Papua New Guinea: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Papua New Guinea, gambling, lack of unity, number of languages and tribes.



Fearing the ill effects of gambling on uneducated natives, Australian colonial authorities outlawed all card playing.

Papua New Guinea has no tradition of social, political, or economic unity, other than the fact that Australia has declared it a political entity. There are several nascent secession movements.

The nation's people speak 700 distinct languages, chiefly Melanesian and Papuan in origin.

Some tribes have a reputation for practicing headhunting and cannibalism.

In 1972 an international corporate venture, headed by Australia Conzinc Rio Tinto (a subsidiary of Britain's Rio Tinto Zinc) and the Bank of America, began mining copper from the Panguna mine on the island of Bougainville, one of the richest copper deposits in the world. At 1st, many of the 80,000 people living on the 3,880-sq.-mi. island objected, but Australian police drove them from the mine site and the Bougainville Copper Company (the joint venture) hired an anthropologist to handle relations with the islanders.

In 1973, the 1st full year of operation, the company earned amazing profits of $236 million on sales of $372 million. Though the Government of Papua New Guinea received, as its share, $42 million, it wants a larger share of the profits. Meanwhile, residents of Bougainville want more of the government share spent on them and less on their mainland brethren. In May, 1975, 1,000 workers occupied the copper mine for 2 days before being driven out by police.

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