German New Guinea, located in the northeastern part of the island of New Guinea,
was a German protectorate from 1884 to 1914. The New Guinea Company first
administered that part of the island under the German flag in 1884. The German
government formally took control in 1899. Australian troops occupied German New
Guinea in 1914 shortly after Britain declared war on Germany. It was mandated to
Australia by the League of Nations in 1920.
Japan invaded New Guinea and Papua (the southeastern quarter of the island, also
known as British New Guinea) in early 1942, but Australian control was restored
before the end of the year in Papua and in 1945 in New Guinea. Following Japanese
surrender, both territories came under U.N. trusteeship with Australia as the
ministering power. After World War II, Australian currency was used exclusively
in the two territories. On December 1, 1973, Papua New Guinea became self governing
with Australia retaining responsibility for defense and foreign affairs. Full
independence was achieved within the British Commonwealth on September 16, 1975.
For a more detailed
country profile, see CIA World Factbook on Papua New Guinea.