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Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

Great Mixture of Peoples in the Islands to — the South

Great Mixture of Peoples in the Islands to
the South

(4) Caucasian they must have been, and those of them that remained behind must have contributed to the European appearance of the Ainos. In the Loochoo Islands, Formosa, and the Philippines, which form the coastal stepping-stones, there are traces of light-complexioned peoples found even in page 28the intricate confusion of races that inhabit the last two. A fair-skinned tribe of dwellers in trees has been only recently reported in the inland forest of the Philippines.

(5) But this ring of islands is too close to Asia to keep any race unmixed. It is somewhat the same with the Ladrone and Caroline groups, even though they are at a much greater distance from the Asiatic coast. The inhabitants of the former found by the Spaniards are nearly extinct. But fair complexions are spoken of amongst them, and the women are preferred by the traders as wives to the Caroline Islanders because of their fair skin and comparatively European features. And yet the Spaniards used to introduce the Caroline Islanders as slaves, so that some islands of the southern group were left almost depopulated, and had to be recolonised from the Ladrones, and room was left for armed immigrations from north, south, and west. The race problem, therefore, is now extremely complicated. But the great stone avenues in so many of the northern group, the colossal stone ruins of a city on Tinian described by Anson as extending over three miles of plain, and the inscriptions in caves reported by the Jesuit Fathers reveal the existence in ancient times of an advanced megalithic people.

(6) The racial problem in the Carolines is even more confused, though the dialects have still much of the Polynesian in their vocabularies, and many Polynesian customs prevail in this, the main group of what is called Micronesia. There are said to be not only Malayan and Indonesian strata, but Papuasian. And tradition tells of a conquering migration from the south under a black leader called Idzikolkol, who overthrew the dynasty of the colossal stone Venice in Ponape and set up a new one in its place.

(7) Kubary found four skulls in a mortuary vault of the water-city, and these displayed the extreme of long-headedness, whilst the existing natives are nearly midway between long-page 29headed and round-headed. Of course, in these tropical lands, with their rank vegetation and active bacterial life no very ancient relics of man are likely to be found except stone and metal, the bones as well as the flesh so rapidly decay. Hence, if we cannot find traces of primitive peoples in the existing features and heads, we are not likely to find them in the graves. And where, as in the Carolines, wave after wave of immigration has flooded island after island, the problem of the primeval inhabitants becomes difficult of solution.