Aceh and Irian Jaya in Indonesia

Essay by gangstarHigh School, 10th gradeA, August 2002

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Aceh is a former sultanate in the north-western portion of the island of Sumatra. It was originally a dependency of the neighbouring state, Pedir. Aceh became an independent sultanate during the first quarter of the 16th century. During the 17th century there were rivalries amongst Portugal, Great Britain, and the Netherlands for control of Aceh.

Irian Jaya or Papua as it now known is a province in eastern Indonesia, on the western half of the island of New Guinea. It was formerly known as West New Guinea and later West Irian. It has a population of almost 2 million people and the provincial capital is Jayapura, a port city in the north-east. Irian Jaya is bounded on the north by the Pacific Ocean, on the west by the Ceram Sea, on the south by the Arafura Sea, and on the east by Papua New Guinea. Most of the people in Irian Jaya are involved in agriculture, copper mining or petroleum drilling.

The province is just south of the equator and is divided north from south by the Maoke Mountains. One of these mountains is Puncak Jaya, the tallest peak in Indonesia at 5030 metres.

West New Guinea became a colony of the Netherlands in 1828 until the Dutch relinquished possession to the United Nations (UN) in 1962. Renamed West Irian, the territory was controlled by Indonesia under a UN mandate from 1963 to 1969, following the people's vote in favour of uniting with the republic of Indonesia. The province of West Irian was renamed Irian Jaya in 1973.