Manuscript XXVIII: An Early Ethnography of the Geelvink Bay People, West New Guinea

Niel Gunson, Jan Godschalk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    One of the more detailed early accounts of the inhabitants ofWest New Guinea is contained in the answers to a questionnaire from 'the German Anthropological or Geographical Society'1 to the missionaries working in the Geelvink Bay district of West New Guinea, then nominally subject to the Sultan of Tidore. The manuscript, translated below, was written in Dutch, and it has not been established whether or not a copy was ever forwarded to the particular society that issued the questionnaire. This Dutch version was given by Louise Jaesrich, widow of the missionary Gottlieb Jaesrich,2 to the Revd Dr John Mühleisen Arnold, at that time British chaplain at Batavia and, from 1870, publisher and promoter of the vernacular Christian newspaper Biang-Lala.3 Arnold found the manuscript so interesting and informative that he subsequently translated it and forwarded it to the English family periodical The Leisure Hour, then edited by Dr James Macaulay (1817-1902), who published it in four instalments between August and October 1875,4 together with a short article by the Revd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-121
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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