms of its biological distinctiveness. In the period from 1998 to 2008, conservationists identified 1,060 new species in New Guinea, including 218 plants, 43 reptiles, 12 mammals, 580 invertebrates, 134 amphibians, 2 birds and 71 fish. Between 2011 and 2017, researchers described 465 previously undocumented plant species in New Guinea. As of 2019, the Indonesian portion of New Guinea and the Maluku Islands is estimated to have 9,518 species of vascular plants, of which 4,380 are endemic. In 2020, an international study conducted by a team of 99 experts cataloged 13,634 species representing 1,742 genera and 264 families of vascular plants for New Guinea and its associated islands ( Aru Is., Bismarck Arch., D'Entrecasteaux Is., Louisiade Arch.), making it the world's most floristically diverse island, surpassing
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mala ...

Madagascar
(11,488),
Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java Is ...

Borneo
(11,165),
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...

Java
(4,598), and
the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

the Philippines
(9,432). , New Guinea is part of
Australasia Australasia is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. ...

Australasia
rather than the
Indomalaya The Indomalayan realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms. It extends across most of South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology Th ...

Indomalaya
n realm, although New Guinea's flora has many more affinities with Asia than its fauna, which is overwhelmingly Australian. Botanically, New Guinea is considered part of
Malesia Malesia is a biogeography, biogeographical region straddling the Equator and the boundaries of the Indomalayan realm, Indomalayan and Australasian realms, and also a phytogeography, phytogeographical floristic region in the Paleotropical Kingdo ...

Malesia
, a floristic region that extends from the
Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
across Indonesia to New Guinea and the East Melanesian Islands. The flora of New Guinea is a mixture of many
tropical rainforest Tropical rainforests are rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape ...

tropical rainforest
species with origins in Asia, together with typically Australasian flora. Typical Southern Hemisphere flora include the
conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The division contains a single ex ...
s ''
Podocarpus ''Podocarpus'' () is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer ...
'' and the rainforest emergents ''
Araucaria ''Araucaria'' (; original pronunciation: .ɾawˈka. ɾja is a genus of evergreen Pinophyta, coniferous trees in the family Araucariaceae. There are 20 extant taxon, extant species in New Caledonia (where 14 species are endemism, end ...

Araucaria
'' and ''
Agathis ''Agathis'', commonly known as kauri or dammara, is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such class ...
,'' as well as
tree fern The tree ferns are the fern A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta ) is a member of a group of vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that reproduce via spores and have neither seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed i ...

tree fern
s and several species of ''
Eucalyptus ''Eucalyptus'' () is a of over seven hundred species of s, shrubs or in the , Myrtaceae. Along with several other genera in the , including ', they are commonly known as s. Plants in the genus ''Eucalyptus'' have bark that is either smooth, ...

Eucalyptus
''. New Guinea has 284 species and six orders of mammals:
monotremes Monotremes are one of the three main groups of living mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mamm ...
, three orders of
marsupials Marsupials are any members of the mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in ...

marsupials
,
rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...

rodent
s and
bat Bats are mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the po ...

bat
s; 195 of the mammal species (69%) are endemic. New Guinea has 578 species of breeding birds, of which 324 species are endemic. The island's frogs are one of the most poorly known vertebrate groups, totalling 282 species, but this number is expected to double or even triple when all species have been documented. New Guinea has a rich diversity of coral life and 1,200 species of fish have been found. Also about 600 species of reef-building coral—the latter equal to 75 percent of the world's known total. The entire coral area covers 18 million hectares off a peninsula in northwest New Guinea. As of 2020, the Western portion of New Guinea, Papua and West Papua, accounts for 54% of the island's primary forest and about 51% of the island's total tree cover, according to satellite data.


Ecoregions


Terrestrial

According to the WWF, New Guinea can be divided into twelve
terrestrial ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a b ...
s: * Central Range montane rain forests * Central Range sub-alpine grasslands * Huon Peninsula montane rain forests *
New Guinea mangroves The New Guinea mangroves is a mangrove ecoregion that covers extensive areas of the coastline New Guinea, the large island in the western Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Location and description The New Guinea mangroves cover an area of , parti ...
* Northern New Guinea lowland rain and freshwater swamp forests * Northern New Guinea montane rain forests * Southeastern Papuan rain forests * Southern New Guinea freshwater swamp forests * Southern New Guinea lowland rain forests * Trans-Fly savanna and grasslands *
Vogelkop montane rain forests The Vogelkop montane rain forests is a tropical moist forest ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion, which in turn is ...
* Vogelkop-Aru lowland rain forests


Freshwater

The WWF and
Nature Conservancy The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global environmental organization, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, United States. it works via affiliates or branches in 79 countries and territories, as well as across every state in the US. Founded in ...
divide New Guinea into five
freshwater ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion, which in turn is smaller than a biogeographic realm. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of ...
s: * Vogelkop–Bomberai * New Guinea North Coast * New Guinea Central Mountains * Southwest New Guinea–Trans-Fly Lowland *
Papuan Peninsula The Papuan Peninsula, also known as the Bird's Tail Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from whi ...

Papuan Peninsula


Marine

The WWF and Nature Conservancy identify several
marine ecoregion A marine ecoregion is an ecoregion, or ecological region, of the oceans and seas identified and defined based on biogeography, biogeographic characteristics. Introduction A more complete definition describes them as “Areas of relatively homogen ...
s in the seas bordering New Guinea: * Papua *
Bismarck Sea The Bismarck Sea (german: Bismarcksee) lies in the southwestern Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on d ...
*
Solomon Sea The Solomon Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.New Ireland alon ...
* Southeast Papua New Guinea *
Gulf of Papua The Gulf of Papua is located in the southern coast region of New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the southwestern , it is separated b ...
*
Arafura Sea The Arafura Sea (or Arafuru Sea) lies west of the Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to A ...


History


Early history

The first inhabitants, from whom the Papuan people are probably descended, adapted to the range of ecologies and, in time, developed one of the earliest known agricultures. Remains of this agricultural system, in the form of ancient irrigation systems in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, are being studied by archaeologists. Research indicates that the highlands were an early and independent center of agriculture, with evidence of irrigation going back at least 10,000 years.
Sugarcane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, ...

Sugarcane
was cultivated for the first time in New Guinea around 6000 BC. The gardens of the
New Guinea Highlands The New Guinea Highlands, also known as the Central Range or Central Cordillera, is a long chain of mountain ranges on the island of New Guinea, including the island's tallest peak, Puncak Jaya , the highest mountain in Oceania. The range is home t ...
are ancient, intensive
permaculture Permaculture is an approach to land management and settlement design that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems. It includes a set of design principles derived using Systems theory, whole systems thinking. It applies t ...
s, adapted to high population densities, very high rainfalls (as high as 10,000 mm per year (400 in/yr)), earthquakes, hilly land, and occasional frost. Complex mulches, crop rotations and tillages are used in rotation on terraces with complex irrigation systems. Western agronomists still do not understand all of the practices, and it has been noted that native gardeners are as, or even more, successful than most scientific farmers in raising certain crops. There is evidence that New Guinea gardeners invented crop rotation well before western Europeans. A unique feature of New Guinea permaculture is the
silviculture Silviculture is the practice of controlling the growth, composition/structure, and quality of forest A forest is an area of land dominated by s. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such a ...
of ''Casuarina oligodon'', a tall, sturdy native
ironwood Ironwood is a common name for many wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulose fi ...

ironwood
tree, suited to use for timber and fuel, with root nodules that fix nitrogen. Pollen studies show that it was adopted during an ancient period of extreme deforestation. In more recent millennia, another wave of people arrived on the shores of New Guinea. These were the
Austronesian people The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan (collectively known as Taiwanese indigenous peoples), Maritime Southeast Asia, Oceania and Madagascar that ...
, who had spread down from
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
, through the South-east Asian archipelago, colonising many of the islands on the way. The Austronesian people had technology and skills extremely well adapted to ocean voyaging and Austronesian language speaking people are present along much of the coastal areas and islands of New Guinea. These Austronesian migrants are considered the ancestors of most people in insular Southeast Asia, from
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia S ...

Sumatra
and
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...

Java
to
Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java Is ...

Borneo
and
Sulawesi Sulawesi (), also known as Celebes (), is one of the four Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia, in the Pacific Ocean. The islands, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra, are in ...

Sulawesi
, as well as coastal new Guinea.


Precolonial history

The western part of the island was in contact with kingdoms in other parts of modern-day Indonesia. The ''
Negarakertagama The ''Nagarakretagama'' or ''Nagarakṛtāgama'', also known as ''Desawarnana'' or ''Deśavarṇana'', is an Old Javanese eulogy to Hayam Wuruk, a Javanese people, Javanese king of the Majapahit Empire. It was written on Palm-leaf manuscript, l ...
'' mentioned the region of Wanin in eastern
Nusantara ''Nusantara'' is the Indonesian name of Maritime Southeast Asia (or parts of it). It is an Old Javanese Kawi or Old Javanese is the oldest attested phase of the Javanese language. It was spoken in the eastern part of what is now Central Ja ...
as part of
Majapahit The Majapahit () was a Javanese people, Javanese Hinduism, Hindu thalassocracy, thalassocratic empire in Southeast Asia that was based on the island of Java (in modern-day Indonesia). It existed from 1293 to circa 1527 and reached its peak of ...

Majapahit
's tributary. This has been identified with the Onin Peninsula, part of the
Bomberai Peninsula Bomberai Peninsula ( id, Semenanjung Bomberai) is located in the Western New Guinea region, opposite to and to the south of the Bird's Head Peninsula. To the west lies the Sebakor Bay and to the south Kamrau Bay. Sabuda island lies off the western t ...
near the city of
Fakfak Fakfak () is a town in Indonesia and seat of the Fakfak Regency. It had a population of 12,566 at the 2010 Census. It is served by Fakfak Airport. It is the only town in West Papua with a Muslim Indian Indonesian, Indian and Arab Indonesian presence ...
. The sultans of
Tidore Tidore ( id, Kota Tidore Kepulauan, lit. "City of Tidore Islands") is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called a ...

Tidore
, in the
Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piec ...

Maluku Islands
, claimed sovereignty over various coastal parts of the island. During Tidore's rule, the main exports of the island during this period were resins, spices, slaves and the highly priced feathers of the
bird-of-paradise The birds-of-paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. The majority of species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as ...
. , one of the most famous Tidore sultans who rebelled against Dutch colonization, called himself "Sultan of Tidore and Papua", during his revolt in 1780s. He commanded loyalty from both Moluccan and Papuan chiefs, especially those of
Raja Ampat ''Raja'' (; from Sanskrit language, Sanskrit राजन् '), is a royal title used for Indian monarchs. The title is equivalent to king or princely ruler in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The title has a long history in the ...

Raja Ampat
Islands. Following Tidore's defeat, much of the territory it claimed in western part of New Guinea came under Dutch rule as part of Dutch East Indies.


European contact

The first European contact with New Guinea was by Portuguese and Spanish sailors in the 16th century. In 1526–27, Portuguese explorer Jorge de Meneses saw the western tip of New Guinea and named it ''ilhas dos Papuas''. In 1528, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Saavedra also recorded its sighting when trying to return from
Tidore Tidore ( id, Kota Tidore Kepulauan, lit. "City of Tidore Islands") is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called a ...

Tidore
to
New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as th ...

New Spain
. In 1545, Spaniard Íñigo Ortíz de Retes sailed along the north coast of New Guinea as far as the
Mamberamo River The Mamberamo is the second longest river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course ...
, near which he landed on 20 June, naming the island 'Nueva Guinea'. The first map showing the whole island (as an island) was published in 1600 and shows it as 'Nova Guinea'. In 1606,
Luís Vaz de Torres Luís Vaz de Torres (Galician language, Galician and Portuguese language, Portuguese), or Luis Váez de Torres in the Spanish language, Spanish spelling (born c. 1565; fl. 1607), was a 16th- and 17th-century list of maritime explorers, maritime e ...
explored the southern coast of New Guinea from
Milne Bay Milne Bay is a large bay in Milne Bay Province Milne Bay is a province of Papua New Guinea. Its capital is Alotau. The province covers 14,345 km² of land and 252,990 km² of sea, within the province there are more than 600 islands, abo ...

Milne Bay
to the
Gulf of Papua The Gulf of Papua is located in the southern coast region of New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the southwestern , it is separated b ...
including Orangerie Bay, which he named ''Bahía de San Lorenzo''. His expedition also discovered
Basilaki Island Basilaki Island (Moresby Island) is an island in the Louisiade Archipelago in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. It is located at the eastern end of the New Guinea mainland. History First recorded sighting by Europeans was by the Spanish expe ...
naming it ''Tierra de San Buenaventura'', which he claimed for Spain in July 1606.Translation of Torres’ report to the king in Collingridge, G. (1895) ''Discovery of Australia'' p.229-237. Golden Press Edition 1983, Gladesville, NSW. On 18 October, his expedition reached the western part of the island in present-day Indonesia, and also claimed the territory for the King of Spain. A successive European claim occurred in 1828, when the Netherlands formally claimed the western half of the island as
Netherlands New Guinea 300px, Steamboat connections in Dutch New Guinea in 1915 Netherlands New Guinea ( nl, Nederlands-Nieuw-Guinea) refers to the Papua region of Indonesia while it was a part of the Dutch East Indies until 1949, later an overseas territory of ...
. In 1883, following a short-lived French annexation of New Ireland, the British colony of
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
annexed south-eastern New Guinea. However, the Queensland government's superiors in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
revoked the claim, and (formally) assumed direct responsibility in 1884, when
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...
claimed north-eastern New Guinea as the protectorate of
German New Guinea German New Guinea (german: link=no, Deutsch-Neuguinea) consisted of the northeastern part of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-larges ...

German New Guinea
(also called
Kaiser-Wilhelmsland Kaiser-Wilhelmsland formed part of German New Guinea (German: ''Deutsch-Neuguinea''), the South Pacific protectorate of the German Empire. Named in honour of Wilhelm I, German Emperor , Wilhelm I, who reigned as German Emperor (''Kaiser'') from 1 ...
). The first Dutch government posts were established in 1898 and in 1902: Manokwari on the north coast, Fak-Fak in the west and Merauke in the south at the border with
British New Guinea The Territory of Papua comprised the southeastern quarter of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an area of , ...

British New Guinea
. The German, Dutch and British colonial administrators each attempted to suppress the still-widespread practices of inter-village warfare and
headhunting Headhunting is the practice of human hunting, hunting a human and human trophy collecting, collecting the decapitation, severed human head, head after killing the victim, although sometimes more portable body parts (such as ear, nose or scalp) a ...
within their respective territories. In 1905, the British government transferred some administrative responsibility over southeast New Guinea to Australia (which renamed the area "
Territory of Papua The Territory of Papua comprised the southeastern quarter of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an area of , ...

Territory of Papua
"); and, in 1906, transferred all remaining responsibility to Australia. During
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, Australian forces seized German New Guinea, which in 1920 became the
Territory of New Guinea The Territory of New Guinea was an Australian-administered territory on the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an ...
, to be administered by Australia under a
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
mandate. The territories under Australian administration became collectively known as The Territories of Papua and New Guinea (until February 1942). Before about 1930, European maps showed the highlands as uninhabited forests. When first flown over by aircraft, numerous settlements with agricultural terraces and stockades were observed. The most startling discovery took place on 4 August 1938, when
Richard Archbold Richard Archbold (April 9, 1907 – August 1, 1976) was an United States, American zoologist and philanthropist. He was independently wealthy, being the grandson of the capitalist John Dustin Archbold. He was educated at private schools, and later ...
discovered the Grand Valley of the Baliem River, which had 50,000 yet-undiscovered Stone Age farmers living in orderly villages. The people, known as the Dani, were the last society of its size to make first contact with the rest of the world. A 1930 expedition led by the prospector Michael Lehay also encountered an indigenous group in the highlands. The inhabitants, believing themselves to be the only people in the world and, having never seen Europeans before, initially believed the explorers to be spirits of the dead due to the local belief that a person's skin turned white when they died and crossed into the land of the dead.


World War II

Netherlands New Guinea and the Australian territories were invaded in 1942 by the
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
. The Australian territories were put under military administration and were known simply as New Guinea. The highlands, northern and eastern parts of the island became key battlefields in the
South West Pacific Theatre run sometime in 1942. File:Douglas MacArthur lands Leyte1.jpg, Gen. Douglas MacArthur wades ashore during Battle of Leyte, initial landings at Leyte, Philippine Islands, 20 October 1944. The South West Pacific theatre, during World War II ...
of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. Papuans often gave vital assistance to the
Allies An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
, fighting alongside Australian troops, and carrying equipment and injured men across New Guinea. Approximately 216,000 Japanese, Australian and U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the New Guinea Campaign.


Since World War II

Following the return to civil administration after World War II, the Australian section was known as the Territory of Papua-New Guinea from 1945 to 1949 and then as
Territory of Papua and New Guinea The Territory of Papua and New Guinea, officially the Administrative Union of the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea, was established by an administrative union between the Australian-administered territories of Territory of Pap ...
. Although the rest of the Dutch East Indies achieved independence as Indonesia on 27 December 1949, the Netherlands regained control of western New Guinea. During the 1950s, the Dutch government began to prepare Netherlands New Guinea for full independence and allowed elections in 1959; the elected
New Guinea CouncilThe New Guinea Council ( nl, Nieuw Guinea Raad) was a unicameral representative body formed in the Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961. The council was inaugurated on 5 April 1961 with 28 council members, 16 of whom had been elected in 196 ...
took office on 5 April 1961. The Council decided on the name of West Papua (''Papua Barat'') for the territory, along with an emblem,
flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crochetin ...

flag
, and
anthem An anthem is a of , usually used as a symbol for a distinct group, particularly the s of . Originally, and in and religious contexts, it also refers more particularly to short sacred (still frequently seen in and other types of singing) and s ...
to complement those of the Netherlands. On 1 October 1962, after some military interventions and negotiations, the Dutch handed over the territory to the
United Nations Temporary Executive Authority The United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) / United Nations Security Force in West New Guinea (UNSF) was established during October 1962 in accord with General Assembly Resolution 1752 as requested in Article two of the New York Ag ...
, until 1 May 1963, when Indonesia took control. The territory was renamed West Irian (''Irian Barat'') and then Irian Jaya. In 1969, Indonesia, under the 1962
New York Agreement The New York Agreement is an agreement signed by the Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Dutch Caribbean, Caribbean. It is the lar ...
, organised a referendum named the
Act of Free Choice The Act of Free Choice ( id, Penentuan Pendapat Rakyat, PEPERA, Determination of the People's Opinion) was an election held on August 2, 1969 in which 1,025 men and women selected by the Indonesian military in Western New Guinea voted unanimousl ...
, in which hand picked Papuan tribal elders reached a consensus to continue the union with Indonesia. There has been some resistance to Indonesian integration and occupation,Philippe Pataud Celerier
Autonomy isn’t independence; Indonesian democracy stops in Papua
, June 2010
both through civil disobedience (such as Morning Star flag raising ceremonies) and via the formation of the (OPM, or Free Papua Movement) in 1965.
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is a non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at th ...

Amnesty International
has estimated more than 100,000 Papuans, one-sixth of the population, have died as a result of government-sponsored violence against West Papuans. From 1971, the name Papua New Guinea was used for the Australian territory. On 16 September 1975, Australia granted full independence to Papua New Guinea. In 2000, Irian Jaya was formally renamed "The Province of Papua" and a Law on Special Autonomy was passed in 2001. The Law established a Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) with representatives of the different indigenous cultures of Papua. The MRP was empowered to protect the rights of Papuans, raise the status of women in Papua, and to ease religious tensions in Papua;
block grants Block grant (United States) refers to a grant-in-aid of a specified amount from the federal government of the United States to individual states and local governments to help support various broad purpose programs, such as law enforcement, socia ...
were given for the implementation of the Law as much as $266 million in 2004. The Indonesian courts' enforcement of the Law on Special Autonomy blocked further creation of subdivisions of Papua: although President
Megawati Sukarnoputri Diah Permata Megawati Setiawati Sukarnoputri (; born 23 January 1947) is an Indonesian politician who served as the fifth president of Indonesia The President of the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Presiden Republik Indonesia) is the head o ...

Megawati Sukarnoputri
was able to create a separate West Papua province in 2003 as a
fait accompli Many words in the English vocabulary are of French origin, most coming from the Anglo-Norman spoken by the upper class Upper class in modern societies is the social class composed of people who hold the highest social status, usually are the ...
, plans for a third province on western New Guinea were blocked by the courts. Critics argue that the Indonesian government has been reluctant to establish or issue various government implementing regulations so that the legal provisions of special autonomy could be put into practice, and as a result special autonomy in Papua has "failed". The culture of inter-tribal warfare and animosity between the neighboring tribes are still present in New Guinea.


See also

*
West New Guinea dispute The West New Guinea dispute (1950–1962), also known as the West Irian dispute, was a diplomatic and political conflict between the Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily loca ...


Notes and references


Bibliography

*
Jared Diamond Jared Mason Diamond (born September 10, 1937) is an American geographer A geographer is a physical scientist, social scientist or humanist whose area of study is geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth de ...

Jared Diamond
, '' Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the last 13,000 Years'', 1997.


External links


Facsimile of material from "The Discovery of New Guinea" by George Collingridge

Scientists hail discovery of hundreds of new species in remote New Guinea

PapuaWeb official website


* {{Authority control Islands of the Pacific Ocean Divided regions International islands Melanesia Islands of Indonesia Islands of Papua New Guinea Former Spanish colonies