|Native name: |
Ureparapara, in the Banks Islands
|Archipelago||Vanuatu, Torres Islands|
|Area||39 km2 (15 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||300 m (1000 ft)|
|Highest point||Mt Qusetowqas|
Ureparapara (also known as Parapara for short; once known as Bligh Island) is the third largest island in the Banks group of northern Vanuatu, after Gaua and Vanua Lava.
The climate on the island is humid tropical. The average annual rainfall exceeds 4000 mm. Uraparapara is subject to frequent earthquakes and cyclones.
The first recorded European who arrived to Ureparapara was the Spanish explorer Pedro Fernández de Quirós on 15 June 1606. He first named the island Pilar de Zaragoza; however, later on, it is charted as Nuestra Señora de Montserrate both by him and his chaplain Fray Martin de Munilla.
In 1789, the island was rediscovered by William Bligh, during his journey from Tonga to Timor after the mutiny on the Bounty.After this, Ureparapara was known for a while under the name Bligh Island.
Ureparapara island is an old volcanic cone that has been breached by the sea on its east coast, forming Divers Bay. Apart from this indentation, the island is circular in shape, with a diameter of fifteen kilometres (9.3 miles). The land area is 39 square kilometres (15 square miles).
The population was 437 in 2009.There are three villages on the island. The main village is Léar (Leserepla). The others are Lehali (on the west coast) and Leqyangle.
Two languages are traditionally spoken on the island, Löyöp and Lehali.
The name Ureparapara reflects the way the island is named in the language of Mota, which was once chosen by missionaries, at the end of the 19th century, as the reference language for the area.
The island is locally named Noypēypay[nɔjpejˈpaj] in Lehali, and Aö[aˈø] in Löyöp
Ureparapara is known to host historical sites made of coral stone, named nowon and votwos in Lehali. These ancestral villages, located inland in the forest, were abandoned in the 19th century, yet have been preserved under the vegetation; they have been proposed for inclusion amongst the World Heritage sites of UNESCO.One of the most famous sites is a 12-feet high stone platform called Votwos. These used to serve as a ceremonial platform for the high-profile grade-taking ceremonies, known as sok or nsok in Lehali, and referred to in the anthropological literature as suqe or sukwe (after their name in Mota).
These sites are now only visited for ceremonial purposes, as most people nowadays live along the coast.
Pedro Fernandes de Queirós (1563–1614) was a Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain. He is best known for his involvement with Spanish voyages of discovery in the Pacific Ocean, in particular the 1595–1596 voyage of Álvaro de Mendaña y Neira, and for leading a 1605–1606 expedition that crossed the Pacific in search of Terra Australis.
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The Banks Islands are a group of islands in northern Vanuatu. Together with the Torres Islands to the northwest, they make up the northernmost province of Torba. The group lies about 40 km (25 mi) north of Maewo, and includes Gaua and Vanua Lava, two of the 13 largest islands in Vanuatu. In 2009, the islands supported a population of 8,533 on a land area of 780 km².
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Gaua is the largest and second most populous of the Banks Islands in Torba Province of northern Vanuatu. It covers 342 km².
Vanua Lava is the second largest of the Banks Islands in Torba Province, Vanuatu, after slightly larger Gaua.
Mwotlap is an Oceanic language spoken by about 2,100 people in Vanuatu. The majority of speakers are found on the island of Motalava in the Banks Islands, with smaller communities in the islands of Ra and Vanua Lava, as well as migrant groups in the two main cities of the country, Santo and Port Vila.
Mota Lava or Motalava is the fourth largest island in the Banks Islands of Vanuatu, after Gaua, Vanua Lava and Ureparapara, with an area of 24 km2 (9.3 sq mi).
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Lakon[lakɔn] is an Oceanic language, spoken on the west coast of Gaua island in Vanuatu.
Merelava is an island in the Banks Islands of the Torba Province of northern Vanuatu.
Vurës is an Oceanic language spoken in the southern area of Vanua Lava Island, in the Banks Islands of northern Vanuatu, by about 2000 speakers.
Löyöp is an Oceanic language spoken by about 240 people, on the east coast of Ureparapara Island in the Banks Islands of Vanuatu. It is distinct from Lehali, the language spoken on the west coast of the same island.
Lehali is an Oceanic language spoken by about 200 people, on the west coast of Ureparapara Island in Vanuatu. It is distinct from Löyöp, the language spoken on the east coast of the same island.
The Torres–Banks languages form a linkage of Southern Oceanic languages spoken in the Torres Islands and Banks Islands of northern Vanuatu.