There is little information available regarding the history of the Kapauku prior to European contact, but they have long been horticulturalists (both intensive and extensive) and traders in the region. An important intertribal trade network linking the south coast of New Guinea to the interior ran Directly through Kapauku territory, bringing the people of the region into contact with peoples and goods from far beyond their own territorial borders. European contact with the Kapauku did not occur until 1938, when a Dutch government post was established at Paniai Lake. It was quickly abandoned with the Japanese invasion of New Guinea. In 1946 the post was reestablished, and a few Catholic and Protestant missionaries returned to the area.