Irian Jaya (West Papua)

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Irian Jaya or West Papua Province somewhere in the southern pacific. There have not probably many people known the Papua very well except for those who like adventures. West Papua Province comprises the western half of the huge island of New Guinea situated just northern tip of Australia. The eastern half of the island is another country of Papua New Guinea.

West Papua stretches 1,200 kilometers from east to west and is Indonesian largest province, covering 414,800 square kilometers (160,150 sq. miles), which is also the second largest island on earth, after the Greenland. The population of this province is about 2 million. About 10 percent of the population live in the cool central highlands of Baliem Valley.

Almost half of this province - was once base of the American and Allied Force during the Pacific War led by General Douglas Mc Arthur - is hilly or mountainous and about ten major peaks reach over 4,000 meters. The tallest is Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 meter above sea level/16,023 feet from which flows a glacier.

The indigenous people of this province are Melanesians with black skins and curly hair. They generally have a root crop subsistence agriculture based on sweet potatoes and taros.

 The people of Papua obtain their starch from the sago palm which gives and extremely generous yield for remarkably little effort. Feral and domesticated pigs on the island is originally came from Southeast Asia was an event which has had vast cultural and ritual significance for its people. Pigs are often treated as members of the family and are sometimes suckled by women.

 While many other people of the world were still hunters and gatherers, Papua people had begun to garden. After fairly recently, many of them lived with a simple Stone Age Culture wearing little clothing and decorating their bodies with paintings, shells, pig tusks, feathers and skins. There is a plethora of language in the province, perhaps some 250 in all, each representing a tribal group which mixes little with the others. Some of the more remote groups still have virtually no contact with the outside world.


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