Papua New Guinea Population and Culture

Papua New Guinea Population and Culture

This island state of Melanesia includes the eastern section of New Guinea and a set of adjacent islands, including the Admiralty Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Northern Solomon Islands, the Entrecasteaux Islands and Louisiade. The population is made up of two main indigenous groups: the Melanesian, present in the northern coastal strip of the major island, and the Papuan, majority, in the central mountains and in the southern coastal region. On the other hand, this subdivision underlies a great ethnolinguistic variety, as the country includes almost a thousand tribes, often with little contact with neighboring ones: in 1993 a tribe of about 80 members, the liawep, was discovered in a forest region. came into contact with the other residents.


According to 800zipcodes, 84% of the population is Papuan while the second component is that of Melanesians (15%) but in fact each of these groups includes hundreds of small communities; the non-indigenous population includes groups of Chinese, Australians and Filipinos. The annual growth is quite sustained (2.3% in the period 2002-2007) thanks to the high birth rates and the relatively low death rates, which make the Papuan population particularly young: 38% of the residents have, in fact, less than 15 years. The country is affected by incoming migratory phenomena: thousands of refugees have been welcomed in the past decades (70,000 between 1996 and 2006) mainly from Indonesia. In 2004 the chapter concerning immigrants from the Middle East was closed which in 2001 Australia, Nauru. The population is concentrated in the mountainous belts where there are the highest densities, but in the lowlands and along the coasts, cities have developed that mostly perform port functions. The average density is 14 residents / km². In any case, urbanization is still very modest (12% in 2008). In fact, there is no real urban network, that is a set of cities with functional interdependencies, connected by a good system of communication routes: they are mostly isolated centers of a few thousand residents. The only exceptions are: Port Moresby (289,000 residents In 2005), the capital, on the southern coast, Lae (78,038 residents), Located on the innermost coasts of the wide gulf overlooking the Solomon Sea, Madang, which carries out market functions for the mountain populations of the backwaters of the highlands and for the islands of the archipelago, and Rabaul, an important trade center especially for exports of plantation products. A phenomenon of the last few decades is represented by the birth of new towns in the areas of recent development: in general, they are centers planned in relation to the extension of the mining exploitation. The first arose on the copper-rich island of Bougainville, in the province of Milne Bay and in other areas, such as Arawa and Alotau.


Papua New Guinea represents, not only within the oceanic reality, one of the most ethnically and linguistically heterogeneous societies. The many groups that inhabit it, some of which have been ascertained only in the twentieth century, have different beliefs and habits, starting with about 800 languages ​​spoken, up to dozens of cults practiced, of a naturalistic and pantheistic nature and often intertwined with Christian practices. In general, however, in villages, where every social or private moment (birth, death, marriage, harvest, trade, etc.) is marked by precise rituals, the social hierarchy is based on clans, but the decision-making processes take place on a democratic basis without impositions from above. The handicrafts also differ from region to region, ranging from Malagan masks to wood carvings built by tribes living along the Sepik River, from weapons and elaborate body decorations in the highlands to canoes on the Trobriand Islands. The collection of the National Museum and Art Gallery of the capital illustrates many examples of value, as well as testimony of the life of Papua in the past is the prehistoric agricultural site of Kuk, which became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Among the celebrations the most beautiful folkloric is the Hiri Moale of Port Moresby; also in the capital, the seat of the Parliament is of some interest also from an architectural point of view, with its synthesis between traditional motifs and modern technology. In contrast to the ethno-cultural division described, it must be said that Port Moresby and some other urban centers play a role of uniformity, especially since Western models and lifestyles have begun to spread. The twentieth century also saw the development of a national (and often nationalistic) literature and figurative art in the modern sense, with writers such as Allan Natachee, Albert Maori Kiki, Vincent Eri and painters or draftsmen such as Timothy Akis, Mathias Kauage, Larry Santana, Martin Morububuna.

Papua New Guinea Population

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