The World at War

Wallis & Futuna 1616 - 1961

Wallis & Futuna Timeline

1616April 28 Dutch navigators Jacob Lemaire and Willem Cornelis Schouten discover the Horn Islands (Futuna and Alofi).
1767August 16 English explorer Captain Samuel Wallis discovers the island of Uvea which his officers rename Wallis Island.
1768May French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville sights the Horn Islands. Bougainville is uncertain as to whether he has discovered one island or two and strong cross winds make it impossible for him to land. He incorrectly decides it is one and calls it La Solitaire but soon changes this to L'Enfant Perdu (Lost Child).
1781April 21 Spanish navigator Francisco Antonio Maurelle sights Wallis which he names, “the Isle of Consolation.”
1791HMS Pandora under Captain Edward Edwards stops at Wallis for supplies while returning from Tahiti to England with 14 captured Bounty mutineers.
1801August 31 George Vason of The London Missionary Society visits Wallis.
1828Whalers stop at Wallis for the first time in order to take on supplies. The American dollar is introduced as the islands’ medium of exchange.
1830King Niuliki bans cannibalism in the Kingdom of Alo on Futuna.
1836Protestant catechists from Tonga land on Wallis but are killed.
December 24 The newly appointed Vicar Apostolic of Western Oceania, Monsignor Jean Baptiste Pompallier, departs Le Havre aboard the Delphine accompanied by Marist Fathers Pierre Chanel and Pierre Bataillon and Brothers Marie-Nizier Delorme and Joseph Xavier Lugy.
1837October The Marist Mission lead by Monsignor Pompallier sails from Tahiti aboard the chartered schooner Raiatea. The natives on Futuna are found receptive and Father Chanel and Brother Marie-Nizier Delorme are left to establish a mission to Chief Niuliki’s Kingdom of Alo.
November 1 The Raiatea anchors off Uvea (Wallis) where Father Pierre Bataillon and Brother Joseph Lugy are left to establish a mission. Monsignor Pompallier sails on to New Zealand. Father Bataillon makes quick and numerous conversions and writes the first Franco-Wallisian dictionary.
1841April 28 Father Chanel is killed on orders of King Niuliki who believes that the first Futunan conversions have desecrated the sanctity of his royal powers.
During the Year Monsignor Jean Baptiste Pompallier returns from New Zealand and baptizes 2,500 Wallisians.
1842April 5 The native rulers of Wallis request the establishment of a French protectorate over the islands. Shortly thereafter the kingdoms of Alo and Sigave on Futuna make similar requests.
November 4 The King of Uvea (Wallis), Soane Patita Vaimua Lavelua, concludes a treaty of peace and commerce with France and requests French protection for a free and independent state. King Louis Philippe takes Lavelua’s request under advisement and sends him a double barrel shotgun and a horse.
1843France turns down the kingdoms’ request for protection but sends a resident advisor to them. Monsignor Pierre Battalion is named Vicar Apostolic of Central Oceania.
September Françoise Perroton, a 47 year old tutor in Lyon, comes across a letter to the Christians of Lyon from to Wallisian women Susana and Amelia, “We have already received much evidence of your charity and we now make another request, it is to send to us, if you love us, some pious women, some sister, to teach the women of Uvea.”
1846October 23 Françoise Perroton arrives in Wallis after an 11 month voyage aboard L'Arche d'Alliance. Monsignor Bataillon refuses to accommodate the new missionary but King Lavelua takes her under his protection and builds a cottage for her. Perroton begins teaching three young islanders including the King’s daughter Amelia.
1854Françoise Perroton, having pursued her mission without assistance for 12 years, overcome by the infirmities of age, sickness and difficulties with the Wallisian language decides to return to Lyon but the boat gets only as far as Futuna where she decides to continue her teaching.
1858Three missionary sisters arrive in Futuna to assist Françoise Perroton in her work and establish a community of the summit of a butte overlooking Ono Pass.
1870Queen Amelia institutes a legal code combining native customs and religious precepts championed by Monsignor Bataillon. Sale of land to Europeans is prohibited and fines are imposed for theft, corruption, prostitution, mistreatment of women and animals and missing Sunday Mass.
1873August 9 Françoise Perroton dies on Futuna from lymphedema. Perroton, age 67, had devoted 17 years to missionary work on Wallis and Futuna.
1877April 11 Monsignor Pierre Bataillon dies from lymphedema at age 66.
1886November 19 Queen Amelia of Uvéa submits a proposed treaty of protection to the French authorities for ratification. The proposal calls for conservation of the Queen’s independence and authority over the natives and establishment of a French residency in charge of external affairs and all matters concerning the Europeans on the island.
1887April 5 Queen Amelia of Uvea signs a treaty of protection with France.
September 29 The Kingdoms of Alo and Sigave on Futuna request inclusion in the treaty of protection with France signed by Uvea.
1888February 16 The Horn Islands (Futuna and Alofi) are placed under French protection.
November 27 Wallis & Futuna is made a dependency of New Caledonia.
1889Father Pierre Chanel, martyred on Futuna in 1841 is beatified by the Catholic Church.
1905December 1 The new French Resident, Doctor Maxime Viala, arrives inaugurating an era of physician residents. He will construct a dispensary beside the Residence.
1910May 15 A new statute reinforcing the powers of the French Resident is accepted by the King of Wallis but in theory is not extended to Futuna.
1920Postage stamps for Wallis & Futuna are issued but until regular steamer service is established in 1931 the mails depend on the occasional passing schooner for delivery.
1926August 20 Adventurer Alain Gerbault arrives aboard his 12 meter yacht Firecrest and is welcomed to Wallis by the main trader Jules Brial and the French Resident, Doctor Georges Barbier. Gerbault takes up the cause of Wallisians pressing for an end to the Fatogia Faka Uvea, tribute paid to the Chiefs, the mission and the administration in money, goods or labor and the construction of a local prison so that local convicts would no longer be shipped to New Caledonia. Their demands go unmet but Gerbault’s three month sojourn leaves a lasting impression on Wallisians many of whom wish to make Gerbault their king.
1928March The islands’ first motor vehicle, a Ford pickup truck, is delivered to the mission and the first radio station is set up.
1931Scheduled steamship service is established between Wallis & Futuna and New Caledonia.
The French franc is introduced as the legal tender currency of Wallis & Futuna.
December 30 The Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Society of Marie founded by Françoise Perroton on Futuna is finally granted recognition by the Catholic Church. It becomes a congregation of pontifical right with a worldwide mission.
1933August 8 A decree imposes the French justice system on Wallis and Futuna. A Justice of the Peace is appointed and for the first time Wallisians and Futunans are subject to French law in certain cases.
September 16 Doctor Joseph David begins a 4½ year term as French Resident which sees the construction of a north – south roadway on Wallis, a hospital, wells and a leprosy sanitarium. David introduces cattle ranching and establishes a contingency fund.
1940October Governor Henri Sautot telegraphs the French Resident in the dependency, Léon Vrignaud, to inform him of New Caledonia’s rally to Free France. Vrignaud consults with Bishop Alexandre Poncet before responding with a telegram declaring the wishes of, “All Wallisian Frenchmen to remain loyal to the legal Government of France.”
November Governor Sautot officially recognizes the pro-Vichy stance of the administration in Wallis & Futuna and informs London that despite the failure of his repeated attempts he is of the opinion that the islands will eventually rally to Free France.
1941January A supply ship arrives from New Caledonia with the last shipment of provisions to reach the islands for the next seventeen months.
April 18 Resident Léon Vrignaud succeeds in contacting the Vichy authorities in Saigon by radio. Vichy’s ambassador in Washington transmits a note of encouragement from Vichy authorities in France.
1942May 27 Free French High Commissioner for the Pacific, Georges D’Argenlieu, dispatches a Free French Resident, Jean Baptiste Mattei, to Wallis aboard the sloop Chevreuil. The Vichy Resident, Léon Vrignaud, is arrested upon the arrival of his replacement and sent to Nouméa. The action comes in the wake of rumors that the American are about to occupy the islands. The Gaullists hope to preclude an extension of the tacit agreement between the United States and Vichy to respect the latter’s sovereignty over the French colonies in the West Indies.
May 28 The United States lands 2,600 Marines land on Wallis Island and establishes Navy Base 207 as an advance base for the counter offensive against the Japanese in the Coral Sea. Six thousand American are stationed on Wallis. They build roads, a naval station at Gahi, landing fields at Lavegahau and Hihifo and dredge a chanel in the Halalo Lagoon. The American Army recruits some 150 Wallis and Futunans for work in New Caledonia.
1944The vast majority of American troops are withdrawn from Wallis.
Doctor Robert Charbonnier is appointed French Resident in Wallis & Futuna.
1946March 25 A group of Wallisians led by a pistol wielding American Captain identified in various reports as Zinchek or Z march on the home of French Resident Doctor Robert Charbonnier to demand American annexation of the island and the departure of the French. Charbonnier contacts King Leone Manikitoga who denies any knowledge of the matter then tells the crowd that anyone who wishes to be American may leave the island with Z.
Doctor Charbonnier meets with the King, the king’s chancellor, a delegation of 11 Wallisians and Captain Zinchek in the Residence. The meeting ends in a standoff. Zinchek threatens to raise the Stars and Stripes and demands a plebiscite. Doctor Charbonnier threatens to contact Paris, although he later admits the technological impossibility of doing so, then maneuvers the departing American into a public handshake.
March 26 Hundreds of Wallisians gather. The King affirms his loyalty to France despite calls for his abdication. Bishop Alexandre Poncet proposes a plebiscite on American annexation.
March 28 Bishop Poncet declares his loyalty to France, King Manikitoga reestablishes his authority, and Captain Zinchek’s deputy informs Resident Charbonnier that the American captain has been recalled to Samoa.
March 30 Captain Zinchek leaves Wallis on an American ship. Rebel leader Mauka remains intractable and word spreads that Zinchek has simply gone to Pago Pago to discuss an American annexation of Wallis.
April 9 The last 12 American soldiers are evacuated from Wallis before their departure they present Doctor Charbonnier with a farewell gift, a gun case of cartridges, knowing that the Resident has only an 1886 pistol with three cartridges.
September 20 The arrival of an American inspector of Marist missions aboard a ship carrying supplies to the recently cyclone ravaged island prompts renewed calls for American annexation. The ship’s commander radios Noumea about the seriousness of the situation.
October 22 A French warship arrives with the new Resident Pierre Fargis dispatched from Noumea by the French High Commissioner Jacques Tallec whose office believes that Doctor Charbonnier maybe suffering from island pyschosis and exaggerating the seriousness of the Wallisian revolt. Order is immediately restored and the exhausted Charbonnier was evacuated to Papeete.
circa 1950 Large scale migration of Wallisians and Futunans seeking work in the mines of New Caledonia and the New Hebrides begins. The Wallisian community on New Caledonia eventually outnumbers that of the home islands.
1951Construction of the coral block Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption begins in Mata’Utu.
1954June 13 Pierre Chanel is canonized by Pope Pius XII and declared patron saint of Oceania.
1956December 1 Civil air transport begins on Wallis with the landing of a T.A.I. plane at the American built Hihifo landing strip.
1959December 27 The entry of Wallis and Futuna into the French Union is approved in a referendum by a vote of 4,307 to 257.
1961July 29 Wallis & Futuna becomes a French Overseas Territory with a territorial council consisting of the three kings, vice presidents and the chief administrator; a 20 member assembly and a deputy and senator in the French National Assembly.

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