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Frontiers of Colonialism$
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Christine D. Beaule

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054346

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054346.001.0001

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Violence in Early Maritime Encounters in the Pacific

Violence in Early Maritime Encounters in the Pacific

(p.208) 8 Violence in Early Maritime Encounters in the Pacific
Frontiers of Colonialism

Geoffrey Clark

University Press of Florida

Above all, early meetings between islanders and Europeans in the Pacific were maritime encounters that frequently included inter-group violence. A tendency toward violence is noteworthy because many societies in Oceania had pre-existing seaborne connections with other islands involving trade, raiding-warfare, and marriage, with a particular maritime activity implicit in the type of craft and nature of the crew involved. This chaper explores the maritime systems of Pacific Islanders and how these influenced islander responses to Western ships and crew. It uses ethnohitorical data to reconstruct Pacific Islanders’ voyaging spheres, and explain how several Pacific Islander societies in Oceania read the crew composition and voyage purpose of European arrivals from features of their vessels. This indogenous-centered perspective reveals how cross-cultural misunderstandings contributed to an early tier of violent social relations.

Keywords:   Oceania, Pacific Islanders, Voyaging, Inter-group violence, European arrival, maritime systems

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