The Louisiade Archipelago is a string of ten larger volcanic islands frequently fringed by coral reefs, and 90 smaller coral islands located 200 km southeast of New Guinea, stretching over more than 160 kilometres (99 mi) and spread over an ocean area of 26,000 square kilometres (10,000 sq mi) between the Solomon Sea to the north and the Coral Sea to the south. The aggregate land area of the islands is about 1,790 square kilometres (690 sq mi), with Vanatinai (Tagula) being the largest.
The archipelago is divided into the Local Level Government (LLG) areas Louisiade Rural (western part, with Misima), and Yaleyamba (eastern part, with Rossell and Vanatinai islands). The LLG areas are part of Samarai-Murua District district of Milne Bay. The seat of the Louisiade Rural LLG is Bwagaoia on Misima Island, the population center of the archipelago.
The Louisiade Archipelago consists of the following island groups and islands:
- Bonvouloir Islands (East, Hastings, Strathord Islands)
- Calvados Chain (Bagaman, Hemenahei, Kuwanak, Motorina, Panatinane, Pana Wina Island)
- Daloloia Group (Auriora, Conflict Group, Lunn Islands)
- Deboyne Islands (Panaeati, Panapompom Islands)
- Renard Islands
- Misima Island
- Rossel Island
- Vanatinai Island (alternatively Tagula)
- Yeina Island
The islands were most likely observed by Luis Váez de Torres in 1606, but Malay and Chinese sailors may have visited the islands earlier. Louis Antoine de Bougainville named them in 1768 for Louis XV, the king of France. Visits were also paid by Admiral Bruni d'Entrecasteaux in 1793 and Captain Owen Stanley in 1849.
The islands have a moist tropical climate, and are largely covered with tropical moist broadleaf forests. The Louisiade Archipelago rain forests form a distinct ecoregion, and are home to a number of endemic species, including several endemic trees (in genera Pandanus, Diospyros, and Hopea), as well as five endemic frog species, two endemic lizard species, and five endemic bird species.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Louisiade Archipelago.|
- "Louisiade Archipelago rain forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
- Polling list with place names
- detailed (soil) map 1:1.000.000
- Information and advice for yachts and travellers visiting the Louisiades www.louisiades.net