1. Despite its name, Papua New Guinea takes only the eastern part of the New Guinea Island. Though, it also occupies Bismarck Archipelago, the northern part of Solomon Islands, Trobian Islands, Louisiade Archipelago and plenty of other small islands.
  2. There are mineral deposits of copper, gold, nickel, manganese, plumbum, iron and platinum on the territory of the Country.
  3. The first European man, who reached Papua New Guinea, is Spanish navigator Álvaro de Saavedra. He explored Admiralty Islands of Bismarck Archipelago in 1528.
  4. Spanish navigator Yñigo Ortiz de Retez explored Western Islands of Bismarck Archipelago in 1545, and named Wuvulu Island and Aua Island as Islands of White People because of relatively lightly pigmented skin of its population.
  5. Outstanding Russian scientist and social activist Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay is the first European, who lived among Papuans for considerably long period. He spent 30 months on Northeast coast of New Guinea (Maclay Coast) during his three expeditions in 1871 – 1872, 1876 – 1877 and 1883. He collected a lot of materials of physical anthropology, material culture, economies and religion of Bongu Papuans. He also visited other regions of Papua New Guinea.
  6. In 1873, British navigator John Moresby charted Port Moresby Bay during his expedition to New Guinea. The first British base in Papua New Guinea was founded along the chores of the bay. Later, it grew up into the city, and now it has become the capital of Papua New Guinea. The base was named after Fairfax Moresby, the father of Port Moresby explorer.
  7. Ivan Champion and Charles Carius became the first European people, who crossed the widest point of Papua New Guinea. During their second expedition in 1927 – 1928 (as the first expedition failed) they walked from the Fly River estuary, crossed central mountain range and went down Sepik river to its mouth.
  8. Ethnic groups, living in the northern Solomon Islands as Buka Island and Bougainville Island, are one of the most dark-skinned people on the Earth.
  9. Papua New Guinea has the largest in the world number of languages spoken within the country. The total amount of dialects spoken is from 860 to 867.
  10. The majority of Papua New Guinea natives belong to Papuan ethnical group and speak a lot of Papuan languages, which are not always related to each other. Minor part of natives belongs to Melanesian ethnic group and use dialects of Austronesian language family. Three small populations of Nucuria, Taku and Nucumanu occupy Far East of the Country. They belong to “external” Polynesians and speak dialects of Austronesian language family.
  11. Phonetically modified Russian words are still preserved in Bongu Papuans’ language. They emerged during Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay’s expeditions and his living with the tribe.
  12. Motu Melanesians, living eastward and westward across the capital, built sailing vessels named “lagatoi”. These vessels were used for commercial expeditions “hiri” to the coast of the Papua Gulf. The number of vessels’ corps varied from 3 to 14.
  13. Even in XX century in some of Papua New Guinea regions ritual cannibalism and headhunting were widespread. For now, these practices are outdated.
  14. Till the end of XIX century different religious cult started to spread on the territory of Papua New Guinea as a reaction to colonial bureaucrats’, merchants’, planters’ and missioners’ actions. Remnants of these cults still exist.
  15. In 1901, at Goarinbari Island, nearby the Southern Coast of New Guinea in the Papua Gulf, one of the most dramatic death of Christian missioners at the hands of local residents occured. Kereva Papuans killed James Chalmers and Oliver Fellows Tomkins along with ten local missioners in Dopima village. Then they beheaded, dismembered and ate the bodies. Bones were hanged as trophies.
  16. The last century, Fore and some other Papuan ethnic groups from Eastern Highlands Province experienced wide spread of endemic prion disease called kuru. The illness started to disappear after the end of endocannibalism practices (which literally means eating dead relatives) and for now, the disease does not occur anymore.
  17. Hamtai Papuans from Angu ethnic group, living in mountainous areas of Morobe and Galf provinces, had a tradition to mummify deceased through smoking. Then the bodies were covered with red clay and put into rocky niches.
  18. There are a few annual cultural shows in Papua New Guinea, where different ethnic groups get together. They wear authentic clothes and jewelry; perform traditional songs and dances accompanied by the sounds of hand drums. The greatest events take place in Goroka and Mount-Hagen.
  19. During the last decades, the number of Muslims within indigenous people of Papua New Guinea increased rapidly. There are local Muslims in a few regions of the Country.
  20. Kina is the official currency of Papua New Guinea. The name came from Tolai language, spoken by Melanesian ethnos, living at the Northeast of New Britain Islands of Bismarck Archipelago. It means special shells, originally used as money in some regions of the Country.
  21. V. Chininov

                                                      PhD in History, Research Scientist at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies of the Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography RAS

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