(Black Islands, so called from the color of the natives). Islands NE of Australia, including Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon* Islands, Santa Cruz Islands, Banks Islands, New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands, Fiji Islands (see Fiji, Dominion of); New* Guinea sometimes included. Belief in mana (see Primitive Religion), animistic spirits, magic, ancestral ghosts, and sorcery dominates religious life. Meth. missionaries came to the area 1834. The Melanesian Miss. (Angl.) was founded 1849. Presbs., RCs, PEMS, et al. are also active.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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