What Do The Colors And Symbols Of The Flag Of Papua New Guinea Mean?

By Oishimaya Sen Nag on July 30 2018 in World Facts

The flag of Papua New Guinea features the Raggiana bird-of-paradise and the Southern Cross constellation.

An Oceanian country in the Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea is located on the New Guinea island where it occupies the eastern half of this island. A few offshore islands are also a part of this country.

Brief History of Papua New Guinea

Human occupation of the island of New Guinea happened around 42,000 years back when people from Africa migrated here. Later, the Austronesian people arrived on the island. Spanish and Portuguese explorers came to know of the existence of the New Guinea island as early as the 16th century. Portuguese traders introduced the sweet potato to New Guinea in the 18th century. Germany occupied parts of Papua New Guinea in 1884 and ruled over the region for a few decades. During the First World War, however, Australia occupied the German New Guinea and remained in power even after the war. The southern half of the country had already been colonized by Britain in 1884. In 1905, the control of this region was transferred by the UK to the Commonwealth of Australia. However, it remained in possession of the UK by law. Thus, British New Guinea (now renamed Territory of Papua) and German New Guinea (now part of Australia) had separate administrations but were controlled by Australia. The two territories were united after the Second World War to form the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Later, the natives of the territory appealed to the UN for independence from foreign control. On September 16, 1975, an independent nation of Papua New Guinea emerged. However, the country still maintains a close tie with Australia and has Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

History of the National Flag of Papua New Guinea

Prior to the independence of the country, a new flag was proposed by the Australian government. It had three colors, blue, green, and yellow. The flag also featured the Southern Cross and the bird-of-paradise. However, the flag was not accepted by the people of the country. Instead, a nationwide competition was held in 1971 to design the flag. 15-year-old Susan Karike Huhume was selected as the winner. The flag was then adopted on July 1, 1971.

Design of Papua New Guinea’s Flag

The flag of the country is a bicolor that is divided diagonally into two triangles. The dividing line passes from the hoist-side's upper corner to the fly-side's lower corner. The upper and the lower triangles are colored red and black, respectively. The former features the Raggiana bird-of-paradise while the latter features four larger stars and a smaller star in a pattern resembling the Southern Cross constellation. All the stars are white in color and five-pointed.

Meaning of the Colors and Symbols of the Flag

Red and black colors are traditionally important colors in the country. These colors have been used by many of the country’s tribes for centuries. The Southern Cross is a reminder of the country’s position in the Southern Hemisphere and the bird-of-paradise represents the natural wealth of the nation.

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