The Polynesian Expansion into Remote Oceania: Ascent, Divergence, and Descent

  • 2017

The Polynesian Expansion into Remote Oceania: Ascent, Divergence, and Descent

Author:
Brian DePasquale
Abstract:

The objective of this paper is to answer why was there variation in the Polynesian progression from hunter-gatherer bands and tribes into agricultural-based chiefdoms as they expanded their networks and developed their hierarchies and cultures during the era of Polynesian expansion. Cultural-historical analysis has revealed that the geographic scale of the Pacific Ocean, along with its environmental and climatic diversity, affected the development of Polynesian networks, hierarchies, and cultures during their expansion and led to considerable variation in societal evolution from hunter-gathering bands and tribes into sedentary agricultural-based hierarchical chiefdoms. Many of the patterns of the Polynesian societal evolution in Remote Oceania uncovered through cultural and historical research have shown that diversification within their societies was as much due to what occurred prior to colonization, but also to the circumstances of their post-settlement history. Polynesia prior to European contact was defined by its relationship with the ocean; its demographics, networks, hierarchies, and culture were the product of a Remote Oceanic worldview, which evolved from the seas they traveled and islands they colonized.