cover of book

Early Tonga As the Explorers Saw It, 1616–1810
by Edwin N. Ferdon
University of Arizona Press, 1987
Paper: 978-0-8165-3169-1 | eISBN: 978-0-8165-4629-9 | Cloth: 978-0-8165-1026-9
Library of Congress Classification GN671.T5F47 1987
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.099612

Ethnographic observations and experiences on the Tongan Islands up to 1810—just prior to intensive Christian missionary activities—provide an early historic baseline of culture for those interested in alter culture change in Tonga, the only Polynesian island group that has never been ruled by outsiders. Ferdon has drawn on a variety of records to provide a well-documented and highly readable account of major aspects of Tongan life—material culture, government, food and drink, recreation, customs, trade, and warfare—at the time when European influences were only beginning to modify traditional island patterns.

The ethnohistorical approach to early Tongan culture offers not only a fascinating glimpse into a world long past but also a basis for the comparative study of European acculturation throughout Polynesia.

Edwin N. Ferdon first became interested in early Polynesia while serving as an archaeologist with Thor Heyerdahl’s 1955 expedition to Easter Island. He is also the author of Early Tahiti As the Explorers Saw It, 1767–1797.

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