1902 Encyclopedia > New Guinea

New Guinea




New Guinea, the largest island in the world (ex-including Australia), lies immediately north of Australia between 0° 25’ and 10° 40’ S. lat. And between 130° 50’ and 150° 35’ E. long. It is 1490 miles long, with a maximum breadth of 430 miles, its area being about 306,000 square miles.

Physical Features. – It was probably in Miocene times, if not later, united to Australia; the average depth of Torres Straits, which are 80 miles wide, is only 8 or 9 fathoms, and the maximum 20,- three-fourths of the distance being occupied by coral reefs, a prolongation of the great eastern barrier reef of Australia. At either end of new guinea a few large islands, with a number of smaller islets, are only separated from the mainland by narrow channels. From difficulties connected with the navigation, the climate, and the people, the coast are still imperfectly surveyed, while of the interior, relatively to its vast extent, very little is known. At the north-west and the deep M’Cluer Inlet almost cuts off a great peninsula of some 200 by 115 miles, while this inlet and another farther south almost if not entirely insulate the great tract known as Onin. The south coast, from Cape Bourou westwards, is mostly precipitous, limestone cliffs rising several hundred feet, with dense forest and a mountainous country behind. There are occasional tracts of flat swampy ground, and the steep coast-line is besides broken by some large rivers, whose banks for some distance inland are usually swampy. Off M’cluer Gulf are numbers of curious mushroom-shaped islands with sea-worn bases.

The north coasts are sometimes level, as at parts of Geelvink Bay and the extensive delta of the great Amberno river, at Walckenaar and Humboldt Bays, and farther east towards Cape della Torre, near which, and near Huon Gulf, there are large rivers; otherwise the shores are steep-to, and apparently rising, with promontories jutting 20 to 40 miles out, and some good harbor. There is no barrier reef off this coast. High distant mountains are observed at every opening, those towards the east rising in successive and highly fertile terraces to some 13,000 feet. No active volcanoes have as yet been observed on the mainland, but Mr. W. Powell reports masses of pumice on the slopes of the Finisterre mountains. Severe earthquakes, too, occur on the north side, and there is a line of volcanic activity parallel to this coast some 20 to 50 miles distant. Near its east end are the D’Entrocasteaux Islands (7000 feet), richly wooded, with rocks of raised coral and boiling alkaline springs. Cape Bourou appears to be the extremity of the lofty Charles Lewis range, over 16,000 feet, the tops of which seem from the distance to be snow-covered. East from Cape Bourou the mountain recede out of sight, the sea is shallow, and the flat mangrove-covered coast is intersected by creeks and rivers laden with mud, as far as the Gulf of Papua, where Signor D’Albertis reports that he steamed 500 miles up the Fly river, probably one of several channels draining a vast swamp country between the mountain and the sea He found the tropical forest scenery varied by treeless plains, with isolated hills rising from them, like the islands in the neighboring Torres Straits from the sea. These tracts are Australian in character. The hills probably escaped the submersion which, besides forming Torres Straits, covered the surrounding country, and thus remained as nuclei of an Australian flora, - the plains, on again emerging, being occupied, in great measure, by the tropical vegetation from the westward. Beyond Redscar Head in the Gulf of Papua the country again rises, having on Australia appearance, -open grassy hills with scattered timber sloping to the coast, which is here skirted by a barrier reef with occasional openings, affording good shelter to vessels. Inland, densely wooded hills and valleys with rivers and rich cultivable soil are backed by the great Owen Stanley range (13,000 feet), which terminates at the east forks in bluffs 2000 feet high.

Geology. – Of the geology of New Guinea little is known. In the gneiss. Near Geelvink Bay dark limestones occur, apparently ancient, and stratified clay slates. Bismuth is found here at Moon. Miosnom island, opposite, is volcanic. Raised coral is frequent on this (north0 coast, and the streams bring down pebbles of plutonic rocks and sandstones. Clay ironstone is found at Humboldt Bay, on the river Jakata near M’Cluer Gulf, and at Lakahia Island, and Tertiary coal (lignite) at Lakahia and in Galewo Strait. On the east side of the Gulf of Papua the coast range is of recent limestone. At Hall Sound calcareous clays from the Lower Miocene contain fossil shells identical with those found in Victoria and South Australia. Small fragments and pebbles, sent from Redscar and Astrolabe Bays (probably coming from the great central range), consisting of mica slate, quartz, sandstones, greenstones, and jasperoid rocks, are undistinguishable from those of the Devonian and Silurian series of the gold-fields of New South Wales. A black magnetic-iron and (with traces of gold) and plumbago are reported from this (south-east) coast. Some of the Torres Straits islands are of raised coral, others of stratified sandstones with huge overlying blocks of the same and conglomerates, others volcanic.

Climate. – The climate of the coast is unhealthy, especially during the transition between the monsoons, which is long and irregular owing to the action of the high mountain ranges on these winds. The heat is tempered by the heavy rainfall, discharged by the north-west monsoon chiefly in the west and north; the south-east monsoon also is often wet, especially in the east and south districts. Torres Straits are healthier, though the heat is great and the amount of salt in the air is trying to many. From July to September the force of the south-east monsoon there is such that even steamers cannot always face it and the tide together.

Flora. – The flora is mainly that of the Indian Archipelago, which predominates even in the islands of Torres Straits; but on, the shores of the Gulf of Papua, and inland, Australian vegetation is represented by Eucalyptus, acacias, and Pandanus; and Australian types are found as far north as Humboldt Bay. Over great part of New Guinea dense forests prevail, clothing the mountains to a height of several thousand feet, the timber of enormous height, though the species are fewer than in the great islands of the archipelago. Among them various kinds of Ficus, Casuarina, Araucaria, Dammara, Podocarpus, Culophyllum, Aleurites, Ebenaceae, Canarium, Durio,Wormia, and many species of palms. The trees are matted with creepers (Bauhimia, Bignonia, Asclepias, *c.), with a dense undergrowth of brushwood, ferns, and lycopodium, but their density often makes the herbaceous vegetation poor. Of the smaller growths are great reeds and grasses covering the swamps and open spaces; aloes, aroids, orchids, Scitamineae (ginger, cardamom, &c.), Laurineae, Piperaceae (betel and others, wild and cultivated), Myrtaceae, Viniferae, pine-apple, nutmeg, cotton shrubs, Urticeae, Apocyneae, Malvaceae, Papilionaceae (Butea, Erythrina, Clitoria, Mimosa, &c.), Justiceae, and Begoniae; and in the mountains a sub-alpine flora, oaks, rhododendrons, vacciniums, epilobiums, Umbelliferae, &c. Among cultivated plants are the banana, papaya, orange, sugar cane, maize, millet, taro (Arum esculentum), Abelmoschus Manihot, Jambosa, yams, sweet potato, and pumpkins, and among the Amberbaki the dry rice. The cocoa-palm grows everywhere; the sago-palm grows wild in abundance in the swamps, and in the north-west each hill tribe, apparently to avoid collisions, draws its supplies from a different district of the coast. They have also in the hills a tree called "Sali," with top and pith resembling sago. Tobacco of good quality is brought down from the interior, and an illustrious antiquity is claimed for the plant by a tradition which describes it as the miraculous fruit of a woman named Heva. In some places the kava of the Pacific (Piper methysticum) is used. At Doreh a cotton plant (G. vitifolium) grows wild, and is also cultivated.

Fauna. – New Guinea is very poor in Mammalia. According to Mr Wallace (Geographical Distribution of Animals), there are as yet known, besides a peculiar form of pig, some mice, and various Pteropidae, four families of marsupials, all Australian, viz., Dasyridae, Peramelidae, Macropodidae, and Phalangistidae, with nine species Among them are a Dendrolagus or tree-kangaroo and several cuscus. There are also two echidnas. The large animals reported by travelers may possibly be gigantic marsupials akin to those found fossil in the Queensland Pleistocene. The wealth and beauty of the avifauna are great. Count Salvadori gives 1028 species, belonging to 321 genera, for the Papuan subregion (i.e., from the Solomon Islands westwards to, but excluding, Celebes). Of these about 470 are peculiar to New Guinea and the adjacent islands, including Aru. The more numerous and important genera are pre-eminently Australian in character, with many species peculiarly developed. There is also, as might be expected, a considerable number of Malayan forms, some common to the whole region, some only found here and at other far distant spots in it. The most remarkable orders, besides the birds of paradise, which are only found in New Guinea and the neighboring islands, are the honeysuckers, flycatchers, parrots, kingfishers, and pigeons, all rich in special forms. Birds of prey are rare; vultures, pheasants, woodpeckers, and finches absent. Mr. Wallace attributes the unusually large number of "beautiful" birds, 50 per cent. of the whole, to the numbers of parrots, lories, cockatoos, pigeons, and kingfishers, and to the absence of thrushes, shrikes, warblers, and other dull-colored groups. Of snakes, which may migrate freely on floating timber, we find out of 24 genera (belonging to 11 families) 6 Oriental, 4 Australian, and only 4 specially Papuan; of lizards 3 families with 24 genera, of which only 3 are peculiarly Oriental, 3 Australian, 6 Papuan. The Amphibia (6 families with 8 genera), for which the salt water is a barrier, have no western affinities, and those not of wide distribution are almost exclusively Australian, - a fact of obvious geological significance. The Lepidoptera are numerous and singularly beautiful, as are the Coleoptera, which Mr Wallace says often display the metallic luster characteristic of the plumage of the New Guinea birds.





Population. – The population consists of a great number of isolated tribes, differing much in appearance and language. The level of civilization varies, but seldom reaches even the average Pacific standard.

They have no single name for New Guinea, or any idea of its extent, only using terms signifying "great land," to distinguish it from the adjacent islands or from Australia.

The name Papua is a Malayan term signifying frizzled, in reference to the hair; and, as distinguishing the peoples so characterized from the Australians, the term "Papuan" is by some writers thought more suitable than "Melanesian," while equally distinguishing the race from the brown Polynesians. The type of man known as Papuan or Melanesian (see Melanesia) is found here in its greatest purity, and appears to occupy the whole island excepting its east extremity. But among tribes occupying so wide an area, having little intercommunication, and with other races at no great distance, many deviation from the normal type must be expected, and in fact it is not very easy to define this type. Its leading characteristics are – a medium height; fleshy rather than muscular frame; color a sooty brown, varying, but decidedly darker than the Malay; high but narrow and rather retreating forehead, with thick brows; nose sometimes flat and wide at the nostrils, but oftener hooked and "Jewish," with depressed point, a feature represented in their karwars or ancestral images; prognathism general, but not universal; lips thick and projecting, so as to make the chin seem retreating; high cheek bones; hair black, frizzly, trained into a mop. The appearance is thus Negroid, and is said to resemble the population of the African coast opposite Aden. But in the Arfak mountains in the north-west, and at points on the west and north coasts and adjacent islands, very degraded and stunted tribes are found, with hardly the elements of social organization (possibly the aboriginal race unmixed with foreign elements), and resembling the Aetas or Negritos of the Philippines, and other kindred tribes in the Malay Archipelago. On the banks of the Fly river D’Albertis observed at least two widely differing types, those on its upper course bearing some resemblance to the tribes of the eastern coast. Here, wedged in among the ruder Papuans, who reappear at the extremity of the peninsula, we find a very different-looking people, whom competent observers, arguing from appearance, language, and customs, assert to be a branch of the fair polycesian race. But there are obvious signs among them of much admixture of blood; and they or their congeners again may easily have modified their neighbors immediately west of them, just as Malay and other influences have done on the other end of the island. Indeed the greater degree of intelligence and good looks observed at points along the north coast may be due simply to this cause. On the west coasts there is a semi-civilization, due to intercourse with Malays and Bughis, who have settled at various points, and carry on the trade with the neighboring islands, in some of which, while the coast population is Malay or mixed, that of the interior is identical with the people of the mainland. On the west coasts Mohammedan teaching has also some civilizing effect. Many of the tribes at this west end of New Guinea are, at all events in war time, head-hunters, and in the mountains cannibals . Cannibalism in fact is practiced here and there throughout New Guinea. The frequent hostility and mistrust of strangers are partly due to slave-hunting raids and ill-treatment by traders, but the different tribes vary much in character. Thus in the mountains of the north-west the Karons, a short, hardy, well-built people, cultivate very little, living chiefly on wild plants which their women cook in hollow bamboos, and obtaining what they require from without, as knives, ornaments, &c., either by plunder, or by disposal of slaves or bird skins; while their neighbors the Kebars grow vegetables and very fine tobacco, which they sell to the Amberbaki, a peaceful industrious coast tribe. The mountain tribes are usually despised by their coast neighbors as ruder and more destitute of resources, but when more numerous and fiercer, as in the south of west New guinea, the tables are turned, and the coast people live in perpetual terror of their neighbors, who plunder and enslave them.

At Humboldt bay the people, though uncertain, rude and warlike, are ready to trade, and tribes of a kindred race are found farther east, at Astrolabe Bay; here the Russian Miklucho Maclay lived among them for some time, and was favorably impressed by them. Still farther east, the plateaus of the Finisterre ranges are highly cultivated and artificially irrigated by a comparatively fair people. Many tribes in the south-west seem to be migratory. At Princess Marianne Straits tribes much wilder than those farthest west, naked and painted, swarm like monkey in their trees, the stems of which are submerged at high tide. But the Torres Straits islanders are employed by Europeans in the pearl fishery, and are liked as laborers; and in some of the Ke and Aru Islands the Papuan inhabitants form orderly Christian communities. The people of the south-east peninsula seem generally, like the typical Polynesian, of a mild, accessible type Englishmen, wandering inland and losing their way, have been found and brought back by them. their manners are more courteous, their women better treated, than is usual with Papuans, but they show perhaps less ingenuity and artistic taste. Their children, in the mission schools, show much intelligence.

While tribes allied to the Papuan have been traced through Timor, Flores, and the highlands of the Malay Peninsula to the Deccan of India, these "Oriental Negroes" have many curious resemblances with some East-African tribes. Besides the appearance of the hair, the raised cicatrices, the belief in omens and sorcery, the extraction of diseases in the form of bits of wood or stone, and the practices for testing the courage of youths, they are equally devoid of forethought or ambition, rude, merry, and boisterous, but amenable to discipline, and with decided artistic tastes and faculty.

Several of the above practices are also common to the Australians, who, though generally inferior, have many points of resemblance (osteological and other) with the Papuans. The extinct Tasmanians were more closely allied to the Papuans.

The constitution of society is every where simple. Among the more advanced tribes rank is hereditary, otherwise the chiefs generally have but little power, most matters being settled by the assembly, a contrast to the Polynesian respect for birth and hereditary rank. The Papuan’s religious institutions are likewise simpler; there is no general object of worship, consequently no regular priesthood; the institutions of tabu is less oppressive, and its sanction less awful, but the transgressor may still have to reckon, not only with the society or individual who imposed it, but also with offended spirits. Almost every crime is condoned by payment. A characteristic example of the feeling of the fair race towards the dark was seen in the contempt shown by the tribes of the south-east towards certain Melanesian teachers introduced by the English missionaries, while others brought from the Polynesian islands were treated with respect.

The Papuan women are, as a rule, more modest than the Polynesian.

In western New Guinea, according to the Dutch missionaries there is a vague notion of a universal spirit, practically represented by several malevolent powers, as Manoin, the most powerful, who resides in he woods; Narucoje in the clouds, above the trees, a sort of Erl-Kouig who carries off children; Faknik in the rocks by the sea, who raises storms. As a protection against these the people contract-having first with much ceremony chosen a tree for the purpose-certain rude images called karwars, each representing a recently dead progenitor, whose spirit is then invoked to occupy the image and protect them against their enemies and give success to their under takings. The karwar is about a foot high, with head disproportionately large; the male figures are sometimes represented with a spear and shield, the female holding a snake. Omens are observed before starting on any expedition; if they are unfavorable the person threatened retires, and another day is chosen and the process repeated. They have magicians and rain-makers, and sometimes resort to ordeal to discover a crime. Temples (so-called) are found min the north and west, built like the houses, but larger, the piles being carved into figures, and the roof-beans and other prominent points decorated with representations of erocodiles or lizards, coarse human figures, and other grotesque ornamentation; but their use is not clear. Neither temples nor images (except small figures worse as amulets) occur among the people of the south-east, whose religions ideas seem vague and rudimentary; but they have a great dread of departed spirits, especially those of the hostile inland tribes, and of a being called Vata, who causes disease and death.

The dead are disposed of in various ways. The spirit is supposed not to leave the body immediately, which is either buried for a time and then taken up and the bones cleaned and deposited in or near the dwelling, or it is exposed with the same object on a platform of branches, or dried over afire, and the mummy kept for a few years. Sometimes the head, oftener the jaw bone, is kept as a relic. Food is placed ion a grave,- with an infant a calabash of its mother’s milk- and a path is made to the sea that the spirit may bathe; but the spirits are everywhere dreaded as likely to injure the living. No one likes to go about, or into the water, after dark. Little imitation houses are placed in the woods to allure the spirits away. These dwell chiefly in the moon, and are particularly active at full moon. The houses which they haunt, and beneath or near which their bodies lie buried, are deserted from time to time, especially by a newly-married couple, or by women before child-birth. Probably the effuvium from the buried corpse produces the feelings of sickness which are supposed to be caused by the spirit’s presence, and which subside when they leave the spot.





Feasting and dances take place on the setting up of a karwar, on the return of warlike and other expeditions, at a marriage, birth, change of name, child’s first hair-cutting, and also some time after a death.

The chief diseases are skin diseases, with which in some places one-third of the population is affected, -among these a sort of leprosy to which, as well as to a dropsy (beri-beri), Europeans are subject, - catarrhs, boils, syphilis, and intermittent fevers, especially where there is much coral on the coast.

The Papuan and other small animals, which are hunted with dogs. Birds are snared or lined. Fish abound at many parts of the coast, and are taken by lines, or speared by torchlight, or netted (the netting pattern is the same as ours or a river is dammed and the fish stupefied with the root of a milletia. Turtle and dugong are caught. The kima, a great mussel weighing (without shell) 20 to 30 lb. And other shell-fish are eaten, as are also dogs, flying foxes, lizards, beetles, and all kinds of insects, and an edible earth.

Food is cooked in various ways, being stewed or roasted, or baked with hot stones as in Polynesia. A third part of sea water, which is carried to the interior in hollow bamboos, is added in place of salt, which is also obtained from the ashes of wood saturated by the sea. The sexes generally eat apart.

Their very scanty clothing is made of the bark of Hibiscus, Broussonetia, and other plants, or of leaves, and in more civilized part of cotton. Tight belts and armlets of split rattan and fibre are often worn. The people have usually a great dislike to rain, and carry a mat of pandanus leaves as a protection against it.

The chief home-made ornaments are necklaces, armlets, and earrings of shells, teeth, or fibre, and cassowary, cocktatoo, or bird of paradise feathers,-the last two, or a flower, are worn through the septum of the nose. The hair is frizzed out and decorated variously with flowers, leaves feathers, and bamboo combs. The fairer tribes at the east end tattoo, no definite meaning apparently being attached to the pattern, for they welcome suggestions from Manchester. For the women it is simply a decoration. Men are not tattooed till they have killed some one. Raised cicatrices usually take the place of tattooing with the darker races. Rosenberg says the scars on the breast and arms register the number of sea-voyages made.

The use of the bow and arrow is little known among the eastern tribes. The Papuan bow is rather short, the arrows barbed and tipped with cassowary or human bone. Other weapons are a short dart, a heavy spear and shield, stone clubs and axes. They are mostly ignorant of iron, but work skillfully with their axes of stone or tridacna shell, and bone chisels, cutting down trees 20 inches in diameter. Two man working on a tree trunk, one making a cut with the adze lengthwise and the other chopping off the piece across, will soon hollow out a large canoe. Every man has a stone axe, each village generally owning a large one. Their knives are of bamboo hardened by fire. In digging they use the pointed stick.

The eastern tribes salute by squeezing simultaneously the nose and stomach, and both there and on the north coast friendship is ratified by sacrificing a dog. In other places they wave green branches, and on the south (Papuan) coast pour water over their heads, a custom noticed by Cook at Mallicolo (New Hebrides). Among other pets they keep little pigs, which the women suckle.

The Papuan numerals extent usually to 5 only. In Astrolabe Bay the limit is 6; with the more degraded tribes it is 3, or, as in Torres Straits, they have names only for 1 and 2; 3 is 2 + 1.

The houses are mostly (so far as is known) built in Malay fashion on piles, and this not only on the coast but on the hill-sides, though the houses there are smaller. Small houses are also found perched high up in trees as a safeguard against enemies and evil spirits, and possibly malaria, and one or two of these in a village act as its fortress or watch-tower.

The piles support a platform made from old canoes or branches, the whole covered with a rounded or inverted boat-shaped roof thatched with palm branches, sometimes 500 feet long, and looking inside, when undivided, like a dark tunnel. Otherwise the coast houses are 60 to 70 feet long, often more, with a passage down the center, and the side spaces partitioned off as needed. Each house has a sort of paterfamilias, the rest of the numerous inhabitants being his relations or slaves. A bridge, when the house is over the water, connects it with the land, and near this is sometimes a small jointure house for widows of former occupants, and a separate one for bachelors or for pregnant women. A veranda towards the sea is usually occupied during the day by the men, and one on the land side by the woman. the gable ends are often prolonged upwards and carved, and the houses adorned with drawings of animals, and hung round with weapons, and crocodiles’, dogs’, and boars’ teeth. on the north coast, about Astrolate Bay, the houses are not built on piles; the walls, of bamboo or palm branches, are very low, and the projecting roof nearly reaches the ground; a barrier art the entrance keeps out pigs and dogs. A sort of table or bench stands outside, used by the mane only, for meals and for the subsequent siesta.

In east New Guinea sometimes the houses are two storied, the lower part being used for stores. The furniture consists of earthen bowls, drinking cups, wooden neck-rests, spoons, &c., artistically carved, mats, cordage, small plaited baskets and boxes, and various weapons and implements. The pottery is moulded and fire-baked.

West New Guinea exports a certain amount of sago, nutmegs, massoi and pulasaria barks (all wild), birdskins, tripang, tortoise and pearl-shell, the trade with the Dutch being worth about 20,000 pounds a year. Misol is rich in all these products, and Salawatti is sago. They are sent to Ceram, Ternate, and Macassar in exchange for iron and copper ware, cotton cloths, indigo, knives, mirrors, beads, arrack, &c. The Ke islanders are great boatbuilders. An active trade is carried on between the hill and coast tribes, the former bringing down vegetable produce in exchange for fish and shell ornaments. In the north-west some of the coast villagers spend six months in the forest collecting massoi bark, and live the rest of the year by fishing. Often a village has its special industry, as canoe-building, pottery, or manufacture of shell ornaments, or the little sticks worn in the septum of the nose. Large trading canoes pass up and down the coast, probably combining a little piracy and kidnapping with other business. The Papuan pirates were formerly dreaded in these seas. For trading purposes several large canoes are lashed together, with a platform above and a house at each end united by a palisade. Coasting voyages of several weeks are made in these craft. The canoes vary from the common "dug-out" to the great war-canoe elaborately carved and ornamented.

Both races show considerable agricultural skill-probably an old Asiatic tradition, for the plants cultivated seem mostly Asiatic. In some places the hill-sides are carefully terraced, plantations well kept and fenced, and flowers grown for ornament. Any one may clear and cultivate a piece of land belonging to his tribe, but often after one or two deaths a kampong is deserted, and new forest-land taken up; on the west coast, where the mainland is too steep for cultivation, the people cross over and cultivate the neighboring uninhabited islands. they have a strong sense of proprietorship, even of the fruit trees in the forest and of the fish in their own streams or on their own coast.

History. – The claims to superiority over New Guinea on the part of the rulers of some of the small neighboring islands are curious when we compare the extent of their dominions with New Guinea. These claims date at all events from the spread of Islam to the Moluccas at the beginning of the 15th century, and were maintained by the Malay rulers both of Batjan and of Gebe. Latterly they have been exercised by the sultan of Tidore. When the Dutch first came to these seas it was their policy to ally themselves with certain chiefs, and support their claims over various islands, so as to extend their own commercial monopoly; and they now support the claims (admitted by Great Britain in 1814) of their former rival and ally the sultan of Tidore over both the Raja Ampat (i.e. the four Papuan kingships, Waigiu, Salawatti, Misol, and Waigamma) and certain islands or points on the north-west coast of New Guinea, and the rulers of these places are nominated, on his recommendation, by the Dutch governor of Ternate, under the titles of rajah, major, singaji or korano.

Salawatti and till lately Misol have dominated the coasts respectively adjacent to them, but certain (consisting of sago, massoi bark, occasional slaves, and other produce) are levied in the sultan’s name, at irregular intervals, all along the coast for hundreds of miles. These extortions make Islam unpopular, and have retarded progress, for we read in former days of Papuan pirate fleets, and of "the Papuan" in league with the Moluccas against the Portuguese. The Ducth, however, in their dealings with the people still find it convenient to use the sultan’s name and authority. As his suzerain they claim possession of the west half of New Guinea as far as 140° 47’E., but his claims never extended so far, and their sovereignty is little more than nominal. There is a small coaling station at Doreh, in Geelvink Bay, and the Dutch flag is hoisted by many of the coast chiefs, ignorant even of its meaning; all attempts at settlement have been abandoned owing to the bad climate, the difficult navigation, and the constant fighting and laziness of the people,- all this limiting the amount of produce available for trade. The Dutch missionaries, who have labored on the shores and islands of Geelvink Bay for many years, have a certain influence, and their schools are well attended, but with no more definite result than a certain softening of manners and slight increase of material prosperity.

Though probably sighted by A. Dabreu, 1511, New Guinea was apparently first visited either by the Portuguese Don Jorge de Meneses, driven on his way from Goa to Ternate in 1526 to take shelter at "Isla Versija" (which has been identified with a place Warsia on the N.W. coast, but may possibly be the island of Waigiu), or by the Spaniard Alvaro de Saavedra two years later.

By Ortiz de Retez, or Roda, who in 1546 first laid down several points along the north coast, the name of "New Guinea" was probably given. in that and the two following centuries, though the coasts were visited by many illustrious navigators, as Schouten and Lemaire, Tasman, Dampier, Torres, Bougainville, and Cook, little additional knowledge was gained. This was due first to the difficulties of the navigation, next to the exclusiveness of the Dutch, who, holding the Spice Islands, prevented all access to places east of them, and lastly to the stream of enterprise being latterly diverted to the more temperate regions farther south. The Dutch barrier was broken down by the arrival of Dampier and other "interlopers" from the east, and of emissaries from the (English) East Indian Company in search of spice-bearing lands. The voyage of Forrest (1774) in the "Tartar galley" of 10 tons, and his account of New Guinea, are still full of interest. New Guinea was actually annexed in 1793 by two commanders in the East India Company’s service, and n the island of Manasvari on Geelvink Bay held for some months by their troops. After the peace of 1815 Dutch surveying expeditions to the west coasts became more numerous. Surveys of the east coasts have been made since the visits of D’Entrecasteaux (1793) and D’Urville (1827-40) by Captains Owen Stanley, Yule, Blackwood, and other English officers, the latest being that of captain Moresby; and Papua what the Dutch have done at Geelvink Bay. The islands of Torres Straits, which are the headquarters of a valuable pearl-shell and tripang fishery, have all been annexed to Queensland, and practically command the few available channels by which ships can pass.

Latterly the colonial authorities in Australia, alarmed at the prospect of the annexation by some foreign power of territory so near their shores, and also desirous to prevent the abuses that must soon arise from the influx of convicts or of European adventurers under no control, have urged the home Government to annex the east half of New Guinea.

Authorities.-The principal are Von Rosenberg, Der Malayische Archipel; Muller, Nieuo Guinea ethnogr. En natuurkundig onderzocht, Amsterdam, 1862; Robide van der Aa, Reizen naar Nederlandsch Nievo Guinea, 1879; Moresby, New Guinea and Polynesia; D’Albertis, New Guinea; Quart. Rev. July 1877; Beccari, Malesia (botanical); Kolffs Voyage, translated by Windsor Earl; parliamentary Papers, 1876 and 1883; lecture by Prof. W.H. Flower at the Royal Institution, 31st May 1878; A.B. Meyer, "Anthrop. Mittheil. Uber die papuas von N.G.," in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. 1877-78; papers in Cosmos, 1875-77; Trans. Of Brit. Assoc., 1883; Proc. R. Geog. Soc., March 1884. (C. T.)



The above article was written by: Coutts Trotter, F.R.S.E.; Edinburgh.



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