Finschhafen is a district on the northeast coast of the Morobe province
Morobe Province
Morobe Province is a province on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea. The provincial capital, and largest city, is Lae. The province covers 34,500 km², including 719 km² maritime area, with a population of 539,725...

 of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

. It is named after the port of the same name.

The port was discovered (for Europeans) in 1884 by the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 researcher Otto Finsch
Otto Finsch
Friedrich Hermann Otto Finsch was a German ethnographer, naturalist and colonial explorer.-Biography:...

. In 1885 the German colony of German New Guinea
German New Guinea
German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. It was a protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it fell to Australia following the outbreak of the First World War. It consisted of the northeastern part of New Guinea and several nearby island groups...

 created a town on the site and named it after the discoverer (-hafen = -harbor). Evangelical Lutheran
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 missionaries, organized by Johann Flierl
Johann Flierl
Johann Flierl , was a pioneer Lutheran missionary in New Guinea. He established mission schools and organized the construction of roads and communication between otherwise remote interior locations. Under his leadership, Lutheran evangelicalism flourished in New Guinea...

, settled near the town, establishing a Mission station at Simbang, and later at Sattelberg, approximate 5 kilometres (3 mi) away. Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 was the bane of the town from the start. An epidemic in 1891 caused the colonists to briefly leave and only to return and then leave again ten years later in 1901. Other New Guinea towns were favoured instead, especially Rabaul
Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea. The town was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption. During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the...


During the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Finschhafen was fought over by Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, along with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The Japanese first occupied the town on 10 March 1942. Australian forces, as part of US Rear Admiral Daniel E. Barbey
Daniel E. Barbey
Vice Admiral Daniel Edward Barbey was an officer in the United States Navy who served in World War I and World War II. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he participated in the 1912 United States occupation of Nicaragua and the 1915 United States occupation of Veracruz. While serving with the War...

's task force, landed nearby and seized the town in October 1943. (See New Guinea campaign
New Guinea campaign
The New Guinea campaign was one of the major military campaigns of World War II.Before the war, the island of New Guinea was split between:...


Many of the original houses were destroyed during the war, and the city was re-developed somewhat further away, in the proximity of the military airport built by the Japanese. The airport was established as an important base for the US army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

. Today this airport is used for civilian use (designation FIN).

The district is commonly spelled "Finschaffen" in PNG media. The US World War II base is usually written as "Finschafen" and occasionally "Finschaven" is also used.

External links

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