Nauruan Tribal War - War Reports

War Reports

A squadron of the British Royal Navy anchored off the coast of Nauru on September 21, 1881, and the squadron's flagship approached the island, to appraise the local situation. An acculturated local beachcomber, William Harris, boarded the British ship, which summoned the rest of the squadron by semaphore that evening, saying that a tribal war was raging, an escaped convict had become king, that all of the islanders were drunk, that the actual king of the island, Aweida, wished to have missionaries come to the island to help stop the war.

Six years later, an Auckland-dwelling British sea captain named Frederick Moss came in his schooner, the Buster, landing on Nauru while his ship was being reloaded with copra. He reported that the inhabitants of Nauru were friendly and of good humor, although most of the boys and all of the men were armed with rifles and carbines. The war was still going on, although by this time it appeared that many of the islanders had had enough. Through his conversations with the natives, Moss noted that none of them wished to continue fighting, but no tribal group trusted the others to lay down their arms if it did so first. They wished for a universal disarmament of the island. Moss received another report from Harris, who still lived on the island. Harris said that two of his family members had already been shot, and that he wished a Christian mission would come to the island to restore peace once again.

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