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Papua (also known as Dutch New Guinea, West Papua, Irian Jaya, and Irian Barat) is the Indonesian region on the western half of the massive island of New Guinea; the independent nation of Papua New Guinea makes up the eastern half. Papua's flora and fauna are among the most diverse in the world, with interior mountains capped with equatorial glaciers. Containing the world's second largest rainforest (next to the Amazon), Papua's natural resources include the world's largest gold deposit, the second largest copper deposit, and massive amounts of natural gas, along with valuable hardwood forests, all of which are being extracted and harvested for primarily Asian and Western nations.

Papua contains roughly 250 distinct languages and many more cultures. Ethnically, Papuans are Melanesian, marked by what ...

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