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Papua New Guinea

Country of Papua New Guinea Flag

Capital: Port Moresby

Population: 8,776,109

Brief History of Papua New Guinea:

Papua New Guinea is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. New Guinea is the second largest island in the world after Greenland. People have inhabited the area for thousands of years and even today the country has over 850 different languages and cultures.

Spanish and Portuguese explorers came upon the islands in the 16th century. The name Papua was given to the land by Don Jorge de Meneses. It is a Malay world describing frizzy hair. Later Inigo Ortiz de Retes named the island New Guinea as the inhabitants reminded him of the people from African Guinea.

The area was colonized by the Germans in the north and the British in the south in the late 1800s. The Japanese invaded the island during World War II. The two areas joined together after the war. Papua New Guinea became an independent country in 1975.

Country of Papua New Guinea Map

The Geography of Papua New Guinea

Total Size: 462,840 square km

Size Comparison: slightly larger than California

Geographical Coordinates: 6 00 S, 147 00 E

World Region or Continent: Oceania

General Terrain: mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills

Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m

Climate: tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation

Major cities: PORT MORESBY (capital) 314,000 (2009)

The People of Papua New Guinea

Type of Government: constitutional parliamentary democracy

Languages Spoken: Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region

Independence: 16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1975)

Nationality: Papua New Guinean(s)

Religions: Roman Catholic 22%, Lutheran 16%, Presbyterian/Methodist/London Missionary Society 8%, Anglican 5%, Evangelical Alliance 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other Protestant 10%, indigenous beliefs 34%

National Symbol: bird of paradise

National Anthem or Song: O Arise All You Sons

Economy of Papua New Guinea

Major Industries: copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production, petroleum refining; construction, tourism

Agricultural Products: coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla; shell fish, poultry, pork

Natural Resources: gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries

Major Exports: oil, gold, copper ore, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish, prawns

Major Imports: machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals

Currency: kina (PGK)

National GDP: $16,860,000,000

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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