In terms of population, Papua New Guinea is the largest country in Oceania. The growth rate is 2-3% per year. OK. 78% of the inhabitants are Papuans, another 20% are various tribes of Melanesians, Micronesians, Polynesians. There are also a small number of Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Australo-Europeans. The local version of the pidgin (English-Chinese dialect) and the Hiri-Motu language (in Papua) are widely spoken. English is spoken by no more than 1-2% of the population. Local languages – St. 700. In the interior regions of New Guinea, tribes have survived that are outside the development of world civilization and have no idea of the existence of neighboring tribes. The literacy rate is 66%. Life expectancy for men is 62 years, for women – 66 years. Child mortality 55 people. per 1000 newborns.
44% of believers are Protestants (including 16% Lutherans), 22% are Catholics, 34% are followers of traditional local religions and tribal beliefs.
The first Europeans (Portuguese) appeared in New Guinea in the beginning. 16th century, calling it the island of the Papuans (from the Malay word “papuwah” – curly-haired). The island received its modern name from the Spaniards, who considered that the locals were similar to the inhabitants of the Guinean coast of Africa. The Netherlands colonized the western part of the island (now the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya) in the first third of the 19th century. In 1885, the eastern part of New Guinea and the islands adjacent to it were divided by Germany (north) and Great Britain (south). In 1902, the latter transferred its part (Papua) to Australia. The German part was occupied by Australia during the 1st World War, and then ruled by it under the mandate of the League of Nations. During the 2nd World War, New Guinea and the adjacent islands were the scene of heavy battles between the American-Australian troops and the Japanese. In 1945, Australia received a UN mandate to govern New Guinea. In 1949 New Guinea and Papua were merged into one territory. At the same time, the Legislative Council was created, which in 1964 was transformed into the House of Assembly (an advisory body to the colonial administration). In 1973 Papua New Guinea received the status of self-government, and in 1975 – independence. In addition to the unstable internal situation (associated with a mess of governments, etc.), the political and economic development of the country was complicated by the civil war that began at the turn of 1988-89 (about 20 thousand people died), caused by the movement for the secession of Bougainville (150 thousand. inhabitants, mostly Melanesians) from Papua New Guinea. At that time, copper ore mined on the island was the main domestic source of income for the country. It was not until 1998 that a ceasefire agreement was reached. And only in August 2001, the Bougainville Peace Agreement was approved, which provided for the creation of autonomy, a referendum on the political future of the island, the collection and elimination of weapons from local communities (17), etc. In March 2002, the country’s parliament passed constitutional amendments to enforce the peace agreement. However, the collection and disposal of weapons in Bougainville is extremely slow. The situation in the country as a whole remains extremely criminogenic.
According to andyeducation, approximately 70% of children in the respective age groups attend primary schools and only 12% secondary. Free higher education is provided by two universities and a pedagogical college.