Useful country information
Total area: 178,703 sq mi (462,840 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 6,552,730 (growth rate: 1.84%); birth rate: 24.89/1000; infant mortality rate: 39.67/1000; life expectancy: 66.85
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Port Moresby, 343,000
Monetary unit: Kina
Languages: Tok Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin, the lingua franca), Hiri Motu (in Papua region) less than 2%, English 1%?2%; 836 indigenous languages
Ethnicity/race: Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian
Religions: Roman Catholic 27%, Protestant 69.4% (Evangelical Lutheran 19.5%, United Church 11.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10%, Pentecostal 8.6%, Evangelical Alliance 5.2%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.5%, other Protestant 8.9%), Baha'i 0.3%, indigenous beliefs and other 3.3% (2000 census)
Literacy rate: 62.4% (2011 est.)
The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - just north of Australia, 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.
The first inhabitants of the island New Guinea were Papuan, Melanesian, and Negrito tribes, who altogether spoke more than 700 distinct languages.
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