• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
    This Melanesian country is best known for its many islands and beaches... and this natural landscape (pictured) is why most people go. Don't miss out on the unique Melanesian culture and foods though! Begin Your Journey!

  • Tonga!

    Tonga: Coastline. Go Now!

    Tonga
    The heart of Polynesian culture is rooted in Tonga, but most visitors just come for the natural beauty. Explore Tonga!

  • Vanuatu!

    Vanuatu: Jetty into the ocean. Go Now!

    Vanuatu
    Picturesque serenity is a good way to describe Vanuatu, but the culture offers much more, including the inspiration for bungee jumping, which remains a rite of passage for young men. Explore Vanuatu!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Palau
    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Explore the: Federated States of Micronesia!

    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

    Federated States of Micronesia
    This diverse country stretches for thousands of miles and has the diversity to prove it, including the people from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap among others. Begin Your Journey!

  • Samoa!

    Samoa: A traditional home. Go Now!

    Samoa
    Among the most famous of the South Pacific's many countries, Samoa sits in the heart of Polynesia and has a culture to match. Begin Your Journey!

Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea's name comes in two parts, "Papua" and "New Guinea." New Guinea is the name of the entire island, which was named by European explorers in the 1550s; they believed the people resembled the people on Africa's Guinea coast. Papua has a more mysterious background, but was the name of certain parts of the island as named by the locals. No one knows with absolute certainty where this name comes from, but theories suggest it may mean "frizzy-haired," "land below the sun," or "lands not united."

Papua Niugini

Introduction:

Few places in the world offer such unique cultures, diversity, and history as Papua New Guinea does. This mountainous and forested country has a landscape that has divided people in many ways, leading to a huge number of sub-cultures, languages (over 800 in total), foods, and more. While today the country is also home to modern cities with more "international" cultures, the country remains rooted in the people of the island who have lived as they do today for centuries.

These early settlers came from various areas in separate immigration waves, making them very unique as many people have ethnic relations to various people, although most of the people are related to each other ethnically and have similarities to the people from other Melanesian countries. The people also shared similarities in that all these people survived off the lands, whether that be by hunting, gathering, fishing, or farming. Even today most people in the country make a living off the land.

Europeans arrived to the lands numerous times through history, but there were few efforts to truly colonize the region, other than perhaps establishing some plantations along the coasts. It wasn't until the 1900s when the Europeans made any truly great effort to control the lands and alter the culture.

In the 1900s most efforts to change the people and their traditional culture came in the form of religion as many missionaries arrived and spread Christianity. This effort was very successful as most of the people today are Christian. However, few outside influences arrived since the lands didn't prove profitable to most European settlers and those who did find profit generally found it along the coasts, hence only changing the culture in limited geographic areas.

Today communication and technology have united the people in many ways as many people are abandoning their native languages for a more commonly spoken language, such as Tok Pisin. The people are also urbanizing as cities have more jobs and better paying jobs than much of the island can offer. In these cities the culture is one that contains aspects of the many people of the islands as well as Europe. In land the cultures, languages, and lifestyles remained authentic in many ways as historic traditions, cultures, and languages survive, or even thrive.

The striking colors on the flag of Papua New Guinea represent the traditional colors of the country. On the top right is a large bird of paradise, which represents the tribal culture; the bird of paradise is also endemic to the island of New Guinea. On the bottom left are the stars that make up the Southern Cross constellation.

Name: Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Independence: September 16, 1975
Capital: Port Moresby
Currency: Kina
Population: 6,431,902 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Melanesian, Papuan, & Others
Language: English, Pidgin, & Motu
Religion: Christian & Indigenous

Information for Papua New Guinea was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks