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Ar a time when the exploration of New Guinea is attracting so much attention all over the world, and when expeditions are fitting out in France, Holland, Spain, and Italy, with a view to obtain a footing for their respective countrymen in that great island, a few remarks as to its past, present, and probable future may not be uninteresting.
The island of New Guinea is, as far as we can ascertain, first mentioned in the history of the year 1526. It is said to have been discovered by the Portuguese Governor, Jorge de Meneses, when on a voyage from Malacca to the Moluccas, during which he was driven far to the eastward and out of his course by a north-west gale, and, being badly damaged, was right glad to winter in a harbour on the north coast of the island, supposed to be Port Humboldt. To this island the name of Papua was then given, the word, according to Galvano, meaning "black;" but, according to the interpretation of the people inhabiting the Moluccas, it means "frizzly black head," and is said to
have been bestowed upon the island on account of its inhabitants wearing their hair "frizzed out" in the shape and form of a huge mop.
While the Portuguese explorers were working their way round the world from the "westward," the Spaniards were pressing "westward," through the Pacific, after having taken possession of South America. The explorers of these two nations now met among the Spice Islands, and formed two hostile factions.
The Mahommedan native princes of these islands joined that side with which circumstances first brought them into contact, and a deadly feud sprang up between Spaniards and Portuguese.
chiefs of Ternate allied themselves to the latter, while those of Gilolo and Tidore ranged themselves on the side of the former; and many sanguinary conflicts, both on sea and land, took place between the fleets or Hongis of prahus of these Sultans, aided from time to time by their respective European allies.
In 1527 Herman Cortes fitted sent Abel Jansz Tasman and Franout an expedition which sailed from choys Jacobsz Visscher on their the west coast of Mexico under memorable voyages of discovery, Alvaro de Saavedra, and reached which so well upheld the prestige the Spice Islands. Returning to of the Dutch flag. Mexico in 1528, this expedition The following twenty years saw coasted along the north side of six expeditions to New Guinea New Guinea for the space of a namely, in 1654, Gommersdorf and month. In 1542, Ruy Lopez de Braconier; in 1655 Jacob Borné Villalobos led another expedition made three voyages to the island, from Mexico, and reached Gilolo but was eventually murdered with in 1544. Three years later Villa- most of his men; in 1662 Nicolaes lobos succumbed to Portuguese in- Vinck discovered that deep bight fluence and died at Amboyna, when which, after having been surveyed the command of the expedition fell by Lieutenant MacCluer, was named into the hands of a Captain Yñigo after that officer; Johannes Keyts, Ortiz de Retes. He sailed along the in 1678, discovered many bays and north coast, anchoring in several rivers, and added considerably to ports, and in 1549 is said to have our knowledge of the island. Damnamed the island " New Guinea,” pier's expedition, despatched in imagining that he detected a like- 1699 by William III., had for its ness between its inhabitants and the sole object geographical discovery. natives of the West Coast of Africa. Dampier sighted New Guinea on
The next Spanish explorer was New Year's Day of 1700. He Luis Vaez de Torres, who, after his sailed along the north coast, and separation from Quiros at Espiritu to him belongs the honour of havSanto, one of the New Hebrides, ing discovered the strait which to came to New Guinea and sailed this day bears his name, dividing along the southern coast. Passing New Guinea from New Britain and through the " Torres Straits” this the Admiralty Islands. Davigator cut off New Guinea from Jacob Weyland, in 1705, disthe Australasian continent, and by covered Geelvink' Bay, which he right of discovery, in 1606, took named after his vessel, the Green possession of the island in the name Fish. He did much useful surof the King of Spain.
veying work, and added a large The Dutch now entered the New store of matter to our information Guinea waters, from which they regarding the island. In 1722 expelled both Spaniards and Portu- Jacob Roggeveen coasted along the guese; and in 1606 we find William north shore of the island, but, on Jansz, in the Duyfke, visiting the his arrival at Batavia, the Dutch west and south-west coasts of the East India Company seized his island, the Gulf of Carpentaria, and vessel, he being a private trader, thence entering the Torres Straits, and not connected with the Com. where he discovered many
islands pany, whose rights and monopolies unobserved by Torres.
were jealously guarded. We then hear of Cornelis Dedal Lieutenant MacCluer, in 1791, first visiting the island in 1616 ; Le surveyed the bay which bears his Maire and Schouten in 1617, who name, but which was discovered by discovered and named the Schouten Vinck in 1662. Lieutenant Kolli, Islands off Mount Toricelli; Jan while in command of the brig Vos in 1622; and Jan Cartensz in Dourga, in 1826, surveyed the 1623. In 1642 the enterprising “Dourga Strait,” and
in 1827 Governor General Van Diemen founded the Dutch settlement in
Triton Bay at the northern extre- settlement was effected, and Port mity of this strait.
Humboldt was proclaimed a Dutch The locality was ill-chosen. Sur- colony. The garrison of the new rounded by low swamps on every colony was ill-chosen. It consisted side, at the bottom of a deep inlet of a party of burghers, or native into which no breeze could pene. militia, of Ternate, a people by no trate, the settlement seemed to be means calculated to inspire respect doomed from the outset; and in in the stalwart and energetic Papuans 1835, much to the chagrin and of this coast. disappointment of the natives, the In Triton Bay the Dutch had to Dutch Government removed its gar- contend against obstacles which no rison to Wahaai, a small port on the human force could overcome, but north coast of Ceram, which was which human foresight might have much frequented at that time by avoided. In Port Humboldt the English and American traders. Dutch entered upon new ground.
During the ten years that the Here no obstacles barred their way Dutch remained in Triton Bay to success, but the cruelty and among the Outanata tribe of Pa- rapacity of their boors so incensed puans, the most friendly relations the natives that a desultory war was existed between the two peoples. the result. The natives of the Theft was never heard of, and no coast were either butchered or were single act of hostility ever_com- driven to take refuge among the mitted. The presence of the Dutch hill tribes, to whom they became was a check on the Malay, Chinese, slaves, and the cruelty of the Dutch and Ceramese semi-piratical expe- has thus become proverbial along ditions, which, under the guise of the whole length of the north-east traders, periodically visited these coast of New Guinea. These na. parts, but who in reality were tives the English Government slavers and pirates of the lowest claims as its subjects, and yet they class. Since the European settle know it not, but live in daily fear of ment on this coast was abandoned their sworn enemy descending upon these expeditions have again made them, unaware of the fact that an their appearance, but as they do not imaginary geographical line of deenter the Torres Straits very little marcation protects them from the is ever heard of them.
enemy they so much dread. In 1850 the Dutch Government, In the foregoing brief résumé of having purchased the right of the history of New Guinea we have “suzerainty” over the northern purposely avoided making any alluand part of the north-eastern coast sion to the discoveries of either Capof New Guinea from the Sultan of tains Cook or Owen Stanley on the Tidore, sent Lieutenant Bruijn west and south-west coast, or to the Kops, in command of the Circe, more recent “discoveries " of Cap. and an expedition to found a settle- tain Moresby in H.M.S. Basilisk, ment in Humboldt Bay.
whereby the existence of the China This expedition was not success- Strait was made known to the world, ful, and all it did was to erect posts and a shorter route between Australsupporting metal shields embossed asia and China rendered available with the Netherlands coat of arms to our mercantile marine. at various points along the coast. It will have been observed that A gale from the south east and the the island of New Guinea has often strong lee-current which here pre- been visited. Books narrating these vails, drove it back from the island several voyages have at times been of Gilolo. In 1852, however, the published. The British Museum
has nearly all of them, and yet among physical formation of the country
of men, and yet only one century has
, rite is not unknown; and the fact in physical formation. that this ancient Mosaic custom Neither, in our opinion, is it should be found to exist in New difficult to account for the various Guinea in the nineteenth century, shades of colour, or for the historic seems to point to its inhabitants rites and ceremonies, found among having held intercourse with the the widely scattered branches of the Old World, and with the Semite Negroid or non-historic race. branch of the Caucasian race in The cruising about the globe of particular, during pre-historic ages. the Phænicians must have been at
The Phænicians were an offshoot tended with just as much-indeed of the Semites, as were also the we may say with much more-danger Hebrews, and attained to a high to the early navigator of those prestate of civilization before any historic days than is now encounof its other offshoots had emerged tered, and yet, in modern times, from the pre-historic into the ships do get lost, crews are either historic age.
They were the drowned or else they are murdered earliest commercial and colonizing or kindly taken care of by the people of the Old World. They Negroids among whom they chance long preceded the Greeks, and may to fall, and then, in the latter case, be said to have circumnavigated the offspring of the two races differs Africa, visited the shores of Eng- in colour from either parent. land and the Baltic, founded Car- It therefore seems thage, and traded with India, Cey- probable that the difference in lon, and China about the very time colour now found to exist among when we first read of them in the the various tribes of the Negroid Bible as visiting the Israelites. race inhabiting the island of the
The physical formation of the Pacific Ocean may be accounted man depends entirely upon the for in a logical manner by admit
ting the possibility of their having eastern peninsula of New Guinea, held intercourse in pre-historic and the white blood of the Semites times with the white traders of the mingling with the black blood of Semitic branch of the great Cau- the Negroids would account for the casian family; and this assumption various
found there to seems all the more probable when exist at this day; while the fact that the following evidence in its favour the compass has been known and . is carefully weighed and digested. used for centuries by the South Sea
The galleys of the Phænicians Islanders, and the Papuans, Auswould experience all those vicissi- tralians, and Maories being actudes of wind and weather encoun. quainted with the rite of circumtered by vessels on the ocean to cision, seems to point to an earlier this day. The same heavy north- intercourse with the Caucasian race west and south-west gales would than is recorded in its history. overtake them when attempting to Thus, the intermingling of the round the Cape of Good Hope as two races in pre-historic times overtake vessels attempting to seems to account for the difference do so now. These gales, however, in colour to be found among Necould not be faced in the pre-his- groid tribes, as also for the Hebrew toric age as they are at the present features of those of the Pacific; time. Even now, vessels are often while the difference which exists in driven hundreds of miles out of the physical formation of the countheir course, notwithstanding all tries they inhabit accounts for the their modern scientific appliances; difference found to exist in the phyand how must the galleys of the sical formation of the various famiPhænicians have fared when over- lies of the human race. taken by a gale, accompanied by The geographical knowledge in its monstrous seas, and only the our possession regarding New Guibrawny arms of the rowers to keep nea goes to show that the southern the galley " to the wind"? Would shores of that island abound in mud they not have had to “scud” flats and mangrove swamps, but before these gales as our modern that the south-eastern peninsula ships do now? Occasionally most and northern coasts are bold and assuredly they would; and if at steep, their high cliffs plunging such times they found themselves vertically into the waters of the scudding before a heavy north-west Pacific Ocean to a depth at times gale across the great Southern measured by hundreds of fathoms. Ocean, this gale, on veering to the Stretching away from these cliffs south-west, as it does to this day, into the interior are plains and would land their walley in New plateaux from which rise mountain Zealand, and the Semite and Ne- ranges with altitudes varying from groid blood, intermingling, would 5,000 to 14,000 feet at some thirty to form the Maori race, whose very fifty miles from the coast. These fortifications, or pahs, remind one mountains form the “Coast Range,” most forcibly of the Roman Era, and beyond lie plains of great or of the earlier days of Alexander extent. In the centre of the island and of the Ptolemies.
an elevated mountain chain, runThe heavy “northers" or north- ning from south-east to north-west, west monsoon of the equatorial raises its peaks beyond the limit of region, would likewise drive the perpetual snow. galleys of the Phænicians out of In the north-west extremity of the China seas into the South the island, this range has been Pacific Ocean, or to the south- named the “Soewe"