or, as the Dutch navigators called it, New Guinea, from a fancied resemblance of its inhabitants to those of the coast of Guinea in Africa, is, if we except Australia, the largest island on our globe. Papua lies in the Australian Archipelago, in 0° 30'-10° 4' S. lat., and 131°-151. 30' E. long., and is about 1400 miles in length from the Cape of Good Hope on the north-west to South-east Cape. In outline it is very irregular, the western part being nearly insulated by Geelvink Bay, entering from the north, and the Gulf of M'Clure from the west, while in the south it ends in a long and narrow peninsula of lofty mountains. It is indented by numerous gulfs and bays, besides the two already mentioned, and a large number of rivers, none of which have as yet been much explored. Indeed the country is still largely closed to the whites. Our knowledge has only in very recent times become definite even of the coast lines (see below). Papua is very mountainous, except certain tracts of swampy land which have been formed by the river deposits. The southern part is hardly anything else than a mountain range. It has peaks far surpassing those of Australia in altitude, Mount Owen Stanley being 13,205 feet; Obree, 10,200; Yule Mountain, 9700; and many others of the same range approaching similar elevations. The south-west coast is chiefly composed of lofty limestone hills.Along the south-west shore are many coral-banks. Nothing is accurately known of either the mineral or vegetable wealth of the interior, the hostile and retiring nature of the mountaineers having hitherto closed it to the naturalist. It has been said that Papua produces gold, but it is as yet uncertain, and the natives possess no ornaments or tools, except of wood, stone, and bone, but what are brought to them from Ceram. Papua is clothed with the most luxuriant vegetation, cocoa-nut, betel, sago, banana, bread-fruit, orange, lemon, and other fruit-trees that line the shores; while in the interior are reported to be an abundance of fine timber trees, as the iron-wood, ebony, canary-wood, the wild nutmeg, and the masooi, the fragrant bark of which is a leading article of export from the south-west coast. In some districts sugar-cane, tobacco, and rice are cultivated. The flower-garlanded and fruit-bearing forests are filled with multitudes of the most beautiful birds, of which are various kinds of birds-of-paradise, the crown-pigeon, parrots, lories, etc. Fish are plentiful, and are either speared or shot with the arrow, except at Humboldt Bay, where they are caught with nets made from vegetable fibres, with large shells attached as sinkers. The larger animals are unknown, but wild swine, kangaroos, the koesi- koesi (a kind of wood-cat), are plentiful, as also a small kind of domesticated dog used in hunting. Only in the trackless wilds of Papua and the adjacent islands are found the birds-of-paradise, with their marvelous development of plumage and incomparable beauty. The exports are masooi bark, trepang or boche-de- mer, tortoiseshells, pearls, nutmegs, birds-of- paradise, crown-pigeons, ebony, resin, etc., which are brought to the islands of Sirotta, Namatotte, and Adi, on the southwest coast, where they are bartered to the traders from Ceram for hatchets, rice, large beads, printed cottons, knives, earthenware, iron pans, copper, tobacco, sago, and other necessary articles. The produce is carried to Singapore and the Arroo Islands. The climate of Papua, so far as it can now be determined, is not very unhealthy, though the temperature varies greatly, the thermometer sometimes indicating 95° Fahr. by day and falling to 75° at night. On the south-west coast the east monsoon or rainy season begins about the middle of April, and ends in September; the dry season is from September to April; and on the north coast they are just reversed. Fever and ague abounds all along the coast, especially in the southern portion. The most healthful place thus far found is Port Moresby, now occupied as a mission station. It is said to be free from malaria. Papua is surrounded by countless islands, some of which are of considerable size. Towards the south is the Louisiade Archipelago, stretching over several degrees of longitude, out of which Aignan rises to the height of 3010 feet, and South-east Island to 2500. Near the Great Bight is Prince Frederik Hendrik Island, separated from the mainland by the Princess Marianne Strait. Namatotte, a lofty island in Speelman Bay, in 3° 50' S. lat. and 133° 56' E. long., having good anchorage on the west side, and one of the chief trading-places on the coast; Aidoena, at the entrance of Triton Bay, in 134° 20' E. long.; and Adior Wessels, to the southeast of Cape Van den Bosch, are the principal islands on the south-west coast. On the north, at the mouth of Geelvink- Bay, lie the Schouten Islands, in 135°137° 50' E. long., Mafor, Jobi, and many of less importance. Salawatti is a large and populous island to the west of Papua, and further west is Batanta, separated from Salawatti by Pitt Strait; west and south is the large island of Misool, or Waigamme, in 1° 45'-2° 3' S. lat. and 129° 30'-130°- 31' E. long., having an area of 780 square miles, and a large population. It is highly probable that at no very distant geological period the Arroo, Misool, Waigion, Jobi, and other islands formed part of the mainland of Papua, banks and soundings reached by the 100-fathom line connecting them with it.
This country was first discovered by the Portuguese commanders Antonio d'Abrew and Francisco Serram in 1511. It was in part visited by the Dutch under Schouten in 1615; in 1828 their government built a fort, called Du Bus, in Triton Bay, 3° 42' S. lat. and 133° 51' 5" E. long., but it had to be abandoned after a few years on account of the unhealthy climate. In 1774 an English officer, captain Forrest, was sent by the East India Company to search for spice-producing districts, and he took up his residence at Port Davey, on the north-east coast, and there maintained constant friendly intercourse with the natives. Captain Cook, who visited the south-west coast in 1770, was the sole authority respecting the natives till 1828. In 1845 a British man-of-war surveyed a part of the Great Bight; in 1848 others surveyed the Louisiade. In 1871 the exploration of the southern part was undertaken by captain Moresby, and to him we now owe most of our knowledge of the east end of New Guinea and its adjacent islands (see our reference to his work below). Many explorations have also been made and are now making by the missionaries. The Italian naturalist D'Albertis, who returned from Papua in 1876, is now preparing reports of his observations, and they are to be supplemented by the observations of the English naturalist Octavius Stone; but none of these explorers will and can do so much to enlighten us in respect to New Guinea as the missionaries who have recently gone there. The population of Papua and the immediately adjacent islands cannot of course in our present unsettled knowledge of it be definitely stated. From what has been seen of the country it is supposed to have about 800,000 natives. The northern part of the island has been for many years occupied by the Dutch settlers from the West Indies, and is claimed by the Netherlands. It is that part of Papua which was formerly tributary to the sultans of Tidore, stretching from Cape Bonpland, on the east of Humboldt Bay, in 140° 47' E. long., to the Cape of Good Hope, and farther west and south-west to 131° E. long., with the islands on the coast, and is estimated to have a population of about 200,000. The natives of the interior have never acknowledged the supremacy of the sultans of Tidore, but the coasts and islands are governed by rajahs and other chiefs appointed by them to certain districts or kingdoms. This power is still exercised by the sultan of Tidore, but subject to the approval of the Netherlands resident at Ternate. The southern part of Papua, as we have seen above, is not as yet claimed by any civilized power. The Australians are very much agitated about its possession, and strong colonial influence is now seeking to further the annexation scheme in Great Britain. The English press is questioning the project, and it is doubtful whether the occupation by the Dutch will be disputed. The possession of Papua by some European power seems almost a necessity if the country is ever to be reclaimed from barbarism.
According to the system of Bory de St. Vincent the natives of Papua are a race sprung from Neptunians and Oceanians, — in character, features, and hair standing between the Malays and Negroes. Dr. Latham places them under the sub-class Oceanic Mongolidae. D'Albertis believes with Moresby and Gill that the people of Eastern New Guinea are of Polynesian origin along the coast, but that the indigenous Papuans are morally and physically inferior to the invaders of their land. Those who live on the coast and islands now go by the name of Papuans, probably from the Malay word Papoewah or Poewah-Poewah, which signifies curly or woolly; the inhabitants of the interior are called Alfoers. The Papuans are of middle stature and well made, have regular features, intelligent black eyes, small white teeth, curly hair, thick lips, and large mouth; the nose is sharp, but flat beneath, the nostrils large, and the skin dark brown. Around Humboldt Bay the men stain their hair with the red earth which is abundant in that locality. Generally the men are better-looking than the women, but neither are repulsively ugly, as has been repeatedly said. The Papuans of the coast are divided into small distinct tribes frequently at war with each other, when they plant the paths to their villages with pointed pieces of bamboo or Nipa palm, called randjoes, which run into the feet of a party approaching to the attack, and make wounds which are difficult to cure. The men build the houses, hollow the trunks of trees into canoes, hunt and fish; while the women do all the heaviest work, cultivating the fields, making mats, pots, and cutting wood. Their food consists of maize, sago, rice, fish, birds, the flesh of wild pigs, and fruits. The Alfoers of the interior do not differ much in appearance from the Papuans, but, lower sunk in the savage life, are independent nomades, warlike, and said to be in some districts cannibals. They are called by the coast people Woeka, or mountaineers, and bring down from their forest retreats the fragrant Masooi bark, nutmegs, birds-of-paradise, and crown-pigeons to the coast, bartering them for other articles. The natives of the Arfak and Amberbakin ranges are more settled in their habits, and also cultivate sugar-cane and tobacco as articles of commerce, but never build their houses at a lower level than a thousand feet from the base of the mountains. The people of the south-west coast are perfectly honest, open-hearted, and trustworthy. They have no religious worship, though some idea of a Supreme Being, according to whose will they live, act, and die, but to whom no reverence is offered. They reckon time by the arrival and departure of the Ceram traders, or the beginning and ending of the dry and rainy seasons, and number only up to ten. Their dead are buried, and after a year or more the bones are taken up and placed in the family tomb, erected near the house, or selected from the natural caverns in the limestone rocks. The women cover the lower part of the body; the men go all but naked, have their hair plaited or frizzled out, and ornamented with shells and feathers. Marriages are contracted early, and are only dissolved by death, and the women are chaste and modest. At Doreh, on the north coast, the bridegroom leads the bride home, when her father or nearest male relative divides a roasted banana between them, which they eat together with joined hands, and the marriage is completed. They have no religion, but believe that the soul of the father at death returns to the son, and that of the mother to the daughter. The Papuans of Humboldt Bay are farther advanced than those of any other part of the island, carve wood, make fishing-nets; build good houses above the water of the bay, and connect them with the mainland by bridges; each village has also an octagonal temple, ornamented within and without with figures of animals and obscene representations, though nothing is known of their religion. The largest temple, that of Tobaldi, received in 1858 the present of a Netherlands flag, which is flying from its spires, the natives little suspecting that it is a sign of asserted foreign supremacy. The religion of these Papuans seems to consist mainly in the adoration of Karowaro, wooden idols, of which one is solemnly consecrated whenever a member of the household dies. Their temples are full of images, apparently symbolical of rude nature worship. They have charmed talismans which derive their efficacy from being talked to.
All attempts of the sultans of Tidore to introduce the Mohammedan religion into Papua have failed. Christianity was first introduced in the northern portion in 1855, on the island of Massanama, to the east of Doreh harbor, by the German missionaries Ottow and Gieszler. They did not, however, remain long and New Guinea may be said to be dependent for Christian teaching on the missionaries sent thither by the London Church Missionary Society since 1871. The founder of this mission is the Rev. A.
W. Murray, for many years a laborer in the Polynesian country. He began the work at Darnley Island July 3, 1871, and the mission there has prospered beyond the most sanguine expectations. The people now generally observe the Sabbath and attend service, and the gross and superstitious practices of heathendom have disappeared from among the inhabitants of that island. On Aug. 24, 1873, a school was opened. Many of the natives, however, still continue the peculiar disposition of their departed — customs which seem to link them to countries far remote and ages long gone by. Instead of burying their dead out of their sight, they are accustomed to preserve them. The more corruptible parts are removed, and the body is stretched upon a wooden frame, to which it is fastened, and this is placed in an erect position and smoked till all the juices of the body are dried up; and when this is effected it keeps for generations. Missions are now established also at the adjoining islands Stephen and Murray, Bampton and Tanau. At Murray Island the first Christian church in Papua was erected in 1874. The headquarters of this mission is at Port Moresby, and there the work has prospered gloriously. Another important place on the mainland is Mamunanu, but the work has had to be temporarily abandoned there on account of the unwholesome climate. At Katau, where a mission was begun in 1871, the laborers were murdered, and there has not yet been any attempt made to renew the work. The Revs. S. Macfarlane and W. G. Lewes are now the principal missionaries in New Guinea, and they are active in explorations as well as in Christian labors. Very interesting reports from these men may be read in the London Academy, Dec. 18, 1875; April 15, 1876. See Moresby, New Guinea and Polynesia (Lond. 1876); Murray, Polynesia and New Guinea (New York, 1876, 12mo); The Leisure Hour for August, etc., 1875. These descriptions supersede all former writings on Papua, and we therefore do not refer to older publications. Lawson's Wanderings in the Interior of New Guinea (Lond. 1875) is regarded as a fraud. The author probably never saw Papua or its inhabitants (see Edinb. Rev. Oct. 1875, art. vii; July, 1876, art. ix).