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Santa Cruz Islandslocked

  • William H. Davenport

Extract

Archipelago in the Temotu Province of the Eastern Solomon Islands. It is composed (from north to south) of two small groups called the Duff and Reef Islands, and Nendö (the largest island, also known as Santa Cruz Island), Utupua and Vanikoro. The total population is c. 12,150 (1991 census). Eleven languages are spoken: Polynesian in the Duff and part of the Reef Islands; four related non-Austronesian languages elsewhere in the Reef Islands and on Nendö; and three Austronesian languages each on Utupua and Vanikoro. Compared with the linguistic diversity, however, aesthetic expression on the islands has been relatively homogeneous.

Europeans first encountered Santa Cruz in 1595, but contact was sporadic and there was little cultural impact until the late 19th century when Christian proselytizing, labour recruiting and trading began. As a result of this more intensive contact, the population declined severely. After the Santa Cruz Islands became part of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (...

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