The first records of the archipelago date back from the period of Kingdom of Sriwijaya in South Sumatra, which lasted to the 12th century and ruled over many parts of the archipelago. At about the same time, the Kingdom of Majapahit (1292-1521) ruled over East Java. During this period, West Papua was called Djanggi. In all the records dating from this time onwards, Djanggi was unquestionably considered a part of Indonesia, which at that time was named Nusantara. In a monumental book on national history, compiled and published by the statesman Gajah Mada in 1356 and written by the court-writer, Prapanca, we find that Indonesia/Nusantara was divided into western and eastern parts which included the present-day West Papua dan Papua provinces.
Prior to the arrival of the Dutch, the Indonesian islands constituted a field for comptetition between the two rivals – Portugal and Spain. They reached an agreement which partitioned Indonesia into two halves – the western half was to be frequented only by the Portuguese and the eastern half, including West Papua, by the Spanish. Soon after, the name of Nveba Gvince (New Guinea) was invented by a Spanish sailor, while the Portuguese had earlier referred to the big island in the east by the name of Ilha de Papoia.
continue to part 2.