The United States is a country thanks to one of the most well-known conflicts in history: the American Revolution.
Yet the United States continued to be involved in military matters at home and abroad for centuries to come, many of which aren’t taught at all in American schools.
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There were two Fiji expeditions: the first in 1855 and the second in 1859. The first expedition responded to damages on American property that occurred during the Fijian civil war.
A US warship with a detachment of marines was sent to obtain compensation from Seru Cakobau, the self-proclaimed king of Fiji.
When Cakobau couldn’t pay, troops clashed with native warriors and successfully routed them.
The second expedition was ordered after two American traders were killed and cannibalized by natives on the Fijian island of Waya.
A force of 10 marines and 40 sailors was dispatched, armed with carbines and swords as well as one 12-pounder howitzer cannon.
The plan was to attack the mountain village of Somatti, forcing the natives into combat.
The commander of the expedition, Lt. Caldwell, wrote in his journal, “It was a novel undertaking to assault and destroy a mountain tribe in their stronghold with a party of Seamen.”
The journey up the mountain proved more treacherous than the group had anticipated, and they were forced to abandon the howitzer.
Once they reached the village, they found the natives waiting for them ready to fight.
A pitched battle ensued, in which the expeditionary forces successfully defeated a force of nearly 300 Wayan warriors, mostly armed with clubs and bows, in what became known as the Battle of Somatti.