Papua New Guinea Facts

Papua New Guinea Facts and History


Papua New Guinea, the land of the birds of paradise, consists of around 1,400 islands. One of these, New Guinea, is the second largest island in the world. It is also the highest in the world, with mountains around 5,000 m high, located in the western part of the island.

Half of the island of New Guinea belongs to Papua New Guinea and the other half to Indonesia.

The state lies culturally and geographically between the South Seas and Southeast Asia and therefore has elements of both cultures.

Papua New Guinea with its diverse nature, diverse landforms and more than 700 languages represents a mini-continent.

Papua New Guinea can be divided into about seven cultural regions:

  • Sepik river
  • Gulf of Papua
  • Inner highlands
  • Southern coast with the Asmet and Marindanim tribes
  • North Guinea and Lake Sentani and Geelval Bay
  • Southeast Guinea and the Trobriand Islands
  • Northeast coast

Papua New Guinea owes its name to the Portuguese Jorge de Meneses, who landed on Vogelkop Island in northern Papua New Guinea in 1526. He named the islands Ilhas dos Papuas. He adopted the term papuwah from Malaysian.

The symbol of the state is the Cassowary bird, which however cannot fly.

In 1975 the state had become independent.

Name of the country Independent State of Papua New Guinea – since 1975
Form of government Parliamentary-democratic monarchy in the Commonwealth of Nations
Geographical location In the Pacific, north of Australia; Δφ = from the equator 0 ° to 15 ° south latitudeΔλ = from 141 ° to 160 ° east longitude
National anthem O Arise All You Sons Of This La
Population Approx. 7 million (Credit: Countryaah: Papua New Guinea Population)
Ethnicities Melanesians, Papuans
Religions 95.5% of the population are Christians. Thereof

  • 28.3% Catholics
  • 23.2% Evangelical
  • 12.7% United
  • 8.8% Evangelical Alliance
  • 8.1% Seventh-day Adventists
  • 7.1% Pentecostals
  • 3.7% Anglican
  • 4.2% others
Languages For the most part Melanesian pidgin, English is only spoken by 1-2%. Hiri Motu, a pidgin language, is the country’s third official language.But around 90 dialects are spoken in the Sepik area alone
Capital Port Moresby, with approx. 310,000 residents
Surface About 462,840 km²
Highest mountain Mt. Wilhelm, with a height of 4,509 m
Longest river River Fly, with a length of 1,050 km
Largest lake in area Lake Murray, covering an area of 647 km²
International license plate PNG
National currency Kina
Difference to CET + 9 h
International phone code 00675
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .pg

Papua New Guinea: History

The first European seafarers reached the islands at the beginning of the 16th century.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in 1526, the Portuguese navigator Jorge de Meneses established the island of New Guinea in the northwest. He named the island Ilhas dos Papuas.

In 1528 the Spanish navigator Ortiz de Meneses passed the islands in the north. He named the country that reminded him of Guinea in West Africa Nueva Guinea.

In 1828 the west of the island came into Dutch possession.

The British and Germans divided the eastern part of the island among themselves in 1884. The northeast and the islands belonging to it went to Germany, while Port Moresby became a British protectorate, which was taken over by the Australians as Papua territory in 1906. The German part was occupied by Australia in 1914. In 1920 he was officially assigned to Australia by the League of Nations.

The Japanese annexed much of the country during World War II.

After the war, Australia was awarded a UN trust mandate for the former German part in 1946. In 1949 the two parts were then united to Papua and New Guinea.

In the 1960s there were attempts at autonomy, which led to the establishment of a parliamentary assembly in 1964 and again to the first parliamentary election in 1972. A year later, the state receives internal self-government.

On September 16, 1975 the country finally became independent.

In 1988 a kind of civil war began over the ownership of the copper mine on the island of Bourgainville. The conflict claimed around 10,000 lives.

On August 30, 2001 a peace agreement was signed in Arawa on Bourgainville. This was accompanied by the disarmament of the rebels and the prospect of an independence referendum and the island’s autonomy.

On March 27, 2002, parliament confirmed the peace treaty.

Papua New Guinea Facts