Port Moresby is the capital city of Papua New Guinea, located on the country's south-eastern coast, and on the shore of Fairfax Harbour. The location of the city was first visited by Westerners in 1873: a British vessel commanded by Captain John Moresby; he named it after hios father Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby. Fairfax claimed the area for Great Britain. In 1906 British New Guinea, also known as Papua, was passed to Australian administration.
During the Second World War Port Moresby was an important allied base; it lay in the small part of southern New Guinea not to have been conquered by the Japanese in 1941-42. The preservation of this bastion meant that the Japanese could not conquer all of New Guinea and proceed to invade northern Australia.
When Papua New Guinea became an independent nation in 1975, Port Moresby became its capital city. It has a population of 254,000. According to a 2004 survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, of 130 world capital cities (excluding Baghdad), Port Moresby was the worst to live in, witgh very high rates of murder, rape, robbery, gang violence and extreme poverty.