After successful translating and publishing the 7 volumes on Palau from the Hamburg South Sea Expedition f 1908-1910, KETC is proud to now announce the 2 volume publication of the translated works of Johann Kubary on Yap and Palau. Kubary spent time in Micronesia in the 1870-1880s during a window of time when there was already contact with foreign traders, but before the islands were forever changed by outside influences. Any foreigner who has ever lived on these islands can imagine the hardships this man must have endured for 27 years trying to collect and survive in 1880s Micronesia by himself. Collecting and preserving artefacts and specimens amidst local intrigues, storms, humidity, deseases, wars, and with a constant lack of funding and supplies. He survived with a rare understanding of local languages, politics, and cultures of Micronesia no foreigner had before him.
He recorded and photographed things about Palauan and Micronesia culture that people today have no knowledge of anymore, and which would have been lost in history if it were not for his efforts. He had an endless curiosity about the people and nature around him in Micronesia, and never stopped exploring and recording new things. Although he spent years in German New Guinea out of necessity when he lost his museum collecting contracts for Micronesia, it was clear his passion was for the Micronesia Islands, especially Palau, Yap, and Ponape.
Speaking Palauan fluently, he became close friends with the High Chief Reklai at the time, lived in Melekeok where he was given a Chief’s title, and spoke up on behalf of the people of Melekeok to the British authorities about their unfair treatment by Koror. A treaty was signed onboard a British war ship in 1883 between the High Chiefs of Koror and Melekoek translated and negotiated by Kubary, ending centuries of local warfare.
For this publication focusing on Palau and Yap, KETC searched through European museum collections to find artefacts, articles, letters and photographs from Kubary to add to his main publication and to show the variety and cope of his work. Where needed to illustrate what is discussed in the text, the committee added photographs taken by others during Kubary’s time period in Palau of people, buildings and also artefacts collected by Kubary and still kept in European museum collections today. Loose articles and letters were translated from German to English and are now available to Palauans, scholars, and researchers to read for the first time though these combined translated volumes.
This publication is now for sale as a 2 volume hardcover book set for $85.-, or as an E-bbok on USB for $12.50. These can be purchased at the Etpison Museum or at the Belau National Museum. Proceeds from the sales of this publication will be used for future non-profit KETC projects.