17 July 1846|
Rozhdestvensk, Novgorod Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||14 April 1888
St Petersburg, Russian Empire
|Residence||Russian Empire, Australia, New Guinea and others|
|Fields||Ethnology, Anthropology, Biology|
|Alma mater||Heidelberg University, Leipzig University, Jena University|
|Known for||anthropological work in New Guinea and the Pacific|
|Author abbrev. (botany)||Mikl.-Maclay|
|Author abbrev. (zoology)||Miklucho-Maclay|
Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay (Russian: Николай Николаевич Миклухо-Маклай, Ukrainian: Микола Миколайович Миклухо-Маклай; 1846–1888) was a Russian explorer, ethnologist, anthropologist and biologist who became famous as the first scientist to settle among and study people who had never seen a white man.
Miklouho-Maclay spent the major part of his life travelling and conducted scientific research in the Middle East, Australia, New Guinea, Melanesia and Polynesia. Australia, though, became his adopted country and Sydney the home town of his family.
He became a prominent figure of nineteenth-century Australian science and became involved in significant issues of Australian and New Guinea history. Writing letters to Australian papers, Miklouho-Maclay expressed his opposition to the labour and slave trade ("blackbirding") in Australia, New Caledonia and the Pacific, as well as his opposition to the British and German colonial expansion in New Guinea. While in Australia, he built the first biological research station in the Southern Hemisphere, was elected to the Linnean Society of New South Wales, was instrumental in establishing the Australasian Biological Association, stayed at the elite Australian Club, became the intimate of the leading amateur scientist and political figure Sir William Macleay, and married the daughter of the Premier of New South Wales. His three grandsons have all contributed to the public life of Australia.
One of the earliest followers of Charles Darwin, Miklouho-Maclay is also remembered today as a humanist scholar who, on the basis of his comparative anatomical research, was one of the first anthropologists to refute the prevailing view that the different 'races' of mankind belonged to different species.
- 1 Ancestry and early years
- 2 Education and studies
- 3 Australia
- 4 Anthropological work in New Guinea and the Pacific
- 5 Humanist views
- 6 Opposition to slavery
- 7 Ill-health and death in Russia
- 8 Post-death
- 9 Commemoration
- 10 Notes and references
- 11 General references
- 12 External links
Ancestry and early years
Miklouho-Maclay was born in a temporary workers camp in Borovichi county (uyezd), Novgorod Governorate (currently Okulovsky District of Novgorod Oblast) in Russia, a son of a civil engineer working on the construction of the Moscow-St. Petersburg Railway. His Ukrainian father, Nikolai Illich Myklukha, was born in 1818, in Starodub, Chernigov Governorate and descended from Stepan Myklukha, a Zaporozhian Cossack, who was awarded the title of noble of the Empire by Catherine II for his military exploits during the Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792), which included the capture of the Ochakov fortress. Yet his cossack lineage is much extensive and also includes the Otaman of Zaporizhian Host Okhrim Makukha who later became prototype of the Gogol's main character Taras Bulba. His paternal parents were friends with Nikolai Gogol. Here is what wrote Nicholas about his origin:
|“||My ancestors came originally from the Ukraine, and were Zaporogg-cossacks of the Dnieper. After the annexation of the Ukraine, Stepan, one of the family, served as sotnik (a superior Cossack officer) under General Count Rumianzoff, and having distinguished himself at the storming of the Turkish fortress of Otshakoff, was by ukase of Catherine II created a noble...||”|
Nicholas' father Nikolai Maklukha graduated from the Nizhyn Lyceum (Nizhyn) and afoot walked all the way to Saint Petersburg where he enrolled in the Roadway Institute of Engineering Corps. He graduated the institute in 1840 and became an engineer at the construction of the Moscow – Saint Petersburg Railway. After becoming the first chief of the Moskovsky passenger railway station in Saint Petersburg, Mykola moved there his family. He died in December 1857 from tuberculosis surviving by his wife and five children. Before that Mykola was fired from his job for sending 150 rubles to Taras Shevchenko.
Nicholas' mother, Ekaterina Semenovna, née Bekker, was of German and Polish descent (her three brothers took part in the January Uprising of 1863). After 1873, the Miklouho-Maclay family (on the mother's side) owned a country estate in Malyn, 150 kilometres (93 mi) northwest of Kiev in a geographic region of Polesia.
One of Nicholas brothers Sergei became a judge in Malyn where he eventually died. Another brother, Mikhail, became a geologist. Another brother, Vladimir, was a captain of the Russian coast defense ship Admiral Ushakov and participated at the Battle of Tsushima where he perished. Both Mikhail and Vladimir were members of the Russian revolutionary organization Narodnaya Volya.
Nicholas was baptised on 21 July 1846 by priest Ioann Smirnov at the Shegrinskaya Church of Nikolaos the Wonderworker. His godfather was Nicholas Ridigier, a Borovichi landowner and a veteran of the Patriotic War of 1812, participant of the Battle of Borodino.
Education and studies
In 1858 Nicholas enrolled into the third grade of a German Lutheran school at the Saint Anna Kirche in Saint Petersburg. During his studies at the Second Saint-Petersburg Gymnasium (1859-1863) along with his brother Sergei, he was arrested and kept for several days in the Peter and Paul Fortress for participating in student protests. The young students were saved by the Russian writer Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy who was a friend of Nicholas' father. In 1863 without finishing the gymnasium, Nicholas enrolled as a free listener to the St. Petersburg University but only spent two months, due to being expelled in February 1864 and debarred from tertiary education in Imperial Russia for "breaking the rules". In March of the same year with a forged passport, he moved abroad to complete his studies in German universities and this provided an opportunity to study and to work with leading European scientists. He studied humanities at Heidelberg, medicine at Leipzig, and zoology at the University of Jena, where he came under the influence of the great German scholar Ernst Haeckel, who had a profound influence on his future.
Miklouho-Maclay's brilliant student records attracted the attention of Haeckel, who made him his assistant as part of a field expedition to the Canary Islands in 1866. There Miklouho-Maclay took an interest in sharks and sponges and discovered a new sponge species, which he named Guancha blanca, in tribute to the Guanches, the original Berber inhabitants of the Canary Islands. He also became a close friend of the biologist Anton Dohrn, with whom he helped conceive the idea of research stations while staying with him at Messina, Italy.
Miklouho-Maclay left St Petersburg for Australia on the steam corvette Vityaz. He arrived in Sydney on 18 July 1878. A few days after arriving, he approached the Linnean Society and offered to organise a zoological centre. In September 1878 his offer was approved. The centre, known as the Marine Biological Station, was constructed by prominent Sydney architect, John Kirkpatrick. This facility, located in Watsons Bay on the east side of the Greater Sydney, was the first marine biological research institute in Australia. He married Margaret-Emma, widowed daughter of the Premier of New South Wales, John Robertson.
Anthropological work in New Guinea and the Pacific
In scientific and anthropological circles during the 1850s and 1860s there was much discussion connected with the study of human races and the interpretation of racial peculiarities. There were some anthropologists like Samuel Morton, who tried to prove that not all human races are of equal worth, and that "white people" are predestined by "natural selection" to rule over the "coloured" races. This attitude was used to justify slavery and colonialism.
Scientists like Ernst Haeckel, a teacher of the young Miklouho-Maclay, relegated what they regarded as culturally "backward" people like Papuans, Bushmen and others to the role of 'intermediate links' between Europeans and their animal ancestors. While adhering to Darwin's theory of evolution, Miklouho-Maclay diverged from these racist concepts, and it was this question that led Miklouho-Maclay to gather scientific facts and to study the dark-skinned inhabitants of New Guinea. On the basis of his comparative anatomical research, Miklouho-Maclay was one of first anthropologists to refute polygenism and scientific racism, the view that the different races of mankind belonged to different species and that some human races were inferior.
You were the first to demonstrate beyond question by your experience that man is man everywhere, that is, a kind, sociable being with whom communication can and should be established through kindness and truth, not guns and spirits. I do not know what contribution your collections and discoveries will make to the science for which you serve, but your experience of contacting the primitive peoples will make an epoch in the science for which I serve i. e. the science which teaches how human beings should live with one another.
Opposition to slavery
The humanists views of Miklouho-Maclay led him to actively campaign against the slave trade and blackbirding, carried on between the islands of Melanesia and plantations in Queensland, Fiji, Samoa and New Caledonia. In November 1878 the Dutch government informed him that on his recommendations it was checking the slave traffic at Ternate and Tidore. From 1879 onwards he wrote a number of letters to Australian papers, and corresponded with Sir Arthur Gordon, High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, on protecting the land rights of his friends on the Maclay Coast, and ending the traffic in arms and intoxicants in the South Pacific.
Ill-health and death in Russia
In 1887 he left Australia and returned to St Petersburg to present his work to the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, taking his young family with him. Miklouho-Maclay was in poor health at this time and it was a trip from which he did not return. Despite treatment from Sergei Botkin, Miklouho-Maclay died of an undiagnosed brain tumour, aged 42, in St Petersburg. He was buried in the Volkovo Cemetery, and left his skull to the St Petersburg Military and Medical Academy.
Miklouho-Maclay's widow returned to Sydney with their children. Until 1917 the scientist's family received a Russian pension. The money was first allocated by Alexander III and then by Nicholas II. One of his sons, Alexander, married a daughter of R. E. O'Connor.
Internationally and in Science
Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay is commemorated in the scientific name of the New Guinea tree species Pouteria maclayana, in the banana species Musa maclayi, and in the land snail species Canefriula maclayiana which where among some of the species he discovered. The weevil Rhinoscapha maclayi was first collected by Miklouho-Maclay and was then named after him by his friend William Macleay.
Maklaj is the basis of the main character in the Esperanto historical novel "Sed Nur Fragmento" by Trevor Steele.
The Marine Biological Station in Watson's Bay, built and used by Miklouho-Maclay was commandeered by the Ministry of Defence in 1899 as a barracks for officers. In the 1980s the Miklouho-Maclay Society unsuccessfully lobbied for the centre to be made into a historical landmark in memory of Miklouho-Maclay's scientific work. Today, although owned by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the building is used as a private residence and only open to the public on special occasions.
A bust of Miklouho-Maclay was unveiled in front of the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney to commemorate 150 years of his death. The Macleay Miklouho-Maclay Fellowship is available from the University of Sydney each year.
Papua New Guinea
The Maclay Coast (ru:Берег Маклая), which Miklouho-Maclay named, is still used as the name for the North-east coast of Papua New Guinea. The Maclay Coast is defined by Miklouho-Maclay as extending for 150 miles between Cape Croisilles and Cape King William, and 30–50 miles inland to the mountains of Mana-Boro-Boro (Finisterre Mountains).
In Russia there is an Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology and a street in South-West Moscow (where the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia is situated) named in his honor. The district museum in Okulovka, Novgorod Oblast, is named after him.
Notes and references
- English variations of his name include: Nicolai Nicolaevich de Miklouho-Maclay 1,2, Baron de Miklouho-Maklai which he used in letter writing, and others. In scientific literature, especially where he discovered sponge species, his surname is cited as Miklucho-Maclay.
- A Noble Cause: the Life and Work of Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay (1846-1888) Sydney University Museums-The University of Sydney
- Webster, E. M. (1984). The Moon Man: A Biography of Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay. University of California Press, Berkeley. 421 pages. ISBN 0-520-05435-0
- Wongar, B., Commentary and Translator's Note in Miklouho-Maclay, N. N. The New Guinea Diaries 1871-1183, translated by B. Wonger, Dingo Books, Victoria, Australia ISBN 978-0-9775078-1-8
- Shnukal, A. (1998), 'N. N. Miklouho-Maclay in Torres Strait', Australian Aboriginal Studies, Vol. 1998, 1998)
- Peter Lawrence, review of the "Moon Man" by Webster, E. in the Journal of Polynesian Studies, Volume 95, No. 4, 1986 p 537-542
- Kulyniak, D. Myklukho-Maklai - a person from a place. Fleet of Ukraine.
- Thomassen, E. S. (1882), A Biographical Sketch of Nicholas de Miklouho Maclay the Explorer, Brisbane. Document held in the State Library of New South Wales
- «Mr. E. S. Thomassen» // «The Argus», Monday 27 March 1882, p. 6
- Dubno Castle. Dir. Olha Krainyk. Perf. Mykola Tomenko. TVi: Seven Wonders of Ukraine, 2011. Film.
- Mr. E. S. Thomassen writes as follows: - TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS
- Marine Biological Station (former)
- R. W. de M. Maclay (1974). "'Mikluho-Maklai, Nicholai Nicholaievich (1846–1888)". Australian Dictionary of Biography 5. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Turmarkin, D. "Miklouho-Maclay" in Rain, the journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 51 (Aug., 1982), pp. 4-7
- Macleay Miklouho-Maclay Fellowship, University of Sydney
- "Baron Maclay and the New Guinea Natives.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864–1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 27 November 1883. p. 5. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- Allam, Lorena (15 September 2013). "Remembering Nikolai". ABC Radio National. "Hindsight". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Miklucho-Maclay, Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch National Herbarium, Netherlands
- Ploetz, R. et al "Banana and plantain—an overview with emphasis on Pacific island cultivars", Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry (www.traditionaltree.org) February 2007 ver.1, p.3
- J. Brazier, 'New species of land and freshwater mollusca from Maclay-Coast and Triton Bay, New Guinea, collected by Baron Maclay', in The Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales Vol. X 1885, p. 842
- MacLeay, W. (1884). "The insects of the Maclay-Coast, New Guinea". Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales IX: 700–705.
- Quicke, Donald L. J., M. Alex Smith, Scott E. Miller, Jan Hrcek & Buntika A. Butcher (2012). "Colastomion Baker (Braconidae, Rogadinae): nine new species from Papua New Guinea reared from Crambidae". Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 28: 85-121. doi:10.3897/JHR.28.3484.
- Gavrilov-Zimin, I. (2013). "New scale insects (Homoptera:Coccinea) from Sulawesi and New Guinea, with some other additions to the Indonesian fauna". Tropical Zoology 26 (2): 64–86. doi:10.1080/03946975.2013.807570.
- Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Lutz Schmadel (ed.) available online at www.springerreference.com
- "Marine Biological Station". Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- "Miklouho-Maclay Park". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales.
- "Multicultural Place Names in New South Wales". Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. March 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- "Memorial Plaques in Leichhardt Municipality". Heritage Group of Leichhardt District Heritage Group of Leichhardt District. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Birchgrove Park, Leichhardt Municipal Council 2010
- Location of Miklouho-Maclay Park in Birchgrove
- Maclay Coast, Papua New Guinea on Google Maps.
- Maclay, N. de Miklouho, 1885. — "Notes on Zoology of the Maclay Coast in New Guinea", in Proc. Linn. Soc. NSW, 9:713
- Ogloblin (1998), p. 487.
- Miklouho-Maclay street, Moscow on Google Maps
- Районный краеведческий музей им. Н. Н. Миклухо-Маклая (in Russian). Комитет по делам молодежи, культуры и туризма Администрации Окуловского муниципального района. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- "Author Query for 'Mikl.-Maclay'". International Plant Names Index.
- Greenop, F. S. (1944) Who Travels Alone, K.G. Murray Publishing Company, Sydney
- Ogloblin, A. K. (1998) 'Commemorating N. N. Miklukho-Maclay (Recent Russian publications)', in Perspectives on the Bird's Head of Irian Jaya, Indonesia: Proceedings of the Conference, pages.487–502. 1998. ISBN 90-420-0644-7. Partial view on Google Books.
- Maclay Coast, Papua New Guinea on Google Maps.
- Paper in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW by N. Miklouho-Maclay vol. 8, 1883
- Mikloucho-Maclay: New Guinea Diaries 1871—1883, translated from the Russian with biographical and historical notes by C. L. Sentinella. Kristen Press, Madang, Papua New Guinea ISBN 0-85804-152-9