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Miangas, The Island of Palmas

31 January 2012 3,043 views No Comment

Miangas is Indonesia‘s outer island located near the border between Indonesia and Philippines. The island is included in Miangas village, subdistrict Nanusa, Talaud Islands, North Sulawesi province, Indonesia. Miangas is one of the islands belonging to the cluster of Nanusa islands which directly adjacent to Philippines.

This island is one of Indonesia’s outer islands which is so vulnerable with border issues, terrorism and smuggling. The island has an area of ??approximately 3.15 kmĀ². The distance from Miangas to District Nanusa is about 145 miles, while the distance to the Philippines is only 48 miles. Miangas has a population of 678 inhabitants (in 2003) with the majority of the Talaud tribe. Marriages with Filipinos was inevitable due to the proximity with the Philippines. Some reports even say that currency used on this island is Philippines peso instead of Indonesian Rupiah.

The Dutch colonial controlled the island since 1677. Since 1891, Philippines included Miangas into its territory. Miangas was known as La Palmas in the map of the Philippines. The Dutch then reacted by asking Miangas problem to the International Arbitration Court. The International Arbitration Court with Judge Max Huber then decided Miangas belong to legitimate Dutch (Netherlands Indies) at the date of 4 April 1928. Philippines received the decision. Consequently, the island was inherited by Indonesia, being the successor of the Dutch colonial.

In international law, this principle is known as uti possidetis juris, where territory and boundaries of a state resemble those of its predecessor. Simply speaking, there should be no worries that the Philippines or other states could claim sovereignty over Miangas since it’s already decided in International Arbitration Court.

And when you see these pictures, you’ll know why every countries would want to have this island in their territory.

Here’s the map location of Miangas Island(which is in fact closer to Philipines than Indonesia)

View Miangas Island, Indonesia in a larger map

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