A hilly island, its highest point is 181 m above sea level. Average temperatures are around 27 °C year-round, and the island receives an annual average rainfall of some 2800 mm.
A dialect of the Sa'a language is spoken on Ulawa.
First recorded sighting by Europeans was by the Spanish expedition of Álvaro de Mendaña in May 1568. More precisely the sighting and also landing in Ulawa was due to a local voyage done by a small boat, in the accounts the brigantine Santiago, commanded by Alférez Hernando Enríquez and having Hernán Gallego as pilot. They charted it as La Treguada and reported that the name given to it by the natives was Uraba.
- Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford 1960 p.46.
- Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.133.
- Tolaha ni Qaoolana Mala Ulawa (1907) Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in Ulawa, digitized by Richard Mammana and Charles Wohlers
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