Papua (province)

Papua is the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia, comprising most of Western New Guinea. It is bordered by the state of Papua New Guinea to the east, the province of West Papua to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the north, and the Arafura Sea to the south. According to the 2010 census by Statistics Indonesia, Papua had a population of 2,833,381, the majority of whom are Christians.[3] The 2015 Intermediate Census revealed a population of 3,143,088, while the latest official estimate (as at mid 2019) is 3,347,100.[4] The province is divided into twenty-eight regencies and one city. Its capital and largest city is Jayapura.

Clockwise, from top: Lake Sentani, Puncak Jaya, Warsa waterfall, Mount Sumantri, Kurulu Village War Chief, Yapen Island, Betlehem Church Wamena


Coat of arms
Karya Swadaya (Sanskrit)
(Work with one's own might)
Location of Papua in Indonesia
Coordinates (Jayapura): 2°32′S 140°43′E
Country Indonesia
Established1 May 1963
and largest city
  BodyPapuan Regional Government
  GovernorLukas Enembe[1] (PD & Golkar)
  Vice GovernorKlemen Tinal
  Total319,036.05 km2 (123,180.51 sq mi)
Area rank1st
Highest elevation
4,884 m (16,024 ft)
 (mid 2019)
  Density10/km2 (27/sq mi)
 Health Ministry 2014 Estimate
  Ethnic groupsPapuan
Melanesian (including Aitinyo, Aefak, Asmat, Agast, Dani, Ayamaru, Mandacan, Biak, Serui)
  ReligionChristianity (83.15%)
Islam (15.88%)
Hinduism (0.09%)
Buddhism (0.05%)
Other (0.82%)
  LanguagesIndonesian (official)
269 indigenous Papuan
Austronesian languages
Time zoneUTC+9 (Indonesia Eastern Time)
90xxx, 91xxx, 92xxx
Area codes(62)9xx
ISO 3166 codeID-PA
Vehicle signPA
HDI 0.600 (Medium)
HDI rank34th (2016)

The province was formerly called Irian Jaya and comprised the entire Western New Guinea until the inauguration of the province of West Papua in 2003. In 2002, Papua adopted its current name and was granted a special autonomous status by the Indonesian legislation. Puncak Jaya is the province's highest mountain as well as the highest point of Indonesia.


Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945 and claimed all of the territory of the former Dutch East Indies, including Western New Guinea. However, the region was retained by the Netherlands until the mid-1960s, which caused Indonesia to repeatedly launch military operations there. It was agreed through the New York Agreement in 1962 that the administration of Western New Guinea would be temporarily transferred from the Netherlands to Indonesia and that by 1969 the United Nations should oversee a referendum of the Papuan people, in which they would be given two options: to remain part of Indonesia or to become an independent nation. This vote was referred to as the Act of Free Choice.[5] The referendum was recognised by the international community and the region became the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. The province has been renamed as Papua since 2002.[6]

In January 2003 President Megawati Sukarnoputri signed an order dividing Papua into three provinces: Central Irian Jaya (Irian Jaya Tengah), Papua (or East Irian Jaya, Irian Jaya Timur), and West Papua (Irian Jaya Barat). The formality of installing a local government for Jaraka in Irian Jaya Barat (West) took place in February 2003 and a governor was appointed in November; a government for Irian Jaya Tengah (Central Irian Jaya) was delayed from August 2003 due to violent local protests. The creation of this separate Central Irian Jaya Province was blocked by Indonesian courts, who declared it to be unconstitutional and in contravention of the Papua's special autonomy agreement. The previous division into two provinces was allowed to stand as an established fact.[7]


The province of Papua is governed by a directly elected governor (currently Lukas Enembe) and a regional legislature, People's Representative Council of province of Papua (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua).[8] A government organisation that only exists in Papua is the Papuan People's Council (Majelis Rakyat Papua) Papuan People's Council), which was formed by the Indonesian Government in 2005 as a coalition of Papuan tribal chiefs, tasked with arbitration and speaking on behalf of Papuan tribal customs.

The province of Papua is one of three provinces to have obtained special autonomy status, the others being Aceh and West Papua. According to Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy Status (UU Nomor 21 Tahun 2001 tentang Otonomi khusus Papua), the provincial government of Papua is provided with authority within all sectors of administration, except for the five strategic areas of foreign affairs, security and defense, monetary and fiscal affairs, religion and justice. The provincial government is authorised to issue local regulations to further stipulate the implementation of the special autonomy, including regulating the authority of districts and municipalities within the province. Due to its special autonomy status, Papua province is provided with significant amount of special autonomy funds, which can be used to benefit its indigenous peoples. But the province has low fiscal capacity and it is highly dependent on unconditional transfers and the above-mentioned special autonomy fund, which accounted for about 55% of total revenues in 2008.

After obtaining its special autonomy status, in order to allow the local population access to timber production benefits, the Papuan provincial government issued a number of decrees, enabling:

  • a Timber Logging Permit for Customary Communities, which enabled local people to carry out timber extraction in small concessions (250 to 1,000 hectares) for one year through a community-based or participatory community cooperative;
  • a Permit to Manage Customary Forests, which was a timber extraction permit for larger concessions (up to 2,000 hectares) for a maximum of 20 years;
  • logging companies had to pay compensations to local communities in addition to all other fees and taxes collected by the national government.

Administrative divisions

As of 2010 (following the separation of West Papua Province in 2003), the residual Papua Province consisted of 28 regencies (kabupaten) and one autonomous city (kota); these regencies and the city are together subdivided as at 2018 into 560 districts (distriks), and thence into 5,521 "villages" (kelurahan and desa). In Papua, as well as in the province of West Papua, kecamatan are commonly referred to as distrik.

The regencies (kabupaten) and the city (kota) are listed below with their areas and their populations at the 2010 Census and thw 2015 Intermediate Census.[9]

NameArea (km2)Population
Estimate 2005
Census 2010
Census 2015
CapitalNumber of
Number of
Asmat Regency31,983.6961,64276,57788,373Agats192210.493 (Low)
Boven Digoel Regency27,108.00*55,78462,862Tanah Merah201120.608 (Medium)
Mappi Regency24,118.0065,21981,65891,657Kepi151640.577 (Medium)
Merauke Regency44,071.00154,310195,716216,271Merauke201900.693 (Medium)
Southern group281,171409,735459,163
Biak Numfor Regency2,602.0099,204126,798138,790Biak192680.719 (High)
Deiyai Regency537.39#62,11969,290Tigi5670.495 (Low)
Dogiyai Regency4,237.40#84,23092,048Kigamani10790.544 (Low)
Intan Jaya Regency3,922.02#40,49045,846Sugapa8970.465 (Low)
Kepulauan Yapen Regency
(Yapen Islands)
2,050.0070,20182,95191,240Serui161650.670 (Medium)
Mimika Regency21,633.00126,344182,001201,300Timika181520.731 (High)
Nabire Regency11,112.61159,548129,893139,921Nabire15810.677 (Medium)
Paniai Regency6,525.25111,412153,432164,008Enarotali232210.558 (Medium)
Supiori Regency678.3212,15215,87418,222Sorendiweri5380.618 (Medium)
Waropen Regency10,977.0921,18124,63928,444Botawa111000.648 (Medium)
Western group595,042902,427989,109
Jayapura (city)935.92197,396256,705282,766Jayapura City5390.795 (High)
Jayapura Regency11,157.1590,972111,943121,163Sentani191440.712 (High)
Jayawijaya Regency7,030.66207,480196,085206,133Wamena403320.568 (Medium)
Keerom Regency8,390.0037,04848,53653,612Waris11910.657 (Medium)
Lanny Jaya Regency2,248.00#148,522172,438Tiom393550.473 (Low)
Mamberamo Raya Regency
(Great Mamberamo)
23,813.91#18,36521,301Burmeso8600.512 (Low)
Mamberamo Tengah Regency
(Central Mamberamo)
1,275.00#39,53746,198Kobakma5590.464 (Low)
Nduga Regency2,168.00#79,05393,862Kenyam322480.294 (Low)
Pegunungan Bintang Regency
(Bintang Mountains Regency)
15,682.0086,97965,43471,608Oksibil342770.442 (Low)
Puncak Regency8,055.00#93,218103,342Ilaga252060.380 (Low)
Puncak Jaya Regency4,989.51111,488101,148114,978Mulia263050.443 (Low)
Sarmi Regency17,742.0031,50032,97136,714Sarmi10940.604 (Medium)
Tolikara Regency5,588.1344,100114,427130,862Karubaga465450.488 (Low)
Yahukimo Regency17,152.00134,702164,512181,139Sumohai515110.485 (Low)
Yalimo Regency1,253.00#50,76358,700Elelim53000.471 (Low)
* The 2005 estimated population of Boven Digoel Regency is included in the figure quoted for Merauke Regency, from which Boven Digoel was divided.
# The 2005 estimated population of this regency are included in the figures quoted for the existing regency from which the newer regency was divided in 2007 or 2008.

Provincial decentralisation history

In 2000, the present area of Papua Province originally consisted of nine regencies:

  • Biak Numfor, Jayapura, Jayawijaya, Merauke, Mimika, Nabire, Paniai, Puncak Jaya and Yapen Waropen

On 12 November 2002, the following nine additional regencies were created:

  • Keerom and Sarmi Regencies were split from Jayapura Regency
  • Bintang Mountains (Pegunungan Bintan), Tolikara and Yahukimo Regencies were split from Jayawijaya Regency
  • Asmat, Boven Digoel and Mappi Regencies were split from Merauke Regency (this larger area, the original Merauke Regency, is since 2013 planned to be created a new province under the name of South Papua (Papua Selatan))
  • Yapen Waropen Regency was split into Yapen Islands Regency (Kepulauan Yapen) and Waropen Regency

On 8 January 2004, Supiori Regency was split from Biak Numfor Regency, bringing the total number of diregencies to nineteen.

On 15 March 2007, under Law No. 19/2007, the following two regencies were created:

On 4 January 2008, five other new regencies were created by Home Affairs Minister Mardiyanto who also installed five temporary regents. These five new regencies were:

  • 4 formerly from part of Jayawijaya Regency:
    • Central Mamberamo Regency with five districts, with Kobakma as the regental seat. Created by the Law No. 3/2008, the first regent was David Pagawak.
    • Yalimo Regency also has five districts, with Elelim as the regental capital. Created by the Law No. 4/2008, the first regent was Elia Ibrahim Loupatty.
    • Lanny Jaya Regency with ten districts, with Tiom as the regental capital. Created by the Law No.5/2008, the first regent was Pribadi Sukartono. The number of districts was subsequently increased to thirty-nine.
    • Nduga Regency with eight districts, with Kenyam as the regental capital. Created by the Law No. 6/2008, the first regent was Hans Dortheus. The number of districts was subsequently increased to thirty-two.
  • 1 formerly from part of Puncak Jaya Regency:
    • Puncak Regency also had eight districts, with Ilaga as the regental capital. Created by the Law No. 7/2008, the first regent was Simon Alom. The number of districts was subsequently increased to twenty-five.

Within 2008, Intan Jaya and Deiyai Regencies were split from Paniai Regency.

Proposed new regencies, cities and provinces

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).[11] This included two new provinces to be formed from parts of the existing Papua Province (and one new province from the existing West Papua Province), as well as the creation of seventeen new regencies and two new cities (independent municipalities). The new regencies will be:

  • Moyo, Muara Digul and Admi Korbay
  • Gili Menawa, Balin Senter, Bogaga, Puncak Trikora, Katengban, Okika, Yalimek, Ser Yahukimo Western Mountains, Mambera Hulu, Southwest Yahukimo, East Yahukimo and North Yahukimo
  • Northwest Yapen, East Yapen, Numfor Island and Ghondumi Sisare

And the new cities will be the municipalities of:

  • Merauke and Lembah Baliem (Baliem Valley)

The two new provinces from parts of the existing Papua province have recently been approved by Indonesia's House of Representatives:

  • South Papua, and
  • Central Papua

Another new province, to be split from West Papua, will be Southwest Papua.[12]

South Papua

The proposed South Papua (Papua Selatan) Province would cover an area of 119,749 km2 (46,235 sq mi) which is rich in natural resources. It will encompass four existing regencies:

  • Asmat, Boven Digoel, Mappi and Merauke

And will thus equate closely to the original Merauke Regency prior to the splitting of that entity in 2002. Within the existing regencies, new regencies to be added are the following:

  • Moyo (from Boven Digoel Regency)
  • Muara Digul and Admi Korbay (both from Mappi Regency)

And a new municipality of Merauke City (which is scheduled to be created from Merauke Regency). Following a visit to Papua by Joko Widodo in 2019, Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian reported that the split have been discussed with and was accepted by Papua'a governor Lukas Enembe.[13]

Central Papua

According to a 20 January 2012 report in the Cenderawasih Pos Jakarta, the central government is moving forward with the creation of "Central Papua". At that time it was envisaged that the new province would comprise ten existing regencies:

  • Supiori, Biak Numfor, Yapen Islands, Waropen, Nabire, Dogiyai, Deiyai, Intan Jaya, Paniai, and Mimika

The new Central Papua Province, and the residual Papua Province, would together include the new regencies.

First of, for the residual Papua Province:

  • Gili Menawa (from Jayapura Regency)
  • Balin Senter (from Lanny Jaya Regency and Tolikara Regency)
  • Boboga (from Tolikara Regency)
  • Puncak Trikora (from Lanny Jaya Regency)
  • Katengban (from Bintang Mountains Regency)
  • Okika (from Jayawijaya Regency), and
  • Yalimek, Ser Yahukimo Western Mountains, Mambera Hulu, Southwest Yahukimo, East Yahukimo and North Yakuhimo (all six from Yahukimo Regency)

And a new municipality of Lembah Baliem (Baliem Valley, created from Jayawijaya Regency)

And for the new Central Papua Province:

  • Northwest Yapen and East Yapen (both from Yapen Islands Regency)
  • Numfor Island (from Biak Numfor Regency), and
  • Ghondumi Sisare (from Waropen Regency)

Jayapura City

The city of Jayapura also has the status of an autonomous city, equal to a regency. It was founded on 7 March 1910 as Hollandia and is the capital. Since Indonesian administration the name of the city has been changed to Kotabaru, then to Sukarnopura before its current name, Jayapura. Jayapura is also the largest city of Papua Province, with a small but active tourism industry. It is built on a slope overlooking the bay. Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) campus at Abepura houses the University Museum where some of the Asmat artifacts collected by Michael Rockefeller are stored.[14] Both Tanjung Ria beach, near the market at Hamadi – site of 22 April 1944 Allied invasion during World War II – and the site of General Douglas MacArthur's World War II headquarters at Ifar Gunung have monuments commemorating the events.


A central east–west mountain range dominates the geography of the island of New Guinea, over 1,600 km (1,000 mi) in total length. The western section is around 600 km (400 mi) long and 100 km (60 mi) across. The province contains the highest mountains between the Himalayas and the Andes, rising up to 4,884 metres (16,024 ft) high, and ensuring a steady supply of rain from the tropical atmosphere. The tree line is around 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) elevation and the tallest peaks contain permanent equatorial glaciers, increasingly melting due to a changing climate. Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both north and west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a hot humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season.

The southern and northern lowlands stretch for hundreds of kilometres and include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and expanses of mangrove forest. The southern lowlands are the site of Lorentz National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[15]

The province's largest river is the Mamberamo located in the northern part of the province. The result is a large area of lakes and rivers known as the Lakes Plains region. The Baliem Valley, home of the Dani people, is a tableland 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level in the midst of the central mountain range. Puncak Jaya, also known by its Dutch colonial name, "Carstensz Pyramid", is a limestone mountain peak 4,884 metres (16,024 ft) above sea level. It is the highest peak of Oceania.

Ethnic groups

The following are some of the most well-known ethnic groups of Papua:

The Yei (pronounced Yay) are sometimes known as the Jei, Je, Yei-nan people.

There are approximately 2,500 speakers of the Yei language. 40% Ethno Religionists- animistic tribal religion 60% Catholics and other Christians (blended with animistic beliefs & customs): The Yei language is believed to have two dialects observed by a Wycliffe, SIL language survey in 2001. At home the Yei people speak their own language but use Indonesian for trade, wider communication and at school. Most Yei are literate in Indonesian.

There are elementary schools in each village. About 10–30% of children continue in middle school. Very few go to high school. The nearest high school is in Merauke city. They live primarily by hunting, fishing, and gardening short and long term crops in the lowlands. The Yei diet mainly consists of rice, vegetables, fish and roasted sago. With their land at an altitude of less than 100 meters above sea level, the Yei people can best be accessed by vehicle on the road from Merauke or by motorized canoe up the Maro River. There is no airstrip or airplane access other than float plane which is currently available from Merauke through MAF by about a 15-minute flight to Toray. The Poo and Bupul villages have a clinic but people still use traditional medicines. There is very little infrastructure in the area: no telephones or toilets. At night electricity is run from a generator. There are single side-band radios (SSBs) in Bupul, Tanas, Poo, and Erambu villages, mainly used by the police and military force. Most villages get their drinking water from the Maro River, but some get it from wells or by collecting rain.


Historical population
1971 923,440    
1980 1,173,875+27.1%
1990 1,648,708+40.5%
1995 1,942,627+17.8%
2000 2,220,934+14.3%
2010 2,833,381+27.6%
2015 3,143,088+10.9%
2019 3,347,100+6.5%
Source: Badan Pusat Statistik 2010, 2014 Health Ministry Estimate[16]

The population of Papua province has a fertility rate of 2.9 children per woman The population grew from the 1.94 million recorded in the 2000 Indonesia Census, to 2.83 million as recorded by the 2010 Census,[17] and is officially estimated to be at about 3,347,100 in mid 2019.[18] From the early 1990s until the mid 2010s, Papua had the highest population growth rate of all Indonesian provinces at over 3% annually. This was partly a result of birth rates, but mainly due to migration from other parts of Indonesia. An overwhelming percentage of these migrants came as part of a government-sponsored transmigration program.

The densest population center, other than the large coastal cities that house Indonesian bureaucratic and commercial apparatus, is located in and around the town of Wamena in the Baliem Valley of the Central Highlands.

Religion in Papua (2010 census)[19]
religion percent
Roman Catholicism
Not Asked
Not Stated


According to the 2010 census, 83.15% of the Papuans identified themselves as Christian with 65.48% being Protestant and 17.67% being Roman Catholic. 15.88% of the population was Muslim and less than 1% were Buddhist or Hindu.[20] There is also substantial practice of animism, the traditional religion for many Papuans, with many blending animistic beliefs with other religions such as Christianity.


In 2011, Papuan caretaker governor Syamsul Arief Rivai claimed Papua's forests cover 42 million hectares with an estimated worth of Rp.700 trillion ($78 billion) and that if the forests were managed properly and sustainably, they could produce over 500 million cubic meters of logs per annum.[21]

The Grasberg Mine, the world's largest gold mine and third largest copper mine,[22] is located in the highlands near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua.


The island has an estimated 16,000 species of plant, 124 genera of which are endemic. Papua's known forest fauna includes; marsupials (including possums, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, cuscuses); other mammals (including the endangered long-beaked echidna); bird species such as birds-of-paradise, cassowaries, parrots, and cockatoos; the world's longest lizards (Papua monitor); and the world's largest butterflies.[23]

The waterways and wetlands of Papua are also home to salt and freshwater crocodile, tree monitors, flying foxes, osprey, bats and other animals; while the equatorial glacier fields remain largely unexplored.

Protected areas within Papua province include the World Heritage Lorentz National Park, and the Wasur National Park, a Ramsar wetland of international importance.

In February 2006, a team of scientists exploring the Foja Mountains, Sarmi, discovered new species of birds, butterflies, amphibians, and plants, including possibly the largest-flowered species of rhododendron.[24]

Ecological threats include logging-induced deforestation, forest conversion for plantation agriculture (including oil palm), smallholder agricultural conversion, the introduction and potential spread of alien species such as the crab-eating macaque which preys on and competes with indigenous species, the illegal species trade, and water pollution from oil and mining operations.

See also


  • King, Peter, West Papua Since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy, or Chaos?. University of New South Wales Press, 2004, ISBN 0-86840-676-7.
  1. "Lukas-Klemen, Gubernur dan Wakil Gubernur Papua Terpilih". 13 February 2013.
  2. Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (2005). "Languages of Indonesia (Papua)". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Retrieved 15 March 2009.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. "Badan Pusat Statistik". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  4. Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2019.
  5. Monbiot, George (23 November 2018). "Slavemasters" (Opinion). The Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  6. Li-ann Thio (2006), "International law and secession in the Asia and Pacific regions", in Marcelo G. Kohen (ed.), Secession: International Law Perspectives, Cambridge University Press
  7. King, 2004, p. 91
  8. Blades, Johnny (19 September 2018). "Governor of Indonesia's Papua seeks connection with PNG". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  9. Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2019.
  10. Jakarta Post, 14 November 2013
  11. "New Provinces Receive the Nod – Jakarta Globe". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  12. Iqbal, Muhammad (29 October 2019). "Usai Dikunjungi Jokowi, 'Provinsi Papua Selatan' Muncul". CNBC Indonesia (in Indonesian). Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  13. "Museum Loka Budaya Simpan Jejak Kematian Michael Rockefeller di Asmat – Papua Untuk Semua – Informasi Berita Harian Papua yang Terbaru". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  14. "Lorentz National Park". UNESCO. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  15. Estimasi Penduduk Menurut Umur Tunggal Dan Jenis Kelamin 2014 Kementerian Kesehatan
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2019.
  18. "Population by Region and Religion in Indonesia". BPS. 2010.
  19. "Peringatan". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  20. "Forests in Papua are valued at $78 billion". 24 August 2011.
  21. Jane Perlez and Raymond Bonner (2005): Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste. The New York Times, 27 December 2005. Accessed 6 December 2011.
  22. Dispatch – The Republic of Irian Barat. NationStates, Accessed 15 September 2017.
  23. Kirby, Terry (7 February 2006). "Scientists hail discovery of hundreds of new species in remote New Guinea". The Independent. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.