This article discusses the development of differences in the socio-political organization on the various Polynesian islands. Such differences were observed by early European visitors. Most of their descriptions date from the last quarter of the eighteenth century, but a few sources date back to the early seventeenth century, including the journals of the Dutch voyagers Schouten and Le Maire, Tasman, and somewhat later Roggeveen. The voyagers’ logs and journals often contain lengthy and detailed descriptions of the Polynesian peoples and cultures they encountered. And, though they often did not understand what they observed, they carefully described what they saw — or what they thought they saw.

A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to 'Big-Man' Systems

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