Papua New Guinea: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, size, population, and government of the country Papa New Guinea.



Location--Papua New Guinea consists of the eastern half of the Southwest Pacific island of New Guinea, plus a number of smaller islands off its east coast. It is just east of Indonesia, a few hundred miles north of Australia, and 2 deg. south of the equator.

How Created--Great Britain declared Papua, the southeastern quarter of New Guinea island, a protectorate in 1884. In the same year Germany established a protectorate in the northeastern quarter of the island. Australia assumed control of Papua in 1906, and during W. W. I the Australian military occupied the German section. Since 1949 Australia has governed the 2 territories together. Formal independence is expected to be declared by 1976.

Size--180,530 sq. mi. (467,573 sq. km.).

Population--2,850,000: mostly Melanesian and Pygmoid (Negrito), with some Australians and others. New Guinea is 35.4% Roman Catholic, 34.8% Lutheran, 7% Animist, 5.5% Methodist, 4% World's Evangelical Alliance, 3.1% Seventh-Day Adventist, 10.2% other.

Who Rules--Michael Somare is the independent nation's 1st Prime Minister, heading a coalition Cabinet approved by both Australia and the native Parliament.

Who REALLY Rules--The national Government's authority is small in remote areas, where tribal groups still have a great deal of autonomy.

As the new Government asserts its power, it is constrained by Australia's External Affairs Ministry, which annually supplies a massive dose of aid.

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