Mae Enga - History and Cultural Relations

Archaeological research in the central highlands indicates that horticulturalists were active in the Enga area at least 2,000 years ago, and probably earlier. These pre-Ipomean cultivators were presumably ancestral to present-day Enga, but their place of origin is unknown. Enga, including Mae, have for centuries maintained with non-Enga neighbors social contacts such as marriage, sharing of rituals, economic Exchanges, and raiding. In 1930 Enga first encountered European gold prospectors and in 1938 field officers of the Australian colonial administration. By 1948 Wabag Subdistrict headquarters was established and the government permitted miners and Christian missionaries to enter the area. Between 1963 and 1973 the administration set up six elected local government councils, representatives of which in 1973 comprised a district-wide Area Authority. In 1964 Enga, like other residents of the then Territory of Papua New Guinea, elected representatives to the new House of Assembly, which in 1975 became the National Parliament after the country secured political independence from Australia. In 1974 Enga Province was proclaimed and in 1978 Enga elected a Provincial assembly and government.

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