The Pacific Ocean is often thought of as a centre. For its inhabitants — like the Tongan-Fijian intellectual Epeli Hau’ofa — it was cultural, physical and political home.1 For those imagining the Pacific from without — such as the American novelist Herman Melville — this heart-shaped ocean was the very heart of earth itself. For the Islander, the Pacific was the centre of his world; for the American, it was the centre of the world. What, then, is the history of this ocean that is so often perceived as a fulcrum? If it is a pivot around which various worlds turn, what is its place in world history?
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