|State :||Papua New Guinea|
|Province :||East New Britain|
|Residents :||7,024 (2009)|
|Time zone :||AEST (UTC + 10)|
Rabaul is a city in Papua New Guinea with 7024 inhabitants (in 2009). It was the capital of the province of East New Britain and is located at the northernmost point of the island of New Britain , which is divided into two provinces. Rabaul is a port city on the St. Georgs Canal , which connects the Bismarck Sea with the Solomon Sea .
The city is located in a volcanic caldera of the Rabaul volcanic complex . This volcanic collapse structure is about 14 kilometers wide and 19 kilometers long. Within the volcanic active caldera are the volcanoes Tavurvur and Vulcan (both active), Sulfur Creek and Rabalanakaia . The caldera is of old inactive Strato volcanoes surrounded as the Palangiagia, Tovanumbatir, Kombiu and Talvat (also Turanguna). The Tavurvur erupted on September 19, 1994 in a violent Plinian eruption and destroyed much of the city. The early warning system worked well and the population could be evacuated in good time . Since the volcanoes continued to discharge lava and ash until April 1995, most of the residents moved to the other side of Rabaul Bay, to the places Kokopo and Vunamami . As a result, Kokopo became the provincial capital, as the place offered more security due to its protected location.
Another outbreak on October 7, 2006 at 8:45 am AEST brought ash back over the country. Rabaul had to be evacuated again and the ashes were carried to Kokopo.
Rabaul's population fell between 1990 and 2000 from just under 15,000 to less than 4,000, while the villages of Kokopo and Vunamami grew together and their population rose from a good 3,000 in 1990 to over 20,000 in 2000.
In the bay is the Vulcan peninsula . It is a volcano that first appeared as an island in the middle of Simpson Harbor due to a Strombolian eruption in 1878 and grew to its present size during another eruption on May 28, 1937. 200 people died at that time.
Rabaul was founded at Simpsonhafen . It was the seat of the Rabaul district and from 1909 the seat of the governor of German New Guinea . The second German Creole language , Unserdeutsch (also Rabaul Creole German ), which is still spoken by some people around Rabaul and in the area around Brisbane, dates from this time (in addition to kitchen German in Namibia) . Besides Tsingtau, Rabaul was a base of the East Asia Squadron of the Imperial Navy .
Rabaul was planned by the German administration as a beautiful city with wide avenues and large gardens. There was also a botanical garden in Rabaul, which was established in 1906. It was the largest city in the territory until the volcanic eruption of 1937 and the capital until 1945 .
The city played an important role in the Pacific War during World War II in the fighting between Japan and the United States . The 8th Japanese Regional Army overpowered the small Australian garrison stationed there on January 23, 1942 in the Battle of Rabaul and expanded the city into a fortress and a gigantic, partly underground supply base. The pumice mountains in the hinterland of the city served as shelter . There, the Japanese army of locals and prisoners of war from Singapore had tunnels dug with a total length of more than 500 km, which served as supply camps, intermediate troop camps and also as hospitals (15 of them alone). One was more than four kilometers long and could accommodate 2,500 patients. There were also five runways , a station for seaplanes , a submarine base and a military port . Rabaul was temporarily manned with up to 200,000 soldiers.
From here, the Japanese began their campaigns against New Guinea and the Solomon Islands . They supplied their troops on the Kokoda Track in Milne Bay and on Bougainville . The conquest of the Australian continent from Rabaul was also planned for the long term. Due to the strength of the Japanese base, the Americans bypassed Rabaul and isolated him until the end of the war. After the end of the war, the Australian colonial power carried out most of its war crimes trials in New Guinea there, namely 188. Of the 390 accused there, 266 were convicted and 124 acquitted.
After the war until around 1960, Rabaul flourished thanks to the high prices of copra . Many of the planters and traders from the People's Republic of China and Europe later left the city with their families because of the uncertainties they feared from independence.
- SPIEGEL report from September 29, 2008: A volcanologist in the ash rain
- Information for tourists
- Reconstruction project after 1994 (English; PDF file; 507 kB)
- Rabaul and the surrounding area 80 historical recordings from 1933 from the holdings of the National Library of Australia (English text)
- Information on the eruption history of the volcanic complex (in English)
- Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (1995)
- German Colonial Lexicon. Edited by Heinrich Schnee. - Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer 1920. - 3 vols.
- Philip Piccigallo: The Japanese on Trial . Austin 1979. ISBN 0-292-78033-8 (Chapter 7 "Australia and Others")