Kia ora,  Kia orana, Talofa lava,  Malo e lelei,  Ni sa bula vinaka,
Fakaalofa lahi atu,  Kam na mauri,  Taloha ni,  La orana,  Talofa,  Aloha,
Hafa Adai,  Selamat siang,   Mogethin,  'Iorana,  Ia orana,  Kaselehlia,
Halo olketa,  Maabig ya kabuasán,  Maayo,  Kamusta,  Alii,  Nena wenao,

Jahowu,  Yamakarra,  Yiparrka,  Baa kaba,  Kaoha,  Yokwe yuk,
Nitha midhikidh,  Goojee ik koo,  Wunman njinde,  Kulo malulo,  Selamat,
Dada namona,  Guana mu lenin sihak dok,  Malo le kataki,  Niganisa
Kagíé, Bozo,  Halao,  Ran allim,  Ran annim,  Halo olgeta,  Gaoi, Horas,
Tiabo,  Ella,  Ka oha,  Werte Arru, ...

  The Settlement of Polynesia, Part 1     The Settlement of Polynesia, Part 2

CENTRAL PACIFIC ISLANDS    About Ferdinand Magellan's Voyage Round The World    PREHISTORIC ARCHITECTURE






The Pacific Islands

The islands of the Pacific, with their beauty and romance, have always gripped man's imagination. Raised above the sea, in wondrous and spectacular splendour, they shimmer like an oasis. For those of us in need of solitude and adventure, these beautiful tropical islands also offer an escape - a place of refuge, serenity and excitement. In their greenness and freshness, the islands conjure up visions of unending youth and a heavenly paradise - crystal sea, sparkling white sand and surf, golden yellow rays of sunshine - a dawn to night sky of superb colours - from sapphire-blue to topaz and turquoise, garnet and ruby to amethyst, citrine and peridot to the unique mystique of a theatrical curtain of exquisite Tahitian black pearl and onyx, gloriously enhanced by a galaxy of brilliant starlight diamonds - illuminated and moonlit by a majestic mother-of-pearl - encapsulated by the jubilant embrace of delightfully cool prevailing trade winds. Of these wonderful dream-worlds, it is Oceania that offers the most beautiful, enchanting and magnificent chains of pure and natural multicoloured gem-clustered islands.


The term Oceania is normally used to designate all the islands of the Central and the South Pacific including Australia (continent), New Zealand, and sometimes the Malay Archipelago. On this Web site, the focus is primarily directed towards the Pacific Islands of Melanesia (including Papua - formerly Irian Jaya), Micronesia and Polynesia (including the Polynesian nation of Hawai'i), as well as both Australia and New Zealand.



Present research indicates that human occupation of Oceania - those vast reaches of the Pacific encompassing Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia - began on New Guinea (Papua and Papua New Guinea). The first settlers brought with them a language that was fundamentally African. They then moved along the Melanesian Archipelago from Papua and Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and eventually to Fiji. During this time, the language evolved and became fragmented until it developed into the present day languages of Melanesia.

Other recent studies, which included DNA analysis of almost 700 samples from Aboriginal Australians and Melanesians, has confirmed the view that Aboriginal Australians are descended from the same small group of people who left Africa about 70,000 years ago. After arriving in Australia and New Guinea about 50,000 years ago, the settlers evolved in relative isolation, developing unique genetic characteristics and technology.
The migration, thousands of years later, of the ancestors of the present day Polynesian out of Asia, brought with it languages and dialects that were essentially Asian in origin and which developed into the present day languages of Polynesia. Until recently, archaeologists had believed that Polynesian people came from Taiwan. Interestingly, recent studies of DNA in Taiwan has provided some interesting conclusions about the origins of the Polynesian and Melanesian people.

Certainly, linguistic studies have pointed to the fact that the Polynesians, undoubtedly the greatest seafarers in history, have their origins in Taiwan. Of the 23 million people in Taiwan, only 400,000 are descendants from the original inhabitants. These people originally spoke a language belonging to the Austronesian group which is unrelated to Chinese but includes the Polynesian tongues.

DNA studies of the original group found three mutations shared by Taiwanese, Polynesians and Melanesians, who also speak Austronesian. These mutations are not found in other Asians and hence suggest that the Polynesians and Melanesians have their origins in the original inhabitants of Taiwan. Indeed, genetic studies have now suggested that the ancestors of the sailors of the great canoes started out further along the trail in eastern Indonesia.
These seafarers moved eastward in small groups around the top of the Melanesian archipelago until they reached Fiji. Using Fiji as a staging area, some eventually sailed on to uninhabited Tonga and Samoa. To have developed the physical types, language and culture that the Polynesians share in common, these Polynesian forebears must have been isolated for a time in a home group of islands. A chain of archaeological discoveries leads us to believe that this isolation started in the islands of Tonga and Samoa roughly 3,000 years ago.
Beginning in 1909 in New Britain, archaeologists have found a type of pre-historic decorated pottery at various Melanesian sites. In 1947, samples were also excavated in Fiji, Melanesia's easternmost extension. Five years later the same pottery was uncovered at Lapita in New Caledonia. Now called Lapita-style pottery, these artifacts clearly trace the visits and attempted settlements of a maritime people moving along a Melanesian route towards


Lapita pottery was excavated in Tonga in 1963, and has recently been found in Samoa as well - both in western Polynesia. Tonga is the longest inhabited island group in Polynesia, with radiocarbon dates as early as 1140 B.C. Thus we conclude that Tonga's first settlers, the people who made Lapita ware, were the first true Polynesians. Language ties indicate that this migration continued via Samoa eastward to the Marquesas where the oldest sites in Eastern Polynesia have been found.

Far to the southeast of the Marquesas lies evidence of a truly remarkable feat - a voyage to Easter Island (Rapa Nui), some 2,400 miles away, in the face of prevailing winds and currents. Polynesia's easternmost outpost, Easter Island is not only the most isolated inhabited island in the Pacific, but it is also only 15 miles long. Assessing its chances of being discovered by early Polynesians, we can conclude only that their sailing canoes were already capable of traversing the breadth of the Pacific, and that on one such voyage, Easter Island was fortuitously sighted. Radiocarbon dating in 1955-56 indicates its discovery and settlement as early as A.D. 400.

The sites on Easter Island show clear evidence, when considered in conjunction with the archaeology and languages of the Society and Marquesas Islands, indicate strongly that the pre-historic culture of Easter Island could have evolved from a single landing of Polynesians from a Marquesan Island. These Polynesians would have been fully equipped to colonize an uninhabited volcanic island. Their success in making this windswept sixty-four square miles, without an edible native plant, not only habitable but also the seat of remarkable cultural achievements, is testimony to the genius of these Polynesian settlers.

A study of excavated adzes, fishhooks, ornaments and other artifacts indicates that Tahiti and the other Society Islands must have been settled soon after the Marquesas. Present information indicates that Hawaii and New Zealand were settled after A.D. 500. Radiocarbon techniques permit us to assign tentative dates to this entire Pacific migration: entry into West Polynesia about 1000 B.C., reaching East Polynesia about the time of Christ, completing the occupation by A.D. 1000.

Having reached the Pacific's farthest outpost, the early Polynesians possessed the skills to return. It is doubtful that one-way voyages could account for the early presence in the Hawaiian Islands, for example, of twenty odd cultivated plants of Tahiti and the Marquesas. Thus we conclude that the early Hawaiians repeatedly negotiated the longest sea route in Polynesia returning to Tahiti and then again to Hawaii, known as "Child of Tahiti".

The Polynesians in the Pacific generally occupy an area referred to as the Polynesian Triangle. The Polynesian Triangle has Hawaii in the north, New Zealand in the south, and Easter Island in the east. The lines drawn from Hawaii to New Zealand bends westward to include the Ellice Islands (Tuvalu) and passing between Fiji and Tonga. The north to south line forms the base with its apex on the path of the rising sun, located 4000 miles to the east. The Marquesas lie almost to the center of the eastern line, from Easter in the south to Hawaii in the north, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and Cook Islands are surrounded by the triangle. New Zealand, the farthest south group of Polynesian islands is home to the Maori people.

Almost lost in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean are the tiny islands, the remarkable people and the ancient architecture of Micronesia. Across a distance of nearly 2000 miles, the archipelago of Micronesia encompasses a land area of only 271 square miles. It is believed that the original inhabitants of Micronesia came from the Philippines and Indonesia about 1500 years before Christ. The islands of Micronesia (and Polynesia) collectively comprise the last major region of the globe to be settled by humans. Both of these groups of islands were colonized within the last 5,000 years by Austronesian-speaking agriculturists. In the past, linguistic studies have been a major factor in suggesting the origins of both the Micronesian and Polynesian people who, in the main, are of medium stature with straight hair and brown skin.

Micronesia means 'small islands' and is derived from the Greek words mikros which means small and nesos which means island. This is a perfect way to describe these over two thousand tropical islands scattered across the heart of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines. They are spread over a great distance, yet each has its own culture, history, customs, rituals, myths and legends, lifestyle and topographical personality. The islands of Micronesia include the Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap), Guam, Palau, Saipan, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Kiribati.

In a DNA study undertaken in 1994, head hair in Micronesia was used to obtain DNA samples. The study was undertaken in order to compare the genetic relationships of various Micronesian groups to other Pacific Islanders and Asians and their languages. The study examined DNA that is found within mitochondria (mtDNA), small cellular bodies that function as the energy factories and storehouses of our cells. Mitochondria are inherited from the body of the mother's fertilized egg, and are transmitted maternally to the next generation. Consequently, this analysis ignores inheritance from a father.

In general, this study found that the majority of mtDNA sequences from Micronesian and Polynesian populations are derived from Asia, whereas others are inferred to have originated in New Guinea. The data supported the concept of an Island Southeast Asian origin and a colonization route along the north coast of New Guinea. The Marianas and the main island of Yap appear to have been independently settled directly from Island Southeast Asia, and both have received migrants from Central-Eastern Micronesia since then. Palau clearly demonstrates a complex prehistory including a significant influx of lineages from New Guinea. In addition, Chamorro mtDNA is very distinctive when compared to other Micronesians and Polynesians. This suggests that the Marianas have a different settlement history than the rest of Micronesia. Thus genetic similarities among Micronesian and Polynesian populations result, in some cases, from a common origin and, in others, from extensive gene flow. As well as showing that Micronesians and Polynesians have a southeast Asian homeland, studies based on DNA contributed by both females and males to their offspring generally indicate a greater degree of Melanesian heritage for Polynesians and Micronesians.





Sprinkled across the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Samoa, and east of the 180th meridian, are about thirty low coral islands. One hundred years ago many of these were claimed by American guano interests, and a number of them were the scene of busy enterprise. So generally accepted was the claim to them by citizens of the United States that a distinguished German geographer, E. Behm, writing in 1859, called the area "American Polynesia."

All but forgotten for half a century or more, these islands have come into sudden prominence through the recent rise of trans-Pacific aviation. Some of the islands are atolls, with spacious lagoons, which would serve as excellent seaplane ports - regular or emergency stepping stones along the air routes. Other coral islands have broad expanses of flat surface which would provide a resting place for land planes. Still others, not so well fitted as landing places, would provide spots at which weather observations, so necessary to safe air travel, could be made.

These islands comprise the Equatorial or Line group, the Phoenix group, the Tokelau or Union group, and several islands scattered to the southeast of these, most of which now have been placed under political control of the Cook group.

So similar are some of these coral islands in their geography, fauna, flora, and general history, that we will precede the Web sites of each of these islands by some general notes on these topics. What follows is a discussion of the setting of these islands in the central Pacific basin.



The Pacific Ocean occupies nearly one-third of the earth's surface. One can sail across it along the equator, for a distance of 10,000 miles. From the Aleutian Islands on the north to the Antarctic continent on the south is a distance almost as great. The surface of the ocean has an area of about 65,000,000 square miles.
This ocean contains more than half of all the earth's volume of water, 165,000,000 cubic miles of it. The average depth of the Pacific Ocean is about 13,400 feet. The eastern half is of nearly uniform depth, averaging about 16,000 feet, and is rather free from islands. The western half has areas which are comparatively shallow alternating with narrow areas of very great depth, and there are numerous islands. One of the deep places (troughs), off the N.E. corner of Mindanao, Philippine Islands, contains the greatest depth yet sounded, 35,400 feet.

The central Pacific area contains ocean of rather uniform depth on its north-eastern side, and the remains of the ancient "Melanesian Continent" on its south-western side. Between are alternate ridges and troughs, most of which trend from northwest to southeast. Along the ridges are scattered chains of islands. Nearly parallel to each other, from north to south, we find: (1) the chain of Hawaiian Islands, (2) the Christmas-Palmyra chain, which may extend north-westward to Johnston Island, and to the southeast through the Marquesas Islands, (3) a ridge through Tongareva (Penrhyn) Island, which extends north-westward toward Baker and Howland Islands, and, after interruption, is continued south-eastward as the western Tuamotu Islands, (4) a ridge through Pukapuka and Nassau Islands, (after an interruption) through the Society Islands, and (after another break) through the eastern Tuamotu Islands, and (5) a ridge through the Samoan islands, and in line with it, one through the Cook and Austral Islands.

These ridges are great ranges of volcanic mountains rising from the bottom of the ocean. Where they protrude above the surface they form volcanic islands. In other places they have been carved off just below the surface and have been capped over with coral to form coral islands. Some of these form a ring around a central lagoon and are called atolls. Others have been pushed up to a height of several hundred, even a thousand feet, to form upraised coral islands. Coral reefs also may form around the margin of volcanic islands, or may surround them, at a little distance off shore to form barrier reefs.

Many millions of years ago perhaps hundreds of millions of years, a great mass of land extended south-eastward from the southeast corner of Asia. This has been called the "Melanesian Continent," because now it has broken up to form the high, but scattered islands of Melanesia. The edge of this continent included Fiji, and may have extended out to parts of Tonga. Its eastern edge is marked on the map. East of this we find two especially deep troughs, known as the Tongan Deep and the Kermadec Deep, with depths of more than 28,000 feet. One place in the Kermadec trough, known as Aldrich Deep, has a sounding of 30,930 feet.
This is the setting in which are located the central Pacific islands. How might they have been formed?


The atolls and coral islands of the central Pacific are thought to be caps of reef rock upon the summits of volcanic mountains. These mountains rise steeply from the nearly level floor of the ocean, which lies more than three miles below the surface of the sea.

To explain how this has come about presents many problems to geologists. (1) What made the broad, flat expanse of ocean bottom? (2) How were volcanic mountains built up in nearly parallel ranges? (3) How did the peaks of these mountains become capped with rings of coral? (4) By what process did atolls and coral pancakes develop from these rings? Few geologic questions have aroused more controversy than these.

Geologists explain the depressed floor of the Pacific ocean by the theory of isostasy. This suggests that the earth's surface is made up of great blocks, some of which are of heavy material, others light. The heaviest ones have sunk under the pull of the earth's gravity and form the ocean bottom; lighter blocks stand higher and form the continents.

Where these blocks push against each other, earthquakes and volcanic activity occur. The Pacific is surrounded by a belt characterized by earthquakes and volcanism. The chains of volcanic mountains across the Pacific are believed to have been built up by outpourings of lava from great rifts in the ocean bottom, which were, perhaps, the joints between huge surface blocks. The volcanic material could have been produced by the force of the blocks pushing against each other; or, if one believes there is molten lava beneath the earth's crust, it could have escaped through the cracks.

The two best of several theories as to how peaks of these mountains were capped with rings of coral reef are: the "subsidence theory" of Charles Darwin, and the "glacial-control theory" of R. A. Daly. These are illustrated by the diagrams.

Darwin suggested that coral, forming around a sinking island, would first form a fringing reef, then a barrier reef, and finally an atoll, when the peak had completely disappeared and only a shallow lagoon was left within the coral ring.

The other theory suggests that the rings of coral reef grew up around the edge of circular submarine platforms. Volcanic peaks are thought to have been cut off by sea erosion during the glacial period, at which time the surface of the sea stood a few hundred feet below its present level, because much water had been turned into ice which covered parts of the land. By the time the sea had become warm enough to allow the growth of corals, the sea-level had risen a little, and the cut-off platforms were at the right depth for corals and other marine organisms to grow upon them. They grew best around the margin of the platform, and as the sea-level rose, due to the melting of the glaciers, they grew upward, forming rings of coral reef.

Reef-forming corals will not grow out of water or below about 150 feet. Dry land must be formed on the reefs in other ways. Reef rock is made up of all sorts of marine animal and plant remains, cemented together with lime (pulverized coral). Pieces of this rock from around the edge, in time, were piled up on the surface of the reef by the force of the waves. Sand, shells, and broken coral accumulated in the shelter of these, especially on the windward side, where the beach is almost always highest. The principal break in the atoll rim is usually on the lee side. Other lagoon entrances might be formed by sea water flowing in and out with the tide.

The lagoons of some atolls became filled with sand and coral until only small pools remained, without connection with the sea, such as several of the Phoenix islands. On some of the coral islands, such as Howland, Baker, and Jarvis, the lagoons have entirely dried up, leaving large coral "pancakes." Small elevation of land or fluctuations in the ocean level may have helped also, but these are not to be confused with the great earth movements which pushed up coral islands to as much as 1000 feet in other parts of the Pacific.


The principal feature of the climate of the Central Pacific is its extreme uniformity, except in rainfall. Being located entirely within the tropics and lacking elevation, the temperature never becomes cold. Being entirely surrounded by great expanses of ocean and subjected to nearly continuous trade winds, the temperature never becomes very hot.

The annual mean temperature over this area is more than 75 degrees but not more than 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Average maximum temperatures above 90 degrees are rare; and the thermometer falls below 70 only on cold winter days. The highest recorded temperature is 106 degrees on Christmas Island; on other islands it is seldom above 100, and then only for a few hours, with cooler nights.

The seasons are marked principally by the direction of shallows, as the sun passes overhead from south to north and back again, and by a tendency to more stormy weather between November and May, especially south of the equator. The mean barometric pressure is between 29.8 and 30.0 inches of mercury. On some islands this does not vary a tenth of an inch for month to month averages throughout the length of the record. That does not mean that there are not small ups and downs; but these are of short duration and tend to compensate each other in the course of a month.

Rainfall is the most variable factor in the island climate of this region. Not only does this vary from island to island, but on any one island it varies from year to year. The monthly averages are rather uniform, perhaps a little heavier during the period of storms. Records have been kept on only a few islands, such as Fanning, Malden, and Christmas, until recently, but they are representative of other islands. On Fanning the annual rainfall has varied from 47.4 to 208.8 inches; on Malden from 3.94 to 93.59 inches, in different years.

Although actual rainfall measurements are lacking, considerable can be told about the rainfall on these islands by the state of their vegetation. We can trace out zones of dry islands and zones of wet islands. The five northern Phoenix islands (Phoenix, Enderbury, Birnie, Canton and McKean) together with Baker, Howland, Jarvis, and Malden, are dry islands with an average rainfall probably not exceeding 25 inches a year. In contrast to this, Palmyra, Washington, Fanning, and Swains islands have a heavy rainfall, in many years approaching or even exceeding 100 inches. On Christmas Island, the three Tokelau islands, Pukapuka, Nassau, and the three southern Phoenix islands (Sydney, Hull, and Gardner) the rainfall is intermediate between these.

The central Pacific islands north of the equator lie in the path of the northern equatorial current, which sweeps across the Pacific from east to west, and are crossed by trade winds from the northeast. Those that lie south of the equator are bathed by the south equatorial current, which also moves from east to west, and they have trade winds which blow from the east or southeast. The narrow equatorial counter-current flows from west to east just north of the equator and ordinarily does not touch any of these islands. Only in time of storm do winds blow from other quarters. There may be local tropical squalls, but severe storms are rare in the central Pacific.


Coral reefs of tropical seas are fertile spots for the growth and development of marine life. The reefs themselves are composed of the hard skeletons of many kinds of marine organisms, both plant and animal, which have become cemented together.

On most atolls, coral of various kinds is the chief component of the reefs. But coralline algae may form a considerable part of some reefs, such as Rose Atoll, where the entire surface is coated with a pink calcareous algae called lithothamnium. Added to these are the limey shells of all sorts of sea creatures, from minute, one-celled foraminifera to giant clams.

Each of several habitats develops its own association of marine life. The diagrammatic section through an atoll suggests some of these. Some organisms thrive in deep water on the steep coral slope, much of which had been formed by broken pieces of reef rock sliding down the face, coming to rest, and becoming cemented fast. Corals thrive at the lip of the reef, where the waves break, and where there is a continual supply of uncontaminated salt water. Here also one finds many kinds of mollusks.

Pools on the fringing platform reef contain many small fishes, sea urchin, starfish, seaweeds, rock crabs
, mollusks, and the likes. On the steep outer sandy beach, below the high beach ridge of broken coral and sand, live burrowing crabs, such as the small "ghost" crab.
Within the lagoon, especially if the lagoon entrances are few and small, live many forms of marine life not commonly found outside. These include many little creatures, found on or burrowing in the fine, soft sand, such as marine worms, eels, sea-cucumbers, burrowing crabs, and flat-fishes. Another association is found among the reefs and coral heads, the latter standing up like mushrooms or opened umbrellas, with many choice hiding-places or mollusks, eels, octopuses, crabs, and tiny fishes. Some forms even become voluntary prisoners within the cavities of coral.
A central Pacific atoll is indeed a marine collector's paradise.


The number of different kinds of plants to be found on the low coral islands of the Central Pacific is limited. Some of the dryer islands have fewer than a dozen species; Johnston Island has only three. On the most luxurious islands there may not be more than fifty kinds, excluding the ornamental and food plants introduced by man.
The principal plants found throughout the region are listed below in their systematic botanical order, with a word of description about each. Igazad van ,de csak egy bizonyos téren fogom vissza az infókat!!:

There are two kinds of ferns: Polypodium scolopendria has large, deeply lobed fronds, like giant oak leaves, with small cushion-like sori on the back; Asplenium nidus is the large birds-nest fern. These are found only on the wettest islands; abundant on Palmyra. Psilotum nudum is a low, erect, much branched, leafless fern ally sparingly found.

Various species of Pandanus or screw-pine are found; two varieties are native to Palmyra.  The commonest grass is the wiry bunch grass, Lepturus repens, with one-flowered spikelets embedded in the spike. Another grass, Digitaria pacifica, has hairy leaves and the flower head divided into fingers. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), bur grass, and other species have followed man to islands. Sugar cane has been planted on a few islands. A common sedge, Fimbristylis cymosa variety microcephala, grows on central flats and has a rosette of leaves and slender flower stalk ending in globular head. A species of Cyperus grows in marshy places.

Coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) have been planted; do well on all but the drier islands; and propagate themselves readily on the wet islands.
Taro (Colocasia antiquorum variety esculenta) and a related form with triangular leaves (Cyrtosperma) are cultivated on some of the more moist, inhabited islands. Bananas are sparingly grown in well-cared-for patches.
The dye fig or mati (Ficus tinctoria) is found on a few islands. Of the nettle family: Pipturus velutinus is a shrub or small tree; more common is Fleurya ruderalis, an erect herb with deep-green leaves and reddish flower stalks.

Low, branching herbs of the amaranth family are found. The four-o'clock family is represented by a low, vine-like herb, Boerhaavia tetrandra, and the tall puka or buka tree, Pisonia grandis, with massive trunks of soft wood.

Very common on dry islands are two kinds of purslane: Portulaca lutea with robust stems and large yellow flowers; Portulaca oleracea with slender purplish stems and smaller yellow flowers. Seaside purslane, Sesuvium portulacastrum, forms a tangled mat of fleshy stems and leaves along the edge of lagoons and on flats.
Dodder-like Cassytha filiformis, of the laurel family, spreads its slender orange-green stems over other plants, on which it is parasitic.
Hernandia ovigera is a tall tree, having peltate glossy leaves with red veins.

Pepper-weed, Lepidium bidentoides, is a tough, branching herb, with notched, spatulate leaves, and bottlebrush-shaped flower stalk. Tribulus cistoides is a trailing herb with silky leaves and stem, yellow flowers, and thorny fruit, like sets of miniature cow's horns. Suriana maritima and Pemphis acidula are two wiry shrubs with short, narrow leaves; the former has velvety stem and alternate, closely spaced leaves, which hide the yellow flowers; the latter has opposite leaves and hairs only on young growth.Some low Euphorbia herbs are of species considered wayside weeds in Hawaii.

Triumfetta procumbens, of the linden family, is a prostrate herb with runners, harsh leaves, yellow flowers, and spherical burs, common on beach flats.
The mallow family is represented by a common ilima, Sida fallax, and the larger, rarer Abutilon indicum; both have fuzzy leaves and stems, and yellow flowers.
The true kamani of Hawaii, Callophyllum inophyllum, with shining, leathery leaves, forms large trees on some islands. Another tree, called pua, Fagraea berteriana, has fragrant, tubular white flowers and scarlet fruit.

In wet places is a shrub, Jussiaea erecta, with long narrow leaves, and long-tubed yellow flowers. Morning-glory vines include the beach or goat's foot morning-glory, Ipomoea pes-caprae, with pinkish petals; and Ipomoea grandiflora, with white flowers. The heliotrope family furnishes two common trees: the tree-heliotrope, Tournefortia, now called Messerschmidia argentea, with rosettes of leaves covered with silvery hairs; and the kou tree, Cordia subcordata, with orange flowers.
The coffee family is represented by three trees: Gardenia tahitensis, famous for its fragrant white blossoms; Guettarda speciosa, also with fragrant flowers; and the noni, Morinda citrifolia, with compound flower-heads and fruits.

The goodenia family presents Scaevola frutescens, a large, coarse, branching shrub, with large, thick glossy leaves, white half-trumpet flowers, and pithy white fruit.
The composite family is represented only by chance immigrant weeds.  These plants grow together in various associations, some of which are suggested in the diagrammatic cross-sections of dry, medium, and wet islands.


The principal land animals of the Central Pacific Islands are sea birds. It may seem unusual to call sea birds land animals; but even though they get most of their food from the sea, they still must come to land to rest, nest, lay their eggs, and raise their young.

There are about two dozens different species of sea birds throughout the Central Pacific. In addition to these, there are several kinds of migratory birds, which stop off at the islands in the course of their trans-Pacific flights; and on a few of the islands there are land birds.
Most conspicuous are the boobies or gannets, tropic birds, frigate birds and terns.

There are three kinds of boobies: the large masked gannet or blue-faced booby, which nests on the ground; the smaller red-footed booby, which will nest in a tree or bush if there is one; and the brown-vested booby, at once distinguished by its brown breast, looking as if it had on white trousers and a brown coat. Boobies measure two to two and a half feet in length, with mask-like bills, long and pointed. The young are not white with brown markings like the adults, but are all grey, distinguished respectively by yellow feet, reddish feet and darker grey breast.

The red-tailed tropic bird can be seen circling gracefully overhead, its long rudder trailing behind; or more commonly hidden under a bush or beneath a tilted slap of sandstone. It is satiny white, tinged with salmon, and with a few black spots on head, wings, and tail, especially on the young.

The frigate or man-o'-war bird is three feet long, glossy black; male distinguished by a red pouch under its chin, which can inflate like a child's balloon. These birds have the reputation of being robbers. They have to rob the smaller birds to get their food, for nature did not furnish them with fully webbed feet, so that, if they alight on the water, they cannot take off again.

Half a dozen kinds of terns occur. Commonest is the wide-awake or sooty tern, sooty black on wings, back and crown, white beneath. The noddy, all sooty brown except for lavender-grey crown is also common. The grey-backed or bridled tern is found on some islands. Not abundant, but very conspicuous, are the pure white tern (only his eye is black), and the small grey tern, of about the same size, entirely quaker grey. These last two will hover in a most friendly manner just overhead, seldom uttering a sound; while the other terns circle round and round, making a terrific din.

Reptiles include a snake-eyed skink, and one or two species of gecko. All are widespread on Pacific Islands. Turtles periodically come ashore to lay their eggs. Two kinds of water snakes are very poisonous and should be avoided when they come on shore.
The insect fauna is small in number of species, but abundance in individuals. Most of the insects such as leaf hoppers, caterpillars, leaf bugs, a spiny-legged grasshopper, field cricket, and small flies are closely associated with plants. A few species of flies, dermestid beetles, ants, etc. are found on dead birds. Lice, mites and hippoboscid flies are parasitic on live birds. Small spiders and a few kinds of insects are predacious. Only a few of the islands have mosquitoes. Silver fish are found under rocks, and roaches come out at night. The wettest of the islands have dragonflies and one or two species of butterflies.

Probably all of these thirty-three islands were known to the Polynesians. Seven of them, Atafu, Nukunono, Fakaofu (Fakaofo), Pukapuka, Manihiki, Rakahanga, and Tongareva, have native inhabitants today. Rats, plants, and ruins give evidence of former human habitation on a dozen others. The rest were either too small or too dry to offer more than temporary shelter to voyagers, or else information about them is lacking.
Kenneth P. Emory, Bishop Museum ethnologist, has made a study of the archaeological remains on these islands, and can associate the former inhabitants with eastern and western Polynesia. The center of the eastern culture, from which voyagers sailed forth, was in the Society Islands. That of the western was in Samoa and Tonga.
The peoples of the Tokelau Islands and Pukapuka are related to the western culture. Those of Manihiki, Rakahanga, and Tongareva (Penrhyn) have affinity with the eastern. Archaeological remains on Malden and Swains Island (the present population on the latter dates from 1856), and an adze from Nassau, show eastern affinity. Ruins on Fanning indicate a Tongan settlement about the 15th century. The Phoenix group (especially Sydney and Hull Islands) and Christmas Island have ruins which suggest that they were visited by parties from both the east and the west.
With the exception of the occupation of Fanning Island by Tongans, it is not possible to date native visits. It is likely that adventurous Polynesian navigators have explored these islands and made them periodic stopping places and fishing bases for a dozen or more centuries.


Guano is formed from the excrement of sea birds, where it has accumulated in dry regions, such as islands off the coast of Peru and in the mid-Pacific. The word comes from huanu, Peruvian for dung. This greyish, powdery material is high in phosphates and ammonium compounds which are readily assimilated by plants, and forms a valuable fertilizer.  American whalers and other visitors to islands in the central Pacific, landing in some instances to bury dead seamen, discovered guano on several of these islands, between 1830 and 1850.  There was immediate interest in the form of prospecting, and after considerable debate the United States Congress, on August 18, 1856, passed an act which allowed Americans to claim unoccupied islands in the name of the United States, for the purpose of removing the guano. Claims were made to about 48 islands under this Guano Act.

A list of these was published in the New York Tribune, March 5, 1858. It was reprinted in the Friend (Honolulu) for April 20, 1859, and in a German article by E. Behm, in 1859, already noted. In the American Journal of Science, September, 1862, J. D. Hague again lists these islands; and the author discusses their identity in the Paradise of the Pacific magazine for September and October 1939.
Only 18 of the islands are now known by the names given. Twelve are known today by different names; three names are duplicate; and 15 are not known to exist at all.

In the spring following the passage of the Guano Act, representatives of the American Guano Co., of New York, arrived at central Pacific islands, via Honolulu. Alfred G. Benson of New York, and Charles H. Judd, of Honolulu, representing this company, took possession of Howland Island, February 5, 1857, and Baker, February 12. Jarvis was occupied by Mr. Judd and 24 Hawaiian labourers in March the same year.

Officially representing the government, the U.S.S. St. Marys, Captain Charles Henry Davis, visited Jarvis and Baker later the same year, surveying the islands, taking guano samples, and announcing formal possession in the name of the United States.

The Phoenix Guano Co. began activities on McKean island. A.M. Goddard with 29 Hawaiians left Honolulu for Phoenix Island on the brig Agate, Captain Long, on April 19, 1859, but ended up at McKean. The American schooner Modern Times was loaded there in 45 days, sailing August 15, 1859. Work was commenced on Phoenix Island in September, 1860.

Supplies were taken to the guano islands about four times a year from Honolulu by schooners, which also transported native labourers, and white overseers and chemists. Following the Agate, this run was made by the Helen, the Odd Fellow, and the Active, 1863 to 1864; the Hawaiian barque Kamehameha V, 1865 to 1869; and the C. M. Ward, 1870 to the end of activity in 1879.
A large number of schooners, barques, and clipper ships, flying various flags, called at the islands and carried the guano away to American and foreign ports. We have a record of those which touched at Honolulu; others went direct.

The loading of these vessels with thousands of tons of guano was an enormous task. The powder had to be sifted from the rocks, shovelled into bags, run on tram cars to the beach, loaded into small boats, and these run through the surf to the waiting ships; all hand work. There was little or no anchorage. Vessels had to make fast to buoys or lines leading out from shore, risking the danger of piling up on the reef should the wind shift. Many fine ships were wrecked. Navigation was difficult because of the swift currents which swept past the islands.

Enderbury was added to the guano islands in 1862, and reached the height of its enterprise between 1870 and 1873, under the management of Captain Elias Hempstead. During the summer of 1870, alone, four vessels were loaded there with more than 6,000 tons of guano.

McKean was the first to be worked out, no vessel being recorded as visiting it after 1870. Phoenix Island was abandoned in August, 1871. Activities continued on Enderbury until 1877, there having been four white persons and 55 Hawaiians there in 1876. Several of the superintendents were accompanied by their wives and families.

After the American guano diggers withdrew, nearly all of these islands were worked by John T. Arundel and Co., a British firm, between 1883 and 1891. Parties were supplied by schooner from Apia. The labourers were mainly from Niue and the Cook Islands.
Other islands also were worked by this company, such as Sydney Island, 1884-5, Canton Island, 1885-6, Flint, and Starbuck. Gardner and Hull were planted to coconut palms. It was mainly at Mr. Arundel's request that the Phoenix Islands were annexed by Great Britain during June and July 1889.

After 1891 this company turned its attention to phosphate deposits on islands off the coast of North Queensland. Later much richer deposits were found on Nauru and Ocean Island (Banaba).

Other guano companies were also active, most of them with headquarters in Australia. Guano deposits were found on Malden Island about 1848 by an American whaler, who sold his find to a company in Sydney, New South Wales. That island has been worked almost continuously until about 1940.



    The Settlement of Polynesia, Part 1

Exploration and Discovery

In the 19th century, Hawaiian scholars Kamakau and Kepelino attributed the discovery of Hawai'i to a fisherman named Hawai'iloa. He is said to have discovered the islands during a long fishing trip from a homeland in the west called Ka 'Aina kai melemelea Kane ("Land of the yellow sea of Kane"); the Big Island was named after him while Kaua'i, O'ahu, and Maui were named after his children. Hawai'iloa's navigator, Makali'i, steered in the direction of Iao, the Eastern Star, and hoku'ula, the red star (perhaps the rising Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus). After replenishing his supplies, Hawai'iloa returned home and brought his wife and his children back to Hawai'i, again using the fixed stars as guides. The Hawaiian people are all descended from him.

Some scholars have questioned the authenticity of the tradition of Hawai'iloa because of similarities between Biblical stories and stories in the tradition of Kumuhonua, of which the story of Hawai'iloa is a part. These scholars believe that parts of the tradition of Kumuhonua were invented in the 19th century to conform to Biblical traditions. However, Randie Kamuela Fong of Kamehameha Schools writes, "after careful review of Fornander's version of the Kumuhonua tradition, the Hawai'iloa portion bears no resemblance to any biblical account. The names, places, and basic settings and plots give us no reason to question their age and authenticity. Further, Patience Bacon of the Bishop Museum remembers kupuna (elders) being interviewed in the 1920's and 30's by Tutu Puku'i. These kupuna spoke of Hawai'iloa as their 'reality.'"

A tradition published in Teuira Henry's Ancient Tahiti attributes the discovery of Hawai'i to a voyaging hero named Tafa'i (Hawaiian Kaha'i), son of Hema and an underworld goddess named Hina-tahutahu (Hina, the magician). Tafa'i "cut the sinews" of the islands of Tahiti (i.e., fixed them in their places), fished up the islands of the Tuamotu Archipelago and then "went exploring the trackless ocean northward." He found a chain of islands beneath the sea and fished it up, naming the first island "Aihi" ("Bit-in-fishing," now called "Hawai'i"). "Next he drew up Maui and all the other islands of our archipelago.Éthen those intrepid navigators went south and returned with people to dwell on the beautiful new land, bringing with them their gods, their chiefs, and breadfruit and other plants." Later, Tafa'i tried to pull the Hawaiian islands south, closer to the Tahitian islands, but failed when the kapu forbidding the crew to speak or look back from the canoe was broken.

The connection between discovery and fishing is part of pan-Polynesian tradition of islands being fished out of the sea. A fisherman named Huku is said to have found Rakahanga island while on an aku fishing voyage from Rarotonga; later the three Maui brothers came to the same area and began fishing.. Maui-mua caught a shark; Maui-roto an ulua; and Maui-muri the island of Manihiki (Tairi "The Origin of the Island Manihiki"). Maui is also said to have fished up, among other islands, Tonga, Mangaia in the Cook Islands, and Aotearoa (New Zealand)

This traditional association between fishing and the discovery islands suggests that fishermen, of whatever identities, were perhaps the most frequent discoverers of islands in ancient times, either while they roamed the ocean looking for new fishing grounds or chasing schools of pelagic fish, or after they were driven off course by storms on their way to known fishing grounds. A poetic way of describing their discoveries would be to say that the fishermen caught islands, not fish. Perhaps the name of Maui was given to anyone who discovered an island, in honor of some ancestral fisherman-explorer noted for finding islands.

Another intriguing possibility is proposed in Geoffrey Irwin's The Prehistoric Exploration and Colonization of the Pacific. Irwin suggests that those who settled Polynesia may have used a deliberate strategy of exploration that allowed them to find islands without an inordinate risk to their lives and with a high rate of survival. (Other scholars have assumed that the exploration of the Pacific was full of danger and involved high casualties at sea.) This deliberate strategy of exploration, according to Irwin, involved waiting for a reversal in wind direction and sailing in the direction that is normally upwind (i.e. eastward in the Pacific) for as far as it was safe to go given the supplies that were carried on the canoe. The return home (westward) would be made easy when the wind shifted back to its normal easterly direction. Irwin believes that this strategy is supported by the west to east settlement of the Pacific, from the islands of southeast Asia and Melanesia to Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, the Society Islands, the Tuamotus, and Hiva (the Marquesas). Although no factual evidence would prove that this strategy of exploration was actually employed by Polynesian navigators, the strategy would have been obvious to anyone familiar with sailing.

The tradition of 'imi fenua (Hawaiian: 'imi honua), or "searching for lands," reported from Hiva and other Polynesian islands, supports such a notion of deliberate exploration. Teuira Henry gives exploration and discovery as the motivation for the voyages of Ru and Hina, a brother and sister who circumnavigated the earth in their canoe Te-apori to locate islands: "After exploring the earth, Hina's love of discovery did not cease. So one evening when the full moon was shining invitingly, being large and half visible at the horizon, she set off in her canoe to make it a visit." She decided to stay there and remains today as the figure seen in the moon.  Whatever the motives and methods of exploration and discovery, once the location of an island was known, it became open to settlement.

The Polynesian Settlement of the Pacific

The Polynesian migration to Hawai'i 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 the birth of Christ. While Europeans were sailing close to the coastlines of continents before developing navigational instruments that would allow them to venture onto the open ocean, voyagers from Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa began to settle islands in an ocean area of over 10 million square miles. The settlement took a thousand years to complete and involved finding and fixing in mind the position of islands, sometimes less than a mile in diameter on which the highest landmark was a coconut tree. By the time European explorers entered the Pacific Ocean in the 16th century almost all the habitable islands had been settled for hundreds of years.

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."

After a visit to the Society Islands in 1774, Andia y Varela described the canoes he saw: "It would give the most skilful [European] builder a shock to see craft having no more breadth of beam than three [arm] spans carrying a spread of sail so large as to befit one of ours with a beam of eight or ten spans, and which, though without means of lowering or furling the sail, make sport of the winds and waves during a gale, their safety depending wholly on two light poles a couple of varas or so long (about eight feet), which, being placed athwartships, the one forward and the other aft, are fitted to another spar of soft wood placed fore and aft wise in the manner of an outriggerÉ These canoes are as fine forward as the edge of a knife, so that they travel faster than the swiftest of our vessels; and they are marvellous, not only in this respect, but for their smartness in shifting from one tack to the other." (Corney, Vol. II, 282).
The voyaging was by no means easy.

There was always a danger of swamping or capsizing in heavy seas, of having sails ripped apart or masts and booms broken by fierce winds, of smashing the hulls against unseen rocks or reefs; and while there were grass or leaf shelters on the decks of voyaging canoes, the voyagers were often exposed to the wind, rain, and sun, with only capes of leaves or bark-cloth wrappings for protection. A stormy night at sea, even in the tropics, can be brutally chilling. If supplies ran short during a long voyage, and no fish or rainwater replenished them, then starvation became a possibility. As a tradition about a voyage from Hiva (the Marquesas) to Rarotonga puts it: "The voyage was so long; food and water ran out. One hundred of the paddlers died; forty men remained."

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. Andia y Varela was told how Tahitians also used the winds and swells to hold a course: "There are many sailing-masters among the people, the term for whom is in their language fa'atere (Hawaiian: ho'okele). The fa'atere are competent to make long voyages like that from Otahiti to Oriayatea [Ra'iatea] (about 150 miles) and others farther afield. One of these sailing masters named Puhoro came to Lima on this occasion in the frigate; and from him and others I was able to find out the method by which they navigate on the high seas.
"They have no mariner's compass, but divide the horizon into sixteen parts, taking for the cardinal points those at which the sun rises and sets.

"When setting out from port the helmsman partitions the horizon, counting from E, or the point where the sun rises; he knows the direction in which his destination bears. He observes, also, whether he has the wind aft, or on one or the other beam, or on the quarter, or is close-hauled. He notes, further, whether there is a following sea, a head sea, a beam sea, or if the sea is on the bow or the quarter. He proceeds out of port with a knowledge of these [conditions], heads his vessel according to his calculation, and aided by the signs the sea and wind afford him, does his best to keep steadily on his course.
"The task becomes more difficult if the day is cloudy, because the sailing-master has no mark to count from for dividing the horizon. Should the night be cloudy as well, the sailing-master regulates his course by the wind and swells; and, since the wind is apt to vary in direction more than the swell does, he has his pennant, made of feathers and palmetto bark, by which to watch changes in the wind, and he trims his sails accordingly, always taking his cue for holding his course from the indications the sea affords. When the night is clear, he steers by the stars; and this is the easiest navigation for him because he knows the stars which rise and set over not only the islands he is familiar with, but also the harbours in the islands, so that he makes straight for the entrance by following the rhumb of the particular star that rises or sets over it. These sailing masters hit their destinations with as much precision as the most expert navigators of civilized nations could achieve"

To keep track of their position at sea during long sea voyages, the navigators used a system of dead reckoningŃmemorizing the distance and direction traveled until the destination was reached. Finding islands before they could actually be seen was also part of the art of navigation. Voyagers followed the flight of land-dwelling birds that fished at sea as these birds flew from the direction of islands in the morning or returned in the evenings. The navigators also watched for changes in swell patterns, cloud piled up over land, reflections on clouds from lagoons, and drifting land vegetation.

When European explorers found the islands of Polynesia, the common ancestry of the Polynesians was evidentŃthe inhabitants of widely separated islands looked alike, spoke alike, and had similar cultural practices. Their manufactured products such as fishhooks, trolling lures, adzes, and ornaments also revealed similarities. And they had the same basic stock of domesticated plants and animals.

The peoples of Polynesia came from a common ancestral group that developed a distinctive fishing and farming culture in the islands of Tonga and Samoa.

While dates constantly change with new archaeological discoveries, the general sequence for the settlement of Polynesia has been relatively well established (Dates represent earliest archaeological finds; they almost certainly do not represent the earliest presence of human beings.):
--Hunters and gatherers inhabited Australia and New Guinea by 50,000 years ago.

--Around 1600-1200 B.C., a cultural complex called Lapita (identified by a distinctive pottery and named after a site in New Caledonia) spread from New Guinea in Melanesia as far east as Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. Polynesian culture developed at the eastern edge of this region (i.e., in Samoa and Tonga).

--Around 300 B.C. or earlier, seafarers from Samoa and Tonga discovered and settled islands to the eastŃthe Cook Islands, Tahiti-nui, Tuamotus, and Hiva (Marquesas Islands).

--Around 300 A.D. or earlier, voyagers from central or eastern Polynesia, possibly from Hiva, discovered and settled Easter Island.

--Around 400 A.D. or earlier, voyagers from the the Cook Islands, Tahiti-nui, and /or Hiva settled Hawai'i.

--Around 1000 A.D. or earlier, voyagers from the Society and/or the Cook Islands settled Aotearoa (New Zealand).
The ethnobotanical evidence reflects this progression of settlement from the Western Pacific islands, through central Polynesia (the Cook Islands, Society Islands, and Hiva), and then to Hawai'i. Of the 72 plants identified as having been transported to Polynesia by people, 41-45 are found in the Cook Islands, the Society Islands, and Hiva; 29 are found in Hawai'i, including taro, breadfruit, sugar cane, bamboo, ti, yam, banana, 'awa, paper mulberry, kukui, coconut, gourd, sweet potato, and mountain apple. The settlers also brought the pig, dog, chicken, and rat along with them. The transport of plants and domesticated animals on voyaging canoes suggests that the early settlers planned to colonize Hawai'i, after having discovered its location.

The Settlement of Hawai'i

Hawai'i, which contains the largest islands in Polynesia outside of Aotearoa, must have appeared particularly rich in land and resources to its discoverers. The tradition of Hawai'iloa records the event as follows: "[The voyagers] went ashore and found the land fertile and pleasant, filled with 'awa, coconut trees, and so on, and Hawai'iloa, the chief, gave that land his name. Here they dwelt a long time and when their canoe was filled with vegetable food and fish, they returned to their native country with the intention of returning to Hawai'i-nei, which they preferred to their own country." (Fornander, Vol. 6, 278; other traditions suggest that 'awa and coconut were brought by those who settle Hawai'i.)

Scholars believe that early settlers of Hawai'i came predominantly from Hiva (Marquesas). The argument for a Hivan homeland is based in part on linguistic and biological evidence: "Indeed, the close relationship between the Hawaiian and Marquesan languages as well as between the physical populations constitutes strong and mutually corroborative evidence that the early Hawaiians came from the Marquesas"

The Marquesan language has been grouped under the category Proto Central Eastern Polynesian, along with Hawaiian, Tahitian, Tuamotuan, Rarotongan, and Maori. Vocabulary comparisons seem to indicate that the dialect of the Southern Marquesan Islands (Hiva Oa, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva), is the closest relative of Hawaiian language (Green 1966):

Hawaiian / Marq-So. / Marq-No. / Gloss
inoa / inoa / ikoa / name
mano / mano / mako / shark
moena / moena / moeka / mat
one / one / oke / hunger

(From "Lexical Diffusion in Polynesia and the Marquesan-Hawaiian Relationship," Samuel H. Elbert, Journal of the Polynesian Society, 91 (4) December 1982, 505.)
About 56% of basic words in the two languages are the same or similar. For example:

Hawaiian / Marquesan / Gloss
mahina / mahina /moon, month
po / po / darkness
pu / pu / conch
kino / tino / body
kahuna / tuhuna / expert
imu / umu / oven
i'a / ika / fish
lawai'a / awaika / fisherman
wa'a / vaka / canoe
hoe / hoe / paddle

("Glossary of Marquesan Native Terms," E.S. Craighill Handy, The Native Culture in the Marquesas, Honolulu: Bishop Museum, 1923)
Hawaiian and Marquesan also share words that are not found in other Polynesians languages:

Hawaiian / Marquesan / Gloss
'elele / ke'e'e / messenger
makali / mata'i / tie bait to hook (Haw.); string to tie bait to a hook (Marq.)
pa'akai / pa'atai / salt
(For a longer list of words, see Elbert's "Lexical Diffusion in Polynesia and the Marquesan-Hawaiian Relationship," 510-511.)

The two languages also share unique phonological changes from Proto Central Eastern Polynesian (the hypothetical original language). Elbert concludes that the linguistic evidence supports the hypothesis that the Hawaiian language derives from Marquesan (511).
Another argument to support the proposition that the primary migration to Hawai'i came from Hiva is that the islands of Hiva are the best departure point for sailing to Hawai'i from the South Pacific. They are closer to Hawai'i and farther east than the Society Islands, the Tuamotus, or the Cook Islands. A canoe heading north in the easterly tradewinds is better off starting from a point as far east of Hawai'i as possible. In computer simulation of voyages from the Marquesas to Hawai'i, over 80 percent of the canoes that headed in the right direction (NNW to NW by N) reached Hawai'i

Archaeological evidence also connects early settlers of Hawai'i with HivaŃadzes, fishhooks, and pendants found at an early settlement site at Ka Lae on the Big Island of Hawai'i are similar to those found in Hiva. Of course, the archaeology of the Pacific is still in its infancy. As comparative work progresses in the Pacific, similarities are emerging among artifacts of all the Polynesian islands, suggesting that perhaps widespread contact and trading were more frequent than previously thought.

It is probably too simplistic to attribute the settlement of any island group to a single migration from another single island group. The voyages of the Polynesian Voyaging Society's Hokule'a and computer-simulated voyages have shown that Polynesians could have sailed in traditional canoes all the north-south and east-west routes among their islands. Kenneth Emory has noted that some words in the Hawaiian language (such as the names of some days in the lunar month) are shared uniquely with the Tahitian language (Kirch 66), suggesting settlers to Hawai'i came from Tahiti as well as the Marquesas. More archaeological evidence is needed from Hawai'i, Hiva and other islands of Polynesia before any definitive statements can be made about the relationship among the island groups during the period of the early settlement of Hawai'i.


     The Settlement of Polynesia, Part 2

Two-Way Voyaging after Settlement

According to Hawaiian oral traditions collected in the 19th century, voyaging continued between Hawai'i and the South Pacific after the original settlement of Hawai'i. The motives given for voyaging are various:

1. Maintaining Family Connections: The earliest traveller mentioned in oral tradition is the goddess Papa, or Walinu'u; according to tradition she returned to Kahiki because her parents were from there; in Kahiki she became a young woman again; after herrejuvenation, she returned to Hawai'i (Kamakau 92). Mo'ikeha is said to have sent his son Kila to Tahiti to bring his grandson La'amaikahiki to Hawai'i (Fornander, Vol. IV, 112-128). Kaha'i-a-Hema is said to have gone to Kahiki to find his father Hema, who had sailed to Kahiki to get the apo'ula, or sacred red girdle, as a birth gift for Kaha'i. Hema originally came to Hawai'i from Kahiki (Kamakau 94).

2. Marriage: Hawai'iloa voyaged from Hawai'i to Tahiti to search for husbands or wives for his children. He brought back his brother Ki's first born son Tu-nui-ai-a-te-Atua as a husband for his daughter O'ahu (Fornander, VI, 279). Keanini (whose mother was from Hawai'i) sailed from Kahiki to Hawai'i to marry Ha'inakolo; he and Ha'inakolo returned to Kahiki. After they had a child called Leimakani, Ha'inakolo and Leimakani returned to Hawai'i (Kamakau 103-4). Lu'ukia went from Hawai'i to Kahiki where she married 'Olopana; Kaupe'a, the daughter of 'Olopana, went from Kahiki to Hawai'i to marry Kauma'ili'ula (Lu'ukia's brother); Kaupe'a returned to Kahiki to be with her parents and to give birth to a child, who later returned to Hawai'i, becoming an ancestor of chiefs (Kamakau 102).

3. Family Quarrels and Unhappy Love Affairs: Pele, the volcano goddess, quarrelled with her sister Namakaokaha'i, a sea goddess, and left her homeland (the mystical land of Kuaihelani) to come to Hawai'i (Emerson ix-xvi). Pa'ao feuded with his brother Lonopele. After each killed the other's son, Pa'ao migrated to Hawai'i (Kamakau 3-5; 97-100). According to one tradition, 'Olopana grew jealous of his brother Mo'ikeha, so Mo'ikeha left for Hawai'i (Kalakaua 115-135). Another version of the Mo'ikeha tradition says he left Tahiti for Hawai'i after being rejected by his brother's wife Lu'ukia (Fornander, Vol. IV, 112-114).
4. Burial in Homeland: La'amaikahiki took Mo'ikeha's bones back to Tahiti for burial (Fornander, Vol. IV, 152-154).

5. Acquiring Mana from the Homeland: Pa'ao, who brought the war god Kukailimoku to Hawai'i, returned to Tahiti to bring back a chief of pure blood (Kamakau 3-5; 97-100).
6. Escaping Flood and Famine: Pupu-hulu-ana left Kaua'i during a famine and searched for islands to the east (Kamakau 103). 'Olopana left Waipi'o for Kahiki after a flood brought on a famine (Kalakaua 115-135).

7. Maka'ika'iŃSightseeing and Adventure: Kaulu "traveled throughout Kahiki, saw all the kingdoms of the worldÉ" (Kamakau 92). Paumaukua "was a chief who traveled around Kahiki and brought back with him several foreigners" (Kamakau 95). Mo'ikeha's grandson Kaha'i-a-Ho'okamali'i went sightseeing to Tahiti and brought back with him a breadfruit tree from 'Upolu (Taha'a in the Society Islands) and planted it at Pu'uloa, 'Ewa district, O'ahu (Kamakau 110).

Similar motivations and motifs appear in the voyaging traditions of other Pacific islands. Another motivation for voyaging, not represented in this list, was to obtain materials or plants not available on one's home island. The tradition of Aka describes a voyage from Hiva (Marquesas) to Rarotonga to obtain highly prized red feathers; the story of Pepe-iu describes a voyage made to bring the breadfruit plant from Hiva to Rarotonga.

The End of Voyaging

By the time Europeans arrived in Hawai'i in the 18th century, voyaging between Hawai'i and the rest of Polynesia had ceased for more than 400 years, perhaps the last voyager being Pa'ao or Mo'ikeha in the 14th century. The reason for the cessation of voyaging is not known. However, after the 14th century, the archaeological evidence reveals a dramatic expansion of population and food production in Hawai'i (Kirch 303-306). Perhaps the resources and energies of the Hawaiian people went into developing their 'aina; and ties with families and gods on the islands to the south weakened.

Voyaging and Human Survival

As Ben Finney suggests in "One Species, or a Million?" (From Sea to Space), the history of humanity is a history of migrations. Human beings originated in Africa perhaps 200,000 years ago, spread through Europe and Asia, walked across a once-existant land bridge (or paddled along the coastline) to the Americas, then traversed short sea distances to the once-unified land mass of New Guinea-Australia. The human movement into Polynesia was the final phase of the human settlement of the globe, into the most isolated, most difficult to reach habitable land. The particular genius and contribution of the Polynesians was the development of seafaring and navigation skills and canoe technology that enabled them to voyage back and forth across the long sea distances among islands of the Pacific. The motivation for the exploration was probably universal: the search for new lands for settlement and new resources for survival.

Human beings have been one of the most successful species on earth, adapting technology and culture for survival in new environments. Human population has flourished in many different places and times. The Polynesians, with their expertise in fishing and farming, were able to develop healthy, stable communities on islands with limited resources. Resource management and conservation were essential on such islands, since overexploitation could result in damage to or permanent loss of resources. Malama 'aina, caring for the land, was a key value for survival. At their best, Polynesian societies found a balance between human needs and limited resources. Extended families, or 'ohana, worked the land and sea; those near the coast supplied the products of the sea to those living inland, who in turn supplied land products. The division of labor and sharing is embodied in the tradition of two brothers and their wivesŃKu'ula-uka, a farmer of the uplands, and his wife Hina-ulu-'ohia, a goddesss of the forest; and Ku 'ula-kai, a fisherman, and his wife Hina-puku-i'a, who gathered products of the reef and seashore. As part of an 'ohana, everyone worked together and received a share of the produce. Stinginess and hoarding was criticized, as was laziness, sponging, and gluttony. Hospitality to malihini (persons from outside of the community) was also a strong tradition.

Yet establishing such a stable community on one island did not eliminate the need for exploration and migration. There was always the possibility of finding and settling a better island with more resources and space. And no human society is stable and secure forever. Natural disasters occurŃtsunamis, rising sea levels or sinking islands, typhoons and hurricanes, floods, and droughts could bring on famine. Even if no natural disaster occurred, population generally increases in favorable environments, and the maximum carrying capacity of islands were eventually reached. Successful food production, unless combined with birth control, results in overcrowding. One solution to overcrowding was migration to marginal areas of the inhabited island, or to a new island. The tradition of Ru tells how this Ra'iatean migrated to the uninhabited Aitutaki with a group of settlers because of overpopulation on Ra'iatea following a long period of peace and prosperity .
Without the safety valve of migration, overpopulation could lead to overexploitation of resources, environmental degradation, food shortages, and conflicts over the remaining resources.

Patrick C. McCoy argues that such was the case on Rapa Nui (Easter Island): "In sharp contrast to the first millennium of progressive development that produced Easter Island's world renowned statuary and megalithic architecture, the final 200 years of prehistory were a period of general decadence. Cultural instability is attested to in a wealth of traditions on tribal warfare, which is known to have resulted in famines, the emergence of cannibalism, and the widespread destruction of image ahu...Ecological and archaeological data suggest man-induced environmental change as an explanation for cultural decadence. The long term cumulative effects of population growth on land and flora are identified with an irreversible process of environmental degradation" ("Easter Island," 159-160).

Of course, McCoy's conclusions, commonplace now in Euroamerican Rapa Nui scholarship, are speculative. From the Polynesian point of view, why would the people have destroyed their own island or themselves, when it was against their traditional values to do so; the land and sea are their parents, which nurture and sustain their well-being and which in turn must be taken care of and protected. Another explanation of the devastation of Rapa Nui could be that some natural disaster--say a long drought--could have caused it. A small island does not have the same ability to recover from such a disaster as a large island or continent might. Once the ecology of the island had been disrupted, by natural disaster and not by the activities of native people, the island could not longer sustain the population or activities that were once carried on. And if the people were trapped on the island because now all the trees had died out and there were none left to build canoes to search for new islands, the conflicts described in oral tradtions could have occurred.

Whether the limits on resources were due to population growth and overexploitation of resources or to natural disasters, the oral traditions of Polynesia describe competing chiefs--often two brothers or relatives--fighting over land and power, with the winner taking control of the land, and the loser being killed or forced to leave. The cousins Tangiia and Tutapu fought over the right to rule in Tahiti. Tutapu won and Tangiia left, eventually settling in Rarotonga. Tutapu, known as "the relentless one," continued to pursue Tangiia, until they met again on Rarotonga, and Tangiia slew Tutapu (Te Ariki-Tara-are).

The brothers Pa'ao and Lonopele feuded over some stolen fruits in Ra'iatea, and after each had killed the other's son, Pa'ao left his homeland to settle in Hawai'i.
Today the world's inhabitable lands have been claimed, and the boundaries of nations drawn. While technological advances continue to increase the carrying capacity of island earth and there is still room left for more people, environmental degradation is already apparent in the destruction of the rainforests, the erosion of farmlands, the overexploitation of ocean fisheries, industrial and agricultural pollution, the growing volume of toxic waste products and sewage, and the loss of biodiversity and human diversity. A monocultural human system for exploiting resources to increase individual profits has expanded over the globe. Individuals and groups still migrate, but if we look at the earth as an island in space (size is relative to the balance between resources and population), then people are just moving from one part of the island to another. There are no new islands to discover and inhabit on the planet. One could adopt the vision of Ben Finney in "One Species, or a Million?": human beings could board spaceships (as Polynesian boarded canoes) and colonize the solar system. But the cost would be enormous, and perhaps our resources would be better spent learning how to conserve resources and control population growth within the limits of the island Earth.

By: Dennis Kawaharada






   About Ferdinand Magellan's Voyage Round The World

Ferdinand Magellan set out in 1519 with five ships and 270 men to claim glory for Spain and establish trade ties with the so-called Spice Islands of the Far East. Three years later, just 18 sailors and one ship arrived home after completing the first circumnavigation of the globe. This grand achievement was made more impressive by the fact that it remained the only circumnavigation for the next 50 years (when Sir Francis Drake did it).

As there are men whose curiosity would not be satisfied with namely hearing related the marvellous things I have seen, and the difficulties I experienced in the course of the perilous expedition I am about to describe, and who are anxious to know by what means I was enabled to surmount them, and as due credit by such would not be given to the success of a similar undertaking if they were left ignorant of its most minute details, I have deemed it expedient briefly to relate what give origin to my voyage, and the means by which I was so fortunate at to bring it to a successful termination.

In the year 1519, I was in Spain in the court of Charles V, King of the Romans, in company with Signor Chiericato, then apostolical prothonotary and orator of Pope Leo X of holy memory, who by his merits was raised to the dignity of Bishop and Prince of Teramo. Now as from the books I had read, an from the conversation of the learned men who frequented the house of the prelate, I knew that by navigating the ocean wonderful things were to be seen, I determined to be convinced of them by my own eyes, that I might be enabled to give to others the narrative of my voyage, as well for their amazement as advantage, and at the same time acquire a name which should be handed down to posterity.

An opportunity soon presented itself. I learned that a squadron of five vessels was under equipment at Sevilla, destined for the discovery of the Molucca islands, whence we derive our spices, and that Ferdinandez (Ferdinand) Magellan, a Portuguese gentleman, and commander of the order of St. Jago (Santiago) de la Spata, who had already more than once traversed the ocean with great reputation, was nominated Captain General of the expedition. I therefore immediately repaired to Barcelona, to request permission of His Majesty to be one on this voyage, which permission was granted. Thence, provided with letters of recommendation, I went by sea to Malaga, and from that city overland to Sevilla, where I waited three months before the expedition was in readiness to sail. ...

The Captain General Ferdinand Magellan had resolved on undertaking a long voyage over the ocean, where the winds blow with violence and storms are very frequent. He had also determined on taking a course as yet unexplored by any navigator, but this bold attempt he was cautious of disclosing, lest anyone should strive to dissuade him from it by magnifying the risk he would have to encounter, and this dishearten his crew. To the perils naturally incident on a similar voyage was joined the unfavourable circumstance of the four other vessels he commanded beside his own being under the direction of captains who wee inimical to him, merely on account of his being a Portuguese, they themselves being Spaniards. ...

Monday morning the tenth of August 1519, the squadron having everything requisite on board and a complement of 237 men, its departure (from Seville) was announced by a discharge of artillery, and the foresail was set. ... the twentieth of September we sailed from San Lucar, steering toward the southwest, and on the twenty-sixth reached one of the Canary Islands called Teneriffe, situated in 28 degrees of latitude north. We stopped here for three days, at a spot where we could take in wood and water. ... On Monday, the third of October, we made sail directly toward the south. We passed between Cape Verd (Verde) and its islands in latitude 14 degrees 30 minutes north. After coasting along the shores of Guinea for several days, we arrived in latitude 8 degrees north, where is a mountain called Sierra Leona. ...

After we had passed the equinoctial line, we lost sight of the polar star. We then steered south-southwest, making for the Terra di Verzino (Brazil), in latitude 23 degrees 30 minutes south. This land is a continuation of that on which Cape Augustin (St. Augustine) is situated in latitude 8 degrees 30 minutes south. Here we laid in a good stock of fowls; potatoes; a kind of fruit which resembles the cone of the pine tree (the anana or pineapple), but which is very sweet and of an exquisite flavour; sweet reeds; the flesh of the anta, which resembles that of a cow, etc. We made excellent bargain here. For a hook or a knife we purchased five or six fowls; a comb brought us two geese; and a small looking-glass, or a pair of scissors, as much fish as would serve ten people; the inhabitants for a little bell or a ribbon gave a basket of potatoes, which is the name they give to roots somewhat resembling our turnips, and which are nearly like chestnuts in taste.

Our playing cards were an equally advantageous object of barter; for a king of spades I obtained half a dozen fowls, and the hawker even deemed his bargain an excellent one. We entered this port (Rio de Janeiro) on Saint Lucy's day, the thirteenth of December. The sun as noon was vertical, and we suffered much more from the heat than on passing the line. the land of Brazil, which abounds in all kinds of productions, is as extensive as Spain, France, and Italy united. It belongs to Portugal. We stayed thirteen days at this port; after which, resuming our course, we coasted along this country as far as 34 degrees 40 minutes south, where we found a large river of fresh water. This river (Rio de la Plata) contains seven small islands. In the largest, called Santa Maria, precious stones are found. It was formerly imagined that this was not a river, but a channel which communicated with the South Sea; but it was shortly found to be truly a river, which at its mouth is 17 leagues across. Here John (Juan Diaz) de Solis, while on voyage of discovery like us, was with sixty of his crew devoured by cannibals, in whom they placed too great confidence.

Coasting constantly along this land toward the Antarctic Pole, we stopped at two islands, which we found peopled by geese (penguins) and sea wolves (seals) alone. The former are so numerous and so little wild that we caught a sufficient store for the five ships in the space of a single hour. They are black, and seem to be covered alike over every part of the body with short feathers, without having wings with which to fly; in fact they cannot fly, and live entirely on fish. they are so far that we were obliged to singe them, as we could not pluck their feathers. Their beak is curved like a horn. the sea wolves are of a different colour, and nearly the size of a calf, with a head much like the head of that animal. Their ears are round and short, and their teeth very long. They have no legs, and their paws, which adhere to the body, somewhat resemble our hands, having also small nails. they are, however, web-footed like a duck. Were these animals capable of running, they would be much to be dreaded, for they seem very ferocious. They swim with great swiftness, and subsist on fish. We experienced a dreadful storm between these islands, during which the lights of Saint Elmo, Saint Nicholas, and Saint Clare were oftentimes perceived at the tops of masts. Instantly as they disappeared, the fury of the tempest abated. On leaving these islands to continue our course, we ascended as high as 49 degrees 30 minutes south, where we discovered an excellent port (Port St. Julian), and as winter approached (the month was May), we thought best to take shelter here during the bad weather.

Two months elapsed without our perceiving any inhabitant of the country. One day when the least we expected anything of the kind, a man of gigantic figure presented himself before us. He capered almost naked on the sands, and was singing and dancing, at the same time casting dust on his head. The Captain sent one of our seamen onshore with orders to make similar gestures as a token of friendship and peace, which were well understood, and the giant suffered himself to be quietly ld to a small island where the Captain had landed. I likewise went on shore there, with many others. He testified great surprise on seeing us, and holding up his finger, undoubtedly signified to us that he thought us descended from Heaven. The man was of such immense stature that our heads scarcely reached to his waist. He was of handsome appearance, his face broad and painted red, except a rim of yellow round his eyes and two spots in shape of a heart on his cheeks. His hair, which was thin, appeared lightened with some kind of powder. His coat, or rather his cloak, was made of furs, well sewed together, taken from an animal which, as we had afterward an opportunity of seeing, abounds in this country. this animal (guanaco) has the head and ears of a mule, the body of a camel, the legs of a stag, and the tail of a horse, and like this last animal, it neighs.

This man likewise wore a sort of shoe, make of the same skin. (Amoretti remarks that it was because of this shoe, which made the man's foot resemble the foot of a bear, that Magellan called the people Patagonians.) He held in his left hand a short and massive bow, the string of which, somewhat thicker than that of a lute, was made of the intestines of the same animal. In the other hand he held arrows made of short reeds, with feathers at one end, similar to ours, and at the other, instead of iron, a white-and-black flint stone. With the same stone they likewise form instruments to work wood with. The Captain General gave him victuals and drink, and among other trifles presented him with a large steel mirror. The giant, who had not the least conception of this trinket, and who saw his likeness now perhaps for the first time, started back in so much fright as to knock down four of our men who happened to stand behind him. We gave him some little bells, a small looking-glass, a comb, and some glass beads; after which he was set on shore, accompanied by four men well armed.

His comrade, who had objected to coming on board the ship, seeing him return, ran to advise his comrades, who, perceiving that our armed men advanced toward them, ranged themselves in file without arms, and almost naked. They immediately began dancing and singing in the course of which they raised the forefinger to Heaven, to make us comprehend that it was thence they reckoned us to have descended. They at the same time showed us a white powder, in clay pans, and presented it to us, having nothing else to offer us to eat. Our people invited them by signs to come on board our ship and proffered to carry on board with them whatever they might wish. They accepted the invitation, but the men, who merely carried a bow and arrow, loaded everything on the women as if they had been so many beasts of burden. ?The women are not of equal size with the men, but in recompense they are much more lusty. Their breasts, which hang down, are more than a foot in length. They paint, and dress in the same manner as their husbands, but they have a thin skin of some animal with which they cover their nudity. They were, in our contemplation, far from handsome; nevertheless their husbands seemed very jealous.

The women led four of the animals of which I have previously spoken, in a string but they were young ones. They make use of their young to catch the old ones. They fasten them to a tree, the old ones come to play with them, when from their concealment the men kill them with their arrows. The inhabitants of the country, both men and women, being invited by our people to repair to the vicinage of the ships, divided themselves into two parties, one on each side of the port, and diverted us with an exhibition of the mode of hunting before recited. Six days afterward, while our people were employed in felling wood for the ship, they saw another giant, dressed like those we had parted with and like them armed with a bow and arrow. On approaching our people he touched his head and body, afterward raising his hands to Heaven, gestures which the men imitated. The Captain General, informed of this circumstance, sent the skiff onshore to conduct him to the islet in the port, on which a house had been erected to serve as a forge, and a magazine for different articles of merchandise.

This man was of higher stature and better made than the others; he was moreover of gentler manners. He danced and sprang so high, and with such might, that his feet sank several inches deep in the sand. He remained with us some days. We taught him to pronounce the name of Jesus, to say the Lord's Prayer, etc., which he did with equal ease with ourselves, but in a much stronger tone of voice. Finally, we baptized him by the name of John. The Captain General made him a present of a shirt, a vest, cloth drawers, a cap, a looking-glass, comb, some little bells, and other trifling things. He returned toward his own people, apparently well contented. The nest day he brought us one of the large animals of which we have made mention, and received other presents to induce him to repeat his gift, but from that day we saw nothing of him, and suspected his companions had killed him on account of his attachment to us.

At the end of a fortnight four other of these men repaired to us. They were without arms, but we afterward found they had concealed them behind some bushes, where they were pointed out to us by two of the party, whom we detained. They were all of them painted, but in a different manner to those we had seen before. The Captain wished to keep the two youngest, who as well were of the handsomest form, to carry them with us on our voyage, and even take them to Spain; but, aware of the difficulty of securing them by forcible means, he made use of the following artifice. He presented them a number of knives, mirrors, glass beads, etc., so that both their hands were full. He afterward offered them two of those iron rings used for chaining felons, and when he saw their anxiety to be possessed of them (for they are passionately fond of iron), and moreover that they could not hold them in their hands, he proposed to fasten them to their legs, that they might more easily carry them home, to which they consented. Upon this, our people put on the irons and fastened the rings, by which means they were securely chained. As soon as they became aware of the treachery used toward them they we violently enraged, and puffed and roared aloud, invoking Setebos, their chief demon, to come to their assistance.

Not content with having these men, the Captain was anxious of securing their wives also, in order to transport a race of giants to Europe. With the view he ordered the two others to be arrested, to oblige them to conduct our people to the spot where they were. None of our strongest men were scarcely able to cast them to the ground and bind them, and still even one of them succeeded in freeing himself, while the other exerted himself so much that he received a slight wound in the head from one of the men, but they were in the end obliged to show our people the way to the abode of the wives of our two prisoners. These women, on learning what had happened to their husbands, made such loud outcries as to be heard at a great distance.

Johan Carvajo, the pilot, who was at the head of our people, as night was drawing on, did not choose to bring away at that time the women to whose house he had been conducted, but remained there till morning, keeping a good guard. In the meantime came there two other men, who without expressing any dissatisfaction or surprise continued all night in the hut; but soon as dawn began to break, upon saying a few words, in an instant everyone took flight, man, woman, and child, the children even scampering away with greater speed than the rest. They abandoned their hut to us, and all that it contained. In the meantime one of the men drove off to a distance the little animals which they used in hunting, while another, concealed behind a bush, wounded one of our men in the thigh, who died immediately.

Though our people fired on the runaways, they were unable to hit any, on account of their not escaping in a straight line, but leaping from one side to another, and getting on as swiftly as horses at a full gallop. Our people burned the hut of these savages, and buried their dead companion. Savage as they are, these Indians are yet not without their medicaments. When they have a pain in the stomach, for example, in lieu of an operation medicine they thrust an arrow pretty deeply down the throat, to excite a vomit, and throw up a matter of greenish colour, mixed with blood. The green is occasioned by a sort of thistle, on which they feed. if they have the headache, they make a gash in their forehead, and do the same with the other parts of the body where they experience pain, in order to draw from the affected part a considerable quantity of blood. Their theory as explained to us by one of those we had taken, is on a par with their practice. Pain, they say, proceeds from the reluctance of the blood to abide any longer in the part where it is fit; by releasing it, consequently, the pain removed.

Their hair is cut circularly like that of monks, but is longer, and supported round the head by a cotton string, in which they place their arrows when they go hunting. When the weather is very cold, they tie their private parts closely to the body. It appears that their religion is limit4d to adoring the Devil. they pretend that when one of them is on the point of death, ten or twelve demons appear dancing and singing around him. One of these, who makes a greater noise than the rest, is termed Setebos, the inferior imps are called Cheleule; they are painted like the people of the country. Our giant pretends to have once seen a devil, with horns, and hair of such length as to cover his feet' he cast out flames, added he, from his mouth and his posteriors. These people, as I have already noticed, clothe themselves in the skin of an animal, and with the same kind of skin do they cover their huts, which they transport whither suits them best, having no fixed place of abode, but wandering from spot to spot like gypsies. They generally live upon raw meat, and a sweet root called capac. They are great feeders; the two we took daily consumed a basketful of bread each, and drank half a pail of water at a draught. They eat mice raw, and without even slaying them. Our Captain gave these people the name of Patagonians.

We spent five months in this part, to which we gave the denomination of St. Julian, and met with no accidents onshore during the whole of our stay, save what I have noticed. Scarcely had we anchored in this port before the four captains of the other vessels plotted to murder the Captain General. These traitors were Juan of Carthagena, vehalor of the squadron; Lewis de Mendoza, the treasurer; Antonio Cocca, the paymaster; and Caspar de Casada. The plot was discovered, the first was flayed alive, and the second was stabbed to the heart. Gaspar de Casada was forgiven, but a few days later, he meditated treason anew. The Captain General then - who dared not take his life, as he was created a captain by the Emperor himself - drove him from the squadron, and left him in the country of the Pantagonians, together with a priest, his accomplice. (When Gomez, who commanded the San Antonio, deserted the squadron in the strait and returned to St. Julian, he took them both on board again, and carried them back to Spain.)

Another mishap befell part of the squadron while we remained at this station. the ship St. Jago (Santiago) which had been detached to survey the coast, was cast upon rocks; nevertheless, as if by a miracle, the whole of the crew were saved. Two seamen came overland to the port where we were to acquaint us of this disaster, and the Captain General sent men to the spot immediately, with some sacks of biscuit. The crew stopped two months near the place where the vessel was stranded, to collect the wreck and merchandise which the sea successively cast onshore; and during all this time means of subsistence was transported them overland, although 100 miles distant from the port of St. Julian, and by a very bad and fatiguing road, through thickets and briers, among which the bearers of provision wee obliged to pass the whole night without any other beverage than what they obtained from the ice they found, and which they were able with difficulty to break.

As for us, we fared tolerably in this port, though certain shellfish of great length, some of which contained pearls, but of very small size, wee not edible. We found ostriches (rheas) here, foxes, rabbits much smaller than ours, and sparrows. the trees yield frankincense. We planted a cross on the summit of a neighbouring mountain, which we termed Monte Christo, and took possession of the country in the name of the King of Spain. We at length left this port (the twenty-first of August) and keeping along the coast, in latitude 50 degrees 40 minutes south, discovered a river of fresh water (the Santa Cruz), into which we entered. The whole squadron nearly experienced shipwreck here, owing to the furious winds with which it was assailed, and which occasioned a very rough sea; but God and the corpona sancta (the lights which shone on the summits of the masts) brought us succor and saved us from harm. We spent two months here, to stock our water. We laid in provision also of a species of fish nearly 2 feet in length and covered with scales; it was tolerable eating, but we were unable to take a sufficient number of them. Before we quitted this spot our Captain ordered all of us to make confession, and, like good Christians, to receive the communion.

Continuing our course toward the south, on the twenty-first of October, in latitude 52 degrees, we discovered a strait which we denominated the strait of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, in honor of the day. This strait, as will appear in the sequel, is 440 miles, or 110 maritime leagues, in length; it is half a league in breadth, sometimes more, sometimes less, and terminates in another sea, which we denominated the Pacific Ocean. This strait is enclosed between lofty mountains covered with snow, and it is likewise very deep, so that we were unable to anchor except quite close to shore, where was from 25 to 30 fathoms of water. The whole of the crew were so firmly persuaded that this strait had no western outer that we should not, but for the deep science of the Captain General, have ventured on its exploration. This man, as skilful as he was intrepid, knew that he would have to pass by a strait very little know, but which he had seen laid down on a chart of Martin de Bohme (Martin Behaim), a most excellent cosmographer, in the treasury of the king of Portugal.

As soon as we entered on this water, imagined to be only a bay, the Captain sent forward two vessels, the Sant' Antonio, and La Concepcion (Conception) to examine where it terminated or whither it led, while we in the Trinidad and the Vittoria awaited them in the mouth of it. At night came on a terrible hurricane, which lasted six and thirty hours, and forced us to quit our anchors and leave our vessels to the mercy of the winds and waves in the gulf. The two other vessels, equally buffeted, were unable to double a cape in order to rejoin us; so that by abandoning themselves to the gale, which drove them constantly toward what they conceived to be the bottom of a bay, they were apprehensive momentarily of being driven onshore. but at the instant they gave themselves up for lost, they saw a small opening, which they took for an inlet of the bay. Into this they entered, and perceiving that this channel was not closed, they threaded it, and found themselves in another, through which they pursued their course to another strait leading into a third bay still larger than the preceding. then, in lieu of following up their exploitation, they deemed it most prudent to return and render account of what they had observed to the Captain General.

Two days passed without the two vessels returning sent to examine the bottom of the bay, so that we reckoned they had been swallowed up during the tempest; and seeing smoke on shore, we conjectured that those who had had the good fortune to escape had kindled those fires to inform us of their existence and distress. But while in this painful incertitude as to their fate, we saw them advancing toward us under full sail, and their flags flying; and when sufficiently near, heard the report of their bombards and their loud exclamations of joy. We repeated the salutation, and when we learnt from them that they had seen the prolongation of the bay, or, better speaking, the strait, we made toward them, to continue our voyage in this course, of possible.

When we had entered into the third bay, which I have before noticed, we saw two openings, or channels, the one running to the southeast, the other to the southwest. The Captain General sent the two vessels, the Sant' Antonio and La Concepcion to the southeast, to examine whether or not this channel terminated in an open sea. The first set sail immediately, under press of canvas, not choosing to wait for the second, which the pilot wished to leave behind, as he had no intention to avail himself of the darkness of the might to retrace his course, and return to Spain by the same way we came.

The pilot was Emanuel Gomez, who hated Magellan, for the sole reason that when he came to Spain to lay his project the Emperor of proceeding to the Moluccas by a western passage, Gomez himself had requested, and was on the point of obtaining, some caravels for an expedition of which he would have had the command. This expedition had for its object to make new discoveries, but he arrival of Magellan prevented his request from being complied with, and he could only obtain the subaltern situation of his serving under a Portuguese. In the course of the night he conspired with the other Spaniards on board the ship. They put in irons, and even wounded, the captain, Alvaro de Meschita, the cousin German of the Captain General, and carried him thus to Spain. They reckoned likewise on transporting thither one of the two giants we had taken, and who was on board their ship; but we learnt on our return that he died on approaching the equinoctial line, unable to bear the heat of the tropical regions.

The vessel, La Concepcion, which could not keep up with the Sant' Antonio, continued to cruise to the channel to await its return, but in vain. We, with the other two vessels, entered the remaining channel, on the southwest, and continuing our course, came to a river which we called Sardine River, on account of the vast number of the fish of this denomination we found in it.

We anchored here to wait for the two other ships, and remained in the river four days, but in the interim we dispatched a boat, well manned, to reconnoiter the cape of this channel, which promised to terminate in another sea. On the third day the sailors sent on this expedition returned and announced their having seen the cape where the strait ended, and with it a great sea - that is to say, the ocean. We wept for joy. this cape was denominated II Capo Deseado (The Wished-for Cape; Cape of Good Hope) for in truth we had longed wished to see it.

We returned to join the two other vessels of the squadron, and found La Concepcion alone. On inquiring of the pilot, Johan Serano, what had become of the other vessel, we learnt that he conceived it to be lost, as he had not once seen it since he entered the channel. the Captain General then ordered it to be sought for everywhere, but especially in the channel into which it had penetrated. He sent back the Vittoria to the mouth of the strait, with directions if they should not find it, to hoist a standard on some eminent spot at the foot of which, in a small pot, should be placed a letter pointing out the course the Captain General would take in order to enable the missing ship to follow the squadron. this mode of communication, in case of a division, was concerted at the instant of our departure. Two other signals were hoisted in the same manner on eminent sites in the first bay, and on a small island of the third bay, on which we saw a number of sea wolves and birds. the Captain General, with La Concepcion, awaited the return of the Vittoria near the River of Sardines, and erected a cross on a small island, at the foot of two mountains covered with snow, where the river had its source. Had we not discovered this strait leading from one sea to the other, it was the intention of the Captain General to continue his course toward the south, as high as 75 degrees, where in summer there is no night, or very little, as in winter there is scarcely any day. while we were in the strait, in the mouth of October, there were but three hours' night.

The shore in this strait, which on the left turns to the southeast, is low. We called it the Strait of the Patagonians (Strait of Magellan). At every half-league it contains a safe port, with excellent water, cedar wood, sardines, and a great abundance of shellfish. There were here also some vegetables, part of them of bitter taste but others fit to eat, especially a species of sweet celery, which grows on the margin of springs and which, for want of other, serves us for food. In short, I do not think the world contains a better strait than this. ...

On Wednesday, the twenty-eighth of November, we left the strait and entered the ocean to which we afterward gave the denomination of Pacific, and to which we sailed the space of three months and twenty days, without tasting any fresh Provisions. The biscuit we were eating no longer deserved the name of bread; it was nothing but dust, and worms which had consumed the substance; and what is more, it smelled intolerably, being impregnated with the urine of mice. The water we were obliged to drink was equally putrid and offensive. We were even so far reduced, that we might not die of hunger, to eat pieces of the leather with which the main yard was covered to prevent it from wearing the rope. These pieces of leather, constantly exposed to the water, sun, and win, were so hard that they required being soaked four or five days in the sea in order to render them supple, after this we broiled them to eat. Frequently indeed we were obliged to subsist on sawdust, and even mice, a food so disgusting, were sought after with such avidity that they sold for half a ducat apiece.

Nor was this all. Our greatest misfortune was being attacked by a malady in which the gums swelled so as to hide the teeth, as well in the upper at the lower jaw, whence those affected were thus incapable of chewing their food. Nineteen of our number did of this complaint (scurvy), among whom was the Patagonian giant, and a Brazilian whom we had brought with us from his own country. Besides those who died, we had from 25 to 30 sailors ill, who suffered dreadful pains in their arms, legs, and other parts of the body; but these all of them recovered. As for myself, I cannot be too grateful to God for the continued health I enjoyed, though surrounded with sick, I experienced not the slightest illness. In the course of these three months and twenty days we traversed nearly 4,000 leagues in the ocean denominated by us Pacific, on account of our not having experienced throughout the whole of this period any the least tempestuous weather. We did not either in this whole length of time discover any land, except two desert islands; on these we saw nothing but birds and trees, for which reason we named them Las Islas Desdichados (The Unfortunate Islands). We found no bottom along their shores, and saw no fish but sharks. The two islands are 200 leagues apart. the first lies in latitude 15 degrees south, the second in latitude 9 degrees.

From the run of our ship as estimated by the log, we traversed a space of from 60 to 70 leagues a day; and if God and His Holy Mother had not granted us a fortunate voyage, we should all have perished of hunger in so vast a sea. I do not think that anyone in the future will venture upon a similar voyage. If on leaving the straits we had continued a western course under the same parallel, we should have made the tour of the world; and without seeing any land should have returned by Wished-for Cape (Cape of Good Hope) to the cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, both of which are in latitude 52 degrees south. the Antarctic has not the same stars as the Arctic Pole; but here are seen two clusters of small nebulous stars which look like small clouds, and are but little distant the one from the other. (These are now called the Magellanic Clouds). In midst of these clusters of small stars two are distinguished very large and very brilliant, but of which the motion is scarcely apparent. These indicate the Antarctic Pole.

Though the needle declined somewhat from the North Pole, it yet oscillated toward it, but not with equal force as in the Northern hemisphere. When out a sea, the Captain General directed the course the pilots should steer, and inquired how they pointed. they unanimously replied they bore in that direction he ordered them. He then informed them that their course was wrong, and directed them to correct the needle because, being in the Southern, it had not an equal power to designate the true north as in the Northern Hemisphere. When in midst of the ocean, we discovered in the west five stars of great brilliancy, in form of a cross. We steered northeast by west till we reached the equinoctial line in 122 degrees of longitude, west of the line of demarcation (laid down by Pope Alexander VI). this line is 30 degrees west of the meridian, and 3 degrees west of Cape Verde. ...

After we had crossed the line we steered west by north. We then ran 200 leagues toward the west; when, changing our course again, we ran west by south until in the latitude of 13 degrees north. We trusted by this course to reach Cape Gatticara, which cosmographers have placed in this latitude; but they are mistaken, this cape lying 12 degrees more toward the north. They must, however, be excused the error in their plan, as they have not like us had the advantage of visiting these parts. When we had run 70 leagues in this direction and were in latitude 12 degrees north, longitude 146 degrees, on Wednesday, the sixth of march, we discovered in the northwest a small island, and afterward two others in the southwest. A first was more lofty and larger than the other two. The Captain General meant to stop at the largest to victual and refresh, but this was rendered impossible, as the islanders came on board our ships and trade first one thing and then another, without our being able to prevent them. they invited us to take in our sails ad come on shore, and even had the address the steal the skiff which hung stern of our vessel.

Exasperated at length, our Captain landed with forty men, burnt forty or fifty of their houses and several of their boats, and killed seven of the people. By acting thus he recovered his skills but he did not deem it prudent to stop any longer after such acts of hostility. We therefore continued our course in the same direction as before. ... (Although the expedition had only this brief encounter, Pigafetta felt able to describe in some detail the manners and customs of these natives. In the course of his remarks he states, "The inhabitants of these islands are poor, but very dexterous, and above all at thieving; for this reason we gave the name of De los Ladrones to the islands." the group which received this uncomplimentary name was later called the Marianas, by which name these islands are still known.)

The sixteenth of March, at sunrise we found ourselves near an elevated land 300 leagues from the island De los Ladrones. We soon discovered it to be an island. It is called Zamal (Samur). Behind this island is another not inhabited, and we afterward learnt that its name is Humunu. Here the Captain General resolved on landing the next day to take in water in greater security, and take some rest after so long and tedious a voyage. here likewise he caused two tents to be erected for the sick, and ordered a sow to be killed. ... Perceiving around us a number of islands on the fifth Sunday of Lent, which also is the feast of St. Lazarus, we called the archipelago by the name of that saint. (These islands are now called the Philippines. Magellan made contact with the natives, who proved friendly, and he stayed in the area to trade and explore. Unfortunately, he also became involved in local politics among the tribes as he tried to spread Christianity and exert Spanish sovereignty - Editor)

On Sunday, the seventh of April, we entered the port of Zubu (Cebu). We passed several villages, in which we saw houses built upon trees. When near the town, the Captain ordered all our colors to be hoisted and all our sails to be taken in; and a general salute was fired, which caused great alarm among the islanders. The Captain then sent one of his pupils, with the interpreter, as ambassador to the King of Cebu. On arriving at the town they found the King surrounded by an immense concourse of people alarmed at the noise occasioned by the discharge of our bombards. The interpreter began with removing the apprehension of the monarch, informing him that this was a custom with us, and meant as a mark of respect toward him, and as a token of friendship and pace. Upon this assurance the fears of all were dissipated. The King inquired by his Minister what brought us to his island, and what we wanted. The interpreter answered that his master, who commanded the squadron, was a captain in the service of the greatest monarch upon earth, and that the object of his voyage was to proceed to Malucho (the Moluccas); but that the King of Massana, at whose island we had touched, having spoken very highly of him, he had come hither to pay him his respects, and at the same time to take in provisions and give merchandise in exchange.

The King replied he was welcome, but at the same time he advise him that all vessels which might enter his port in view of trading were subject previously to pay duties. In proof of the truth of which he added that four days had not yet elapsed since his having received port duties for a junk from Ciam (Siam), which had come thither to take in slaves and gold, he moreover sent for a Moorish (Mohammedan) merchant, who came from Siam with the same view, to bear witness to what he stated. The interpreter answered that his master, being the captain of so great a king, could not consent to pay duty to any monarch upon earth; that if the King of Cebu wished for peace, he brought pace with him, but if he wished to be hostile, he was prepared for war. The merchant from Siam then, approaching the King, said to him in his own language, "Cata rajah chita" - that is to say, "Take care, Sire, of that." "These people," added he, for he taught us Portuguese, "are those who conquered Calcut, Malacca, and all Upper India."

The interpreter, who comprehended what the Moor said, then remarked that his monarch was one vastly more powerful than the King of Portugal, to whom the Siamese alluded, as well by sea as by land; that it was the King of Spain, the emperor of the whole Christian world; and that if he preferred to have him for an enemy rather than a friend he would have sent a sufficient number of men and vessels entirely to destroy his island. The Moor confirmed what the interpreter said. the King then, finding himself embarrassed, said he would advise with his Ministers, and return an answer the next day. In the meantime he ordered a breakfast, consisting of several dishes, to be set before the deputy of the Captain General and the interpreter, all the dishes consisting of meat served up in porcelain. After breakfast our deputies returned and reported what had taken place. the King of Massana, who next to that of Cebu was the most powerful monarch of these islands, went on shore to announce to the King the friendly intention of our Captain General with respect to him. ...

Tuesday, in the morning, the King of Massana came on board our vessel, in company with the Moorish merchant, and after saluting the Captain on the part of the king of Cebu, told him he was authorized to communicate that the King was busied in collecting all the provisions he could to make a present to him, and that in the afternoon he would send his nephew with some of his Ministers to confirm a treaty of peace. The Captain thanked the deputation, and at the same time exhibited to them a man armed cap-a-ie, observing in case of a necessity to fight, we should all of us be armed in the same manner. The Moor was terribly frightened at sight of a man armed in this manner; but the Captain tranquilized him with the assurance that our arms were as advantageous to our friends as fatal to our enemies; and that we were able as readily to disperse all the enemies of our sovereign and our faith as to wipe the sweat from our brows. The Captain made use of this lofty and threatening tone purposely, that the Moor might make report of it to the King. ...

(When the treaty with the king of Cebu had been concluded, European goods were carried ashore and placed in a house that had been turned over to the Spaniards for this purpose.)

On Friday, we opened our warehouse and exhibited our different merchandise, which excited much admiration among the islanders. For brass, iron, and other weighty articles, they gave us gold in exchange. Our trinkets and articles of a lighter kind, were bartered for rice, hogs, goats, and other edibles. For 14 pounds of iron we received 10 pieces of gold, of the value of a ducat and a half. The Captain General forbade too great an anxiety for receiving gold, without which order every sailor would have parted with all he had to obtain this metal, which would have ruined our commerce forever. Contiguous to the island Cebu is another called Matan (Mactan), which has a port of the same name, in which our vessels laid at anchor. The chief village of this island is likewise called Mactan, over which Zulu and Cilapulapu presided as chiefs. In this island the village of Bulaia with situated, which we burnt.

On Friday, the twenty-sixth of April, Zula, one of the chiefs, sent one of his sons with two goats to the Captain General and observed that if he did not send him the whole of what he had promised, the blame was not to be imputed to himself, but to the other chief, Cilapulapu, who would not acknowledge the authority of the King of Spain. He further stated that if the Captain General would only send to this assistance the following night a boat with some armed men, he would engage to beat and entirely subjugate his rival. on receiving this message the Captain General determined on going himself with these boats. We entreated him not to hazard his person on this adventure, but he answered that as a good pastor he ought not to be far away from his flock.

At midnight we left the ship, 60 in number, armed with helmets and cuirasses. The Christian King, the Prince, his nephew; and several chiefs of Cebu, with a number of armed men, followed us in twenty or thirty balangays. We reached Mactan three hours before day. The Captain would not then begin the attack; but he sent the Moor on shore to inform Cilapulapu and his people that if he would acknowledge the sovereignty of the king of Spain, obey the Christian king of Cebu, and pay the tribute he demanded, they should be looked upon as friends. Otherwise they should experience the strength of our lances. The islanders, nothing intimidated, replied they had lances as well as we, although they were only sticks of bamboo pointed at the end, and staves hardened in the fire. They merely requested that they might not be attacked in the night, as they expected reinforcements, and should then be better able to cope with us. This they said designedly to induce us to attack them immediately, in hope that thus we should fall in the dikes they had dug between the sea and their houses.

We accordingly waited until daylight, when we jumped into the water up to our thighs, the boats not being able to approach near enough to land, on account of the rocks and shallows. The number which landed was 49 only, as 11 were left in charge of the boats. We were obliged to wade some distance through the water before we reached the shore. We found the islanders, 1,500 in number, formed into three battalions, who immediately upon our landing fell upon us, making horrible shouts. Two of these battalions attacked us in flank, and the third in front. Our Captain divided his company into two platoons. the musketeers and crossbowmen fired from distance the space of half an hour without making the least impression on the enemy, for though the balls and arrows penetrated their bucklers made of thin wood, and even wounded them at times in their arms, this did not make them halt, as the wounds failed of occasioning them instant death, as they expected; on the contrary, it only made them more bold and furious. Moreover, trusting to the superiority of their numbers, they showered on us such clouds of bamboo lances, staves hardened in the fire, stones, and even dirt, that it was with difficulty we defended ourselves. some even threw spears headed with iron at our Captain General, who to intimidate and cause them to disperse, ordered away a party of our men to set fire to their houses, which they immediately effected.

The sight of the flames served only to increase their exasperation. some of them even ran to the village which was set on fire, and in which twenty or thirty houses were consumed, and killed two of our men on the spot. They seemed momently to increase in number and impetuosity. A poisoned arrow struck the Captain in the leg, who on this ordered a retreat in slow and regular order, but the majority of our men took to flight precipitately, so that only 7 or 8 remained about the Captain. the Indians, perceiving their blows were ineffectual when aimed at our body or head, on account of our armor, and noticing at the same time that our legs were uncovered, directed against these their arrows, javelins, and stones, and these in such abundance that we could not guard against them. The bombards we had in our boats were of no utility, as the levelness of the strand would not admit the boats' being brought sufficiently close inshore.

We retreated gradually; still continuing to fight, and were now at a bowshot from the islanders, and in the water up to our knees, when they renewed their attack with fury, throwing at us the same lance five or six times over as they picked it up on advancing. As they knew our Captain, they chiefly aimed at him, so that his helmet was twice struck from his head. Still he did not give himself up to despair, and we continued in a very small number fighting by his side.
This combat, so unequal, lasted more than an hour.

An islander at length succeeding in thrusting the end of his lance through the bars of the helmet, and wounding the Captain in the forehead, who, irritated on the occasion, immediately ran the assailant through the body with his lance, the lance remaining in the wound. He now attempted to draw his sword, but was unable, owing to his right arm being grievously wounded. The Indians, who perceived this, pressed in crowds upon him, and one of them having given him a violent cut with a sword on the left leg, he fell on his face. On this they immediately fell upon him.

Thus perished our guide, our light, and our support. On falling, and seeing himself surrounded by the enemy, he turned toward us several times, as if to know whether we had been able to save ourselves. As there was not one of those who remained with him but was wounded, and as we were consequently in no condition either to afford him succor or revenge his death, we instantly made for our boats, which were on the point of putting off. to our Captain indeed did we owe our deliverance, as the instant he fell, all the islanders rushed toward the spot where he lay. The Christian King had it in his power to render us assistance, and this he would not doubt have done; but the Captain General, far from foreseeing what was about to happen when he landed with his people, had ordered him not to leave his balangay, but merely to remain a spectator of our manner of fighting. His Majesty bitterly bewailed his fate on seeing him fall. But the glory of Magellan will survive him. He was adorned with every virtue; in the midst of the greatest adversity he constantly possessed an immovable firmness. At sea he subjected himself to the same privation as his men. Better skilled than anyone in the knowledge of nautical charts, he was a perfect master of navigation, as he proved in making the tour of the world, an attempt on which none before him had ventured.





Like giant footsteps across the islands of Oceania, our prehistoric forefathers left behind some very imposing architectural creations to mark their passing. From the most western islands of Micronesia, throughout Melanesia and the far-flung islands of Polynesia through to distant Easter Island there remain vast monuments to the passing of prehistoric man.

No site in Oceania surpasses the dramatic beauty of ancient Nan Madol, perched on the very edge of the vast Pacific Ocean. Situated on the east coast of Pohnpei, the elite administrative and ceremonial centre grew, flourished, and declined during the centuries preceding western contact.



Here, in a shallow lagoon, the ancient Pohnpeians constructed a magnificent complex of 92 artificial islets inter-connected by a network of waterways. Today, the islets are mostly covered by dense jungle growth, and the waterways are largely chocked with mangrove swamps. Even in their present state, the megalithic ruins of Nan Madol are present-day reminders of the splendid achievements of the pre-historic people of Micronesia.

Monumental sculptured hills rise majestically above
the dense forest southeast of Ngchemiangel Bay, Palau.

The awe-inspiring sculpture of Odalmelech stares
mutely towards the sea east of Melekeok Village, Palau. 


The Tahitian temple of Arahurahu.

 Necker Island in the Hawaiian Chain possesses the above large edifices
which are understood to have been placed there by early Polynesian voyagers.

Pyramid at The Lost City of Mu'a, Tonga.

The building of the ancient capital of Mu'a must have begun many thousands of years ago when the island was slightly lower in relation to the ocean and the lagoon. Tonga has risen about a metre over the last few thousand years and such constructions as the wharf and the canals of the ancient city of Mu'a were rendered useless. This is quite possibly the reason for the abandonment of the ancient city of Mu'a.


Prehistoric remains, Tinian Islands, Micronesia.

The Tahitian pyramid temple of Mahaiatea.


Tradition has it that one of the early sacred Kings of Tonga named Tuitatui who ruled in approximately 1200 AD was responsible for the building of this Trilithon. The period must have been one of great power and prosperity to enable the construction of such a lasting monument.

There had been a great deal of speculation about the purpose of the Ha'amonga. Some people believed that it was a gateway to a royal compound while others speculated that it bore a resemblance to the ancient Celtic monuments of Stonehenge.

In May 1976, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV advanced a theory that the notch carved on the top lintel may have some significance in the ancient lunar calendar. The King was present on the shortest day 21st February, 1997 when the morning sun rose and the bearings taken matched perfectly with the Tropic of Cancer while a similar bearing taken on the longest day matched the Tropic of Capricorn. This would appear to confirm that the two points do in fact mark the position of the rising sun on the shortest and longest days of the year. In short, this construction was used in ancient times to determine the seasons of the year.

The ancient langi Tauhala at Mu'a.

Probably the largest block of stone used in construction of the pyramids of Mu'a, it is curiously notched into the block on its right.  This used slab of beach rock has been split by an earthquake since this photograph was taken in 1900.

The huge statues on Easter Island stand in mute testimony to the
skills and fortitude of the ancient Polynesian people of Easter Island.



Hawaiian house


Hawaiian house


Introduction General Mithology Culture Language Islands Pictures Videos Pacific Links Other