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  • Posted By: summertime
  • Date Posted: 06/22/2011
  • Category: History
  • Words: 1715
  • Pages: 7
  • Views: 893
  • Rank: 763

Accidental Colonization versus Deliberate Navigation, Debate of Discover in the Pacific Ocean

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Accidental Colonization versus Deliberate Navigation, Debate of Discover in the Pacific Ocean

Andrew Sharp claims in his Ancient Voyagers in the Pacific published in 1956 that the Pacific Islanders did not possess the necessary navigational and sailing technology to deliberately navigate the distances between islands of the Pacific when colonizing these islands. He claims colonization was random and accidental. However, more recent studies from 1972 on of Pacific navigation suggest deliberate navigation and colonization was possible and did take place. These studies have been supported by reenactments of voyages, computer simulations, and newly acquired information regarding preparation for distant voyages.

Andrew Sharp supports his claim of accidental colonization by citing numerous examples of lost voyagers landing on populated islands, their testimony or second hand information recorded by Captain Cook. Sharp claims the only distant voyages were confined to "Western Polynesia-Fiji and the Tahiti-Tuamotu archipelago" (Sharp 1956:2). He states that the longest offshore voyages made without landing on intermediate islands included distances of up to three hundred miles, separating Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Rotuma and the Ellice Islands, and distances up to two-hundred and thirty miles, separating Tahiti from the Tuamotu islands. Sharp refers to an account by Captain Cook's interpreter, Omai, who discovered three of his own countrymen from Tahiti, who landed on Atiu, six hundred miles away. They were the sole survivors of twenty people, blown off course in a sudden gale while attempting to voyage from Tahiti to Raiatea, one hundred miles away. Sharp relies on generalizations given in Cook's logs referring to colonization of the remote islands of Polynesia. Cook refers to the accidental voyage to Atiu stating "this will serve to explain, better than a thousand conjectures of speculative reason, how the detached parts of the earth, and in particular, how the South Seas, may have been peopled; especially those that lie remote from any inhabited continent, or ...

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