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The Tongan Maritime Expansion: A Case in the Evolutionary Ecology of Social Complexity

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Title: The Tongan Maritime Expansion: A Case in the Evolutionary Ecology of Social Complexity
Authors: Aswani, Shankar
Graves, Michael W.
Keywords: evolution of social complexity
evolutionary ecology
Tongan maritime complex
Polynesian archaeology
ethnohistory
LC Subject Headings: Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Oceania--Antiquities--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Series/Report no.: Volume 37
Number 2
Abstract: The evolution of the Tongan maritime empire, involving both the development of social complexity and geographic expansion through conquest and trading, are examined by means of evolutionary ecology. This Darwinian evolutionary framework provides the mechanism and identifies the environmental structure, processes, and behavioral strategies by which to account for the geographic and temporal pattern of change in Tonga and related islands. Both ethnohistorical and archaeological data are employed in this analysis, showing how both may reveal overlapping aspects of historical change. The results of this research highlight the importance not only of competition but also of cooperative strategies in the evolution of social complexity and the process of geographic expansion. Key to explaining the evolution of Tongan social complexity are the productive but uncertain environment of Tongatapu, the location of Tongatapu in relation to other islands and prevailing winds, the smail landmass of the island, the relatively early integration of the island into a single polity, the creation of collateral ruling lineages, the appropriation of voyaging technology to redirect competition from within Tongatapu to other islands through colonization, aggression, staple and wealth goods trade, and the exchange of spouses. KEYWORDS: evolution of social complexity, evolutionary ecology, Tongan maritime complex, Polynesian archaeology, ethnohistory.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/17108
ISSN: 1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections:Asian Perspectives, 1998 - Volume 37, Number 2 (Fall)



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