Decolonization of the Pacific
Decolonization of the Pacific (17 May 1990)
Historical Map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific
When Papua New Guinea (PNG) gained independence from Australia in 1975, the island of Bougainville - geographically part of the Solomons - immediately attempted to secede but was persuaded to stay on in return for greater autonomy. However, tensions continued to rise over mining in Bougainville and in 1988 conflict broke out. In a nine-year war, PNG was largely expelled from the island and eventually agreed to a New Zealand-sponsored truce.
1987 Fijian coups
On 14 May 1987 Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka launched a military coup d'état in Fiji, overthrowing the elected government of Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra. Four months later, on 28 September, Rabuka led another coup, formally deposing Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms as Queen of Fiji and proclaiming a republic on 7 October. The coups favored indigenous Fijians over the sizable Indo-Fijian population, leading to an exodus of Indo-Fijians which made them a minority by 1994.
When tensions over the influx of workers to the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG), led to violence, PNG constabulary and defence troops were sent to the region. However the conflict quickly expanded, and in 1990 PNG was forced to withdraw, leaving the island in the hands of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), which declared independence. Returning in 1991-1992, PNG gradually reconquered parts of the island in a war that resulted in several thousand military casualties and over 15,000 Bougainvilleans dead. With no military resolution in sight, PNG and the BRA agreed to a New Zealand-sponsored truce in 1998.
Fall of the Berlin Wall
After Hungary and Czechoslovakia opened their borders to Austria, allowing tens of thousands of East Germans to escape to the West, the government of East Germany partially opened its border with West Germany. In the confusion over the new regulations, masses of East Germans gathered at the Berlin Wall, overwhelming the guards and demanding to cross to the West. At 10:45 pm on 9 November, the guards relented. The Wall was swamped by celebrating East and West Germans, then torn down over the ensuing days.