Albert Hahl

Albert Hahl (1868-1945), Administrator of German New Guinea. Hahl was appointed Imperial Judge in the Bismarck Archipelago in the German Protectorate of New Guinea in 1895. In 1899 he was appointed Vice-Governor of the East Caroline Islands and in 1901 he returned to German New Guinea as acting Governor. In 1902 he became Governor and administered the colony from the headquarters, Kokopo, in East New Britain. His main tasks were to encourage plantation development, facilitate the recruitment of local labor and extend German control. Hahl appointed village headmen, known as luluais, whom it was hoped would act on behalf of German district officers. He built administration offices, wharves and roads, expanded the police force and established police posts. While accepting the usual European view that New Guineans were an inferior people, he appears to have had respect for their culture and bothered to learn the local (Tolai) language of the Gazelle Peninsula in which he was stationed. However, he did not hesitate to use force, including German troops and firepower, against villagers who resisted German control. Hahl was on leave in Germany when Australian troops occupied German New Guinea at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He retained his interest in New Guinea but never returned.

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