Papua New Guinea celebrates its 40th anniversary of independence from Australia today.
The event is set to be celebrated in all provinces with a big cultural event planned for the nation's capital, Port Moresby.
As the people of PNG pause to reflect on their recent past, here is a timeline of the country's key moments.
Britain declares protectorate
After pressure from the Queensland government, Britain raises its flag, declaring a protectorate over south-east New Guinea and creates a colony in 1888.
Germany annexes the northern part of the country.
Australia takes control of 'Papua'
September 3, 1906
Control of British New Guinea is transferred to newly federated Australia and renamed Papua.
The move is seen as a bid by Australia to protect its northern, sparsely populated borders.
Australian Sir Hubert Murray is appointed lieutenant-governor in 1908 and becomes the head administrator of Papua until his death in 1940.
One of the only trained lawyers in Papua at the time, Murray must balance the demands of those looking to exploit the area's natural resources and the Papuan people.
Australian forces halt German occupation
September 1, 1914
Australian forces occupy German New Guinea during World War I, destroying German wireless stations which pose a threat to shipping routes in the Pacific.
On September 14, 1914, an Australian E-class submarine AE1 disappears during a patrol off Rabaul with 35 men aboard.
Despite an extensive search the submarine is never found and its vanishing endures as one of Australia's oldest military mysteries.
PNG administered as a single territory
August 31, 1945
During the World War II, Japanese forces occupy PNG, but are eventually pushed back by Australian and Allied forces.
Major battles include the Kokoda Track Campaign which saw Australian forces clash with Japanese troops in bloody battles in difficult jungle terrain.
After World War II, PNG is administered by Australia as a single territory as mandated by the League of Nations and United Nations Trust Territory.
In 1951, a 28-member Legislative Council is set up by Australia, as well as a judiciary and public service.
In 1964, the Council is replaced by an elected House of Assembly.
The Bougainville independence movement begins to stir in the 1960s amid the first exploration of the island's mineral resources conducted by a subsidiary of miner Rio Tinto.
Somare elected as chief minister
July 1, 1972
The territory's name is changed to Papua New Guinea. Elections are held and Michael Somare is elected as chief minister.
Known as 'The Chief', Mr Somare is the son of a policeman and hails from the village of Karau in East Sepik province.
Public discussion around the future direction of PNG continues and Mr Somare leads the country to self-government in 1973.
PNG achieves independence
September 16, 1975
PNG achieves independence on September 16. Prince Charles officiates a ceremony in Port Moresby where Australia's flag is lowered and PNG's flag is raised.
Australia's then prime minister, Gough Whitlam, and governor-general John Kerr attend the event.
ABC journalist Caroline Tiriman remembers the event with mixed emotions.
"It should never be forgotten that in making our own former colony independent, we as Australians enhance our own independence," Mr Whitlam said as he introduced legislation to Australia's parliament for PNG's independence.
"Australia was never truly free until Papua New Guinea became truly free."
The new country becomes a constitutional monarchy with membership of the British Commonwealth and Mr Somare becomes the country's first prime minister.
Meanwhile, Bougainville's provincial government votes to secede from PNG and tensions rise over the operation and profits of Panguna copper mine.
Somare re-elected, then loses vote of confidence
July 9, 1977
Mr Somare, head of the Pangu Party, is popularly elected by the people as prime minister in the first election since independence.
In 1980, the Somare government loses a vote of confidence and Julius Chan takes over as prime minister.
Elections in 1982 see the Pangu Party increase its vote and Mr Somare once again takes over as prime minister.
In 1985 a no confidence motion moved against Mr Somare is successful and Paias Wingti takes over as leader and head of a five-party coalition.
Mr Wingti is replaced in 1988 by Rabbie Namaliu. Meanwhile, grievances over mining in Bougainville see locals take up arms against the PNG government.
Bloody Bougainville rebellion begins
A rebellion begins on the island of Bougainville, which turns into more than nine years of violence, leaving up to 20,000 dead and thousands displaced.
Papua New Guinea imposes a blockade on Bougainville, leading to a second civil war between secessionists and PNG for independence.
RN's Keri Phillips explains more on Bougainville's troubled emergence from its colonial past.
Agreement with secessionist leaders signed
Prime minister Julius Chan signs an agreement with Bougainville secessionist leaders and Bougainville's transitional government is sworn in 1995.
Sandline affair topples government
February 10, 1997
The PNG government is found to have agreed to hire a UK-based military company, Sandline International, to contract mercenary soldiers to regain control in Bougainville.
The explosive revelations make international headlines and bring down the Chan government.
Meanwhile, sedition charges are levelled against the former commander of the country's defence force, Jerry Singirok, for a radio broadcast he makes calling for Chan and members of his cabinet to resign. Mr Singirok is later acquitted.
The scandal allows New Zealand to host peace talks, leading to the formation of the autonomous Bougainville government.
Bougainville ceasefire begins
A permanent ceasefire in Bougainville takes place as monitors from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu oversee the process.
A United Nations Observer Mission is set up in Bougainville.
In 2001, a comprehensive Bougainville Peace Agreement is signed in the capital Arawa to dispose of weapons and establish an autonomous government.
The agreements provided for a referendum in 10-15 years for Bougainville's independence.
Australia builds detention centre
October 21, 2001
A detention centre is built on Manus Island in 2001 as part of Australia's "Pacific Solution" to house asylum seekers in detention centres on Pacific island nations, rather than on the Australian mainland.
Mr Somare is re-elected as prime minister for a third time amid election violence.
Regional police deployed
Australia deploys more than 200 police to help build the skills of the Royal PNG Constabulary.
They are withdrawn in 2005, but Australian police continue their presence in PNG.
In 2013, the Australian Federal Police expands its mission by 50 frontline police officers.
The mission also includes a small group of officers deployed to Lae in the country's highlands. There are now over 70 Australian police officers in the country.
Bougainville holds elections
May 20, 2005
A weapons disposal program is declared complete and elections in Bougainville take place. International observers oversee the election.
Joseph Kabui is elected Bougainville's first president and the members of the autonomous Bougainville government are sworn in.
The elections are an important step on the road to permanent peace on Bougainville.
Leadership crisis as Somare and O'Neill clash
August 13, 2007
Somare is re-elected in June 2007 and in 2008 announces he will soon retire, but he retains power.
In 2011, PNG's parliament votes to remove Mr Somare from office while he is in Singapore receiving ongoing medical treatment.
Peter O'Neill is elected. But Mr Somare returns home and says he is still prime minister.
For a short period, both men claimed to be the rightful prime minister, and the country faces instability with rival cabinets, police commissioners and governors-general.
The bitter political impasse ends with Mr O'Neill as prime minister, partly on the argument that "parliamentary supremacy" should decide the matter.
The Supreme Court later rules that the change of prime minister is unconstitutional, but the O'Neill government drafts legislation that retrospectively authorises the decision.
Sorcery act repealed
May 29, 2013
Shocked by a spate of violent crimes, including gang rapes and the beheading and burning of women suspected of sorcery, the government vows to act with harsher penalties.
It moves to repeal of the country's Sorcery Act to allow sorcery-related killings to be considered under criminal law.
PNG also re-introduces the death penalty for a range of crimes, including armed robbery, aggravated rape and sorcery.
Amnesty International say capital punishment is the wrong policy to address violent crime.
There is widespread belief in sorcery in the country, where many people do not accept natural causes as an explanation for misfortune, illness, accidents and death.
Violence breaks out at Manus Island
February 16, 2014
Violence breaks out at the Manus Island detention centre leaving one asylum seeker dead and another in a critical condition.
Thousands gather around Australia for a candlelight vigil to remember the man killed — Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati.
Separately, Mr O'Neill is served with an arrest warrant by the country's anti-corruption body.
He refuses to go to police for questioning over allegations of public corruption.
Detention centre unrest continues
A PNG court postpones a tribunal into alleged misconduct by Mr O'Neill.
Meanwhile, a hunger strike and unrest continues at the Manus Island detention centre
In July, three private security guards ware flown off Manus Island amid allegations they raped a local woman working at the detention centre.
Mr O'Neill also announces a ban on all foreign advisers working for his government, saying they make local staff lazy, and they could be spying.
PNG's rates of domestic violence are described as at "pandemic" levels by a member of the Australian Federal Police.
A Human Rights Watch report citing PNG government figures from 2013 shows up to 68 per cent of women in the country have suffered violence and up to a third have been raped.