Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/855

This page needs to be proofread.


NEW GRANADA


783


NEW GUINEA


'ITie Rhodes bequest gives three places for Newfound- land in perpetuity. They are all filled this year for the first time, and of the three occupants two are pupils of the College of St. Bonaventure. There are thirteen convents of Sisters of the Presentation Order in the country (9 in St. John's Diocese, 3 in Harbor Grace, and 1 in St. George's), and eight convents of the Sisters of Mercy (5 in St. John's, 2 in Harbor Grace, and 1 in St. George's) . The Presentation Sisters have free schools, the nuns being paid out of the Govern- ment grant. The Sisters of Mercy have, besides free schools, a paying school and a boarding academy. The total number of children attending school is over 13,- 000. There are also two orphan asylums, or industrial schools, one under the Sisters of Mercy for girls, and. one under the Christian Brothers for boys. These contain about 200 orphans, or one for every 375 of the Catholic population, which, considering that this is a maritime and fishing colony, and the losses at sea are abnormal, is not an excessive number.

The Catholic religion is not only holding its own, but advancing rapidly in Newfoundland. The most harmonious relations exist between the different de- nominations, which are only interrupted on occasions of public excitement, when persons aspiring to politi- cal position and honours do not scruple to stir up feel- ings of religious bigotry and theological hatred among the more simple-minded of the people. A great future is opening up for the country. Large industries are being started in the interior, the scene of the new developments being principally in the Dioceses of Harbor Grace and St. George's.

M. F. HOWLET.

New Granada. See Colombia, Republic of.

New Guinea, the second largest island and one of the least known countries of the world, lies immedi- ately north of Australia, extending from the equator to about 12° S. lat. and from 130° 50' to 154° 30' E. long. It is 1490 miles in length, its maximum breadth is about 430 miles, and its total area some .310,000 sq. miles. Its population is placed at the purely conjec- tural figure of 875,000. An examination of the report of D'Abreu, who was long credited with the discovery of New Guinea (1511), shows that he only reached the eastern coast of Further India (Cambodia) ; whether Jose de Menzes (1526), Saavedra (1536), and Grijalva (1537) reached New Guinea is still uncertain. But there can be no doubt in the case of Jingo Ortiz de Retas (1545), who landed at the mouth of the St. Augustine (now the Kabenau) River, and took possession of the country in the name of the King of Spain. It was he who gave the island the name of Nueva Guinea. On Mercator's map of 1569 New Guinea and numerous places and islands on its northern coast are indicated. Luis de Torres (1606), whose name is commemorated in the strait separating New Guinea from Australia, was the first to circumnavigate the greater portion of the island. The voyages of Tasman (1643-44), Vuik (1653), and Kayto (1674) added greatly to our knowl- edge of the southern and eastern coasts, and in the eighteenth century, thanks to the efforts of Dutch, English, and French explorers (Schouten, Lemaire, Captain Cook, De Bougainville, etc.), the picture of the island began in some measure to approach the actuality. However, Captain WiUiam Dampier's map of the north-western portion of the island, while ex- iiibiting a great advance beyond the preceding, shows how erroneous still were the views concerning the exact contour of the island. The rapid growth of European interest in Australia in the nineteenth cen- tury invested New Guinea with enhanced importance: voyages of exploration multiplied, although, owing to the warlike and cannibal character of the natives, landings were still few. It was only during the last decades of the century that active exploration of the island began. Numerous successful expeditions (Mac-


Gregor, Monckton, Strong, Berton, Beccari, and d'Al- bertis) have furnished us with a comparatively accu- rate knowledge of the coasts and of the south-eastern portion of the island. For the scanty knowledge we possess of the German territory we are indebted mainly to Dr. Schlechter (1907): the lofty mountain ranges, which hem in and render almost inaccessible the greater part of the German and especially of the Dutch section, the difficulty of travelling and trans- porting supplies, the character of the native tribes who regard the setting foot on their special territory as a hostile act, and the insalubrious climate, constitute for the explorer obstacles greater perhaps than any he has to encounter elsewhere in the world.

The northern coast of New Guinea is in general steep and regular, and possesses but few places of safe anchorage. The only great indentation here is the vast Geelvink Bay. The most important of the other inlets are Humboldt, Cornells, and Astrolabe bays, Huan Gulf (all in German New Guinea), and Acland Bay (British). The coasts are lined with groups of islands which are mostly volcanic (some still actively) or otherwise flat and sandy. The chief groups on the north and east are the Schouten Islands (at the en- trance to Geelvink Bay), the Admiralty Islands, and Bismarck Archipelago (of which New Pomerania is the largest island) off the German territory, and the D'Entrecasteaux Islands, the Bennett group, and the Louisiade Archipelago off British New Guinea. On the southern side of the island the sea — which on the northern is frequently too deep for safe anchorage — becomes shallow, and the precipitous rocks give place to wide plains. This is, as already stated, almost the sole easily accessible portion of New Guinea. To the west of Cape Bum in Dutch New Guinea high cliffs again skirt the coasts, and the groups of islands once more become numerous (Arru, Wessel, and Ke Islands, etc.). From the north-western portion of the island two great peninsulas, Onin and Berau, are almost severed — the latter by McCluer's Inlet, which very deeply indents the coast in an easterly direction.

Our knowledge of the great mountain ranges of New Guinea is still to a great extent hypothetical, and the calculation of their heights only approximate and sub- ject to revision. Beginning with British New Guinea in the south-east, we find the country traversed by a continuous chain of which the successive members are the Stirling and Stanley ranges (Mount Albert, 14,400 feet), the Yule (Mt. Yule, 14,730 feet) and Albert Victor (13,120 feet) mountains, and the Sir Arthur Gordon (13,120 feet) and Victor Emmanuel (12,810 feet) ranges. This chain is continued in Dutch New Guinea by the Charles Louis range, which attains the height of about 16,000 feet (probably the greatest altitude in New Guinea). How the central chain con- tinues in the western portion of the island is still un- known. The principal range in German New Guinea is the Bismarck Mountains (variously estimated be- tween 14,000 and 16,000 feet in height). Between the central chain and the sea run numerous parallel ranges, mostly of a lower altitude. With few excep- tions, the rivers flow through narrow and steep ravines until within a few miles from the coast, and assume, during the wet season, the character of violent tor- rents. As they form practically the sole means of access to immense areas of the island, the difficulties confronting the ex-plorer will be readily understood. The most important rivers of the northern coasts are: the Amberno (still unex-plored), which enters the sea by a vast delta at Point d'Urville; (he Kaiserin Augusta (navigable by ocean steamers for 180 miles), which rises in the Charles Louis range and enters the Pacific at Cape della Torre; tlic Ottiliin. wliich, after a cour.se of great length, empties into tlic ocean near the la.st-mentioned; the-Mambre, which discharges near the Anglo-German boundary. On the southern coast the principal rivers are the Purari or Queen's