Autonomous Region of Bougainville

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Autonomous Region
of Bougainville
Flag of Autonomous Regionof Bougainville
Official seal of Autonomous Regionof Bougainville
Papua new guinea north salomons province.png
Autonomous Regionof Bougainville is located in Papua New Guinea
Autonomous Regionof Bougainville
Autonomous Region
of Bougainville
Location within Papua New Guinea
Coordinates: 6°0′S 155°0′E / 6.000°S 155.000°E / -6.000; 155.000
Country Papua New Guinea
Capital Buka (interim)
 • President John Momis (2010-)
 • Governor Joe Lera 2012-
 • Total 9,384 km2 (3,623 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)
 • Total 234,280
 • Density 25/km2 (65/sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, previously known as North Solomons, is an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea. The largest island is Bougainville Island (also the largest of the Solomon Islands group), and the province also includes the island of Buka and assorted outlying islands including the Carterets. The capital is temporarily Buka, though it is expected that Arawa will once again become the provincial capital. The population of the province is 234,280 (2011 census).

Bougainville Island is ecologically and geographically, although not politically, part of the Solomon Islands. Buka, Bougainville, and most of the Solomons are part of the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion.


The island was named after the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville (whose name has also been lent to the creeping tropical flowering vines of the genus Bougainvillea). In 1885, it came under German administration as part of German New Guinea. Australia occupied it in 1914 and, as a League of Nations mandatory power, administered it from 1918 until the Japanese invaded in 1942 and then again from 1945 until PNG independence in 1975, as a United Nations mandatory power, Australia having reluctantly accepted dominion sovereignty under the Statute of Westminster 1931 in the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 and therefore being formally empowered to do so, though it remained merely administering British and German New Guinea, not being the official colonial power.

The island was occupied by Australian, American and Japanese forces in World War II. It was an important base for the RAAF, RNZAF and USAAF. On 8 March 1944, during the Pacific War, American forces were attacked by Japanese troops on Hill 700 on this island. The battle lasted five days, ending with a Japanese retreat.

The island is rich in copper and gold. A large mine was established at Panguna in the early 1970s by Bougainville Copper Limited, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto.

Disputes over the environmental impact, financial benefits and social change brought by the mine renewed a secessionist movement that had been dormant since the 1970s. The independence of Bougainville (Republic of North Solomons) was unsuccessfully proclaimed in 1975 and in 1990.

In 1988, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) increased their activity significantly. Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu ordered the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) to put down the rebellion, and the conflict escalated into a civil war. The PNGDF retreated from permanent positions on Bougainville in 1990, but continued military action. The conflict involved pro-independence and loyalist Bougainvillean groups as well as the PNGDF. The war claimed an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 lives.12 In 1996, Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan requested the help of Sandline International, a private military company previously involved in supplying mercenaries in the civil war in Sierra Leone, to put down the rebellion. This resulted in the Sandline affair.

Peace agreement and autonomy

The conflict ended in 1997, after negotiations brokered by New Zealand. A peace agreement finalised in 2000 and disarmament provided for the establishment of an Autonomous Bougainville Government, and for a referendum in the future on whether the island should become politically independent.3

Elections for the first Autonomous Government were held in May and June 2005, Joseph Kabui was elected President. He died on 6 June 2008.

On 25 July 2005 rebel leader Francis Ona died after a short illness. A former surveyor with Bougainville Copper Limited, Ona was a key figure in the secessionist conflict and had refused to formally join the island's peace process.


Bougainville has one of the world's largest copper deposits. They have been developing since 1972, one of its reserves has almost 915 million tones copper with an average grade of 0.46 % Cu. At an enlarged meeting of the Government of the Republic Party and the Unified Mekamui Bougainville was made one of the most important decisions in the modern history of the island state – the adoption of the national reserve and the creation of the Reserve Bank of Bougainville (Banque Nationale de Réserve Bougainville. Chairman of the Reserve Bank of Bougainville was elected Alex B. Tsvetkoff - a descendant of Russian white Guards officer who emigrated to the ocean during the October 1917 revolution in Russia. "This is a fateful decision for the whole of the Bougainville people, getting up from his knees and proudly lifting their heads to meet their independent future" - said the first chairman of the Reserve Bank of Bougainville. On October 24, 2006 the Government of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville authorized Commercial Development Bank (Commercial Development Bank to carry out the functions of the Central Bank in the autonomous region . Commercial Development Bank was founded in 2005 and has enough assets to provide banking services for the financing of commercial, humanitarian and infrastructure projects in Bougainville, as well as other surrounding areas . Commercial Development Bank actively finances public and social projects, and participates in the resumption of copper mining in the mine.

Districts and LLGs

District map of Bougainville (North Solomons)

Each province in Bougainville P. N. G. has one or more districts, and each district has one or more Local Level Government (LLG) areas. For census purposes, the LLG areas are subdivided into wards and those into census units.4

District District Capital LLG Name
Central Bougainville District Arawa-Kieta Arawa Rural
Wakunai Rural
North Bougainville District Buka Atolls Rural
Buka Rural
Kunua Rural
Nissan Rural
Selau Suir Rural
Tinputz Rural
South Bougainville District Buin Bana Rural
Buin Rural
Siwai Rural
Torokina Rural

See also

Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Flag of Bougainville.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of


  1. ^ Saovana-Spriggs, Ruth (2000). "Christianity and women in Bougainville" (PDF). Development Bulletin (51): 58–60. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  2. ^ "EU Relations with Papua New Guinea". European Commission. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  3. ^ Papua New Guinea government obtains shaky weapons disposal pact in Bougainville, Will Marshall, World Socialist Web Site, May 23, 2001. Accessed on line March 4, 2008.
  4. ^ National Statistical Office of Papua New Guinea

Further reading

  • Oliver, Douglas (1973). Bougainville: A Personal History. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. 
  • Oliver, Douglas (1991). Black Islanders: A Personal Perspective of Bougainville, 1937–1991. Melbourne: Hyland House. Repeats text from previous 1973 reference and updates with summaries of Papua New Guinea press reports on the Bougainville Crisis
  • Quodling, Paul. Bougainville: The Mine And The People. 
  • Regan, Anthony and Griffin, Helga (eds.), ed. (2005). Bougainville Before the Crisis. Canberra: Pandanus Books. 
  • Pelton, Robert Young (2002). Hunter Hammer and Heaven, Journeys to Three World's Gone Mad. Guilford, Conn.: Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-416-6. 
  • Gillespie, Waratah Rosemarie (2009). Running with Rebels: Behind the Lies in Bougainville's hidden war. Australia: Ginibi Productions. ISBN 978-0-646-51047-7. 

External links

Bougainville travel guide from Wikivoyage

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