How an ordinary Swedish sailor became the king of the cannibals

How an ordinary Swedish sailor became the king of the cannibals
How an ordinary Swedish sailor became the king of the cannibals

The story of Karl Emil Petterson - a man who the cannibals wanted to eat, but made their king.

A little-known story based on which you can make a fascinating movie

Perhaps 1906 was far from the Age of Great Discovery, but there were still unexplored territories on Earth. On Catholic Christmas Eve, an ordinary Swedish sailor, Karl Emil Petterson, sailed on the Herzog Johan Albrecht cargo ship bound for Sydney. A storm broke out near a group of islands called the Bismarck archipelago and the ship was wrecked. Petterson survived and was washed ashore on Tabar Island. Now the island is part of New Guinea, but more than a hundred years ago, real aboriginal cannibals lived there.

In a cartoon, a B-horror movie, or even in the real world, a sailor's life would end on a crossbar over a bonfire. But what actually happened may seem even more unusual and absurd.

At first, the aborigines were struck by the color of Petterson's eyes - they saw blue eyes for the first time. Therefore, deciding to "postpone" the murder, they took the sailor to meet with King Lamri. In exchange for his life, Petterson promised to enrich the inhabitants of the island. The sailor hardly knew how to create an internal combustion engine or gunpowder, but he was well versed in agriculture. Therefore, he quickly set up a coconut plantation and established a trade in dried coconuts with neighbors on other islands.

This approach impressed the king and he gave his daughter Sindgo to him. Young people fell in love with each other. Sindgo gave birth to nine children for Petterson.


King Charles with his wife and children. 1918 year

King Lamri died soon after and a sailor from Sweden became the new king of Tabar Island. During his reign, King Charles discovered a gold deposit on a neighboring island and made, as promised, Tabar truly rich.

Royal life on a remote island lacked modern conveniences. Shortly after the birth of their ninth child in 1921, Karl's wife died of a fever.

Petterson went to the "mainland" in search of a new wife. In his native Sweden, he met a young Anglo-Swedish woman, Jesse Louise Simpson, with whom he returned to the island in 1923. They got married according to local customs, and Simpson became the new queen of Tabar. Ten years later, the woman contracted malaria and died. Then the former sailor finally left the island and moved to live in Sydney, and his eldest son Frederick became the new king.

Petterson died in Sydney on May 12, 1937 of a heart attack. After the end of the First World War, the island came under the control of Australia, and in 1975 it became part of New Guinea.

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