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When the country of Papua New Guinea became independent of Australia in 1975, the islands to the east that had been known as the German Solomon Islands when Germany controlled what is today Papua New Guinea, were incorporated into Papua New Guinea as the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (shown in red on this map). The results of a recent referendum were announced last week: 98% of voters in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville voted to become an independent country, which is not entirely surprising given that the mineral-rich islands have agitated for independence, sometimes violently, for more than 50 years.
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