Europe and Asia

How early were the islands of the Pacific explored

Polynesians, the people who settled many of the islands in the South Pacific, brought their people, culture, and knowledge to the islands before 1500 B.C.E. Experts at celestial navigation, reading the currents, flight patterns of birds, and how to travel in light canoe-like crafts, the ancient Polynesians left New Guinea and traveled first to the areas we know of as the Solomon Islands, then on to present-day Vanuatu. As the distance between islands became even greater, they refined their boat-making ability to create ships with double hulls that were able to carry animals, people, and trading supplies as far east as Hawaii and even Easter Island, which is 2,237 miles (3,600 kilometers) west of Chile. By the year 1000 C.E., Polynesian culture could be found in a gigantic triangle—the Polynesian Triangle—spreading across thousands of miles of ocean.


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