Irian Jaya (West Papua)
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 PEOPLE AND WAY OF
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.