Dalmatian toponyms in SW Pacific

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Dalmatian toponyms: In 16th century, Dalmatian navigator Vice Bune (1559-1612) as an ally of Spanish kings, sailed from port Dubrovnik in Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, and this navigation was documented in the old archives of Dubrovnik Principality. With his Dalmatian seamen in "Caraca" galley starting from Philippines, he explored Melanesia from 1580 to 1597. Then in 17th century, also other nautical traders from Dalmatia successively sailed via Philippines in SW Pacific islands, where they held a commercial emporium in Velakula island (Solomon islands) in 17th and 18th century.


Origin of toponyms

In the new oversea countries of Americas and Pacific, the pragmatic Dalmatian traders from Dubrovnik usually do not came as European conquerors, for they prefered trade and not authority. So they mostly approached to local aborigines by gifts and human communication, attracting a better and permanent trade useful for both sides. Due to this friendly approach, these aborigines in Melanesia also readily inherited some exotic Dalmatian toponyms persisting up to nowadays from Papua New Guinea to Vanuatu.

About sixty Dalmatian toponyms there include many minor isles, some capes and bays, and two volcanoes; their actual names in Melanesia are subequal as the Chakavian toponyms in Adriatic Archipelago of recent Croatia. The richest concentration of dozen Dalmatian toponyms so far persisted in Saloma around Velakula island, because there a Dalmatian commercial emporium persisted during two centuries. In the next list, these Dalmatian toponyms are listed within the actual political countries of SW Pacific:

West Papua - Irian

  • Jamna isle, Bosnik bay, Bobotna hills

Papua New Guinea

  • Papuan bays: Kotari, Jame, Buna, Beli, Milna
  • Nearshore isles: Tamara, Karkar, Seka, Bili, Boca, Kanap, Kiriwina, Iwa, Nada, Duba, etc.

Bismarck and nearby isles

  • Isles: Unie, Puna, Iowo, Siroti, Jame
  • Bays: Buka, Torokina

Solomon islands

  • Isles: Kolan, Owan, Lina, Japa, Boga, Mato, Batak, Tokova, Sukina, Velakula, Narovo, Uweli, Torokina, Rendova, Banica, Sawa, Mala, Ulova, etc.
  • Capes: Alan, Debeli, Sokolovi
  • Bays: Voza
  • Volcanoes: Mt Kula (1661 m), Mt Kollowrat (1412 m)

Vanuatu (New Hebrides)

  • Isles: Rawa, Valun, Mata, Mala, Malakula, Nina, Matas, Tana (the southernmost Dalmatian name in Melanesia)
  • Bays: Marina, Palenta

See also


  • F.M. Appendini: Notizie istorico-critiche sulle antichita, storia e letteratura dei Ragusei, vol. II: 201-203 Dubrovnik 1803.
  • J. Luetić: Vice Bune, pomorac i diplomat. Anali Historijskog instituta, sv. I: 255-267, Dubrovnik 1952.
  • J. Tadić: Španija i Dubrovnik u XVI veku, str. 134-136. Beograd 1932.
  • M. Yoshamya: Gan-Veyan. Scientific society for ethnogenesis studies, Zagreb 2004 (Pacific: p. 811-861)
  • M. Yoshamya: Croatian Medieval Archidioms, vol. I, Zagreb 2005 (Pacific: p. 855-905)
  • E. Ambrosius: Andrees allgemeine Handatlas, Auflage VIII/5 (Karten 216-224). Velhagen & Klasing, Bielefeld und Leipzig 1930 (na kartama u zagradi su toponimi koje je dao V. Bune)
  • G. Milazzi & M. Yoshamya: Ancient origin of Croatian sailing and naval migrations. Proc. 1st Symp. 'Old-Iranian origin of Croats', 461-473, Iran Cultural Center, Teheran 1999.
  • M. Rac, M.H. Mileković et al.: V.B. Petrov and other Croatian navigators in medieval oceans. Proc. 3 scient. symposia 'Early Croats' (2001-2006), 820 p., ITG - Zagreb 2007.

Other links

  • Partly adapted, translated and enlarged from the related articles, both in Adriatic-Chakavian Wiki-encyclopedia & in Croatian Wikislavia.