About Papua New Guinea
Papua Niugini, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands (the western portion of the island is occupied by the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua). It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, in a region defined since the early 19th century as Melanesia. Its capital, and one of its few major cities, is Port Moresby. It is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies, out of a population of just under 6 million. It is also one of the most rural, with only 18 per cent of its people living in urban centers. The country is also one of the world’s least explored, culturally and geographically, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist in the interior of Papua New Guinea.
At 462,840 sq km (178,704 sq mi), Papua New Guinea is the world’s fifty-fourth largest country (after Cameroon). It is comparable in size to Sweden, and somewhat larger than the US state of California. Papua New Guinea is mostly mountainous (highest peak: Mount Wilhelm at 4,509 m; 14,793 ft) and mostly covered with rain forest, as well as very large wetland areas surrounding the Sepik and Fly rivers. The country is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the point of collision of several tectonic plates. There are a number of active volcanoes and eruptions are frequent. Earthquakes are relatively common, sometimes accompanied by tsunamis. The mainland of the country is the eastern half of New Guinea island, where the largest towns are also located, including the capital Port Moresby and Lae; other major islands within Papua New Guinea include New Ireland, New Britain, Manus and Bougainville. Papua New Guinea is one of the few regions close to the equator that experience snowfall, which occurs in the most elevated parts of the mainland.
The flag of Papua New Guinea was adopted on July 1, 1971. In the hoist, it depicts the Southern Cross; in the fly, a raggiana bird of paradise is silhouetted. The designer of the flag was 15 year old schoolgirl Susan Huhume who won a nationwide competition for a new flag design in 1971. Red and black have long been traditional colors of many Papua New Guinean tribes. Black-white-red was the color of the German Empire’s flag, which had colonized New Guinea prior to 1918. The bird of paradise is also found on the national Coat of Arms.
Prior to 1970, Papua New Guinea was known as the Australian Trust Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and its flag for sporting events was the bird of paradise on a green background. In 1970 the Australian Administration tried to introduce another flag, a vertical triband: blue at the hoist with the stars of the Southern Cross (Crux Australis) as in the Australian flag, then yellow, then green with the white bird of paradise in the fly.
National Coat of Arms