Religion Past and Present

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Cargo Cults
(356 words)

[German Version]

The term “cargo cult” first appeared in the November 1945 issue of the colonial news magazine Pacific Islands Monthly. Anthropologists and others seized upon the term to label religious movements that emerged in the post-war years, notably in the southwestern Pacific region of Melanesia during a period of rapid economical and political change. Some observers classified cargo cults as a Pacific variant of the universal millenarian (Millenarianism) movements which tend to appear in periods of social crisis (Crisis cults). Others explained these cults as a spe…

Cite this page
Lindstrom, Lamont, “Cargo Cults”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 06 December 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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