The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #5 September / October 2013
Where Are You?
by Sonja Krüger
September / October 2013 | 

This former capital city was founded around 1820 by European traders and settlers, after which it became an important port and trading post. It was the first permanent European settlement in the pacific islands, and attracted coconut and cotton planters as well as merchants who set up shops, hotels and bars. It had a population mainly of traders, shipwrights, and vagabonds, businessmen and missionaries. The town reached a population of over 800 within fifty years. It was annexed to a new nation state in 1871, and became the first of many things for that state, such as having the first bank, school, post office, private club, town hall and hospital. The first newspaper of this nation state was established here and is still in operation today. The city has the oldest hotel still operating in the South Pacific, dating back to the 1860s. The oldest Masonic lodge in the South Pacific is also here.

When the nation state of it was annexed by the British in 1874, the city became the capital and remained so until 1877, when the administration center was moved. This was done mainly because of concerns that the 600-meter high cliffs around the city gave it no space for growth.

The city was a port for ships and boats crossing the Pacific until the 1950s. Without the traffic, the city faced economic extinction. It was saved when, in 1964, the Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) was founded by a Japanese firm which specialized in freezing and shipping canned tuna to markets in Europe and Canada. A cannery was opened on the island in 1976, and it is the largest private employer on the island.

Now, the city has a population of over one thousand, with another three thousand living in the outlying areas. It is the economic center and the largest of 24 settlements on its island. The city's community centre has a public library, kindergarten, museum, crafts centre and meeting hall. This centre was formerly a store which was built in 1978 by the Morris Hedstrom & Company trading company. Nearby is a royal wharf, which is now used mostly by local boats. The city has been seeking recognition recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage for decades.

Can you name this city and country?

Last month's answer: Trabzon, Turkey

Where Are You?
Writer: Sonja Krüger
Merbabu: Mystery picture

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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