|Unique unit||Maori warrior (replaces Warrior)|
Can embark and move over oceans immediately, +1 sight when embarked, +10% combat strength bonus if within 2 tiles of a Moai
Broadly speaking, Polynesia is the eastern 60% of the Pacific Ocean.
Musical Themes: Hole Waimea, composed by Geoff Knorr, song originally composed for Kamehameha, chanting in the war version includes the line "i ku wa", meaning "stand and shout" from "I Ku Mau Mau", pedal steel guitar performed by Dave Hadley. Ukulele performed by Knorr.
Architecture: Polynesian (similar to Asian but colored yellow) Music Set: Native American
More of a loose collection of islands rather than a unified civilization, Polynesia boasts a rich culture and fascinating history. When most Europeans were mired in the Dark Ages, the Polynesians were perfecting the art of traveling across the mighty Pacific in small wooden canoes, navigating by the stars, weather, and wildlife. Eventually, most of the islands were colonized by European powers, but much of the native culture and languages are still fiercely preserved for future generations.
In 1843, the Hawaiian Kingdom was internationally recognized as a sovereign Nation-State by England, France, and the United States by way of treaty. Hawaiians are the only Polynesian society to have ever achieved such a political status and, despite common belief, still maintains that status as its sovereignty was never relinquished through treaty or by conquest. Today, this status is being reviewed in the U.N. Security council and in the courts of Washington D.C. in regard to the de-occupation of Hawai'i by the United States and its independence.
Geography and ClimateEdit
Polynesia is the general name given to the grouping of islands in the central and southern Pacific Ocean, also known as the Polynesian triangle. Bordered by Aotearoa (New Zealand) to the west, Hawai’i to the north, and Rapanui (Easter Island) to the east, the region includes over 1,000 inhabited islands. The name originally introduced by French writer Charles de Brosses in 1756 to describe all the Pacific Islands, but it was later limited to its current definition.
The islands as a whole are volcanic in nature, many with idyllic white beaches, palm trees, and clear lagoons—quintessential island paradises. Polynesia’s climate is tropical and warm, but strong trade winds tend to keep many of the islands from reaching scorching temperatures. The islands are sometimes plagued by typhoons which are active in the region from January to March.
Early History: First SettlersEdit
The ancient history of the Polynesian peoples is still shrouded in mystery, but archaeologists and anthropologists currently agree that one of three theories explains how the islands were originally settled.
The first theory, the Express Train model, suggests that some 3,000 years ago, settlers expanded westward out of Taiwan over the course of roughly 1,000 years. They mixed little with any of the natives they encountered, explaining current Polynesians genetic and linguistic characteristics. The other two theories, the Entangled Bank and Slow Boat models, describe a longer migration pattern, one which includes mixing and interactions with all the native populaces, specifically the Melanesians.
Regardless of how long it took the first settlers to reach western Polynesia, the path they took has been charted with a fair degree of confidence. The northernmost point, Hawai’i, was settled around 500 AD, followed by New Zealand in 1000 AD. The exact date for when the Polynesians discovered Easter Island is still debated. Some archaeological evidence suggests that the island was first inhabited between 300 and 500 AD, but more recently the date 800 AD has come into favor. Other scientists believe that the island was not inhabited until as late as 1200.
The Polynesian triangle is a vast one, with each side measuring roughly 4,000 miles long. To cover this amount of distance over the open ocean required an astonishing degree of naval technology, navigational aptitude, and bravery. Using the technique of wayfinding, navigators memorized the motion of specific stars, weather, local wildlife patterns, and the direction of waves in the ocean. They passed this information down orally to new generations of navigators, the secrets closely guarded by these elite families. To aid in the dangerous crossings, they also developed outrigger supports for their canoes, allowing them to safely cross the vast ocean. Many of these techniques and navigational aids are still passed down and used by modern Polynesian sailors.
Link to the AmericasEdit
Polynesian settlers arrived on the shores of Hawai’i sometime around 500 AD, although some evidence does suggest it may have been roughly 500 years earlier. According to stories of ancient Hawaiian lineages, early inhabitants may have arrived from Tahiti and Raiatea. Some historians favor the Tahitian theory as an ancient Hawaiian story speaks of a man called Pa’ao, conclusively of Tahitian descent. These historians believe that the wave of Tahitian settlers brought with them the line of high chiefs, the Kapu system of laws, and the religious practice of human sacrifice.
Evidence also exists that these Hawaiians sailed back across the Pacific once encountering these new lands, spreading fauna and flora throughout the islands. For example, the sweet potato, a native to South America, was found widespread through the islands of Polynesia when the European travelers first encountered the Polynesian settlements.
Arrival of the EuropeansEdit
The Polynesians lived in relative seclusion until the arrival of European powers, searching for new lands and trade routes. Many of the islands begin to established contact with the Europeans in the mid 1500s—some came as explorers and others as religious missionaries. However, in the 1800s, many colonial powers, such as France, Britain, and the United States, began to forcefully colonize the inhabited islands, declaring them protectorates and territories of their respective empires. Only a few islands such as Tonga and Hawai’i, remained independent during this time. Other Islands such as New Zealand and Samoa (Western and now American) were conquered and colonized by European colonial powers.
The Present and FutureEdit
Despite the vast ocean separating the different islands, the native Polynesians still share many similar cultural traits, religious beliefs, and common languages. Sadly, many of the original indigenous peoples, such as the Maori, are now minorities in the islands, with peoples of European descent dominating and composing the main populace. However, most of the native populations on the islands strive to keep their cultures and languages alive, and an active and effective process of revitalization and immersion is being pursued in most major areas.
The word "tattoo" originated in Tahiti and was derived from Tatau, which was the native word for body art ,before european settlers turned it into tattoo.
Author Robert Louis Stevenson fell in love with the island of Samoa and settled there during his later years.
The Hawaiian archipelago is the largest island chain in the world, measuring at some 1,500 miles from end to end.
List of City NamesEdit
Honolulu (Capital of Hawai'i)
Aotearoa (Original Maori name of New Zeleand)
Hilo (a city on the island of Hawai'i)
Te Wai Pounamu (Maori name for South Island, New Zealand)
Rapanui (native name of Easter Island, Chile)