History of the Pacific Islands

History of the Pacific Islands covers the history of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Historical development of the Pacific Islands

This article may have too many section headers dividing up its content. (January 2018)

. . . History of the Pacific Islands . . .

Easter Island is one of the youngest inhabited territories on earth, and for most of the history of Easter Island it was the most isolated inhabited territory on Earth. Its inhabitants, the Rapanui, have endured famines, epidemics, civil war, slave raids and colonialism; have seen their population crash on more than one occasion.

In Cook Islands Māori pre-history, Chieftains from present day French Polynesia and their tribes, along with navigators, took their ships in search of unknown or newly found lands, first arriving in the southern island groups around 800 AD or earlier. Many other tribal migrations from French Polynesia, notably Tahiti would continue for centuries forming a unique Māori society. Similarly, the northern islands were also settled from the east, with some of the northern islands possibly having had later interactions with Western Polynesia.[1] The capital Rarotonga, is known, from various oral histories to have been the launching site of seven waka ship voyagers who settled in New Zealand, becoming the major tribes of the New Zealand Māori. Up until relatively recently there was continuous contact between both lands where back and forth migration and trade took place.[2] The Cook Islands Te Reo Māori language is closely related to the Te Reo Maori indigenous language of New Zealand. Spanish ships visited the islands in the 16th century; the first written record of contact with the islands came with the sighting of Pukapuka by Spanish sailor Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira in 1595 who called it San Bernardo (Saint Bernard). A few years later, a Spanish expedition led by Pedro Fernandes de Queirós made the first recorded European landing in the islands when he set foot on Rakahanga in 1606, calling it Gente Hermosa (Beautiful People).[3] The country is named after British captain Captain James Cook who surveyed and landed on some of the islands between 1774 and 1777.

Main article: History of Fiji

The history of Fiji dates back to ancient times. There are many theories as to how the Fijian race came into existence. Around 1500 BC Fiji was settled by Austronesian seafarers. Around 900–600 BC Moturiki Island was settled. By 500 BC, Melanesian seafarers had reached Fiji and intermarried with the Austronesian inhabitants, giving rise to the modern Fijian people. In 1643 AD, Abel Tasman sighted Vanua Levu Island and northern Taveuni. According to native oral legends Fijians were also descendants of a nomadic tribe from Tanganika (Tanzania).

. . . History of the Pacific Islands . . .

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. . . History of the Pacific Islands . . .