Admiralty Islands

Admiralty Islands, group of 40 volcanic islands, c.800 sq mi (2,070 sq km), SW Pacific, in the Bismarck Archipelago and part of Papua New Guinea. Lorengau, the chief port and administrative center of the group, is on Manus, the largest island. Copra, pearls, and marine shells are the principal products. Discovered by the Dutch navigator Willem Schouten in 1616, the group became part of German New Guinea in 1884 and an Australian League of Nations mandate in 1920. During World War II, the islands were seized (1942) by the Japanese and later retaken (1944) by the Allies. A naval base on Manus Island has been the site of an Australian offshore detention center (2001–4, 2012–17) for illegal immigrants, but in 2016 Papua New Guinea's supreme court declared it a violation of the constitution and ordered it closed. The detainees remained on Manus, however, after the center's closure in 2017.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pacific Islands Political Geography