the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is a country in Oceania that comprises the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia. The island of New Guinea the country is located on is the 2nd largest island in the world with an area of 785,753 km2. The country itsself is the world’s third largest island country with an area of 462,840 km2. The nation’s capital is Port Moresby.
Eventhough Spanish and Portuguese traders visited the island already since the 16th century, it maintained an independent status until the 19th century. The northern part of the country became a colony of the German Empire, while the southern part became a British protectorate. The rest of the Island was part of the Dutch Empire. In 1902, Papua was transferred to the authority of the new British dominion of Australia. Papua New Guinea finaly became independent in 1975.
From 1949 until 1971 the flag of Papua New Guinea was simply the flag of Australia. In 1971 Australia proposed a new flag, consisting the bird-of-paradise which was already used on sporting event flags. The territory was not entirely happy with the flag and held a competition to design a new flag. 15 year old Susan Karike won the contest and her flag is still flying today.
Characteristics of the flag of Papua New Guinea
The proportion of the flag is 3:4. The colours of red and black were chosen because these colours were already used by many Papua New Guinean tribes. The colours are also a reference to the flag of the German Empire, since part of the country was once a colony of that empire. The Southern Cross shows that it is a country in the Southern Hemisphere and can be seen in Papua New Guinea.
The bird depicted on the flag is a soaring Raggiana bird-of-paradise, and was already part of the national coat-of-arms.
What do we think about the flag?
A pretty cool flag with a basic, but well chosen colour layout. And you just have to admire a country that depicts an animal on its flag, did not choose for a cliché lion or eagle. We understand the choice of the Southern Cross, but it’s not that original. At least 10 other countries use it in their flag. Still, we really dig this flag!