Independent state occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, in the western Pacific Ocean, north of Australia. The southern portion of the country, Papua, was united administratively with the northern U.N. mandate of New Guinea in 1949, as Papua and New Guinea. In 1972, the name of the territory became simply Papua New Guinea. In 1974, it achieved self-government under Australian authority and, in 1975, became independent. The country retains close ties with Australia. Papua New Guinea has numerous tribal divisions, with 750 local languages, so the maintenance of the country's territorial integrity is a major priority. A secession movement in Bougainville brought violent outbreaks, beginning in 1973. The Bougainville rebels declared independence in 1990, although government forces reoccupied the island in 1991, and the rebels have been on the defensive since 1994. Indonesian incursions from West Irian occurred in 1978.
GERMAN NEW GUINEA
BRITISH NEW GUINEA