Bougainville Province Flag

Kayla Davenport, Ashley Walls, Anthony Harrell

Bougainville Province

Bougainville Province has an area of 3,623 square miles. It has a population of 175,160 people. The Bougainville Island is an Easternmost island of Papua New Guinea in the Solomon Sea. It is covered in heavy jungle and home to one of the world's largest caves, Benua. It is a volcanic island which has seven active volcanoes.

Bougainville Province Map

In Bougainville, the culture is very diverse. There is 21 languages spoken, 8 different sub-languages, with 39 dialects. There is about 800 different language groups in this area. Most of the languages have a very diverse culture to go along with the language. Their main religion is Christianity. Villages are very common. Most people don't leave the village their parents lived in. They don't have a lot of money so they make the best of what they have.

In 1526, Jorge de Meneses named one of the islands “ilhas dos Papuas” which means “land of fuzzy-haired people."In 1768, the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville lands at the islands during his circumnavigation of the world and names one of the islands east of New Guinea. In 1884, Britain established a protectorate (when a settlement is controlled and protected by another settlement) over South-East New Guinea while Germany annexed the Northern Part of New Guinea. In 1914, Australian forces occupied German New Guinea during World War 1. In 1933, gold-prospectors lead expeditions to the highlands and found more than million people living in fertile mountain valleys whose way of life had been unchanged since the Stone Age. In November 1951, Australia established a 28 member Legislative Council.

The government has never been strong in the Bougainville Province. Until the 1990's, the provincial government held so little power that authorities were barely ever called to enforce laws. In 1990, the provincial government lost its power over most of the Bougainville Province. The government system was destroyed in most places and they lived by their own laws until 1996. In 1996, the COEs (Council of Elders) became the form of government they had. It wasn't very powerful because of how many people it controls. In 2000-2002, they formed a constitution that created three branches of government. Even still today, the constitution stands in the Bougainville Province.

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