New Guinea

22 May, 2009

New Guinea – The Bio-Diverse Island of Oceania

New Guinea

New Guinea is the second biggest island in the world. It is situated close to the island of Australia and it is believed that once the tow islands were connected. According to studies, during the glacial period, a part of the joint mainland was covered with water. This is not the only interesting story related to this country though; its political and geopolitical story is also quite unique and intriguing.

The overall population of the island is approximately 7,2 million people. The island of New Guinea is politically divided into two halves. The western part of the island used to be a colony of the Netherlands and now belongs to Indonesia and includes: West Papua, Papua – and according to some people the East Papua, which is also referred to as Papua Timur. The Eastern part of the island forms the country of Papua New Guinea, as it is mostly known. The country became independent in 1975 and used to belong to Australia. At that time the country included two parts: the Trust Territory and the Territory of Papua. Today, this eastern part consists of the Western, Central, Northern and Milne Bay provinces.

The division of the island and the country is as complicated as its history; although several thousands of visitors travel to New Guinea every year, hardly half of them know the entire history of the island. Due to its weird geopolitical position and situation, not every area and region of the island is open to tourists.

New Guinea features an amazingly rich bio-diversity when it comes to animal and plant species. Its natural habitat is considered to be ‘under protection’ by international ecological organizations and institutions. 5-10% of the total species of Earth are found on this island, thus, it comes as no surprise that many nature lovers spend serious amount of time every year in New Guinea.

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