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David Whippey

David Whippey (or Whippy) was an American sailor from Nantucket who became a "beachcomber", a white resident of the Fijian islands who served as liaison between the local and foreign communities, and eventually US vice-consul.

Whippey left Nantucket on the whaling ship Hero in 1816, but jumped ship in Peru.[1] In 1824 he arrived in the Fijian Islands on the brig Calder, Peter Dillon, master, who then left Whippey behind to collect tortoise shell, but never returned. Whippey settled in Fiji, married a local woman, and had families/children with three other women in three different regions of the Fijian Islands. He also mediated between the Fijians and white sailors.[2]

Whippey served as the vice-consul of the United States to Fiji from 1846-1856.[3]

'In 1819 David Whippey shipped in a Nantucket whaler. After many months at sea he tired of life aboard the Massachusetts ‘spouter’, and when his ship reached the Fiji Islands - the ‘Cannibal Islands’ of those days - he skipped and went native. He learnt the lingo, became a favourite of, and adviser to, the ‘Cannibal King’ Seru Epenisa Cakobau. He learned the native Fijian language and learnt about the herbal medicines. He was made a chief and presided at cannibal banquets and ‘long-pig’ ceremonies, but whether he partook of the meat has not been recorded. There are hundreds of his descendants live in the Fijian group and all around the world to this day. He helped many shipwrecked whalemen - at this time the Fijians were partial to white seamen - and prevented them from being turned into ‘long-pig’. When the islands were ceded to Britain in 1874, Whippey acted as official interpreter at the ceremony.'[4]


  1. ^ Amy Jenness (2014-10-07). On This Day in Nantucket History. The History Press. pp. 307–. ISBN 978-1-62619-626-1.
  2. ^ Reilly Ridgell (1995). Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Bess Press. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-1-57306-006-6.
  3. ^ Historic Nantucket. Nantucket Historical Association. 1986. p. 18.
  4. ^ Hugil, Stan (1967). Sailortown,. Routledge & Kegen Paul. p. 11. |access-date= requires |url= (help)