Any religious movement based on the observation by local residents of the delivery of supplies by ship and aircraft to colonial officials. Cargo cults were observed chiefly in Melanesia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were characterized by the expectation of a new age of blessing and prosperity to be initiated by the arrival of a special cargo of goods from supernatural sources. Such beliefs may have expressed traditional millennial ideas, often revived by the teaching of Christian missions.
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