General information: In 1885, the eastern part of the island of New Guinea – the second largest in the world – was divided between Germany (which got the north) and Great Britain (which got the south). In 1902 the southern part was placed under Australian administration; during the First World War, Australia occupied the northern part and continued to rule both territories until 1975, when Papua New Guinea was proclaimed an independent state. In 1997, a nine-year separatist insurgency ended on the island of Bougainville, which claimed about 20,000 lives.
Location: Southeast Asia, a group of islands (which includes the eastern half of the island of New Guinea), between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Papua New Guinea Geography.
Geographic coordinates: 6° 00′ N. latitude, 147° 00′ E
Reference map: Oceania.
Area: total: 462,840 km2; land surface area: 452,860 km2; water surface area: 9,980 km2
Comparative area: slightly larger than the state of California.
Land borders: total length: 820 km; with neighboring states: with Indonesia 820 km.
Coastline: 5,152 km.
Maritime claims: measured from the coastline of the islands included in the archipelago; continental shelf: to a depth of 200 m or to the depth of exploitation; zone of exclusive right to fish: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; northwest monsoons (December to March), southeast monsoons (May to October); slight seasonal fluctuations in temperature.
Terrain: mostly mountainous; coastal lowlands and rolling foothills.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m.
Natural resources: gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fish.
Land use: arable land: 0.1%; cultivated land: 1%; pasture: 0%; forests and plantations: 92.9%; others: 6% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural hazards: volcanic eruptions; the country is located in the “ring of fire” of the Pacific Ocean; frequent, sometimes destructive earthquakes; sat down; tsunami.
Current environmental issues: deforestation of tropical rainforests due to growing commercial demand for timber from tropical trees; water pollution from mining waste; severe droughts.
International agreements on environmental protection: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands land; signed but not ratified: Antarctica – Protocol on Environmental Protection, Kyoto Protocol.
Note to the section “Geography”: shares the island of New Guinea with Indonesia; along the southwestern coast are some of the world’s largest swamps.
Population: 5,049,055 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 38.7% (male 993,248; female 960,647); 15 to 64 years: 57.63% (male 1,507,064; female 1,402,666); over 65: 3.67% (male 87,779; female 97,651) (2001 est.)
Population growth: 2.43% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 32.15 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 7.88 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.03 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.07 male/female; over 65: 0.9 male/female; for the general population: 1.05 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 58.21 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 63.46 years; men: 61.39 years; women: 65.64 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 4.3 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.22% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 5,400 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 450 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Papua New Guinean; adjective: missing.
Ethnic groups: Melanesians, Papuans, Negritos, Micronesians, Polynesians.
Believers: Roman Catholic 22%, Lutheran 16%, Presbyterian/Methodist/LMSF Congregation 8%, Anglicans 5%, Protestant Alliance 4%, Seventh-day Adventist 1%, other Protestant 10%, indigenous 34%.
Language(s): English (1-2%), pidgin English widely spoken, Motu (in the Papua region); note: there are 715 local languages.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 72.2%; men: 81%; women: 62.7% (1995 est.).
Conventional long form: Independent State of Papua New Guinea;
Common short form: Papua New Guinea; abbreviation: PNG.
State structure: parliamentary democracy.
Capital: Port Moresby.
Administrative divisions: 20 provinces: Bougainville, Milne Bay, East New Britain, East Highlands, East Sepik, Gulf, West New Britain, Western Province, West Highlands, Madang, Manus, Morobe, National Capital, New Ireland, Sandon, Northern Province, Central Province, Chimbu, Enga, Southern Highlands.
Independence: from September 16, 1975 (until 1975, a United Nations Trust Territory under Australian administration).
National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (since 1975).
Constitution: adopted September 16, 1975.
Legal system: based on English common law.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Silas ATOPARE (since 13 November 1997);
head of government: Prime Minister Mekere MORAUTA (since August 1999); Deputy Prime Minister Michael OGIO (since November 3, 2000);
government: National Executive Council, appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the governor general is appointed by the National Executive Council; the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are appointed by the Governor-General for terms of up to five years from among the representatives of the majority in the National Parliament.
Legislature: unicameral National Parliament, sometimes called the House of Assembly (109 members, of which 20 are elected in provincial districts; members are elected by popular vote for 5 years); elections: last held 14-28 June 1997 (next to be held June 2002); election results: distribution of votes by parties – PPP 15%, Pangu Party 14%, NA 14%, PDM 8%, PNC 6%, PAP 5%, UP 3%, NP 1%, PUP 1%, independent candidates 33%; seat distribution by party – PPP 16, Pangu Party 15, NA 15, PDM 9, PNC 7, PAP 5, UP 3, NP 1, PUP 1, independents 37; note – there are frequent transitions from party to party.
Judicial branch: The Supreme Court, whose President is appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the National Executive Council after consultation with the Attorney General, the rest of the judges are appointed by the Justice and Law Commission.
Political parties and leaders: National Alliance (NA) (Michael SOMARE); National Party (NP) (Michael MEL); United Party of Papua New Guinea (Pangu Party) (Chris HAIVETA [Chris HAIVE-TA]); People’s Action Party (PAP) (Ted DIP.O); People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) (Mekete MORAUTA [Sir Mekere MORAUTA]); People’s National Alliance (PNC) (Simon KAUMI); People’s Progressive Party (PPP) (Michael NALI); Popular Unity Party (PUP) (Alfred KAIABE); United Party (UP) (Rimbiuk PATO).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ACP, ARES, ARF (dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (observer), С, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OPCW, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Susan JACOBS; office: 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036; phone:  (202) 745-3680; fax:  (202) 745-3679.
US Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Arma Jane KARAER; embassy: Douglas Street, Port Moresby; mailing address: P. O. Box 1492, Port Moresby; phone:  321-1455; fax:  321-3423.
Flag Description: divided by a diagonal emerging from the top corner at the pole; the upper triangle is red, in the center is a soaring yellow bird of paradise; the lower triangle is black, with five white five-pointed stars in the center representing the constellation of the Southern Cross.