Papua New Guinea: History

  1. 1526

    Portuguese sailor Jorge de Menses comes across one of the islands and names it Papua.

  2. 1546

    Spanish explorer Inigo Ortiz de Retes names the other main island New Guinea.

  3. 1884

    Britain establishes a protectorate over southeast New Guinea, while Germany annexes the northern part.

  4. 1906

    Control of British New Guinea is transferred to the Commonwealth of Australia and renamed the Territory of Papua.

  5. 1921

    After World War I, the League of Nations grants Australia control of German ruled New Guinea, which will be governed separately from Territory of Papua.

  6. 1949

    Australia establishes a joint administration over the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

  7. 1963

    The United Nations transfers control of West New Guinea to Indonesia, known today as Papua.

  8. 1971

    The country is officially named Papua New Guinea.

  9. 1975

    Papua New Guinea gains full independence from Australia.

  10. 1989

    The Bougainville Revolutionary Army, concerned with environmental destruction and unsatisfied with the profits leaving the island, force the closure of an Australian owned copper mine.

  11. 2007

    Parliament passes a law to allow casinos and online gambling in hopes of boosting the economy.

  12. 2009

    China signs a deal to import liquefied natural gas from Papua New Guinea.


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