Adolph von Hansemann

Adolph von Hansemann (1827-1903), wealthy and politically influential German banker who financed the Neuguinea Kompagnie (New Guinea Company) which administered the Protectorate of New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago on behalf of the German government from 1885-99. From 1894 to 1903 Hansemann headed one of the largest private banking companies in Europe, the Disconto-Gesellschaft, which had been founded by his father, and invested in projects in South America, China and the Pacific as well as heavy industry in Germany. His motives for investing in colonial ventures were both commercial and political. His political connections included leading officials in the Foreign Office and the German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. In 1884 Hansemann formed the New Guinea Company which, in May 1885, was given a charter to administer the Protectorate which Germany had declared in December 1884. The venture was a commercial and administrative disaster and Hansemann handed over control of the Protectorate to the German government in 1899. However, he retained a strong interest in the colony and the Company until his death.

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