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Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the other half, Irian Jaya is part of Indonesia). It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, north of Australia, and west of the Solomon Islands.

Papua New Guinea
Official languages English, Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu
Capital Port Moresby
QueenElizabeth II
Acting Governor-GeneralBill Skate
Prime MinisterMichael Somare
 - Total
 - water
Ranked 53rd
462,840 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 108th
IndependenceSeptember 16, 1975
Currency Kina
Time zone UTC+10
National anthem O arise all you sons of this land
Internet TLD .PG
Calling Code675

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Provinces
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External Links


Main article: History of Papua New Guinea

Human remains have been found on New Guinea, dated ca. 60,000 years old. These probably originated from South East Asia and established a simple civilization, based on agriculture. Little is known about the country until the 19th century, although European explorers discovered the island in the 16th century. The name of the country was also given in that era; Papua is derived from a Malay word describing the frizzly Melanesian hair, and New Guinea was the name given by a Spanish explorer because of the resemblance with the population of the Guinese in Africa.

The northern half of the country came in German hands in the late 19th century as German New Guinea. In World War I, it was occupied by the Australians who also administered the southern part as Papua (formerly British New Guinea). The two territories were combined into the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, later simply Papua New Guinea.

Independence was achieved in 1975. From 1988, a secessionist revolt claiming 20,000 lives raged on the island of Bougainville, before being resolved in 1997.


Main article: Politics of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a member of the Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state. She is represented in Papua New Guinea by a Governor General.

Actual executive power lies with the prime minister, who heads the cabinet. The unicameral parliament has 109 seats, of which 20 are occupied by the govenors of the 20 provinces. The members of parliament are elected every five years.

Elections in PNG attract large numbers of candidates. Many members of parliment are elected with less than 10% of the total vote.


Main article: Provinces of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is divided into twenty provinces:


Main article:
Geography of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is mostly mountainous (highest peak: 4509 m) and covered with rain forest; there are small plains along the coast. Situated along a vault line, earthquakes and the resulting tsunamis are relatively common in Papua New Guinea.

The largest part of the country is on New Guinea (where the capital Port Moresby is also located); major islands belonging to Papua New Guinea include New Ireland, New Britain and Bougainville.


Main article: Economy of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the population. Mineral deposits, including oil, copper, and gold, account for 72% of export earnings. The economy has faltered over the past three years but will probably improve slightly in 2003. Former Prime Minister Mekere Morauta had tried to restore integrity to state institutions, stabilize the kina, restore stability to the national budget, privatize public enterprises where appropriate, and ensure ongoing peace on Bougainville. The government has had considerable success in attracting international support, specifically gaining the backing of the IMF and the World Bank in securing development assistance loans. Significant challenges face Prime Minister Michael Somare, including gaining further investor confidence, continuing efforts to privatize government assets, and maintaining the support of members of Parliament.


Main article: Demographics of Papua New Guinea

All three major ethnic groups in the Pacific Ocean, Melanesians, Micronesians and Polynesians are represented in Papua New Guinea.

While over 700 indigenous languages are spoken in the country, there are three official languages. English is one of them, but most people speak the creole language Tok Pisin. In the northern region of Papua, the third official language, Motu, is spoken.

About one third of the population adheres indigenous beliefs, while the rest is Christian. About one third of the Christians is Roman Catholic, while the rest is divided over several larger and smaller Protestant Churches.


Main article: Culture of Papua New Guinea

Miscellaneous topics

External Links

Countries of the world  |  Oceania