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BEROSE ENCYCLOPAEDIA

Finsch, Otto (1839-1917)

Friedrich Hermann Otto Finsch (1839-1917), a German born in Polish Silesia under Prussian rule, was a self-taught ethnologist, museum curator and ornithologist, known during his lifetime for his keen ethnographic observations and his collection skills. Today he is particularly noted for his involvement in the colonial annexation of the Bismarck Archipelago and part of New Guinea by Germany. Much remains to be discovered about the theoretical dimensions, including a form of cultural relativism before the term was coined, underlying his extensive work on the peoples and societies of the Pacific.

Keywords: Amateur ethnographer | Christian missions | Salvage ethnography | Colonialism | Museum curator | Naturalist | Germany | Indonesia | Southeast Asia | Polynesia | New Guinea | New Zealand/Aotearoa | Australia | Melanesia | Samoa | Melanesian studies | Polynesian studies | Collections | Rudolf Virchow | Felix von Luschan