The Fiji Museum - Virtual Museum

Beche de Mer

Smoke-cured beche-de-mer (sea slugs), a Chinese delicacy, fetched high prices in Manila and from the late 1820s to 1860s formed the main item sought by foreign traders in Fiji. Ships from Salem, Massachsetts in New England dominated the trade. Their Yankee captains played a key role in Fijian political history by keeping the chiefs, of Bau in particular, well supported with weapons, ammunition and the diplomatically essential tabua (whales teeth).