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Bismarck Archipelago facts for kids

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The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean and part of Papua New Guinea.


The first inhabitants of the Archipelago arrived around 33,000 years ago after sailing from what is now Papua New Guinea. 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 became part of the German protectorate of German New Guinea in 1884. The area was named in honor of the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

On 13 March 1888, a volcano erupted on Ritter Island causing a megatsunami. Almost 100% of the volcano fell in to the ocean leaving a small lake in the volcanic crater.

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 control – interrupted only by Japanese occupation during World War II – until Papua New Guinea became independent in 1975.

  • Firth, Stewart (1983). New Guinea Under the Germans. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press. ISBN: 0522842208.
  • Howe, K. R., Robert C. Kiste, Brij V. Lal, eds. (1994). Tides of History: The Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN: 0824815971.
  • King, David et al. (1982). Papua New Guinea Atlas: A Nation in Transition. Bathurst, Australia: R. Brown and the University of Papua New Guinea. ISBN: 0909197148.
  • Moore, Clive (2003). New Guinea: Crossing Boundaries and History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN: 0824824857.
  • Ryan, Peter, ed. (1972). Encyclopedia of Papua New Guinea. 3 volumes; Vol I: A - K, maps, black and white illustrations, xv + 588pp. Vol II: l - Z, maps, black and white illustrations, 589-1231pp. Vol III: Index, folding colour map in rear pocket, map, colour illustration, v + 83pp. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press. ISBN: 9780522840254.

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