In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Celebes is Number 85 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Celebes (present-day Sulawesi, Indonesia) is a large island located east of Borneo, across the Makassar Strait. On the north it is bordered by the Celebes Sea. The book covers physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. The section on geography notes the curious shape of the island, with its three long peninsulas projecting from the backbone of the island. Muslim sultanates were established on Celebes in the 15th century. In 1512 the Portuguese established a settlement at Macassar (or Makassar) for the conduct of the spice trade, but in the course of the 17th century the Dutch came to dominate the island, which came under the control of the Dutch East India Company and eventually was made part of the Netherlands East Indies. The main exports from the island were coffee and copra. The concluding section of the study is a set of brief sketches about islands connected with Celebes, i.e., the Sangi (Sangihe) Islands, the Talaur (present-day Talaud or Pulau-Pulau) Islands, the Banggai Archipelago, the Sula Islands, and several others, all today part of Indonesia.

Last updated: July 23, 2015