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New Britain
New Britain
(Tok Pisin: Niu Briten) is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago
(named after Otto von Bismarck) of Papua New Guinea. It is separated from the island of New Guinea
New Guinea
by the Dampier and Vitiaz Straits and from New Ireland by St. George's Channel. The main towns of New Britain
New Britain
are Rabaul/ Kokopo
Kokopo
and Kimbe. The island is roughly the size of Taiwan. While the island was part of German New Guinea, it was named Neupommern ("New Pomerania").

Contents

1 Geography 2 Administrative divisions 3 Modern history

3.1 1700–1914 3.2 World War I 3.3 Between the world wars 3.4 World War II 3.5 Since 1945

4 People and culture 5 Ecology 6 See also 7 References and sources 8 External links

Geography[edit]

Topography of New Britain

New Britain, with selected towns and volcanoes

Ulawun
Ulawun
Volcano and Lolobau Island

New Britain
New Britain
extends from 148°18'31" to 152°23'57" E longitude and from 4°08'25" to 6°18'31" S latitude. It is crescent-shaped, approximately 520 km (320 mi) along its southeastern coastline, and from 29 to 146 km (18–91 miles) wide, not including a small central peninsula. The air-line distance from west to east is 477 km (296 mi). The island is the 38th largest in the world, with an area of 36,520 km2 (14,100 sq mi). Steep cliffs form some sections of the coastline; in others the mountains are further inland, and the coastal area is flat and bordered by coral reefs. The highest point, at 2,438 m (7,999 ft), is Mount Sinewit in the Baining range in the east. Most of the terrain is covered with tropical rainforest and several large rivers are fed by the high rainfall. New Britain
New Britain
was largely formed by volcanic processes, and there are several active volcanoes on the island, including Ulawun
Ulawun
(the highest volcano in Papua New Guinea), Langila, the Garbuna Group, the Sulu Range, and the volcanoes Tavurvur
Tavurvur
and Vulcan of the Rabaul
Rabaul
caldera. A major eruption of Tavurvur
Tavurvur
in 1994 destroyed the East New Britain provincial capital of Rabaul. Most of the town still lies under metres of ash, and the capital has been moved to nearby Kokopo. Administrative divisions[edit] New Britain
New Britain
forms part of the Islands Region, one of four regions of Papua New Guinea. It comprises the mainland of two provinces:

East New Britain
East New Britain
with headquarters in Kokopo
Kokopo
(formerly Rabaul) West New Britain
West New Britain
with headquarters in Kimbe

Modern history[edit]

For the missionary history, see Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Solomon Islands

1700–1914[edit] William Dampier
William Dampier
became the first known European to visit New Britain on 27 February 1700: he dubbed the island with the Latin name Nova Britannia, (Eng: New Britain). In November 1884, Germany proclaimed its protectorate over the New Britain Archipelago; the German colonial administration gave New Britain and New Ireland the names of Neupommern (or Neu-Pommern; "New Pomerania") and Neumecklenburg (or Neu-Mecklenburg; "New Mecklenburg") respectively, and the whole island group was renamed the Bismarck Archipelago. New Britain
New Britain
became part of German New Guinea. In 1909, the indigenous population was estimated at about 190,000; the foreign population at 773 (474 white). The expatriate population was practically confined to the northeastern Gazelle Peninsula, which included the capital, Herbertshöhe (now Kokopo). At the time 5,448 hectares (13,464 acres) had been converted to plantations, primarily growing copra, cotton, coffee and rubber. Westerners avoided exploring the interior initially, believing that the indigenous peoples were warlike and would fiercely resist intrusions.

Native recruits during drill in German New Guinea, 1910

World War I[edit] On 11 September 1914, New Britain
New Britain
became the site of one of the earliest battles of World War I
World War I
when the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force landed on the island. They quickly overwhelmed the German forces and occupied the island for the duration of the war. Between the world wars[edit] After World War I
World War I
the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
was signed in June 1919, where Germany was stripped on all its possessions outside Europe. In 1920 the League of Nations
League of Nations
included New Britain
New Britain
along with the former German colony on New Guinea
New Guinea
in the Territory of New Guinea, a mandated territory of Australia. World War II[edit]

Two photographs of native New British Islanders, 1944

Main article: New Britain
New Britain
Campaign During World War II
World War II
the Japanese attacked New Britain
New Britain
soon after the outbreak of hostilities in the Pacific Ocean. Strategic bases at Rabaul
Rabaul
and Kavieng
Kavieng
(New Ireland) were defended by a small Australian detachment, Lark Force. During January 1942, the Japanese heavily bombed Rabaul. On 23 January, Japanese marines landed by the thousands, starting the Battle of Rabaul. The Japanese used Rabaul
Rabaul
as a key base until 1944; it served as the key point for the failed invasion of Port Moresby
Port Moresby
(May to November, 1942).

Soldiers of the 1st Marine Division display Japanese flags captured during the Battle of Cape Gloucester.

New Britain
New Britain
was invaded by the U.S. 1st Marine Division in the Cape Gloucester area of the very western end of the island, and also by U.S. Army soldiers at some other coastal points. As for Cape Gloucester, with its swamps and mosquitos, the marines said that it was "worse than Guadalcanal". They captured an airfield but accomplished little toward reducing the Japanese base at Rabaul. The Allied plan involved bypassing Rabaul
Rabaul
by surrounding it with air and naval bases on surrounding islands and on New Britain
New Britain
itself. The adjacent island of New Ireland was bypassed altogether. Much of the story from the Japanese side, especially the two suicide charges by the Baalen group, are retold in Shigeru Mizuki's Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths. The factual telemovie Sisters of War recounts experiences of Australian army nurses and Catholic nuns during the conflict. Since 1945[edit]

Rabaul
Rabaul
and Tavurvur
Tavurvur
volcano

The population of the main town of Rabaul
Rabaul
was evacuated as a result of a volcanic activity in 1994 which buried the town under a thick layer of volcanic ash.

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People and culture[edit] The indigenous people of New Britain
New Britain
fall into two main groups: the Papuans, who have inhabited the island for tens of thousands of years, and the Austronesians, who arrived around two thousand years ago. There are around ten Papuan languages spoken and about forty Austronesian languages, as well as Tok Pisin
Tok Pisin
and English. The Papuan population is largely confined to the eastern third of the island and a couple of small enclaves in the central highlands. At Jacquinot Bay, in the south-east, they live beside the beach where a waterfall crashes directly into the sea.[2]

New Britain, c. 1882

The population of New Britain
New Britain
was 493,585 in 2010. Austronesian people make up the majority on the island. The major towns are Rabaul/Kokopo in East New Britain
East New Britain
and Kimbe
Kimbe
in West New Britain. New Britain
New Britain
hosts diverse and complex traditional cultures. While the Tolai of the Rabaul
Rabaul
area of East New Britain
East New Britain
have a matrilineal society, other groups are patrilineal in structure. There are numerous traditions which remain active today, such as the dukduk secret society (also known as tubuan) in the Tolai area. Ecology[edit] Forests on New Britain
New Britain
have been rapidly destroyed in recent years, largely to clear land for oil palm plantations. Lowland rainforest has been hardest hit, with nearly a quarter of the forest below 100 m disappearing between 1989 and 2000. If those rates of deforestation continue, it is estimated that all forest below 200 m will be cleared by 2060.[3][4] See also[edit]

Postage stamps of New Britain

References and sources[edit]

References

^ http://islands.unep.ch/Tiarea.htm ^ Tansley, Craig (24 January 2009). "Treasure Islands". The Age. Fairfax Media. pp. Traveller supplement (pp. 10–11). Retrieved 27 January 2009.  ^ Buchanan, G. M., Butchart, S. H. M., Dutson, G., Pilgrim, J. D., Steininger, M. K., Bishop, K. D. and Mayaux, P. (2008). "Using remote sensing to inform conservation status assessment: estimates of recent deforestation rates on New Britain
New Britain
and the impacts upon endemic birds". Biol. Conserv. 141: 56–66. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.08.023. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/137

Sources

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Thomas Kennedy (1913). "Vicariate Apostolic of New Pomerania". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "New Pomerania". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Look up new britain in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
portal

Nationsonline.org: Solomon Islands Ethnologue.com: Map of languages of New Britain Australian War Memorial, Operations against German Pacific territories — (6 August−6 November 1914).

Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Britain.

v t e

Islands of Papua New Guinea

Admiralty Islands Ambitle Aua Auriora Baudisson Bougainville Bagabag Bagaman Babase Baluan Barahun Basilaki Big Ndrova Bipi Bismarck Archipelago Blup Blup Boagis Boang Bonvouloir Islands Brumer Buka Calvados Chain Carteret Islands Conflict Group D'Entrecasteaux Islands Daloloia Group Dart Reefs Daru Deboyne Islands Dobu Duchateau Islands Duke of York Island
Island
/ Duke of York Islands Dyaul East Emirau Feni Islands Fergusson Goaribari Gonubalabala Island Goodenough Green Islands Gulowa Hastings Hemenahei Hermit Islands Kabakon Kaniet Islands Karkar Kadovar Kerawara Kiriwina Kiwai Kui Kuwanak Lihir Island
Island
/ Lihir Group Lif Little Ndrova Long Los Negros Lou Louisiade Archipelago Lunn Island Madau Mailu Malendok Makada Manam Manne Manus Marshall Bennett Mioko Misima Motorina Mussau Mut Mut New Britain New Hanover New Guinea New Ireland Ninigo Islands Nissan Normanby North Solomon Islands Nuakata Nubara Nukumanu Nusam Pak Pam Islands Panapompom Islands Pana Tinani Panaeati Panarairai Island Panatinane Pana Wina Island Patio Pinipel Pocklington Reef Purdy Purutu Rambutyo Renard Islands Ritter Rossel (Yela) Sae Sakar Samarai Sanaroa Schouten Islands Selapiu Sideia Simberi Sirot St. Andrews Islands St Matthias Islands Strathord Islands Sudest Tabar Group Tabar Takuu Tanga Islands Tatau Tefa Tong Trobriands Tsoilaunung Ulu Umboi Utian Vanatinai Vial Vitu Islands Wabuda Wagifa Western Islands Woodlark Wuvulu Yeina Yule

Coordinates: 5°44′S 150°44′E / 5.733°S 150.733°E / -5.

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