The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean and is part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea. Its area is about 50,000 square km.
Map of the Bismarck Archipelago
|Location||Papua New Guinea|
|Major islands||New Britain, New Ireland|
|Area||49,700 km2 (19,200 sq mi)|
Papua New Guinea
The first inhabitants of the archipelago arrived around 30–40,000 years ago. They may have traveled from New Guinea, by boat across the Bismarck Sea or via a temporary land bridge, created by an uplift in the Earth's crust. Later arrivals included the Lapita people.
The first European to visit these islands was Dutch explorer Willem Schouten in 1616. The islands remained unsettled by western Europeans until they were annexed as part of the German protectorate of German New Guinea in 1884. The area was named in honour of the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
Following the outbreak of World War I, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force seized the islands in 1914 and Australia later received a League of Nations mandate for the islands. They remained under Australian administration—interrupted only by Japanese occupation during World War II—until Papua New Guinea became independent in September 1975.
The Bismarck Archipelago includes mostly volcanic islands with a total land area of 49,700 km2 (19,189 sq mi). The archipelago encompasses the Bismarck Sea and sits upon the North Bismarck Plate, the Manus Plate and the South Bismarck Plate.
Islands are grouped here according to administrative province:
The passage of water between the islands of New Britain and New Ireland is called St. George's Channel after St. George's Channel in the British Isles between Wales and Ireland.
In the early morning of 1888 March 13, roughly 5 km3 of Ritter Island Volcano fell violently into the sea northeast of New Guinea. This event, the largest lateral collapse of an island volcano to be recorded in historical time, flung devastating tsunami tens of metres high on to adjacent shores. Several hundred kilometres away, observers on New Guinea chronicled 3-min period waves up to 8 m high, that lasted for as long as 3 h. These accounts represent the best available first-hand information on tsunami generated by a major volcano lateral collapse. In this article, we simulate the Ritter Island landslide as constrained by a 1985 sonar survey of its debris field and compare predicted tsunami with historical observations. The best agreement occurs for landslides travelling at 40 m/s, but velocities up to 80 m/s cannot be excluded. The Ritter Island debris dropped little more than 800 m vertically and moved slowly compared with landslides that descend into deeper water. Basal friction block models predict that slides with shorter falls should attain lower peak velocities and that 40+ m/s is perfectly compatible with the geometry and runout extent of the Ritter Island landslide. The consensus between theory and observation for the Ritter Island waves increases our confidence in the existence of mega-tsunami produced by oceanic volcano collapses two to three orders of magnitude larger in scale.
Aua is an island in the Bismarck Archipelago. It is part of the Western Islands, region and Manus Province of northern Papua New Guinea.Bismarck crow
The Bismarck crow (Corvus insularis) is a species of crow found in the Bismarck Archipelago. It was considered by many authorities to be a subspecies of the Torresian crow (C. orru), but is now treated as a distinct species.Great flying fox
The great flying fox (Pteropus neohibernicus), also known as the greater flying fox or Bismarck flying fox, is a species of megabat in the genus Pteropus, found throughout lowland areas of New Guinea and in the Bismarck Archipelago. At up to 1.45 kg (3.2 lb) in weight, it is among the largest bats in the world. It is a gregarious animal which roosts with hundreds or thousands of individuals.Hermit Islands
The Hermit Islands are a group of 17 islands within the Western Islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. Their coordinates are 1°30′S 145°4′E.The first sighting by Europeans of Hermit islands was by the Spanish navigator Iñigo Órtiz de Retes on 29 July 1545 when on board of the carrack San Juan tried to return from Tidore to New Spain. He charted them as La Caimana (a female caiman in Spanish). When passing by, Ortiz de Retes reported that some negroes got near the ship who flung arrows by hand without bows, that were made of flint suitable for striking fire. These islands belong to Micronesian outliers.Island Melanesia
Island Melanesia is a sub-region of Melanesia in Oceania.
It is located east of mainland New Guinea island, from the Bismarck Archipelago to New Caledonia.Kaniet Islands
The Kaniet Islands are the easternmost group islands within the Western Islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. It consists four islands and one islet. Their coordinates are 0°54′S 145°32′E, located north-east of the Hermit Islands. Sae Island is a nearby island often subsumed under the Kaniet(-Sae) Islands, albeit the two are distinct. Another name for the Kaniet(-Sae) Islands is "Anchorite Islands".The first sighting by Europeans of Kaniet islands was by the Spanish navigator Iñigo Órtiz de Retes on 19 August 1545 when on board of the carrack San Juan tried to return from Tidore to New Spain. He charted them as Hombres Blancos (White Men in Spanish) because of the color of the skin of its inhabitants that contrasted with that of the population of New Guinea. In 1780 and 1800 they received visits of new Spanish expeditions commanded respectively by Francisco Mourelle de la Rúa and Juan Antonio de Ibargoitia.Lihir Group
Lihir Group is an island group in Papua New Guinea, located north of New Ireland, at 3°S 152.583333°E / -3; 152.583333. It is a part of Bismarck Archipelago. Largest island of the group is Lihir (a.k.a. Niolam), other islands include: Mali, Mahur, Masahet and Sanambiet.Los Negros Island
Los Negros Island is the third largest of the Admiralty Islands. It is significant because it contains the main airport of Manus Province on its eastern coastline, at Momote. It is connected to Lorengau, the capital of the province, on Manus Island via a highway and bridge across the Lonui Passage, which separates Los Negros from the larger Manus Island.
One of Australia's regional centres for asylum seekers caught in Australian waters, the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, was situated on the island until it closed in November 2017. Remaining asylum seekers were as of February 2019 housed in accommodation in Lorengau.Malesia
Malesia is a biogeographical region straddling the Equator and the boundaries of the Indomalaya ecozone and Australasia ecozone, and also a phytogeographical floristic region in the Paleotropical Kingdom. It has been given different definitions. The World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions split off Papuasia in its 2001 version.Melanesian kingfisher
The Melanesian kingfisher (Todiramphus tristrami) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is endemic to the Bismarck Archipelago and the northwest and central Solomon Islands. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and plantations. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the collared kingfisher.Mussau Island
Mussau Island is the largest island of St. Matthias Islands, Papua New Guinea, at 1°25′01″S 149°37′59″E. It is one of the northernmost islands of Papua New Guinea.New Britain
New Britain (Tok Pisin: Niu Briten) is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea. It is separated from the island of New Guinea by the Dampier and Vitiaz Straits and from New Ireland by St. George's Channel. The main towns of New Britain are Rabaul/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").New Ireland (island)
New Ireland (Tok Pisin: Niu Ailan) or Latangai, is a large island in Papua New Guinea, approximately 7,404 km2 (2,859 sq mi) in area with c. 120,000 people. It is the largest island of New Ireland Province, lying northeast of the island of New Britain. Both islands are part of the Bismarck Archipelago, named after Otto von Bismarck, and they are separated by Saint George's Channel. The administrative centre of the island and of New Ireland province is the town of Kavieng located at the northern end of the island. While the island was part of German New Guinea, it was named Neumecklenburg ("New Mecklenburg").Ninigo Islands
The Ninigo Islands are a group of 31 islands within the Western Islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. Their coordinates are 1°16′S 144°15′E.Sae Island
Sae Island is the northernmost island within the Western Islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. It is located just north-west of the Kaniet Islands, under which it is often subsumed, although the two are distinct. Another name for the Kaniet(-Sae) Islands is "Anchorite Islands".The first sighting by Europeans of Sae Island was by the Spanish navigator Iñigo Órtiz de Retes on 21 August 1545 when on board of the carrack San Juan tried to return from Tidore to New Spain.Song parrot
The song parrot (Geoffroyus heteroclitus) is a species of parrot in the family Psittaculidae.
It is found in the Bismarck Archipelago and on Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea, and in the Solomon Islands except Rennel. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.St Matthias Islands
The St Matthias Islands (also known as the Mussau islands) are a small archipelago group of islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, in northern Papua New Guinea. They are within New Ireland Province.Tanga Islands
The Tanga Islands are an island group in Papua New Guinea, located north-east of New Ireland and part of the Bismarck Archipelago.Tanga is made up of four main islands—Boeng, Maledok, Lif and Tefa—and a number of smaller, uninhabited islands. Boeng (ca. 27 km²) consists entirely of a raised, relatively flattopped plateau of Pleistocene, coralline limestone, which rises up to 170 m above sea level (asl.) and has sheer cliffs around a large part of its perimeter. The islands are the remnants of a stratovolcano which collapsed to form a caldera. Lif (283 m), Tefa (155 m), and Malendok (472 m) islands are on the caldera rim, while Bitlik and Bitbok islands are lava domes constructed near the center of the caldera.
They are inhabited by the Tanga people. Former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Sir Julius Chan and Sumsuma, the leader of the Rabaul Strike of 1929 and Papua New Guinea's First Unionist are from the Tanga Islands.
Secret Societies practiced on the Islands are Sokapana, Tubuan and Ingiat. Mask dances include Lor, Tedak and Kipong are performed during cultural occasions.Western Islands, Papua New Guinea
The Western Islands are a group of islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, and within Manus Province of the Islands Region, in northern Papua New Guinea.
Islands of Papua New Guinea