1511-12 Antonio d' Abreu and Francisco Serrano, Portuguese sailors, sight New Guinea but do not go ashore.
1526-27 The Portuguese Governor of Ternate, Jorge de Menezes, lands on Waigeo Island, takes shelter at Warsai on the Vogelkop for some months and names the region, "Ilhas dos Papuas".
1528 Hernan Cortez, Spanish conquistador in Mexico, sent Alvaro de Saavreda Ceron to relieve a Spanish outpost under siege from the Portuguese in Tidore. Lives for one month on the Schouten Islands (probably Biak) which he calls, "Isla de Oro".
1537 In Mexico, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez directs Hernan Grijalva to search for the 'Island of Gold' - mutiny and ship abandoned at Cenderawasih Bay. Seven survivors captured and enslaved by natives. Eventually ransomed by the Portuguese governor of Ternate years later.
1545 Ynigo Ortiz de Retes, Mexican-based Spanish captain, sailed along the north coast and plants the Spanish flag at a spot east of the mouth of the Mamberamo River on 20th June, taking possession of the island in the name of the King of Spain and names it "Nueva Guinea".
1569 New Guinea appeared on the Mercator world map.
1606 Luis Vaez de Torres, a Portuguese sailor in the service of Spain, explores the entire south and west coast and sails through the Torres Strait which he discovered and from whom Torres Strait is named. Willem Jansz, a Dutchman, sails along the west and south coast.
1616 Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten chart the north coast, including the islands in Cenderawasih Bay.
1623 Jan Carstensz sails along the south west coast and sees a "very high mountain range [that is] in many places white with snow". Report greeted with disbelief and ridicule in Europe, as no one believed there could be snow so near the Equator (4° South). The doubters did not check with the Spaniards about the Andes, and it was 200 years later before the snows on Kilimanjaro were sighted.
1660 Treaty between the Dutch East India Company (V.O.C.) and the Sultan of Tidore whereby the V.O.C. recognizes the Sultan's sovereignty over the "Papuan islands in general" but with an "internal alliance" which stipulated that all Europeans were forbidden in the area except the Dutch.
1678 First Dutch flag hoisted on west coast by Keyts.
1700 William Dampier sails along the North and West Coast. His voyage sparks the VOC again to activity.
1705 Jacob Weyland discovers and explores the Geelvink Bay.
1714 Treaty of Utrecht - Tidore empire rescinds New Guinea to the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and the British.
1750 Power of the VOC declines; Other nations appear in these regions.
1768 Louis de Bougainville sails along the north coast and names the Cyclops mountain range near Port Numbay / Jayapura.
1770 Captain James Cook travels along the south west coast during his round the world voyage. Lands at Cook Bay but hostile Asmat warriors force a hasty retreat. Cook lost 20 of his men to the Asmat. The Asmat practiced cannibalism.
1775 Thomas Forrest of the British East India Company lands at Doreri Bay near Manokwari, on Cenderawasih Bay, to search for an alternative supply of spices outside the Dutch sphere of control.
1780 Prince Nuku, Pretender to the Throne of Tidore, flees to the Papuan islands and commences guerilla warfare against the Dutch.
1791 John McCluer, a Briton, stopped on the southwest coast of West Papua. He mapped the gulf which almost cuts the Bird's Head from the body. It was named McCluer Bay and this name was changed to the present day Berau Bay after West Papua's integration into Indonesia. On the map this bay lies north of Fak Fak.
1793 The British Captain John Hayes established Fort Coronation at Doreri Bay, Vogelkop, the first European settlement. He named the settlement New Albion.
1795 April - Fort Coronation abandoned due to native hostility, lack of supplies, and disease. All men not taken as slaves by the natives were very ill. Disappointing quality of spices led the British East India Company to decline to recognise the settlement. Survivors spent 6 months as guests of Prince Nuku on Seram Island (Ceram), after which they were repatriated to Calcutta.
1826 Pieter Mercus, Dutch Governor of the Molluccas, sent an official expedition to claim the south coast of New Guinea up to the 141° parallel, on hearing false rumours of the existence of a British trading post somewhere in south west New Guinea. Expedition led by Lieutenant Kolff.
1829 Dutch Explorer de Rochemont lands briefly at Flamingo Bay.
1828 24th August - Dutch formally proclaim the south west coast as a Netherlands possession. Dutch government post and colony named Merkussoord established on Triton Bay. Fort du Bus was built of stone and named after the Belgian Viscount du Bus de Ghisignies, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.
1838 Malaria finally forced the abandonment of Merkussoord colony and Fort du Bus.
1848 Netherlands Indies government lays claim to West New Guinea as far as the 141° parallel in the name of the Sultan of Tidore.
1855 5th February - The first German missionaries, C. W. Ottow and J. G. Geissler settle on Mansinam Island, Doreri Bay.
1862 Three Dutch missionaries of the Utrecht Mission Society arrive at Doreri Bay.
1875 Eastern boundary to 141° parallel determined.
1884 British flag raised at Port Moresby - South East New Guinea declared a British Protectorate. Germans claim North East New Guinea - Kaiser Wilhelmsafen.
1895 16th May - Treaty of The Hague signed whereby boundary with British New Guinea is determined which to today remains unchanged.
1898 Dutch government administrative posts established at Fak-Fak and Manokwari.
1902 Dutch government post opened at Merauke.
1905 Two Dutch Roman Catholic missionaries settle at Merauke. Dutch steamer Valk chugged 560 km (350 miles) up the Digul River from the south coast. Snow-crested peak sighted and dubbed Wilhelmina Top in honour of the Dutch Queen.
1907-15 Military explorative expeditions map all of West New Guinea except the interior mountain ranges.
1910 7th March - Dutch flag hoisted at Hollandia (now Port Numbay / Jayapura). Border with German New Guinea (north east New Guinea) settled this year also.
1913 Franssen Herderschee climbs the Wilhelmina Top (15,585 ft) from the south on 21st February.
1920 Van Overeem Expedition visits the Swart Valley.
1921 Kremer expedition reaches the Wilhelmina Top from the North after crossing the headwaters of the Baliem river.
1926 Dutch - American Stirling expedition to the upper Rouffaer regions, the first expedition to use air transport.
1928 Demarcation line between Protestant and Roman Catholic missions abolished. Franciscan mission founded at Fak Fak.
1929 The Moluccan Protestants (M.P.K.) commence work in south New Guinea.
1930 First expatriate settlers arrive at Manokwari and Hollandia (Port Numbay / Jayapura).
1935 Bijlmer expedition to the Charles Louis Mountains.
1936-7 Colijn, Dozy and Wissel climb some of the Carstensz Peaks. Ngga Pulu Top (16,530 ft) reached 5th December. Wissel discovers the lakes which bears his name, 31st December. Aerial mapping begun by the Netherlands New Guinea Petroleum Company.
1938 23rd June - American explorer Richard Archbold, travelling under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History, discovers Baliem Valley (60km by 15km or 37 miles by 9 miles) from the seaplane Guba on his third expedition. First Dutch Government post opened in the Highlands at Enarotali, Wissel Lakes.
1939 Le Roux expedition to the Wissel Lakes region . C.A.M.A and Roman Catholic missionaries begin work at Wissel Lakes.
1942 Japanese seize all but the southeastern part of New Guinea. They arrive in Fak Fak on 1st April (April Fool's Day) and at Manokwari on 12th April.
1944 Hollandia (Port Numbay / Jayapura) recaptured from the Japanese 22nd April. General Douglas MacArthur devised his 'island-hopping' strategy whilst looking at the various islands dotted around Lake Sentani from his base at Ifar Gunung (Mount Ifar) at the foot of Mount Cyclops. Thus the Philippines were liberated and the Japanese eventually defeated in the Pacific War of WWII.
1949 All Dutch East Indies except Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua) handed over to the newly independent Republic of Indonesia. The Constitution of the Government of Netherlands New Guinea is established.
1951-1958 Various missions begin work around Hollandia, the Vogelkop area, the Baliem Valley and related locales. 20th April 1954 - Lloyd van Stone of CMA (Christian & Missionary Alliance) began preaching amongst the Dani tribes.
1959 Dutch expedition to the Star Mountains. Juliana Peak reached.
1961 October - Ist Papuan Congress held. 1st December - Nieuw Guinea Raad (West Papuan Parliament) set up. Nieuw Guinea Raad (West Papuan Parliament) set up. West Papuan State Symbols approved by the Dutch Governor of Netherlands Niew Guinea (West Papua) in the name of the Queen of the Netherlands. 20th December - Indonesia invades West Papua overnight. Paratroopers dropped all over West Papua. Papuan flag replaced with Indonesian flag.
1961 Harvard Peabody Expedition to Baliem Valley. 18th November
1962 U.N.T.E.A. (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority) replaces the Dutch Administration in West New Guinea October 1962 - transfer of sovereignty over West Papua from the Netherlands to Indonesia lasting to May 1963. Harrer expedition climbs Carstenz Pyramid on 13th February (17,000 feet). The Dutch defeat Indonesian naval attack which resulted in the loss of Admiral Yos Sudarso of the Indonesian Navy.
1963 1st May - Indonesia assumes full administrative control of West Papua (named West Irian) from the interim administrative control of the UNTEA (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority).
1968 Two Protestant missionaries, Australian Stan Dale and American Phil Masters, killed and eaten by cannibals while hiking from Koruppun to Nimia.
1969 A plebiscite, generally seen as rigged, formalised Indonesian rule of West Papua (rigged in that only 1,025 tribal leaders hand-picked by Indonesia voted under duress for integration with Indonesia lest they lose their lives otherwise - resulting in all 1,025 or 100% of them returning a vote in favour of Indonesian control of West Papua). Most of the 1,025 Papuans have since rescinded their vote.
1970 A seven (7) metre (23ft) estuarine crocodile which had taken 55 human victims killed near the Asmat village of Piramat.
1973 3rd March - West Papua renamed Irian Jaya (from West Irian).
1977 - Papuans refuse to vote in 2nd Indonesian general election. Indonesia uses this as an excuse for aerial bombardment of whole regions throughout West Papua. Many Papuans killed / lost relatives. Between 1977 and 1978 11,000 Papuans fled across the border into neighbouring Papua New Guinea.
1996 January - hostage crisis in Mapnduma - to internationalise the case of West Papua, the OPM led by the notorious Kelly Kwalik kidnapped 26 people including 7 European scientists (of which 4 were Cambridge University undergraduates) on a scientific expedition. Held for several months but eventually released.
1998 15th April - 16 people including a New Zealand national shot dead by a mentally disturbed member of the Indonesian Army's Kopassus Special Forces.
1999 26th February - Team of 100 Delegation of West Papuans presented statement to B.J. Habibie, the then President of Indonesia, and his Cabinet to discuss the matter of West Papua. 1st December - Theys Eluay raised West Papuan flag, Ist West Papuan independence celebration after 38 years.
2000 Millenium Day, 1st Jan. - Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid (popularly known as Gus Dur) gave his agreement that Irian Jaya be renamed Papua (or West Papua, to differentiate from independent Papua New Guinea, its immediate neighbour to the east). 29th May - 4th June - II Papuan Peoples Congress held in Port Numbay / Jayapura, the provincial administrative capital. 3000 participants representing all indigenous segments and tribes within West Papua voted to correct the history of West Papua, vehemently reject the 1969 Act of Free Choice, sever West Papua from Indonesia, and to pursue international recognition of the independence of West Papua as a sovereign nation since 1st December 1961. 6th October - At least 30 people, mostly settlers, die in a bloody riot in Wamena when Indonesian police cut down the Morning Star flag from its post, and ripped it to shreds in front of the Papuans before burning it. Not surprisingly, the Papuans went on a rampage. Mass exodus of transmigrants and non-Papuans from Wamena regency to Jayapura the provincial capital.