National Day of Papua New Guinea

Manila Bulletin, September 15, 2010 | Go to article overview
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National Day of Papua New Guinea


The Independent State of Papua New Guinea celebrates its National Day today (Thursday). Papua New Guinea, the world's second largest island (after Borneo), is located north of Australia and east of Indonesia. Port Moresby is the country's capital and largest city.Papua New Guinea 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 seven million. It is one of the most rural, with only 18 percent of its people living in urban centers. The country is 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.The majority of the population lives in traditional societies and practice subsistence-based agriculture. These societies and clans have some explicit acknowledgement within the nation's constitutional framework. The country's Constitution expresses the wish for traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society, and for active steps to be taken in their preservation.The southern half of eastern New Guinea was first claimed by Britain on November 6, 1884. It was transferred to Australia in 1905. The northern half was claimed in 1884 by Germany but captured in World War I by Australia, which was granted a League of Nations mandate and then a United Nations trusteeship over the area.

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