Network of islands : historical linkages among the islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa




Sone, Tamara Leigh

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This study presents an analysis of the interactions observed among the West Polynesia islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, using concepts of regional systems and trade networks. The connections between these island groups in the period between the 1770s and the 1870s are examined in extensive detail. In particular, this analysis takes the theoretical framework of the world-systems approach of Chase-Dunn and Hall and applies a method involving networks of exchange to this region. These networks include the information network, the bulk products network, the political/ military network and the network of prestige valuables. Archival data show the operation and content of these networks and demonstrate that with the influx of European products in the early colonial period, there was an efflorescence of long-distance exchange in this region. This analysis of networks linking the island groups suggest that Fiji, Tonga and Samoa should be viewed as a regional unit instead of three distinct societies for many subjects of investigation.



Fiji, Tonga, Samoan Islands, commerce