Tikopia - History and Cultural Relations

From recent archaeological research it appears that Tikopia has been occupied for about 3,000 years. Three phases of traditional culture have been distinguished. The earliest (c. 900 to 100 B . C .) used locally made sand-tempered earthenware of Lapitoid type; the second (c. 100 B . C . to AD. 1200) probably imported its pottery, of more elaborate style, from the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) to the south. In the latter part of the third phase (c. A . D . 1200 to 1800) no pottery was used at all. Diet changes were marked. In the first two phases pigs, fruit bats, and eels were eaten. By the end of the last phase, into the historical period (c. AD. 1800 to present) no pigs were kept and bats and eels were regarded with aversion as food. The third traditional phase was seemingly the result of a separate immigration and bore a more markedly Polynesian character. It is clear that over the whole period of occupation Tikopia people have had irregular, infrequent, but sustained cultural relations with Polynesian and Melanesian peoples in other islands around, by arduous, often dangerous canoe Voyages. European contact began with a sighting of the island by Spanish voyagers in 1606, and was renewed in the early nineteenth century by visits of Peter Dillon and Dumont d'Urville and by later calls of labor recruiters and missionaries. Only toward the end of the century did the British government claim control over Tikopia; this control was exercised only rarely until after World War II, during which Tikopia remained undisturbed. Since then both mission and government contacts have been fairly regular, though often interrupted by poor sea communication.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: