Papua New Guinea (PNG), formally the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania that covers an area of 462,840 km2 and encompasses the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. The country's name comes from "Papou" which, according to the naturalist Alfred Wallace, originates in the Malaysian puwah-puwah or papuwah meaning "frizzy". New Guinea was the name given to the area by a 16th-century Spanish explorer due to the assumed resemblance of its inhabitants to those of Equatorial Guinea in Africa. The country gained independence in 1975 and is now a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Almost symbolically a federal structure, PNG comprises 20 administrative provinces: Bougainville, Central, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Gulf, Madang, Manus, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital, New Ireland, Northern, Sandaun, Southern Highlands, Western, Western Highlands and West New Britain.