The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore/Chapter 1



There are four groups of islands, within that region of the Western Pacific to which the name of Melanesia has been given, that form a curved belt following roughly the outline of the Australian coast, at a general distance of some fifteen hundred miles, and turning away from the important outlying Archipelago of Fiji; these are the Solomon Islands, the Santa Cruz group, the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides, and New Caledonia with the Loyalty Islands. There is an undoubted connexion of race, language and customs among the people who inhabit these groups; a connexion which further extends itself throughout what is called Melanesia to New Guinea westwards, and eastwards to Fiji. The distinction between the Melanesian people of these groups and the Polynesians eastwards of Fiji is clearly marked and recognised, for the line which separates Melanesian from Polynesian falls between Fiji and Tonga. No such line can be drawn to mark such a boundary to the west till the Asiatic continent itself is reached. From the Polynesian islands of the East Pacific on the one side, and from the Asiatic islands of the Malay Archipelago on the other, two currents of influence have poured and are pouring into Melanesia, the former much more modern and direct, the latter ancient and broken in its course. Upon these currents float respectively the kava root and the betel-nut. The use of the betel is common to India, China, and the Melanesian islands as far to the east as Tikopia; the Polynesian kava has established itself in the New Hebrides, and is a novelty in some of the Banks' Islands; it has not been carried across 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]. Mendana, despatched by the Viceroy of Peru, reached in 1567 the first Melanesian land seen by Europeans, the great island which he named Santa Ysabel de la Estrella, and from thence the voyagers under his command discovered further and named the large islands Malaita, Guadalcanal, San Crist-oval, and the lesser islands, Sesarga, which is Savo, Florida with its islets, Ulawa, and the small islands near San Cristoval. To these he gave the name of the Solomon Islands, to mark his conjecture, or to suggest the belief, that he had discovered the source of the riches of Solomon. In his second voyage of 1595, undertaken for the purpose of colonizing the Solomon Islands, Mendana discovered Santa Cruz, and attempted to form a settlement there; an attempt abandoned after two months, in consequence of his death and the sickness of the remnant of his crews. Quiros had been with Mendana, and was allowed in 1606 to carry out a project he had been continually urging of recovering and colonizing the Solomon group. Fortune however made him the discoverer of the New Hebrides, when he believed himself to have reached the great Austral Continent, in the island which still bears the name he gave it of Espiritu Santo. The first Melanesian islands however that he saw were those now known as the Banks' Islands, one of which, Santa Maria, retains the name he gave it: Torres, after parting from Quiros, saw and named the Torres Islands. After an interval of more than a century and a half, the French voyager Bougainville, in 1768, added Pentecost, Lepers' Island, and Malikolo to the discovery of Quiros, naming the group the Great Cyclades, and found the great islands of Choiseul and Bougainville beyond those discovered in the first voyage of Mendana. In the next year Surville passed through the same group; the disastrous voyage of La Perouse ended at Vanikoro in 1785. The southern islands of the group, which have since preserved the name he gave of the New Hebrides, were discovered by Cook in his second great voyage in 1774, and after these New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. Bligh, in his wonderful boat voyage after the mutiny of the Bounty, passed through and named the islands of the Banks' group.

The names given by the Spaniards to the Solomon and Santa Cruz groups, and to the islands of Ysabel, Florida, Guadalcanar, San Cristoval, Santa Anna and Santa Catalina, to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides and Santa Maria in the Banks' Islands, have maintained themselves; some of the French names have disappeared; some, Aurora, Pentecost or Whitsuntide, Star Island, Gulf Island (for Ugi), have taken an English form. To some islands no new names have been given, native names, or what were supposed to be such, having been supplied by the natives, such as Ambrym, Api, Mallicollo; in some cases the native name, or what was taken for it, as Malaita, has prevailed over the name given by the discoverer. To ascertain the native name, and the proper orthography of the native name, of an island is a matter of difficulty to a visitor. Large islands seldom have a name; an enquirer pointing to the island as a whole, is given the name of the district or village to which he points, or perhaps that of some islet between him and the mainland; or he may take the name of a man for that of a place[2]. Of the islands discovered by Mendana in his first voyage, Ysabel, Guadalcanar, and San Cristoval have no native names, though names of parts are often taken to designate the whole; the second of these, so far as is known to them, is called Gera by natives of south-east Malanta and San Cristoval; and the latter has become known as Bauro, from its most conspicuous part. It is strange that the large island which has somehow got the name of Malanta has a native name, at any rate all along the west side, Mala or Mara. The native name of Florida is Nggela, the same word as Gera; and the island is known in Mala Masiki as 'beyond Gela.' Savo is no doubt the island called Sesarga by the Spaniards, who heard the name Sabo, and misplaced it. The native Ulawa, heard by the Spaniards as Uraba, has lost the Spanish name of La Treguada, and retains on the charts Surville's Contrariété. The native name of Santa Cruz, the discovery of Mendana's second voyage, is Ndeni, from which the Nitendi of the charts has probably been derived[3].

The discovery of the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides by Quiros was preceded by a visit to Taumako, where he obtained information concerning some sixty islands known to the native voyagers. Nearly all of these probably are the small islands inhabited, like Taumako, by people of the Polynesian race, who are great voyagers at the present day, and are easily distinguished by their Polynesian tongue, though where they lie near larger islands of Melanesian population, the appearance of Polynesians has been lost[4]. Many of these islands are easily identified, and lie away from the New Hebrides[5], but Quiros was led by his information to look for the large country of which he was in search towards the south, and he thought he found it in what he named Tierra Austral del Espiritu Santo. This island, now commonly known as Santo, has the native name of Marina. This was not the first land of the New Hebrides seen by Quiros; after having apparently seen the light of a volcano in the night, he found himself in the morning in view of three islands, one the present Aurora of the New Hebrides, and two belonging to the Banks' Islands, the volcanic cone, Merlav, called by him Nuestra Señora de la Luz, and Santa Maria. After having visited the latter, he made his way to a larger island seen to the southward, and remained a month in the great bay of SS. Philip and James in Espiritu Santo. Merlav was renamed Pic de l'Étoile by Bougainville, and is now Star Island. The eight islands of the Banks' group are: (1) Star Island, Merlav; (2) Sainte Claire, Merig; (3) Santa Maria, Gaua; (4) Sugarloaf Island, Mota; (5) Great Banks' Island, Vanua Lava; (6) Saddle Island; (7) Bligh Island, Ureparapara; and (8) Rowa[6]. One of these, named Saddle Island by Bligh, has no native name as a whole; another, the Reef Island of Rowa, has no geographical name. The Torres group consists of four islands, Hiw, Tegua, Lo, and Tog, and is now known as Vava; there is no native name to the group. The native names of the three islands which with Espiritu Santo make up the northern New Hebrides are, Maewo, Aurora Island; Araga, Pentecost Island; and Omba, Lepers' Island. The two latter names present a difficulty, and 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, except at San Cristoval, where darts are mentioned; in recent times a voyager would not have found bows and arrows the usual weapon, but spears, except at Malanta. Gallego reports open cannibalism at Ysabel and Florida, whereas no modern visitor would have seen it except at San Cristoval. Nakedness is said by Gallego to have been complete, a point in which Figueroa differs from him, and complete nakedness would not have been found of late years anywhere but in Malanta. The probable conclusion is that, making allowance for lapses of memory on one side and exaggeration of fact on the other, the people, language, customs and condition of the people in the Solomon Islands have not changed since Mendana's discovery of 1567[7].

The account of the visit of Mendana to Santa Cruz in 1595 and of the Spanish attempt to form a settlement is ample and detailed; and it was remarked by Bishop Patteson, who was probably the first European after Mendana's party to go about the native villages, that what he observed corresponded closely with the Spanish record. It is only within the last ten years that, by the courage and enterprise of the present Missionary Bishop John Selwyn, the island of Santa Cruz has again become open to friendly, and unhappily also to mischievous, approach. The present writer has gone through the account of Mendana's visit with natives of Santa Cruz, whose comments were certainly interesting. One point may be mentioned; the Spaniards, failing to get the people of the main island to learn their language, sent to kidnap, after the fashion which from the beginning seems to have been natural to European visitors, some boys from the neighbouring Reef Islands, whom they had observed to be more intelligent than those of Santa Cruz. When this was related to a mixed group of Santa Cruz and Reef Island boys at Norfolk Island, it was at once declared that the Spaniards were quite right, that the Santa Cruz people now think the Reef Island boys sharper than their own; because it is the custom of their fathers to take them with them on their voyages, which Santa Cruz men do not do. The very short stay of the Spaniards, soon assuming hostile relations, cannot be thought to have affected native life at all; the looms with which they weave their mats, their fowls, common till lately to other islands with them, and many other things in which a difference has been observed, are mentioned in the Spanish narrative. There is nothing in the account of the discoveries of Quiros in the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides to shew any difference between the condition of the native people then and in the later times, when they have become well known to Europeans; but it may be observed that the Spaniards began to kidnap, doubtless with good intentions, and to recognise the 'devil' of the natives.

In the interval between the discoveries of Mendana and Quiros and the visits of whalers and missionaries in the present century, there is every reason to believe that all memory and tradition of white men had died away in the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz[8]; Europeans appeared again as perfect strangers. We are able therefore to conjecture how the first explorers appeared to the natives, when we know how we have ourselves appeared. To the old voyagers, as to later discoverers, it was a matter of course that hitherto unknown countries should be found, and that they should be inhabited by men unlike themselves; but to the natives it was a strange thing that there should be any men unlike themselves, or any unknown land for them to come from. There are still natives in these islands who remember when a white man was first seen, and what he was taken to be. In the Banks' Islands, for example, the natives believed the world to consist of their own group, with the Torres Islands, the three or four northern New Hebrides, and perhaps Tikopia, round which the ocean spread till it was shut in by the foundations of the sky. The first vessels they remember to have seen were whalers, which they did not believe to come from any country in the world; they were indeed quite sure that they did not, but must have been made out at sea, because they knew that no men in the world had such vessels. In the same way they were sure that the voyagers were not men; if they were they would be black. What were they then? They were ghosts, and being ghosts, of necessity those of men who had lived in the world. When Mr. Patteson first landed at Mota, the Mission party having been seen in the previous year at Vanua Lava, there was a division of opinion among the natives; some said that the brothers of Qat had returned, certain supernatural beings of whom stories are told; others maintained that they were ghosts. Mr. Patteson retired from the heat and crowd into an empty house, the owner of which had lately died; this settled the question, he was the ghost of the late householder, and knew his home. A very short acquaintance with white visitors shews that they are not ghosts, but certainly does not shew that they are men; the conjecture then is that they are beings of another order, spirits or demons, powerful no doubt, but mischievous. A ghost would be received in a peaceful and respectful manner, as European visitors have always in the first instance been received; a being not a living man or ghost has wonderful things with him to see and to procure, but he probably brings disease and disaster. To the question why the Santa Cruz people shot at Bishop Patteson's party in 1864, when, as far as can be known, they had not as yet any injuries from white men to avenge, the natives have replied that their elder men said that these strange beings would bring nothing but harm, and that it was well to drive them away; and as to shooting at them, they were not men. and the arrows could not do them much harm. It is sad to think how generally the elder men have, from their own point of view at least, been right; iron, tobacco, calico, a wider knowledge of the world, have not compensated native people for new diseases and the weakening of social bonds[9]. White visitors have not meant to do the natives wrong, but they have in fact harmed them, and have not earned moral respect at any rate generally from them. Europeans have from the beginning of intercourse with Melanesian natives kidnapped them, and have persuaded themselves that they were doing them a service by bringing them into what is called contact with civilization; the natives have from the first resented the kidnapping of their sons, and their sons, however much they may have wished to go away and have rejoiced in what they have learnt and acquired, will hardly be said by any impartial observer to have done any good when they have returned; although indeed to some people the power of speaking a little 'pigeon English,' for their convenience, seems to be a great improvement to a native.

To a voyager among these Melanesian islands who has no special geological learning the generally volcanic character of them cannot fail to be apparent. The lofty land of Guadalcanar, rising to a height of 8000 feet, and the high mountains of Espiritu Santo and New Caledonia, may be thought by him to have some other origin; but he cannot miss the still active volcanos, or fail to observe that many islands have the shape of those that are active in a more or less perfect or ruinous condition. The vast cone of Lopevi in the New Hebrides rises to an apparent point at the height of 5000 feet, and has been seen to cast out smoke and ashes. Tinakula, as it is called, near Santa Cruz, the native name of which is Tamami, is a well-formed cone 3000 feet high. When Mendana was attempting his settlement in 1595, the point of the cone was blown away; the volcano is now very active, throwing out glowing masses of lava, which roll down into the sea. The enormous crater of Ambrym, at the height of 2500 feet, is the centre of vast rugged fields of lava, hitherto unapproachable; round this main mass of the volcano there rise lateral cones no longer active, forest-covered to their peaks, and affording perhaps the most beautiful of Melanesian landscapes. When the Solomon Islands were discovered Savo was active. Some years ago an eruption was expected by the natives, because the old people remembered or had been told of considerable activity some fifty years before; rumblings were then heard and smoke was seen at Florida: the steaming pool and hot stream flowing from it are often visited. In the Banks' Islands, Vanua Lava is always steaming from its sulphur springs. Great lateral cones on the north and east of this island are now extinct, but the streams which rise in the central mass run warm and stinking to the sea, and powder the rocks with sulphur. In Santa Maria above Lakona there are steaming vents on the ridge of the ancient crater now filled by a lake, and on the hill Garat, which has been thrown up within it, there is a group of hot pools, sulphurous jets, and basins of boiling mud within the encircling ridge, from which hot streams pour down into the lake[10]. Bligh Island, Ureparapara, is a remarkable example of the type of Amsterdam or St. Paul's Island in the Indian Ocean; the sea enters the ancient crater, on the ridge of which, rising to nearly 2000 feet, is a steaming vent. Star Island, Meralava, is a massive cone rising so steeply to a height of 3000 feet, that it surprises strangers that it should be inhabited. From below the cone appears to terminate in a cup with a broken lip, but Bishop Selwyn and Mr. Palmer, who reached the top in 1881, found a more recent crater, which no doubt was active when Quiros discovered the island: there is now no recollection of activity[11]. In the New Hebrides, volcanic action has not yet exhausted itself on Lepers' Island; it is probable that besides the very conspicuous volcanos of Ambrym, Lopevi, and Yazur on Tanna, there are many solfataras and fumaroles as yet unnoticed in this group.

All these volcanic islands, whether still in active operation, or still fuming with latent fires, or long ago extinct, have dead and living coral round their base. The greater number of the islands lie in a ruined mass, in contrast to the cones of Lopevi and Tinakula; in some the volcanic form is hidden or confused, in others lateral cones and craters plainly shew themselves; a dense forest growth generally covers all from base to summit. All alike have coral forming a certain


proportion of their mass, the rock of coral formation varying with its age. Elevated terraces of coral appear in Futuna and the Loyalty Islands. The figure of Mota, in the Banks' Islands, shews the primary cone with a shoulder of later discharges standing upon a broad coral base uplifted some 200 feet above the sea. On this raised surface lie blocks of volcanic stone, while the ravines cut deep through it by the torrents from above expose to view the madrepore and other corals of which it is composed; on the beach water-worn fragments of both coral and volcanic rock lie among the living coral. In the Torres Islands terraces formed by successive upheavals are conspicuous; nothing is seen but coral; in one of the islands, at least, the natives have to dig for volcanic stone that will bear heat for their ovens. In the Banks' Islands it may be said that the land is being elevated; a patch between Mota and Motalava has become much more shallow in the last few years.

Florida in the Solomon group is divided into three parts by two channels called utuha, and calls to mind the mainland of the Aru Islands, as described in Mr. Wallace's Malay Archipelago. Though the northernmost channel is pretty wide, the island in its native name, Nggela, and in native conception, is one, and neither of the three parts has a name of its own. A similar channel divides Mala masiki from Mala paina, little from great Malanta. In Florida, over the wider channel which is called from this utuha ta na vula the Moon Channel, there is a cliff white as chalk. In the Banks' Islands small barren patches, rea, of coarse grass here and there appear; in Florida large barren spaces of this kind are conspicuous, as they are on the opposite slopes of Guadalcanar, and change the aspect of the landscape to the eyes of one who comes from the forest-covered islands to the East[12]. Whether there are in this part of Melanesia any atolls properly so called may be a question. There are lagoon islands of two kinds. The Reef Islands of the Santa Cruz group show flat patches of sand and coral resting on the reefs; such a one is Nukapu, where the lagoon is two miles across. The Matema group, part of the same Swallow group, consists of several sand islets resting on the edge of a very large and irregular reef; two of the islets, which are only separated at high tide, are very characteristically inhabited, Nufilole by a score or two of Melanesians, and Fenua loa, as the name imports, by Polynesian colonists from the East. On the other hand, Rowa in the Banks' group consists of five tiny islets on the bight of an irregular reef five miles long, the principal islet being formed upon a jagged point of volcanic rock, to all appearance a fragment of the edge of a sunken crater.

The Tas in the middle of Santa Maria in the Banks' Islands is the only lake of considerable size known in Melanesia. It is about five miles long, occupying the hollow of the ancient crater, into which the steaming hill Garat has been intruded; the waters pour out in a magnificent waterfall. There is a much smaller lake in Vanua Lava which feeds two fine cascades, and another on Lepers' Island with a volcanic vent upon its edge. Bishop Selwyn in 1888 found the lake at Tikopia covered with large water-lilies; the Tas of Santa Maria will surely reward its first scientific visitor.

A few words may be ventured on the natural history of this part of Melanesia. The cuscus common in the Solomon Islands does not reach to Santa Cruz; it is believed to exist in Espiritu Santo, where Quiros reported that there were goats. The white cockatoo, abundant in the Solomon Islands generally, does not pass the two straits that separate respectively Guadalcanar and San Cristoval, Malanta and Ulawa; but while Ulawa does not strike the unlearned visitor as different in its zoology from Malanta, the birds of San Cristoval seem few and strange. Frogs stop short of Santa Cruz, abundant as they are in the Solomons. A remarkable megapod is found in all the groups, if not of more than one species at any rate with different habits. At Savo, where without any attempt at domestication they have become private property, they lay in a carefully divided and appropriated patch of sand, and come out of the bush, as the natives say, twice a day to lay and look after their eggs. In the Banks' Islands and the New Hebrides they lay their eggs in the hollow of a decayed tree or in a heap of rubbish they have scratched together. In the Banks' Islands these birds are called malau, as they are maleo in Celebes[13]. The native breed of fowls still abounds in Santa Cruz; the imported fowls seem to have destroyed and replaced them in all the more commonly visited places, though they were common thirty years ago[14]. Crocodiles are abundant in the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz; they are sometimes seen in the Banks' Islands, and one was lately killed in the Torres Islands; they are known and named in the Northern New Hebrides. The name throughout is the same, vua or via, the Malay buaya, Malagasy voay. The natives of Ysabel maintain that they have four eyes, two for clear water, and two for mud. Snakes are not everywhere abundant; at Mota in the Banks' Islands there are no land snakes, and the natives maintain that if imported they will not live; in Vanua Lava and Saddle Island of the same group, those that live among the root-stems of the huge banyan-trees are said to attain an enormous size. The eels in the Tas of Santa Maria are sometimes more than thirty inches in girth. It is tantalizing to those who suffer so much from mosquitos in the islands now to know that Mendana, who was two months at Santa Cruz, and Quiros, who lay a month in the great bay of Espiritu Santo, both declare that in their time there were no mosquitos, but it is probably the small house fly that is meant. The variety of the mosquitos of the present time is interesting with all the suffering they bring; in Mota there is but one kind, which bites only in the daylight; in Vanua Lava, in the rainy season, they drive the natives to bury themselves in the sea-sand for sleep. The same name for the mosquito prevails from the Asiatic continent to Fiji; and the odious blow-fly carries the same name and habits through all the islands. Dr. Guppy commends the habits of the Birgus latro to the attention of residents in the Pacific Ocean. The account of it in Hazlewood's Fiji Dictionary describes how the ugavule climbs cocoanut-trees, pierces and drinks the young nuts, husks and breaks the old nuts and eats the meat; how it is taken by tying grass round the tree it has ascended, so that when descending backwards it reaches as it believes the ground, and loosing its hold on the tree it falls and is stunned; how it throws earth and stones into the face of its pursuers. The same crab or lobster is called ngair in the Banks' Islands, where the natives assert that when it seizes anything, such as a man's hand, with the left and smaller claw, it holds till sundown; on which account that claw has the name of sundown, loaroro. They say also that when a ngair drops a cocoanut from the tree upon a stone to break it, he will only eat it if it is broken smooth; if the fracture is jagged he will not touch it. The Wango people of San Cristoval go beyond probable fact when they relate that on moonlight nights they paddle over to the little island Biu, and quietly creeping up the beach find these crabs occupied in a dance, two large and old ones in the centre, beating time with one claw upon the other, and the rest circling round and waving their claws as the dancing natives wave their clubs; so surprised they are taken in great numbers[15].

  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 Polynesian word Te Ariki, the Chief, in the form Taurique, is given as the designation of the chiefs in Ysabel, where it is now entirely out of place. This is the less easy of explanation, as the other native words given appear to be those now in use. I may add that I have discussed the accounts of Mendana's discoveries, as related in Burney's and Dalrymple's collections, with natives of the Solomon and Santa Cruz Islands; but unfortunately my notes on this subject have been lost.
  2. The island of San Cristoval has been called Bauro by Europeans, not by natives, from the name of a part of it. A village on that island is marked on the Admiralty chart with the name of its chief. The island of Florida and its language has got the name of Anutha, and Anudha, from an islet between Mboli and Ravu. Bishop Patteson, on his visit in 1862, was given by a native boy on board the name, in the form Anudha, of the islet Anuha, and took it for the name of the whole island. Melanesians who could not pronounce th called it Anuta; Banks' Islanders, taking the first syllable to be the preposition 'at,' commonly used with names of places, call it Nuta, and Nut. The large island of Ysabel may be seen in some maps marked Mahaga, from a single village in Bugotu, the language of which was made known by Bishop Patteson.
  3. There can be little doubt that Gallego's Florida is a part of the Nggela of the natives, and probably Buena Vista is Vatilau. San Dimas, San German, Guadalupe, have been shewn by Mr. Woodford to be parts of Florida as they shew from the sea, not as the island is divided by unseen channels. The native names of the lesser islands near San Cristoval are, Ugi for Gulf Island, the Spanish San Juan; 'Olu Malau, the Three Malau, for Three Sisters, Las Tres Marias; Owa-raha, Great Owa, for Santa Ana, and Owa-rii, Little Owa, for Santa Catalina. It is remarkable how much more accurate Gallego's Aguare is than the Yoriki of the charts or the Orika given by Dr. Guppy. Gallego's Hapa may represent Owa, though not so well as Oo-ah or Oa. Uraba is really nearer the native Ulawa than Ulaua, the native tongue, like the Spanish, readily interchanging l and r, w and b. How Mr. Brenchley got Ulakua cannot be explained, nor why a new form Ulava is introduced. A correct native name, it may be said, is rarely to be obtained from a trader; the early sea-going visitors make the form which is to stand for the native name, and hand it on. The only security is the writing of a native who knows.
  4. I have myself witnessed the arrival of eleven canoes from Tikopia among the Banks' Islands. The men said they had come to see the islands, and were hospitably received. One was shot at Ureparapara, and they departed. Shortly before this a canoe from Tikopia had been driven by the wind to Mota, and the men in her most kindly treated, and the same thing had happened before and has happened since. The difference in size, manner, language and dress between the Tikopians and Banks' Islanders was conspicuous. The true name is pretty certainly Chikopia, since the Mota people learnt Sikopia from their visitors; two Fijian islands are Cikobia = Thikombia.
  5. Chicayana is Sikaiana, Stewart Island; Guaytopo is Waitupu, Tracy Island, of the Ellice group; Taukalo is Tokelau; Nupani and Pileni are Reef Islands of Santa Cruz; Manicolo no doubt stands for Vanikoro. Bishop Patteson in 1866 found that the Reef Islanders of Santa Cruz visited Taumako and Tikopia. It is excusable at sight to take the Pouro of Quiros for Bauro in San Cristoval, but in my opinion the attempted identification must completely fail. In the first place, Pouro and Bauro are far from being the same in sound when the confusion of English spelling is got rid of; Quiros would never write ou for au. Secondly, Bauro is not and never was the native name of San Cristoval; it is a name picked up by Europeans, I believe by Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand, and adopted for European convenience. Gallego calls, and properly, a part only of the island Paubro. Thirdly, arrows with points in form of a knife (a fair description of some Lepers' Island arrows) are wholly out of place in the Solomon Islands. Fourthly, the certain identifications of the islands named do not lead in that direction. In the same way, when it is understood that the name of the island in the Malay Archipelago is Buru, in Dutch spelling Boeroe, there can remain very little ground for identifying it with either Bauro or Bulotu, in French spelling Bourotou.
  6. Quiros named seven islands before he reached Espiritu Santo: San Raymundo, Los Portales de Belen, La Vergel, Las Lagrimas de San Pedro, El Pilar de Zaragoza, Santa Maria, and Nuestra Señora de la Luz. The two latter alone are known. Bligh named Ureparapara after himself, Saddle Island and Sugarloaf Island (probably the Pillar of Quiros) after natural features, and Great Banks' Island, with the whole group, after Sir Joseph Banks. Besides the geographical names, these islands have mostly three sets of names. An island has its name in the local form and in the Mota form, which has come into use through the employment of the Mota tongue as a common language in the Melanesian Mission. Thus Vanua Lava, Gaua, Ureparapara, Meralava, are the Mota forms of Vono Lav, Gog, Norbarbar, Merlav. Another set of names was used by natives when sailing between the islands, with a view of concealing their course from unseen enemies; Mota was Ure-kor, the place full of dried bread-fruit; Ureparapara, full of slopes, was Ure-us, full of bows, Meralava, Ure-kere, full of clubs, the best bows and clubs being got there; others were named after the food and other natural productions thought to characterise them. Misspelt and then misread, the rock Vat Ganai has become in maps the island Vatu Rhandi; by a misreading of Gaua, Santa Maria, which is to its native inhabitants Gog, got with traders the name of Ganna. The Torres group has got the name of Vava, with the preposition 'at' Avava, Ababa, from a part of one of the islands which Ureparapara people used to visit. Traders have fixed on Tog the name of Pukapuka, originally unknown among the natives. The Mota name for Lepers' Island, Opa, for Omba, has become well known.
  7. Mr. Woodford, in Further Explorations in the Solomon Islands, has brought forward information from the Journal of Catoira, chief purser of Mendana's fleet. From this it appears that the use of the betel-nut was already established. Another native word, na mbolo, a pig, also occurs. Much may be learnt as to the present condition of the Solomon Islanders from Mr. Woodford's Naturalist among the Headhunters, as well as from Dr. Guppy's book; but there is no picture of native life so good as that given in 'Percy Pomo.'
  8. Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand began his missionary voyages in 1849, and visited the Solomon Islands in 1850; he landed on sixty islands in 1857, in which year the Banks' Islands became well known to him. In 1861 Bishop Patteson, in H. M. S. Cordelia, became acquainted with Florida and Ysabel, the yearly visits of the Melanesian Mission having before stopped short at Guadalcanar. From that year forward the work of the Mission has been regularly carried on within the limits of Ysabel to the west, and Mae, later Pentecost, to the south. When the present writer made his first voyage in the Mission vessel, the Southern Cross, in 1863, Bishop Patteson was generally conversant with the people and the languages of the islands from New Zealand to Ysabel.
  9. I believe there is no doubt that dysentery was unknown in the islands till natives returned from residence with Europeans. When the Nukapu men, whose kidnapping was the immediate cause of the death of Bishop Patteson, escaped from Fiji and made their way to their native island, dysentery, before unknown, broke out there. The absence of a native name for this and other diseases, is to some extent at least a proof of recent introduction. Within my own recollection syphilis, or the venereal disease which was taken for it, was unknown in the islands visited by the Melanesian Mission, except at San Cristoval, where alone intercourse with whalers and traders had been considerable. It has lately become widely known, and it is certain that it has been brought back by returned 'labourers,' male and female.
  10. Any volcanic vent, from an active crater to a dead solfatara, is in the Banks' Islands a vuro. Three of those near Lakona have names, one, a deep pool sluggishly bubbling and steaming, is the Old Woman; another briskly active is the Stranger's Wonder; another, the New Vuro, though evidently not very recent, is very active and noisy. In the largest pool, some twenty feet across, two jets of steam raise the water to the height of a couple of feet, and after rain very much higher. When I was there in 1875 a new vent had been lately opened by an earthquake.
  11. Some years ago a native lad from Mota told me that he with a companion had mounted to this crater. They found at the top a bare stretch of stones, and within the crater a lake of black water, covered with a thick black cloud; a heavy darkness filled the place, a huge bird soared round their heads, awe and horror fell upon them, and they turned and fled. It is easy to talk lightly about native superstitions. Mr. Palmer thus describes the crater. 'We could see nothing at first, as a cloud was over, but presently it lifted, and we saw a large deep crater with splendid precipitous sides, in some places fully three hundred feet high. There is a small pool of water at the bottom, and rather on one side a second perfectly round crater, which we also determined to look into. We descended through trees and mosses; I was much interested in finding the tutu of New Zealand (coriaria sarmentosa), which I have never seen anywhere else in these islands; the second crater goes down to a point, where the trees and ferns are of better growth.'
  12. The islands may be roughly classified according to the use of stone or shell implements in them. In the Banks' Islands, Torres Islands, and Santa Cruz, they had only shell adzes, and used obsidian flakes for cutting and scraping. In the Solomon Islands, except in Rennell and Bellona, and the New Hebrides, the implements were of stone, and flakes of chert were used; but in the latter group on Lepers' Island, where the volcanic force is not yet exhausted, shell was the ancient use. Stone adzes in my possession from the Solomon Islands are of Andesite, a basaltic lava, from Florida compact andesite, from Ulawa altered andesite; from the New Hebrides, one from Ambrym is Gabbro, one from Pentecost is Bastite serpentine.
  13. Mr. Wallace remarks of the maleo of Celebes, that the difference between the sexes is so slight that it is not always possible to distinguish it without dissection. At Savo it is asserted that there is no distinction of sex, all are hens; ara mua pukua na tanotanodika, they know no sexual impropriety.
  14. The rapidity with which imported fowls have replaced the indigenous breed is remarkable. I have no recollection myself of having seen native fowls, out of Santa Cruz, except in Lepers' Island and Florida. Mr. Woodford remarks, as a proof how little native tradition can be depended on, that natives assured him that there were no fowls in the Solomons until white men came. They meant, no doubt, fowls of the kind before them. I am not aware that any new name has come in anywhere in the Solomon Islands, as kokok has in the Banks' Islands, for the new fowls.
  15. The natives do not believe in the existence of anthropoid apes. They believe in the existence of wild men, and Europeans for many years past have interpreted this belief to imply the existence of apes. See Chapter xviii.