It consists of four great peninsulas, extending from a comparatively small nucleus towards the north-east, east, south-east and south, and separated by the three large gulfs of Tomini or Gorontalo, Tolo or Tomaiki, and Boni.
Of the numerous considerable islands which lie north-east, east and south of Celebes (those off the west coast are few and small), the chief are prolongations of the four great peninsulas - the Sangir and Talaut islands off the north-east, the Banggai and Sula off the east, Wuna and Buton off the south-east, and Saleyer off the south.
Well-defined ranges prolong themselves through each of the peninsulas, rising in many places to a considerable elevation.
The rivers of the narrow mountainous peninsulas form many rapids and cataracts; as the Tondano, draining the lake of the same name to the north-west coast of Minahassa at Menado; the Rano-i-Apo, flowing over the plateau of Mongondo to the Gulf of Amurang; the Poigar, issuing from a little-known lake of that plateau; the Lombagin, traversing narrow canons; and the river of Boni, which has its outfall in the plain of Gorontalo, near the mouth of the Bolango or Tapa, the latter connected by a canal with the Lake of Limbotto.
Celebes is divided by the Dutch, for administrative purposes, into the government of Celebes with dependencies (south-eastern and southern peninsulas and all west coast), and the residency of Menado (north-eastern peninsula and coast of Gulf of Tomini).