Home to some of the most interesting tribal cultures in the world, Papua New Guinea is an area filled with diversity. Some people would say it is quite similar to Australia, especially since they share a similar history; however, it has all of the lush forests and mountains that Australia doesn’t have. It is a place with an undeveloped tourism industry, so any visit to this area will show you what the people and place are truly like. A trip to their mountains will help you discover their unique flora and fauna, as well as the tribal culture of painted and masked men.
Important and Interesting Facts about Papua New Guinea
- New Guinea is one of the largest islands in the world.
- Lying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific. More than 600 islands and 800 indigenous languages, PNG is made up of 4 regions with 20 provinces.
- Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia.
- Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the rugged tropical island of New Guinea (which it shares with the Indonesian territory of Irian Jaya) as well as numerous smaller islands and atolls in the Pacific.
- The central part of the island rises into a wide ridge of mountains known as the Highlands, a territory that is so densely forested and topographically forbidding that the island’s local peoples remained isolated from each other for millennia.
- The smaller island groups of Papua New Guinea include the Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain, New Ireland and the North Solomons. Some of these islands are volcanic, with dramatic mountain ranges, and all are relatively undeveloped.
- Papua New Guinea’s climate is tropical, as one would expect in a country located just south of the Equator. December to March is the wet season, although occasional rain falls year round.While Port Moresby, the capital, and other towns on the coast are quite hot in the summer months, temperatures are considerable cooler in the Highlands. July, August, and September are the best months for trekking vacations.
- Papua New Guinea is part of the Australasia ecozone, which also includes Australia, New Zealand, eastern Indonesia, and several Pacific island groups, including the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
- Geologically, the island of New Guinea is a northern extension of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate, forming part of a single land mass which is Australia-New Guinea (also called Sahul or Meganesia).
- It is connected to the Australian segment by a shallow continental shelf across the Torres Strait, which in former ages had lain exposed as a land bridge, particularly during ice ages when sea levels were lower than at present.
- Consequently, many species of birds and mammals found on New Guinea have close genetic links with corresponding species found in Australia. One notable feature in common for the two landmasses is the existence of several species of marsupial mammals, including some kangaroos and possums, which are not found elsewhere.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Papua New Guinea
- 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 people of Papua New Guinea are very diverse. Over five and a half million people speak around seven hundred languages.
- The indegenous people in PNG once practice cannibalism;they hang their enemies heads as decorations.
- The Kuk Early Agricultural Site consists of swamps in the highlands of New Guinea. It has been discovered that the land has been drained, possibly for as long as ten thousand years. Agriculture dates back to about six and a half thousand years ago.
- The world’s only known poisonous bird, the Hooded Pitohui (Pitohui dichrous) is native to Papua New Guinea.
- The island is one of the least explored countries in the world due to its dense rainforest, and there are many undiscovered species.
- Children make up almost half of Papua New Guinea’s largely rural population. The population is estimated at 6.2 million.
- Transportation by air is extensive; there are few roads.
- Papua New Guinea is the most heterogeneous nations in the world. There are hundreds of ethnic groups indigenous to Papua New Guinea
- Papua New Guinea has only 18 per cent of its people living in urban centres.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Papua New Guinea
- The Territory of Papua and New Guinea was renamed Papua New Guinea in 1971. Papua New Guinea gained full independence from Australia in September 1975.
- Archaeologists believe that humans arrived on Papua New Guinea some 50,000 years ago, presumably by sea from Southeast Asia.
- European traders, adventurers and gold explorers visited in the 16th and 17th centuries, but land claims did not begin until 1828, when the Dutch took control of the western half of New Guinea, now Irian Jaya.
- Prior to World War II, Papua New Guinea was two separate territories. The territory of Papua was a British colony until 1884, and was later ceded to Australia to administer. Following the war, and the expulsion of Japanese forces, the two territories were amalgamated into one, which became known as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
- Staples include starchy vegetables (wild sago, breadfruit, yams, taro, sweet potatoes, and rice) complemented by wild greens, several varieties of bananas, and coconuts, mango, and other fruits.
- Villagers cook two meals a day, boiling or roasting the food.
- Earth ovens are dug on ceremonial grounds for special occasions.
- Papua New Guinea is renowned for ceremonial occasions at which hundreds of pigs or other valuables are distributed to guests.
- Competitive feasting (“fighting with food”) between big men and chiefs features oratory, dancing, singing, drumming, and feasting that go on for days, along with the payment of bride-prices and other exchanges.
- Leftovers, sugarcane, and coconut milk are consumed while people work in their gardens.