island in Tafea Province of Vanuatu

Tanna (additionally spelled Tana) is an island in Tafea Province of Vanuatu.


It’s 40 kilometres (25 miles) lengthy and 19 kilometres (12 miles) large, with a complete space of 550 sq. kilometres (212 sq. miles). Its highest level is the 1,084-metre (3,556-foot) summit of Mount Tukosmera within the south of the island.

Siwi Lake was situated within the east, northeast of the height, near the coast till mid-April 2000 when following unusually heavy rain, the lake burst down the valley into Sulphur Bay, destroying the village with no lack of life. Mount Yasur is an accessible lively volcano which is situated on the southeast coast.

Historical past[edit]

Cannibal Feast on Tanna by Charles E. Gordon Frazer c. 1885-9

Tanna was first settled about 400 BC by Melanesians from the encircling islands. The glowing gentle of Mount Yasur attracted James Prepare dinner, the primary European to go to the island, in August 1774, the place he landed in an inlet on the southeastern tip of the island that he named Port Decision after his ship HMS Decision. He gave the island the title of Tanna, in all probability from the native title for earth, tana within the Kwamera language.[1]

Within the 19th century, merchants and missionaries (mainly Presbyterian) arrived. The Tannese caught to their traditions extra strongly than different islands; there stay fewer Christians as compared with the opposite islands of Vanuatu.

Whaling vessels had been a few of the first common guests to the island within the nineteenth century. The primary on file was the Rose in February 1804. The final recognized such go to was by the Sea Ranger in September 1871.[2]

Tanna was not a principal web site of World Battle II, however about 1,000 folks from Tanna had been recruited to work on the American army base on Éfaté. Publicity to First World dwelling requirements could have led to the event of cargo cults. Many have died out, however the John Frum cult stays sturdy on Tanna right now, particularly at Sulphur Bay within the south east and Inexperienced Level within the South West of the Island. The documentary Ready for John (2015) by Jessica Sherry gives a historical past and overview of the present scene concerning these beliefs.[3]

A secessionist motion started within the 1970s, and the Nation of Tanna was proclaimed on 24 March 1974. Whereas the British had been extra open to permitting its holdings in Vanuatu to attain independence, it was opposed by the French colonists and at last suppressed by the Anglo-French Condominium authorities on 29 June 1974.

Flag of the Island of Tanna

In 1980, there was one other try to secede, declaring the Tafea Nation on 1 January 1980, its title coming from the initials of the 5 islands that had been to be a part of the nation (Tanna, Aniwa, Futuna, Erromango and Aneityum). British forces intervened on 26 Could 1980, permitting the island to grow to be a part of the newly impartial nation of Vanuatu on 30 July 1980.

Tanna and close by Erromango had been devastated by cyclone Pam in mid-March 2015, with reviews of an unknown variety of deaths, full destruction of the island’s infrastructure and everlasting shelters, and no ingesting water.[4] Following this, an El Niño-spurred drought additional impacted on the folks of Tanna.[5]

Tradition and financial system[edit]


It’s the most populous island in Tafea Province, with a inhabitants of about 29,000,[6] and one of the vital populous islands within the nation. Isangel, the provincial administrative capital, is on the west coast close to the island’s largest city of Lénakel.

Tanna is populated nearly completely by Melanesians and so they observe a extra conventional life-style than many different islands. A few of the larger altitude villages are often called kastom villages, the place fashionable innovations are restricted, the inhabitants put on penis sheaths (Bislama: nambas) and grass skirts, and the kids don’t go to public faculties. In accordance with anthropologist Joël Bonnemaison, creator of “The Tree and the Canoe: historical past and ethnography of Tanna,” their resistance to alter is because of their conventional worldview and the way they “understand, internalise, and account for the twin ideas of house and time.” [7]

John Frum motion[edit]

The island is the centre of the John Frum non secular motion, which attracts vacationer curiosity as a cargo cult.

The primary John appeared at night time as a spirit at a spot referred to as Inexperienced Level and advised the folks to return to their conventional lifestyle, or kastom. From that point kastom on Tanna has been seen as a substitute for the modernity inspired by many missionary denominations. Yaohnanen is the centre of the Prince Philip Motion, which reveres Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the prince consort of the UK. The cult is examined by British author Matthew Baylis in his 2013 e-book Man Belong Mrs Queen: Adventures with the Philip Worshippers.[8]

Christian missionary John Gibson Paton served in Tanna within the mid 1800s. Cannibalism was practiced earlier than Christianity swept the island. Within the biography of Paton the horror of the pagan follow of abusing and murdering disobedient wives is detailed.


There are three fundamental languages spoken on Tanna: the southern language of Kwamera, the South-Western language adjoining to the slopes of Tokosmera, of which there are numerous dialects spoken by very small groupings, represent two of the languages. The remaining majority of Tanna islanders communicate 4 dialects, being North Tanna within the northwest, Lénakel within the west-central space close to Lénakel, and the center bush dialect within the central plateau of the island, which may be very near Lenakel Whitesands within the northeast close to Whitesands.

These are usually grouped into the Tanna languages household, which is a subgroup of the South Vanuatu languages, an Austronesian language department. In accordance with Ethnologue, every is spoken by a number of thousand, and Lénakel, with 8,000 audio system, is among the dialects of Vanuatu with essentially the most audio system. Many individuals on Tanna additionally communicate Bislama, which is one in every of Vanuatu’s three official languages (along with English and French).

Financial system[edit]

The island is among the most fertile in Vanuatu and produces kava, espresso, coconut, copra, and different vegatables and fruits. Not too long ago, tourism has grow to be extra vital, as vacationers are interested in the volcano and conventional tradition.[9] To assist protect the integrity of tradition as a tourism asset, solely native individuals are permitted to behave as guides. There are numerous forms of lodging on the island.

Cultural references[edit]

5 males from Tanna’s Prince Philip Motion cargo cult, which considers Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh a god, had been dropped at the UK as a part of the Channel four actuality present Meet the Natives in 2007. A part of their itinerary included an off-screen assembly with the prince.[10]

In An Fool Overseas, Sequence 2, Episode 1, Karl Pilkington visited Tanna and mentioned the Prince Philip Motion and met those that visited Windsor Fort.

In 2009 the Journey Channel aired Meet the Natives: USA, which introduced 5 males from one other group from Tanna to the USA.[11] Their tribe reveres Tom Navy, an American World Battle II sailor who generations in the past had taught the inhabitants to stay in peace. The Tanna ambassadors had been taken throughout, visiting 5 states, and finally assembly former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and verifying with him that the spirit of peace taught by Tom Navy lives on in then US President, Barack Obama. Whereas visiting with a household on Fort Stewart, US Military Main-Normal Tony Cucolo conferred a World Battle II Victory Medal and an Asiatic-Pacific Marketing campaign Medal upon the chief in illustration of the contribution the folks of Tanna in World Battle II.

Tanna, a movie depicting the true story of a pair who determined to marry for love, somewhat than obey their mother and father’ needs, is about on the island,[12][9] and was nominated for the Greatest International Language Movie on the 89th Academy Awards.[13]


The island is served by Whitegrass Airport.


  1. ^ Biography of John Gibson Paton at Christian Biography Sources
  2. ^ Langdon, Robert (1984) The place the whalers went: An index to the Pacific ports and islands visited by American whalers (and another ships) within the 19th century, Canberra, Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, p.191. ISBN 086784471X
  3. ^ Ready for John Documentary. Retrieved 30 Could 2017.
  4. ^ Robertson, Joshua (15 March 2015). “Cyclone Pam: assist businesses report widespread devastation in Vanuatu”. Retrieved four November 2016 – through The Guardian.
  5. ^ “Tanna struggles by devastating drought as El Nino continues”. Three November 2015. Retrieved four November 2016.
  6. ^ 2009 Census Abstract launch ultimate Archived 2013-12-21 on the Wayback Machine – Authorities of Vanuatu
  7. ^ Lissant Bolton. Tree and the Canoe: Historical past and ethnogeography of Tanna, The Oceania, Dec 1996
  8. ^ Baylis, Matthew (2013). Man Belong Mrs Queen Adventures with the Philip Worshippers. ISBN 978-1-908699-64-0.
  9. ^ a b Lindstrom, Lamont. “Award-winning movie Tanna units Romeo and Juliet within the south Pacific”. Retrieved four November 2016.
  10. ^ [1], The Unbiased, 6 October 2007
  11. ^ Meet the Natives: USA Archived 2009-11-22 on the Wayback Machine, Journey Channel, Accessed 24 December 2009
  12. ^ Luke Buckmaster. “Tanna evaluate – volcanic South Pacific love story shot completely in Vanuatu”. the Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  13. ^ Samuelson, Kate (24 January 2017). “Right here Are the 2017 Oscar Nominations”. Time. Retrieved 30 January 2017.


God is american, characteristic documentary (2007, 52 min), by Richard Martin-Jordan, on John Frum’s cult at Tanna.

Exterior hyperlinks[edit]

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