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Wagamaga OP t1_iqm05kc wrote

Pacific island nations suffered severe depopulation from introduced diseases as a consequence of contact with European vessels, a new study from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.

The research, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, indicates population declines were a lot larger than previously thought.

According to the study, the main island of Tonga had a population decline of between 70-86 per cent once Europeans made contact.

Researchers from the ANU School of Culture, History & Language, PhD candidate Phillip Parton and ARC Future Fellow Professor Geoffrey Clark, found there were between 100,000-120,000 people in Tonga prior to European contact.

“I and my co-author used aerial laser scanning data to map residences on the main island of Tonga and then used archaeological data I collected as part of my PhD to estimate the population,” Mr Parton said.

“This improved understanding of the past has allowed us to show a significant population decline from 50,000-60,000 to 10,000 during a 50-year period on the main island of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga.


Skippy_99b t1_iqm5f30 wrote

Didn’t we already know this about the pacific and Caribbean islands? …or is this another type of suppressed critical race theory…


kat_a_klysm t1_iqmh5sy wrote

Idk if I learned it in school, but I definitely knew about it. I’ve heard “small pox blankets” referenced when discussing what the colonizers did to the indigenous folks in the Americas. Same type of stuff.


insaneintheblain t1_iqoz54q wrote

A lot of history is traditionally passed down orally, and often through the use of symbols signifying universal truths. When oral tradition is interrupted (for example when all your elders die of mysterious causes, or when all your children are sent to factory/reconditioning schools) then history must be re-discovered through archeology - an imperfect method of piecing together clues to reconstruct a best guess for what might’ve happened.


Skippy_99b t1_irjj9p8 wrote

So hopefully one day they will figure out what happened to the Easter Islanders....


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SuspiciousStable9649 t1_iqor3b5 wrote

These studies are awesome. Every native population in the world suffered horribly from the diseases of explorers (and settlers and traders etc.).


edgeplayer t1_ir4gg2r wrote

Does it take ANU 150 years to publish a paper ?

But seriously, everything about this paper is flawed, Assuming building sites correlates to population is in no way a proxy. Look at current villages anywhere in the Pacific and you find a range of building/person ratios. This really depends on cultural practices. For example, look at Pitcairn Island and figure how many people live there.

Then there is the assumption that the variance is caused by disease. A huge human toll was due to tribal warfare when natives acquired guns after 1800. Some other stuff also happened in this period, and then there is emigration, as crew (Melville describes this).


Getdeded t1_iqnmx10 wrote

Why have the diseases of those colonized never made they way back to Europe, something you never hear about


houseman1131 t1_iqooyfc wrote

Well syphilis is theorized to have come from theAmericas back to Europe. Which may have led to British judges wearing wigs.


matdex t1_iqoozip wrote

They didn't domestic many animals. Europe has cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, etc and the close contact of humans and animals increased chances of diseased jumping species. Influenza from pigs & birds, pox and TB from cows, plague from rats and rodents.


faciepalm t1_iqofv74 wrote

basically there are none. Undeveloped civilisation of small isolated populations don't propagate diseases like the concentrated europe or asia did.