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Harvian Islands

This article describes the full and rich history of the Harvian Islands.

Precolonial history Edit

Pre-Polynesian settlersEdit

It is uncertain when the islands were first settled. However, it is known that the first inhabitants were a group of people named the Aşelenda, These people have not been identified with any other ethnic group, and their language is not related to any other. Aşelend culture began to flower at around the same time that the first Polynesians appeared, resulting in a civilisation that combined the best aspects of both cultures.

Landfall Edit

Thousands of years ago, Polynesian settlers made the Harvian Islands their homeland. It is suspected that they came by canoes or small boats, and settled on Lower Island. Genetic tests prove that the indigenous population of the Harvian Islands are not for the biggest share descendants of the Samoans, which is the name they give themselves, but Tuvaluans. Only a part of the population has Samoan genes, and can be considered descendants of the Samoans living in Samoa and American Samoa. Still, the Bavanda Samoans, as the Harvian natives call themselves, are registered as Samoan.

They integrated fairly well with the Aşelenda, who were gradually assimilated. However the Aşelend language continued to be used for liturgical and literary purposes, and speakers were afforded great respect. It is for this reason that a small community still survives today in the Northern District.

Medieval times Edit

Around the year 600, an enormous volcanic eruption took place in the islands. The scale of the disaster is attested to by the fact that Chinese historians recorded 'a black cloud on the Eastern horizon', which many link to the explosion. The civilisation was destroyed and approximately half the population of the islands was killed.

Archeological evidence proved that there were probably two rivaling "kingdoms" roughly between 800 and 1100. This was probably due to disunity of the Samoans following the eruption. From 1300 onwards, almost no artifacts have been found. Scientists suspect that the unnamed culture of the early medieval times ceased to exist because of climate changes or fluctuating amounts of fish. Bavanda Samoan legends speak about a third kingdom on Midland Island, but so far no archeological evidence has been found supporting this theory. Probably these Bavanda Samoan legends originate from what is now Maritima, though it is possible the legends refer to the surviving Aşelenda in the Northern islands.

Colonial history Edit

Discovery Edit

Englishman Thomas Harves discovered the isles in 1804. He claimed it for the United Kingdom, which didn't set a foot on the island again for another 30 years. The United Kingdom recognized the territory as being theirs, but they only had de jure power. De facto, the natives didn't even know a colonial power claimed their islands, since the United Kingdom never sent any colonists or army personnel to the islands, and in fact didn't even control the archipelago. The English government believed that no other colonial power would set foot on the islands in the mean time, and they decided not to sent colonists to the islands until there was the need to do so.

Hemisphere Islands Edit

In 1834, Jack Shinger, the second European to arrive on the Harvian Islands, officially founded the colony of the Hemisphere Islands, in name of the United Kingdom. He was accompanied by a few dozens of colonists who founded the town of Port Philip the year thereafter. In the following years, many more islands were taken by the British army, who sent hundreds and hundreds of army personnel to the islands, with the main purpose of gaining control of the natives in order to make it possible for colonists to found settlements. It has to be noted that the native population didn't act hostile, and therefore there were no major incidents when army personnel took over. Colonists lived in peace with the indigenous population, and they built harbors and small neighborhoods at indigenous villages. A community came into existence where colonists lived in separate neighborhoods attached to the indigenous villages, and where peace reigned.

The federal government, consisting of a governor and his secretaries was established a few months before the army partly retreated from the islands, to make way for a stabile government.

Harvian Islands Edit

In 1859 another colonial power, the United States, claimed the territory. After a territorial dispute which involved a short battle between two warships of either side, the united States signed a treaty with the United Kingdom in 1865, after which it became an US colony. It was renamed the Harvian Islands in 1869, after Thomas Harves.

Revolts Edit

From 1865 to 2010 the islands thus were an US colony. Various, mostly peaceful, revolts and riots were fought, including the 1907 Washington Island Revolt, the 1931 Revolt and the peaceful 1991 Midland Island Revolt. The 19 Harvians who lost their lives during these revolts altogether are still commemorated each year.

On Lion Island there was a cruel governor and plantation owner named Buck Leeburg (founder of the city East-Leeburg) who treated the Samoans as his subjects and slaves and saw himself as a king. The otherwise peaceful islanders rebelled against their cruel masters and Leeburg was killed; his family and overseers were driven out of the island. After this there was a period, albeit short, of independence on Washington Island, lasting a few months. Almost immediately after the news of the revolt reached the United States, a warship was sent out to recapture the island. It succeeded, and since 1908 there have been no major fights in the archipelago.

In 1918 the Samoan people, still feeling repressed and badly treated, created a new party, called Samoan Power (SP). It was founded by David Makaluau, one of the rebels of the 1907 rebellion. The Americans outlawed the party, believing it to be dangerous, and had Makaluau executed as a traitor the following year, in 1919. He has been an idol of freedom ever since.

Independence Edit

It's since 2010 that the Harvian Islands are independent, after a treaty with the United States, that states that the Harvian Islands are independent since 18 september 2010.