New Guinea is a large island separated by a shallow sea from the rest of the Australian continent. It is the world's third-largest island, after Australia and Greenland, covering a land area of 785,753 km2, arguably the largest wholly or within the Southern Hemisphere and Oceania; the eastern half of the island is the major land mass of the independent state of Papua New Guinea. The western half, referred to as either Western New Guinea or West Papua, has been administered by Indonesia since 1963 and comprises the provinces of Papua and West Papua; the island has been known by various names: The name Papua was used to refer to parts of the island before contact with the West. Its etymology is unclear; the name came from papo and ua, which means "not united" or, "territory that geographically is far away". Ploeg reports that the word papua is said to derive from the Malay word papua or pua-pua, meaning "frizzly-haired", referring to the curly hair of the inhabitants of these areas. Another possibility, put forward by Sollewijn Gelpke in 1993, is that it comes from the Biak phrase sup i papwa which means'the land below' and refers to the islands west of the Bird's Head, as far as Halmahera.
Whatever its origin, the name Papua came to be associated with this area, more with Halmahera, known to the Portuguese by this name during the era of their colonization in this part of the world. When the Portuguese and Spanish explorers arrived in the island via the Spice Islands, they referred to the island as Papua. However, the name New Guinea was used by Westerners starting with the Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez in 1545, referring to the similarities of the indigenous people's appearance with the natives of the Guinea region of Africa; the name is one of several toponyms sharing similar etymologies meaning "land of the blacks" or similar meanings, in reference to the dark skin of the inhabitants. The Dutch, who arrived under Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten, called it Schouten island, but this name was used only to refer to islands off the north coast of Papua proper, the Schouten Islands or Biak Island; when the Dutch colonized it as part of Netherlands East Indies, they called it Nieuw Guinea.
The name Irian was used in the Indonesian language to refer to the island and Indonesian province, as "Irian Jaya Province". The name was promoted in 1945 by brother of the future governor Frans Kaisiepo, it is taken from the Biak language of Biak Island, means "to rise", or "rising spirit". Irian is the name used in the Biak language and other languages such as Serui and Waropen; the name was used until 2001, when the name Papua was again used for the province. The name Irian, favored by natives, is now considered to be a name imposed by the authority of Jakarta. New Guinea is an island to the north of the Australian mainland, but south of the equator, it is isolated by the Arafura Sea to the west, the Torres Strait and Coral Sea to the east. Sometimes considered to be the easternmost island of the Indonesian archipelago, it lies north of Australia's Top End, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York peninsula, west of the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands Archipelago. Politically, the western half of the island comprises two provinces of Indonesia: Papua and West Papua.
The eastern half forms the mainland of the country of Papua New Guinea. The shape of New Guinea is compared to that of a bird-of-paradise, this results in the usual names for the two extremes of the island: the Bird's Head Peninsula in the northwest, the Bird's Tail Peninsula in the southeast. A spine of east–west mountains, the New Guinea Highlands, dominates the geography of New Guinea, stretching over 1,600 km from the'head' to the'tail' of the island, with many high mountains over 4,000 m; the western-half of the island of New Guinea contains the highest mountains in Oceania, rising up to 4,884 m high, higher than Mont Blanc in Europe, ensuring a steady supply of rain from the equatorial atmosphere. The tree line is around 4,000 m elevation and the tallest peaks contain permanent equatorial glaciers—which have been retreating since at least 1936. Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a warm humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season.
The highest peaks on the island of New Guinea are: Puncak Jaya, sometimes known by its former Dutch name Carstensz Pyramid, is a mist-covered limestone mountain peak on the Indonesian side of the border. At 4,884 metres, Puncak Jaya makes New Guinea the world's fourth-highest landmass after Afro-Eurasia and Antarctica. Puncak Mandala located in Papua, is the second-highest peak on the island at 4,760 metres. Puncak Trikora in Papua, is 4,750 metres. Mount Wilhelm is the highest peak on the PNG side of the border at 4,509 metres, its granite peak is the highest point of the Bismarck Range. Mount Giluwe 4,368 metres is the second-highest summit in PNG, it is the highest volcanic peak in Oceania. Another major habitat featur
Indonesia the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population; the sovereign state is a constitutional republic with an elected parliament. It has 34 provinces. Jakarta, the country's capital, is the second most populous urban area in the world; the country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity.
The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin and gold. Agriculture produces rice, palm oil, coffee, medicinal plants and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are China, United States, Japan and India. History of the Indonesian archipelago has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources, it has been an important region for trade since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and later Majapahit traded with entities from mainland China and the Indian subcontinent. Local rulers absorbed foreign cultural and political models from the early centuries and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Muslim traders and Sufi scholars brought Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Although sometimes interrupted by the Portuguese and British, the Dutch were the foremost European power for much of its 350-year presence in the archipelago. In early 20th century, the concept of "Indonesia" as a nation state emerged, independence movements began to take shape.
During the decolonisation of Asia after World War II, Indonesia achieved independence in 1949 following an armed and diplomatic conflict with the Netherlands. Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups, with the largest—and politically dominant—ethnic group being the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika", articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Indonesia's economy is the world's 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 7th largest by GDP at PPP. Indonesia is a member of several multilateral organisations, including the UN, WTO, IMF and G20, it is a founding member of Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, East Asia Summit, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The name Indonesia derives from the Greek name of the Indos and the word nesos, meaning "Indian islands". The name dates to the 18th century, far predating the formation of independent Indonesia. In 1850, George Windsor Earl, an English ethnologist, proposed the terms Indunesians—and, his preference, Malayunesians—for the inhabitants of the "Indian Archipelago or Malayan Archipelago". In the same publication, one of his students, James Richardson Logan, used Indonesia as a synonym for Indian Archipelago. However, Dutch academics writing in East Indies publications were reluctant to use Indonesia. After 1900, Indonesia became more common in academic circles outside the Netherlands, native nationalist groups adopted it for political expression. Adolf Bastian, of the University of Berlin, popularised the name through his book Indonesien oder die Inseln des Malayischen Archipels, 1884–1894; the first native scholar to use the name was Ki Hajar Dewantara, when in 1913 he established a press bureau in the Netherlands, Indonesisch Pers-bureau.
Fossils and the remains of tools show that the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, known as "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and 35,000 years ago. Homo sapiens reached the region around 45,000 years ago. Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to Southeast Asia from what is now Taiwan, they arrived around 4,000 years ago, as they spread through the archipelago, confined the indigenous Melanesians to the far eastern regions. Ideal agricultural conditions and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE allowed villages and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE; the archipelago's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties, which were established several centuries BCE. Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history. From the 7th century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that were imported with it.
Between the 8th and 10th century CE, the agricultural Buddhist Saile
New Ireland (island)
New Ireland or Latangai, is a large island in Papua New Guinea 7,404 km2 in area with ca. 120,000 people. It is the largest island of lying northeast of the island of New Britain. Both islands are part of the Bismarck Archipelago, named after Otto von Bismarck, they are separated by Saint George's Channel; the administrative centre of the island and of New Ireland province is the town of Kavieng located at the northern end of the island. While the island was part of German New Guinea, it was named Neumecklenburg; the island is part of the Bismarck Archipelago and is described as having the shape of a musket. For much of its 360 km in length, the island's width varies between less than 10 km to 40 km, yet the central mountainous spine is steep and rugged; the highest peak is Mount Taron in the Hans Meyer Range. Other mountain ranges are Tirpitz, Schleinitz and Rossel; the island lies between five degrees south of the equator. The original land cover was dense rainforest. New Ireland is surrounded by the Bismarck Sea in the southwest and by the Pacific Ocean in the northeast.
The first inhabitants of the Bismarck Archipelago arrived around 33,000 years ago after sailing from what is now Papua New Guinea. Arrivals included the Lapita people 3,000 years ago. Three distinct cultural practices are characteristic of the native people of New Ireland: Kabai and Tumbuan. In 1616 the Dutch sailors Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten were the first Europeans to set foot on the island. Louis Antoine de Bougainville anchored here on 6 July 1768, eleven months after Philip Carteret. Whaling ships called at the island in the 19th century, for water and provisions; the first recorded was by the Resource in 1799. Islanders sometimes served as crewmen on these vessels; the last known whaling visitor was the Belvedere in 1884. In the 1870s and 1880s, the Marquis de Rays, a French nobleman, attempted to establish a French colony on the island called New France, he sent four ill-fated expeditions to the island, the most famous of which caused the death of 123 settlers. From 1885 to 1914 New Ireland bore the name Neumecklenburg.
Germans managed several profitable copra plantations and built a road to transport the goods. This road is in service and is named the Boluminski Highway after the German administrator of German New Guinea, Franz Boluminski. After World War I New Ireland was ceded to Australia. Australia renamed the island New Ireland, after the island of Ireland. In January 1942, during World War II, the island was captured by Japanese forces and was under their control. Widespread deforestation and degradation of lowland rainforest is an issue on New Ireland and the other eastern islands of Papua New Guinea as well as on Papua New Guinea mainland. Nearly 60% of their forests are accessible to logging, by 2002, 63% of the accessible forests had been deforested or degraded. Malagan – funerary arts that originate in Tabar Group, have been imported to the northern region of New Ireland. Tatanua – "The person who organises a tatanua performance must select the music and dancers, assemble a male chorus and acquire the masks.
The masks are rented from one of the sculptors who makes them." Kulap – chalk limestone funerary sculptures. Entry at the Linköping University "New Britain-New Ireland lowland rain forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Persée: Archaeological survey in southern New Ireland Wallaby extinctions at the Macropodid frontier "New Mecklenburg". New International Encyclopedia. 1905
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and covering a land area of 28,400 square kilometres. The country's capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal; the country takes its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, a collection of Melanesian islands that includes the North Solomon Islands, but excludes outlying islands, such as Rennell and Bellona, the Santa Cruz Islands. The islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. In 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit them, naming them the Islas Salomón. Britain defined its area of interest in the Solomon Islands archipelago in June 1893, when Captain Gibson R. N. of HMS Curacoa, declared the southern Solomon Islands a British protectorate. During World War II, the Solomon Islands campaign saw fierce fighting between the United States and the Empire of Japan, such as in the Battle of Guadalcanal.
The official name of the British administration was changed from "the British Solomon Islands Protectorate" to "the Solomon Islands" in 1975, self-government was achieved the year after. Independence was obtained in 1978 and the name changed to just "Solomon Islands", without the "the". At independence, Solomon Islands became a constitutional monarchy; the Queen of Solomon Islands is Elizabeth II, represented by Sir Frank Kabui. The prime minister is Rick Houenipwela. In 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit the Solomon Islands archipelago, naming it Islas Salomón after the wealthy biblical King Solomon, it is said that they were given this name in the mistaken assumption that they contained great riches, he believed them to be the Bible-mentioned city of Ophir. During most of the period of British rule the territory was named "the British Solomon Islands Protectorate". On 22 June 1975 the territory was renamed "the Solomon Islands"; when Solomon Islands became independent in 1978, the name was changed to "Solomon Islands".
The definite article, "the", is not part of the country's official name but is sometimes used, both within and outside the country. It is believed that Papuan-speaking settlers began to arrive around 30,000 BC. Austronesian speakers arrived c. 4000 BC bringing cultural elements such as the outrigger canoe. Between 1200 and 800 BC the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, arrived from the Bismarck Archipelago with their characteristic ceramics; the first European to visit the islands was the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, coming from Peru in 1568. Some of the earliest and most regular foreign visitors to the islands were whaling vessels from Britain, the United States and Australia, they came for food and water from late in the 18th century and took aboard islanders to serve as crewmen on their ships. Relations between the islanders and visiting seamen was not always good and sometimes there was violence and bloodshed. Missionaries began visiting the Solomons in the mid-19th century.
They made little progress at first, because "blackbirding" led to a series of reprisals and massacres. The evils of the slave trade prompted the United Kingdom to declare a protectorate over the southern Solomons in June 1893. In 1898 and 1899, more outlying islands were added to the protectorate. Traditional trade and social intercourse between the western Solomon Islands of Mono and Alu and the traditional societies in the south of Bougainville, continued without hindrance. Missionaries settled in the Solomons under the protectorate, converting most of the population to Christianity. In the early 20th century several British and Australian firms began large-scale coconut planting. Economic growth was slow and the islanders benefited little. Journalist Joe Melvin visited as part of his undercover investigation into blackbirding. In 1908 the islands were visited by Jack London, cruising the Pacific on his boat, the Snark. With the outbreak of the Second World War most planters and traders were evacuated to Australia and most cultivation ceased.
Some of the most intense fighting of the war occurred in the Solomons. The most significant of the Allied Forces' operations against the Japanese Imperial Forces was launched on 7 August 1942, with simultaneous naval bombardments and amphibious landings on the Florida Islands at Tulagi and Red Beach on Guadalcanal; the Battle of Guadalcanal became an important and bloody campaign fought in the Pacific War as the Allies began to repulse the Japanese expansion. Of strategic importance during the war were the coastwatchers operating in remote locations on Japanese held islands, providing early warning and intelligence of Japanese naval and aircraft movements during the campaign. Sergeant-Major Jacob Vouza was a notable coastwatcher who, after capture, refused to divulge Allied information in spite of interrogation and torture by Japanese Imperial forces, he was awarded a Silver Star Medal by the Americans, the United States' third-highest decoration for valor in combat. Islanders Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana were the first to find the shipwrecked John F. Kennedy and his crew of the PT-109.
They suggested writing a rescue message on a coconut, delivered the coconut by paddling a dug
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea 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, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby; the western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of West Papua. At the national level, after being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975; this followed nearly 60 years of Australian administration, which started during World War I. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1975 with Elizabeth II as its queen, it became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in its own right. Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, it is one of the most rural, as only 18 per cent of its people live in urban centres. There are 851 known languages in the country. Most of the population of more than 8 million people lives in customary communities, which are as diverse as the languages.
The country is one of the world's least explored and geographically. It is known to have numerous groups of uncontacted peoples, researchers believe there are many undiscovered species of plants and animals in the interior. Papua New Guinea is classified as a developing economy by the International Monetary Fund. Strong growth in Papua New Guinea's mining and resource sector led to the country becoming the sixth-fastest-growing economy in the world in 2011. Growth was expected to slow once major resource projects came on line in 2015. Mining remains a major economic factor, however. Local and national governments are discussing the potential of resuming mining operations at the Panguna mine in Bougainville Province, closed since the civil war in the 1980s–1990s. Nearly 40 per cent of the population lives a self-sustainable natural lifestyle with no access to global capital. Most of the people still live in strong traditional social groups based on farming, their social lives combine traditional religion including primary education.
These societies and clans are explicitly acknowledged by the Papua New Guinea Constitution, which expresses the wish for "traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society" and protects their continuing importance to local and national community life. The nation is an observer state in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN since 1976, has filed its application for full membership status, it is the Commonwealth of Nations. Archaeological evidence indicates that humans first arrived in Papua New Guinea around 42,000 to 45,000 years ago, they were descendants of migrants out of Africa, in one of the early waves of human migration. Agriculture was independently developed in the New Guinea highlands around 7000 BC, making it one of the few areas in the world where people independently domesticated plants. A major migration of Austronesian-speaking peoples to coastal regions of New Guinea took place around 500 BC; this has been correlated with the introduction of pottery and certain fishing techniques.
In the 18th century, traders brought the sweet potato to New Guinea, where it was adopted and became part of the staples. Portuguese traders had introduced it to the Moluccas; the far higher crop yields from sweet potato gardens radically transformed traditional agriculture and societies. Sweet potato supplanted the previous staple and resulted in a significant increase in population in the highlands. Although by the late 20th century headhunting and cannibalism had been eradicated, in the past they were practised in many parts of the country as part of rituals related to warfare and taking in enemy spirits or powers. In 1901, on Goaribari Island in the Gulf of Papua, missionary Harry Dauncey found 10,000 skulls in the island's long houses, a demonstration of past practices. According to Marianna Torgovnick, writing in 1991, "The most documented instances of cannibalism as a social institution come from New Guinea, where head-hunting and ritual cannibalism survived, in certain isolated areas, into the Fifties and Seventies, still leave traces within certain social groups."Little was known in Europe about the island until the 19th century, although Portuguese and Spanish explorers, such as Dom Jorge de Menezes and Yñigo Ortiz de Retez, had encountered it as early as the 16th century.
Traders from Southeast Asia had visited New Guinea beginning 5,000 years ago to collect bird-of-paradise plumes. The country's dual name results from its complex administrative history before independence; the word papua is derived from an old local term of uncertain origin. "New Guinea" was the name coined by the Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez. In 1545, he noted the resemblance of the people to those he had earlier seen along the Guinea coast of Africa. Guinea, in its turn, is etymologically derived from the Portuguese word Guiné; the name is one of several toponyms sharing similar etymologies meaning "land of the blacks" or similar meanings, in reference to the dark skin of the inhabitants. In the nineteenth century, Germany ruled the northern half of the country for some decades, beginning in 1884, as a colony named German New Guinea. In 1914 after the outbreak of World War I, Australian forces landed and captured German New Guinea in a small military campaign and occupied it throughout the war.
After the war, in which Germany and the Central Pow
Bougainville Island is the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea. This region is known as Bougainville Province or the North Solomons, its land area is 9,300 km2. The population of the province is 234,280, which includes the adjacent island of Buka and assorted outlying islands including the Carterets. Mount Balbi at 2,700 m is the highest point. Bougainville Island is the largest of the Solomon Islands archipelago, forming part of the Northern Solomon Islands, politically separate from the sovereign country called Solomon Islands. Bougainville was first settled some 28,000 years ago. Three to four thousand years ago, Austronesian people arrived, bringing with them domesticated pigs, chickens and obsidian tools; the first European contact with Bougainville was in 1768, when the French explorer Louis de Bougainville arrived and named the main island for himself. Germany laid claim to Bougainville in 1899. Christian missionaries arrived on the island in 1902. During World War I, Australia occupied German New Guinea, including Bougainville.
It became part of the Australian Territory of New Guinea under a League of Nations mandate in 1920. In 1942, during World War II, Japan invaded the island, but allied forces launched the Bougainville campaign to regain control of the island in 1943. Despite heavy bombardments, the Japanese garrisons remained on the island until 1945. Following the war, the Territory of New Guinea, including Bougainville, returned to Australian control. In 1949, the Territory of New Guinea, including Bougainville, merged with the Australian Territory of Papua, forming the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, a United Nations Trust Territory under Australian administration. On 9 September 1975, the Parliament of Australia passed the Papua New Guinea Independence Act 1975; the Act set 16 September 1975 as date of independence and terminated all remaining sovereign and legislative powers of Australia over the territory. Bougainville was to become part of an independent Papua New Guinea. However, on 11 September 1975, in a failed bid for self-determination, Bougainville declared itself the Republic of the North Solomons.
The republic failed to achieve any international recognition, a settlement was reached in August 1976. Bougainville was absorbed politically into Papua New Guinea with increased self-governance powers. Between 1988 and 1998, the Bougainville Civil War claimed over 15,000 lives. Peace talks brokered by New Zealand led to autonomy. A multinational Peace Monitoring Group under Australian leadership was deployed. In 2001, a peace agreement was signed including promise of a referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea, which will be held in 2019. Bougainville is the largest island in the Solomon Islands archipelago, it is part of the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion. Bougainville and the nearby island of Buka are a single landmass separated by a deep 300-metre-wide strait; the island has an area of 9000 square kilometres, there are several active, dormant or inactive volcanoes which rise to 2400 m. Mount Bagana in the north central part of Bougainville is conspicuously active, spewing out smoke, visible many kilometres distant.
Earthquakes cause little damage. The daily volume of wild rivers appears to be decreasing; this has been affected by deforestation caused by the increased demand for gardens to feed the growing population. Mining with its use of chemicals and its aftereffects poses other environmental issues, e.g. alluvial gold mining and the now decommissioned Rio Tinto-owned Panguna mine. Bougainville has one of the world's largest copper deposits; these have been under development since 1972. The majority of people on Bougainville are Christian, an estimated 70% being Roman Catholic and a substantial minority United Church of Papua New Guinea since 1968. Few non-natives remain. There are many indigenous languages in Bougainville Province, belonging to three language families; the languages of the northern end of the island, some scattered around the coast, belong to the Austronesian family. The languages of the north-central and southern lobes of Bougainville Island belong to the North and South Bougainville families.
The most spoken Austronesian language is Halia and its dialects, spoken in the island of Buka and the Selau peninsula of Northern Bougainville. Other Austronesian languages include Nehan, Solos, Saposa and Tinputz, all spoken in the northern quarter of Bougainville and surrounding islands; these languages are related. Bannoni and Torau are Austronesian languages not related to the former, which are spoken in the coastal areas of central and south Bougainville. On the nearby Takuu Atoll a Polynesian language is spoken, Takuu; the Papuan languages are confined to the main island of Bougainville. These include Rotokas, a language with a small inventory of phonemes, Terei, Nasioi, Siwai, Baitsi and several others; these constitute North Bougainville and South Bougainville. None of the languages are spoken by more than 20% of the population, the larger languages such as Nasioi, Korokoro Motuna and Halia are split into dialects that are not always mutually understandable. For general communication most Bougainvilleans use Tok Pisin as a lingua franca, at least in the coastal areas Tok Pisin is learned by children in a bilingual environment.
English and Tok Pisin are the languages of official government. A 2013 U