Beginning Historical Archaeology in Vanuatu: Recent Projects on the Archaeology of Spanish, French, and Anglophone Colonialism

James Flexner, Matthew Spriggs, Stuart Bedford, Marcellin Abong

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Historical archaeology is an emerging field of research in Vanuatu, a small island nation in the southwest Pacific, which emphasizes the ways that Melanesian people experienced and adapted to colonialism. People in the New Hebrides (as Vanuatu was called before independence in 1980) adapted to a variety of colonial situations. First contact with Europeans took place in 1606 when the Portuguese explorer Quirós in the service of Spain arrived at Espiritu Santo. This was a brief moment, however, and the next major contacts with Europeans began in the late eighteenth century, with explorers such as Bougainville (1768), Cook (1774), and Golovnin (1809). Long-term colonial encounters including the establishment of permanent European settlements did not occur until the mid-nineteenth century when British and French settlers established missions and trading posts around the islands. Official colonial rule under a joint Anglo-French ‘condominium’ was not fully established until 1906. Recent projects on the archaeology of European encounters in Vanuatu illustrate some of the problems, as well as the immense potential for research that explores colonialism of variable scale and duration diachronically, integrating materials and perspectives from both Europeans and Melanesians.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationArchaeologies of Early Modern Spanish Colonialism
    Editors Sandra Montón-Subías, Apen Ruiz Martínez, and María Cruz Berrocal
    Place of PublicationHeidelberg
    PublisherSpringer International Publishing Switzerland
    Pages205-228
    ISBN (Print)9783319218847
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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