Current Status: Non-country. During WW II Bougainville was the scene of fierce fighting. The Japanese occupied the island early in 1942. US troops had overtaken the island of Bougainville by March 1944. After the war, Bougainville was again put under Australian administration, this time as a United Nations Trust territory. In 1968 elections were held throughout Papua New Guinea. Bougainville called for a referendum on secession, but the Papua New Guinea government did not honour this request. Self-government was given to Papua New Guinea on December 1973 and full independence from Australia on September 1975. On the first of December 1975, two weeks before Papua New Guinea gained its independence; Bougainville unilaterally declared its independence emphasising its wish to remain separate from the new state of Papua New Guinea. Bougainville appealed to the United Nations, but without success. A year later, negotiations with the Papua New Guinea government resulted in an agreement for limited autonomy as a province of Papua New Guinea. Bougainville was to have its own Provincial government. Many people complained that the people did not democratically elect the Bougainvilleans on the delegation that signed the 1976 agreement. From 1988 to 1998, Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army fought a guerilla war over the island. In 2001 the government of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville sign a peace accord that leads the way to a referendum on independence and gives Bougainville an autonomous government.


Estimated Population: 160,000