By 1840, Levuka was already the principal, European settlement in the islands, having a population of about thirty men, mostly British or American, who, with their native wives, and families, made a community of nearly two hundred people.
Traders operated small schooners:,Some of the men built small schooners, in which they traded amount the islands for tortoise-shell and other saleable products; and (United Starts Exploring Expedition. The squadron of four ships – the sloops-of-war Vincennes (flagship of Commodore Charles Wilke) says he met with no better behaved or better disposed white men during his voyage in the Pacific. The settlement was strung along the beach, on the narrow strip of flat land between the foot-hills and the sea; behind the houses the mountain ridge rose like a wall of rock; and beyond lay the green valley of Lovoni, occupied by a wild and hostile tribe whose pilferings kept the traders on the alert. For thirty years the Levuka people lived under the constant threat of raids by the Lovoni.
In November, 1840: Lovoni warriors raided the settlement and carried off nine women. In the following July, they swooped down in the night, set fire to the houses and stores, adjacent native village. The buildings were easy enough to replace, for they were of bush materials; indeed, the settlement gained from its rebuilding; but the loss of the merchandise was not so readily made good, for visits of overseas vessels were infrequent.