The Info List - Biak

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is a small island located in Cenderawasih Bay
Cenderawasih Bay
near the northern coast of Papua, an Indonesian province, and is just northwest of New Guinea. Biak
is the largest island in its small archipelago, and has many atolls, reefs, and corals. The largest population centre is at Kota Biak
( Biak
City) on the south coast. The rest of the island is thinly populated with small villages. Biak
is part of the Biak Islands
Biak Islands
(Kepulauan Biak).


1 History

1.1 Biak

2 Demographics 3 Climate 4 Transport 5 Tradition

5.1 Yosim Pancar Dance

6 Flora and fauna 7 See also 8 References

History[edit] Biak
was first reported as sighted by Europeans by the Portuguese navigator Jorge de Menezes in 1526. In his voyage from Malacca to Maluku via northern Borneo, Jorge de Menezes landed at Biak
Islands, at the entrance of the Gulf, where he was forced to winter; the island is thenceforth called in Portuguese maps Ilha de Dom Jorge or Ilha onde invernou Dom Jorge, to become, finally, Ilha de S. Jorge.[1] The Spanish navigator Álvaro de Saavedra sighted the island on 24 June 1528, when trying to return from Tidore
to New Spain. Another sighting was later reported in 1545 by Spanish navigator Íñigo Ortiz de Retes on board of galleon San Juan when also attempting the return to New Spain[2] The archipelago was first mapped in the Portuguese charts of Gaspar Viegas (c. 1537), an anonymous map of 1540, and on the maps of João de Lisboa and of Bartolomeu Velho (c. 1560), and by other Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch maps.[3]

Basketball player Mel Hirsch
Mel Hirsch
during WWII playing on the U.S. Army Air Corps 13th Troop Carrier Squadron's officers team against the enlisted men for the 403rd Group Championship, on Biak
Island, April 9, 1945.

In World War II, a strategic airfield of the Imperial Japanese Army was located there, serving as a base for operations in the Pacific theatre. American forces eventually captured the island during the Battle of Biak. The captured airfield was renamed Mokmer Airfield
and later transferred[when?] to the Royal Australian Air Force.[citation needed] It was transferred from Dutch rule, along with half of New Guinea, in the 1960s.[citation needed] Biak
Massacre[edit] On 1 July 1998, the anniversary of the unsuccessful 1971 Papuan declaration of independence, Biak
was the scene of what is commonly known as the ' Biak
Massacre' or 'Bloody Biak'. Native Papuan people and members of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (Free Papua Movement), raised their traditional flag, 'The Morning Star', at Kota Biak
water tower and camped there for the next six days.[4] At 05:30 on 6 July 1998 the demonstration was fired upon by the Tentara Nasional Indonesia
(TNI or Indonesian Military). Many were shot while attempting to flee. Survivors were rounded up and forced to the docks where they were kept for the several days while further demonstrators were caught.[citation needed] About 200 of the original demonstrators were forcibly loaded onto two Indonesian naval vessels and taken to two different locations to be thrown into the ocean. In the following days, bodies washed up on Biak's shores, or were snarled in fishing nets. The TNI explained that the bodies turning up belonged to victims of the Aitape
tsunami which occurred approximately 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away in Papua New Guinea.[5] Demographics[edit]

People of Biak
in 1907. Tropenmuseum.

The people of Biak
are predominantly Melanesians
and the main religion is Christianity. The official language is Indonesian and the main local language is Biak. Other languages such as Dutch and English are also used, but limited. Administratively there are 12 kecamatan, covering only the island itself, having 112,873 people in the 2010 census.[6] Climate[edit]


Climate chart (explanation)


    270     30 23

    246     29 24

    278     31 23

    214     30 23

    266     30 24

    216     30 23

    234     31 24

    243     30 23

    209     30 22

    206     30 24

    195     30 24

    239     30 24

Average max. and min. temperatures in °C

totals in mm

Imperial conversion


    11     86 74

    9.7     85 75

    11     88 74

    8.4     86 74

    10     86 74

    8.5     85 74

    9.2     88 74

    9.6     85 73

    8.2     85 72

    8.1     87 74

    7.7     87 75

    9.4     87 75

Average max. and min. temperatures in °F

totals in inches

features a tropical rainforest climate with nearly identical temperatures throughout the course of the year. The average annual temperature in the city is 26 °C (79 °F), which is also generally the average temperature of each day in Biak. The city sees a good amount of precipitation in every month throughout the course of the year, averaging roughly 2,816 millimetres (110.9 in) of precipitation per year. Its driest months November, average a little under 200 millimetres (7.9 in) of rain per month.

Climate data for Biak, Papua

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Average high °C (°F) 30.0 (86) 29.2 (84.6) 31.0 (87.8) 30.2 (86.4) 30.1 (86.2) 29.7 (85.5) 31.0 (87.8) 29.7 (85.5) 29.7 (85.5) 30.3 (86.5) 30.3 (86.5) 30.4 (86.7) 30.13 (86.25)

Average low °C (°F) 23.4 (74.1) 23.7 (74.7) 23.4 (74.1) 23.2 (73.8) 23.5 (74.3) 23.2 (73.8) 23.5 (74.3) 22.9 (73.2) 22.3 (72.1) 23.6 (74.5) 23.8 (74.8) 23.7 (74.7) 23.35 (74.03)

Average precipitation mm (inches) 270 (10.63) 246 (9.69) 278 (10.94) 214 (8.43) 266 (10.47) 216 (8.5) 234 (9.21) 243 (9.57) 209 (8.23) 206 (8.11) 195 (7.68) 239 (9.41) 2,816 (110.87)

Average precipitation days 25 22 20 18 21 16 14 19 20 17 12 15 219

Source: World Meteorological Organization[7]

Transport[edit] Biak
is serviced by Frans Kaisiepo Airport, which has flights from all over Indonesia. Space satellite launch services had been planned, As of 2006[update], for the new Biak
Spaceport.[needs update] The equatorial location offers particularly efficient launches to equatorial and near-equatorial orbits; facing eastward toward the Pacific Ocean reduces the downrange risks of launch.[8] Tradition[edit] The Biak
Numfor culture revolves around their ancient animist religion, although today they are Christian as well. Their beliefs revolve around a ritual ceremony called Wor, where they will be plagued by all kinds of bad luck and sickness. The Wor is in all aspect of their life and some of their traditional ceremonies are still being held now. They include the first hair cut ceremony (Wor Kapapnik), the growing up ceremony (Wor Famarmar) and the Wedding ceremony (Wor Yakyaker Farbakbuk). All of these ceremonies are accompanied by singing, dancing and offering to ancestral spirits.[citation needed] Yosim Pancar Dance[edit] The Biak
Numfor have a friendship dance called "Yosim Pancar". It's small to mid-size dance group formations which could last all-night long. Several "Yosim Pancar" moves that are popular till this day are: Pancar Gas, Gale-Gale, Jef, Pacul Tiga, Seka, and Poco-poco adaptation.[citation needed] The rhythm and song of Yosim Pancar dance are now being modernized with special effect sounds and pop dance beat. Originally the rhythm is to summon ancestal spirits and let them join the group. The traditional musical instrument of this dance is a selfmade stringbass from coconut tree and roots which is similar to the guitar or ukulele.[citation needed] Flora and fauna[edit]

The carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes insignis
Nepenthes insignis
grows on Biak.

The rain forest-covered Biak Islands
Biak Islands
have been designated the Biak-Numfoor rain forests, especially as they have the largest number of endemic bird species of any single area in the New Guinea
New Guinea
region. There are also numerous reptile and amphibian species found here. Among the many snake species catalogued by Tom Mendelson during his herpetological survey of Biak
in the 1990s, the green tree python (Morelia viridis) and the amethystine python (Morelia amethystina) were quite common. There are numerous types of flora in the tropical rain forest of the island, including a variety of trees and other commercially important species plus the lush vegetation of mangrove swamps.[citation needed] See also[edit]

1996 Biak


^ Kratoska, Paul H. (2001). South East Asia, Colonial History: Imperialism before 1800, Volume 1 de South East Asia, Colonial History. Taylor & Francis. p. 56. ISBN 9780415215404.  ^ Coello, Francisco "Notas sobre los planos de las bahias descubiertas, en el año 1606, en las islas de Espíritu Santo y de Nueva Guinea, que dibujo el capitán don Diego de Prado y Tovar, en igual fecha" Boletín de la Sociedad Geográfica de Madrid, t IV, primer semestre de 1878, p.234. ^ Luis Filipe F. R. Thomaz, The image of the Archipelago
in Portuguese cartography of the 16th and early 17th centuries, Persee, 1995, Volume 49 pages: 79–124 ^ Kilvert, Andrew (1998-10-11). "Behind The Biak
Massacre". Asia Pacific Network. Archived from the original on December 18, 2001. Retrieved 2007-01-22.  ^ Barclay, Paul (1 August 2008). "The Biak
Massacre". RadioNational: Perspective. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2012-02-20.  ^ http://sp2010.bps.go.id/files/ebook/9409.pdf ^ a b "Biak". WMO. Retrieved 30 May 2016.  ^ John J. Klein (2006). Space Warfare: Strategy, Principles, and Policy. McGraw Hill Professional. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-