Samoa Travels


Otto Finsch (1839–1917) was a German ornithologist and ethnographer who was involved in the establishment of Kaiser Wilhelms-Land, a German protectorate located in the northeastern part of present-day Papua New Guinea. Finsch worked as a curator at the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography in Bremen. He was awarded an honorary doctorate for his ornithological work by the University of Bonn in 1868 and became director of the Bremen museum in 1876. After an initial expedition to the Pacific in 1879–82, he returned to Germany and became a member of the “South Sea Plotters,” a group of merchants, bankers, and scholars committed to establishing German colonies in the Pacific. In 1884–85 Finsch undertook explorations on the German steamer Samoa along the northeast coast of the island of New Guinea. He also visited British New Guinea, which occupied the southeastern part of the island. Finsch’s expedition led to the establishment, in 1884, of Kaiser Wilhelms-Land as a German protectorate. This book, published in 1888, is Finsch’s account of his travels. It includes illustrations based on his original sketches, maps, and descriptions of the geography, people, and culture of New Guinea. With the outbreak, in 1914, of World War I, Australian troops occupied Kaiser Wilhelms-Land, and the German protectorate became a League of Nations mandate under Australian administration at the end of the war.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Ferdinand Hirt & Sohn, Leipzig


Title in Original Language


Type of Item

Physical Description

390 pages : illustrations, maps ; 28 centimeters

Last updated: September 18, 2015