Disease in History: The Case of the Austronesian Expansion in the Pacific

  • Robert Sallares


The expansion of speakers of Austronesian languages during the last 6000 years, from a homeland in Taiwan or the adjacent parts of mainland China, thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island, and across the Indian Ocean to Madagascar, is the most extraordinary migration in history (Fig.  22.1). This chapter differs from others in this volume in focusing on a predominantly maritime landscape, peppered with thousands of islands. The Austronesian expansion has generated a great deal of controversy over the last 30 years or so. An interdisciplinary debate is taking place in which it is necessary to evaluate and accommodate the contributions of several different subjects, especially archaeology, linguistics, and genetics. The focus of the debate has been on attempts to relate the historical expansion of the Austronesian language family, which displays its greatest diversity in Taiwan (Blust 1995), to the prehistoric people who spread the...


Cerebral Malaria G6PD Deficiency Human Malaria Sickle Cell Trait Pacific Population 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMISTPrestwich, ManchesterUK

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