The first inhabitants of the region of Papua New Guinea were the Melanesians, the Papuans, and the Negrito tribes. In 7000 BC, agriculture had already existed in the region, which included the domestication of animals.
The first European to make a record of the island was Portuguese explorer Jorge de Meneses, who passed by in 1526 but didn't set foot on the island. In 1545, the island was named New Guinea by Spanish captain Ynigo Ortiz de Reyes who most likely named the region for its inhabitants that resembled the people in the African coastal nation of Guinea.
In 1828, the Dutch officially declared possession of the western part of the island, which is part of Indonesia's territory today. In 1885, Germany ruled the northern coast while Britain took control of the south. In 1906, Britain gave its rights to a newly independent Australia, changing the island's name to the Territory of Papua. During World War I, Australia occupied German New Guinea, uniting the land areas into today's Papua New Guinea.
During World War II, the region was occupied by the Japanese, and in 1945, liberation from Australia took place. The region's new name became the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and later changed to Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. The country also consists of a number of offshore islands. It is situated in Oceania, north of Australia, with its north and east consisting of the islands of Manus, New Ireland, New Britain, and Bougainville.
Situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Papua New Guinea has a number of active volcanoes where eruptions are frequent. It is also one of the very few regions close to the equator that enjoys snowfall mostly found in its elevated areas.
Papua New Guinea is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with the monarch of the United Kingdom as sovereign and head of state. The King or Queen is represented by the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea, and selected by the nation's legislative branch of government.
The Prime Minister has the chief executive power of the country - heading a 31-member cabinet.
The unicameral National Parliament consists of 111 seats, with 21 of the positions occupied by the governors of Papua New Guinea's 21 provinces.
Tourism in Papua New Guinea is still in its infancy period. One of the least explored countries in the world, not a lot of tourism infrastructure can be found throughout the country. Its annual total number of international tourists is at 70,000 - still, Papua New Guinea attracts travelers with its spectacular beaches, incredibly-preserved culture and traditions, and its unspoilt and relaxing atmosphere.
One of the country's most popular places to visit is Port Moresby, which is the nation's capital. Among the sites and places to see are the zoological gardens, the Parliament building, the museum, the nature park, and The Ela Beach Craft Market - famous for its Saturday open markets of local handicrafts.
For a more laid-back atmosphere, Alotau is popular for being the main gateway to other smaller and remote islands. Diving is excellent although dive shops have closed up due to lack of customers. There is a good number of hotels, with a couple of international hotel chains, and a small number of lodges and backpacker accommodation are also available.
Goroka is known for the Goroka Show, which occurs annually and coincides with the country's Independence Day every 16th of September. The renowned 3-day festival is a gathering of tribes and culture, with over 100 tribes from across the country gathering and celebrating culture and tradition through music, dances, and exhibitions of local handicrafts. Goroka is also the country's coffee industry capital.
The Louisiade Archipelago may only be reached through boats but it's a set of beautiful islands that are situated off-the-beaten path. It is considered to be a yachting heaven with its spectacular diving offerings. Villagers are self-sustaining and often get close to yachts to offer their natural produce for goods such as clothes and other commodities.
A large number of Papua New Guinea's population is illiterate. Education is not compulsory and schools are mostly funded and run by church institutions. There are over 500 schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the country.
There are 6 universities - where the founding 2 universities are the University of Papua New Guinea and the Papua New Guinea University of Technology.
Papua New Guinea Map before 9th June, 2014
Last Updated : February 24, 2020
- Papua New Guinea is home to the world's only known poisonous bird - which is the Hooded Pitohui.
- Sea shells used to be a currency used in Papua New Guinea until 1933.
- Papua New Guinea is one of the least explored countries in the world, mainly because it is mostly covered in dense rainforests. A vast number of species are said to remain undiscovered in its jungles.