Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.
At the national level, after being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975. This followed nearly 60 years of Australian administration, which started during World War I. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1975 with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in its own right.
Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18 per cent of its people live in urban centres. There are 852 known languages in the country, of which 12 now have no known living speakers. Most of the population of more than 7 million people lives in customary communities, which are as diverse as the languages.