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An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology


Uvea is a low-lying volcanic island with both fringing coral reef and an outer barrier reef completely surrounding the island, but with four passages. The lagoon within the barrier reef ranges in width from less than two miles to about five miles. Its latitude is 13° S. and its longitude 176° W. The area is about 23 square miles, and the population in 1923 was 4,878. The island was discovered by Wallis in 1767 and was named after him. The people are Polynesian, and both traditions and culture elements connect them with Tonga; but there are suggestions of a pre-Tongan population which was also Polynesian.

The Marist priest, Monseigneur Bataillon, commenced a mission in 1837. Negotiations commenced with France in 1842, and ultimately Uvea, Futuna, and Alofi came under the administration of France.