27

There's nothing really odd about this. The same thing historically has happened all over the globe any time an immunologically naïve population meets up with one that is tapped into all of the worldwide reservoirs of diseases. Eventually the native population can naturally select similar genetic protections to the ones the colonizers already had, but that ...


11

Question : Are there good analyses of this remarkable population decline that go beyond simple explanations like "diseases"? I was going to just leave a comment, but decided against it to heed – Mark C. Wallace's policy reminder above. As @T.E.D. stated in his fine answer, the pattern is common. It occurred in South, Central and North America; as well as ...


10

Condition of the Rapa Nui when contacted by Europeans It's fairly clear from the early European accounts that the islanders were not starving - in fact all of them speak toward the willingness of the inhabitants to trade food for manufactured goods. The ship's logs from Jacob Roggeveen's landing in 1722 state; ...in particular one who seemed to be in ...


7

"Was it a continuous and extensive trade network with political interactions like in the ancient Mediterranean?" No. Unlike the Mediterranean, trade is much more marginal in Polynesia. The problem is that all of the islands pretty much all had the same resources. Now, within the same island chain, there was potential for specialisation in comparative ...


7

Wikipedia has an article called List of countries and islands by first human settlement. The latest by continuous habitation is Crozet Islands, which was discovered in 1772 but was only intermittently inhabited (by sealers) until 1963 with the establishment of the Alfred Faure research station. However it is part of France, which is obviously much older. ...


6

Although disease was probably the primary factor, as other answers have addressed, there was another factor that negatively impacted the native population of Hawaii: emigration. Hawaii was an important stopping point for trade vessels. It was not uncommon for ships to take on board Hawaiians as laborers in various roles. Many, of them never returned, but ...


5

You may be thinking of the Vanatinai people. From a NY Times article on the Vanatinai: Dr. Lepowsky found evidence of the equality on every hand. Unlike other Pacific cultures, Vanatinai has no special men's meeting houses or male cult activities. The language is gender-neutral, with no pronouns like he or she. Boys as well as girls care for ...


3

There was contact, but trade wasn't on their mind. A few factors to consider: The land is incredibly fertile. Fish are simple to gather, the land is lush and full of ready food sources, and there are tons of resources to make tools from. Islands are relatively consistent. Most islands usually contained the same generally abundant resources and there ...


2

To add to the existing good answers, it's important to remember that during the period of population decline, disease was far more readily spread and dangerous than it is today. Vaccination did not start to become commonplace, even in advanced countries, until the middle of the nineteenth century. Antiseptics first came into use in 1867, and took years to ...


2

Reminds me of this aspect of Korean culture: The haenyeo, literally meaning "sea women", are female divers in the Korean province of Jeju. They are representative of the matriarchal family structure of Jeju [...] It could also be said that women simply were more adapted for the job, with their bodies keeping them warmer and being more suited to ...


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