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Polynesia 900–1600

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Madi Williams

This book provides a concise introduction to the history of South Polynesia during the period typically defined as the ‘Middle Ages’ by western historians, focusing on Aotearoa New Zealand, Rēkohu (Chatham Islands), and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Written in response to a wider global approach to medieval history, it offers a fresh perspective on the history of the region during that period.

The comparative study of the southern Polynesian islands and Rapa Nui provides a thematic examination in order to avoid forcing the region’s history into a linear Western chronology. Themes of movement and migration, adaptation and change, and development and expansion offer an optimal means of understanding Polynesia during this period, in an account that incorporates oral traditions, historical analysis, and archaeology.

Drawing together a wide range of research from past and present scholars, the book provides an accessible introduction both for students and for the general reader interested in the long history of these islands.