George Windsor Earl
George Windsor Earl was an English navigator and author of works on the Indian Archipelago. He coined the term 'Indu-nesian', later popularised and adopted as the name for Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...


Earl was born in London around 1813. He travelled to India after becoming a midshipman at age 14, then joined the colonists in Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

 in 1830. In 1832 he resumed his nautical career, working between Batavia and Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, and gained the command of a trading ship. He returned to England and became involved in a scheme to colonise the North of Australia, leaving for Port Essington
Port Essington
Port Essington is an inlet and historic site located on the Cobourg Peninsula in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory...

 in 1838, but by 1845 the hardships and lack of success of the North Australia Expedition had exhausted him. He made a later venture to the region, promoting cotton and trade, with a similar result. From 1855 until his death he held a variety of official administrative positions in the region, his last post was at Penang
Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...


Earl died on a sea journey to England in 1865.

G. W. Earl, who wrote on a diverse range of interests, was regarded as an authority on hydrography
Hydrography is the measurement of the depths, the tides and currents of a body of water and establishment of the sea, river or lake bed topography and morphology. Normally and historically for the purpose of charting a body of water for the safe navigation of shipping...

 and a source of anthropological information on the peoples of the region. His works include papers and books , and a number of pamphlets and other material relating to proposed ventures in Australia. His first major publications were The Eastern Seas or Voyages and Adventures in the Indian Archipelago 1832-33-34... (London, 1837), and Sailing directions for the Arafura Sea, 1839, , a translation from Dutch narratives of Dirk Hendrik Kolff and others. The records of his observations of deep-sea channels was used by Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 and Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace, OM, FRS was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist...

 when studying the disjuncts in the bio-geographic distribution of the region. He published a paper in 1850 that invented the term 'Indu-nesians', for a quaint racial classification, derived from the Latin for India and island.

He published a seminal anthropological reference on the Papuan peoples, compiled from first hand accounts of other visitors to the region, though his direct contact or exploration of the land is unrecorded and seems unlikely. This work, The native races of the Indian Archipelago: Papuans, was the first in a projected series, further volumes on 'Malayu-Polynesians', Australians
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

, and Moluccans were never realised. Amongst the sources for the material was information Earl obtained from interviews with Owen Stanley
Owen Stanley
Captain Owen Stanley FRS RN was a British Royal Navy officer and surveyor.-Life:Stanley was born in Alderley, Cheshire the son of Edward Stanley, rector of Alderley and later Bishop of Norwich...

 and Dumont d'Urville. The volume functioned as a standard reference on the people until the twentieth century, though based on a treatment as a racial classification, was noted for its focus on research from the field. The book included papers on racial types written in 1845, these were encouraged and edited by James Richardson Logan
James Richardson Logan
James Richardson Logan was the man who coined the name Indonesia. He was a prominent lawyer, an editor of the Penang Gazette and a former student of George Windsor Earl, an English ethnologist; in 1850 Earl published the term 'Indu-nesians' to describe the peoples of the region...

and published in Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia.

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