The World at War



1873Johann Cesar Godeffroy & Sohn and Hersheim & Kompagnie establish trading posts in the Bismarck archipelago.
1884A charter is granted to the Neuguinea Kompagnie (NGK), a consortium of Berlin financiers headed by Adolph von Hansemann of the Disconto-Gellschaft, to enter into relations with the native people, to experiment with the cultivation of useful tropical crops, to prepare for settlement and to serve as a basis for administration when established. The company established its main trading station at Finschhafen on Kaiser Wilhelmsland and sub-stations at Hatzfeldthafen, Constantinhafen and Matupit.
Deutsche Handels-und Plantagen Gesellschaft (DH&PG) takes over Johann Cesar Godeffroy & Sohn.
November 3 A German protectorate (Schutzgebiet Deutsch-Neuguinea) is proclaimed over northeastern New Guinea (Kaiser-Wilhelmsland), the Bismarck Archipelago and the Admiralty Islands (Admiralitäts-Inseln).
1885Gustav von Oertzen appointed German Commissioner for New Guinea.
1886Bougainville and Buka in the British Solomon Islands (Salomons-Inseln) are ceded to German New Guinea.
June 10 Georg Freiherr von Schleinitz appointed Landeshauptleute (administrator) by the New Guinea Company.
1888The Kaiser-Wilhelmsland Plantagen-Gesellschaft is formed in Hamburg for the purpose of growing cocoa and coffee on a plantation at Jomba.
The Neuguinea Kompagnie opens a new tobacco plantation at Stephansport on Astrolabe Bay, south of Friedrich Wilhelmshafen (Madang).
1891The Neuguinea Kompagnie abandons their headquarters at Finschhafen and transfers operations to Friedrich Wilhelmshafen (Madang).
1893The Neuguinea Kompagnie abandons its experimental tobacco plantation at Jomba after smallpox decimates its workforce.
1894The Neuguinea Kompagnie establishes tobacco plantations on the right bank of the Jori River at Erima. New Guineans were generally not encouraged as laborers. Asians being preferred, 450 Chinese, 324 Malay and 664 Melanesians work in the fields. Another 173 Javanese and 87 Chinese fill semi-skilled positions.
1899April 1 The German government takes over civil administration of the colony from the unprofitable Neuguinea Kompagnie. Government headquarters are established at Herbertshohe (Kokopo). Rudolf von Bennigsen is appointed governor.
October 12 The Caroline (Karolinen-Inseln) and Palau Islands (Palau-Inseln) become an administrative subdivision of German New Guinea.
November 17 The Mariana Islands (Marianen-Inseln) become an administrative subdivision of German New Guinea.
1903November A few traders are killed by natives in the Bismarck Archipelago.
1904January 1 Population: Kaiser Wilhelmsland, approximately 100,000 Melanesians and 113 Europeans including 98 Germans; Bismarck Archipelago, approximately 200,000 Melanesians and 320 Europeans including 203 Germans.
February 15 The Governor issues a decree regulating Chinese immigration.
July Madang villagers plan an insurrection against the European population. One native is shot while storming the arms depot at Friedrich Wilhelmshafen. Nine others are later executed and several more are exiled to remote outposts.
August 13 Native attacks on Catholic missions at St.Paul and Nacharunep and the Trappist settlement in the Baining Mountains leave 5 priests and 5 nuns dead. Police capture and execute the perpetrators.
October 1 Regulations regarding the importation of opium are strengthened.
1905October Simpsonhafen’s new wharf opens for business. The North German Lloyd line opened a large storehouse near the wharf. December
The steamer Seestern transports 150 natives from German New Guinea to German East Africa for military training.
1906During the Year The Namatanani district station expands it influence substantially. The number of chiefs submitting to the administration totals 168 most of them come from Neu-Mecklenburg.
Other tribes along the north coast of Neu-Pommern and in the Baining Mountains were brought under control of the administration.
The Kieta district station began in installing chieftains among the tribes in Bougainville. Administrative organization of this region is more difficult, because the natives are completely unfamiliar with the concept of a high chief.
Planned development proceeds in Simpsonhafen (Rabaul), the future seat of the government. The main streets have been laidout and work on a botanical research garden is under way.
The Government finances establishment of a small farming settlement in the Baining Mountains. Ten farmers with previous experience in tropical farming are provided with land and seed. Sisal, ficus and corn are the main crops under cultivation.
April 1 The Marshall Islands (Marshall-Inseln) are incorporated as part of the colony of German New Guinea.
1907New Guinea exports rubber for the first time. The raw caoutchouc sap brings good prices in the Hamburg market.
The German Colonial Society undertakes a 3 year, 1 million marks, guttapercha- and caoutchouc Expedition to look for rubber trees in Kaiser Wilhelmsland.
The New Guinea Company’s plans for the economic development of Kaiser Wilhelmsland are slowed by a lack of skilled native labor. Javanese are recruited in the Dutch East Indies to work on the rubber plantations.
1908The Damköhler-Fröhlich Expedition explores the interior of New Guinea between the Finisterre and Bismarck Mountains. They report finding a fertile and densely populated interior plain. Unfortunately, it seems that the local tribes are engaged in permanent feuds with each other.
1909June The Hamburgian expedition’s steamer Peiho completes her first journey on the Empress Augusta River.
During the Year The Friederici expedition spent 7 months exploring the Bismarck Archipelago for phosphate deposits.
Exports from the Bismarck Archipelago and Kaiser Wilhelmsland were valued at 8,328,160 marks and included 3268 birds of paradise worth 65,360 marks.
1910January The seat of government is moved from Herbershoehe to Rabaul (formerly called Simpsonhafen) on the island of Neu-Pommern.
November The survey ship Planet takes part in a punitive expedition against the unruly tribes of the Finisterre Mountains near Friedrich-Wilhelmsport.
During the Year An expedition is launched to mark the borders of Wilhelms-land with Dutch New Guinea and the British territory of Papua. Dr. Leonhard Schulze represents the German interest in the demarcation.
The bird of paradise hunt produces 5,706 skins for export.
1911April A new patrol ship named Komet is launched in Bremen to replace the earlier government steamer Seestern. The administration bemoans the lack of a larger vessel as reason for its inability to properly punish recent incidents of native insubordination and the murder of Europeans.
During the Year The bird of paradise hunt produces 8,779 skins for export an increase of 53% over the previous year.
1912February The Stolle expedition begins exploration of the Empress Augusta River region. Its steamer the Kolonialgesellschaft penetrated far into the interior and one member of the expedition traveled as far south as the Mittelgebirge.
During the Year Contact is established with the Baininger tribe who inhabitat a remote mountain area of Neu-Pommern.
A few bird of paradise hunters on Kaiser-Wilhelmsland are the only victims of murder by indigenous tribesmen reported in the protectorate this year.
Copra collected by the natives was worth 6.5 million marks on the export market.
Nearly 10,000 birds of paradise worth 500,000 marks have been exported this year. High prices and easy profits have been a strong incentive to take up the business. Europeans have hired natives to hunt the bird and many of the smaller plantation owners have financed their farms with bird of paradise profits. It is feared that the birds may soon be extinct if hunters continue to decimate the stock and it is therefore foreseeable that hunting of birds of paradise will be outlawed completely in near future.
1913Native resistance to expansion of the German administration rose to previously unknown levels. The district office of Kaewieng in the interior of Neu-Hannover founded it necessary to dispatch an armed force to subdue the local tribesmen.
The Stolle expedition completed its exploration of the Empress Augusta River region and mapped the southern basin of the Sepik from the Dutch border to the coast.
Copra exports increased to 17,300 tons valued at over 6 million marks. At present coco palms account for 90% of New Guinea’s cultivated crops.
The bird of paradise hunting season has been closed for most of the year.
Examination and exploitation of the recently discovered oil fields in the Eitape District has not yet begun and the revenue service has declared the area off limits.
1914July A radio telegraph station begins operating at Bitapaka.
August 6 The Government moves from Herbertshöhe to Toma, c. 12 km inland, and out of range from naval artillery. A 50 man defense force is organized among the German settlers and ordered to refrain from action other than defense of the wireless station at Bitapaka.
August 12 Australian warships appear in the Blanche Bay. The Germans refuse to disclose the location of the radio telegraph station. The Australians sail away without fulfilling a threat to shell the place if they are not given the information.
August Australian Navy shore parties destroy telephone switchboards in Rabaul and Herbertshöhe.
September 11 The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force anchors off Rabaul.
Australian sailors land near Herbertshöhe.
The Germans destroy the wireless station at Bitapaka.
September 14 Australians begin shelling Rabaul and Herbertshöhe at dawn. A column of 600 Australian troops begins marching inland towards Toma. In the afternoon the Australian commander requests the negotiations with the Governor Eduard Haber.
Royal Australian Navy submarine AE-1 last sighted on patrol between New Britain and the Gazelle Peninsula by HMAS Parramatta disappears with all hands.
September 17 The Governor Haber agrees to surrender the colony.
September 21 The German defense force surrenders at Herbertshöhe.
During the Year Captain Heinrich Detzner leads a four month expedition to a previously unexplored section of the highlands separating German New Guinea from Papua. Detzner returns to the coast and discovers that war has been declared during his absence and the protectorate is now occupied by the Australians. He spends the next four years wandering the bush in an attempt to reach the neutral Dutch half of the island.
Australia renames Neu-Pommern New Britain, Neu-Mecklenburg New Ireland. Neu-Hannover reverts to the native name Lovangai.
1919June 28 Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles and cedes all claim to sovereignty over New Guinea.

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