Bougainville: Will it become the world’s next country?

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News:Bougainville which is a part of Papua New Guinea is about to vote on independence.And,if the people votes for independence,Bougainville could become the world’s next country.

Facts:

About Bougainville:

  • Bougainville is currently an autonomous province of Papua New Guinea- one of the most populous Pacific island states.It forms part of the Solomon Islands archipelago.
  • The Bougainville islands was named after an 18th Century French explorer and became part of a German colony, German New Guinea, at the end of the 19th Century.
  • During World War One, Australia took control and remained in charge until 1975 (with a brief period of Japanese control during World War Two).
  • However,when Papua New Guinea was granted independence in 1975, Bougainville became a province even though there was little enthusiasm for it.

Why independence?

  • The desire of Bougainvillean people for independence is rooted in the historic plunder of the resource-rich island that has large deposits of copper and the unequal distribution of wealth that followed.
  • Between 1988-1998,political factions in Bougainville were involved in an armed conflict with the government of Papua New Guinea, in an attempt to force Papua New Guinea to divest control of the resource-rich island. 
  • In 2001,a peace agreement was signed between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea Government.
  • The referendum was one of the provisions of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.