The life and times of Cakobau : the Bauan state to 1855
This thesis is divided into eleven chapters. The first of these, Sa Cadra Na Matanisiga: the acculturation of a Tui Kaba Chief, traces the major rites of passage which transformed Cakobau from a child to a Tui Kaba chief, in line to the title Vunivalu. The Second Chapter, The Origins of the Vunivalu: from Bulu to Ulunivuaka, is an investigation of the Bauan state from its mythical beginnings until the shift to Bau islet. It attempts to place Cakobau in the context of the Bauan historical experience. The Bauan Confederacy, it is argued, was built on the successful marriage of interests between the agriculturalist and the seafarer. The Third Chapter, The Epidemics: assault on the fertility cult, investigates the impact of two devastating epidemics. The writer believes that these diseases were a serious blow to Fijian perceptions of the reciprocal relationship of man and nature from which fertility flowed. Chapter Four, Inside the Confederacy: the pursuit of legitimacy, concentrates on internal Bauan politics, the difficulties encountered by any leadership to maintain a consensus and the need to engineer and survive the most complex political manoeuvres. Chapter Five, Legitimacy attained, further pursues Cakobau' s rise to power within the confederacy and his attainment of the title Vunivalu. He had become 'legitimate’ leader by ruthless methods and now had a position to secure. Chapters Six and Seven are confined to Bau's relations with the confederacies of Cakaudrove, Rewa and Verata, and the patterns of marriage and war evident to 1854. Chapter Eight, The Tongans: Bau’s mercenaries and Cakobau's nemesis, traces the careers of the Tongan brothers, Lasike and Tupou Toutai, loyal mercenaries of the Vunivalu. Their stance is compared with the more ambiguous role of their natural enemies, the Tongan King Taufa’ahau, and his supporters. Chapter Nine, The Foreigners: the observation and pursuit of Technology contrasts the activities of the traders with those of the British and American navies, and the Bauan reaction to them. Cakobau's exposure to foreign naval technology created a desire for these same tools and techniques in an attempt to consolidate and increase his power. Chapter Ten, The Lotu: new answers to old questions, focuses on the eventual decision of Cakobau to embrace Christianity, a decision which, after years of deliberation, constituted a major religious, social and political event. As duly installed Vunivalu he was in a position to redefine the moral order, a redefinition with ramifications that touched all aspects of Bauan culture. Chapter Eleven, 1855, draws together the themes developed in the preceding chapters. With Cakaudrove and Rewa neutralised as threats and with Cakobau's influence within the Bauan domain more extensive than it had ever been, his new authority apparently sanctioned by King George Taufa'ahau of Tonga and by Britain in the person of a naval captain, the Christian Vunivalu and Bau had, by September 1855, never seemed in a more powerful position. Ironically, the Americans accepted this position and in so doing posed a mortal threat to the Vunivalu and to the confederacy he represented.
Advisor: Omer-Cooper, John
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis