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The Dutch New Guinea Dispute 1949-1962

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Published on Feb 29, 2012

Netherlands New Guinea (Dutch: Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea) refers to the West Papua region while it was an overseas territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1949 to 1962. Until 1949 it was a part of the Netherlands Indies. It was commonly known as Dutch New Guinea. It is currently Indonesia's two easternmost provinces, Papua and West Papua (administered as one single unit prior to 2003 under the name Irian Jaya). Nieuw Guinea conflict

The Netherlands retained New Guinea when Indonesia became independent in 1949. The arguments of the Dutch government for this changed repeatedly over time. At any rate the Dutch policy with regard to New Guinea was strongly influenced by the Dutch position towards Indonesia. On the one hand the Netherlands wanted to use New Guinea as a Dutch sphere of influence in the region. On the other hand by developing New Guinea and emancipating the Papuan population the Netherlands wanted to vindicate itself as a responsible colonial power.

Indonesia claimed New Guinea as part of its territory. The dispute over New Guinea was an important factor in the quick decline in bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia after Indonesian independence. Starting in 1962, under pressure from the international community and under threat of armed conflict with Indonesia, the Netherlands relinquished control and a series of events led to the eventual official annexation of New Guinea in 1969 to Indonesia.

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