Papua New Guinea has been referred to as the last unknown; a place that attracted explorers from Europe when it seemed there was nothing left to explore. However nearly 60,000 years before this, various groups of local traders had followed the tides and the winds and had made contact with many of the coastal people.
By the late 19th century Britain and Germany provided the first of a series of challenges for the inhabitants by annexing most of what we know today as Papua New Guinea.
Australia replaced Britain in Papua in the early 1900s and after the defeat of Germany in WW1, the League of Nations asked Australia to become responsible for the welfare of the country. There was great suffering during WW2 and at the end of hostilities, the newly formed United Nations gave Australia a mandate to prepare the country for eventual independence.
Papua New Guinea received its independence on 16 September 1975 and became a sovereign state.
Today, in excess of 7 million people live in 21 provinces from the mainland to an array of different sized islands. Whilst there have been improvements in some basic services, the country still faces many hurdles.