Papua New Guinea


About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

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Surface area:462800 km2
Capital:Port Moresby
GNI per capita:580 US$
Classification:Developing economy



over 700 local languages


Christian: 95.00%


Protestants: 3137400

Catholics: 1670000

Anglicans: 310000

Independent: 321000

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Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, and many off-shore islands. It is part of Melanesia. It has been inhabited for thousands of years, and is one of the ethnically most diverse countries in the world. In 1884, Germany took possession of Papua, the north-eastern part of the island, and Britain annexed New Guinea, the southern part, in 1888. The German territory was taken over by Australia in 1914. Following World War II, the two parts were brought together as the Territory of Papua New Guinea, with a local government, under Australian administration. The country achieved its independence in 1975 and joined the British Commonwealth. On the island of Bougainville (North Solomons), which has an important zinc mine, a secessionist war was fought from 1989 to 1997, claiming some 20,000 lives. The peace agreement, signed in 1998, foresees local autonomy and possibly a referendum on independence. Papua New Guinea has rich natural resources and mineral deposits, which are only partly exploited. Most of the population relies on subsistence farming. Coffee, cocoa and copra are important export products. Christianity came to Papua New Guinea in the 19th century. The largest church is the Catholic Church, but Protestants constitute the majority. There is also an Anglican Church. They form together the national council of churches. Besides the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the United Church, there are several other large Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, and an Evangelical Alliance which is affiliated with the WEA.


Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

WCC member churches based in Papua New Guinea

WCC member churches present in Papua New Guinea

    Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

    Last updated: 01/01/06