Vanatinai is the name given to the island 225 miles south-east of New Guinea by its indigenous inhabitants. It was called by European claimants 'Sudest' or 'Tagula' and marked accordingly on maps. The vulcanic and reef fringed island is located in the east of the Louisiade Archipelago. With 865.7 km², it is the largest island of the archipelago. Vanatinai town, the main settlement, is located on the northwest coast. The population of the island was about 2,300 in 1978. The principal export is copra.

The island is 63 km long, stretching northwest-southeast, and up to 13 km wide. A wooded mountain range runs through the length of the island, with the the summit, Mount Riu (806 m) near the center. The most important peaks of the range are, from west to east:
*Mount Madau (269 m)
*Mount Gangulua (439 m)
*Mount Riu (formerly called Mount Rattlesnake) (806 m)
*Mount Arumbi (350 m)

The island was the site of a gold rush that peaked in 1889. Gold was found in nearly all of the island's water courses. [Pacific Islands Yearbook, 13th ed., Sydney, New York 1972]


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