• Contested territories
  • Founded 2002
  • Capital Buka (interim) Arawa (traditional)
  • Area 9,384 km² land
  • Population 300,000

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, named after French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville, is geographically part of the Solomon Islands archipelago, but politically of Papua New Guinea. The islands are rich in gold and copper; sources that were the cause for civil unrest. The local people complained that they were not getting their share of the benefits of the mines. In 2001, after a ten-year-long civil war between secessionists and Papua New Guinea, an autonomous Bougainville government was established, and a promise was made that the people of Bougainville could vote over independence in a referendum in 2019. The outcome was almost unanimously in favor of becoming independent. Now a long process of negotiations has started between the government of Papua New Guinea and the autonomous government of Bougainville. Creating a nation is not easy and the economic challenges this country in the making faces are not yet solved.