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Voyagers: The Settlement of the Pacific

Voyagers: The Settlement of the Pacific

by Nicholas Thomas


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An award-winning scholar explores the sixty-thousand-year history of the Pacific islands in this dazzling, deeply researched account.

One of the Best Books of 2021 — Wall Street Journal

The islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia stretch across a huge expanse of ocean and encompass a multitude of different peoples. Starting with Captain James Cook, the earliest European explorers to visit the Pacific were astounded and perplexed to find populations thriving thousands of miles from continents. Who were these people? From where did they come? And how were they able to reach islands dispersed over such vast tracts of ocean?
  In Voyagers, the distinguished anthropologist Nicholas Thomas charts the course of the seaborne migrations that populated the islands between Asia and the Americas from late prehistory onward. Drawing on the latest research, including insights gained from genetics, linguistics, and archaeology, Thomas provides a dazzling account of these long-distance migrations, the seagoing technologies that enabled them, and the societies they left in their wake.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541619838
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 06/15/2021
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 117,404
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Thomas is professor of historical anthropology at Cambridge and director of the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Originally from Australia, he has written and edited numerous books over the years, including Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire, for which he was awarded the Wolfson History Prize in 2011. He lives in Cambridge.

Table of Contents

Maps viii

Introduction 1

1 "The Same Nation": Theories and Myths of Pacific Settlement 17

2 First Crossings: From Sunda to Sahul 59

3 Making Connections: Lapita and Beyond 79

4 "The Best of Any Boats in the World" 115

5 Knowing the Ocean 139

Epilogue: On Tupaia Street 167

Acknowledgments 175

Further Reading 177

Illustration Credits 181

Notes 185

Index 195

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