New Guinea
German colony from 1884-1919

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Backround Information:
New Guinea was added to the list of colonies Germany took over on November 3, 1884. The Neuguinea Kompagnie (NGK) was formed and would eventually serve as the first administration group of New Guinea. The group was allowed a charter in 1884 which gave them the right to enter into relations with the native people to experiment with crops before new people began settling. Unfortunately, the NGK could not attract new comers and decided to establish large-scale plantations.The colonizing of New Guinea hit many road blocks including: tropical disease, and local hostility from the natives. This new German colony did not receive much attention from Germans at first but developed into a successful South Seas territory for them. Germany had planned on using railways to play a major affect in this development. New Guinea did not have rivers that were easily accessible for transport which led to creating this railway system. Eventually success came to the colony of New Guinea between the period from 1906-1914.

Geography of New Guinea:
  • New Guinea is the second largest island in the world next to Greenland.
  • New Guinea is very tropical with mountain ranges including the Owen Stanley and the Bismark mountain ranges.
  • New Guinea has a tropical monsoon climate and is generally hot and humid, although the climate varies from one area to another.
  • Rivers flowing throughout New Guinea include the Fly, Sepik, Mamberamo, and Purari rivers.
Natural Resources:
  • gold
  • copper
  • silver
  • natural gas
  • timber
  • oil
  • fisheries
Why was New Guniea colonized?
Colonization and change began with island and coastal areas being colonized before the interior because of their location. Germans sought out these areas to create trading ports to deal with trading from foreign countries. Also, New Guinea to the Germans was a source of bird paradise plumes, copra and timber (especially sandalwood), gold, and labor by the natives for sugar plantations.

Positive Impacts:
Germany didn't want to waste time with their colonization of Africa. They wanted to colonize and gain economical success in their homeland at the same time. Germany became very economically successful with their technological and financial advancements thanks to the farms, and railroads they set up to successful trade with other areas throughout Africa. A second positive impact helped not only Germany but the Africans as well. Germany educated their subjects. Germans established primary, secondary and vocational schools in their African colonies.

Negative Impacts on the Natives:
The Germans forced their way into New Guinea and the natives were less than thrilled. Ill treatment, substantial slavery, disease and death was flooding the new colony. The population of the natives has severly decreased due to the Germans believing the native laborers, or any blacks were considered "beasts" and were exploited and driven to death. The Germans brought their tax system with them to New Guinea and every year the natives got used to paying their two dollars and one-half a year which they call their "throw away money." If natives could not pay this, they had to work it off for the Germans.

Culture in New Guinea:
There is a very mixed culture in New Guinea. There are well over one thousand languages spoken because of the need to communicate with outsiders and eachother for trading purposes. All of these different languages spoken are a result of the many different groups of people living there. A major portion of the population is made up of Melanesians, Papuans, Negritos, Micronesians, and Polynesians. The religions of these groups of people living there are spread out amongst Roman Catholic, Lutheran , Presbyterian/Methodist/London Missionary Society, Anglican, Evangelical Alliance, Seventh-Day Adventist , other Protestant, and indigenous beliefs.

Agriculture in New Guinea:
Some products of agriculture in New Guinea are: coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla; shell fish, poultry, and pork.