Miangas , in Indonesia Pulau Miangas , formerly known as La Palmas , is an Indonesian border island located in the Celebes Sea and the Philippine Sea , between the Talaud Islands in the south and the Philippines in the northwest. Administratively, it belongs to the kabupaten (department) of Talaud Islands .


The inhabitants of Miangas speak a dialect of the Talaud language , which is part of the Sangrian subgroup within the Filipino group of Malayo-Polynesian languages .


Located 320 nautical miles from Manado , the provincial capital of North Sulawesi , Miangas is left behind. The inhabitants of the island live mainly from fishing.


We go to Miangas by boat twice a month from Nanusa Island , passing through the islands of Tahuna , Siau and Lirung . We fly to Nanusa from Manado .

Miangas Airport was inaugurated on 19 October 2016 by President Joko Widodo 1 . It has a track of 1400 mx 30 m. The planned connections are with the islands Talaud , Tahuna, Siau and Manado , the capital of the province of North Sulawesi 2 .


In local traditions, several principalities existed in the region, including in the Talaud Islands. The islands of Sangir , Talaud and Sitaro belonged to two kingdoms, Tabukan and Kalongan. To justify their sovereignty over Miangas the Dutch argued that she had been under the rule of princes Sangir 3 .

In fact, it is unclear who are the first Europeans to have spotted the island. In his travel relations, the Spanish navigator García Jofre de Loaísa says he saw it in October 1526. The island appears on European maps, including Dutch, dating from 1554, 1558, 1590 and 1595/1596 under the names ” Ilha das Palmeiras “or” I. das Polanas “and” I. das Palmas “. The fact that the Dutch maps indicate the Portuguese name of the island seems to confirm, according to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, that the Spanish Empire (which included from 1581 to 1640 the Iberian Union ) were the first Europeans to have identified 4 .

Treaty of Münster

Related article: Treaty of Münster .

Case of the island of Palmas


The , The Spain and the United States signed in Paris a peace treaty by which the first gives the Philippines the second. In 1899 , the Kingdom of the Netherlands , the colonial power that controls the Dutch East Indies located immediately south of the Philippines, is informed of the treaty. He makes no comment on the delimitation of the respective territories.

In 1906 , a US official went to Miangas, then called La Palmas, and found that the island was considered by the Netherlands as part of their colony.

Recourse to the Permanent Court of Arbitration: Determination of Sovereignty

The United States then notifies the Netherlands of its claim to the island’s sovereignty by invoking the cession of the Philippines by Spain. The Dutch government retorts by asserting its sovereignty over the island and proclaims that it has exercised its authority for more than 200 years. Through recourse to the Permanent Court of Arbitration , the case is submitted to an arbitral tribunal, composed of a single judge: the Swiss Max Huber . The award, known as the “Island of Palmes”, is pronounced onand assigns Miangas to the Netherlands 5 .

This is the case of the island of Palmas that will empower the sovereign states to repel any attack on their space base, in the name of the right to territorial integrity.

Since the independence of Indonesia

In 2009, the Philippine government issued a tourist map including Miangas, causing a reaction that of Indonesia who recalled that Miangas had been registered with the United Nations as one of its border islands 6 .


A detachment of 10 Marinir (marines) is stationed at Miangas 7 . They conduct joint patrols with the Philippine Marines.



  1. ↑ Joko Susilo, “President inaugurates airport in Miangas” www.antaranews.com , October 19, 2016
  2. ↑ Aditya Budiman, “Resmikan Bandara Miangas, Jokowi: Bukti Negara Hadir” (“Opening the Miangas Airport, Jokowi says: this is proof that the state is present”), m.tempo.co , October 19, 2016
  3. ↑ MPH Roessingh, “Dutch relationship with the Philippines: a survey of sources in the States General Archives, The Hague, Netherlands,” Asian Studies 5, No. 2, pp. 377-407
  4. ↑ Case for the Island of Palmas 1928 , p.  15
  5. ↑ Case for the Island of Palmas in 1928
  6. ↑ Edwin Espejo, “Miangas: Flashpoint Island between RP and Indonesia”, asiancorrespondent.com, September 2, 2010
  7. ↑ Monalisa, “Miangas, yang yang terdepan tertinggal” ( “Miangas, front line and left behind”), www.antaranews.com , May 22, 2013


  • Max Huber, ” Case of Palmas Island (or Miangas) ”  [ archive ] , on the Judicial Portal of The Hague , The Hague, Permanent Court of Arbitration,