Edward Acton Cavanough
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‘Afuera! ’
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In 1564, the governor of Peru undertook an expedition to find this mysterious land of bounty, appointing Álvara de Mendaña de Neyra and Hernán Gallego as leads. In February 1568, they spotted the island they called Isabel. In the initial linguistic exchanges between the locals and the voyagers, the indigenous people appear to have acquired their first Spanish word: afuera, loosely translated as ‘get outside’ or ‘go away’. It was a refrain the Spanish explorers would soon hear regularly, shouted at them by Solomon Islanders who ‘wished to prevent [the Spanish] from exploring their country’. The Mendaña expedition is where the documented history of Solomon Islands commences, including the history of an island in the middle of the archipelago known locally as Savo. In the late eighteenth century, a distant world began to impose itself on the Savoans’ island home.

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