Colonial American History - The Atlantic and Pacific Worlds - New Spain and New France - British America

Chapter 2: Trading rings and tidal empires :: Pacific Worlds by Matt Matsuda

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Much of Pohnpei’s settlement history is known through a site called the Idhet Mound, where debris was recovered in support of traditional lore describing turtle sacrifice.”
  • “The Pacific is shaped by such overlapping histories. A reverse voyage from the Polynesian world traces Lapita culture back to island Melanesia, including the Solomons, and further back still to interactions between Austronesian and Papuan groups along the coasts of New Guinea and island Southeast Asia.”
  • “By the tenth century, Arabic records spoke of the Indonesian islands. By the early fifteenth century, Malay rulers were hearing new teachers and gaining new trading possibilities, and Hindi princes were taking the title of Muslim sultans. To the north, new Chinese emperors, the Ming, were also finally ready to demonstrate that they could rule the seas.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the successive generations of voyaging settlers into the Pacific
  • Who was Mau Piailug and what is his significance to Pacific History?
  • Describe the early Pacific “trading rings”, the foundations and principles they embraced and the impact they had on early Pacific Culture and History
  • Describe the early Pacific “empires”, the foundations and principles they embraced and the impact they had on early Pacific Culture and History
  • React and Respond: “Like Yap, the Tongan islands are famed for being the center of an “empire,” or at least a powerful trading and tribute network across many island groups. Ancient Tonga was known for its complex family lineages and sophisticated political rule. The head of state was the Tu‘i Tonga, who presided over a large royal court, numbering several hundred wives and concubines, brothers, sisters, children, and relatives who served as caretakers and food preparers. The court also had prescribed roles for falefa, ceremonial attendants, as well as war captives, family relations of low rank, and specialized craftsmen, including fisherman, carvers, and navigators.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Trade meant not only material wonders, but transfer of knowledge.”
  • What was the significance of “At Borobudur, three extraordinary circular terraces sit atop six massive square foundations, all joined by gateways and some 1,500 carved relief panels.”

Articles and Resources

Colonial American History - The Atlantic and Pacific Worlds - New Spain and New France - British America

Week 2 :: Pacific Worlds By Matt K. Matsuda – Chapter 1: Civilization without a center

The Pacific Worlds

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “What is clear is that once established in the central Pacific, Polynesians created a distinctive culture that extended by seafaring from New Zealand to Easter Island to Hawai‘i, an immense triangle encompassing the northern and southern Pacific, from the equator to Antarctica to the near coast of South America.”
  • “Journeying among multitudes of islands large and small, and astonished by the presence of peoples everywhere, Europeans arriving in the sixteenth century puzzled over a water world of such remarkably diverse yet apparently related civilizations. Perhaps these were land dwellers now inhabiting islands that were in fact the mountain summits of lands that had sunk beneath the waves.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Civilization without a center”
  • In what ways do physical, linguistic and cultural anthropology impact our understanding of the history of peoples of the Pacific?
  • In what ways does climate science impact our understanding of the peoples of the Pacific?
  • Describe the Sundaland theory
  • Compare and Contrast the development of the Southwest Pacific, Central Pacific and the Northwest (Arctic) Pacific
  • Describe “Lapita culture”

Articles and Resources

 

Week 1 :: Pacific Worlds by Matt K. Matsuda Introduction: Encircling the ocean

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Along the shores of Baja California, sixteenth-century porcelain from East Asia turns up in archeological digs, along with timbers and containers marking the resting place of great Spanish galleons that sailed with cargoes of treasure, silk, and slaves drawn from the Malabar coastline, Portuguese Macao, southern Japan, and the Philippines in transits from Manila across the Mariana Islands to the Americas … Off the Malaysian and Indonesian coastlines stand kelong, fishermen’s houses, raised on stilts of timber and lashed with rattan. They sit out in the waters, some within sight of the marketplace or the mosque, between land and sea on mud flats submerged by the tides, places for fishing and spawning cockles. ,,, On the island of Tonga, a woman named Alisi contemplates her life. As a young girl, she dreamed of being a Catholic nun in her village. Instead, she met a man part Tongan, part Samoan, who had a wife and children living in Hawai‘i. Alisi had two children with him and lived with her parents and endured the talk of the village, eventually emigrating to the United States and marrying an older man from Mexico with a residency card. ” 
  • “This history is episodic, a collected set of characters and experiences that, taken together, define the Pacific. It is still, however, trans-local: the stories take on full meanings only when linked to other stories and places. Studies of “the Pacific” are usually divided by specialists of Southeast Asia, East Asia, Oceania and the Pacific islands, and North and South America. Yet these area studies say even more when they emphasize the interconnectedness of different worlds.” 

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Encircling the ocean”
  • React and Respond: “and especially the overlapping transits between them”
  • How does the author define Pacific? In what ways is a two-dimensional geographic perspective distorting?
  • Describe the author’s concept of “The Pacific”
  • In what ways has the Pacific been divided into “regions” and what are the positive and negative aspects of each?
  • Explain and Expand: “Such a Pacific is best understood in particularities”
  • How does communication and transportation play a fundamental role in the author’s understanding of the Pacific?
  • Who was Lim Ah Hong?
  • How does the author organize the work chronologically?
  • Explain and Expand: “From this confluence of narratives, Asian, Oceanian, European, American, ancient, and modern, a “Pacific” region is assembled, in parts and perspectives from multiple historical experiences.” 

Articles and Resources

Further Reading