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Historical Archaeology of Early Modern Colonialism in Asia-PacificThe Southwest Pacific and Oceanian Regions$
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Maria Cruz Berrocal and Cheng-hwa Tsang

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054759

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054759.001.0001

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From First Encounters to Sustained Engagement and Alienation

From First Encounters to Sustained Engagement and Alienation

European and ni-Vanuatu Contact from 1774 to 1915, Port Sandwich, Malakula, Vanuatu, Southwest Pacific

(p.92) 5 From First Encounters to Sustained Engagement and Alienation
Historical Archaeology of Early Modern Colonialism in Asia-Pacific

Stuart Bedford

Marcellin Abong

Richard Shing

Frédérique Valentin

University Press of Florida

This chapter outlines an ongoing research program which investigates the evolving engagements between ni-Vanuatu and Europeans in the Port Sandwich region (in southern Malakula, Vanuatu) during the period from 1774 to 1915. The research has drawn on a multiplicity of sources—including oral traditions, historic documents, and archaeological surveys and excavations—in an attempt to provide new insights into the process of colonization from both an indigenous and European perspective. For instance, James Cook visited the ‘ideal’ harbour in 1774. Following his positive report of the location, almost all foreign vessels visiting northern Vanuatu over the next 100 years would use Port Sandwich as a base. It became an early focus for sustained European settlement. Although Vanuatu (or the New Hebrides, as it was then known) became a formalized colony in 1906, land purchases in Port Sandwich began as early as the 1870s. Moreover, a French military camp was established earlier, in 1886, and Catholic missionaries arrived two years later. Increasing tensions developed and conflict inevitably erupted. Indigenous resistance continued for decades, and, by 1913, as evidence suggests there was massive depopulation.

Keywords:   Port Sandwich, New Hebrides, Vanuatu, Indigenous resistance, Depopulation, Colonization

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