Cargo cults

On the island of Tanna, in the Pacific Vanuatu archipelago, people believe that a divine being - an American called John Frum - will one day return to them, bringing televisions, fridges and other material gifts. Others on the island worship a US naval officer, and some, even, Prince Philip.

These are 'cargo cults', which emerged in the early twentieth century when remote islanders first came into contact with more technologically-advanced people. Soldiers in the Second World War arrived on these islands in large numbers, carrying with them food and goods that the islanders had never before seen. The encounters resulted in highly unusual 'cults', most of which have now disappeared.

Click on the image below to find out about those that still exist in Tanna.

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