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The people of Yamna and Insu Moar


The people of Yamna and Insu Moar

Gilsemans, Isaac

After reaching New Guinea proper by 20 April 1643, the expedition of Abel Tasman tracked the island’s coast westwards. Making fast progress, about a week later the Zeehaen and Heemskerck reached an island group of which Yamna was the largest island. Here they decided to anchor on the 25th of April to barter for fresh supplies. Locals arrived with mostly bananas and coconuts and some fresh and smoked fish, which they bartered for knives, nails and beads. The expedition’s leaders had mistaken Yamna for the island of Insumoar, but did not realize the mistake until the 27th of April. They then resolved to sail on to Insu Moar the next day, which they did in the early morning.

From 28th April to 6th May 1643 the Zeehaen and Heemskerck of Abel Tasman’s expedition anchored off the coast of the island of Insu Moar, which together with Insumanai forms the Wakde Islands. There they traded items for fresh supplies of bananas and coconuts. Aside from one brief incident, the stay was peaceful and the expedition was able to acquire 6000 coconuts and 100 bunches of bananas.

Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo on board the Zeehaen is seen as the most likely author of these drawings of the people of Yamna, Insu Moar and nearby islands. The drawing also shows their ships, decorations and weapons.

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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)