N.N. Miklouho-Maclay’s expeditions to the northeastern coast of New Guinea

N.N. Miklouho-Maclay’s expeditions to the northeastern coast of New Guinea

In the world and national history N.N. Miklouho-Maclay is an outstanding Russian humanist, scientist, traveler and public figure who always followed the humanistic principles of respect for the culture and traditions of the peoples of the world, and fought for the rights of residents of Southeast Asia and Oceania.

With an extraordinary talent and passion for scientific knowledge Miklouho-Maclay has been conducting ethnographic and anthropological research in the Pacific for more than 15 years.
Most of the works of the Russian humanist scientist are devoted to the inhabitants of the northeastern coast of New Guinea (the Maclay Coast), among whom he had lived for two and a half years and visited those places three times (1871-1872, 1876-1877 and 1883). Miklouho-Maclay managed to establish friendly contact and good relations with the residents of the Maclay Coast, as well as to learn some of their languages. With his patience, kindness, responsiveness and courage Miklouho-Maclay won the trust, love and loyalty of New Guineans. In fact, he “opened” the peoples of the northeastern coast of New Guinea to the outside world.

Having the experience of the expeditions to New Guinea and Southeast Asia, Miklouho-Maclay refuted the conjectures of some scientists whose false theories that human races were unequal were used either by slaveholders or in order to justify colonial expansion. The danger of such ideas was obvious to Miklouho-Maclay. So, his research in New Guinea and Southeast Asia completely refuted racist theories and proved to the whole world that there were no superior or inferior race and all people were equal by nature.

The Russian humanist scientist and traveler left for future generations more than 160 of his scientific works in ethnology, anthropology, oceanology, etc., many of which are relevant today; more than 700 drawings depicting the life of the inhabitants of the New Guinea Island and Southeast Asia in the XIX century; as well as priceless collections of material culture that are stored in museums in Russia and Australia.

Miklouho-Maclay’s diaries have been published around the world! They described a fascinating journey into a world that was previously unknown to most people on the planet. Moreover, tens of millions of Russians used to read books about Miklouho-Maclay’s travels.

Almost a century and a half has passed since the first expeditions of Miklouho-Maclay to New Guinea and Southeast Asia. During this time, the world has undergone huge changes, but the scientific and social feat of the Russian scientist and his rich heritage still serve for the benefit of friendship and cooperation around the world.

For more information about the «Russian Academic and Cultural Luminaries and Their Worldwide Legacy» educational project and Miklouho-Maclay’s travels visit our website: https://cse.mikluho-maclay.ru/