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Republic of the North Solomons
Unrecognized state

1975–1976

Flag

Capital Not specified
Government Republic
President Alexis Sarei
History
 - Established 1 September 1975 1975
 - Disestablished 1976

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 Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

On 1 September 1975, 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.[1 ]

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.[1 ] Bougainvillcans have experienced German, British and Australian colonial administrations and missionaries. Neither Papua New Guinea, Australia nor the United Nations recognized the secession and PNG government officials on the island simply ignored it. Following the attempted secession of Bougainville from PNG, the whole of the Western Islands District of the British Solomons Islands Protectorate (comprising a third of the population of the Solomon Islands) asked (through their district Council to join independent Bougainville.[2]

Context

The Bougainville islanders have always regarded themselves as a separate entity in Papua New Guinea. The people have jet black 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.[1 ]

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 central Bougainville. Bougainville Copper was a subsidiary of Conzinic Rio Tinto of Australia, which in turn was controlled by the giant British company, Rio Tinto Zinc. 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 so much as a discussion or any negotiation.[1 ]

Bougainville rejoined Papua New Guinea early in 1976.

References

  1. ^ a b c d The Times, September 4, 1975
  2. ^ The Times, Letter to Editor of Sir Brenard Braine, MP (UK), September 15, 1975
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