Papua New Guinea is a small nation on the other side of the world. While many people (including us for most of our lives) may recognize the name, few can find it quickly on a map. Here is some information and a little bit of history to help you become better acquainted with PNG.
Papua New Guinea is on the other side of the world just north of Australia.
The capital is Port Moresby (the red star) and our first home will be in Garoka (yellow circle.)
Papua New Guinea’s land area is about the size of California and it’s population is about six million. It’s flag looks like this:
In 1884 Germany was the first western nation to set up shop in the north eastern quarter of New Guinea officially naming it “German New Guinea” in 1899. In 1914 the Commonwealth of Australia (part of the British Empire) took control as WWI broke out and remained in control until 1921 when the British government was given responsibility for governing PNG by the League of Nations. Japan invaded during WWII, but lost that one.
Also in 1884 Britain claimed the southern portion of New Guinea (called Papua) and ruled it until 1902 when Commonwealth of Australia was given authority.
After WWII Papua and New Guinea were combined, but did not become a self-govering independent nation until September 16, 1975. Since then it has been ruled by a constitutional parliamentary democracy.
The U.S. state department describes the population of Papua New Guinea as “one of the most heterogeneous in the world.” It goes on to say “Papua New Guinea has several thousand separate communities, most with only a few hundred people divided by language, customs, and tradition.” In fact, there are over 850 distinct languages spoken in Papua New Guinea.
Here are some more facts about PNG’s people:
- Only 13% of the six million people live in urban areas.
- The median age is 22
- The infant mortality rate is 4% (US is .6%)
- Life expectancy is 66 (US is 78)