New Guinea

New Guinea
   A large island off the northern coast of Australia, likened to hell by the French explorer Louis de Bougainville because of the cannibalism common among its native Negrito, Melanesian, and Papuan peoples. From the time it was first “claimed” by a European power - Spain in 1545 - New Guinea was the object negligent imperialism. No power sought New Guinea as a commercial prize in its own right, but British, Dutch, German, and even Australian commercial interests sought at least to exclude each other. In 1884, however, Germany annexed the northeast of the island and named it, appropriately, Kaiser Wilhelmsland. This prodded Britain to declare a protectorate in the southeast later the same year. The two powers agreed on a boundary dividing the island in half in 1885, but Germany surrendered its territory to Australia with the outbreak of World War I.
    Griffin, James. Papua New Guinea: A Political History. Richmond: Heinemann Educational, 1979.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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