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The Settlement of the islands of Oceania

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The Settlement of the islands of Oceania

Postby Anatol » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:05 pm

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The migration in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia was part of one of the most remarkable achievements of humanity: the discovery and settlement of the remote, widely scattered islands of the central Pacific. The migration began before AD. The voyaging was all the more remarkable in that it was done in canoes built with tools of stone, bone, and coral. The canoes were navigated without instruments by expert seafarers who depended on their observations of the ocean and sky and traditional knowledge of the patterns of nature for clues to the direction and location of islands. The canoe hulls were dug out from tree trunks with adzes or made from planks sewn together with a cordage of coconut fiber twisted into strands and braided for strength. Cracks and seams were sealed with coconut fibers and sap from breadfruit or other trees. An outrigger was attached to a single hull for greater stability on the ocean; two hulls were lashed together with crossbeams and a deck added between the hulls to create double canoes capable of voyaging long distances. The canoes were paddled when there was no wind and sailed when there was; the sails were woven from coconut or pandanus leaves. These vessels were seaworthy enough to make voyages of over 2,000 miles along the longest sea roads of Polynesia, such as the one between Hawai‘i and Tahiti. And though these double-hulled canoes had less carrying capacity than the broad-beamed ships of the European explorers, the Polynesian canoes were faster: one of Captain Cook’s crew estimated a Tongan canoe could sail “three miles to our two.” A long voyage was not just a physical, but a mental challenge as well, particularly for a navigator without compass or chart. To navigate miles of open ocean required an extensive and intimate knowledge of the ocean and sky. Captain Cook noted that Polynesian navigators used the rising and setting points of celestial bodies for directions. When European explorers found the islands of Polynesia, the common ancestry of the Polynesians was evident – the inhabitants of widely separated islands looked alike, spoke alike, and had similar cultural practices. The peoples of Polynesia came from a common ancestral group that developed a distinctive fishing and farming culture in the islands. In 2005, 3 MS were issued on the history of the settlement of the Pitcairn, Henderson and Vanuatu Islands.
The earliest known settlers of the Pitcairn Islands were Polynesians who appear to have lived on Pitcairn and Henderson, and on Mangareva Island 540 kilometres (340 mi) to the northwest, for several centuries. They traded goods and formed social ties among the three islands despite the long canoe voyages between them, which helped the small populations on each island survive despite their limited resources. Eventually, important natural resources were exhausted, inter-island trade broke down and a period of civil war began on Mangareva, causing the small human populations on Henderson and Pitcairn to be cut off and eventually become extinct. Although archaeologists believe that Polynesians were living on Pitcairn as late as the 15th century, the islands were uninhabited when they were rediscovered by Europeans in 1605.
In the history of Vanuatu, the commonly held theory of Vanuatu 's prehistory from archaeological evidence supports that peoples speaking Austronesianlanguages first came to the islands some 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. Pottery fragments have been found dating back to 1300 BC . What little is known of the pre-European contact history of Vanuatu has been gleaned from oral histories and legends. One important early king was Roy Mata , who united several tribes, and was buried in a large mound with several retainers. The first European contact with Vanuatu came in 1606.

Pitcairn Island 2005;6,3$;MS;6,3$;MS. Vanuatu 2005;430vatu;MS.
Source: ... ement.html. ... ic_Islands.
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