The D'Entrecasteaux Islands have probably been inhabited for several thousand years, and some of the mountain-dwelling people of Goodenough yield blood-group markers that relate them distantly to mainland Papuans. Over the past two millennia Austronesian immigrants have decisively shaped the culture. Although the population is fairly homogeneous throughout the island, a subcultural distinction occurs between "people of the mountains" and "people of the coast." This distinction is blurred today because of the resettlement of many hill communities on or near the littoral, but all Goodenough communities claim their origin from Yauyaba, a "sacred hill" on the east coast, whence mankind emerged from underground. European contact began in 1874 with an exploratory visit by Captain John Moresby. Brief visits by whalers, pearlers, and gold seekers followed, and in 1888 Administrator William MacGregor visited the island on his inaugural tour of the newly proclaimed British New Guinea. Ten years later William Bromilow led the first Wesleyan Mission party from his headquarters in Dobu, and in 1900 a station was established at Wailagi in Bwaidoka. By that time traders had already created a regular demand for steel tools, cloth, and twist tobacco. A famine in 1900 forced many men into contract labor abroad, the beginning of a local tradition of migrant labor that earned for Goodenough Islanders the reputation of "the best workmen in Papua." Local warfare and cannibalism persisted in remote areas until the early 1920s, when the first census was conducted and a head tax introduced. World War II was traumatic: a small Japanese invasion force occupied the island in 1942, and after its extermination a massive Allied airbase was built on the northeast plain. After the war the Australian colonial administration resumed its benign neglect. Partly in response to an outbreak of cargo cults, a government patrol post was established in 1960, followed by a local government council in 1964. Since Papua New Guinea's independence in 1975, Goodenough Island (jointly with the Trobriand Islands) has elected a member to the national parliament. Nowadays two representatives are also elected to the provincial government of Milne Bay.