Santa Cruz

views updated Jun 11 2018

Santa Cruz



Identification. The Santa Cruz Islanders are Melanesians who are in most respects fully integrated, as a constituent Ethnic society, into the national political and economic system of the Solomon Islands.

Location. Santa Cruz Island, or Nendö (Nidu, Ndeni, Nende, Nitende; 10°45 S, 166°00 E) is the largest island of an archipelago, called the Santa Cruz Islands. Nendö consists of a mountainous spine of volcanic rock, surrounded by extensive terraces of uplifted reef limestones. From October to May the climate is dominated by the Australian-Asian monsoon system; from June through September, the southeastern trade wind system prevails.

Demography. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Nendö and the other Santa Cruz Islands suffered severe depopulation, due to introduced diseases. The population of Nendö between 1929 and 1931 is estimated to have been about 1,800 persons, which was probably half the predepopulation number. In 1960 the population (by census) was 2,516; by 1970 it had increased to 3,126, and in 1976 it had reached 4,620, of which 273 were Polynesian-speaking immigrants.

linguistic Affiliation. Santa Cruz Islanders speak three closely related Non-Austronesian languages, of which two are single-dialect languages and one is a dialect chain. A small minority of Polynesian speakers have recently migrated to Nendö from islands immediately to the north.

History and Cultural Relations

Archaeological research reveals that Nendö was inhabited by people with the Lapita culture as early as 1200 b.c. European contact commenced in a.d. 1595 with the arrival of Alvaro de Mendaña's second expedition. This Mendaña expedition, which gave the island the name "Santa Cruz," tried to establish a colony at Graciosa Bay, Nendö, but the settlement failed because of poor relations with the inhabitants, diseases, and the death of Mendaña. For the next 250 years the Santa Cruz Islands were seldom visited by European ships, but during the last decades of the nineteenth century European contacts increased when the Anglican mission ship Southern Cross began making regular pastoral calls there and when blackbirders started abducting men from the group. During this period relationships with Europeans were poor and there were violent incidents. In 1898 the Santa Cruz Islands were incorporated into the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, but effective administration of them did not commence until the 1920s and the "Pax Britannica" was not fully established on Nendö for another decade. Colonial development proceeded very slowly during the 1930s and proselytizing by the Anglicans was largely ineffectual. Suddenly, in 1942, British authority was withdrawn when Japanese military forces invaded the Solomon Islands. The Japanese did not occupy the Santa Cruz Islands, but during the fighting to retake the Solomon Islands, there were skirmishes and one great battle in the area between Japanese and U.S. naval forces. Following hostilities, some Santa Cruz Islanders were recruited by the United States to work at military bases in the Central Solomon Islands, and what they saw there was a revelation. After World War II the British returned with an increasingly vigorous social development policy. Likewise, the Anglican mission came back with determination to complete the conversion of the Santa Cruz people. During the next twenty years, native councils, native courts, health and medical programs, churches, and local schools were established. An administrative center with an airfield was build at Graciosa Bay, Nendö, just before political independence was granted the Solomon Islands in 1978. The Santa Cruz Islands (including Tikopia and Anuta) now constitute the province called Temotu, with its administrative center on Nendö. The culture of Nendö extends northward, with minor ecological adaptations, to the Reef Islands and Taumako. The language of the Main Reef Islands is Non-Austronesian and related to the languages of Nendö, but the language of the Outer Reef Islands (Nifiloli, Pileni, Nukapu, Nupani, Materna) and Taumako is Polynesian. The cultures of Utupua and Vanikoro in the south, while resembling Nendö culture in some respects, are sufficiently different to constitute a southern subcultural area. Also, the languages of Upupua and Vanikoro (three on each island) are Austronesian. Until the 1930s, all the Santa Cruz Islands were involved in a complex network of commercial trade, carried on by large sailing canoes that cruised the entire archipelago and sometimes beyond. There were occasional contacts outside the Santa Cruz Islands with Tikopia to the east, the Torres and Banks Islands (part of Vanuatu) to the south, and with Santa Ana/Catalina and San Cristobal (Solomon Islands) to the west.


All the people of Nendö live in compact villages with populations that usually number less than 200 persons. Most Villages are now located along the coast, but before the severe depopulation and imposition of colonial rule, settlements were smaller and more dispersed, and many were located at inland sites. Until peace was established, each village was surrounded by a protective stone wall, and many dwellings within settlements were also walled.


Subsistence and Commercial Activities. All Nendo Communities are intensely agricultural, employing a combination of swidden (bush fallow or slash-and-burn) cultivation of Gardens and arboriculture. The most important traditional crops are yams, taro, sweet potatoes, bananas, breadfruit, coconuts, and Canarium almonds. There is also a large variety of Secondary crops, some of which are post-European introductions. Both fishing and marine collecting are important, and much attention is given to raising pigs. There is some hunting (of feral pigs and fowl, bats, and birds) and gathering of forest products. Since 1960, much effort has been directed toward increasing coconut plantings for copra, which is also sold for cash.

Industrial Arts. The most distinctive Nendö manufactures were outrigger canoes, loom-woven fabrics of banana fibers, bark cloth, a currency made of fibers and red feathers, and personal ornaments made from a variety of materials. Since World War II the manufacture of local products has rapidly declined, as goods imported from the industrial world, and cash to purchase them, have become increasingly available.

Trade. As mentioned, the most conspicuous feature of traditional Nendö economy was intra- and interisland trade, in which profit and the amassing of wealth were the main objectives. Since the trade concerned the distribution of locally produced commodities, it has all but disappeared as Imported, industrially produced goods have displaced local products. Feather currency, the former medium of exchange for trade, has also nearly disappeared.

Division of Labor. Women do most of the gardening and collecting of reef products; men look after orchards, fish, hunt, and collect in the forests; both sexes tend pigs. Until the 1930s there was much specialization of labor with respect to the production of commodities and performance of skilled services. Every mature man was expected to have an Economic specialty, by means of which he earned wealth that could be accumulated and stored in feather currency. Women could also have economic specialties. Such specialization has all but disappeared. Men leave the island to work for wages and process copra for cash.

Land Tenure. Land that has been improved and used "belongs" to the user. Such use rights can be loaned, rented, given away, and transmitted by inheritance, but only recently could they be sold for monetary gain to another individual. Land rights that have lapsed by failure to exercise them revert to corporate ownership by a district. With district consent, an individual may convert corporate ownership of designated plots to exclusive personal use rights by improving or using the land. Rights over reefs and lagoons are corporately held by districts; men's associations control the canoe passages that serve their club houses.


Kin Groups and Descent. There are three kinds of kin groups on Nendo: domestic groups; dispersed descent groups (sibs); and men's associations. A men's association can be started by any adult man who wishes to form one for his sons and, often, his brothers and their sons. Some associations flourish and grow; some do not. In time, those that flourish will include distant agnates, affines, and even nonkin, but the consanguineal ideology remains. Over most of Nendo, Individuals are affiliated with nonlocalized, exogamous, usually totemic, matrilineal descent groups (sibs). In some areas sibs are arranged into matrimoieties. In several districts around Graciosa Bay, the descent principle is patrilineal, but Individuals are often unsure of their affiliations. In one district on the south coast descent is not recognized, although it is believed that matriliny was formerly the rule.

Kinship Terminology. Kin terms vary between special versions of Hawaiian and Iroquois types. All terminologies distinguish the relation of mother's brother to sister's child from other avuncular relationships. In some localities the term for "sister" (as used by a male speaker) is applied to Father's sister and father's father's sister with the logical consequences.

Marriage and Family

Marriage. Traditionally, all first cousins were marriageable, marriages were usually monogamous, and a large Brideprice was, and still is, required. Nendo men often import wives from the Reef Islands, especially from the poorer Polynesian-speaking communities there. Sororal and nonsororal polygyny were permitted; polygynous unions rarely involved more than two wives. Polygyny is not practiced now. Formerly, too, there was a pattern of collective concubinage, which was also a form of female slavery, in which a group of men jointly purchased a woman as a sex partner and prostitute. The protectorate government banned this concubinage pattern in the late 1920s. Initial postmarital residence is Usually viripatrilocal, only occasionally uxorimatrilocal, but after children are born residence often becomes neolocal. Marital separations are frequent; divorce has always been difficult, Except in cases of severe abuse and continued adultery.

Domestic Unit. The most common domestic group is a nuclear family, often augmented by elder dependent relatives of either the husband or wife. Small patrilocal extended Families exist for a short period when a son marries. Joint families, consisting of the domestic units of brothers and/or close male agnates, are common. Women of these joint families assist each other with their domestic responsibilities.

Inheritance. Garden and orchard plots are usually not partible, and they can be passed on to either male or female heirs, but most real property goes to males. Personal property, especially heirlooms and valuables, are inherited along gender lines: mothers to daughters, fathers to sons.

Socialization. Boys and girls are socialized separately and quite differently. From an early age, girls are rigorously trained at their mother's side to master gardening and Domestic skills as soon as they can. At a young age boys move away from their dwellings and into dormitories or men's association houses, and an avoidance of their sisters and other females is invoked. There are no initiation rites for either sex, but at marriage women undergo a formal transition from minor to adult social status.

Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Formerly, there was a marked social dichotomy and separation between men's and women's spheres of life. Women were focused on their gardens and households, men on their specialized skills and men's associations. Under attack from mission and government alike, this division by gender, which amounted to a generalized avoidance, has greatly lessened over the past few decades.

Political Organization. Traditionally, the basic political unit was the set of households (one to twenty or more) whose male heads belonged to the same men's association. One or more men's associations, in a loose confederation, formed a village, and most villages, over time, became incorporated to the extent that they controlled and defended a bounded Territory. Such was the corporate district. Most districts were hostile to each other, but alliances between men's associations of different districts made it possible for men to cross the boundaries. Trade moved along these lines of men's association alliances, each association agreeing to purchase and redistribute locally all the goods offered by an allied association. There were no political offices. Each men's association was governed, autocratically, by its most influential senior men (big-men); district policies and interdistrict relations were handled by informal groups of senior men. Personal rivalries among senior men were common, and this constant tension led to divisiveness and fighting at each political level.

Social Control and Conflict. Interpersonal social control is greatly enforced by fears of sorcery and male witchcraft. Before peace was established, the ultimate secular coercive threat was fighting with bows and arrows; interpersonal violence and feuds were commonplace. Feuds could be ended by offering the unavenged side a victim to kill. Serious disputes could escalate into wars between districts, but large-scale violence could be avoided by resorting to competitive exchanges that were continued until one side went bankrupt.

Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefe. The most significant beliefs are that Nendo culture was given by supernatural beings; these beings continue to control human events for good and bad; each adult male, and some women, must have a personal supernatural tutelary to protect and promote his or her general welfare. However, not all tutelarles are equal; some have more Influence over events than others. Individuals who have attentive tutelarles will succeed; those who succeed the most have the most powerful tutelarles. Misfortune is believed to be caused by supernatural influences. Initially, Christian beliefs were grafted onto these traditional beliefs, so that God was the most powerful of tutelary deities.

Religious Practitioners. The only religious practitioners are female mediums who are called upon to determine the causes of misfortune. Otherwise, each adult performs or sponsors propitiatory rites to his or her tutelary deity.

Ceremonies. The preeminent ceremony is an extended Series, lasting several years, of invitational feasts and dances sponsored by a small group of men to propitiate their tutelary deities. As well as being costly religious rituals, these were, and still are, the most enjoyed social events, and they are the occasions at which much of Nendo aesthetic and expressive culture is displayed. These ceremonies are still celebrated, but in abbreviated forms.

Arts. The most distinctive arts include religious sculpture, lyric poetry, costumery and dramatizations, precision dancing, and personal ornamentation. This ornamentation is associated with hierarchical position among senior persons; the other arts are mostly associated with propitiating tutelary deities. Many traditional arts have declined or disappeared in Recent decades.

Medicine. For minor and acute disorders there are specialized practitioners and nonreligious remedies, but treatments of severe and chronic illnesses must be accomplished through tutelary deities.

Death and Afterlife. For socially unimportant persons, Funerals are perfunctory, but for personages they can be major observances, including extended viewing of the corpse and a postburial feast. Formerly, burial was in the earthen floor of the deceased's dwelling, but it is now done in cemeteries. Traditional ideas about the aferlife are not elaborate: the soul goes to the western extremity of Nendo where it resides with other souls and supernaturals.

See alsoAnuta


Davenport, William H. (1962). "Red-Feather Money." Scientific American 206:94-104.

Davenport, William H. (1964). "Social Structure of Santa Cruz Island." In Explorations in Cultural Anthropology, edited by Ward H. Goodenough, 57-93. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Davenport, William H. (1975). "Lyric Verse in the Santa Cruz Islands." Expedition 18:32-47.

Davenport, William H. (1985). "A Miniature Figure from Santa Cruz Island." Bulletin no. 25 of the Musée Barbier-Müller. Geneva.

Koch, Gerd (1971). Materielle Kultur der Santa Cruz-lseln. Berlin: Museum für Völkerkunde.


Santa Cruz

views updated May 14 2018

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the principal city in eastern Bolivia and a national department. Founded in 1561, Santa Cruz changed both its name and its location several times before definitively establishing itself in 1595 as Santa Cruz de la Sierra at a location near its current site. Until the mid-twentieth century, Santa Cruz was separated from the highland cities that governed it by some 350 kilometers of rain forest and high mountains. Geographical isolation has produced a self-perception of Santa Cruz as a distinctive region within the nation and a rivalry between its people (cambas) those of the highlands (coyas).

Recent research on the early history of Santa Cruz has shown that Spanish colonists, who explored the region in search of El Dorado, ultimately assumed a hardscrabble existence on the eastern frontier of the empire. Cowhides and sugar became the principal exports to the highland economy, and the latter product became a medium of exchange locally. Although the city never grew beyond a few thousand vecinos (Europeans) as the only consequential Spanish settlement east of the Andes, Santa Cruz exercised regional influence beyond its size, as exemplified by its becoming a bishopric in 1605.

The colonial period also saw the establishment of two mission systems in the region. In Mojos (present-day Bolivia's Beni department), Jesuits based in Lima founded two dozen mission centers stretching north along the Mamoré River basin. Another Jesuit mission in Chiquitos began near Santa Cruz and extended eastward toward Brazil. Spanish colonial law prohibited non-clerical and non-Indian contact with the missions, a proscription resented and furtively violated by cruceños, who saw the Jesuits as interlopers and the Indian neophytes as both a market and a labor supply. Jesuit banishment from the Spanish colonies in 1767 removed the priests and partially opened the former mission centers to commerce from Santa Cruz. For the last fifty years of the colonial period Santa Cruz maintained its bishopric but saw its former political authority curtailed in its subordination to the intendant of Cochabamba.

With Bolivian independence in 1825, Santa Cruz became de facto capital of the nation east of the Andes, which restored its political influence but did little to decrease its isolation. Two events in the middle of the nineteenth century marked the beginning of Santa Cruz's integration into the Bolivian nation. The first was the War of the Pacific, which produced a patriotic response to the nation's call for volunteers to fight against the Chilean army. The second came with a heightened demand for tropical products by the industrializing world. A brief involvement in the gathering of cinchona (a tree with bark containing a substance that could be used in malaria treatment) from 1840 to 1860 was followed by a longer-lived rubber boom. Rubber became the El Dorado that cruceños had long sought, and a few of the city's sons, especially Nicolás Suárez, reaped large fortunes in gathering and transporting latex to Europe and the United States. Santa Cruz also became the commercial center for provisioning those who extracted rubber from Bolivian forests. The discovery of oil in the Andean foothills, the completion of an auto road to Cochabamba, and the Chaco War (1932–1935) strengthened Santa Cruz's ties with the Bolivian nation. But these developments did not stifle desire for autonomy. Santa Cruz would declare itself a federal state in 1876 and sponsor brief federalist rebellions in 1891 and 1957.

After World War II, Santa Cruz became the focus of national development planning. Fueled by loans from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Bank, several Bolivian governments invested in building industry and a transport infrastructure that, along with petroleum revenues, made Santa Cruz the most prosperous region of the country and a magnet for internal migration. The city grew from 42,764 inhabitants in 1950 to 254,682 in 1976 to more than a million in 2000. The department's share of GDP is currently nearly half of the nation's aggregate.

In the early twenty-first century Santa Cruz is Bolivia's most cosmopolitan region. But even as increasing numbers of high lander smigrate there, cruceños insist on their uniqueness. The contemporary "autonomies movement," a demand for greater self-government and greater regional control of natural resources, expresses the continuation of a historic camba-coya rivalry.

See alsoBolivia: The Colonial Period; Bolivia: Since 1825; Chaco War; El Dorado; Jesuits; War of the Pacific.


García Recio, José María. Análisis de una sociedad de frontera: Santa Cruz de la Sierra en los siglos XVI y XVIII. Sevilla, Spain: Diputación Provincial de Sevilla, 1988.

"Santa Cruz de la Sierra, ciudad de." In Diccionario histórico de Bolivia, vol. 2, pp. 861-862. Sucre: Grupo de Editores Históricos, 2002.

                                              David Block

Santa Cruz

views updated May 08 2018


SANTA CRUZ , coastal city in Northern California. The county had a population of 240,880 in 2001, including an estimated 6,000 Jews. Louis Schwartz, believed to be the first Jewish settler in Santa Cruz, in 1855 opened a general store with the Brownstone brothers. The Jewish community grew slowly; it initially was comprised of single men, but eventually women came and then families. The first observance of the Jewish New Year, under lay leadership, was in 1869, with meetings in community halls or in churches.

In 1877 Home of Peace Cemetery was consecrated on land that was donated to the Jewish community. Like many Jewish communities, Santa Cruz' Jewish community's first piece of property was a cemetery. A mutual aid society followed, when in 1887 a small group of Jewish families founded a Hebrew Benevolent Society in Santa Cruz. The first known synagogue building was acquired in the early 1930s. In 1954, the still small Jewish community built a modest synagogue on Bay Street, which was named Temple Beth El, incorporated as the Jewish Community Center of Santa Cruz, California, Inc. Rabbi Richard Litvak became the first full-time rabbi of Temple Beth El in 1977. The Temple moved to new facilities in Aptos in 1990.

In the last third of the 20th century and beyond, the Jewish community of Santa Cruz was directly linked to the University of California Santa Cruz with its many Jewish students and faculty. uc Santa Cruz boasts the largest percentage of Jewish students at any Northern California campus (approximately 20% of 15,000 students are Jews: 2,600 undergrads and 250 graduate students). uc Santa Cruz has a Jewish Studies program and a Jewish Studies Research Unit. Among its faculty is Murray Baumgarten, the editor of Judaism.

Active in Santa Cruz are three Jewish congregations and a Havurah. Temple Beth El is the oldest and remains a Reform Congregation. Chabad by the Sea is the Orthodox congregation. Congregation Kol Tefilah is Conservative and Hadesh Yamenu is the Havurah grouping.

The Hillel serves some 4,000 Jewish college students in the region, including uc Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, and csu Monterey Bay.

Social Justice is a local Jewish focus, much in keeping with the ethos of the university and the community. "Out in Our Faith" is a gay and lesbian, bi-sexual, and transvestite group. There is a local chapter of the Tikkun Community, coejl: Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Eco-Jew, and Mazon chapter.

The Jewish community of Santa Cruz sponsors an annual Jewish film festival and has published The Santa Cruz Haggadah.

[Michael Bernbaum (2nd ed.)]

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Santa Cruz