Bougainville Island

Bougainville Island

Infobox Islands
name = Bougainville

image caption = Bougainville and neighbouring islands
image size =
Location map|Papua New Guinea|lat=-6.0|long=155.0
map_custom = yes
native name =
native name link =
nickname =
location = Melanesia
coordinates = coord|6|00|S|155|00|E|display=inline
archipelago = Solomon Islands
total islands =
major islands =
area = convert|9318|km2|sqmi
length =
width =
highest mount = Mount Balbi
elevation = convert|2715|m|ft
country = Papua New Guinea
country admin divisions title = Province
country admin divisions = Bougainville Province
country admin divisions title 1 =
country admin divisions 1 =
country admin divisions title 2 =
country admin divisions 2 =
country largest city =
country largest city population =
population = 175,160
population as of = 2000
density = 18.80
ethnic groups =
additional info =

Bougainville is part of Papua New Guinea. Geographically, Bougainville is included in the chain of islands known as the Solomon Islands in Melanesia. Bougainville, the adjacent island of Buka, and assorted outlying islands including the Carterets are sometimes known as the North Solomons. Bougainville is included in the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion. The nation of Solomon Islands is a separate state.

Together they make up the Papua New Guinean (PNG) Bougainville Province. The population of the province is 175,160 (2000 census).

In the 1970s, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto) began exploiting the island's huge copper reserves. Resentment over the negative effects of the company's activities on the area and the lack of any tangible benefit to the islanders erupted into conflict in the 1990s. Attempts at proclaiming the independence of Bougainville (Republic of North Solomons) have occurred twice: in 1975 and 1990. In the second case the government of Papua New Guinea moved to put down what became a secessionist movement led by Francis Ona, a former surveyor for BCL. The PNG army received military aid from Australia and enlisted the support of Sandline International, a mercenary firm. The island was embargoed to weaken its people's resistance. However, they proved much more resilient than expected, designing their own weapons and converting engines to vegetable oil. Peace talks brokered by New Zealand began in 1997, leading to autonomy for the island.

Bougainville and its 1990s struggle for independence is the setting for the 2007 novel "Mister Pip", by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones.

Louis Antoine de Bougainville named the island after himself.

A documentary about the struggle of the indigenous population to save their island from environmental destruction and gain independence, was made in 1999, called Coconut Revolution. [cite web| title=Coconut Revolution, The (Bougainville story)|| month=November| year=2001| url=| accessdate=2008-01-27]



There are several indigenous languages in Bougainville. These include both Austronesian and Papuan languages.

The most widely spoken Austronesian language is Halia and its dialects, spoken in the island of Buka and the Selau peninsula of Northern Bougainville. Other Austronesian languages include Petats, Solos, Saposa/Taiof, Hahon and Tinputz, all spoken in the northern quarter of Bougainville, Buka and surrounding islands. These languages are closely related. Banoni and Arawa are Austronesian languages not closely related to the former, which are spoken in the coastal areas of central and south Bougainville. All these languages are part of the Melanesian sub group of Austronesian languages.

In the nearby atolls of Mortlock Islands, an Austronesian language of the Polynesian sub group is spoken

The Papuan languages are all confined to the main island of Bougainville. These include Rotokas, a language with a very small inventory of phonemes, Eivo, Buin, Keriaka, Nasioi, Motuna, Usiai and several others. These languages are part of the East Papuan language family.

None of these languages is spoken by more than 20% of the entire population of Bougainville, and the largest languages such as Nasioi, Motuna, Buin and Halia are split into dialects that are not always mutually understandable. For general communication most Bougainvilleans use Tok Pisin as a lingua franca, and at least in the coastal areas Pisin is often learned by children in a bilingual environment. English and Tok Pisin are the languages of official business and government.

See also

*Bougainville Province
*Bougainville Campaign
*Empress Augusta Bay
*Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
*North Solomon Islands
*Francis Ona


Further reading

* Robert Young Pelton, Hunter Hammer and Heaven, Journeys to Three World's Gone Mad. ISBN 1-58574-416-6

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Look at other dictionaries:

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