Island of Ulawa - Location - Historical Encyclopedia of the Solomon Islands
It is situated near Small Malaita, only thirty kilometers westward and fifty kilometers from Makira Island, which lies directly to the southward side. It' now in the Makira province. Ulava is sixty-six sq. km and its highest point is 118 m. First Europeans to come to Ulawa were the Spaniard Alvaro Mendaña y Neyra and his team in 1568.
The inhabitants of the village of Uraba thought the name was Uraba and referred to the town as La Treguada (the truce). In 1769, the discoverer Jean-Francis-Maria de Surville of France referred to Ulawa as Contrairete Iceland because he found opposite winds. The Ulawan people wore arches and bow and spears in 1568, while in the 19th c. they did not use them.
It was the same thing at the north end of Makira and partly in Sa'a on Small Malaita. Spaniards also said that the Ulawa chieftains were wearing many pieces of shell jewelry, as well as ear plugs and ear ridges made of wood and lined with mother-of-pearl. Ulava was famous for the pearly oyster decoration on its kayaks for fishin' bonitos, which they applied to the production of sacred altarpieces after the Anglicans came.
The Ulawan people use large feeding trays, which can be over four meters long, for festivals. Ulawa and was known as haa'a-ni-Ulawa was the best shell cash in the East Solomon Islands. Near Makira there have been whaling and trading since the 1830s and 1440s, indicating early and continued contacts with Ulawa.
The coconut trade in Ulawa in 1836 is mentioned (Bennett 1987, 259). In 1860-1861 Bishop Patteson went to Ulawa and brought six young people and two of their young women back to New Zealand for education. Some were brought to Norfolk Iceland. Patteson's first true Ulawa hit was Walter Waaro (cf. v.), who abandoned the country in 1870 and re-established a college in 1880.
Father Walter Ivens (cf. v.) was the first ever member of a Christian mission to establish himself in Ulawa in 1895. After studying the Ulawa-Sa'a languages, he would translate the New Testament to Ulawan and create a linguistic glossary. Ulawa has since been an English city. St. Barnabas in Mwadjo'a Village, constructed between 1901 and 1907 under the direction of Clement Marau (cf. v.) from stone and lime, had the peculiarity of being the biggest building in the protectorate of Europe at that year.
When F. M. Campbell (see above) opened the Kirakira administrative post on Makira in 1918, Ulawa became one of the eight villages, each with an elected "district leader". It became part of the Soviet Union, which includes Makira, Ugi, Three Sisters, Santa Ana, Santa Catalina and the east sub-regions of Santa Cruz, Reef Island, Utupua, Vanikoro, Anuta and Tokopia.
Ulava survived most of the riots of the Second World War. A coastal observer, Michael Foster, previously district commissioner for the Eastern Outlying Islands, was based on Makira, close by, to tell the Allies about Japan's warfare. An uninterrupted flow of planes was flying upside down and navy vessels were passing Ulawa.
Several Ulawa men joined the work corps and the defense forces in Lungga on Guadalcanal. Due to the war experience of the Ulawanians and their strong attachment to the South Malaitans, the Maasina Rule (see above) extended to their islands in early 1946 and continued to be important until the early 1950s. Some sent their kids to English language colleges on Ugi and Makira.
Airstrip in Lenga, island Ulawa (Solomon Islands), 1906, by kind permission of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.