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Erromango was first settled by the people of Lapita migrating out of south-east Asia into island Melanesia 3000 years ago. The Lapita people brought with them domestic animals such as pigs and chickens and food plants such as yam and breadfruit.

Two sites on Erromango, Ifo and Ponamla, have yielded significant archaeological evidence of habitation by Lapita and post-Lapita peoples, including pottery sherds, adzes, marine shell artefacts and cooking stones.

Erromango contains numerous caves that provided refuge from tribal warfare and cyclones. Human use of these caves has been dated to 2,800-2,400 years before present. Some of the caves contain rock art and petroglyphs that have been identified with clan motifs and traditional stories. Caves were also used as burial sites.

Erromango also has  a rich history connected to the 1863 and 1906 Black birding era whereby around 40,000 people were shipped to Queensland to work on cotton and sugarcane plantations, another 10,000 went to work in nickel mines in New Caledonia and on plantations in Fiji, Samoa and Hawaii.