Sambia - History and Cultural Relations

The precise derivation of Sambia and related Angan peoples is unknown, but they are believed to have migrated south to the Papuan Gulf and later, perhaps as recently as A.D. 1700, to their present territory. Their mythological place of origin is located near the area of Menyamya. Legend and recent historical material suggests endemic warfare and raiding Between Sambia and neighboring tribes, especially the Fore and Baruya. Initial contact with Europeans, at first Australian government patrols, began about 1956. The Australian colonial regime, operating under a mandate from the United Nations, entered and gradually enforced pacification around 1963. Warfare was halted in 1967, and in 1968 the Sambia area was "derestricted" and opened to Western missionaries and traders. Coffee was introduced as a cash crop about 1970. An abortive head-man system (modeled after African colonial regimes) was replaced in 1973, with komiti and kaunsal (councillors) being freely elected to a government council in the district. Papua New Guinea achieved independence in 1975; modernization efforts have followed rapidly.

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