Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/30

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Introductory.

bring in a point of much interest. In the native name of Pentecost a is really the preposition 'at'; Omba with the same preposition appears in charts as Aoba; it would be reasonable therefore to write Raga as well as Omba, but custom in these matters must be allowed to prevail. The interest of the point lies in the connexion shewn by the common use of this preposition in place-names between Melanesia, the Malay Archipelago and Madagascar. Ethnological and historical questions are inseparable from the consideration of place-names; for example, the questions whether the Bauro of the Solomon Islands is the same with the Bouro, properly Buru, near the Moluccas, or whether Futuna of the New Hebrides is named after Futuna, Horne's Island. About one thing however there ought to be no disagreement; however difficult it may be to ascertain a native name and its orthography, European names should be written in the language to which they belong; San Cristoval, or Cristobal, not Christoval; Espiritu Santo, not Spirito Santo or St. Esprit; and where French names are retained, Contrariété Island and Cape Zélée.

Between the time of the discovery of the Solomon Islands by Mendana and the time in which the visits of whalers, traders and missionaries have become frequent, within the last thirty or forty years, very little if anything at all was done by Europeans to influence the character of native life. It is very interesting therefore to enquire in what particulars the Spaniards' account of what they discovered differs from what would be recorded by recent visitors. The place-names mentioned, with less error than is common now, are those still in use, Malaita for Mala, Uraba for Ulawa, Paubro for Bauro, Aguare for Owarii. The names of persons mentioned are such as are now in use; one of the few words not names to be found in Gallego's narrative, benau, panale, panay, is clearly pana, a kind of yam with prickles on the vines. In three points it may be observed that Gallego reports what would not have been lately seen. The natives are represented as attacking the Spaniards with bows and arrows everywhere,