Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Study Guide Chapter 17 "Speedboat to Polynesia" Summary & Analysis

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The same movement that brought ancient peoples to Australia and New Guinea also brought peoples to other Polynesian islands. In this chapter, Diamond looks at this movement, asking why it occurred in the direction it did, rather than Polynesians and Indonesians taking over China.

Today, the population of many Polynesian islands, including Java and the Philippines, is rather homogeneous in terms of language and genetics. This is surprising given the amount of time that humans have occupied the region. Indonesians and Filipinos are also more similar to Southeast Asians and South Chinese in appearance and genetics than to Native Australians or New Guineans. This suggests that groups from Southeast Asian or South China spread through the Philippines and Indonesia and replaced the original languages with Austronesian languages.

Archeological evidence links early Taiwan culture with later Pacific island...

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