Papua New Guinea was formed from areas belonging to the two colonies of British New Guinea and Deutsch- New Guinea (Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land and the Bismarck archipelago), founded in 1884–85. Then there were thousands of small communities (“tribes”) in the area, often ruled by so-called big men. There was no state formation, no cities, no overall religion and no common language. Tribal war and regional trade occurred. The gift system bullet linked the islanders in southeast Papua New Guinea, while hiri(trade in earthenware against sago) linked tribes on the south coast; mussel money from the coast spread to the central highlands. While Germany planted plantations in its colony, British New Guinea was considered mainly as strategic protection for Australia, which from 1921 managed the entire area.
During World War II, large parts of Papua New Guinea were occupied by Japanese troops and were the scene of jungle wars and naval battles. The massive military presence and influx of Western goods affected the local population (compare cargokult). In 1949, an administrative unit was created by the former German and British colonies. Papua New Guinea gained autonomy in 1973 and became independent in 1975 with Port Moresby as its capital. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea for an active foreign policy in the Pacific region and in 1989 signed a cooperation agreement with ASEAN. The copper mine Panguna on the island of Bougainville has largely funded Papua New Guinea’s state budget but with huge local environmental damage. Repeatedly between 1975 and 1990, Bougainville has declared itself independent. In 1992, Papuan government troops conducted a failed invasion attempt on the island. In 1997 the government wanted to recapture the province with the help of mercenaries from mainly South Africa, but the plan was abandoned when it sparked fierce protests in Papua New Guinea and Australia. The result was a government crisis in Papua New Guinea; Prime Minister Paias Wingti resigned and Sir Julius Chan became head of government.