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Friday, 31 August 2012

Republic of the North Solomons


 
The Republic of the North Solomons (also Republic of North Solomons or North Solomons Republic) was an unrecognised state that existed for about six months in what is now the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

On 1 September 1975[1], the North Solomons unilaterally declared independence from the Australian-administered territory of Papua New Guinea, which itself was due to become independent on 16 September.[2]


Reaction

Papua New Guinea's Chief Minister, Mr Michael Somare, initially showed no outward concern at Bougainville's stand. The Roman Catholic Church, the most powerful organization in Bougainville, officially announced its support for the breakaway move.[2] Bougainvilleans have experienced German, British, and Australian colonial administrations and missionaries. Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the United Nations did not recognize the secession, and PNG government officials on the island simply ignored it. The whole of the Western Islands District of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (comprising a third of the population of the Solomon Islands) asked, through the district council, to join independent Bougainville.[3]

 

Context

The Bougainville islanders have always regarded themselves as a separate entity in Papua New Guinea. The people have very dark skins in contrast to the lighter shades of Papuans and New Guineans. The island is 1,000 kilometres east of the mainland and is more closely associated geographically with the Solomon Islands and it forms part of the Solomon Islands Archipelago.[2]

The declaration of independence followed the discovery some time beforehand of one of the world's largest deposits of copper. The Papua New Guinea Government established the Bougainville Copper mine company in Panguna in central Bougainville. Bougainville Copper was a subsidiary of Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia, which in turn was controlled by the British company, the Rio Tinto Group. When the mine was set up the Australia administration backed by armed police allowed prospectors in and told the people their land was being taken over without any discussion.[2]

Bougainville rejoined Papua New Guinea as the Autonomous Region of Bougainville early in 1976.

Civil war

Secession was revived in 1990 under the name of the Bougainville Interim Government by Francis Ona and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. Although these groups' grievances were based on the activities of Bougainville Copper, the conflict eventually descended into a civil war along tribal lines. By the time peace was negotiated in 1998, the conflict had taken between 15,000 and 20,000 lives.

History of my Solomon Island of Bougainville

Republic of North Solomons—1975-1976

Bougainville Interim Government—1990-1998

Capital—Buka

Government—Republic

President 1975-76—Alexis Sarei

President 1990-98—Francis Ona

Declarations

Declared 1 September 1975

Provincial Status in Papua New Guinea—1976

Independence—17 May 1990

Reintegration in the Papua New Guinea—23 January 1998

 

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