Adventure History: VASU
by Barrie Canfield Bonter
(Cochrane, Alberta, Canada)
Captain Burt and the Cannibals
"Vasu" is based on real events. In the 19th century, Fiji was a lawless land controlled by warring cannibals. Two powerful cannibal chiefs and their armies of blood thirsty savages fought for control of the islands with Great Britain and America taking sides and supporting the opposing armies in the background. The civil war in America had ruined the cotton industry and U.S. government sought to fill the void through ex-patriot cotton growers in the South Seas. Great Britain was desperate to add Fiji to Her Majesty's Empire by force with their mighty navy and unscrupulous deeds to ensure they had access to the abundance of the island's natural resources and to maintain full control of the lucrative South Seas trading routes.
Fiji was considered a dangerous and inhabitable place by traders and western settlers. Only those individuals with courage, confidence and fully prepared for danger would dare attempt to go there. American sea captain, adventurer and soldier of fortune Captain George Rodney Burt entered Fiji during this time and atmosphere. He was accepted into one of the cannibal tribes and was given the title of 'Vasu' by the cannibal chief which made him a member of the tribe's royal family and allowed him to choose a native wife.
Captain Burt lived in Fiji for 38 years and eventually came to own the largest cotton plantation in the eastern hemisphere. This story is based on true events from his original handwritten journals dating back to 1850 that describe in detail - tribal war, cannibalism, murder and forbidden love in Samoa and Fiji.
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Barrie Bonter is a writer that lives in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. He has spent over 10 years of research into the life of Captain George Rodney Burt and the tribal culture of 19th century Fiji. He is inspired by the works of Patrick O'Brian's historical 'Master and Commander' series and the memoir of convicted felon and fugitive Henri Charrière, titled 'Papillion' describing his escape from Devil's Island.