Standard Article

Pacific Islands, migration 18th century to present

Migration A–Z

P

  1. Graeme Hugo and Richard Bedford

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm404

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Bedford, G. H. a. R. 2013. Pacific Islands, migration 18th century to present. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

Abstract

Oceania was the last major region to be settled, and recently the dates of earliest continuous settlement in many of the islands in the eastern Pacific have been shown to be four centuries later than was thought (Wilmshurst et al. 2011). From the outset of human settlement mobility has been a constant feature of life in this “sea of islands” (Hau'ofa 1994). The navigation and sailing skills of Micronesians (northern and central Pacific) and Polynesians (eastern Pacific) are widely recognized (Lewis 1972; Levison et al. 1973; Finney 1994). Melanesians (western Pacific) were more mobile within their much larger continental islands than is sometimes assumed for their small-scale, linguistically diverse societies (Brookfield 1971). Garden rotation, exogamy in marriage, and complex trading networks for foods and items prized in ceremonial events meant that there was considerable intra-island as well as inter-island mobility. These were not sedentary subsistence societies.

Keywords:

  • imperialism;
  • colonialism;
  • labor;
  • labor supply;
  • social policy