Historically meaningful oceanic ‘worlds’ require a human filament to connect their islands and beaches. The Pacific first became such a world with the voyages of the Polynesians, beginning several thousand years ago. Polynesian long-range voyaging had declined by 1500 CE, but at its peak it linked most of the great ocean, from the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands in the south to Hawai’i in the north. Research is now confirming that Polynesians reached South America too, and one might add that a cousin culture reached East Africa — a staggering Neolithic globalisation.1 A second Pacific world was inaugurated soon after 1500, when Iberians appeared on the eastern and western Pacific coasts, and connected the two from 1571 with the annual voyages of the Manila galleon from the Philippines to Mexico. Over the next three centuries, the islands and beaches of the Pacific were increasingly linked together and to the rest of the world. Europeans instituted these linkages, but Asians, Amerindians and Pacific Islanders used them too. Did Europeans bring racism into this Pacific world, like a snake into the garden? Was it with them when they arrived, or did it emerge thereafter, perhaps with the help of their Pacific experience? How important was the Pacific to racism, and racism to Pacific history?
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number