SHORT ESSAY What Changes Took Place During the ‘Twilight Millenium’?
NAME ID COURSE CORDINATOR DUE DATE
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CHANDRA SEGRAN PILLAY S01002219 DR. MORGAN. T. 22ND OCTOBER, 2010.
[SHORT ESSAY – FINAL ASSIGNMENT ]
CHANGES DURING THE ‘TWILIGHT MILLENIUM’
Ian Campbell refers to the ‘twilight millenium’ as the period from 1000AD to 1800 AD, an era of eight hundred years 1. This period underwent major climatic changes which influenced the social, political and economical activities of the Pacific islanders. Changes in sea levels, temperature and new ideas gathered from inter-island voyaging transformed the Pacific way of life to one of economic intensification, social and political restructuring that marked the supremacy of powerful chiefs.
A number of economic changes took place in this millenium. The most notable was the shift from the reliance on sea to land resources, mainly on agriculture for sustenance. This resulted as the reef and marine resources showed signs of over-exploitation and damage to sea-level rise and natural hazards. This forced people to move inland and focus on agricultural activties. It was during this period that terracing of hill sides and the construction of irrigation channels to control water supplies was widely adopted. These inland settlements in mountain landscapes as noted by Campbell 2 were found in Fiji, Vanuatu and other Pacific islands. Campbell 3 also identified some extraordinary political changes during this ‘millenium’. Powerful chiefs took control of larger territories and population and brought them under their control. Campbell 4 cites Tonga as an example of major political restructuring taken place in the ‘twilight millenium’. This intensification process took place as larger workforce was needed for agricultural works and for engaging in war against neighbours as there was an increase in warfare throughout this period. In many Melanesian and Polynesian islands buildings and hills were fortified. In Fiji, the Malua hill forts date back to 1305AD 5. These fortifications took place to defend the fertile agricultural land below. The hill forts were a good indicator of the sophisticated social organisation and marked the power of chiefs. In Tonga, the political ranking system became more complex with three powerful families competing tor the Tu’i Tonga title. The powerful chiefs had control of sufficient manpower and stone monuments were built for chiefs during this era.
The study of western political thought has endured a drastic change throughout the centuries. This shift occurred through the queries of ancient philosophical minds such as Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and St. Augustine. Two examples of great importance are the inequality of gender and the role of power distributed and issued within the state. Plato believed all people, men and women alike are ...
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Campbell.I, p.5.19. Ibid., p.5.19. Ibid., p. 5.20. Ibid., p. 5.21. Field. J, 2003 : p.5.16
Stone monuments found on Easter Island and Tonaga dates this era. The Ha’amonga ‘a Maui (Trilithon), a monumental stone architecture in Tonaga comprising of three coral limestone slabs is a classic example of monuments built by powerful chiefs. This 20 tonnes and 6 metre high monument was said to be built by the 11th Tu’i Tonga, Tu’itatui, around 1200AD whilst in power to be used as a throne 6. As for Tonga, by the 15th century, the Tu’i Tonga chiefdom had started expanding outside southern Tonga. 7 There were prominent social changes identified in this era by Campbell 8. Societies in Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia were structured with different ranks of chiefs and distribution of people into groups according to their skills inherited and learned from previous generations. The societies were also divided into social classes. The common people had no status and were treated as if owned by the chiefs. The commoners were used to work and produce food. People of specialised skills were placed higher than the commoners. A very good example is the strengthening of the Fijian social structure for villages and clans during this era with chiefs taking the highest power.
A number of environmental changes were observed in this period. There were changes in the sea level with new land emerging, some sinking due to sea-level rise and causing the water table to be salty. From 1000AD to 1300AD, the temperature had started to be colder with more intense ElNino cycles. It was stormier around the Pacific and sea levels dropped causing a decline in long distance voyaging. This also influenced Pacific Islanders to rely on agricultural resources and divert awy from sea-resources 9. Around 1500AD, there was an abrupt lowering of the world temperature referred to as the Little Ice Age (LIA) 10. The change in climate also affected many resources which depleted in this period. The depletion of timber resources, especially on small Polynesian countries like the Easter Islands, surely placed similar constraints on the ability to build and maintain voyaging canoes. Easter Island (Rapa Nui) was nearly completely deforested by the time of European contact and the small canoes in use during that period leaked so badly that they were barely seaworthy11. The first Europeans to visit this island noted that
“Change is inevitable and necessary to succeed” Quiros (2014). With this truth in mind we must enhance our skills to lead people through various aspects of change. The purpose of this literature review is to identify commonalities across several articles their assumptions on the importance of change inclusive of my personal views. We will review two elements and the hindrances they present in the ...
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Addison. D, 2008: p.4. Campbell.I, p. Diamond. J, 2000: p.8 Nunn.P, 2000: p.50. Diamond.J, 2000: p.8
while the coastal plain and lower hills supported sparse forests the mountains were barren, with some areas completely denuded 12.
On Easter Island, there were no trees and people remaining by 1800AD. Large upland areas were noted to have been under food production, to cater for the population that had exceeded its carrying capacity 13. The end of this period was noted to have limited food supply and upland farms abandoned with the disappearance of many known flora and fauna leading to the demise of the population, depletion of resources and massive erosion. On other islands there were environmental degradation and population declines as on Easter Island; those other islands included Mangaia, Mangareva, Rapa, low Marquesan islands, parts of New Caledonia, and parts of Fiji 14. Basically, the inhabitants of Easter Island exceeded their carrying capacity by overharvesting trees that covered the island when it was colonized about 400 AD. Forests were cleared for agriculture, construction of canoes, and for the transport and leverage of the huge statues for which the island is renowned. The statues were moved several miles from the quarry to the coastal area, even though they weighed as much as 80 tons and were up to 37 feet tall. Clearly, the civilization of Easter Island was well organized in order to achieve the remarkable feat of erecting these statues. 15 The inhabitants of Tikopia Island also exceeded their carrying capacity 16, but took effective measures between 1000 and 1800 AD to stabilize their population at around 1200 people. They accomplished their goal by infanticide, abortion, and decreeing that only first-born sons could have children. In addition, the inhabitants shifted to sustainable agriculture from ‘slash and burn’ practices. Finally, they eliminated pigs, despite the value Polynesians placed on them, because they damaged gardens and ate food the Tikopians could consume 17.
I would agree with this statement but I would also think there are aspects of the status of black people that did change in these years and the impacts of which could be debated. In 1945, the Second World War ended. Black people’s status hadn’t changed but their attitudes had. They started to question why they were fighting for freedom in other countries, against the Nazi oppression of ...
While there was a flow of population from coastal to inland areas, there were also interisland migrations. The final settlement of Fiji (1000 to 1800 AD) was a massive
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Diamond.J, 1994. Pp.40 Diamond.J, 2000: p.9. Ibid., p.10. Diamond.J, 1994. pp.40 Ibid., pp.42 Cairns. J, 2004, p.40.
movement from Melanesia 18. This wave of people practiced a sophisticated form of terraced agriculture, which helped support a large population that may have risen to 200,000. People grew yams and taro, raised poultry, fished and evolved a highly developed culture.
It could thus be said that numerous changes occurred in the ‘twilight millenium’ due to climatic and environmental changes and new ideas gathered from inter-island voyaging. The decline in temperature that affected the sea level and sluggish growth of plants probably had the largest impact on the lives of the small Pacific Island nations. In other parts of the Pacific, sophisticated arrangement of the societies and people marked the prowess of chiefs of that era. While many societies managed to devise methods to counter the natural and political changes others like Rapa Nui lost not only its resources but its people and culture. Changes are inevitable and the Pacific Islanders are an epitome of traditional societies successfully going through environmental social, economical and political changes to survive.
'Managing Change' Massive change is impacting on all facets of society, creating new dimensions and great uncertainty. Instant communication, super small high-tech equipments, the globalization movement, the deadly terrorist attacks in the U. S. , the emerging of foreign investments in China nation are all the changing dimensions of the world. These are few of the changes which have occurred ...
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1. Addison. D, 2008, ‘Recent Advances in the Archaeology of the Fiji/West-Polynesia Region’, in “Prehistoric Anthropology, No. 21”, University of Otago Studies, Dunedin, pp 4 – 8. 2. Cairns. J, 2004, ‘Sustainability Ethics: Tales Of Two Cultures’ in “Ethics In Science And Environmental Politics” published May 24th, 2004, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, pp.39 – 43. 3. Campbell.I, ‘Twilight Millenium’ in “HY101 Course Reader 2010”, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, pp 5.19 – 5.26. 4. Diamond. J, 1994, ‘Ecological Collapses of Ancient Civilizations: The Golden Age that Never Was’. Bull Am Acad Arts Sci XLVII, pp.37–59. 5. Diamond. J, 2000, ‘Ecological Collapses of Pre-industrial Societies’ The Tanner Lectures on Human Values’ Delivered at Stanford University from May 22–24, 2000. 6. Field.J, 2003, ‘Archeological and GIS-based Research in the Sigatoka Valley, Fiji’, in “HY101 Course Reader 2010”, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, pp5.16. 7. P.D. Nunn, 2000, ‘Illuminating Sea-Level Fall Around AD 1220-1510’ in “The Pacific Islands: Implications for Environmental Change and Cultural Transformation”, New Zealand Geographer, pp.46-54. 8. ‘Fiji Guide – Pre-colonial History’, (available online) http://fijiguide/fijihistory-1, retrieved 10th October, 2010. 9. ‘The Ancient Capitals of the Kingdom of Tonga’, (available online) ‹http://ancientcapitals.monumentsintonga›, retrieved 10th October, 2010.