Also known as: Eromanga; Erromanga

Erromango is a small, high island in the south of Vanuatu. The islanders adopted Presbyterian Christianity in the early twentieth century, after a decades-long process of missionisation during which several missionaries lost their lives. The deaths of these missionaries led to the island becoming popularly known as 'Martyrs' Island'.

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Traditional Culture(1860)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Absent (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-167
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-167
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-167
Deified ancestor(s) Absent (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-167
God(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-167

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389
Myth of humanity’s creation Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 186-188
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 186-188
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-167, 186-188

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 401

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 173
Resource management tapu Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 150-177
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 174

Mana

Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008), pp. 255-256
Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008), pp. 255-256
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Humphreys (1926), pp. 148-150, 165-177
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389, 398
Political and religious differentiation No overlap (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 132-134, 165,177
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404

Rites

Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 134-141, 177-186
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 134-138, 177-186
Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 135, 177-186
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 136, 177-186
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 177-178
Social Environment +
Population 7000 (Source)
Spriggs & Wickler (1989), pp. 86
McArthur (1981), pp. 11
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Spriggs & Wickler (1989), pp. 83, 86
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 129
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 129
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Spriggs & Wickler (1989), pp. 84
Marital residence Patrilocal or virilocal - with husband's kin (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 141-146

Conflict

(No) external warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 148-150
Robertson (1902), pp. 22-46
(No) internal warfare Common, at least every five years (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 148-150
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Spriggs & Wickler (1989), pp. 84, 86
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 35.7 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to nearest continent 1802.0 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. 2.23
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 134-141, 150-165
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 155
Land-based gathering Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 134-141, 150-165
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 155
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 151

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 139, 153-155
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 139, 153-155
Water-based gathering Minor (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 138-141, 150-165

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Minor (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 150-165
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 150-165
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 123-192

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Spriggs & Wickler (1989), pp. 70
Island Size (km²) 902.0 (Source)
Spriggs & Wickler (1989), pp. 70
Maximum elevation (meters) 886.0 (Source)
Spriggs & Wickler (1989), pp. 70

Location

Latitude -18.8 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 169.2 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1860-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Crowley (2001)
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Crowley (2001)
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Crowley (2001)

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Crowley (2001)
Secular History +

Modern Infrastructure

Air travel Present, local only (Source)
'Erromango' (2016)
Sea port Absent (Source)
'Erromango' (2016)

Demographic and Social Changes

Language shift Medium (Source)
Crowley (2001), pp. 241
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Crowley (2001)
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ol/summary/v047/47.2.blevins.html

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Crowley, T. (1997). What Happened to Erromango's Languages? The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 106 (1), 33-63. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706691

Crowley, T. (2001). The Indigenous Linguistic Response to Missionary Authority in the Pacific. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 21 (2), 239-260, DOI: 10.1080/07268600120080587

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Erromango (2016). Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/Erromango

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Humphreys, C. B. (1926). The Southern New Hebrides: An Ethnological Record. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

McArthur, N. (1981). New Hebrides Population, 1840-1967: A Re-Interpretation. Noumea, New Caledonia : South Pacific Commission.

Robertson, H. A. (1902). Erromanga: The Martyr Isle. NY: A. C. Armstrong And Son.

Spriggs, M. (1989). The dating of the Island Southeast Asian Neolithic: an attempt at chronometric hygiene and linguistic correlation. Antiquity, 63(240), 587-613.

Spriggs, M., & Wickler, S. (1989). Archaeological research on Erromango: Recent data on southern Melanesian prehistory. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, 9, 68-91.