Borders Across Rivers: Problems with the Creation of Anglo-German Borders Across Gira, Eia, Wuwu, and Waria Rivers, 1884-1909

Biama Kanasa

Abstract

An international boundary across navigable rivers can naturally create a great potential for international conflict. In New Guinea, the officials of Anglo-German colonial authorities seemed to have overlooked this problem when they first decided to lay down their common boundary in 1885 across Gira, Eia, Wuwu and Waria Rivers at eight parallel on the south latitude. This paper attempts to discuss how the colonial officials of the two very powerful countries at the time (1885-1909) tried to make decisions in such a way to prevent or avoid an international conflict with the navigation of rivers across their common boundaries. It involved the parliamentarians of newly federated Commonwealth of Australia.

Wherever the colonial officials laid claims to protect land and people, they also created a lasting problem relating to definition of boundaries that crossed navigable rivers. A good example is the “Anglo-German boundary” which crosses the Gira, Eia, Wuwu, and Waria rivers. When the British colonial officials were pressured by their colonies in Australia, they never considered likely problems in the future if international boundary crossed navigable rivers.

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