• 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. After almost twenty years, this is about to happen right now. In December 2019, the results will be known. It is expected that many of the Bougainvilleans will vote for independence. The results, however, will not be binding.