Sunday, 3 March 2013

Legends of Island Names

Lets go to the Pacific islands of the Gilbert and Ellice as they were in at the time of this stamp issue in 1973.  Three years later they would be divided into two independent nations, the island of Funafuti would become the capital of Tuvalu.  Its Polynesian name as can be seen is "land of bananas" although a visiting American soldier during World War 2 thought there were more bananas in his fridge, although what he was doing keeping bananas in a fridge I don't know.  Funafuti consists of 30 islands or 'motu' surrounding a lagoon.  Legend has it that the people originated from Samoa, arriving by canoe 
The rest of the islands on the stamps are the Gilbert Islands which became Kiribati.  One atoll,  Butaritari has an abundance of rain and is a lush tropical island which exports bananas and pumpkins from its harbour opening into a deep lagoon.
Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati and almost 50% of the population live there, it is also one of the few atolls that can accommodate a runway and scheduled airline service, most island are only reachable by a small ship.  I would guess the stamp portrays a creation myth
Lastly a remote island on a blue lagoon with pristine beaches, for a brief time the home of Robert Louis Stevenson and which he wrote about in his posthumously published book "In the South Seas"

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps - this week is the free and easy "anything you like"


Bob Scotney said...

You have given me a valuable geography lesson today; although I had heard the new names I had no idea that they covered the Gilbert and Ellis Islands. Thanks for these great stamps.

viridian said...

The stamps have a wonderful design. I think all of them now are threatened by sea level rise.
thank you for joining in today.

Marcie said...

Special stamps!

Bryon D said...

Excellent post Joy, I started my Sunday morning off learning something new, I love it!

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

Odd. Maybe the American soldier like black bananas!

The stamps are really lovely. I hadn't linked Tuvalu with the Gilbert & Ellice Islands. I was lucky enough to be sent a card from Tuvalu.

VioletSky said...

Well, for once I was only familiar with the new names (most countries I still remember the older names)
Perhaps bananas were a new fruit to that soldier?

Postcardy said...

Those names don't even sound real to me, especially Funafuti Land of Bananas.

♥♥ Willa ♥♥ said...

What an interesting name for an islands.

-Willa @ Postage Journal: My Sunday Stamp#50:Hello Kitty