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Expansion AppNation: Kingdom of Majapahit
Expansion claim: Papua New Guinea (excluding Bougainville)
The island of New Guinea, up until the early 20th century remained as an unclaimed, inhospitable landscape. Prior to the arrival of European explorers and traders, the island's westernmost coast was scouted by Majapahiti sailors, but no permanent settlement or even so much as a marking was ever established. The arrival of European traders in the neighboring Spice Islands (Moluccas) increased the prospect of colonization of New Guinea, but few powers saw the island as lucrative enough to worth colonizing. Dutch naval expeditions mapped and scoured New Guinea's untamed coasts, and a small settlement was established in what is now Manokwari. Dutch colonization had initially been focused towards the western section of the island, but gradually expanded eastward to placate British interests in the region. However, outside of these few coastal settlements, New Guinea remained as a backwater, isolated part of the Dutch empire. Few attempts were made to explore the interior and the natives remained independent of Dutch control. In 1884, Britain and the Netherlands concluded an agreement splitting the island along the 141st meridian east and the New Guinea Highlands. The British section of the island was then transferred to Australia after its independence. Effective control over the inland areas were still nonexistent, until more concrete attempts were made to colonize the forested interior in the late 1890s and by 1920 much of the area accorded to the Netherlands had come under its control. Several new settlements were also established, including Hollandia (Jayapura) in 1910.
The period after World War I remained uneventful, and the territory remained as a backwater residency of the Dutch East Indies. After the Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Japanese forces invaded New Guinea, alongside the entirety of the Dutch East Indies with the nominal participation of Majapahiti forces. Dutch control was then reduced to just the southern section of the island and the responsibility of defense was given to Australian forces. As the tide of war turned in favour of the Allied powers, New Guinea was gradually liberated from Japanese occupation. Japan surrendered in August 1945. The island returned under Dutch control, but was now a flashpoint in the Majapahit-Netherlands dispute over possession of the East Indies. Long debates in the United Nations General Assembly and violent confrontations between the two powers led to a UN-sponsored plebiscite in 1947. The plebiscite had included British territories in Borneo, but excluded Dutch possessions in New Guinea. While the results went in favour for integration into Majapahit, Trowulan protested over the decision to exclude the island. An ad-hoc arrangement was signed in Banyuwangi, in which both powers came to a "agree to disagree" resolution and delegated the New Guinea dispute to future negotiations. Such negotiations were unfruitful and little resolution was ever achieved. The "New Guinea question" was an important issue in which politicians in both the Netherlands and Majapahit sought to address; in their own ways. While diplomacy had been the prevailing mindset both sides were using to approach the dispute, the deadlock in negotiations saw Majapahit adopt an affirmative approach; that "a military action was necessary to advance the rightful boundaries of the nation". By 1961, all attempts at a diplomatic resolution was abandoned and Majapahit engaged the dispute through military means. Operations such as airborne infiltration, seaborn assaults and aerial bombardments served to harass Dutch ownership of New Guinea. Majapahit received tacit diplomatic support from the United States as it sought to prevent the expansion of Soviet influence in the region. The New York Agreement was concluded in 1962, stipulating the transfer of New Guinea under a UN transitional body, before a plebiscite would determine ownership of the island. The subsequent 1963 referendum showed support for integration into Majapahit, but the referendum had been marred with controversy. Majapahiti soldiers had arrived prior to the arrival of UN inspectors and reports of intimidation was common. Nevertheless, the arrival of the Majapahiti prime minister marked the official transfer of the territory, and the Surya Majapahit was unfurled in Hollandia, renamed to Jayapura marking the country's victory in the dispute. Australia maintained control of its portion of New Guinea but found itself approached by Majapahiti diplomats attempting to negotiate either a sale or handover of the territory. Within the context of the Cold War, Australia deemed it lucrative that the territory be given to Majapahit to secure an alliance with the kingdom. Public opinion within the Territory of Papua had been mostly negative and calls were made to instead have the region be independent. Such calls were not heeded and negotiations for a transfer went ahead in 1970. This lengthy process was finally concluded in November 1975, resulting in the Treaty of Jayapura, formalizing the handover process and departure of Australian assets in the area. Protests broke out almost immediately and acts of sabotage by Papuan activists against Majapahiti military convoys were reported. The last Australian military personnel left by January 1976.