New Guinea

Article

July 5, 2022

New Guinea is the second largest island in the world, after Greenland, and the highest, as its highest peak, Puncak Jaya, rises to 4,884 m above sea level. Located in northern Australia, from which it is separated by the Torres Strait, it is bordered on the north by the Pacific Ocean, on the west by the Banda Sea, on the southwest by the Arafura Sea and on the west. southeast and east with the Coral Sea. To the west, it is close to the islands of Halmahera and Seram, and to the east New Britain. It has an area of ​​790,000 km² and a relatively small population compared to its extent, as it does not reach seven million inhabitants. The natives know it by the name of Papua. It was originally part of the Australian mainland, from which it separated when the area now occupied by the Torres Strait was flooded around the fifth millennium BC. The island is divided between the states of Indonesia (in the western part) and Papua New Guinea, in the eastern part.

Political divisions

Politically, the island of New Guinea is divided into two equal halves with a line running from north to south: The western part of the island, western New Guinea or western Papua (Irian in Indonesian), located west of the meridian 141 ° E longitude (except in a small part of territory east of the Fly River, which belongs in Papua New Guinea) is administered by Indonesia and is subdivided into two provinces: West Papua (Papua Barat, formerly called Irian Jaya Barat), with its capital at Manokwari. Papua (formerly called Irian Jaya), with capital in Jayapura. It has been proposed to subdivide this province into two: Central Papua (Papua Tengah) and East Papua (Papua Timur), but the project has not yet been completed. The eastern part forms the main part of Papua New Guinea, an independent state since 1975, formerly known as the territory of Papua and New Guinea. The main city is the state capital, Port Moresby.

Cannibalism

New Guinea is popularly known for the ritual of cannibalism that was practiced by some ethnic groups, but not most, not by a long shot. The Korowai and Kombai, populations of southeastern Papua New West, are two of the last groups in the world to claim to have participated in anthropophagous acts in the recent past. In the Asmat area of ​​southwestern Papua, it may have been practiced until the early 1970s. Among the Fore people in Papua New Guinea, ritual cannibalism led to the spread of kuru, which he moved the Australian administration to ban its practice in 1959. Cannibalism may have appeared in New Guinea due to the scarcity of protein sources. Traditional taro and sweet potato harvests are low in protein, if we compare them to wheat, and the only edible animals available — such as mice, spiders, and frogs — were small and not at all edible. Anthropologists point out, however, that a number of medium-sized marsupials are endemic to the island, and are hunted by the natives, and that pigs were introduced to it several thousand years before contact with Europeans.

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Tribolonotus gracilis