The Structure of Government of Dutch New Guinea


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The various ways in which Netherlands New Guinea (the present West Papua, Indonesia) has been governed

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The Structure of Government of Dutch New Guinea

  1. 1. 1The Governmental Structure of Netherlands New Guinea 1828-1962Dr. At IpenburgWe are discussing the system of "Binnenlands Bestuur" or "Gewestelijk Bestuur". Thisis separate from the "Centrale Bestuur". The "Centrale Bestuur" is the real Governmentin the narrow meaning of the word. The Government is in the hands of theGovernor-General, who, as representative of the Queen, takes all the decisions.The Dutch East Indies was divided into "Gewesten" or Provinces, headed by a "Hoofdvan Gewestelijk Bestuur" In Java and Madura these have the title of "Resident.," whichis equal to the rank of Colonel.In the "Buitenbezittingen" there were then still "Governors", with a rank equivalent tothe rank of General-Major.A "Gewest" (Province) is divided into "Afdeelingen" (Districts) headed by either a Resident, ora Controleur, or in rare cases a "Posthouder" (Postholder) or "Gezaghebber" (One Who isGiven Authority).Then you have the "Hoofden van Plaatselijk Bestuur" (HPB or ). There were also"Assistent-Controleurs, officers in training for Controleur.Apart from the "Central Bestuur" (Central Government) and the "Gewestelijk Bestuur" or"Binnenlands Bestuur "(BB)(Provincial Government) there is the "Inlandsch Bestuur” (NativeGovernment) with its own hierarchy. This Government consisted only of Natives. However,Natives were allowed to be appointed to ranks in the Binnenlands Bestuur". This happened inseveral cases.Here we have "Regentschappen" headed by a "Regent". This is the present day “Bupati".These were mostly of high nobility or even of royal class. They usually have the title ofTumengung, which is equivalent to the rank of Major. When serving well they can rise to therank of Adipati, equivalent to Lieutenant-Colonel. The highest rank here is Pangeran. Most ofthem also use the title of Raden or Raden Mas. As symbol of their high rank and status theyhave the right, and only they, to have a "payung" or "songsong" carried after them.The "Regentschap" is divided into Districts" headed by a "vedana."This is the general picture for the whole of the East-Indies. There are regional differences in thesystem, derived from the time they joined the Netherlandss East Indies and the conditions onwhich a particular area joined.
  2. 2. 2This was the picture before circa 1915. Then the Government of the Netherlands East Indieswas divided into1. "Opperbestuur," (High Government) which rests with the Crown (The Queen and theGovernment of the Netherlands)2. The "Indische Bestuur" and3. The "Bestuur Ter Plaatse" (Local Government) divided into 3:a. Binnenlandsch Bestuurb. Inlandsch Bestuurc. Bestuur over Vreemde OosterlingenFor New Guinea, also known as "Tanah Papoea", the picture is as follows.1828 Taken as a possession by the Netherlands. Establishment of a settlement at Lobo in theTriton Bay. 1835 given up.1898 Two government posts established in New Guinea (Manokwari and Fak-Fak) under theResidentie Ternate. New Guinea was then two "Bestuursafdeelingen" under the "Residentie"TernateManokwari got a "Controleur".1901 Three "Afdeelingen: (a) North New Guinea, (b) West-New Guinea and (c) South NewGuinea, under Residentie Ternate1902 North New Guinea becomes an Assistent-Residentie, headed by and"Assistent-Resident" with Manokwari as capitalBy 1911 West New Guinea moves from the Residentie Ternate to the Residentie Amboina.In 1912 the independent Asisitent-residentie South New Guinea is abolished and it becomesalso part of the Residentie Amboina. Amboina had then seven "Afdeelingen": among which- West New Guinea, under an "Assistent-Resident" residing in Fak-Fak- South New Guinea, under an "Assistent-Resident" in Merauke , assisted by a "Gezaghebber"in Merauke and a "Gezaghebber" in Okaba.North New Guinea with an "Assistent-Resident" at Manokwari remained an Afdeeling underthe Residentie "Ternate and Onderhoorigheden."1919 New Guinea becomes a separate "Gewest" under Resident Lulofs, who became the firstHead of the Gewest with Manokwari as center.1923 (after the uintimely death of Lulofs) liquidation of New Guinea as "Gewest", and added tothe "Residentie" Amboina.
  3. 3. 31926 Afdeeling Noord en West New Guinea under the Residentie Ternate, and Zuid-NieuwGuinea under the Residentie Amboina. Both Amboina and Ternate were part of the"Gouvernement der Molukken." The "Gouvernement der Molukken" is headed by a"Gouverneur."The "Onderafdeeling" Boven Digoel was separate and under an Army Officer with the rank of"Gezaghebber." or "Fungerend Controleur." (someone with the function of a Controleur)..1934 Fak-Fak and Manokwari united to from one Afdeeling with Manokwari as Afdeeling..headed by an "Afdeelingschef." South New Guinea was then under a "Gezaghebber bij hetBinnenlandsch Bestuur"..The "Afdeeling" Ternate (under the "Residentie" Ternate, under the "Gouvernement derMolukken) had the "Onderafdeelingen" Sorong, Schouten-eilanden, Jappen-groep, Hollandiaand West New Guinea.1937 Split again in two Afdeelingen West and Noord Nieuw Guinea with four"Onderafdeelingen."a. Manokwari with a "Controleur." and an "Aspirant-Controleur."b. Sorong under a "Gezaghebber"c. Seroei under a Gezaghebberd. Hollandia under a "Gezaghebber.", with "Bestuursressort Sarmi, also headed by a"Gezaghebber." Sarmi is a de facto "Onderafdeeling."After 1950, with the loss of the Dutch East Indies, the Dutch begin a "Binnenlandsch Bestuur"of its own for New Guinea. It got a Governor.There is a description of the governmental system of Netherlands New Guinea introduced after1949 in the “Rapport Inzake Nederlands Nieuw Guinea over het Jaar 1953."The Resident of New Guinea got after 1949 the title of Governor, as before already happenedwith the new system of government for the Moluccans (see above).There are five “Afdelingen” (headed by an "Afdelingschef"), each with a number of“Onderafdelingen” (20 altogether). Here the HPB, Hoofd Plaatselijk Bestuur", is in charge. Thepost was nicknamed by the local population "Bestuur" (= Government). From their perspectivethe local people were right. The HPB was for them the “Government”. These Onderafdelingenwere divided into Districts (62 in total) (headed by a "Bestuursassistent") and Onderdistricten(17 in total) (headed by a "Hulpbestuursassistent" or HBA) .There were also"Candidaat-hulpbestuursassistenten". under the HBAThere were again a number of changes over the period.