The History of West Papua, as a region and not a province, refers to the history of the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea and other smaller islands to its west. The eastern half of the island is Papua New Guinea.
Human habitation is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago. Trade between New Guinea and neighboring Indonesian islands was documented as early as the seventh century, and archipelagic rule of New Guinea by the 13th. The Netherlands made claim to the region and commenced missionary work in nineteenth century. The region was incorporated into the Indonesian republic in the 1960s. Following the 1998 commencement of reforms across Indonesia, Papua and other Indonesian provinces received greater regional autonomy. In 2001, “Special Autonomy” status was granted to the region, although to date, implementation has been partial. The region was divided into the provinces of Papua and West Papua in 2003.
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