Fast Facts

Population:
5,887,000
Capital:
Port Moresby; 275,000
Area:
462,840 square kilometers (178,703 square miles)
Language:
715 indigenous languages
Religion:
Protestant, indigenous beliefs, Roman Catholic
Currency:
Kina
Life Expectancy:
57
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $2,100
Literacy Percent:
66
Flag: Papua New Guinea
Map: Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, an island country in the western Pacific, gained independence from Australia in 1975. An abundance of minerals and petroleum brightens the outlook for this tropical nation, comprising eastern New Guinea and many small islands—including Bougainville and the Bismarck Archipelago. A patchwork of mountains, jungles, and swamplands, the country is home to some 700 Papuan and Melanesian tribes, each with its own language. Most of the inhabitants are subsistence farmers, although some grow cash crops.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production
  • Agriculture: Coffee, cacao, coconuts, palm kernels; poultry
  • Exports: Oil, gold, copper ore, logs

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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