Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/31

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PICTURESQUE NEW GUINEA.


CHAPTER I.


HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF NEW GUINEA.


Geographical Position—First Discoveries—First Explorers—The Missionaries—Dutch Settlement—English Surveys of the Coasts—Attempts of Australian Settlement—Annexation by Queensland—Refusal of Imperial Sanction—Australian Colonists remonstrate—Proposal of a British Protectorate—Annexation by Great Britain—Dissatisfaction of the Colonists—Announcement of German Occupation—Arrival of Sir Peter Scratchley—His first Proceedings and Premature Death—Appointment of a Successor—The German Settlement.


Geographical Position.

NEW GUINEA, the latest addition to the magnificent Colonial empire now owned by Great Britain, is the largest island on our globe, counting Australia as a sixth continent. It lies to the north of Australia, from which it is separated by a narrow strait named after Torres, a Spanish navigator, who, in 1606, sailed through it on his way from the New Hebrides to the Philippine Islands.

First Discoverers.—It is doubtful whether anything relating to this large island was known to the European world before the time of Columbus. No mention of it is found in the works of any of the ancient geographers. The earliest reference to it that can be traced is given in the narrative of their voyages and adventures left by two Portuguese navigators, Francisco Sorrani and Antonio d'Abriu, who