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Coastline profile of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea


Coastline profile of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea

Gilsemans, Isaac

In late March 1643 the expedition of Abel Tasman approached the island of New Ireland, part today of Papua New Guinea. Due to a misunderstanding Tasman believed that he had already reached the mainland of New Guinea, while he was in fact sailing along the eastern coast of this separate island. On 1 April they approached New Ireland at a cape which they identified as the Cape of Saint Mary based on their interpretation of Spanish descriptions. They sailed north along the coast, observing a large island with high lands to their north, which they identified as Anthony Caen’s island. Today is it known as Anthony Kaan Island or Malendok Island, part of the Tanga group of Papua New Guinea. Sailing further along the coast they first observed islands the identified as Gerrit de Nijs island, which today is known as Lihir of Gerrit Denys Island. Further northwards they saw an island group they labelled the Visscher Eilanden, which today are known as the Fisher Islands or Tabar Group.

Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo on board the Zeehaen, is commonly identified as the artist who drew these coastline profiles of coastline of New Ireland, which is mistaken for the coast of New Guinea, in the journal of Abel Tasman. Is shows the coast seen when sailing along the coast, between Gerrit Denys Island (Lihir) and the Fisher Islands (Tabar Group).

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Sources and literature

Posthumus Meyjes, De Reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher, ter nadere ontdekking van het Zuidland (Australië) in 1642 - 1644. (1919)