Parents and Teachers: Support Ducksters by following us on or .
Capital: Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea
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.
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.
Back to Geography Home Page TD>