Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/24

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Introductory.

the boundary of the betel-nut by the Polynesian settlers in the Reef Islands of Santa Cruz. The present work is not concerned at all with one of the four groups above mentioned, that of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands, nor with the larger southern members of the New Hebrides group; its view is confined, except for occasional illustration, to the Solomon Islands, Ysabel, Florida, Savo, Guadalcanar, Malanta, San Cristoval, Ulawa, to the Santa Cruz group, the Banks' and Torres Islands, and three of the northern New Hebrides, Aurora, Pentecost and Lepers' Islands. Within this field are contained certain islands inhabited by Polynesian colonists from the East who still retain their Polynesian speech. Such are Nupani, Pileni, Nukapu, and other reef islands of the Swallow group, where the physical characteristics of the Polynesian people may possibly be traced, but certainly are not conspicuous, having been lost by mixture with neighbouring Melanesians. In Rennell Island and Bellona Island, southern members of the Solomon group, the people are physically Polynesian; a lad from Bellona, who was in New Zealand with Bishop Patteson, was in name (Te Kiu), colour, tattoo, and speech very much a Maori. Men from the Polynesian settlements on Mae and Fate in the New Hebrides have found the language of Ontong Java like their own.

The discovery of these islands was prolonged through three centuries, and carried on by Spanish, French and English voyagers. The Spaniards found the Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, the Banks' Islands, and the northern New Hebrides; the French added much later to the discoveries in these groups; the English found, under Captain Cook, the principal islands of the New Hebrides and New Caledonia, and have filled in the charts. The Dutch discovered Fiji. The earliest, and certainly most interesting, discoveries were those of the Spaniards; of Mendana in his two voyages of 1567 and 1595, and of Quiros and Torres in 1606[1].

  1. Dr. Guppy, in his Solomon Islands and their Natives, has discussed these discoveries at length with special reference to the Journal of Gallego. By the kindness of Mr. Woodford I have read the narrative of Cotoira. In both the