This region of Oceania consists of many hundreds of small islands spread over a large region of the western Pacific. The only empire known to have originated in Micronesia was based in Yap. The term "Micronesia" was first proposed to distinguish the region in 1831 by Jules Dumont d'Urville; before this the term "Polynesia" was in use to generally describe the islands of the Pacific.
Enga Province is located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and is named after its major linguistic and ethnic group, the Enga speakers. Enga is the highest and is the second most rugged province (after Simbu Province) in Papua New Guinea. It covers an area of 12,800 km². Much of the province is at altitudes of over 2000 meters. Lower altitude areas are typically valleys which form the watershed for the two major river systems that drain the province, the Lagaip (which is a tributary of the Fly) and the Lai (which is a tributary of the Sepik).
The Papua New Guinea census of 2000 lists the population of Enga at 295,031 people, although the accuracy of the census is questionable. The provincial capital of Enga is Wabag. The two other main centers of population are Wapenamanda and Laiagam. Porgera, at the western edge of the province, is home to a gold mine operated by Barrick Gold.
The area has been settled for over 12,000 years. Europeans—typically Australian gold prospectors—originally entered what is now Enga province in the late 1920s, although the best-known explorations into Enga took place during the early 1930s. By World War II Enga had been very roughly mapped by the government; Lutheran and Roman Catholic missionaries were permitted to establish stations beginning in 1949 but a permanent government presence was not established in most of the district until the late 1950s.