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The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
(collectively known as
Taiwanese indigenous peoples Taiwanese indigenous peoples (formerly Taiwanese aborigines), Formosan people, Austronesian Taiwanese, Yuanzhumin or Gaoshan people, are the of , who number about 569,000 or 2.38% of the 's population. This total is increased to more than 800, ...
),
Maritime Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore. Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as Island Southeast Asia, Insular Southeast Asia ...
,
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
and
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
that speak the
Austronesian languages The Austronesian languages (, , , ) are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign ...
. The nations and territories predominantly populated by Austronesian-speaking peoples are sometimes known collectively as Austronesia. Based on the current scientific consensus, they originate from a prehistoric seaborne migration from Taiwan, at around 3000 to 1500 BCE, known as the Austronesian expansion. Austronesian reached the Philippines, specifically Batanes Islands at around 2200 BCE. They were the first people to invent maritime sailing technology (most notably
catamaran A Formula 16 beachable catamaran Powered catamaran passenger ferry at Salem, Massachusetts, United States A catamaran () (informally, a "cat") is a multi-hulled watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, a ...

catamaran
s,
outrigger boat Outrigger boats are various watercraft featuring one or more lateral support floats known as outriggers, which are fastened to one or both sides of the main hull (ship), hull. They can range from small dugout (boat), dugout canoes to large plan ...
s,
lashed-lug Lashed-lug boats are ancient boat-building Boat building is the design and construction of boats and their systems. This includes at a minimum a hull (watercraft), hull, with propulsion, mechanical, navigation, safety and other systems as a craft ...
boat building Boat building is the design and construction of boat A boat is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system ...
, and the
crab claw sail The crab claw sail is a fore-and-aft triangular sail with spars along upper and lower edges. The crab claw sail was first developed by the Austronesian peoples some time around 1500 BC. It is used in many traditional Austronesian cultures in Island ...
) which enabled their rapid dispersal into the islands of the
Indo-Pacific The Indo-Pacific, sometimes known as the Indo–West Pacific or Indo–Pacific Asia, is a biogeographic region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's su ...
. They assimilated the earlier
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
Negrito The term Negrito () refers to several diverse ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical so ...

Negrito
,
Orang Asli Orang Asli (''lit''. "first people", "native people", "original people", "aborigines people" or "aboriginal people" in Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia ...

Orang Asli
, and the
Australo-Melanesian Australo-Melanesians (also known as Australasians or Australomelanesoid race or Australoid race) is an outdated historical grouping of various people indigenous to Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific ...
populations in the islands at varying levels of admixture. In consequence many of these populations share some common genetic element due to the Austronesian expansion. They also reached
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Rapa Nui Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between ...
(Easter Island),
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...
,
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
and
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
at their furthest extent, possibly also reaching the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
. Aside from language, Austronesian peoples also share—to a varying degree—common cultural characteristics including widespread traditions and technologies like
tattooing A tattoo is a form of body modification Body modification (or body alteration) is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy The human body is the structure of a human being. It is composed of many different types of cells that tog ...

tattooing
,
stilt house Stilt houses (also called pile dwellings or lake dwellings) are houses raised on stilts Stilts are poles, posts or pillars that allow a person or structure to stand at a height above the ground. In flood plains, and on beach A summ ...
s,
jade Jade is a mineral, much used in some cultures as jewellery and for ornaments, mostly known for its green varieties, though it appears naturally in other colors as well, notably yellow and white. Jade can refer to either of two different silica ...

jade
carving, wetland agriculture, and various
rock art In archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to g ...
motifs. They also share a common set of domesticated plants and animals that were carried along with the migrations, including
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
,
banana A banana is an elongated, edible fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms dissemin ...

banana
s,
coconut The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree family (biology), family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus ''Cocos''. The term "coconut" (or the archaic "cocoanut") can refer to the whole coconut palm, t ...

coconut
s,
breadfruit Breadfruit (''Artocarpus altilis'') is a species of Flowering plant, flowering tree in the morus (plant), mulberry and jackfruit (''Artocarpus heterophyllus'') family (Moraceae) believed to be a domesticated plant, domesticated descendant of ''Ar ...

breadfruit
, ''
Dioscorea ''Dioscorea'' is a genus of over 600 species of flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may re ...
'' yams,
taro ''Colocasia esculenta'' is a tropical plant grown primarily for its edible corm A corm, bulbo-tuber, or bulbotuber is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem '' has lost its leaves, but is producing adventitious rootsImportant ...

taro
,
paper mulberry The paper mulberry (''Broussonetia papyrifera'', syn. ''Morus papyrifera'' L.) is a species of flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, wit ...

paper mulberry
,
chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domestication, domesticated subspecies of the red junglefowl originally from Southeastern Asia. Rooster or cock is a term for an adult male bird, and a younger male may be called a cockerel. A m ...

chicken
s,
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...
s, and
dog The dog or domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a Domestication, domesticated descendant of the wolf which is characterized by an upturning tail. The dog Origin of the domestic dog, derived from an Pleistocene ...

dog
s.


History of research

The linguistic connections between
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
,
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
and
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
were recognized early in the colonial era by European authors, particularly the remarkable similarities between
Malagasy Malagasy may refer to: *Someone or something from Madagascar *Malagasy people *Malagasy language *Malagasy Republic *Related to the culture of Madagascar See also

*Madagascar (disambiguation) {{disambiguation Language and nationality disambi ...
,
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
, and
Polynesian Polynesian is the adjectival form of Polynesia. It may refer to: * Polynesians, an ethnic group * Polynesian culture, the culture of the indigenous peoples of Polynesia * Polynesian mythology, the oral traditions of the people of Polynesia * Polyne ...

Polynesian
numerals A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to: * Numeral system used in mathematics * Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English) * Numerical di ...
. The first formal publications on these relationships was in 1708 by the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...

Dutch
Orientalist Orientalist may refer to: *A scholar of Oriental studies *A person or thing relating to the Western intellectual or artistic paradigm known as Orientalism (as in 'an Orientalist painting' or '-painter') *''The Orientalist'', a biography of author L ...
Adriaan Reland Adriaan Reland 1676 - 1718 Adriaan Reland (also known as ''Adriaen Reeland/Reelant'', ''Hadrianus Relandus'') (17 July 1676, De Rijp, North Holland North Holland ( nl, Noord-Holland ) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlan ...

Adriaan Reland
, who recognized a "common language" from Madagascar to western Polynesia; although the Dutch explorer
Cornelis de Houtman Cornelis de Houtman (2 April 1565 – 1 September 1599), brother of Frederick de Houtman, was a Dutch explorer who discovered a new sea route from Europe to the East Indies, and who thus begun the Dutch spice trade. At the time, the Portugu ...

Cornelis de Houtman
also realized the linguistic links between Madagascar and the
Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago ( ceb, Kapupud-ang Malay, ms, Kepulauan Melayu, tgl, Kapuluang Malay, jv, Nusantara) is the archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of ...

Malay Archipelago
prior to Reland in 1603. The Spanish
philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and writing, written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics (with especially strong ties to etymology). Philology is more commonly d ...
Lorenzo Hervás y Panduro later devoted a large part of his ''Idea dell' Universo'' (1778–1787) to the establishment of a
language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions b ...
linking the Malaysian Peninsula, the
Maldives Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located prima ...

Maldives
,
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
, the
Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the ...

Sunda Islands
,
Moluccas The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of sc ...
, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, and the
Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...
eastward to
Easter Island Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a continent ...

Easter Island
. Multiple other authors corroborated this classification (except for the erroneous inclusion of
Maldivian Maldivian may refer to: * Dhivehi people, Maldivian people (ethnic group), the ethnic group inhabiting the historic region of the Maldive Islands comprising what is now officially the Republic of Maldives and the island of Minicoy in Union territory ...
), and the language family came to be known as "Malayo-Polynesian," first coined by the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
linguist
Franz Bopp Franz Bopp (; 14 September 1791 – 23 October 1867) was a German linguist known for extensive and pioneering comparative work on Indo-European languages. Early life Bopp was born in Mainz, but the political disarray in the Republic of M ...

Franz Bopp
in 1841 (
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
: ''malayisch-polynesisch''). The connections between Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and the
Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...
were also noted by other European explorers, including the
orientalist Orientalist may refer to: *A scholar of Oriental studies *A person or thing relating to the Western intellectual or artistic paradigm known as Orientalism (as in 'an Orientalist painting' or '-painter') *''The Orientalist'', a biography of author L ...
William Marsden and the
naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classif ...
Johann Reinhold Forster Johann Reinhold Forster (22 October 1729 – 9 December 1798) was a German Continental Reformed church, Reformed (Calvinist) pastor and natural history, naturalist of partially Scottish descent who made contributions to the early ornithology of ...

Johann Reinhold Forster
.
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (11 May 1752 – 22 January 1840) was a German physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, i ...

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
added Austronesians as the fifth category to his "varieties" of humans in the second edition of ''De Generis Humani Varietate Nativa'' (1781). He initially grouped them by geography and thus called Austronesians the "people from the southern world." In the third edition published in 1795, he named Austronesians the "
Malay race The concept of a Malay race was originally proposed by the Germany, German physician Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840), and classified as a brown (racial classification), brown race. ''Malay'' is a loose term used in the late 19th century a ...
" or the " brown race," after correspondence with
Joseph Banks Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, (19 June 1820) was an English Natural history, naturalist, botanist, and patron of the natural sciences. Banks made his name on the 1766 natural-history expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador. He took part in ...
who was part of the
first voyage of James Cook The first voyage of James Cook was a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, HMS ''Endeavour'', from 1768 to 1771. It was the first of three Pacific voyages of which James Cook was the co ...
. Blumenbach used the term "Malay" due to his belief that most Austronesians spoke the "Malay idiom" (i.e. the
Austronesian languages The Austronesian languages (, , , ) are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign ...
), though he inadvertently caused the later confusion of his racial category with the Melayu people. The other varieties Blumenbach identified were the "Caucasians" (white), "Mongolians" (yellow), "Ethiopians" (black), and "Americans" (red). Blumenbach's definition of the Malay race is largely identical to the modern distribution of the Austronesian peoples, including not only Islander Southeast Asians, but also the people of Madagascar and the
Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...
. Although Blumenbach's work was later used in
scientific racism Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscience, pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.. "Few tragedies ...
, Blumenbach was a monogenist and did not believe the human "varieties" were inherently inferior to each other. By the 19th century, however,
scientific racism Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscience, pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.. "Few tragedies ...
was favoring a classification of Austronesians as being a subset of the "Mongolian" race, as well as
polygenism Polygenism is a theory of human origins which posits the view that the human races are of different origins (''polygenesis''). This view is opposite to the idea of monogenism Monogenism or sometimes monogenesis is the theory of human origins ...
. The
Australo-Melanesian Australo-Melanesians (also known as Australasians or Australomelanesoid race or Australoid race) is an outdated historical grouping of various people indigenous to Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific ...
populations of Southeast Asia and Melanesia (whom Blumenbach initially classified as a "subrace" of the "Malay" race) were also now being treated as a separate "Ethiopian" race by authors like
Georges Cuvier Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric, Baron Cuvier (; 23 August 1769 – 13 May 1832), known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any orga ...

Georges Cuvier
,
Conrad Malte-Brun Conrad Malte-Brun (12 August 177514 December 1826), born Malthe Conrad Bruun, and sometimes referred to simply as Malte-Brun, was a Danish people, Dano-French people, French geographer and journalist. His second son, Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun, was ...

Conrad Malte-Brun
(who first coined the term "
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
" as ''Océanique''), , and
René Lesson René Primevère Lesson (20 March 1794 – 28 April 1849) was a France, French surgery, surgeon, natural history, naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist. Biography He was born at Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, Rochefort, and entered the N ...
. The British naturalist
James Cowles Prichard James Cowles Prichard, Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (11 February 1786 – 23 December 1848) was a British physician and ethnologist with broad interests in biological anthropology, physical anthropology and psychiatry. His influential ''Resear ...

James Cowles Prichard
originally followed Blumenbach by treating Papuans and Native Australians as being descendants of the same stock as Austronesians. But by his third edition of ''Researches into the Physical History of Man'' (1836-1847), his work had become more racialized due to the influence of polygenism. He classified the peoples of Austronesia into two groups: the "Malayo-Polynesians" (roughly equivalent to the Austronesian peoples) and the "Kelænonesians" (roughly equivalent to the
Australo-Melanesians Australo-Melanesians (also known as Australasians or Australomelanesoid race or Australoid race) is an outdated historical grouping of various people indigenous to Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific ...
). He further subdivided the latter into the "Alfourous" (also "Haraforas" or "Alfoërs", the Native Australians), and the "Pelagian or Oceanic Negroes" (the
Melanesians Melanesians are the predominant and Indigenous peoples of Oceania, indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia, in a wide area from the Maluku Islands, East Nusa Tenggara and New Guinea to as far east as the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji. Most speak eithe ...

Melanesians
and western Polynesians). Despite this, he acknowledges that "Malayo-Polynesians" and "Pelagian Negroes" had "remarkable characters in common", particularly in terms of language and
craniometry Craniometry is measurement of the cranium (the main part of the skull The skull is a bone A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the vertebrate skeleton in animals. Bones protect the various organs ...
. In linguistics, the Malayo-Polynesian language family also initially excluded
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabi ...

Melanesia
and
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
, due to what they perceived were marked physical differences between the inhabitants of these regions from the Malayo-Polynesian speakers. However, there was growing evidence of their linguistic relationship to Malayo-Polynesian languages, notably from studies on the
Melanesian languagesIn linguistics, Melanesian is an obsolete term referring to the Austronesian languages The Austronesian languages (, , , ) are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken lan ...
by
Georg von der Gabelentz Hans Georg Conon von der Gabelentz (16 March 1840 – 11 December 1893) was a German theoretical linguistics, general linguist and sinologist. His (1881), according to a critic, "remains until today recognized as probably the finest overall gramma ...
,
Robert Henry Codrington Robert Henry Codrington (15 September 1830, Wroughton, Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a county in South West England with an area of . It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset Dorset (; Archaism, archaically: ...

Robert Henry Codrington
and
Sidney Herbert Ray Sidney Herbert Ray (28 May 1858 – 1 January 1939) was a United Kingdom, British comparative linguistics, comparative and descriptive linguistics, descriptive linguist who specialised in Melanesian languages.Papers and field notes relating to hi ...
. Codrington coined and used the term "Ocean" language family rather than "Malayo-Polynesian" in 1891, in opposition to the exclusion of Melanesian and Micronesian languages. This was adopted by Ray who defined the "Oceanic" language family as encompassing the languages of Southeast Asia and Madagascar, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. In 1899, the Austrian linguist and ethnologist Wilhelm Schmidt coined the term "Austronesian" (German: ''austronesisch'', from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''
auster Auster Aircraft Limited was a British aircraft manufacturer from 1938 to 1961.Willis, issue 122, p.55 History The company began in 1938 at the Britannia Works, Thurmaston near Leicester, England, as Taylorcraft Aeroplanes (England) Limited, mak ...
'', "south wind"; and Greek '' νῆσος'', "island") to refer to the language family. Schmidt had the same motivations as Codrington. He proposed the term as a replacement to "Malayo-Polynesian", because he also opposed the implied exclusion of the languages of Melanesia and Micronesia in the latter name. It became the accepted name for the language family, with
Oceanic Oceanic may refer to: *Of or relating to the ocean *Of or relating to Oceania **Oceanic climate **Oceanic languages **Oceanic person or people, also called "Pacific Islander(s)" Places *Oceanic, British Columbia, a settlement on Smith Island, Br ...

Oceanic
and
Malayo-Polynesian languages The Malayo-Polynesian languages are a subgroup of the Austronesian languages The Austronesian languages () are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gest ...
being retained as names for subgroups. The term "Austronesian", or more accurately "Austronesian-speaking peoples", came to refer the people who speak the languages of the
Austronesian Austronesian may refer to: *The Austronesian languages *The historical Austronesian peoples who carried Austronesian languages on their migrations {{disambiguation ...
language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions b ...
. Some authors, however, object to the use of the term to refer to people, as they question whether there really is any biological or cultural shared ancestry between all Austronesian-speaking groups.According to the anthropologist Wilhelm Solheim II: "I emphasize again, as I have done in many other articles, that 'Austronesian' is a linguistic term and is the name of a super language family. It should never be used as a name for a people, genetically speaking, or a culture. To refer to people who speak an Austronesian language the phrase 'Austronesian-speaking people' should be used." ''Origins of the Filipinos and Their Languages'' (January 2006) This is especially true for authors who reject the prevailing "Out of Taiwan" hypothesis and instead offer scenarios where the Austronesian languages spread among preexisting static populations through borrowing or convergence, with little or no population movements. Despite these objections, the general consensus is that the archeological, cultural, genetic, and especially linguistic evidence all separately indicate varying degrees of shared ancestry among Austronesian-speaking peoples that justifies their treatment as a "
phylogenetic In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...

phylogenetic
unit." This has led to the use of the term "Austronesian" in academic literature to refer not only to the Austronesian languages, but also the Austronesian-speaking peoples, their societies, and the geographic area of
Austronesia The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries ...
. Serious research into the Austronesian languages and its speakers has been ongoing since the 19th century. Modern scholarship on Austronesian dispersion models is generally credited to two influential papers in the late 20th century: ''The Colonisation of the Pacific: A Genetic Trail'' (
Hill A hill is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the scie ...
& Serjeantson, eds., 1989), and ''The Austronesian Dispersal and the Origin of Languages'' ( Bellwood, 1991). The topic is particularly interesting to scientists for the remarkably unique characteristics of the Austronesian speakers: their extent, diversity, and rapid dispersal. Regardless certain disagreements still exist among researchers with regards to chronology, origin, dispersal, adaptations to the island environments, interactions with preexisting populations in areas they settled, and cultural developments over time. The mainstream accepted hypothesis is the "Out of Taiwan" model first proposed by
Peter Bellwood Peter Stafford Bellwood (born Leicester Leicester is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encycl ...
. But there are multiple rival models that create a sort of "pseudo-competition" among their supporters due to narrow focus on data from limited geographic areas or disciplines. The most notable of which is the "Out of Sundaland" (or "Out of Island Southeast Asia") model. As a generalization, authors that are based in Indonesia and Malaysia tend to favor the "Out of Sundaland" model, while authors based in Taiwan and the Pacific Islands tend to favor the "Out of Taiwan" model.


Geographic distribution

Austronesians were the first humans to invent ocean-going sailing technologies, which allowed them to colonize a large part of the
Indo-Pacific The Indo-Pacific, sometimes known as the Indo–West Pacific or Indo–Pacific Asia, is a biogeographic region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's su ...
region. Prior to the 16th century Colonial Era, the Austronesian language family was the most widespread language family in the world, spanning half the planet from
Easter Island Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a continent ...

Easter Island
in the eastern
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
to
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
in the western
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
. It is spoken today by about 386 million people (4.9% of the global population), making it the fifth-largest language family by number of speakers. Major Austronesian languages with the highest number of speakers are
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
(
Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants of the archipelago ** Indonesian w ...

Indonesian
and Malaysian), Javanese, and
Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, ...
(
Tagalog Tagalog may refer to: Language * Tagalog language Tagalog (, ; ) is an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a se ...
). The family contains 1,257 languages, which is the second most of any language family. The geographic region that encompasses native Austronesian-speaking populations is sometimes referred to as Austronesia. Other geographic names for various subregions include
Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
,
Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of ...
,
Lesser Sunda Islands The Lesser Sunda Islands ( id, Kepulauan Nusa Tenggara "southeastern archipelago" or "lesser sunda archipelago") are an archipelago in Maritime Southeast Asia, north of Australia. Together with the Greater Sunda Islands to the west they mak ...

Lesser Sunda Islands
,
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
,
Island Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north co ...
(ISEA),
Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago ( ceb, Kapupud-ang Malay, ms, Kepulauan Melayu, tgl, Kapuluang Malay, jv, Nusantara) is the archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of ...

Malay Archipelago
,
Maritime Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore. Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as Island Southeast Asia, Insular Southeast Asia ...
(MSEA),
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabi ...

Melanesia
,
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
,
Near Oceania Near Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
,
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
,
Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...
,
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
,
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
, and
Wallacea in blue has been used to separate Wallacea into a western part pertaining to Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Wallacea
. In
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
, the nationalistic term
Nusantara ''Nusantara'' is the Indonesian name of Maritime Southeast Asia (or parts of it). It is an Old Javanese Kawi or Old Javanese is the oldest attested phase of the Javanese language. It was spoken in the eastern part of what is now Central Ja ...
is also popularly used for their islands. Historically, Austronesians uniquely live in an "island world". Austronesian regions are almost exclusively islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans, with predominantly tropical or subtropical climates with considerable seasonal rainfall. They had limited penetration into the interiors of large islands or mainlands. They include Taiwanese aborigines, the majority of ethnic groups in Brunei, East Timor,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
,
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
,
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, and
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
. Also included are the Malays (ethnic group), Malays of Malay Singaporeans, Singapore; the Polynesians of Māori people, New Zealand, Native Hawaiians, Hawaii, and Rapa Nui people, Chile; the Torres Strait Islanders of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
; the non-Papuan peoples of
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabi ...

Melanesia
and coastal New Guinea; the Bushi language, Shibushi-speakers of Comoros, and the Malagasy and Shibushi-speakers of Réunion. They are also found in the regions of Southern Thailand, the Cham people, Cham areas in Vietnam and Cambodia, and parts of Myanmar. Additionally, modern-era migration brought Austronesian-speaking people to the United States, Canada,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Hainan, Hong Kong, Macau, and West Asia, West Asian countries. Some authors also propose further settlements and contacts in the past in areas that are not inhabited by Austronesian speakers today. These range from likely hypotheses to very controversial claims with minimal evidence. In 2009, Roger Blench compiled an expanded map of Austronesia that encompass these claims based on various evidence like historical accounts, loanwords, introduced species, introduced plants and animals, genetics, archeological sites, and material culture. They include areas like the Pacific coast of the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
, Japan, the Yaeyama Islands, the
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
n coast, Sri Lanka and coastal South Asia, the Persian Gulf, some of the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
islands, East Africa, South Africa, and West Africa.


List of Austronesian peoples

Austronesian peoples include the following groupings by name and geographic location (incomplete): * Taiwanese Aborigines, Formosan:
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
(e.g., Ami people, Amis, Atayal people, Atayal, Bunun people, Bunun, Paiwan people, Paiwan). * Malayo-Polynesian languages, Malayo-Polynesian: ** Borneo groups (e.g., Kadazan-Dusun, Murut people, Murut, Iban people, Iban, Bidayuh, Dayak people, Dayak, Lun Bawang, Lun Bawang/Lundayeh) ** Chamic languages, Chamic group: Cambodia, Hainan, Cham areas of Vietnam (remnants of the Champa kingdom which covered central and southern Vietnam) as well as Aceh in northern Sumatra (e.g., Acehnese people, Acehnese, Cham (Asia), Chams, Jarai people, Jarai, Utsuls). ** Central Luzon group: (e.g., Kapampangan people, Kapampangan, Pangasinan people, Pangasinan, Sambal people, Sambal.) ** Igorot (Cordillerans): Cordillera Administrative Region, Cordilleras (e.g., Balangao, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Itneg people, Itneg, Kankanaey people, Kankanaey). **Lumad: Mindanao (e.g., Kamayo, Cotabato Manobo language, Manobo, Tasaday, T'boli). **Malagasy people, Malagasy:
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
(e.g., Betsileo, Merina, Sihanaka, Bezanozano). ** Melanesians:
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabi ...

Melanesia
(e.g., Fijians, Kanak people, Kanak, Ni-Vanuatu, Solomon Islands). **
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
ns:
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
(e.g., Carolinian people, Carolinian, Chamorro people, Chamorro, Palauan). ** Moken: Burma, Thailand. ** Moro people, Moro: Bangsamoro (Mindanao & Sulu Archipelago, e.g., Maguindanao people, Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug people, Tausug, Sama-Bajau people, Sama-Bajau). ** Northern Luzon lowlanders (e.g., Ilocano people, Ilocano, Ibanag people, Ibanag, Itawes). ** Polynesians:
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
(e.g., Māori people, Māori, Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans). ** Southern Luzon lowlanders (e.g., Tagalog people, Tagalog, Bicolano people, Bicolano) **Sunda Islands, Sunda–Sulawesi language and ethnic groups including Malay (ethnic group), Malay, Sundanese people, Sundanese, Javanese people, Javanese, Balinese people, Balinese, Batak people, Batak (geographically includes
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
, Brunei, Pattani (region), Pattani, Singapore, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, parts of Sri Lanka, southern Myanmar, and much of western and central
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
). ** Visayans: Visayas and neighbouring islands (e.g., Aklanon people, Aklanon, Boholano people, Boholano, Cebuano people, Cebuano, Hiligaynon people, Hiligaynon, Masbateño people, Masbateño, Waray people, Waray).


Prehistory

The broad consensus on Austronesian origins is the "two-layer model" where an original
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
indigenous population in
Island Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north co ...
were assimilated to varying degrees by incoming migrations of Neolithic Austronesian-speaking peoples from
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
and southern China from around 4,000 Before Present, BP. Austronesians also mixed with other preexisting populations as well as later migrant populations among the islands they settled, resulting in further genetic input. The most notable are the Austroasiatic-speaking peoples in western Island Southeast Asia (peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java); the Bantu peoples in
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
and the Comoros; as well as Japanese people, Japanese, Indian people, Indian, Arab people, Arab, and Han Chinese traders and migrants in the more recent centuries.


Paleolithic

Island Southeast Asia was Peopling of Southeast Asia, settled by modern humans in the
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
following Southern Dispersal, coastal migration routes, presumably starting before 70,000 Before Present, BP, long before the development of Austronesian cultures. These populations are typified by having dark skin, curly hair, and short statures, leading Europeans to believe they were related to African Pygmies in the
scientific racism Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscience, pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.. "Few tragedies ...
of the 19th century. However, despite these physical differences, genetic studies have shown that they are more closely related to other Eurasian populations than to Africans. These early population groups originally lacked watercraft technology, and thus could only cross narrow interisland seas with primitive floats or rafts (likely bamboo or log rafts) or through accidental means. Especially the deeper waters of the Wallace Line, Weber Line, and Lydekker Line with islands disconnected from mainland Asia even in the lower sea levels of the last glacial period. They settled in what are now islands mostly through land migrations into the coastal lowland plains of Sundaland and Sahul (continent), Sahul, most of which are now underwater.Some authors that support an ISEA origin of Austronesians, however, have proposed that they may have later been the original developers of the maritime culture that later characterized Austronesians, during several rapid sea-level rise events that took place near the end of the last glacial period that flooded the landmasses in Southeast Asia. Developing the
catamaran A Formula 16 beachable catamaran Powered catamaran passenger ferry at Salem, Massachusetts, United States A catamaran () (informally, a "cat") is a multi-hulled watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, a ...

catamaran
originally from lashing two canoes, which eventually became the prototype for the numerous types of water vessels of the Austronesians, as well as the Chinese ''junk (ship), chuán'', after northward migrations of Negrito populations in the Neolithic (Mahdi, 2017).
Humans reached the islands in
Wallacea in blue has been used to separate Wallacea into a western part pertaining to Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Wallacea
as well as the Australia (continent), Sahul landmass (
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
and New Guinea) by around 53,000 BP (some give even older dates up to 65,000 BP). By 45,400 years ago, humans had reached the Bismarck Archipelago in
Near Oceania Near Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
. They were once also present in mainland China and Taiwan, but their populations are now extinct or assimilated. The oldest confirmed human fossils in the Philippines is from the Tabon Caves of Palawan, dated to around 47,000 BP. Previously, it was believed that the earliest putative record of modern humans in Southeast Asia is from the Callao Cave of northern Luzon in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
dated to around 67,000 BP. However, in 2019, the remains were identified as belonging to a new species of archaic humans, ''Homo luzonensis''. These people are generally historically referred to as "
Australo-Melanesian Australo-Melanesians (also known as Australasians or Australomelanesoid race or Australoid race) is an outdated historical grouping of various people indigenous to Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific ...
s", though the terminology is problematic as they are genetically diverse and most groups within Austronesia have significant Austronesian admixture and culture. The unmixed descendants of these groups today include the interior Papuan people, Papuans and Indigenous Australians. In modern literature, descendants of these groups located in Island Southeast Asia west of Halmahera are usually collectively referred to as "
Negrito The term Negrito () refers to several diverse ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical so ...

Negrito
s", while descendants of these groups east of Halmahera (excluding Indigenous Australians) are referred to as "Papuans". They can also be divided into two broad groups based on Denisovan admixture. Philippine Negritos, Papuans, Melanesians, and Indigenous Australians display Denisovan admixture; while Malaysian and western Indonesian Negritos (
Orang Asli Orang Asli (''lit''. "first people", "native people", "original people", "aborigines people" or "aboriginal people" in Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia ...

Orang Asli
) and Andamanese people, Andamanese islanders do not.The absence of Denisovan admixture in western Southeast Asian populations seem to indicate that interbreeding between modern humans and Denisovans happened within Southeast Asia itself, possibly east of the Wallace Line, and not in mainland Eurasia (Reich ''et al.'', 2011; Cooper & Stringer, 2013) Mahdi (2017) also uses the term "Qata" (from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *qata) to distinguish the indigenous populations of Southeast Asia, versus "Tau" (from Proto-Austronesian *Cau) for the later settlers from Taiwan and mainland China; both are based on proto-forms for the word "person" in
Malayo-Polynesian languages The Malayo-Polynesian languages are a subgroup of the Austronesian languages The Austronesian languages () are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gest ...
that referred to darker-skinned and lighter-skinned groups respectively. Jinam ''et al.'' (2017) also proposed the term "First Sundaland People" in place of "Negrito", as a more accurate name for the original population of Southeast Asia. These populations are genetically distinct from later Austronesians, but through fairly extensive population admixture, most modern Austronesians have varying levels of ancestry from these groups. The same is true for some populations historically considered "non-Austronesians" due to physical differences; like Philippine Negritos,
Orang Asli Orang Asli (''lit''. "first people", "native people", "original people", "aborigines people" or "aboriginal people" in Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia ...

Orang Asli
, and Austronesian-speaking
Melanesians Melanesians are the predominant and Indigenous peoples of Oceania, indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia, in a wide area from the Maluku Islands, East Nusa Tenggara and New Guinea to as far east as the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji. Most speak eithe ...

Melanesians
, all of whom have Austronesian admixture. In Polynesian people, Polynesians in
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
, for example, the admixture is around 20 to 30% Papuan, and 70 to 80% Austronesian. The Melanesian people, Melanesians in
Near Oceania Near Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
are roughly around 20% Austronesian and 80% Papuan, while in the natives of the
Lesser Sunda Islands The Lesser Sunda Islands ( id, Kepulauan Nusa Tenggara "southeastern archipelago" or "lesser sunda archipelago") are an archipelago in Maritime Southeast Asia, north of Australia. Together with the Greater Sunda Islands to the west they mak ...

Lesser Sunda Islands
, the admixture is around 50% Austronesian and 50% Papuan. Similarly, in the Philippines, the groups traditionally considered to be "Negrito" vary between 30 and 50% Austronesian. The high degree of assimilation among Austronesian, Negrito, and Papuan groups indicate that the Austronesian expansion was largely peaceful. Rather than violent displacement, the settlers and the indigenous groups absorbed each other. It is believed that in some cases, like in the Toalean culture of Sulawesi (c. 8,000–1,500 BP), it is even more accurate to say that the densely-populated indigenous hunter-gatherer groups absorbed the incoming Austronesian farmers, rather than the other way around. Mahdi (2016) further asserts that Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *tau-mata ("person")Cognates include Sangir language, Sangir ''taumata'', Molima language, Molima ''tomotau'', Kola language, Kola ''tamata'', Fijian language, Fijian ''tamata'', Samoan language, Samoan ''tangata'', and Hawaiian language, Hawaiian ''kanaka'' is derived from a composite protoform *Cau ma-qata, combining "Tau" and "Qata" and indicative of the mixing the two ancestral population types in these regions.


Neolithic China

The broad consensus on the Urheimat (homeland) of Austronesian languages as well as the Neolithic early Austronesian peoples is accepted to be
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
, as well as the Penghu Islands. They are believed to have descended from ancestral populations in coastal mainland southern China, which are generally referred to as the "preAustronesians".Sometimes confusingly also as "early Austronesians" or "proto-Austronesians". The latter should not be confused with the reconstructed Proto-Austronesian language (PAN), which the pre-Austronesians did not speak. (Bellwood, 1988) Through these pre-Austronesians, Austronesians #Relations with other groups, may also share a common ancestry with neighboring groups in Neolithic southern China. These Neolithic pre-Austronesians from the coast of southeastern China are believed to have migrated to Taiwan between approximately 10,000–6000 BCE. Other research has suggested that, according to radiocarbon dates, Austronesians may have migrated from mainland China to Taiwan as late as 4000 BCE (Dapenkeng culture). They continued to maintain regular contact with the mainland until 1500 BCE. The identity of the Neolithic pre-Austronesian cultures in China is contentious. Tracing Austronesian prehistory in mainland China and Taiwan has been difficult due to the southward expansion of the Han dynasty (2nd century BCE), and the recent Taiwan under Qing rule, Qing dynasty annexation of Taiwan (1683 CE). Today, the only Austronesian language in southern China is Tsat language in Hainan. The politicization of archaeology is also problematic, particularly erroneous reconstructions among some Chinese archaeologists of non-Sinitic sites as Han. Some authors, favoring the #Out of Sundaland, "Out of Sundaland" model like William Meacham, reject the southern Chinese mainland origin of pre-Austronesians entirely. Nevertheless, based on linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence, Austronesians are most strongly associated with the early farming Archaeological culture, cultures of the Yangtze River basin that rice domestication, domesticated rice from around 13,500 to 8,200 Before Present, BP. They display typical Austronesian technological hallmarks, including tooth removal, teeth blackening,
jade Jade is a mineral, much used in some cultures as jewellery and for ornaments, mostly known for its green varieties, though it appears naturally in other colors as well, notably yellow and white. Jade can refer to either of two different silica ...

jade
carving, tattooing,
stilt house Stilt houses (also called pile dwellings or lake dwellings) are houses raised on stilts Stilts are poles, posts or pillars that allow a person or structure to stand at a height above the ground. In flood plains, and on beach A summ ...
s, advanced boat-building, aquaculture, wetland agriculture, and the domestication of dogs, pigs, and chickens. These include the Kuahuqiao site, Kuahuqiao, Hemudu culture, Hemudu, Majiabang culture, Majiabang, Songze culture, Songze, Liangzhu culture, Liangzhu, and Dapenkeng Archaeological culture, cultures which occupied the coastal regions between the Yangtze River delta to the Min River (Fujian), Min River delta.


Relations with other groups

Based on linguistic evidence, there have been proposals linking Austronesians with other linguistic families into linguistic macrofamilies that are relevant to the identity of the pre-Austronesian populations. The most notable are the connections of Austronesians to the neighboring Austroasiatic, Kra-Dai, and Sinitic peoples (as Austric, Austro-Tai, and Sino-Austronesian languages, Sino-Austronesian, respectively). But they are still not widely accepted as evidence of these relationships are still tenuous and the methods used are highly contentious. In support of both the Austric and Austro-Tai hypothesis, Robert Blust connects the lower Yangtze Neolithic Austro-Tai entity with the rice-cultivating Austroasiatic cultures; assuming the center of East Asian rice domestication, and putative Austric homeland, to be located in the Yunnan/Burma border area, instead of the Yangtze River basin Rice#Origins, as is currently accepted. Under that view, there was an east–west genetic alignment, resulting from a rice-based population expansion, in the southern part of East Asia: Austro-Asiatic languages, Austroasiatic-Kra-Dai languages, Kra-Dai-Austronesian languages, Austronesian, with unrelated Sino-Tibetan occupying a more northerly tier. Depending on the author, other hypotheses have also included other language families like Hmong-Mien and even Japonic languages, Japanese-Ryukyuan into the larger Austric hypothesis. While the Austric hypothesis remains contentious, there is genetic evidence that at least in western Island Southeast Asia there had been earlier Neolithic overland migrations (pre-4,000 Before Present, BP) by Austroasiatic-speaking peoples into what is now the
Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of ...
when the sea levels were lower in the early Holocene. These peoples were assimilated linguistically and culturally by incoming Austronesian peoples in what is now modern-day
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
. Several authors have also proposed that Kra-Dai speakers may actually be an ancient daughter subgroup of Austronesians that migrated back to the Pearl River Delta, Pearl River delta from
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
and/or Luzon shortly after the Austronesian expansion. Later migrating further westwards to Hainan, Mainland Southeast Asia and Northeast India. They propose that the distinctiveness of Kra-Dai (it is Tone (linguistics), tonal and Monosyllabic language, monosyllabic) was the result of linguistic restructuring due to contact with Hmong-Mien and Sinitic cultures. Aside from linguistic evidence, Roger Blench has also noted cultural similarities between the two groups, like facial tattooing, tooth removal or tooth sharpening, ablation, teeth blackening, snake (or dragon) cults, and the multiple-tongued jaw harps shared by the Indigenous Taiwanese and Kra-Dai-speakers. However archaeological evidence for this is still sparse. This is believed to be similar to what happened to the Cham people, who were originally Austronesian settlers (likely from Borneo) to southern Vietnam at around 2,100 to 1,900 Before Present, BP, and had languages similar to
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
. Their languages underwent several restructuring events to syntax and phonology due to contact with the nearby tonal languages of Mainland Southeast Asia and Hainan. According to Juha Janhunen and Ann Kumar, Austronesians may have also settled parts of southern Japan, especially on the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku, and influenced or created the ''"Japanese-hierarchical society"''. It is suggested that Japanese tribes like the Hayato people, the Kumaso and the Azumi people were of Austronesian origin. Until today, local traditions and festivals show similarities to the Malayo-Polynesian culture. The Sino-Austronesian languages, Sino-Austronesian hypothesis, on the other hand, is a relatively new hypothesis by Laurent Sagart, first proposed in 1990. It argues for a north–south linguistic genetic relationship between Chinese and Austronesian. This is based on sound correspondences in the basic vocabulary and morphological parallels. Sagart places special significance in shared vocabulary on cereal crops, citing them as evidence of shared linguistic origin. However, this has largely been rejected by other linguists. The sound correspondences between Old Chinese and Proto-Austronesian can also be explained as a result of the Longshan culture, Longshan interaction sphere, when pre-Austronesians from the Yangtze region came into regular contact with Proto-Sinitic speakers in the Shandong Peninsula at around the 4th to 3rd millennia BCE. This corresponded with the widespread introduction of rice cultivation to Proto-Sinitic speakers and conversely, millet cultivation to Pre-Austronesians. An Austronesian Stratum (linguistics), substratum in formerly Austronesian territories that have been Sinicized after the Iron Age southward expansion of the Han dynasty, Han expansion is also another explanation for the correspondences that do not require a genetic relationship. In relation to Sino-Austronesian models and the Longshan interaction sphere, Roger Blench (2014) suggests that the single migration model for the spread of the Neolithic into Taiwan is problematic, pointing out the genetic and linguistic inconsistencies between different Taiwanese Austronesian groups. The surviving Austronesian populations on Taiwan should rather be considered as the result of various Neolithic migration waves from the mainland and back migration from the Philippines. These incoming migrants almost certainly spoke languages related to Austronesian or pre-Austronesian, although their phonology and grammar would have been quite diverse.Blench, Roger. 2014.
Suppose we are wrong about the Austronesian settlement of Taiwan?
'' m.s.
Blench considers the Austronesians in Taiwan to have been a melting pot of immigrants from various parts of the coast of East China, eastern China that had been migrating to Taiwan by 4,000 BP These immigrants included people from the foxtail millet-cultivating Longshan culture of Shandong (with Longshan-type cultures found in southern Taiwan), the fishing-based Dapenkeng culture of coastal Fujian, and the Yuanshan culture of northernmost Taiwan which Blench suggests may have originated from the coast of Guangdong. Based on geography and cultural vocabulary, Blench believes that the Yuanshan people may have spoken East Formosan languages, Northeast Formosan languages. Thus, Blench believes that there is in fact no "apical" ancestor of Austronesian in the sense that there was no true single Proto-Austronesian language that gave rise to present-day Austronesian languages. Instead, multiple migrations of various pre-Austronesian peoples and languages from the Chinese mainland that were related but distinct came together to form what we now know as Austronesian in Taiwan. Hence, Blench considers the single-migration model into Taiwan by pre-Austronesians to be inconsistent with both the archaeological and linguistic (lexical) evidence.


Austronesian expansion

The Austronesian expansion (also called the "Out of Taiwan" model) is a large-scale migration of Austronesians out of Taiwan, occurring around 3000–1500 BCE. Population growth primarily fueled this migration. These first settlers landed in northern Luzon in the archipelago of the Philippines, intermingling with the earlier
Australo-Melanesian Australo-Melanesians (also known as Australasians or Australomelanesoid race or Australoid race) is an outdated historical grouping of various people indigenous to Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific ...
population who had inhabited the islands since about 23,000 years earlier. Over the next thousand years, Austronesian peoples migrated southeast to the rest of the Philippines, and into the islands of the Celebes Sea, Borneo, and Indonesia. The Austronesians that spread westward through Maritime Southeast Asia also colonized parts of mainland Southeast Asia. Soon after reaching the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, Austronesians colonized the Northern Mariana Islands by 1500 BCE and Palau and Yap by 1000 BCE, becoming the first humans to reach
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
. Another important migration branch was by the Lapita culture, which rapidly spread into the islands off the coast of northern New Guinea and into the Solomon Islands and other parts of
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
by 1200 BCE. They reached the Polynesian islands of Samoa and Tonga by around 900 to 800 BCE. This remained the furthest extent of the Austronesian expansion into Polynesia until around 700 CE when there was another surge of island colonization. They reached the Cook Islands, Tahiti, and the Marquesas by 700 CE; Hawaii, Hawaii by 900 CE;
Rapa Nui Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between ...
by 1000 CE; and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
by 1200 CE. There is also putative evidence, based in the spread of the sweet potato, that Austronesians may have reached South America from Polynesia where they traded with Indigenous peoples of the Americas, American Indians. In the Indian Ocean, they sailed west from Maritime Southeast Asia; the Austronesian peoples reached Madagascar by ca. 50–500 CE. As for their route, one possibility is that the Indonesian Austronesian came directly across the Indian Ocean from Java to Madagascar. It is likely that they went through the Maldives where evidence of old Indonesian boat design and fishing technology persists until the present.


Alternative views

A competing hypothesis to the "Out of Taiwan" model is the "Out of Sundaland" hypothesis, favored by a minority of authors. Notable proponents include William Meacham, Stephen Oppenheimer, and Wilhelm Solheim. For various reasons, they proposed that the homelands of Austronesians were within
Island Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north co ...
(ISEA), particularly in the Sundaland landmass drowned during the end of the last glacial period by rising sea levels. Proponents of these hypotheses point to the ancient origins of Human mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA in Southeast Asian populations, pre-dating the Austronesian expansion, as proof that Austronesians originated from within Island Southeast Asia. However, these have been repudiated by studies using whole genome sequencing which has found that all ISEA populations had genes originating from the aboriginal Taiwanese. Contrary to the claim of a south-to-north migration in the "Out of Sundaland" hypothesis, the new whole genome analysis strongly confirms the north-to-south dispersal of the Austronesian peoples in the prevailing "Out of Taiwan" hypothesis. The researchers further pointed out that while humans have been living in Sundaland for at least 40,000 years, the Austronesian people were recent arrivals. The results of the previous studies failed to take into account admixture with the more ancient but unrelated
Negrito The term Negrito () refers to several diverse ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical so ...

Negrito
and Papuan people, Papuan populations.


Historic period

By the beginning of the first millennium CE, most of the Austronesian inhabitants in
Maritime Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore. Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as Island Southeast Asia, Insular Southeast Asia ...
began trading with India and China. The adoption of Hinduism in Southeast Asia, Hindu statecraft model allowed the creation of Indianized kingdoms such as Tarumanagara, Champa, Rajahnate of Butuan, Butuan, Langkasuka, Melayu Kingdom, Melayu, Srivijaya, Medang Kingdom, Medang Mataram, Majapahit, and Bali Kingdom, Bali. Between the 5th to 15th century Hinduism and Buddhism were established as the main religion in the region. Muslim traders from the Arabian Peninsula, Arabian peninsula were thought to have brought Islam by the 10th century. Islam was established as the Spread of Islam in Indonesia, dominant religion in the Indonesian archipelago by the 16th century. The Austronesian inhabitants of
Near Oceania Near Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
and
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
were unaffected by this cultural trade and retained their indigenous culture in the Pacific region. Kingdom of Larantuka in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara was the only Christians, Christian (Roman Catholic) Native Indonesians, indigenous kingdom in
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and in
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
, with the first king named Lorenzo. Western Europeans in search of spices and gold later colonized most of the Austronesian-speaking countries of the Asia-Pacific region, beginning from the 16th century with the Portuguese and Spanish colonization of the Philippines, Palau, Guam, the Mariana Islands, and some parts of Indonesia (present-day East Timor); the Dutch colonization of the Indonesian archipelago; the British colonization of Malaysia and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
; the French colonization of French Polynesia; and later, the American governance of the Pacific. Meanwhile, the British, Germans, French, Americans, and Japanese began establishing spheres of influence within the Pacific Islands during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Japanese later invaded most of Southeast Asia and some parts of the Pacific during World War II. The latter half of the 20th century initiated independence of modern-day Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor and many of the Pacific Island nations, as well as the re-independence of the Philippines.


Culture

The native culture of Austronesia varies from region to region. The early Austronesian peoples considered the sea as the basic feature of their life. Following their diaspora to
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
, they migrated by boat to other islands. Boats of different sizes and shapes have been found in every Austronesian culture, from Madagascar, Maritime Southeast Asia, to Polynesia, and have different names. In Southeast Asia, head-hunting was restricted to the highlands as a result of warfare. Mummification is only found among the highland Austronesian Filipinos, and in some Indonesian groups in Celebes and Borneo.


Ships and sailing

Sea-going
catamaran A Formula 16 beachable catamaran Powered catamaran passenger ferry at Salem, Massachusetts, United States A catamaran () (informally, a "cat") is a multi-hulled watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, a ...

catamaran
and outrigger canoe, outrigger ship technologies were the most important innovations of the Austronesian peoples. They were the first humans with vessels capable of crossing vast distances of water, which enabled them to colonize the Indo-Pacific in prehistoric times. Austronesian groups continue to be the primary users of the outrigger canoes today. Early researchers like Heine-Geldern (1932) and Hornell (1943) once believed that
catamaran A Formula 16 beachable catamaran Powered catamaran passenger ferry at Salem, Massachusetts, United States A catamaran () (informally, a "cat") is a multi-hulled watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, a ...

catamaran
s evolved from outrigger canoes, but modern authors specializing in Austronesian cultures like Doran (1981) and Mahdi (1988) now believe it to be the opposite. Two canoes bound together developed directly from minimal raft technologies of two logs tied together. Over time, the double-hulled canoe form developed into the asymmetric double canoe, where one hull is smaller than the other. Eventually the smaller hull became the prototype outrigger, giving way to the single outrigger canoe, then to the reversible single outrigger canoe. Finally, the single outrigger types developed into the double outrigger canoe (or trimarans). This would also explain why older Austronesian populations in
Island Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north co ...
tend to favor double outrigger canoes, as it keeps the boats stable when tacking (sailing), tacking. But they still have small regions where catamarans and single-outrigger canoes are still used. In contrast, more distant outlying descendant populations in
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
,
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
,
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
, and the Comoros retained the double-hull and the single outrigger canoe types, but the technology for double outriggers never reached them (although it exists in western
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabi ...

Melanesia
). To deal with the problem of the instability of the boat when the outrigger faces leeward when tacking, they instead developed the shunting (sailing), shunting technique in sailing, in conjunction with reversibleThe boat is symmetrical front and back, and the prow alternately becomes the stern (ship), stern and vice versa when sailing against the wind single-outriggers. The simplest form of all ancestral Austronesian boats had five parts. The bottom part consists of a single piece of hollowed-out log. At the sides were two planks, and two horseshoe-shaped wood pieces formed the prow and stern. These were fitted tightly together edge-to-edge with dowels inserted into holes in between, and then lashed to each other with ropes (made from rattan or fibre) wrapped around protruding lugs on the planks. This characteristic and ancient Austronesian boat-building practice is known as the "
lashed-lug Lashed-lug boats are ancient boat-building Boat building is the design and construction of boats and their systems. This includes at a minimum a hull (watercraft), hull, with propulsion, mechanical, navigation, safety and other systems as a craft ...
" technique. They were commonly caulked with pastes made from various plants as well as Paper mulberry, tapa bark and fibres which would expand when wet, further tightening joints and making the hull watertight. They formed the shell of the boat, which was then reinforced by horizontal ribs. Shipwrecks of Austronesian ships can be identified from this construction, as well as the absence of metal nails. Austronesian ships traditionally had no central rudders but were instead steered using an oar on one side. The ancestral rig was the mastless triangular
crab claw sail The crab claw sail is a fore-and-aft triangular sail with spars along upper and lower edges. The crab claw sail was first developed by the Austronesian peoples some time around 1500 BC. It is used in many traditional Austronesian cultures in Island ...
which had two booms that could be tilted to the wind. These were built in the double-canoe configuration or had a single outrigger on the windward side. In Island Southeast Asia, these developed into double outriggers on each side that provided greater stability. The triangular crab claw sails also later developed into square or rectangular tanja sails, which like crab claw sails, had distinctive booms spanning the upper and lower edges. Fixed masts also developed later in both Southeast Asia (usually as bipod or tripod masts) and Oceania. Austronesians traditionally made their sails from woven mats of the resilient and salt-resistant pandanus leaves. These sails allowed Austronesians to embark on long-distance voyaging. In some cases, however, they were one-way voyages. The failure of pandanus to establish populations in
Rapa Nui Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between ...
and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
is believed to have isolated their settlements from the rest of Polynesia. The ancient Champa of Vietnam also uniquely developed basket-hulled boats whose hulls were composed of woven and resin-caulked bamboo, either entirely or in conjunction with plank strakes. They range from small coracles (the ''o thúng'') to large ocean-going trading ships like the ''ghe mành''. The acquisition of the catamaran and outrigger technology by the non-Austronesian peoples in Sri Lanka and southern India is due to the result of very early Austronesian contact with the region, including the
Maldives Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located prima ...

Maldives
and the Laccadive Islands, estimated to have occurred around 1000 to 600 BCE and onwards. This may have possibly included limited colonization that have since been assimilated. This is still evident in Sri Lankan and South Indian languages. For example, Tamil language, Tamil ''paṭavu'', Telugu language, Telugu ''paḍava'', and Kannada language, Kannada ''paḍahu'', all meaning "ship", are all derived from Proto-Hesperonesian, Proto‑Hesperonesian *padaw, "sailboat", with Austronesian cognates like Javanese ''perahu'', Kadazan language, Kadazan ''padau'', Maranao language, Maranao ''padaw'', Cebuano language, Cebuano ''paráw'', Samoan language, Samoan ''folau'', Hawaiian language, Hawaiian ''halau'', and Māori language, Māori ''wharau''. Early contact with Arab people, Arab ships in the Indian Ocean during Austronesian voyages is also believed to have resulted in the development of the triangular Arabic lateen sail.


Pottery

Outside of Taiwan, assemblages of red-slipped pottery, plainware, and incised and stamped pottery associated with the Austronesian migrations are first documented from around 2000 to 1800 BCE in the northern
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, from sites in the Batanes Islands and the Cagayan Valley of Northern Luzon. From there pottery technology rapidly spread to the east, south, and southwest. One branch of the migrations carried pottery to the Marianas Islands at around 1500 BCE, where the earliest archaeological sites have uncovered pottery very similar to those found in the Nagsabaran Site (2000 to 1300 BCE) in Cagayan Valley in the Philippines. This indicates that the northeastern coast of Luzon is the most likely point of origin of the first open-ocean colonizing voyages into the
Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...
. Philippine and Marianas red-slipped pottery are both decorated with rows of stamped circles, incised patterns, and tiny delicate punch-marks. While similar red-slipped pottery also exist in the Batanes Islands and
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
, they lack the characteristic circle and punctate-stamped decorations. Other migrations, meanwhile, dispersed south and southwest to the rest of Island Southeast Asia. The eastward and the southward branches of the migrations converged in
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
resulting in what is now known as the Lapita culture centered around the Bismarck Archipelago. The Lapita culture made distinctive dentate-stamped pottery. It also retained elements also found in the Nagsabaran pottery in the Philippines, including stamped circles as well as the cross-in-circle motif. They carried pottery technology as far as Tonga in
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
. Pottery technology in Tonga, however, became reduced to undecorated plainware within only two centuries before abruptly disappearing completely by around 400 BCE. The reasons for this are still unknown. Pottery was absent in subsequent migrations to the rest of
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
, being replaced instead with carved wooden or bamboo containers, bottle gourds, and baskets. However, the geometric designs and stylized figures used in the pottery are still present in other surviving artforms like in tattooing, weaving, and barkcloth patterns. A common practice among Austronesians in a large area of Island Southeast Asia is the use of burial jars which emerged during the Late Neolithic and flourished in the first millennium CE. They are characteristic of a region bordered by the Philippines to the north, southern Sumatra in the southwest, and Sumba and the Maluku Islands in the southeast. However, these didn't comprise a single tradition, but can be grouped into at least fourteen different traditions scattered across the islands. In most cases, the earliest burial jars used were large indigenous earthenware jars, followed by indigenous or imported stoneware jars (''martaban jar, martaban''), and finally imported porcelain jars acquired from the burgeoning maritime trade with China and Mainland Southeast Asia at around the 14th century CE.


Jade carving

The ancestral pre-Austronesian Liangzhu culture (3400–2250 BCE) of the Yangtze River delta was one of the ancient centres of Neolithic
jade Jade is a mineral, much used in some cultures as jewellery and for ornaments, mostly known for its green varieties, though it appears naturally in other colors as well, notably yellow and white. Jade can refer to either of two different silica ...

jade
carving. Jade was spread to Taiwan by around 3,000 BCE, then further into Vietnam at 2,000 BCE and the Philippines at 1,800–1,500 BCE. All of them began to produce various tools and ornaments in indigenous jade workshops, including adzes, bracelets, beads, and rings. The most notable jade products of these regions were the vast amounts of penannular and double-headed earrings and pendants known as ''lingling-o'', primarily produced in the Philippines and the Sa Huỳnh culture of Vietnam, though remarkably mostly with the raw jade material sourced from eastern Taiwan. These typically depict two-headed animals or were ring-shaped with side projections. They were indicative of a very active ancient maritime trading region that imported and exported raw jade and finished jade ornaments known as the Sa Huynh-Kalanay Interaction Sphere. They were produced during a period between 500 BCE to as late as 1000 CE, although later examples were replaced with metal, wood, bone, clay, green mica, black nephrite, or shell materials, rather than green jade. Polished and ground stone adzes, Chisel, gouges, and other implements, some of which are made from jade-like stone, have also been recorded in areas of
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
and eastern New Guinea associated with the Lapita culture. These were considered valuable currency and were primarily used to trade for goods. In 2012, a Lapita culture jadeite gouge used for wood carving was found in Emirau Island in the Bismarck Archipelago. It was dated to around 3,300 BP, but the origin of the jade material is unknown. Similar prestige stone tools have also been found in New Caledonia. Jade was absent in most of
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
, due to the lack of jade deposits. However, there is putative evidence that Polynesians may have remained familiar with jade and may have acquired them through prehistoric trade contacts with New Caledonia, Island Melanesia, and/or New Zealand. Jade carving traditions reappeared among the Māori people of New Zealand. These were produced from locally sourced (greenstone) and were used to produce (treasure). They include various tools and weapons like adzes, scrapers, fishing hooks, and , as well as ornaments like the and . Certain ornaments like the (double-headed animal pendant) and the (bird leg ring) bear remarkably strong resemblances to the double-headed and ring-type ''linglingo''. Bellwood ''et al.'' (2011) has suggested that the reappearance of these motifs might be evidence of a preserved tradition of Southeast Asian jade motifs (perhaps carved in perishable wood, bone, or shell by Polynesians prior to the reacquisition of a jade source), or they might even be the result of a later Iron Age contact between eastern Polynesia and the Philippines.


Rock art

There are around six hundred to seven hundred
rock art In archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to g ...
sites discovered in Southeast Asia and
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
, as well as over eight hundred megalithic sites. The sites specifically associated with the Austronesian expansion contain examples of indigenous pictograms and petroglyphs. Within Southeast Asia, the sites associated with Austronesians can be divided into three general rock art traditions: the Megalithic Culture of Borneo, Sulawesi, and the
Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of ...
; the Austronesian Painting Tradition of the
Lesser Sunda Islands The Lesser Sunda Islands ( id, Kepulauan Nusa Tenggara "southeastern archipelago" or "lesser sunda archipelago") are an archipelago in Maritime Southeast Asia, north of Australia. Together with the Greater Sunda Islands to the west they mak ...

Lesser Sunda Islands
, coastal New Guinea, and Island Melanesia; and the Austronesian Engraving Style of Papua New Guinea and Island Melanesia. Despite proximity, these traditions can be distinguished readily from the
Australo-Melanesian Australo-Melanesians (also known as Australasians or Australomelanesoid race or Australoid race) is an outdated historical grouping of various people indigenous to Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific ...
rock art traditions of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
(except the Torres Strait Islands) as well as the interior highlands of New Guinea, indicating the borders of the extent of the Austronesian expansion. Dating rock art is difficult, but some of the sites subjected to Absolute dating, direct dating pre-date Austronesian arrival, like the Lene Hara cave, Lene Hara paintings of East Timor which has an age range of 6,300 to 26,000 BP. Conversely, others are more recent and can be dated indirectly by their subjects. The depictions of pottery, ships, and metal objects, for example, put certain rock art sites at a range of 2,000 to 4,000 BP. Some hunter-gatherer groups have also continued to produce rock art well into the present period, as evidenced by their modern subjects. The Megalithic Culture is mostly limited to western Island Southeast Asia, with the greatest concentration being western Indonesia. While most sites aren't dated, the age ranges of dating sites are between the 2nd to 16th century CE. They are divided into two phases. The first is an older megalithic tradition associated with the Neolithic Austronesian rectangular axe culture (2,500 to 1,500 BCE); while the second is the 3rd or 4th century BCE megalithic tradition associated with the (non-Austronesian) Dong Son culture of Vietnam. Prasetyo (2006) suggests that the megalithic traditions are not originally Austronesian, but rather innovations acquired through trade with India and China, but this has little to no evidence in the intervening regions in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The Austronesian Painting Traditions (APT) are the most common types of rock art in Island Southeast Asia. They consist of scenes and pictograms typically found in rock shelters and caves near coastal areas. They are characteristically rendered in red ochre pigments for the earlier forms, later sometimes superseded by paintings done in black charcoal pigments. Their sites are mostly clustered in Eastern Indonesia and
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
, although a few examples can be found in the rest of Island Southeast Asia. Their occurrence has a high correlation to Austronesian-speaking areas, further evidenced by the appearance of metal (bronze) artifacts in the paintings. They are mostly found near the coastlines. Their common motifs include hand stencils, "sun-ray" designs, boats, and active human figures with headdresses or weapons and other paraphernalia. They also feature geometric motifs similar to the motifs of the Austronesian Engraving Style. Some paintings are also associated with traces of human burials and funerary rites, including ship burials. The representations of boats themselves are believed to be connected to the widespread "ship of the dead" Austronesian funerary practices. The earliest APT sites dated is from Vanuatu, which was found to be around 3,000 BP, corresponding to the initial migration wave of the Austronesians. These early sites are largely characterized by face motifs and hand stencils. Later sites from 1,500 BP onwards, however, begin to show regional divergence in their art styles. APT can be readily distinguished from older Pleistocene-era Australo-Melanesian cave paintings by their motifs, colour, and composition, though they can often be found in the same locality. The most recognizable motifs of APT (like boats) do not occur in cave paintings (or engravings) that definitely pre-date the Austronesian arrival, the sole exception being the stencilled hand motif. Some APT examples are also characteristically found in relatively inaccessible locations like very high up in cliffsides overlooking the sea. No traces of APT has been found in Taiwan or the Philippines, though there is continuity in the motifs of spirals and concentric circles found in ancestral petroglyphs. The Austronesian Engraving Style (AES), consisting of petroglyphs carved into rock surfaces, is far less common than APT. The majority of these sites are in coastal New Guinea, and
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
. AES sites, which can be tentatively traced back to the similar Wanshan Rock Carvings Archeological Site, Wanshan petroglyphs of Taiwan, are believed to be largely correlated to the prehistoric extent of the Lapita culture. The common motif of this tradition is curvilinear geometric engravings like spirals, concentric circles, and face-like forms. These resemble the geometric motifs in APT, though they are considered to be two separate artistic traditions. AES is particularly dominant in the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, where engravings are far more abundant than painted sites. O'Connor ''et al.'' (2015) proposes that APT developed during the initial rapid southward Austronesian expansion, and not before, possibly as a response to the communication challenges brought about by the new maritime mode of living. Along with AES, these material symbols and associated rituals and technologies may been the manifestations of "powerful ideologies" spread by Austronesian settlers that were central to the "Neolithization" and rapid assimilation of the various non-Austronesian indigenous populations of ISEA and Melanesia. The easternmost islands of Island Melanesia (Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Caledonia) are considered part of
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
as they are beyond the interisland visibility threshold. These island groups begin to show divergence from the APT and AES traditions of
Near Oceania Near Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
. While their art traditions show a clear continuation of the APT and AES traditions, they also feature innovations unique to each island group, like the increasing use of black charcoal, rectilinear motifs, and being found more inside sacred caves rather than in open cliffsides. In
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
, the rock art traditions can be divided into three general regions: western, central, and eastern Micronesia. The divisions reflect the various major migration waves from the Philippines into the Mariana Islands and Palau at 3,500 BP; a Lapita culture back-migration from Island Melanesia into central and eastern Micronesia at around 2,200 BP; and finally a back-migration from western Polynesia into eastern Micronesia at around 1,000 BP. In western Micronesia (Palau, Yap, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands), rock art primarily consist of paintings on high cave ceilings and sea-facing cliffs. They are very similar to APT in terms of their motifs as well as their relatively inaccessible locations. Common motifs include hand stencils, faces, turtles and fish, concentric circles, and characteristic four-pointed stars. Petroglyphs are rare, but mainly consist of human forms with triangular bodies without heads or arms. This is believed to be connected to the funerary rite of removing the heads from the bodies of deceased relatives. A notable megalithic tradition in western Micronesia are the ''Latte stone, haligi'' stone pillars of the Chamorro people. These are capped stone pillars which are believed to have served as supports for raised buildings. They are associated with the Latte period (900 to 1700 CE), when a new wave of migrants from Southeast Asia reintroduced
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
Rice#History of domestication and cultivation, cultivation into the islands. Another megalithic tradition is also that of the rai stones, massive doughnut-shaped discs of rock which were used as currency in Yap. Rock art in central Micronesia (Chuuk State, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae), in contrast, are dominated by rock engravings with motifs tying it to the rock art traditions of Island Melanesia. They include curvilinear shapes like spirals and concentric circles, tree-like shapes, and the distinctive "enveloped cross" motif. The Pohnpaid petroglyphs are the largest assemblage of rock engravings in the region, with motifs dominated by footprints, enveloped crosses, and outlined "sword-paddles". Central Micronesia also hosts the ruins of the stone cities of Nan Madol (1,180–1,200 CE) and Leluh archaeological site, Leluh (1,200–1,800 CE), in the islands of Pohnpei and Kosrae, respectively. In the low-lying atolls of eastern Micronesia, rock art is rare to nonexistent, due to the absence of suitable rock surfaces for painting or engraving. In
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
, rock art is dominated by petroglyphs, rather than paintings, and they show less variation than the rock art of Near Oceania and ISEA. In the western Polynesian islands nearest to Island Melanesia, rock art is rare (like in Tonga and Samoa) or are absent entirely (like in the Cook Islands). However, petroglyphs are abundant in the islands in the further reaches of the Polynesian triangle, particularly in
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
, the Marquesas, and
Rapa Nui Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between ...
. Rapa Nui has the densest concentration of engravings in Polynesia as a whole; while the Pu'uloa petroglyphs site in Hawaiʻi has the largest number of petroglyphs in a single site at over 21,000 engravings. Polynesia also features megalithic sacred ceremonial centres generally known as ''marae''. In Tonga and Samoa, the existing rock art sites consist mostly of engravings with motifs including curvilinear shapes, human figures, "jellyfish", turtles, birds, and footprints. These are typically carved in natural rock formations or ''marae'' sites. In the central-eastern Polynesian islands, which include the Marquesas and the Society Islands, petroglyphs are more numerous. They show the archetypal Polynesian motifs of turtles, faces, cup-like depressions (cupules), stick-like human figures, boats, fish, curvilinear shapes, and concentric circles. Like in western Polynesia, they are typically carved into ''marae'' sites or in rocks beside streams. The existing rock paintings also display the same motifs but are rendered in different styles. In the
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
an islands, the abundant petroglyphs are remarkably all similar in execution. Their common subjects include stick-like human figures, dogs, boats, sails, paddles, footprints, and ceremonial headdresses. Depictions of marine life, however, is rare, unlike the rest of Polynesia. They are typically carved into boulders, lava rock formations, and cliffsides. Red paintings of dogs in cliffsides and caves can also be found in Kauai, Kauai and Maui. The megalithic traditions of Hawaii can be exemplified by the ''heiau'' sacred sites, which can range from simple earth terraces to standing stones. In
Rapa Nui Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between ...
, the engravings are distinctive but still show similarities to the techniques and motifs of the Marquesas. Their motifs commonly include disembodied parts of the human body (Vagina and vulva in art, vulvae in particular), animals, plants, ceremonial objects, and boats. A prominent motif is also that of the "birdman" figure which is associated with the ''tangata manu'' cult of Makemake (deity), Makemake. The most well-known rock art assemblage of Rapa Nui, however, are the ''moai'' megaliths. A few paintings mostly of birds and boats have also been discovered which are associated with the engravings, rather than being separate artforms. The rock art in
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
can be divided into two regions. North Island features more engravings than paintings, while South Island is unique in that it is the only Polynesian island where there are more paintings than engravings. New Zealand rock paintings are done in red and black pigments and can sometimes be found in inaccessible heights. They typically depict human figures (particularly a front-facing human figure with flexed arms), birds, lizards, dogs, fish, and what has been identified as "birdmen". Engravings in open spaces like cliffsides are generally of spirals and curvilinear shapes, while engravings in enclosed caves and shelters depict faces and boats. The same motifs can also be seen in dendroglyphs on living trees.


Writing

With the possible exception of rongorongo on
Rapa Nui Easter Island ( rap, Rapa Nui; es, Isla de Pascua) is an island and special territory of Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between ...
, Austronesians did not have an indigenous writing system but rather adopted or developed writing systems after contact with various non-Austronesian cultures. There are various forms of symbolic communication by #Rock art, pictograms and petroglyphs, but these did not encode language. Rongorongo, said to have originally been called ''kohau motu mo rongorongo'' ("lines of inscriptions for chanting out"), is the only pre-contact indigenous Austronesian system of glyphs that appear to be true writing or at least proto-writing. They consist of around 120 glyphs, ranging from representations of plants to animals, celestial objects, and geometric shapes. They were inscribed into wooden tablets about long using shark teeth and obsidian flakes. The wood allegedly came from Sophora toromiro, toromiro and Thespesia populnea, makoi trees, which is notable given that Rapa Nui was completely deforested at the History of Easter Island, time of European contact. Although of the surviving two dozen tablets, a few were made from trees introduced after European contact, as well as wood originating from European ships and driftwood. Rapa Nui also has a very rich assemblage of petroglyphs largely associated with the ''tangata manu'' ("birdman") cult of Makemake (deity), Makemake. Although some rongorongo glyphs may have been derived from these petroglyphs, rongorongo does not appear in any of the abundant rock carvings in Rapa Nui and seems to be restricted to the wooden tablets. The tablets were first described by an outsider in 1864 by the Catholic Church, Catholic missionary Eugène Eyraud who said they were found "in all the houses." However, he paid them little attention and they remained unnoticed by the outside world. It wasn't until 1869 that one of the tablets came into the possession of Florentin-Étienne Jaussen, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete, Bishop of Tahiti. He brought the tablets to the world's attention and instructed the Rapa Nui mission to gather more information about them. But by then, most of the tablets were allegedly already destroyed, presumed to have been used as fuel by the natives in the deforested island. At the time of discovery of the tablets, Rapa Nui had undergone severe depopulation. This was largely due to the loss of the island's last trees and the Peruvian and Chilean Blackbirding, slave raids in the early 1860s. The literate ruling classes of the Rapa Nui people (including the royal family and the religious caste) and the majority of the island's population were kidnapped or killed in the slave raids. Most of those taken died after only one or two years in captivity from the harsh working conditions and European diseases. Succeeding epidemics of smallpox and tuberculosis further decimated the island's population to the point that there were not enough people to bury the dead. The last remnants of the Rapa Nui people were assimilated by the Tahitian people, Tahitians who were later brought to the island in an effort to repopulate it, further resulting in the loss of most of the Old Rapa Nui language. Oral tradition holds that the ruling classes were the only ones who could read the tablets, and the ability to decipher the tablets was lost along with them. Numerous attempts have been made to read the tablets, starting from a few years after their discovery. But to this day, none have proven successful. Some authors have proposed that rongorongo may have been an attempt to imitate European script after the idea of writing was introduced during the "signing" of the History of Easter Island#European contacts, 1770 Spanish Treaty of Annexation or through knowledge of European writing acquired elsewhere. They cite various reasons including the lack of attestation of rongorongo prior to the 1860s, the clearly more recent provenance of some of the tablets, the lack of antecedents, and the lack of additional archaeological evidence since its discovery. Others argue that it was merely a mnemonic list of symbols meant to guide incantations. Whether rongorongo is merely an example of trans-cultural diffusion, or a true indigenous Austronesian writing system (and one of the few Invention of writing, independent inventions of writing in human history) remains unknown and may never be known. In Southeast Asia, the first true writing systems of pre-modern Austronesian cultures were all derived from the Grantha script, Grantha and Pallava script, Pallava Brahmic scripts, all of which are abugidas from South India. Various forms of abugidas spread throughout Austronesian cultures in Southeast Asia as kingdoms became Greater India#Indianization, Indianized through early maritime trading. The oldest use of abugida scripts in Austronesian cultures are 4th century stone inscriptions written in Cham script from Vietnam. There are numerous other Brahmic-derived writing systems among Southeast Asian Austronesians, usually specific to a certain ethnic group. Notable examples include Balinese script, Balinese, Batak script, Batak, Baybayin, Buhid script, Buhid, Hanunuo script, Hanunó'o, Javanese script, Javanese, Kulitan alphabet, Kulitan, Lontara script, Lontara, Old Kawi, Rejang script, Rejang, Rencong script, Rencong, Sundanese script, Sundanese, and Tagbanwa script, Tagbanwa. They vary from having letters with rounded shapes to letters with sharp cuneiform-like angles; a result of the difference in writing mediums, with the former being ideal for writing on soft leaves and the latter ideal for writing on bamboo panels. The use of the scripts ranged from mundane records to encoding esoteric knowledge on magico-religious rituals and folk medicine. In regions which converted to Islam, abjads derived from the Arabic script started replacing the earlier abugidas at around the 13th century in Southeast Asia.
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
, as well, adopted the Arabic script in the 14th century. Abjads, however, have an even greater inherent problem with encoding Austronesian languages than abugidas, because Austronesian languages have more varied and salient vowels which the Arabic script can not usually encode. As a result, the Austronesian adaptations such as the Jawi alphabet, Jawi and the Pegon scripts have been modified with a system of diacritics that encode sounds, both vowels and consonants, native to Austronesian languages but absent in Semitic languages. With the advent of the Colonial Era, almost all of these writing systems have been replaced with alphabets adapted from the Latin alphabet, as in the Hawaiian alphabet, Filipino alphabet, and Malay alphabet; however, several Formosan languages had been written in zhuyin, and Cia-Cia language, Cia-Cia off Sulawesi has experimented with hangul. Vanuatu has a unique tradition of Sand drawing#Vanuatu (Sandroings), sand drawing, by which images are created by a single continuous line drawn in the sand. It is believed to have functioned as a means of symbolic communication in pre-contact
Island MelanesiaIsland Melanesia is a subregion of Melanesia in Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a p ...
, especially between travelers and ethnic groups that do not speak the same language. The sand drawings consist of around 300 different designs, and seem to be shared across language groups. In the 1990s, elements of the drawings were adapted into a modern constructed script called Avoiuli by the Turaga nation, Turaga indigenous movement on Pentecost Island.


Body art

Body art among Austronesian peoples is common, especially elaborate tattooing which is one of the most well-known pan-Austronesian traditions.


Tattooing

In modern times, tattoos are usually associated with Polynesian people, Polynesian culture, due to the highly influential accounts of James Cook in his explorations of the Pacific in the 18th century. Cook introduced the word "tattoo" (archaic: "tattaow", "tattow") into the English language, English vocabulary, from Tahitian language, Tahitian and Samoan language, Samoan ''tātau'' ("to tap"). However, tattoos exist prominently in various other Austronesian groups prior to contacts with other cultures. Tattoos had various functions among Austronesian societies. Among men, they were strongly linked to the widespread practice of head-hunting raids. In head-hunting societies, tattoos were records of how many heads the warriors had taken in battle, and was part of the initiation rites into adulthood. The number and location of tattoos, therefore, were indicative of a warrior's status and prowess. Among the Indigenous Taiwanese, tattoos were present for both men and women. Among the Tayal people, facial tattoos are dominant. They indicated maturity and skill in weaving and farming for women, and skill in hunting and battle for men. Like in most of Austronesia, tattooing traditions in Taiwan have largely disappeared due to the Sinicization of native peoples after the Taiwan under Qing rule, Chinese colonization of
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
in the 17th century, as well as conversion to Christianity. Most of the remaining tattoos are only found among elders. One of the earliest descriptions of Austronesian tattoos by Europeans was during the 16th century History of the Philippines (1521–1898), Spanish expeditions to the Philippines, beginning with the Magellan expedition, first voyage of circumnavigation by Ferdinand Magellan. The Spanish encountered the heavily tattooed Visayan people in the Visayas, Visayas Islands, whom they named the "''Pintados''" (Spanish language, Spanish for "the painted ones"). However, Philippine tattooing traditions have mostly been lost as the natives of the islands converted to Christianity and Islam, though they are still practised in isolated groups in the highlands of Luzon and Mindanao. Philippine tattoos were usually geometric patterns or stylized depictions of animals, plants, and human figures. Some of the few remaining traditional tattoos in the Philippines are from elders of the Igorot peoples. Most of these were records of war exploits against the Japanese during Military history of the Philippines during World War II, World War II. Among the Māori people, Māori of New Zealand, tattoos (''Tā moko, moko'') were originally carved into the skin using bone chisels (''uhi'') rather than through puncturing as in usual practice. In addition to being pigmented, the skin was also left raised into ridges of swirling patterns.


Dental modification

Teeth blackening was the custom of dyeing one's teeth black with various tannin-rich plant dyes. It was practiced throughout almost the entire range of Austronesia, including Island Southeast Asia, Madagascar, Micronesia, and Island Melanesia, reaching as far east as Malaita. However, it was absent in Polynesia. It also existed in non-Austronesian populations in Mainland Southeast Asia and Japan. The practice was primarily preventative, as it reduced the chances of developing tooth decay similar to modern dental sealants. It also had cultural significance and was seen as beautiful. A common sentiment was that blackened teeth separated humans from animals. Teeth blackening was often done in conjunction with other modifications to the teeth associated with beauty standards, including teeth removal (evulsion) and teeth filing.


Architecture

Austronesian architecture is highly diverse, often with striking designs; but they all share certain characteristics that indicate a common origin. The Comparative method, reconstructed Proto-Austronesian and Proto-Malayo-Polynesian forms of various terms for "house", "building", or "granary" among the different linguistic subgroups of Austronesians include *Rumaq ("house");Cognates include Paiwan language, Paiwan ''umaq'', Tboli language, T'boli ''lumak'',
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
''rumah'', Acehnese language, Acehnese ''rumòh'', Sawai language, Sawai ''um'', Rotinese language, Rotinese ''uma'', Torau language, Torau ''ruma'', and Chuukese language, Chuukese ''iimw''.
*balay ("public building", "community house", or "guest house");Cognates include
Tagalog Tagalog may refer to: Language * Tagalog language Tagalog (, ; ) is an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a se ...
''bahay kubo, báhay'', Cebuano language, Cebuano ''baláy'',
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
''balai'', Balinese language, Balinese ''bale'', Fijian language, Fijian ''vale'', Hawaiian language, Hawaiian ''hale'', and Māori language, Māori ''whare''.
*lepaw ("hut", "field hut", or "granary");Cognates include Kavalan language, Kavalan ''repaw'', Kenyah language, Kenyah ''lepaw'',
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
''lepau'', and Sika language, Sika ''lepo''.
*kamaliR ("bachelor's house" or "men's house");Cognates include Yami language, Yami ''kamalig'',
Tagalog Tagalog may refer to: Language * Tagalog language Tagalog (, ; ) is an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a se ...
''kamálig'', Old Javanese ''kamalir'', Hawu language, Hawu ''kemali'', and Papitalai language, Papitalai ''kamal''.
and *banua ("inhabited land" or "community territory").Cognates include Cebuano language, Cebuano ''banwá'', Iban language, Iban ''menoa'', Banggai language, Banggai ''bonua'', Selaru language, Selaru ''hnua'', Sawai language, Sawai ''pnu'', Fijian language, Fijian ''vanua'', Samoan language, Samoan ''fanua'', Hawaiian language, Hawaiian ''honua'', and Māori language, Māori ''whenua''. The most ubiquitous common feature of Austronesian structures is the raised floor. The structures are raised on Stilt house, piles, usually with space underneath also utilized for storage or Domesticated animals of Austronesia, domestic animals. The raised design had multiple advantages, they mitigate damage during flooding and (in very tall examples) can act as defensive structures during conflicts. The house posts are also distinctively capped with larger-diameter discs at the top, to prevent vermin and pests from entering the structures by climbing them. Austronesian houses and other structures are usually built in wetlands and alongside bodies of water, but can also be built in the highlands or even directly on shallow water. Building structures on pilings is believed to be derived from the design of raised granaries and storehouses, which are highly important status symbols among the ancestrally rice-cultivating Austronesians. The rice granary shrine was also the archetypal religious building among Austronesian cultures and was used to store carvings of ancestor spirits and local deities. Another common feature are pitched roofs with ornamented gables. The most notable of which are the saddlebacked roofs, a design common for longhouses used for village meetings or ceremonies. The overall effect of which is reminiscent of boats, underlining the strong maritime connections of Austronesian cultures. The boat motif is common throughout, particularly in eastern Indonesia. In some ethnic groups, the houses are built on platforms that resemble
catamaran A Formula 16 beachable catamaran Powered catamaran passenger ferry at Salem, Massachusetts, United States A catamaran () (informally, a "cat") is a multi-hulled watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, a ...

catamaran
s. Among the Nage people, a woven representation of a boat is added to the ridge of the roof; among the Manggarai people, the roofs of houses are shaped like an upside-down boat; while among the people of Tanimbar and eastern Flores, the ridge itself is carved into a representation of a boat. Furthermore, elements of Austronesian structures (as well as society in general) are often referred to in terminologies used for boats and sailing. These include calling elements of structures as "masts", "sails", or "rudders" or calling the village leaders as "captains" or "steersmen". In the case of the Philippines, the villages themselves are referred to as ''barangay'', from an alternate form of ''balangay'', a type of sailboat used for trading and colonization. Austronesian buildings have spiritual significance, often containing what is coined by anthropologist James J. Fox as a "ritual attractor." These are specific posts, beams, platforms, altars, and so on that embody the house as a whole, usually consecrated at the time of building. The Austronesian house itself also often symbolizes various aspects of indigenous Austronesian cosmology and animism. In the majority of cases, the loft of the house (usually placed above the hearth), is considered to be the domain of deities and spirits. It is essentially a raised granary built into the structure of the house itself and functioned as a second floor. It is usually used to store sacred objects (like effigies of granary idols or deceased ancestors), heirlooms, and other important objects. These areas are usually not part of the regular living space, and may only be accessible to certain members of the family or after performing a specific ritual. Other parts of the house may also be associated with certain deities, and thus certain activities like receiving guests or conducting marriage ceremonies can only be performed in specific areas. While rice cultivation wasn't among the technologies carried into
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
, raised storehouses still survived. The ''pataka'' of the Māori people is an example. The largest ''pataka'' are elaborately adorned with carvings and are often the tallest buildings in the Māori ''pā''. These were used to store implements, weapons, ships, and other valuables; while smaller ''pataka''s were used to store provisions. A special type of ''pataka'' supported by a single tall post also had ritual importance and were used to isolate high-born children during their training for leadership. The majority of Austronesian structures are not permanent. They are made from perishable materials like wood, bamboo, plant fibre, and leaves. Similar to traditional Austronesian boats, they do not use nails but are traditionally constructed solely by joints, weaving, ties, and dowels. Elements of the structures are repaired and replaced regularly or as they get damaged. Because of this, archaeological records of prehistoric Austronesian structures are usually limited to traces of house posts, with no way of determining the original building plans. Indirect evidence of traditional Austronesian architecture, however, can be gleaned from their contemporary representations in art, like in friezes on the walls of later Indian religions, Hindu-Buddhist stone temples (like in reliefs in Borobudur and Prambanan). But these are limited to the recent centuries. They can also be reconstructed linguistically from shared terms for architectural elements, like ridge-poles, thatch, rafters, house posts, hearth, notched log ladders, storage racks, public buildings, and so on. Linguistic evidence also makes it clear that
stilt house Stilt houses (also called pile dwellings or lake dwellings) are houses raised on stilts Stilts are poles, posts or pillars that allow a person or structure to stand at a height above the ground. In flood plains, and on beach A summ ...
s were already present among Austronesian groups since at least the Late Neolithic. Arbi ''et al.'' (2013) have also noted the striking similarities between Austronesian architecture and Japanese traditional raised architecture (''shinmei-zukuri''). Particularly the buildings of the Ise Grand Shrine, which contrast with the pit-houses typical of the Neolithic Yayoi period. They propose significant Neolithic contact between the people of southern Japan and Austronesians or pre-Austronesians that occurred prior to the spread of Han Chinese cultural influence to the islands. Rice cultivation is also believed to have been introduced to Japan from a para-Austronesian group from coastal eastern China. Waterson (2009) has also argued that the architectural tradition of
stilt house Stilt houses (also called pile dwellings or lake dwellings) are houses raised on stilts Stilts are poles, posts or pillars that allow a person or structure to stand at a height above the ground. In flood plains, and on beach A summ ...
s is originally Austronesian, and that similar building traditions in Japan and mainland Asia (notably among Kra-Dai and Austroasiatic-speaking groups) correspond to contacts with a prehistoric Austronesian network. File:Wharenui.jpg, ''Wharenui'' meeting house of the Māori people File:Besakana traditional Merina andriana house Rova Antananarivo Madagascar.jpg, ''Besakana'' of the Merina people File:House in suburbs of Manila, 1899.jpg, ''Bahay kubo'' of the Tagalog people File:Fijian chiefs cottage.jpg, ''Bure (Fiji), Bure'' of the Fijian people File:Houses bondokodi sumba.JPG, ''Uma mbatangu'' of the Sumba people File:Batak Toba House.jpg, ''Batak architecture, Jabu'' of the Toba Batak people File:TMII Aceh House.jpg, ''Rumoh Aceh, Rumoh'' of the Acehnese people


Religion

The religious traditions of the Austronesian people focus mostly on ancestral spirits, nature spirits and gods. It is basically a complex Animism, animistic religion. Mythologies vary by culture and geographical location but share common basic aspects such as ancestor worship, animism, shamanism and the belief in a Spirit world (Spiritualism), spirit world and powerful deities. There is also a great amount of shared mythology and a common belief in Mana. Currently, many of these beliefs have gradually been replaced. Examples of native religions include: Indigenous Philippine folk religions (including beliefs on the Anito), Sunda Wiwitan, Kejawen, Kaharingan or the Māori religion. Many Austronesian religious beliefs were incorporated into foreign religions introduced unto them, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. File:Poteau funéraire, aloalo, détail, Musée du quai Branly.jpg, ''Aloalo'' funerary pole of the Sakalava people of
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File:Nias Ahnenfiguren Museum Rietberg RIN 403.jpg, ''Adu zatua'' ancestor carvings of the Nias people of western
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File:Anitos of Northern tribes (c. 1900, Philippines).jpg, ''Anito, Taotao'' carvings of ''anito'' ancestor spirits from the Ifugao people,
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Philippines
File:Tikimarquesas.jpg, Stone ''tiki'' from Hiva Oa, Marquesas File:Kii at Puuhonua O Honaunau 01.jpg, ''Ki'i'' carving at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau,
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File:Maori wooden carvings in the Rotorua Museum-2.jpg, Māori people, Māori ''Poupou (architecture), poupou'' from the Ruato tomb of Rotorua File:AhuTongariki.JPG, ''Moai'' in Ahu Tongariki,
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File:Tana Toraja, Tampangallo, coffins and tau taus (6823243058).jpg, Toraja ''tau tau'' (wooden statue of the deceased) in South Sulawesi,
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File:Balinese Traditional House Shrines 1452.jpg, Balinese people, Balinese small familial house shrines to Veneration of the dead, honor the households' ancestors in Bali,
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Music and dance

Slit drums are indigenous Austronesian musical instrument that were invented and used by the Southeast Asian-Austronesian, and Oceanic-Austronesian ethnic groups. Gong ensembles are also a common musical heritage of Island Southeast Asia. The casting of gong instruments are believed to have originated from the Bronze Age cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia. It spread to Austronesian islands initially through trade as prestige goods. However, Mainland Asian gongs were never used in ensembles. The innovation of using gong sets is uniquely Austronesian. Gong ensembles are found in western Malayo-Polynesian groups, though they never penetrated much further east. There are roughly two gong ensemble traditions among Austronesians, which also produced gongs in ancient times. In western Island Southeast Asia, these traditions are collectively known as Gamelan, being centred on the island of Java in
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

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. It includes the Celempung of the
Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
, Talempung of northern Sumatra, Caklempung of central Sumatra, Chalempung of southern Sumatra, Bonang of Java, Kromong of western Kalimantan, Engkromong of Sarawak, and Trompong of western Nusa Tenggara. In eastern Island Southeast Asia, these traditions are known as Kulintang and are centred in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago of the southern
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
. It includes the Kulintangan of Sabah and Palawan, Kolintang of northern Sulawesi, Kulintang of Halmahera and Timor, and the Totobuang of the southern Maluku Islands. File:Jaw harps, flutes, and a slit drum from the Maranao, Molbog, and Sama people (Philippines).jpg, ''Kubing'' jaw harps, flutes, and a ''kagul'' slit drum from the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
File:Karinding-West Javan je'ws harp.JPG, ''Karinding'' jaw harps from West Java,
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File:YanAriefSapeh.jpg, ''Sapeh'', traditional lutes of the Orang Ulu people of
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
File:Wooden slit drums from Vanuatu, Bernice P. Bishop Museum.JPG, ''Atingting kon'', wooden slit drums from Vanuatu File:Traditional indonesian instruments02.jpg, An Indonesian ''gamelan'' ensemble File:Hula Kahiko Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 01.jpg, A Native Hawaiians, ''kanaka maoli'' (native) from
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performing the ''Hula Dance, hula'' File:Young Maori man dancing.jpg, ''Kapa haka'' of the Māori people File:Traditional song and dance Tana Toraja.jpg, Traditional song and dance at a funeral in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi,
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Indonesia
File:Ramawijaya dan Shinta pada Sendratari Ramayana Prambanan.jpg, Ramayana Ballet, traditional theatre dance from Javanese dance, Java,
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File:Gadispalembang.jpg, Gending Sriwijaya, traditional dance from Palembang,
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File:KABASARAN.jpg, A Minahasan Kabasaran war dancer from Tomohon, North Sulawesi,
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File:Kecak dancers cliffside Uluwatu.jpg, Kecak, Kecak dancers from Bali,
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File:The Hudoq Dancers.jpg, Hudoq, traditional dance from Kalimantan,
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Genetic studies

Genetic studies have been done on the people and related groups. The Haplogroup O1 (Y-DNA)a-M119 genetic marker is frequently detected in Native Taiwanese, northern Philippines and Polynesians, as well as some people in Indonesia, Malaysia and non-Austronesian populations in southern China. A 2007 analysis of the DNA recovered from human remains in archaeological sites of prehistoric peoples along the Yangtze River in China also shows high frequencies of Haplogroup O1 in the Neolithic Liangzhu culture, linking them to Austronesian and Tai–Kadai languages, Tai-Kadai peoples. The Liangzhu culture existed in coastal areas around the Yangtze River Delta, mouth of the Yangtze. Haplogroup O1 was absent in other archaeological sites inland. The authors of the study suggest that this may be evidence of two different human migration routes during the peopling of Eastern Asia; one coastal and the other inland, with little gene flow between them. Moodley ''et al.'' (2009) identified two distinct populations of the gut bacteria ''Helicobacter pylori'' that accompanied human migrations into Island Southeast Asia and Oceania, called hpSahul and hspMāori. The study sampled Native Australians, Native Taiwanese, highlanders in New Guinea, and Melanesians and Polynesians in New Caledonia, which were then compared with other ''H. pylori'' haplotypes from Europeans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and others. They found that hpSahul diverged from mainland Asian ''H. pylori'' populations approximately 31,000 to 37,000 years ago and have remained isolated for 23,000 to 32,000 years confirming the
Australo-Melanesian Australo-Melanesians (also known as Australasians or Australomelanesoid race or Australoid race) is an outdated historical grouping of various people indigenous to Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific ...
substratum in Island Southeast Asia and New Guinea. hspMāori, on the other hand, is a subpopulation of hpEastAsia, previously isolated from Polynesians (Māori, Tongans, and Samoans) in New Zealand, and three individuals from the Philippines and Japan. The study found hspMāori from Native Taiwanese, Melanesians, Polynesians, and two inhabitants from the Torres Strait Islands, all of which are Austronesian sources. As expected, hspMāori showed greatest genetic diversity in Taiwan, while all non-Taiwanese hspMāori populations belonged to a single lineage they called the "Pacific clade." They also calculated the isolation-with-migration model (IMa), which showed that the divergence of the Pacific clade of hspMāori were unidirectional from Taiwan to the Pacific. This is consistent with the Out-of-Taiwan model of the Austronesian expansion. On 16 January 2020, the personal genomics company 23andMe added the category "Filipino & Austronesian" after customers with no known Filipino ancestors were getting false positives for 5% or more "Filipino" ancestry in their Ancestry Composition report (the proportion was as high as 75% in Samoa, 71% in Tonga, 68% in Guam, 18% in
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, and 34% in
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Madagascar
). The company's scientists surmised that this was due to the shared Austronesian genetic heritage being incorrectly identified as Filipino ancestry.


Evidence from agriculture

Genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (''Coconut, Cocos nucifera'') has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found that there are 2 genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut – one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, there is evidence of Genetic admixture, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, it seems possible that individuals from one population could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to
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Madagascar
and coastal east Africa and exclude the Seychelles and Mauritius. Sailing west from Maritime Southeast Asia in the Indian Ocean, the Austronesian peoples reached Madagascar by ca. 50–500 CE, and reached other parts thereafter. This forms a pattern that coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, there is a genetically distinct sub-population of coconuts on the eastern coast of South America which has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the pacific coconut, which suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.


Pre-Columbian contact with the Americas

A genome analysis in 2020 showed Austronesian contact to South America around 1150–1200 CE, the earliest one between Fatu Hiva from the Marquesas Islands, and Colombia.


See also

* Ancient maritime history * Domesticated plants and animals of Austronesia *
Malayo-Polynesian languages The Malayo-Polynesian languages are a subgroup of the Austronesian languages The Austronesian languages () are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gest ...
* Maritime Silk Road


Notes


References


Books

* * * * * *


External links

* *
Books, some online, on Austronesian subjects by the Australian National University

Encyclopædia Britannica: Austronesian Languages
{{DEFAULTSORT:Austronesian Peoples Austronesian peoples, Austronesian culture Indigenous peoples of Asia Indigenous peoples of Oceania Indigenous peoples of Africa Ethnic groups in Southeast Asia Ethnic groups in Oceania Ethnic groups in East Africa Prehistoric migrations