Tuesday, 26 March, 2019

Raja Ampat Islands History

There are some versions of the stories as to the origin of the name Raja Ampat inherited from generation to generation from in the life of the indigenous people of Raja Ampat archipelago. One version of this story is as illustrated below:

Once upon a time in Teluk Kabui Kampung Wawiyai Kabui, a couple of husband and wife was walking into the forest (as forest encroachers) seeking for food, as soon as they arrived on the Waikeo riverbank (Wai means water, Kew means bay), they found six dragon eggs. The eggs were stored in noken (bag) and they took them, when they arrived home the eggs were stored in a room. At night, they heard the sound of whispers, they were shocked after seeing that the five eggs already hatched four sons and a daughter dressing finely showing that they were the royal descendants.

It is not clear yet who gave the names of the children but it was noted that each of the children were named:

– War being the King in Waigeo.
– Betani being the King in Salawati.
– Dohar being the King in Lilinta (Misool)
– Mohamad being the King Waigama (Batanta)

The female child (Pintolee), was found pregnant, her male siblings put her in the shell and floated her until she marooned in Numfor island. The other one egg did not hatch and became a stone named Kapatuai but it was treated as a king put in a special room with two stones serving as guardians on either side of the entrance. Every year the egg is washed and the water is flushed to the people for baptism of Kawe. It is not possible to see the stone at any time, we can only see it once a year when it is washed.

Since people have great respect for the existence of these eggs, a house is constructed on the side of Waikeo River as the residence and it remains the worship object of the local people. (Source: Korneles Mambrasar)


In terms of history, Raja Ampat Archipelago in the 15th century was part of the reign of Tidore Sultanate, a great kingdom centered in Maluku Islands. To run its government, the Sultanate of Tidore appointed 4 local kings to rule in the the island of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool which were the fourth largest island to this day. The term 4 Kings who rule the islands becomes the root of the name Raja Ampat.

The regency which celebrated its anniversary on 9th May is now a Regency in the province of West Papua expanded from Sorong regency in 2003. As we look at the map of West Papua Province, this regency is situated in the western island of bird-beak like papua island. Raja Ampat consists of approximately 610 islands with a total length of 753 km coastal lines. The center of government and also the capital of Raja Ampat Regency is a city situated in Waigeo island, the city Waisai.


Filed in: Raja Ampat Information, Raja Ampat Papua