- Espiritu Santo
name =Espiritu Santo
image caption =Map of Espiritu Santo
native name =
native name link =
Sanma Province, Vanuatu
total islands =
major islands =
area =3955.5 km²
highest mount =
elevation =1879 m
country admin divisions title =Province
country admin divisions =Sanma
country largest city =
country largest city population = 10,738
population as of =
ethnic groups =
Ni-Vanuatu:"For the island in the Gulf of California, see Isla Espíritu Santo. For the university, see UEES.
Espiritu Santo (from the Spanish "espíritu santo," "
Holy Spirit", sometimes called just Santo) is the largest islandin the nation of Vanuatu, with a surface area of 3955.5 km². It belongs to the archipelagoof the New Hebrides in the Pacific region of Melanesia. It is in the Sanma Provinceof Vanuatu.
The town of
Luganville, on Espiritu Santo's southeast coast, is Vanuatu's second-largest settlement and the provincial capital. Roads run north and west from Luganville but most of the island is far from the limited road network.
Vanuatu's highest peak is the 1879 metre (6165 foot)
Mount Tabwemasanain west-central Espiritu Santo.
The Portuguese explorer
Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, working for Spain, established a settlement in 1606 at Big Bay on the north side of the island. Espiritu Santo takes its name from Queirós, who named the entire island group "La Austrialia [ No, not a typo! See for example, Estensen, M. (2006) "Terra Australia Incognita; The Spanish Quest for the Great South Land". Allen & Unwin, Australia ISBN 978 1741750546 ] del Espíritu Santo". During the time of the British–French Condominium, Hog Harbour, on the northeast coast, was the site of the British district administration, while Segond, near Luganville was the French district administration. [cite web|url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-350921/Luganville|title=Luganville|work=Encyclopædia Britannica|accessdate=2007-10-23]
World War II, particularly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the island was used by Allied forces as a military supply and support base, naval harbor, and airfield. The presence of the Allies later contributed to the island's diving tourism, as the United States dumped most of their equipment and refuse at what is now known as 'Million Dollar Point'. [cite web|url=http://www.vanuatu.net.vu/tourism/to-do/Diving/Dive-Santo-Vanuatu.shtml|title=Diving Santo|work=Vanuatu Online|accessdate=2007-10-23]
Between May and August 1980 the island was the site of a rebellion during the transfer of power over the colonial
New Hebridesfrom the condominium to independent Vanuatu. Jimmy Stevens' Nagriamelmovement, in alliance with private French interests and backed by the Phoenix Foundation and American libertarians hoping to establish a tax-free haven, declared the island of Espiritu Santo independent of the new government. A Republic of Vemeranawas proclaimed. British Royal Marinesand a unit of the French " Garde Mobile" were deployed to the Vanuatu's capital island but did not invade Espiritu Santo as the soon-to-be government had hoped. The troops were recalled shortly before independence. Following independence Vanuatu, now governed by Father Walter Lini, requested assistance from Papua New Guinea, whose forces invaded and restored order on Espiritu Santo.
James Michener was stationed here during World War II and it is the real life setting of Tales of the South Pacific.
Santo, with many wrecks and reefs to be explored, is a very popular tourist destination for divers. Champagne Beach draws tourists with its pink sand and clear waters. The "Western Side" of the island contains many caves which may be explored, and cruise ships often stop in at
The local people survive by supporting the tourist trade, by cash-crop farming (
peanuts) or by subsistence farming and fishing.
Most Santo people are Christians. The largest church groups on the island are the
PresbyterianChurch of Vanuatu, the Roman Catholic Churchand the Church of Melanesia( Anglican). Also active are the ApostolicChurch, the Church of Christ, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and others. However, in many villages, particularly in Big Bay and South Santo, the people are "heathen", a term that in Vanuatu has no pejorative connotation — it simply denotes someone who has not embraced Christianity. Customary beliefs of a more modern sort are found among followers of the Nagriamelmovement based in Fanafo.
For almost all Santo people custom plays a large part in their lives, regardless of their religion. The chief system continues strongly in most areas.
The people of Santo face some health problems, especially
malaria, tuberculosisand a rising number of HIVcases. Although there is a hospital, most locals consult either their own witch doctoror medical clinics set up by western missionaries. Kavais the popular drug of the island, although alcohol is becoming more prevalent. With the rising number of adults using alcohol, there is a rising crime rate, especially involving violence toward women, and tribal warfare.
Santo is home to a number of cattle farms (including the famous Belmol Cattle Project, originally established by French settlers) and exports much of its beef to Japan, Australia and other Pacific Island countries.
Besides beef, tin fish and rice, bought in town, Santo has many foods that locals take for granted and that tourists enjoy as delicacies. Among these are sweet pineapples, mangos, island cabbage, flying fox and
coconut crab, as well as local nuts such as natapoa and the sweet fleshy-fruit nouse. There is a market in Luganville for groceries and many roadside stores, often run by Chinese.
Many local people still rely on subsistence farming for their food. Most villages have a garden that is tended by men and women alike. Taro and yam are commonly grown in these gardens, and are mainstays of the local diet.
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Look at other dictionaries:
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