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Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

Every Indication Points to a Pre-Malayan Caucasian — Race in Indonesia Speaking an Aryan Tongue

Every Indication Points to a Pre-Malayan Caucasian
Race in Indonesia Speaking an Aryan Tongue

(34) But, whatever the meaning of these indications may be, we may be quite sure that the bulk of the Aryan roots in Polynesian came the other way, through Indonesia. For the extraordinary similarity, and often absolute coincidence, of page 96words in the Eastern Pacific dialects with words in the Indonesian, that led the first investigators to call all these tongues Malayo-Polynesian, is due probably to the influx of words from India into both regions. Sanskrit and the Hindoo dialects derived from it constitute the source of many of those common words. We know, of course, that in historical times Buddhist rulers held sway in Java and the adjacent regions, that a Brahmanic civilisation ousted them, to be ousted in its turn by the Mohammedan religion. But it is not to this migration of Indian culture into Indonesia that the influx of Aryan words into its dialects is mainly due. They came long before, in fact, in prehistoric times, by the sea route from the coasts of India, probably from Ceylon as the last stopping-place.

(35) The affinity of grammatical forms, of the words for numerals, of the phonology, and of a certain proportion of the vocabulary in the dialects spoken all over Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar cannot be explained by the Malayo-Polynesian hypothesis that has held the ground for so long. For, as Mr. E. Tregear, in the introduction to his excellent "Maori Comparative Dictionary" says, "the bulk of the two vocabularies," Malay and Polynesian, is not the same in origin; and he has not been able to trace more than one percent of the words in Malagasy and Polynesian as having affinity. In Fijian, which has been greatly influenced by the Tongan and Samoan Archipelagoes, nearly a third of the words, he finds, are Polynesian.

(36) The hypothesis that would fit the circumstances would be the wide spread of a Caucasian people of Aryan speech by sea in pre-Malay times over the Malay Archipelago, and across both Melanesia and Micronesia into Polynesia. It is more than likely that this race came by sea into Indonesia from India, and not by land; for, by the latter route they would have left their traces on the languages and peoples on page 97the way. The pressure of conquest by the Sanskrit-speaking immigration from the north-west of India would drive as they advanced the sea-coast peoples out along the sea routes that they had already established for trade. And when the Aryan invaders won their way to the coast either on the north-west or the north-east of India, they would follow the tribes they had driven out across the oceans.

(37) But by this time the Mongoloids had reached Sumatra, and had begun to force the Caucasians or semi-Caucasians with their Aryanised language on to the sea to seek other homes, to the south-west in Madagascar, and to the south-east in Melanesia and Polynesia. These Mongoloids absorbed the Indonesians and the forms of their language, whilst adhering largely to their own vocabulary. And when Caucasianised and turned into Malays and sailors they made Sumatra their base, and from thence they conquered the peninsula that they had originally descended and ultimately abandoned.

(38) It is to this Indian pre-Buddhist migration by sea into Indonesia, caught on its flank by the Mongoloid incursion from the north, that the final migration into Polynesia is due, The Malays followed it in later centuries only as far as the west of New Guinea; no trace of their features or headform or the iron they used is found farther east.