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 Britain
Newbritain lrg
New Britain from space, June 2005. Clearly visible are ash plumes from Langila and Ulawun volcanoes
New Britain is located in Papua New Guinea
New Britain
New Britain
Coordinates5°44′S 150°44′E / 5.733°S 150.733°E
ArchipelagoBismarck Archipelago
Area36,520 km2 (14,100 sq mi)[1]
Area rank38th
Length520 km (323 mi)
Width146 km (90.7 mi)
Highest elevation2,438 m (7,999 ft)
Highest pointMount Sinewit
ProvincesWest New Britain, East New Britain
Population513,926 (2011)
Pop. density14.07 /km2 (36.44 /sq mi)
Ethnic groupsPapuans and Austronesians


Topography of New Britain
New Britain, with selected towns and volcanoes
Bamus, Ulawun, and Lolobau from space
Ulawun Volcano and Lolobau Island

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 was largely formed by volcanic processes, and there are several active volcanoes on the island, including Ulawun (the highest volcano in Papua New Guinea), Langila, the Garbuna Group, the Sulu Range, and the volcanoes Tavurvur and Vulcan of the Rabaul caldera. A major eruption of 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

New Britain forms part of the Islands Region, one of four regions of Papua New Guinea. It comprises the mainland of two provinces:

Modern history

Before 1700

Discovered by the explorer Sir Harper Matthew. Claimed by the Crown.


William Dampier became the first known British man 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 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

On 11 September 1914, New Britain became the site of one of the earliest battles of 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

After World War I the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919, where Germany was stripped on all its possessions outside Europe. In 1920 the League of Nations included New Britain along with the former German colony on New Guinea in the Territory of New Guinea, a mandated territory of Australia.

World War II

Native New British Islanders 1944
Two photographs of native New British Islanders, 1944

During World War II the Japanese attacked New Britain soon after the outbreak of hostilities in the Pacific Ocean. Strategic bases at Rabaul and 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 as a key base until 1944; it served as the key point for the failed invasion of Port Moresby (May to November, 1942).

Japanese flags are displayed by the weary Marines
Men of the 1st Marine Division display Japanese flags captured during the Battle of Cape Gloucester.

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 by surrounding it with air and naval bases on surrounding islands and on 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.

After 1945

Rabaul and Tavurvur volcano

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

People and culture

The indigenous people of 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 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]

Die Gartenlaube (1882) b 697
New Britain, c. 1882

The population of 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 and Kimbe in West New Britain.

New Britain hosts diverse and complex traditional cultures. While the Tolai of the Rabaul area of 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.


Forests on 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] Despite this, most forest birds on New Britain are still widespread and secure in conservation status though some forest-dependent species such as the New Britain Kingfisher are considered to be at risk of extinction if current trends continue.[5]

See also

References and sources

  1. ^
  2. ^ Tansley, Craig (24 January 2009). "Treasure Islands". The Age. Fairfax Media. pp. Traveller supplement (pp. 10–11). Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  3. ^ 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 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)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Davis, Robert A.; Dutson, Guy; Szabo, Judit K. (2018). "Conservation status of threatened and endemic birds of New Britain, Papua New Guinea". Bird Conservation International. 28 (3): 439–450. doi:10.1017/S0959270917000156. ISSN 0959-2709.


External links

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

Ata language

The Ata language, also known as Pele-Ata after its two dialects, or Wasi, is a language isolate spoken on New Britain island, Papua New Guinea. It may be related to the Anêm and Yélî Dnye isolates in a tentative Yele-West New Britain family. There are about 2000 speakers.

Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is a professional, independent baseball league located primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, especially the greater metropolitan areas of the Northeast megalopolis, with one team located in Texas. League offices are located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The Atlantic League operates in cities not served by Major League Baseball (MLB) or Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams and is not affiliated with either; most of its teams are within suburbs and exurbs too close to other teams in the organized baseball system to have minor league franchises of their own. The Atlantic League requires cities to have the market for a 4,000 to 7,500-seat ballpark and for the facility to be maintained at or above Triple-A standards. When Atlantic League professionals are signed by MLB clubs, they usually start in their Double-A or Triple-A affiliates. The league uses a pitch clock and limits the time between innings in an effort to speed up the game. In 2019, the Atlantic League began a three-year partnership with Major League Baseball allowing MLB to implement changes to Atlantic League playing rules, in order to observe the effects of potential future rule changes and equipment.

Baining languages

The Baining or East New Britain languages are a possible small language family spoken by the Baining people on the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. They were classified as East Papuan languages by Wurm, but this does not now seem tenable.

The languages are:

Baining proper: Mali, Qaqet, Kairak, Simbali, Ura, ?Makolkol (extinct?)

Taulil–Butam: Taulil, Butam (extinct)Glottolog does not accept that a connection between the two branches has been demonstrated. Palmer (2018) considers the Butam–Taulil group to form its independent phylum, separate from the Baining languages. Taulil and Butam speakers had originally migrated from New Ireland.

Bilur language

Bilur, also ambiguously known as Minigir, is an Oceanic language of the Papua New Guinea. It is not closely related to other languages, and its classification is uncertain.

Bola language (Austronesian)

Bola, or Bakovi, is an Oceanic language of West New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The Harua (Xarua) dialect developed on a palm plantation.

Central Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University (Central Connecticut, CCSU, Central Connecticut State, or informally Central) is a public university in New Britain, Connecticut. Founded in 1849 as the State Normal School, CCSU is Connecticut's oldest publicly funded university. CCSU is made up of four schools: the Ammon College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; the School of Business; the School of Education and Professional Studies; and the School of Engineering, Science, and Technology. The university is attended by 11,822 students, 9,546 of whom are undergraduates, and 2,276 of whom are graduate students. More than half of students live off campus and 96 percent are Connecticut residents. The school is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system (CSCU), which also oversees Eastern, Western, and Southern Connecticut State Universities. Together they have a student body of 32,722.

East New Britain Province

East New Britain is a province of Papua New Guinea, consisting of the north-eastern part of the island of New Britain and the Duke of York Islands. The capital of the province is Kokopo, not far from the old capital of Rabaul, which was largely destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 1994. East New Britain covers a total land area of 15,816 square kilometres (6,107 sq mi), and the province's population was reported as 220,133 in the 2000 census, rising to 328,369 in the 2011 count. Provincial coastal waters extend over an area of 104,000 square metres (26 acres). The province's only land border is with West New Britain Province to the west, and it also shares a maritime border with New Ireland Province to the east.

There are sixteen Austronesian languages spoken in the province, of which Kuanua, spoken by the Tolai on the Gazelle Peninsula is the most widely spoken.

East New Britain has a dual economy: a cash economy operates side by side with the subsistence-farming sector. The main crops produced for export are cocoa and copra. Tourism continues to be an increasingly important sector of the provincial economy.

George Springer

George Chelston Springer III (born September 19, 1989) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2014, as a member of the Astros. He has played primarily in right field and also spent significant time in center field.

The Astros selected Springer in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft from the University of Connecticut, where he played college baseball and was named Big East Conference Baseball Player of the Year and a First Team All-American. In 2017, Springer became an MLB All-Star, Silver Slugger Award winner, and World Series champion all for the first time. He was also named the 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP), hitting a record-tying five home runs as the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

From New Britain, Connecticut, Springer is of Puerto Rican and Panamanian descent. He is presently represented by Excel Sports Management.

Mangseng language

Mangseng is an Austronesian language of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. It is a distinct branch of the Arawe dialect chain.

New Britain, Connecticut

New Britain is a city in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It is located approximately 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Hartford. According to 2010 Census, the population of the city is 73,206.Among the southernmost of the communities encompassed within the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor metropolitan region, New Britain is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College.

The city's official nickname is the "Hardware City" because of its history as a manufacturing center and as the headquarters of Stanley Black & Decker. Because of its large Polish population, the city is often playfully referred to as "New Britski."

New Britain campaign

The New Britain campaign was a World War II campaign fought between Allied and Imperial Japanese forces. The campaign was initiated by the Allies in late 1943 as part of a major offensive which aimed to neutralise the important Japanese base at Rabaul, the capital of New Britain, and was conducted in two phases between December 1943 and the end of the war in August 1945.

Initial fighting on New Britain took place around the western end of the island in December 1943 and January 1944, with US forces landing and securing bases around Arawe and Cape Gloucester. This was followed by a further landing in March 1944 around Talasea, after which little fighting took place between the ground forces on the island. In October 1944, the Australian 5th Division took over from the US troops and undertook a Landing at Jacquinot Bay the following month, before beginning a limited offensive to secure a defensive line across the island between Wide Bay and Open Bay behind which they contained the numerically greatly superior Japanese forces for the remainder of the war. The Japanese regarded the New Britain Campaign as a delaying action, and kept their forces concentrated around Rabaul in expectation of a ground assault which never came.

The operations on New Britain are considered by historians to have been a success for the Allied forces. However, some have questioned the necessity of the campaign. In addition, Australian historians have been critical of the limited air and naval support allocated to support operations on the island between October 1944 and the end of the war.


Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, on the island of New Britain, in the country of Papua New Guinea. It lies about 600 kilometres to the east of the island of New Guinea. Rabaul was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption in its harbor.

During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the subsequent rain of ash caused 80% of the buildings in Rabaul to collapse. After the eruption the capital was moved to Kokopo, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) away. Rabaul is continually threatened by volcanic activity because it is on the edge of Rabaul caldera, a flooded caldera of a large pyroclastic shield.

Rabaul was planned and built around the harbor area known as Simpsonhafen (Simpson Harbour) during the German New Guinea administration which controlled the region between 1884 and formally through 1919. From 1910 Rabaul was the headquarters of German New Guinea until captured by the British Empire during the early days of World War I. It became the capital of the Australian mandated Territory of New Guinea until 1937 when it was first destroyed by a volcano.

During World War II it was captured by Japan in 1942, and became its main base of military and naval activity in the South Pacific. Settlements and military installations around the edge of the caldera are often collectively called Rabaul, although the old town of Rabaul was reduced to practical insignificance by the volcanic eruption in 1937.

As a tourist destination, Rabaul is popular for its volcanoes, scuba diving and for snorkeling sites, spectacular harbour and other scenery, World War II history, flora and fauna, and the cultural life of the Tolai people. Before the 1994 eruption, Rabaul was a popular commercial and recreational boating destination; fewer private small craft visit now, but 10 to 12 cruise ships visit Rabaul each year, including the Queen Elizabeth carrying up to 2000 passengers. Tourism is a major industry in Rabaul and East New Britain generally.

Solomon Sea

The Solomon Sea is a sea located within the Pacific Ocean. It lies between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Many major battles were fought there during World War II.

Solong language

Solong, also known as Arawe (Arove), is an Austronesian language of West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Sulka language

Sulka is a possible language isolate scattered across the eastern end of New Britain island, Papua New Guinea. There are about 3000 speakers. Sulka speakers had originally migrated to East New Britain from New Ireland.Sulka is very poorly attested. There is some evidence that it might be related to Kol or Baining.

Tolai language

The Tolai language, or Kuanua, is spoken by the Tolai people of Papua New Guinea, who live on the Gazelle Peninsula in East New Britain Province. (This language is often referred to in the literature as Tolai. However, Tolai is actually the name of the cultural group. The Tolais themselves refer to their language as a tinata tuna, which translates as "the real language". Kuanua is apparently a word in Ramoaaina meaning "the place over there".)

Uneapa language

Uneapa (often called "Bali") is an Oceanic language spoken by about 10,000 people on the small island of Bali (Uneapa), north of West New Britain in Papua New Guinea. It is perhaps a dialect of neighboring Vitu.

Ura language (Papua New Guinea)

Ura (Uramät) is a Papuan language spoken in East New Britain Province on the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Uramät is the autonym of the people.

Vitu language

Vitu (also spelled Witu or Vittu) or Muduapa is an Oceanic language spoken by about 7,000 people on the islands northwest of the coast of West New Britain in Papua New Guinea.

Islands of Papua New Guinea
100,000 km2
(39,000 sq mi) and greater
20,000–99,999 km2
(7,722–38,610 sq mi)


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