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The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - was divided between Germany (north) and the UK (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives.


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Geography

Location
Oceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia

Geographic coordinates
6 00 S, 147 00 E

Map references
Oceania

Area World Ranking: 55
Total 462,840 sq km
Land 452,860 sq km
Water 9,980 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly larger than California

Land boundaries
Total 820 km
Border countries Indonesia 820 km

Coastline
5,152 km

Maritime claims
Measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
Territorial sea 12 nm
Continental shelf
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone 200 nm

Climate
Tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain
Mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m

Natural resources
Gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries

Land use
Arable land 0.49%
Permanent crops 1.4%
Other 98.11% (2005)

Irrigated land
NA

Total renewable water resources
801 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 0.1 cu km/yr (56%/43%/1%)
Per capita 17 cu m/yr (1987)

Natural hazards
Active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis
Volcanism
Severe volcanic activity; Ulawun (elev. 2,334 m), one of Papua New Guinea's potentially most dangerous volcanoes, has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Rabaul (elev. 688 m) destroyed the city of Rabaul in 1937 and 1994; Lamington erupted in 1951 killing 3,000 people; Manam's 2004 eruption forced the island's abandonment; other historically active volcanoes include Bam, Bagana, Garbuna, Karkar, Langila, Lolobau, Long Island, Pago, St. Andrew Strait, Victory, and Waiowa

Environment - current issues
Rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast


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  Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby):


  GPS points from Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby)

Kaeiu Central Province

Baiabe Island Western Province

Mount Anju Western Province

Labuka Central Province

Wadei Island New Ireland

Kairiravi Gulf Province

Opuraria Gulf Province

Bonela River Morobe Province




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