The People of Solomon: Performance in Cross-Cultural Contacts between Spanish and Melanesians in the SW Pacific 1568–1606
Author(s): Martin Gibbs
In 1568, 1595 and 1606 Spanish expeditions out of Peru explored the Solomon Islands (S.W. Pacific) with the intention of establishing colonies. The motivations for these voyages were an uneasy amalgam of ambitions for Imperial and familial advancement, attempts to find the gold mines of Ophir, and religious fervor for converting indigenous populations. Despite repeated historical retelling, little attention has been paid to the structures of the cross-cultural encounters described in the original narratives. Ethno-historical analysis reveals an extraordinary diversity of responses in these interactions, from prosaic trading, through to wilful acts of physical and sexual aggression, and highly charged spiritual contests. While the Spanish presence was largely ephemeral, with even the nascent colonies lasting only several weeks, the sometimes dramatic shifts in status from transitory explorer, to colonist, to survivor often resulted in similarly significant transformations in relations with indigenous groups. Beyond the documentary record, the archaeological record also shows evidence of longer-term repercussions and attempts by indigenous groups to mitigate these transitory exchanges. In particular this paper will follow in the tradition of Australian Pacific ethno-historians such as Dening and Clendinnen in exploring the nature of performance within these cross cultural encounters.
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The People of Solomon: Performance in Cross-Cultural Contacts between Spanish and Melanesians in the SW Pacific 1568–1606. Martin Gibbs. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443585)
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min long: 153.633; min lat: -51.399 ; max long: -107.578; max lat: 24.207 ;
Abstract Id(s): 20602