Capital of Papua: Port Moresby Before and After Colonization

West Papua
Sumber : Republika

Port Moresby is the capital, largest city, and retail/convection center in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby is the capital of Papua, on the coast of the Gulf of Papua in the southeastern part of the (bird’s-tail) country of Papua New Guinea. 

Capital of Papua: Port Moresby Before and After Colonization

Local production includes rubber, gold, and copra. The city of Port Moresby has a population of 259,908 (based on a quick count by local NGOs in 2007).

Port Moresby, the Capital of Papua

British captain John Moresby founded Port Moresby in 1873 as a seaside checkpoint. The United Kingdom occupied the city in 1883 after capturing it from Germany. During World War II, an Allied army headquarters was in the heart of this city.

The National Capital District (NCD) includes Port Moresby, a sprawling township, a seat of government, suburbs, and settlers. Port Moresby is the largest city (195570 people) and most populous in Papua New Guinea (783 people/km2). NCD has more population than any other 12 Provinces in the capital of Papua New Guinea. 

5/9 of the population in NCD was born outside the NCD. It makes the indigenous population (the Motu and Koitabu people) less than a tenth of the total population living in the NCD. The villages of the Motu and Koitabu people are centers of crowds and poverty. 

A quarter of the NCD population lives in squatter settlements. As well as having the tallest buildings and most luxurious housing, the city also has the largest population. There is no road connection between NCD and other major cities.

Government activities are the main activities in NCD. The National Museum and Art Gallery are tourist attractions in NCD. The Annual Port Moresby Festival and the Hiri Moale Festival are held at NCD.

Port Moresby Before Colonialize

Scientists believe the Motu people settled in the NCD more than 400 years ago. The Motu people started establishing the villages of Pari and Badihagwa 250 years ago, Hanuabada (Kampung Besar) 130 years ago, Vabukori and Tatana more recently. 

The Motu people build houses on stilts above the sea. Bananas, sweet potatoes, and fish are their staple food. Sago is their primary food during the lovely potato season from November to May. 

The Motu people use Lakatos (canoes with two large hulls) to transport pots and shells to the Gulf in exchange for sago. The inland Koitabu people befriended Motu and traded crops for fish. 

The Koitabu people founded the villages of Baruni, Kilakila, and Korobosea in the coastal hills. They also live on the outskirts of Motu village, and their marriage brings them closer together.

In 1873, British Marine Captain John Moresby surveyed the harbor on the NCD. He named the two ports he studied, Port Fairfax and Port Moresby, in honor of his father, 

Admiral Fairfax Moresby. In 1975 William G. Lawes established the headquarters of the London Missionary Society near Hanuabada. Port Moresby is the closest port to Australia, which served as a British colonial headquarters (1884-1906) and Australia (1906-75).

Port Moresby After Colonialize

Japan bombed Port Moresby repeatedly in 1942, at the start of World War II. General Douglas MacArthur and allied forces established a temporary headquarters at Port Moresby. Many Motu and Koitabu men worked as laborers, transport workers, servants, and doctors.

Women and children moved to villages far to the east and west to save themselves. When the war ended in 1945, the town of Motu-Koitabu was devastated by the war. They built temporary shelters with abandoned war gear. In the late 1940s, Australia helped them rebuild Hanuabada.

Established in 1965, the University of Papua New Guinea is the oldest in the country. Development of the national government headquarters in Waigani began in 1970. 

Port Moresby, the capital of Papua, had the City Council elected from 1971 to 1980, when the National cabinet was suspended due to financial errors. 

The Council has 21 members representing 7 cities. In May 1982, Parliament adopted a system of government for the NCD. There were 10 Motu-Koitabu members, 4 members of the national parliament, and 10 politically appointed officials leading the government in 1991. 1992 marked the replacement of the previous system with the current one.