Across the Asia-Pacific region, traditions of culture, history, and language were shaped through numerous sea-crossing migrations and inter-island contacts. The most remarkable sea-crossing events were the long-distance migrations made by the Austronesian-speaking populations. Austronesian was the most widespread language family in the world prior to 1500 CE, representing one of the most impressive records of human dispersal prior to the large-scale European expansions of the last few centuries.1 Through continuing research, multiple lines of evidence confirm the expansion routes of Neolithic farmers, starting about 3500–3000 BCE from coastal southern China to Taiwan, onward to Island Southeast Asia, and continuing through 1300 CE into the eastern Pacific Islands. Seafaring abilities were the most crucial contributing factors in the long-distance migrations. This chapter starts with the Strait-crossing voyaging in the Palaeolithic context, and then reviews the evidence from the earliest parts of the Austronesian story of seafaring across the Asia-Pacific region, spanning from about 6000 BCE in China through 500 CE in island and mainland Southeast Asia.
|Title of host publication||The Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean Volume 1|
|Editors||Ryan Tucker Jones, Matt K Matsuda|
|Place of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|