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Papua New Guinea Independence Day – September 16, 2023

Papua New Guinea Independence Day is celebrated on September 16 as the official federal holiday commemorating Papua New Guinea’s independence from Australia. Papua New Guinea is a Commonwealth country, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Papua New Guinea. Although the constitutional convention required for the preparation of the nation’s draft constitution, as well as outgoing Australia’s, this was not to be. The founders of this nation considered that imperial honors had a cachet and therefore adopted a monarch system. The monarch is represented by the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea, a position currently held by Bob Dadae.

History of Papua New Guinea Independence Day

The history of Papua New Guinea dates back to the 18th Century. The dual name of Papua New Guinea results from the complex administrative history of the country prior to independence. Beginning in 1884, Germany ruled the northern parts of Papua New Guinea for some decades, as a colony named German New Guinea. About 30 years later, in 1914, following the outbreak of World War I, Australian forces captured German New Guinea and occupied it. After the war, which Germany and the Central Powers lost, the League of Nations (now the United Nations) authorized the area’s administration to remain with Australia as a ‘League-of-Nations mandate territory,’ which became known as the Territory of New Guinea.

In November 1884, the southern part of Papua New Guinea became a British protectorate. By 1888, it had been annexed, along with some adjacent islands, by Britain, as British New Guinea. The administration of Papua was effectively transferred to the British following the U.K.’s colonization of Australia in 1902. The passage of the Papua Act 1905 saw the area officially renamed the Territory of Papua, with Australian administration becoming formal in 1906. Contrary to establishing an Australian mandate in the former German New Guinea, the League of Nations determined that Papua was an external territory of the Australian Commonwealth and thereby remained under British possession by law.

This legal status, therefore, meant that until 1949, Papua and New Guinea had entirely separate administrations, both of which were controlled by Australia. This difference in legal status contributed to the complexity of organizing the country’s post-independence legal system. Papua New Guinea eventually was granted independence in September of 1975, after which the monarchical administrative system was sustained.

Papua New Guinea Independence Day timeline

1884
The Germans Gain Control

Germany rules the Northern region of New Guinea for three decades, from 1884 until World War I.

1914
The Germany Lose Control

Following World War I in 1914, Germany loses control of the Northern Territory of New Guinea.

1949
There is Now Just One Nation

Papua and New Guinea become one and the same territory.

1975
The Independence of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea becomes an independent state.

Papua New Guinea Independence Day FAQs

Is Papua New Guinea a tropical island?

The territory is located south of the equator and therefore enjoys a beautiful tropical climate.

What kind of country is Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is an island country that lies in the south-western Pacific.

Is Papua New Guinea a Black country?

The country is part of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific forum, with a thriving community of Africans who live and work there.

How to Observe Papua New Guinea Independence Day

  1. Fly the flag of Papua New Guinea

    What better way to celebrate Papua New Guinea Independence Day than to fly the country’s flag? Raise the proud flag of Red and Black with a Raggiana Bird of Paradise today.

  2. Visit Papua New Guinea

    It would be a great idea to visit Papua New Guinea ahead of Independence Day. Be there to witness the beautiful celebrations yourself!

  3. Make the Papua New Guinea official food

    Mumu is the official dish of Papua New Guinea. Celebrate Papua New Guinea Independence Day by making and eating this food.

5 Interesting Facts About Papua New Guinea

  1. It has a diverse community

    There are 851 different languages spoken in this country which has a very diverse community.

  2. It has the world's third-largest rainforest

    Papua New Guinea is home to the world’s third-largest rainforest, with at least 70% of its original forest cover still standing.

  3. It is home to numerous cultural groups

    There are an estimated 1,000 cultural groups within Papua New Guinea.

  4. It lies on the Ring of Fire

    The Ring of Fire is a region around the Pacific Ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

  5. It has a hot and humid tropical climate

    Papua New Guinea is a tropical nation, with temperatures typically reaching upwards of 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why Papua New Guinea Independence Day is Important

  1. The holiday celebrates freedom

    Papua New Guinea Independence Day celebrates the freedom of a nation. We love that this freedom was achieved without bloodshed.

  2. It is an important cultural symbol

    Papua New Guinea Independence Day is an important symbol in the people’s collective culture. It represents their shared experience and collective history.

  3. It solidifies the nation’s sovereignity

    Papua New Guinea Independence Day marks the day self-rule took place. Citizens can take pride in their nation’s freedom which translates to their own individual freedom.

Papua New Guinea Independence Day dates

YearDateDay
2023September 16Saturday
2024September 16Monday
2025September 16Tuesday
2026September 16Wednesday
2027September 16Thursday

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