West Irian, Indonesia

As a collector of stamps, I enjoy looking at stamps with maps on them. The stamps shows a country’s borders, geography, and aspirations on a world stage. Sometimes, I am surprised and saddened by the lost of a culture or country. Other times, I marvel at the formation of a new nation out of colonial past.

Choosing my first blog post on an Indonesian postage stamp from the 1960’s is entirely random: I happened to see this Indonesian stamp in my collection and decided to do some research on it.

The Stamp

This is a stamp issued by Indonesia in 1968 to commemorate the 1964 Musyawarah Besar Rakyat Irian Barat (Great People’s Conference of West Irian). The stamp features a map of West Irian, with the text “Setia pada Ikrar 9 Mei 1964” (Loyal to the Pledge of May 9, 1964) below.

The pledge of May 9, 1964 was a declaration by the people of West Irian to support the integration of their region into Indonesia. The stamp was issued in support of this declaration and to commemorate the role of the Musyawarah Besar Rakyat Irian Barat in achieving the integration of West Irian into Indonesia.

The integration of West Irian into Indonesia was a controversial event, as it was opposed by the Netherlands, which had controlled the region since the early 20th century. However, the integration was ultimately successful, and West Irian became the 26th province of Indonesia in 1969.

The stamp in the image is a reminder of the important role that the Musyawarah Besar Rakyat Irian Barat played in the integration of West Irian into Indonesia. It is also a symbol of the commitment of the Indonesian people to the unity of their country.

The History of West Irian

West Irian is a former province of Indonesia that is now known as West Papua. It is located on the western half of the island of New Guinea. West Papua is bordered by Papua New Guinea to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the north, the Ceram Sea to the west, and the Banda Sea to the south.

The history of West Irian is a long and complex one. The region was originally inhabited by Melanesian people, who have lived there for thousands of years. In the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company began to colonize the region, and it remained under Dutch control until 1962.

In 1962, Indonesia and the Netherlands agreed to a UN-supervised referendum on the future of West Irian. The referendum was held in 1969, and the results were widely disputed. The Indonesian government claimed that 95% of the voters had chosen to integrate with Indonesia, but many people believe that the referendum was rigged.

West Irian became the 26th province of Indonesia in 1969. However, many West Papuans have never accepted Indonesian rule, and there has been a long-running independence movement in the region. In recent years, the violence in West Papua has increased, and there have been reports of human rights abuses by the Indonesian military.

The current status of West Papua is uncertain. The Indonesian government continues to claim sovereignty over the region, but the independence movement remains strong. Anything can happen.

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