Biak is a small island located in
Cenderawasih Bay near the northern
coast of Papua, an Indonesian province, and is just northwest of New
Biak is the largest island in its small archipelago, and has
many atolls, reefs, and corals.
The largest population centre is at Kota
Biak City) on the south
coast. The rest of the island is thinly populated with small villages.
Biak is part of the
Biak Islands (Kepulauan Biak).
5.1 Yosim Pancar Dance
6 Flora and fauna
7 See also
Biak was first reported as sighted by Europeans by the Portuguese
Jorge de Menezes in 1526. In his voyage from Malacca to
Maluku via northern Borneo,
Jorge de Menezes landed at
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.
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
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.
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
later transferred[when?] to the Royal Australian Air Force.[citation
It was transferred from Dutch rule, along with half of New Guinea, in
the 1960s.
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
tower and camped there for the next six days.
At 05:30 on 6 July 1998 the demonstration was fired upon by the
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.
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
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
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Biak 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
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Source: World Meteorological Organization
Biak is serviced by Frans Kaisiepo Airport, which has flights from all
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.
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
Yosim Pancar Dance
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
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
Flora and fauna
The carnivorous pitcher plant
Nepenthes insignis grows on Biak.
The rain forest-covered
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 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.
^ Kratoska, Paul H. (2001). South East Asia, Colonial History:
Imperialism before 1800, Volume 1 de South East Asia, Colonial
History. Taylor & Francis. p. 56.
^ 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.
^ Barclay, Paul (1 August 2008). "The
Biak Massacre". RadioNational:
Perspective. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved
^ a b "Biak". WMO. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
^ John J. Klein (2006). Space Warfare: Strategy, Principles, and
Policy. McGraw Hill Professional. p. 85.