New Britain from space, June 2005. Clearly visible are ash plumes from Langila and Ulawun volcanoes
Geography Coordinates Archipelago Bismarck Archipelago Area 36,520 km2 (14,100 sq mi) Area rank 38th Length 520 km (323 mi) Width 29-146 km (-72.7 mi) Highest elevation 2,438 m (7,999 ft) Highest point Mount Sinewit CountryPapua New Guinea Demographics Population 493,585 (as of 2010) Density 13.52 /km2 (35.02 /sq mi) Ethnic groups Papuans and Austronesians
New Britain, or Niu Briten, is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago (named after Otto von Bismarck) 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.
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.
- East New Britain with headquarters in Kokopo (formerly Rabaul)
- West New Britain with headquarters in Kimbe
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.
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. 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
During World War II the Japanese attacked New Britain soon after the outbreak of hostilities in the Pacific Ocean. During January 1942, Japanese heavily bombed Rabaul. On January 23, Japanese Marines landed by the thousands, starting the Battle of Rabaul. The Japanese used Rabaul as a heavy base until 1944; it served as the key point for the failed invasion of Port Moresby (May to November, 1942).
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".
The Allies were able to bypass attacking Rabaul by surrounding it with air and naval bases on surrounding islands and on New Britain itself Operation Cartwheel. The large neighboring island of New Ireland was bypassed altogether. The Rabaul air and naval base was abandoned by the Japanese in August 1945, and surrender by the Japanese followed on 2 September 1945 in Tokyo Bay.
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.
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.
- Postage stamps of New Britain
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Jane's Solomon Islands
- Australian War Memorial, Operations against German Pacific territories, 6 August 1914 – 6 November 1914.
- Ethnologue map of languages of New Britain
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Look at other dictionaries:
New Britain — New Britain, CT U.S. city in Connecticut Population (2000): 71538 Housing Units (2000): 31164 Land area (2000): 13.336649 sq. miles (34.541760 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.068230 sq. miles (0.176714 sq. km) Total area (2000): 13.404879 sq. miles… … StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places
New Britain — ist eine zu Papua Neuguinea gehörende Insel, siehe Neubritannien der Name zweier Orte in den USA: New Britain (Connecticut) New Britain (Pennsylvania) die Melodie, zu der üblicherweise Amazing Grace gesungen wird … Deutsch Wikipedia
New Britain — puede referirse a: New Britain (Connecticut) New Britain (Pensilvania) Esta página de desambiguación cataloga artículos relacionados con el mismo título. Si llegaste aquí a través de … Wikipedia Español
New Britain — [njuː brɪtn], Neubritạnni|en, vor 1919 Neupọmmern, größte Insel des Bismarckarchipels, Papua Neuguinea, 36 500 km2, 311 900 Einwohner (mit umliegenden Inseln: Vitu Islands und Duke of York Islands). Die lang gestreckte Insel wird von einem… … Universal-Lexikon
New Britain, CT — U.S. city in Connecticut Population (2000): 71538 Housing Units (2000): 31164 Land area (2000): 13.336649 sq. miles (34.541760 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.068230 sq. miles (0.176714 sq. km) Total area (2000): 13.404879 sq. miles (34.718474 sq.… … StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places
New Britain, PA — U.S. borough in Pennsylvania Population (2000): 3125 Housing Units (2000): 930 Land area (2000): 1.273391 sq. miles (3.298068 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.273391 sq. miles (3.298068 sq. km)… … StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places
New Britain — 1. largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, east of New Guinea: 14,100 sq mi (36,519 sq km); pop. (with small nearby islands) 264,000 2. city in central Conn.: pop. 72,000 … English World dictionary
New Britain — (spr. Njuh Brittän), 1) so v.w. Neu Britannien; 2) der officielle Name für Labrador; 3) Postort in der Grafschaft Hartford im Staate Connecticut (Nordamerika), an der Hartford Providence Fishkill Eisenbahn, Sitz der Staats Normalschule (1849… … Pierer's Universal-Lexikon
New Britain — (spr. njū brittĕn), Stadt in der Grafschaft Hartford des nordamerikan. Staates Connecticut, mit Zeughaus, Lehrerseminar, sehr bedeutender Kurzwarenfabrikation (1900: 4114 Arbeiter und für 5,796,636 Doll. Waren) und (1900) 25,998 Einw. Die Stadt… … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
New Britain — (spr. njuh brittĭn), Stadt im nordamerik. Staate Connecticut, (1900) 25.998 E … Kleines Konversations-Lexikon