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Country Profile: New Guinea




*Located in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean
*2nd Largest Island in the World
*Rainforests & Tropical Temperatures
*Mountainous Interior
*Over 1000 languages and tribal groups with 6000 dialects

Population: approx 8 million, over 786,000 sq km making for a very low population density

The oldest migrations out of Africa are said to have inhabited New Guinea over 40,000 years ago. New Guinea is a richly biodiverse country housing up to 10% of the world's species (similar to Australia) including 37 species from the birds of paradise and is divided into two political entities, the west and the east. Most practice agriculture and hunting and gathering. Before the arrival of the Europeans, New Guinea was made up of various kingdoms that paid the Majaphait tribute. After the Spanish and Portuguese discovered the island in the 16th century, they named it Nueva Guinea and Western Guinea became a colony of the Dutch East Indies, with Germany controlling the northeastern region during their World War I efforts. After the Treaty of Versailles, Australia took it as part of the League of Nations and independence has since been gained from Australia and the Dutch, only for the eastern portion to fall in the hands of Indonesia.  
Today it is mainly Christian, with roots of ancestor worship and animism.English, Tok Pisin (Pidgin), and Hiri Motu are its official languages.

New Guinea 1884-1919

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